News & Commentary

Protecting Boys and Men from Endocrine Disruptors

Protecting Men and Boys from Endocrine Disruptors – Natural Womanhood

In 1992, the British Medical Journal published a disturbing study which suggested that human semen quality had declined by approximately 50% from 1930 to 1991 (1). Subsequent research has confirmed that male fertility seems to be declining—and a whole host of man-made chemicals appears to be a possible cause.

These chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors or endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), are used in plastic, food packaging, pesticides, cosmetics, cleaning products, paint, toys, personal care products, and household products. The amount of these chemicals produced annually around the globe is measured in the millions of tons!

Many of these man-made chemicals affect our endocrine system by interfering with our hormones’ normal functions, directly affecting our reproductive functioning.

We’ve discussed endocrine disruptors before and this time we’re focusing specifically on how they affect males and their fertility. We’ll also look at ways to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and how protect the men in our lives.

It’s important to note that these chemicals seem to have the most significant impact on babies and children as their bodies are developing, which is all the more reason for women who are looking to get pregnant anytime soon to limit their exposure to EDCs—including hormonal contraception—as much as possible.

Androgens are key for healthy male development

A category of hormones called androgens are essential for the development of the male reproductive system. Androgens—testosterone being the most well known—are usually thought of as the male reproductive hormones, though smaller amounts are necessary in women’s bodies as well. The masculinization of a boy’s internal and external male reproductive organs are dependent mostly on testosterone and one of its metabolites, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which are produced in the testicles. Thus, normal male development requires a balanced hormonal environment.

The period of time when the male reproductive system is developing is incredibly sensitive to chemicals that have an anti-androgen effect. At about eight weeks gestation, the cells of the forming testes begin to produce testosterone, which drives the differentiation and development of the internal and external genitalia. The ability of endocrine-disrupting chemicals to suppress androgen synthesis during fetal and neonatal life can cause a series of male reproductive disturbances, such as cryptorchidism (the failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotal sac), hypospadias (a condition in which the opening of the urethra is somewhere other than at the tip of the penis), impaired fertility (especially due to poor semen quality), and an elevated incidence of testicular cancer. (2, 3, 4, 5) The abnormal development of testes in an infant boy can have long-term consequences for sperm production, and therefore his future ability to conceive children.

The perinatal period is a particularly sensitive window of development in which minor hormonal disturbances may have a long-lasting impact on fertility.

Other less talked about effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals include alterations of genetic systems and gene expression. These effects are particularly troubling since alterations in genetic programming during early stages of development can have profound effects years later and may also lead to transgenerational inheritance of disease. (6,7)

Worst endocrine disruptors for males

Bisphenol A

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics and epoxy resins used in food and drink containers, plastic water bottles, baby bottles, dental sealants, and a variety of household products. It is widespread in the environment and every year 2.2–4.7 million tons of BPA are released into the environment. Humans are mainly exposed to BPA as it leaches from the inner lining of canned food and microwave containers during heating of food or through beverages in plastic bottles. BPA can be detected in several human body samples, such as serum, urine, amniotic fluid of pregnant women, breast milk, and even in semen. It has been estimated that urinary BPA is detected in more than 90% of Americans. Several studies have shown that increased urine BPA levels may be associated with decreased sperm concentrations and decreased semen quality. (8)

Alkylphenols

Alkylphenols are used industrially in the production of detergents, latex paint, adhesives, and plastics as the stabilizers to package food, detergents, disinfectants, surface cleaners, cosmetic products, herbicides, and pesticides. Unlike most chemicals, which usually become less toxic with biodegradation, alkylphenols become more toxic when they break down. Humans are primarily exposed to alkylphenols through contaminated food and water. Alkylphenols have been shown to affect testicular development and testosterone production.

Phthalates

Phthalates are industrial chemicals used as plasticizers in the manufacture of plastics, solvents, sealants, paints, varnishes, detergents, cosmetics, personal care products, toys, and household products.

Phthalates easily leach from plastics into foods, beverages and body fluids. Factors such as product age, use, and ultraviolet light exposure cause phthalates to leach even more. Humans can be exposed to them through ingestion, absorption, inhalation, and skin contact. Around 6 million tons of phthalates are produced worldwide every year.

Phthalates are considered to be one of the major groups of anti-androgenic substances causing disorders of male reproductive development, such as hypospadias, cryptorchidism, smaller testes and penis size, alterations of the vas deferens and epididymis, poor sperm production, testicular germ cell tumors and reduced semen quality. In humans, maternal exposure to phthalates also results in fetal exposure to these toxins.

Start by filtering what you bring into your home

Avoiding every product with these chemicals may seem daunting, but you can dramatically reduce your family’s exposure by making one small change at a time. You have a lot of control over what you bring into your home, so begin making some simple swaps when it comes to what you put in and on your body.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, or any woman planning to conceive, should take extra care to avoid endocrine disrupting-chemicals for the future hormonal health of their offspring.

Avoid endocrine disruptors in your food:

  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them,
  • Replace food storage containers with glass, especially when storing hot food or drinks.
  • Find reusable glass or stainless steel drink containers and metal straws for your coffee, tea, and water.
  • Reduce consumption of canned and processed foods (or at least check the label that items are in BPA free packaging).
  • Never microwave food in plastic containers.
  • Avoid plastic containers designated #3, #6, and #7.
  • Prepare more meals at home and try to use fresh ingredients.
  • Consider using a water filter (we know that women on the synthetic estrogens found in hormonal contraception excrete it through their urine, where it ultimately ends up in our water supply).
  • If possible, purchase organic produce, meat, and dairy products.
  • Replace older, non-stick pans with newer, ceramic-coated pans.

Avoid endocrine disruptors in your body products:

  • Each time you need to buy a new bottle of something, look for a new natural brand to try.
  • Avoid anything that has “fragrance” or “parfum” in the ingredient list.
  • Use washing balls (Google “washing balls” or “laundry balls”).
  • Do not use fabric softener—use wool dryer balls instead.
  • Use the apps ThinkDirty or SkinSafe to see how safe your products are.

Though endocrine-disrupting chemicals can seem unavoidable, the good news is that their dangers are becoming more well-known and many companies are voluntarily offering safer product options. If you begin to read labels, you’ll find lots of packages that say “BPA free” or “No phthalates.”

It has taken me years to make healthy product swaps, and some of the easiest changes I’ve made to avoid the extra chemicals for my family is to replace all our food and drink containers with glass or stainless steel. I also steer away from using canned food. Whenever we run out of a lotion, soap or detergent, I look for a healthier product to replace it. Yes, these products can be pricey, but there have been many products I’ve found we don’t really need, like dryer sheets. The extra time and money it has taken to make these changes is well worth the peace of mind knowing my husband, children (and especially my two boys) have healthy bodies and healthy hormones.

References:

  1. Carlsen E., Giwercman A., Keiding N. and Skakkebaek N.E. 1992 Evidence for decreasing quality of semen during past 50 years. British Medical Journal 305 609–613.
  2. McLachlan, J. A., Newbold, R. R., and Bullock, B. (1975). Reproductive tract lesions in male mice exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol. Science 190, 991–992. doi: 10.1126/science.242076
  3. Gill, W. B., Schumacher, G. F., Bibbo, M., Straus, F. H. II, and Schoenberg, H. W. (1979). Association of diethylstilbestrol exposure in utero with cryptorchidism, testicular hypoplasia and semen abnormalities. J. Urol. 122, 36–39.
  4. Jensen, T. K., Toppari, J., Keiding, N., and Skakkebaek, N. E. (1995). Do environmental estrogens contribute to the decline in male reproductive health? Clin. Chem. 41, 1896–1901.
  5. Zhang, L., Dong, L., Ding, S., Qiao, P., Wang, C., Zhang, M., et al. (2014). Effects of n-butylparaben on steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis through changed E2 levels in male rat offspring. Environ. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 37, 705–717. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2014.01.016
  6. Schug, T. T., Janesick, A., Blumberg, B., and Heindel, J. J. (2011). Endocrine disrupting chemicals and disease susceptibility. J. Steroid Bichem. 127, 204–215. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.08.007
  7. Skinner, M. K. (2011). Role of epigenetics in developmental biology and transgenerational inheritance. Birth Defects Res. C Embryo Today 93, 51–55. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.20199
  8. Li, D. K., Zhou, Z., Miao, M., He, Y., Wang, J., Ferber, J., et al. (2011). Urine bisphenol-A (BPA) level in relation to semen quality. Fertil. Steril. 95, 625–630. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.09.026

SARS-CoV-2 and the female reproductive system

A recent study published in The American Journal of Reproductive Immunology evaluated the possible cross-reactivity of antibodies against Spike proteins and proteins related to human fertility. The authors  belong to research centers in Israel, Italy, France and Russia. They conducted a systematic study to understand the immunological potential of peptides shared between SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein and human proteins involved in reproduction and the possible effects that molecular mimicry may have on female fertility.

Molecular mimicry is the resemblance that exists between antigens; in this case, between the Spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 and the proteins of human tissues. It is a mechanism that can contribute to female and male infertility, by generating autoantibodies that react against the organs of human reproduction.

The authors of the study did a search in a library of 82 human proteins linked to the process of differentiation of the ovum (oogenesis). They compared immunological potential of the peptides shared between SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and oogenesis-related proteins. SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein was found to share 41 minimal immune determinants, with 27 human proteins that relates to oogenesis, placentation and/or decidualization.

These findings suggest potential cross-reactivity between the homologous peptides that may result in the development of autoantibodies and new-onset of related autoimmune manifestations.

The authors of the study emphasized that the molecular mimicry found in the study  does not indicate female reproductive dysfunction in people who suffer COVID-19 infection. They suggest potential cross-reactivity between the homologous peptides that may result in the development of autoantibodies and new-onset of related autoimmune manifestations.

These scientific discoveries about the similarity between Spike glycoprotein and human tissues are very important. All the approved COVID 19 vaccines used the Spike protein. Clinicians  should monitor patients vaccinated against COVID-19, due to the problems of cross-reactivity between the homologous peptides and possible autoimmune diseases, cancer, and infertility that may appear among the vaccinated population.

How Stopping Oral Contraceptives Can Affect Menstrual Cycle Biomarkers: A Review of Research

By Grace Strella, MD

How Stopping Oral Contraceptives Can Affect Menstrual Cycle Biomarkers: A Review of Research – FACTS (factsaboutfertility.org)

Editor’s Note: This week, we publish a review of important research[i] published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2011. Dr. Grace Strella summarized the research while on the FACTS elective. The study by Nassaralla et al is titled, “Characteristics of the menstrual cycle after discontinuation of oral contraceptives.” Before this research was published in 2011, no studies had assessed cervical mucus quality upon discontinuation of oral contraceptives (OCPs). Although a 2002 study[ii] by Gnoth et al had assessed basal body temperature and ovulation, cycle lengths, luteal lengths, and cervical mucus peak, it did not evaluate cervical mucus quality. More research is still needed like this groundbreaking 2011 study to understand the full impact of OCPs on fertility and other important aspects of women’s health.

Why This Matters

A woman came into my clinic to discuss fertility and wanted counseling on how to prepare to become pregnant. She had just gotten married and they decided to start a family, so she wanted to stop her birth control pills. She asked me how long it would take for things to “go back to normal,” as she wanted to have children as soon as possible. I told her it could be a few months, but that her fertility would eventually return to normal.

Thankfully, she did not ask any further questions because honestly, I don’t think I would have had many answers for her. This experience showed me I lack knowledge on this important topic, and need to fill in these gaps before another patient comes in seeking my help with such an important aspect of her life. 

According to the CDC website, approximately 14% of women ages 15 to 49 were using the pill between 2017 and 2019.[iii] It would make sense intuitively that many of these women would eventually decide to discontinue oral contraceptives to achieve pregnancy. When it comes time for them to attempt to conceive, it would also make sense for women to use fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) to increase their chances of conception. For this reason, it is important to know what biomarkers will be affected after stopping their oral contraceptives, and for how long these changes will affect their menstrual cycle charting.

Although a few studies have looked at the effects of discontinuing oral contraceptives on a woman’s hormones and return of fertility, this 2011 article by Nassaralla et al was the first to integrate charting, cervical mucus, and specific characteristics of menstrual flow.

Study Design

This was a retrospective matched cohort study that evaluated the biomarkers of the menstrual cycle after stopping OCPs. A total of 140 women were involved in the study. The researchers randomly matched 70 women who had just stopped taking oral contraceptives by age and parity with 70 women who had not used oral contraceptives for more than a year. For six months, they recorded daily observations including menstrual flow (intensity, duration) and mucus characteristics. With this information recorded, they calculated the cycle mucus score, luteal phase length, and the estimated day of ovulation, and assessed overall cycle length.

Biomarkers Altered by OCPs

The study found that the women who had recently stopped oral contraceptives had lower mucus quality scores for the first two cycles. They also noted a later estimated day of ovulation in the second cycle, and an overall decreased menstrual flow intensity in the first four cycles. These results were all statistically significant. In summary, multiple biomarkers were altered for at least two months after stopping oral contraceptives.

Unfortunately, this study has a few limitations that could be addressed in future studies. The study only looked at the first 6 months after discontinuation of oral contraceptives. It might be helpful to see if more patterns are observed a full year after stopping, although the study did show the differences had already minimized by six months. Future research could also assess hormonal levels and biomarkers in the same group of women and assess the impact of potential treatment with hormones such as cyclic progesterone.

The theory behind the delayed normalization of these menstrual cycle biomarkers is that it takes time for the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis to normalize after being affected by exogenous estrogen from OCPs. In patient care, it would be helpful to be able to provide a woman with specific examples of how certain biomarkers will be affected as she begins to chart her cycles in an attempt to increase her chances of conception after stopping OCPs. Information from studies like this one can be applied clinically as physicians and other medical professionals counsel patients on their return to normal fertility after stopping oral contraceptives.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Joe Stanford, one of the study authors, was kind enough to review this summary of their research. Reflecting back, he thinks perhaps the main limitation of this study is that “it’s old enough that the oral contraceptives studied are somewhat different than the ones in use today.” Still, the study design and important data collected can both inspire and inform future research.

Dr. Stanford also shared how their study was strengthened through a timely collaboration:

“Some may be interested in the back story on this publication. Diane Daly and I recognized the need for more data on the impact of recent use of oral contraceptives on women charting their cycles, with the Creighton Model specifically. We started working on collecting data for this study as early as 1992. A few years later, we had completed some preliminary data and analyses.

“Subsequently, I became aware that Claudia Nassaralla and Richard Fehring were working on the same question with a nearly identically designed study (matched retrospective cohort study). Great minds think alike! We communicated and decided to combine our data for better sample size and analysis. After our first submission to the journal, the reviewers requested a more sophisticated statistical analysis appropriate to matched data with variable numbers of cycles per woman. Peer review with added value! Karen Schliep joined the team to do the final statistical analysis, and the manuscript was then accepted for publication, nearly 20 years later!”

References

[i] Nassaralla CL, Stanford JB, Daly KD, Schneider M, Schliep KC, Fehring RJ. Characteristics of the menstrual cycle after discontinuation of oral contraceptives. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011;20(2):169-177. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2001.

[ii] Gnoth C, Frank-Herrmann P, Schmoll A, Godehardt E, Freundl G. Cycle characteristics after discontinuation of oral contraceptives. Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology 2002;16:307-17.

[iii] www.CDC.gov/nchs/fastats/contraceptive.htm.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Grace Strella, MD

Grace Strella, MD is a family medicine resident at Via Christi Family Medicine Residency in Wichita, KS. She participated in the FACTS elective during residency.

Let’s protect our daughters!

by Anonymous author

Let’s protect our daughters! » MercatorNet

I am a French mother whose teenage daughter recently announced to me that she was gender dysphoric and wanted hormones. Being left-wing politically oriented, a feminist, and sensitive to the rights of minorities, I first thought my daughter had to be supported in the difficult path to transition.

I find this is a common first thought. But after researching the issue, I discovered a completely different—and terrifying indeed—perspective— that my distressed daughter was being rushed down a highly dangerous path. I found also, that, as girls like my daughter hurtle down this road, they are encouraged at all turns by LGBT activists who sincerely believe they are fighting for freedom and against discrimination, while, at the same time, being secretly funded by companies with dubious ethics.

This happens in a context where the media, the educational sphere and the medical world are largely and woefully misinformed, and generally sympathetic to trans claims of marginalization to the exclusion of all other perspectives.

Great Britain, Sweden and Finland are ahead of France on this path of gender ideology—and in terms of resistance to the trend. For years, in these countries, as well as in North America, parents and health professionals have kept their doubts alive and have challenged the ideology behind medical transition of minors. Today medical studies abound showing the ineptitude and danger of early transitions before age 25.

You may not feel concerned by this story. Maybe you are more interested in classical politics, social inequalities and the climate change. But… the trans wave is now in France, just four or five years after Great Britain, and we need to be vigilant and aware.

Today, it is my daughter. Maybe your daughter will be next? Or her childhood friend? Or the neighbour’s daughter? Your niece? One of your students? One of your patients? Your granddaughter? Your sister or cousin? And this contagion is not limited to girls. Boys too are increasingly under threat from trans ideology.

More than anything else, I researched and wrote this to protect my daughter and help her question this dangerous path before rushing headlong into it. For this reason, I must keep my name secret, and I cannot activate my usual professional, friendly, feminist, political networks.

My hope is that my research, written in French and translated into English, will help others. Most of the resources linked in this article are in French, some in English. This is a world-wide phenomenon and resources should be available, eventually, in all languages.

I thank you for disseminating this text as widely as possible, by all the means at your disposal, including social networks used by young people: Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and your friendly, educational, medical, lesbian, feminist, media, political networks… All ideas are welcome to support our girls and boys!

1. What is this about ?

Gender dysphoria is a kind of suffering related to the feeling that one belongs to the other gender, in relation to one’s birth sex. Until recently, this was a rather rare diagnosis. However, in the last decade, this phenomenon has increased exponentially, by + 1500% to + 4000%, especially among young girls in Western countries.

Graph Source: Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM)

The documentaries The Trans Train1 and Dysphoric are excellent resources to discover a phenomenon which has swept through the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, and is now arriving in France, Spain and the rest of Europe. The video “Gender or Sex?” (in French) is also very educational and family-friendly.

Some studies suggest a kind of social contagion is going on, a phenomenon related to a form of expression of adolescent suffering in young girls similar to adolescent anorexia. Clusters—groups of young girls wishing to transition—are frequently seen appearing.

2. Sex and gender, vocabulary and ideologies

Gender ideology is rife with new and reinterpreted terms, and it’s important to learn how trans-activists use them in untraditional ways.

The sex of a person is biological data linked to our DNA (XX or XY in 99.8% of cases, intersex in rare cases). This genetic heritage determines (except intersex exceptions, in 1 to 2% of cases) the primary sexual characteristics: ovaries, uterus / penis, testes as well as secondary sexual characteristics, after puberty (chest, hair, etc).

By widely shared convention, we call female a human female (XX) and man a human male (XY). Gender usually refers to the set of socially constructed differences and stereotypes associated, in a given culture, with each biological sex. So, today, pink is said to be the colour of girls and blue that of boys, although the opposite convention prevailed in the past.

Thus, from a classical feminist perspective, sex is a physiological datum that cannot be changed, but stereotypes and gender norms can be questioned and challenged. This is the spirit underlying texts such as the Woman’s Declaration, an international declaration of women rights based on biological sex. Many lesbian and homosexual movements are also part of this classical feminist tradition.

The trans movement uses very different terminology.

According to them, sex is assigned at birth by the biomedical sciences and the terms gender identity (deep feeling of the person), cis-transgenderFtMMtF are used.

Harry Potter’s author J.K. Rowling’s alleged transphobia recent controversy stems from the fact that she joked about the disappearance of the word “woman” to describe a person having their period—a factual statement that would have been uncontroversial up until the very recent past.

The video “Gender or Sex? (in French) provides a very educational scientific reminder on the terminological confusion between sex and gender. The video “An honest discussion on Gender”, with Dr Debrah Soh also covers this issue well.

3. Psychotherapeutic follow-up or medical transition?

Gender dysphoria is the cause of genuine, significant distress among young people. With adequate psychotherapeutic follow-up, its causes are usually understood, and/or disappear in 60 to 90% of cases at the end of adolescence2. It can very often be linked to autism3 or homosexuality, and sometimes to schizophrenia.

Moreover, regardless of any transphobia, it is an undeniable fact that medical transition (hormones and surgery) is largely irreversible and dangerous for bone densityheart4 and fertility. Moreover it hasn’t been demonstrated to even improve mental health.

Our purpose here is not to deny the possibility of medically transition for adults who have thought at length about this issue. What we do aim is to question:

  • the permanence or desistance of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents
  • the usefulness of an irreversible medical transition, potentially dangerous and often unsuited to their suffering
  • a teenagers’ capacity to have true informed consent to lifelong medicalization of their body, while a consensus seems to affirm that the human brain reaches psychic maturity around the age of 25
  • the influence that social networks and LGBT activism can have on young people experiencing doubt and suffering, while being very much mobilized against discrimination

With these questions in mind, it is important to promote among young females the need to take the time for reflection and the possibility to have access to serious psychotherapeutic monitoring prior to any form of medical transition5. These are the demands of many movements around the world, including:

4. The detransitioners

Detransition is a growing phenomenon related to the explosion of gender dysphoria and the transition of young minors. Discussion of detransition has been taboo within the trans community, as it counters the narrative about the immutability of gender identity. Nonetheless, more and more young people are detransitioning. Medically speaking, the transition pathway is delicate.

Studies on this phenomenon remain scarce because showing interest in detransition is considered by activists as transphobia, and those looking into it have been shunned and vilified.

Source: Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine, medical study dated May 2021

However, medical studies on this topic are increasing in number. Detransitioners are getting collectively organized and their voices are getting out, including through the reddit thread Detrans, a remarkable report on Radio Canada, an article in the monthly “Causette” in France, the documentary “Trans Regret”, a documentary of the BBC, a long interview with a detransitioner hereand the Detransition Advocacy Network. Related websites are flourishing: Detransvoicespost-transPiqueresprojectSex Change Regret. The French “Observatoire de la petite Sirène” (the Little Mermaid Observatory) also collects various contact information of detransitioners.

5. International situation. Legislative developments

In SwedenFinland and the United Kingdom, legislation has changed very recently to the effect that puberty blockers and transition hormones are now prohibited for minors.

In England, the Keira Bell case (a young woman who transitioned at age 16 and sued the clinic a few years later) resulted in a chilling in support for the medical transition of minors. An article in Medscape (translated in French here) was published in April 2021 under the title“Transgender adolescents: Are the winds starting to turn?”. In the United States, Arkansas has just adopted legislation similar to that of Finland. In Canada the recently passed “Bill C6” law aroused opposition because of the ambiguous wording comparing the psychotherapeutic treatment of young dysphoric patients to conversion therapy.

In the rest of Europe, this issue is new. In Spain and Germany, the Parliament voted against authorizing transitions for minors. Further details can be found here. In France, the newly (2021) created Observatoire de la petite Sirène warns against medical transition for minors. In Switzerland, the amqg.ch organization plays the same role.

6. Trans claims and oppositions

The trans movement demands the withdrawal of trans identity questions from the psychiatric sphere (depsychiatrization) and the right to self-determination of one’s gender and to medical treatment (hormones, sex reassignment surgery), fully reimbursed by social security without prior psychotherapeutic follow-up.

This is relayed explicitly or implicitly by various (most certainly well-intentioned) political movements or institutions in the name of the fight against transphobia and discrimination. In many Western countries, the recommendations of WPATH are rarely questioned.

The main oppositions come from the conservative movements, which the present text does not study further, and from various movements already mentioned above:

These movements, irrespective of their political opinions on other subjects, are all very worried about this trend towards the rapid medical transition of young minors, and their medicalization for life, without serious psychotherapeutic follow-up.

The LGB Alliance in the UK goes so far as to call trans medicine conversion therapy for young gay men.

7. The weight of lobbies

Very large companies linked to the medical world massively subsidize the Trans movement, or certain political parties with positions favourable to the positions of the trans community. For example Ferring Pharmaceuticals has regularly subsidized the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom.

Articles by journalists Jennifer Bilek and Jamie Hamilton highlight the influence of large companies. One of these is Thomson Reuters, acting through the Thomson Reuters Foundation. In partnership with the LGBTQI organization Iglyo which trains young activists and Dentons lawyers, it produced a report entitled “Only Adults? Good practices in Legal Gender Recognition for Youth” recommending the adoption of laws allowing medical transition for minors without parental consent.

The very educational Australian video, “The business model of youth transitioning” highlights the huge markets behind the potential life-long medicalization of hundreds of thousands of young Westerners.

Jennifer Bilek’s article “The Stryker Corporation and the Arcus Foundation: Billionaires Behind The New LGBT Movement” informs on the links between wealthy Americans in the medical world and larger LGBT associations.

In another article entitled “Who Are the Rich, White Men Institutionalizing Transgender Ideology?”, Bilek investigates the many great fortunes behind the LGBT movement.

8. Parents

In France, information offering an alternative to the medical transition for minors is difficult to find. As this text shows, the (most certainly sincere) speech of many trans activists calling for the transition on simple request, without psychiatric follow-up, including for minors, meets very little institutional opposition, and disqualifies all oppositions as transphobic.

What is more, Family Planning institutions, the Mediator of Rights, and many doctors, are trained by transactivist groups pushing them to accept young people’s transition desires without questioning them. Parents that question the trans affirmative narrative have very few resources, although a parent group in France will be created soon.

In other countries, various groups and organizations are springing up to provide parent resources, including GenspectPour les Droits des enfants du QuébecBayswater Support group, Transgender Trend, the “Association for a measured approach to gender issues” in Switzerland, AMANDA in Spain, Scream for Recognition in Belgium, and Tranteens sorge berechtigt in Germany.

The usual difficulty faced by parents of dysphoric children is a kind of suicide blackmail: either you accept your child’s medical transition, for his or her good, or your child will commit suicide (and in addition you are transphobic). From a scientific standpoint, this threat is a myth and has been thoroughly discredited.

There is no scientific evidence that medical transition improves matters – quite the contrary, in fact.

Notes

1 “The Trans Train” is a 2019 three-part Swedish documentary that rocked Sweden very quickly and ditched medical transitions on minor. Part 2 and Part 3 are also available on YouTube with English subtitles.

2 See also: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23702447/ and https://site.pdfquebec.org/files/Photos%20_conferenciers/M%c3%a9moire%20Projet%20Loi%2070%20_PDFQuebec.pdf

3 See also: https://comprendrelautisme.com/identification-de-genre-chez-les-femmes-autistes/ and https://4w.pub/autism-puberty-gender-dysphoria-view-from-an-autistic-desisted-woman/

4 See also: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005597

5 See also: https://www.transgendertrend.com

6 See also: https://site.pdfquebec.org/files/Pr%C3%A9sentation%20Comit%C3%A9%20sur%20le%20Genre.pdf

This article has been republished with permission from the Substack blog Parents with Inconveniente

Coercion and Birth Control in Sex Trafficking

Coercion and Birth Control in Sex Trafficking – Natural Womanhood

This summer, the Marvel movie Black Widow featuring Scarlet Johannson finally offered some backstory into the life of the much-neglected superheroine, Natasha Romanoff. As one of the Avengers without superhuman strength, Romanoff is known for her expert interrogation and investigatory skills gained from her time as a Russian operative. Films reveal tidbits from her past over the Marvel Comic Universe cannon. We know her training was something of a forced trial by fire, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s revealed that a part of the training includes sterilization. “It’s efficient,” she tells Bruce Banner.

In Black Widow, Romanoff, reconnected with her sister Yelena, vows to combat the system that led to her oppression. It is revealed that the two sisters do not have menstrual cycles as a result of their exploitative training program.

“They rip out all of your reproductive organs,” Yelena explains. “They chop them all away . . . so you can’t have babies.”

The system Yelena and Natasha Romanoff end up fighting in the culmination of Black Widow reveals a network of trafficked women treated as disposable pawns in the battles of more powerful actors. The women were kidnapped as girls or otherwise lured into the “Red Room,” before being enslaved and forced into an aggressive militia training program, wherein their free will is stripped from them, requiring them to comply with everything commanded of them. Some escape, as Natasha and Yelena did, but these are the exceptions.

The film Black Widow is not making a subtle comparison to human trafficking and other exploitations of girls and women in its plot. While it’s a comic book story, the plot contains clear allusions to real-life abuses of girls and women, and not by accident. Black Widow director Cate Shortland told USA Today her goal was to “have the Marvel universe intersect with reality. So we talked about trafficking. We talk about women’s reproductive rights in the film because they’re things we care about.”

Reproductive harm and sex trafficking

Human trafficking takes place in the forms of labor trafficking (when people perform labor through the use of force, fraud, or coercion) and sex trafficking (when people are sold in commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, or when any minor is sold in commercial sex acts). Trafficking is a modern-day slavery that takes place all over the world, including the United States. And, as I discovered completing a yearlong journalism fellowship on the topic, sex trafficking takes place in all areas of the sex industry, from prostitution and strip clubs to pornography.

Sex traffickers most often come in the form of a “pimp,” a person who grooms, recruits, and profits from selling people in sex. Young women, men, girls, and boys, can become caught up in sex trafficking in a number of ways, from being kidnapped, to being manipulated by a charming boyfriend into helping him make money to get out of a bind. However it begins, sex trafficking involves significant sexual abuse and trauma, often a Stockholm Syndrome-type bonding to the trafficker making it hard to escape, and harder for law enforcement to detect. For many girls and young women, it involves significant reproductive abuse as well.

The role of birth control in sex trafficking

Survivors of sex trafficking have told me that pimps will take advantage of any opportunity to make a buck by selling sex. Since much of sex trafficking involves selling sex in prostitution, maximizing profit for traffickers requires that trafficked women not get pregnant. In other words, birth control is essential to be “efficient” in the sale of sex. Whether a trafficked woman attempts to use condoms, is on hormonal contraceptives, is sterilized, uses Plan B, or has an abortion when pregnant, birth control is an essential part of making money for traffickers.

“Commercial sex has a wide range of negative effects on the reproductive health of prostituted women and trafficked girls,” Dr. Michael Shively, senior advisor on research and data analysis for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told me in an email. “The consent and welfare of prostituted women is of little concern to pimps, traffickers, and brothel owners, and maximizing income is always the objective.” As a result of pressure to please and earn money, Dr. Shively explains, condom use is largely ineffective as a means of protecting from STIs or preventing pregnancy for trafficked women. As he told me:

Sexually exploited people often try to protect themselves through condom use but are usually forced or pressured into unprotected sex. Unprotected sex is regarded as an occupational hazard. Those who insist on condoms are frequently forced to engage in sex without them, and those who succeed in consistent condom use earn far less money than those who don’t. . . . Women insisting to protect themselves are substandard earners, and often pay the consequences of beatings and coercion until they become compliant and accommodating about allowing sex buyers unprotected sex.

Connie Rose, a sex trafficking survivor who helps other trafficked people with the organization Victims 2 Survivors, shared with me how she has known many women who have suffered reproductive harm from menstruation control methods as well as birth control methods. “I have known other survivors who were forced to use vagina cups so that your flow was not a part of the ‌sexual‌ ‌experience‌. They are also a form of birth control,” she told me in a phone call, but used during prostitution, she says, “they created irritation ‌in‌ ‌the lining‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌uterus,‌ and ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌friends‌ ‌who used them ended up having ‌hysterectomies and incredible‌ ‌health‌ ‌problems.”

Rose told me that in the past when helping trafficked women, it was hard to set up a well women’s visit to the doctor without fear, “when there’s a warrant out for your arrest.” Rose is now a survivor trainer at Global Strategic Operatives, an organization that trains healthcare professionals how to identify and support trafficking survivors, stating “88% of victims seek medical care or treatment while being trafficked.” And since many girls and women who have been trafficked into prostitution are treated as criminals by law enforcement, advocacy organizations like Shared Hope International aim to train law enforcement officials how to recognize the signs and work with survivor-led groups to help women recognize cycles of abuse and leave their traffickers.

Shared Hope and NCOSE and other anti-trafficking organizations insist that the most effective way to reduce trafficking of persons is to follow the Nordic Model—to decriminalize prostituted people and focus law enforcement efforts on reducing demand for prostitution by criminalizing sex buyers, in addition to targeting traffickers.

While traction is being made to recognize signs of trafficking and help victims get the health and recovery services they need, there is a lot of work still left to be done, including in the area of women’s health. Often those seeking women’s health services are not identified as victims of trafficking, and are therefore given incomplete care.

According to Amanda De Jesus, a FertilityCare Practitioner Intern (FCPI) and a member of the Northwest Indiana Anti-Trafficking Coalition, “Unfortunately, there are many women and girls who are being evaluated by medical professionals while they are still being trafficked. Because a lot of these doctors aren’t trained to recognize the signs of trafficking, often they are just being treated for UTIs, STIs, etc., given birth control, and sent out the door.”

While some might still view this as a net good for the trafficked women coming in to receive birth control services, viewed another way, it is overlooking the larger problem and applying an insufficient treatment—one that might even cover up or further the abuse. “Birth control, in many ways, is another tool that a trafficker can use to take control away from a survivor,” De Jesus told me in an email. “When birth control is forced upon women (or they are coerced into taking it), I believe it shows these girls that their natural bodies are something to be hated and suppressed while they are used as an object for another’s pleasure. Not to mention the myriad of negative side effects that often accompany taking hormonal contraceptives.”

“Birth control, in many ways, is another tool that a trafficker can use to take control away from a survivor.”

This is born out in survivors’ testimonies. A 2015 report by Laura Lederer and Christopher Wetzel, published in the legal journal Annals of Health Law, was the first of its kind “to examine many of the reproductive health issues experienced by sex trafficking victims, including birth control usage, pregnancies, miscarriages, and forced and elective abortions.” Of the surveyed women, “a large majority (80.9%) of those who answered the question indicated that they had used some form of birth control for some portion of their time being trafficked. Of those who specified where they obtained the birth control, approximately half (51.7%) said they had obtained it from a doctor or clinic.”

As one survivor shared in Lederer’s report:

During the time I was on the street, I went to hospitals, urgent care clinics, women’s health clinics, and private doctors. No one ever asked me anything anytime I ever went to a clinic. . . . I was on birth control during the 10 years I was on the streets—mostly Depo-Provera shots which I got at the Planned Parenthood and other neighborhood clinics. I also got the morning-after pill from them.

Among the report’s recommendations to medical professions are to urgently “be made aware of critical signals for identifying trafficking victims.” Healthcare professionals need to be trained to “understand the coercive dynamic of trafficking, especially the extreme degree of control exercised by traffickers, and the prevalence of this criminal exploitation of women and girls.”

Abortion and sex trafficking

When trafficked women do get pregnant, many suffer forced abortions as a vicious follow-up measure of birth control. “Part of my story is that I was forced to have an abortion at 16,” Connie Rose told me. “It was a late-term abortion” at eight months gestation, and “a lot of my friends also had‌ abortions‌, too,” she said, “as a means of birth control.”

“Some of it was controlled by their trafficker; some was by choice [of the trafficked woman] because the last thing they were going to do was let a trafficker have their child.” She added that the fallout of abortion is “not‌ ‌just‌ ‌mental‌ ‌side‌ ‌of‌ ‌it,‌ ‌but‌ ‌what‌ ‌it‌ ‌is doing‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌body‌ ‌physically‌.”‌

Later in her advocacy work, Rose also helped a trafficked woman whose trafficker “beat her up” when she was pregnant, “so‌ ‌she‌ ‌would‌ ‌just‌ ‌naturally‌ ‌abort‌. I’m‌ ‌sure‌ ‌she’s‌ ‌not‌ ‌the‌ ‌only‌ ‌one‌,” she told me. ‌

Sadly, forced abortion, and abortion under the oppressive context of sex trafficking, are very common for women and girls trafficked into prostitution. Lederer’s 2015 report found “more than half (55.2%) of the sixty-seven respondents who answered reported at least one abortion, with twenty respondents (29.9%) reporting multiple abortions.”

The report further explains, “While only thirty-four respondents answered the question whether their abortions were of their own volition or forced upon them, more than half (eighteen) of that group indicated that one or more of their abortions was at least partly forced upon them.”

Numbers like this make it unsurprising that the anti-abortion group Live Action revealed in undercover investigative videos of Planned Parenthood that abortion providers were ready to offer no-questions-asked abortion services to girls and women who identified as minors with pimp-like figures in their clinics. While protocol insists that people who appear trafficked should be connected with authorities and abuse-recovery services, these videos echo what many survivors say in their testimonies—that abortion clinics often provide the requested services without question, and then send them on their way.

Better ways forward for the reproductive health, empowerment, and protection of girls and women

While abuses against women are not entirely due to birth control, birth control is a constant that makes these sexual abuses easier to take place, and easier to keep under wraps. When a 14-year-old gets pregnant, for instance, that can be an obvious sign that statutory rape has happened (and may, in fact, be continuing to happen). When a 14-year-old is on birth control, that kind of abuse can go on much longer before people see the signs.

While abuses against women are not entirely due to birth control, birth control is a constant that makes these sexual abuses easier to take place, and easier to keep under wraps.

Even from women who are not sex trafficked, I hear echoes in social media groups of the pressure many women today feel to be “constantly available sexually” for their partners in order to have relationship security. Nonstop sexual activity separated from procreation isn’t sustainable without birth control, and this outlook is creating sex drives that are not naturally sustainable. It can foster difficulty down the road in maintaining self-control when sex is not available for completely human reasons, such as when a partner isn’t well, has surgery, is bereaved, or is postpartum—times when love should be expressed in different ways. And it gives women the impression they are not valuable for simply being themselves, but for their utility to be used by others for pleasure, which is to reduce their value to that of an object.

To use women as objects dehumanizes them, and a part of what makes women human is our reproductive capabilities. As a result, we should consider no-questions-asked birth control services for women and girls with some amount of skepticism and apprehension. If we don’t work harder as a society to identify the controlling of women and girls in sex trafficking, we may ignorantly participate in the perpetuation of abuse, and birth control can be just another form of exploitative control.

Women who use modern fertility awareness methods instead of birth control say they feel more in the driver’s seat of their reproductive health, and they are more able to read their body’s signs and understand their health and fertility. As a result, women who have switched from birth control to fertility awareness methods express feelings of being more in tune with their bodies, greater self-agency in sexual relations, and a greater sense of equality between partners.

When teen girls are taught fertility awareness, there is evidence that it helps reduce at-risk behavior. As Anna Migeon shared in her impactful article on “Cycle Mindfulness:

In the 1980s, Leslie Carol Botha taught basic fertility awareness charting to teen girls (13-17 year-olds) at eight different restorative care homes for at-risk girls. A typical girl in the program had been a victim of sexual assault, ran away from home, used drugs and alcohol, and ended up in jail. In working with these girls, Ms. Botha made an amazing discovery: teens who are taught fertility awareness and how to chart their cycles can regain control of their lives.

Here is what she found out: for 90% of the girls in the program who had ended up in jail, it happened during the premenstrual phase of her cycle, that monthly darkness that Ms. Botha calls “falling down the rabbit hole:” increased anger, disruptive and self-destructive behaviors, suicidal ideation, and drug and alcohol cravings.

The good news is there is accessible and age-appropriate, dignified reproductive health education that can teach teens this important body literacy.

While fertility awareness is not a quick fix for the exploitation and complex problems caused by sex trafficking, educating girls and women about their bodies and reproductive health can assist them in achieving greater self-knowledge, agency, and healing, no matter where they are on their journeys.

Called to the Joy of Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

The document “Called to the Joy of Love: National Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life Ministry” was developed by the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was approved by the USCCB at its June 2021 Plenary Assembly.  The framework is intended to assist dioceses as local pastoral planning and implementation continue to take place since the publication of the 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. It provides guidelines for the pastoral accompaniment of married couples and families in every phase of life, drawing upon the teachings and recommendations contained in the apostolic exhortation.

See the digital edition of the pastoral framework here

7-685 Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life, FINAL, for UPLOAD.pdf (usccb.org)

New Ohio ‘2363 Act’ will protect preborn children from abortion at fertilization

  |

A new bill introduced by Ohio State Rep. Jena Powell aims to reduce the number of abortions in the United States from 2,363 each day to zero. The 2363 Act would ban abortion in Ohio, except in the rare situation where a mother’s life is at grave risk (see more here on why abortion is never truly medically necessary). Like the Heartbeat Act in Texas, citizens would be able to sue an abortionist for violating the law by committing an abortion, while the bill would exempt women undergoing abortions from legal repercussions.

Powell spoke with Live Action News in an exclusive interview about the legislation.

“The 2363 Act is… based off of the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, which was signed into law earlier this year, but we’ve made a couple of changes,” explained Powell. “This bill uses the enforcement language by the Texas Heartbeat Act, which has been upheld by the 5th Circuit Court. We stated AlabamaLouisiana, Arkansas, and Utah as having recently passed similar pieces of legislation.”

The 2363 Act is one in which Powell has a personal investment, due to her upbringing and her passionately held pro-life beliefs.

“As a woman legislator in our state, I believe it is crucial that we move forward on pro-life issues,” she said. “I’m very, very passionate; I’m actually one of seven children. I’ve grown up in a household that protects life, and understands that abortion is wrong. And so for me, being in the legislature, it was exciting to start working on crucial pieces of legislation. We already passed the heartbeat bill in my first term, and that said that at the time we can see a heartbeat, that child deserves life, and to be protected; that’s currently being held up in the courts, but what I realized was, if we believe life begins at fertilization, then we have to continue moving the ball forward in protecting every life.”

Powell is also doing more than just passing legislation to defend life. She’s founded the Ohio Pro-Life Caucus, which aims to take pro-life activism even further. Powell and the Pro-Life Caucus believe in taking a dual approach to ending abortion, both through enacting pro-life legislation and offering increased support to women, children, and families.

“We have a lot of pro-life members in our state,” she said. “In Ohio, we’re trying to pull together as many conservative Republicans that believe in life, or members [who] holistically believe in the pro-life movement. We’ve sent out a co-sponsorship request, and we’re really moving forward on the bill. The goal of the pro-life caucus is to inform and educate members, as well as help them move forward the narrative and policies to protect every single life in the state of Ohio. We have bills that we’re working towards in the caucus between members — everything from eradicating abortion holistically, to protecting and preserving life, to helping pregnancy resource centers, to helping hurting mothers and families in our state. So, we’re kind of looking at a two-pronged approach, and saying, all right, let’s end abortion in our state, and let’s also move forward and help women, help children, and take steps to eradicate abortion as well.”

Despite support for pro-life bills across the country, the abortion industry continues to go on the attack against them. One common argument is that pro-life legislators are only concerned with protecting children before birth, which Powell said was “categorically untrue.”

“The state of Ohio gives tons of money to women, families, and children in our state. We continue to support pregnancy resource centers, we provide a lot of opportunities, whether it’s struggling mothers or young children, in our state,” she said. “Data would show us that those claims are untrue. And I understand why the pro-abortion movement wants to say that. But at the end of the day, the stats, the data, the knowledge, is on our side.”

Powell currently has 33 co-sponsors and one joint sponsor for the 2363 Act, noting that she believes there is “an appetite to protect and support life in our state, specifically with everything that’s going on in the Supreme Court. Ohio is a pro-life state. My first general assembly, we passed the Heartbeat Bill, and our voters — there’s over 11 million Ohioans — were in huge support of that bill, and were very thrilled that we moved forward on it. Ohio is a more conservative state for sure, and Ohioans see that we not only support mothers and children, but also we’re looking to protect life in the process.”

Live Action president and founder Lila Rose noted in a press release:

Abortion is our nation’s leading cause of death, killing more people than heart disease, cancer, or COVID-19. This gruesome truth echoes throughout the 2363 campaign, pleading with our national conscience that action must be taken on behalf of the most vulnerable. The science is crystal clear – human life begins at the moment of fertilization – not at birth, not at 15 weeks gestation, not even at 6 weeks when a preborn child’s heartbeat can be first detected. Every single preborn child deserves protection and no child should be discriminated against based on race, gender, medical diagnosis, or age.

The 2363 Act ensures that no child will be left behind to face the abandonment and violence of abortion.  We must be absolutely fearless in our efforts to protect these children as well as their mothers and families from the predatory abortion industry. The 2363 Act is the beginning of the end of legally sanctioned abortions in America.

Altogether, Powell expects great things in the future for the pro-life movement in Ohio, which will have a positive effect for residents throughout the state.

“We’re just really excited,” she said. “Ohio did not have a pro-life caucus, and so we’re excited to move forward holistically on helping women and children in the state of Ohio. We know abortion does not help women. There are so many resources for women and children, and men, because we know abortion harms everyone. It’s not just a female issue.”

The Prescriptive Norm of Humanae Vitae

By Adolfo J. Castañeda

Once he has established some fundamental principles, St. Paul VI proceeds to evaluate, from the moral perspective, the problem of contraception within the context of conjugal love and the transmission of human life. First, he affirms this moral norm in its positive sense or its prescriptive dimension, i.e., what must be done. The term “prescriptive” simply means “to prescribe,” to command the performance of a certain action (like “feed the poor” or “clothe the naked”).

Later, the Pope affirms the moral norm in its negative sense or its prohibitive dimension, i.e., what must be avoided. The term “prohibitive” simply means to prohibit, to forbid the commission of some evil action (like abortion or contraception).

In the positive sense, Humanae Vitae commands that in the conjugal act, husband and wife remain open to the possibility of transmitting human life: “The Church, nevertheless, in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life” (11).

Must new life come from every conjugal act?

This norm does not at all mean that a new life must ensue from every conjugal act. As a matter of fact, such an occurrence is biologically impossible, as St. Paul VI himself recognizes. In addition, the Pope teaches that the spouses do not commit any sin when they engage in a conjugal act that they foresee to be infertile through no fault of their own. Even in such cases, the Holy Father calls the conjugal act itself “chaste, noble and worthy” when husband and wife truly love each other and are not closed to the possibility of transmitting a new human life:

The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent II Vatican Council recalled, “noble and worthy.” It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws. (11, emphasis added)

 

What Then Does Humanae Vitae Command?

The positive norm of Humanae Vitae consists in commanding the spouses to always respect the inseparable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning of the conjugal act:

This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning which are both inherent to the marriage act. (12)

However, respect for the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings implies a lot more than just abstaining from contraception. Recall that in Humanae Vitae 9 St. Paul VI explained the four characteristics of conjugal love: fully human, total, faithful and exclusive, and fecund. The spouses are called to grow in all of these values and in their love for each other. Each spouse is called to always see his beloved as a gift from God, as end in himself or herself, as a person, and not as an object for selfish pleasure. True conjugal love requires that the husband sees himself as a gift from God to his wife and at the same time to welcome his wife as a gift from God. Likewise, the wife must see herself as a gift from God to her husband and at the same time to welcome her husband as a gift from God. In the words of the Holy Father himself: “Whoever really loves his spouse loves not only for what he receives, but loves that spouse for the spouse’s own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself” (9, emphasis added).

The Wedding Register – Edmund Blair

This dynamic of love as self-gift, together with the practice of self-control, enables the spouses to acquire and practice those virtues that enrich conjugal life and the conjugal act itself: sincerity, honesty, tenderness, affection, and solicitude, among many others.

 

Openness to Life

Recall that one of the characteristics of true conjugal love is its inherent openness to the transmission of new life. If the spouses truly love each other and avoid contraception, they will be able to develop a deep love for the transmission of life and for their children when God decides to give them this precious gift. Pope Paul VI teaches us that the value of self-control or self-discipline also enables the spouses to

fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life…and confers upon them as parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers. (21).

 

Why must the spouses always respect this inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meanings of marriage?

The answer to this question is astonishing simple: because the nature of true conjugal love demands it. Recall that one of the characteristics of conjugal love is its fertility. The Holy Father explains that true conjugal is inherently open to the possibility of transmitting human life. A conjugal love that deliberately closes itself to life is no love at all; it is a lifeless “love.” As the Holy Father writes of true conjugal love:

This love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.

If the spouses, through contraception, destroy their sexual act’s capacity to transmit life, they are not only violating the procreative meaning of the conjugal act, but also its unitive meaning. Contraception is not only anti-life; it is also anti-love.

Let us also recall that another characteristic of conjugal love is that conjugal love is total. It encompasses the whole person. Husband and wife give themselves to each other completely in their conjugal act, leaving nothing out. But if they contracept, then they are leaving out their fertility and not giving themselves completely. Therefore, once again, contraception is contrary to conjugal love and not only to procreation.

 

The Prohibitive Norm of Humanae Vitae

The prohibitive norm of Humanae Vitae is that nobody may ever deliberately break the inseparable connection between the procreative and unitive meanings of the conjugal act by means of contraception, anti-natural uses of the sexual act (such as sodomy or coitus interruptus), sterilization, or abortion. In the words of St. Paul VI:

Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.  Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means (14).

It is clear from this passage that not only direct abortion and direct sterilization are absolutely prohibited, but also all kinds of contraceptives, whether barrier contraceptives, hormonal contraceptives (which are also abortifacients), or mechanical contraceptives (such IUDs, which are also abortifacients).

 

Why Is Contraception “Intrinsically and Gravely Evil”?

The act of contraception always violates the intrinsic goods of marriage and of the conjugal act: the unitive and the procreative. Therefore, it is intrinsically evil. Since the goods that contraception violates are at the same time values of great importance (love and life), contraception is also gravely evil. This means that no circumstance or motive can ever justify it. The norm that prohibits contraception in all its forms is an absolute norm, i.e., it admits of no exception.

In addition, if we consider the teachings of St. John Paul II on the theology of the body, we will discover that contraception is also anti-sacrament. The sign of the sacrament of marriage is comprised of (1) the vows that bride and groom exchange during their wedding, and (2) the conjugal act that expresses those vows through the language of the body. The true language of the body, in the case of marriage, includes the conjugal acts that physically express the sign expressed in the words (the marital vows) of the sacrament of marriage. Furthermore, it is clear that the sign of the sacrament of marriage includes the unitive and procreative meanings  that God has inscribed in the souls and bodies of husbands and wives, because those meanings are included in the marital vows in one way or another.

But contraception goes against both of those meanings, the unitive and procreative. Therefore, it is a counter-sign, an anti-sacrament.

Wedding of Mary and Joseph - United States public domain where where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or fewer

Wedding of Mary and Joseph – Artist Unknown

 

Is Contraception a Mortal Sin?

When the spouses possess full knowledge that contraception is an intrinsically and gravely evil act but nevertheless freely and fully will it, they commit a mortal sin. They cannot receive Holy Communion nor enter Heaven upon their deaths.

But if they put their trust in our all-merciful God, repent, promise to amend their lives, go to confession and fulfill the penance imposed by the confessor, they will be filled with God’s infinite mercy and love. They can and should receive Holy Communion and the strength it provides to live righteously and to love God and neighbor. God will heal their lives and lead them to a life of holiness and happiness.

 

An Objective or Subjective Argument?

It may seem that this whole discussion against contraception is based on subjective arguments because the Holy Father appeals to the subjective characteristics of conjugal love: fully human, total, faithful and exclusive, and fecund.

But we must clarify that we are discussing marriage morality not only from a subjective perspective on the values of conjugal love. We are also discussing marriage morality from an objective perspective. The same values that characterize true conjugal love are at the same time objective goods that God has inscribe in the very beings of the spouses and that they must respect and develop. The spouses who truly love each other and are faithful to God through His Church internalize these objective goods, making them their own. Once the spouses have accepted these goods in their hearts, the goods become values that the spouses cherish and develop so that their love for each other and for their children grows and flourishes.

A value is the internal experience of an objective good. The principal objective goods of marriage (conjugal love, the procreation and education of children, and the sacramental sign) ought to be interiorized and personalized by the spouses, and so become values.

In this way, spouses render justice to the objective and subjective dimensions of conjugal morality and of the whole spectrum of Catholic morality. The objective goods that God’s commandments protect become the interior values that propel good Catholics to act. God’s commandments are no longer seen as “external rules” but as guarantors of that happy life (here and beyond) that the goods protected by the commandments make possible.

Finally, it should be clear that by “subjective” we do not mean at all subjectivism. These two are completely different. In fact, they are opposites of each other. Subjective values correspond to the interiorization of objective goods, while subjectivism is an ideology whose adherents believe that their inner feelings, no matter how wicked, are true for them, even if they are not true for others. Subjectivism leads to relativism and relativism destroys morality completely, because relativism leads to the erroneous belief that morality is subjective and individualistic, and that objective and universal moral norms do not exist.

 

 

Male Contraceptive Trials

The medical device company Contraline has invented a new male contraceptive. Using advancements in hydrogel technology the company developed a device called ADAM™ .

The device is implanted into the vas deferens through an outpatient procedure. The hydrogel works by blocking the vas deferens preventing sperm from traveling through.

This device is similar to intrauterine devices (IUDs) for women, and it is designed to last for years and be reversible. Contraline initiates its first-in-human clinical trial in 2021.

Although, the company emphasizes that the  hydrogel  is easily injectable, safe, and long-lasting, the moral  aspects and problems to the conscience of married people are ignored.

Humane Vitae tell us “Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed.”

“The question of human procreation, like every other question which touches human life, involves more than the limited aspects specific to such disciplines as biology, psychology, demography or sociology. It is the whole man and the whole mission to which he is called that must be considered: both its natural, earthly aspects and its supernatural, eternal aspects. ”

 

Ohio city of Mason becomes 41st ‘sanctuary city for the unborn’ in the US

 

On Monday, the City of Mason, Ohio (pop. 35,450), became the 41st city in the nation and the second city in Ohio to pass an enforceable ordinance outlawing abortion within its city limits. The second and final reading vote passed 4-3 in the packed city council chambers.

Mayor Kathy Grossmann was joined by council members T.J. Honerlaw, Mike Gilb, and Tony Bradburn in favor of the ordinance outlawing abortion, while council members Ashley Chance, Diana Nelson, and Josh Styrcula voted against the measure. While the ordinance passed by a majority vote, the ordinance did not receive the five votes required to go into immediate effect. This means that the ordinance will go into effect on November 24th, which will be 30 days after Monday’s vote.

Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal, was one of the many pro-life leaders present for the historic meeting. Harrington shared, “Joe Biden has stated he wants abortion in every zip code in America. Hence, citizens across America are acting by preventing abortion from being committed in their communities. Ohio is once again taking the lead to protect children and more cities are joining this movement every week!”

Mason is the 24th city to pass an ordinance outlawing abortion since the Biden Administration stated their commitment to see abortion access in every zip code in January of this year.

The first to introduce the ordinance to be placed on the agenda was Councilman T.J. Honerlaw. Upon the passage of the ordinance, Honerlaw shared, “Passing the sanctuary city for the unborn ordinance is my greatest accomplishment while serving my first term on Mason City Council. It’s been an honor to work with my pro-life colleagues to keep abortion out of Mason, Ohio.”

Vice-Mayor Mike Gilb also stood confident in his decision, knowing that it was what his constituents placed him there to do. “I’m here to protect life. For me it’s a fundamental issue . . . I’m not just here to decide how bright the street lights should be or where the next roundabout goes. Those things are certainly important issues, but they’re not as fundamental as protecting life.”

For the four outspoken and passionate members on the council who were for the ordinance, there were three outspoken and passionate members on the council who were against the ordinance. The most outspoken on the council against the ordinance was Councilwoman Diana Nelson, who appeared to affirm that women had a constitutional right to an abortion.

Nelson shared, “The Supreme Court has made a ruling on abortion, regardless of one’s opinion on abortion; creating local laws that contradict with federal laws is illegal and unconstitutional.” Nelson continued, “When local leaders begin enacting laws which are in violation of our resident’s constitutional rights we have a much larger problem.”

Mayor Kathy Grossmann pushed back on Councilwoman Diana Nelson’s claim that they, as elected officials, were entertaining a piece of legislation which contradicted the Constitution, any federal laws, or any Supreme Court ruling. Grossman shared that based on statements from attorneys, the ordinance is consistent with the Constitution, all state and federal laws, and worked within Supreme Court rulings. Grossman asked Vice Mayor Mike Gilb, who is a local attorney, his assessment on the matter. Vice Mayor Gilb shared, “From my review of the ordinance I certainly understand it to be not in conflict with Roe v. Wade and constitutional in the way it is presented.”

Mason, Ohio (Photo: Mark Lee Dickson)

The Mason Ordinance Outlawing Abortion states, “The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), which invented a constitutional right for pregnant women to kill their unborn children through abortion, is a lawless and unconstitutional act of judicial usurpation, as there is no language anywhere in the Constitution that even remotely suggests that abortion is a constitutional right.” The ordinance goes on to say, “Constitutional scholars have excoriated Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), for its lack of reasoning and its decision to concoct a constitutional right to abortion that has no textual foundation in the Constitution or any source of law.”

Even though these strong statements are made in the findings section of the ordinance, the Mason Ohio Ordinance does not go against Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) or any Supreme Court ruling, but works within those rulings and current federal and state laws to go as far it can go to prohibit and restrict abortion access under the confines of the undue burden standard which was set by the United States Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).

The Sanctuary City for the Unborn Ordinance for Mason, Ohio, does not prevent pregnant mothers in Mason from getting an abortion outside of the city limits. All the ordinance does is prevent a pregnant mother from obtaining an abortion within the city limits. Mayor Grossmann argued this point repeatedly throughout the council meetings, stressing that the ordinance simply preserves the status quo by keeping abortion out of the city limits of Mason.

While Councilwoman Nelson raised concern that the passage of the ordinance would open the City of Mason up for lawsuits, no lawsuit has been successful against the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn movement. In February of 2020, the ACLU sued seven cities in East Texas which had outlawed abortion. After three months, the ACLU withdrew their lawsuit and, to this day, abortion remains banned in each city which was sued. In May 2021, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the City of Lubbock for outlawing abortion within the city. Before the month was up, Planned Parenthood lost their lawsuit. Due to the ordinance going into effect, Planned Parenthood stopped performing abortions in Lubbock on June 1, and is currently not performing abortions in Lubbock.

If the City of Mason is sued, attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell, the former Solicitor General of the State of Texas and the legal mind behind the enforcement mechanism of the Texas Heartbeat Law, has agreed to represent the city at no cost to the city and taxpayers.

The Mason Ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to procure or perform an abortion of any type and at any stage of pregnancy in the city of Mason, Ohio,” and “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly aid or abet an abortion that occurs in the city of Mason, Ohio.” Abortion is defined by the ordinance as “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.” The Ordinance is also clear that the act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to “save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child” or to “remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by accidental miscarriage” or to “remove an ectopic pregnancy.”

There is one other exception listed in the ordinance and that is a very narrow exception for cases where the mother’s life is at risk. This is listed as an affirmative defense and falls upon the one performing the abortion to provide that defense if necessary. This is outlined by the ordinance as abortions in cases where the abortion is “in response to a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

Besides outlawing abortion, the Mason Ordinance declares abortion-inducing drugs to be contraband, stating, “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or distribute abortion-inducing drugs in the Mason, Ohio, and it shall be unlawful for any person to mail or ship abortion-inducing drugs into the city of Mason, Ohio.” Abortion-inducing drugs are defined as “mifepristone, misoprostol, and any drug or medication that is used to terminate the life of an unborn child.”

Many of the opposition in attendance attempted to attack the ordinance for this section, arguing that these drugs had other uses. However, the ordinance is clear that “the term also does not include drugs or medication that are possessed or distributed for a purpose that does not include the termination of a pregnancy.”

According to the ordinance, those who are found in violation are guilty of a misdemeanor in the first degree and, under Ohio law, are not to serve more than six months in jail or pay more than $1,000 in fines. This prosecution or penalty contains only one exception: “Under no circumstance may the penalty be imposed on the mother of the unborn child that has been aborted, or the pregnant woman who seeks to abort her unborn child, be subject to prosecution or penalty under this section.” The implementation of these penalties are not dependent upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade or any other court ruling, but are immediately enforceable.

It is not likely that Mason, Ohio, will be the last city in Ohio to outlaw abortion. On the same night of Mason’s vote, the City of Celina (population 10,687) also discussed an ordinance outlawing abortion. The City of London, Ohio (pop. 10,436), is also considering a similar ordinance.

Ohio State Representative Jena Powell shared, “What a great day in Mason! Thrilled to see that Mason is now a sanctuary city for the unborn. I’m excited to see more cities across our state and nation fight to protect the unborn. It’s crucial that every child is protected in the state of Ohio, and this is a huge step in the right direction.”

The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative encourages all who wish to see abortion outlawed in their city, regardless of what city or state they live in, to sign the online petition on the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn website.

Mark Lee Dickson is a Director with Right to Life of East Texas, a Pastor of SovereignLOVE Church in Longview, Texas, and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative.

UNICEF endorses ‘sexual autonomy’ for children

Hormonal Contraception and Violent Death

A recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neurosciences evaluated the effects of the use of hormonal contraceptives upon the behaviors of intimate partners.  The study of the physiology of women using hormonal contraceptives has provided insight into the possible basis for the resulting increase in violent death. The author of this review investigated the changes that are potential contributors to the reported increase in violent death by suicide, accident, or homicide.

It has been demonstrated that hormonal contraceptive use affects the behaviors of both female and male partners which can cause changes in mate retention behaviors. These changes in mate retention behaviors could lead to intimate partner violence and death.  The review also analyzed how hormonal contraception modify brain structure and function.

The authors conclude: “there is a great need for further research concerning brain function and structure relating to exposure to hormonal contraceptives, especially since these drugs are often given to young women whose brains are not fully matured. Through the use of physician screening and patient education, the incidence of violent death can potentially be mitigated. It cannot be denied that millions of women are potentially affected adversely by hormonal contraception and its potential link to increased suicide, intimate partner violence, induced abortion, and worsening of BPD traits, such as substance abuse and risk- taking”.

See article here

 

 

Venous Thrombotic Events, Hormonal Contraception, and FABMs: A Review of Research

By Natalie Gould, DO

https://www.factsaboutfertility.org/venous-thrombotic-events-hormonal-contraception-and-fabms-a-review-of-research/

Editor’s Note: This year, October 13th is World Thrombosis Day, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness about this potentially life-threatening medical condition or complication. The 2018 research summarized below is titled, “Systematic Review of Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Venous Thrombosis.” The study was published by Keenan et al in 2018 and won the 2019 Linacre Award for outstanding research paper of the year. The researchers reviewed the literature assessing the risk of venous thrombotic events in women who choose hormonal contraception. Dr. Natalie Gould’s summary of this important study ends by discussing fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) as a reasonable, safe, and effective option for women who need or prefer a different approach for pregnancy prevention, health monitoring, and/or to diagnose and manage a variety of women’s health conditions.

A Personal Story

It was just a few days after Christmas and we were sitting outside, sharing our shock in silence. Reunited with our college friends, we should have been happy — happy to see one another, enjoying the joyful nature of the season, and sharing adventure stories from our young lives. Instead, most of us were quiet and tearful, having just attended our friend’s memorial service. Despite her youth, she collapsed suddenly due to massive pulmonary emboli — blood clots within her lungs. 

She had been on hormonal contraception … and many of us had been or were on hormonal contraception too… While grieving, we wondered, could this happen to me too? Why had our doctors never discussed this possible deadly side effect with any of us? 

Years later, I am in medical school, where the risk of venous thromboembolism (VT) has hardly been mentioned as a potential side effect of hormonal contraception. If it is mentioned, it is touted as a rare occurrence. While this may be so, it is in our best interest as medical professionals to discuss all potential side effects with our patients so they have true informed consent and the highest sovereignty over choices affecting their bodies. Hormonal contraception is often used as a first line therapy for women’s health issues beyond pregnancy prevention. Women have the right to know all the evidence about these medications before choosing to take them. 

In the 2018 study titled, “Systematic Review of Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Venous Thrombosis,” Keenan et al reported the significant increased risk of venous thromboembolism in healthy young women using hormonal birth control. This is a review of their findings.

Introduction

Hormonal contraception (HC) continues to have high prevalence use worldwide, with over 80 percent of women in the U.S. alone reporting use of some form of HC at some point during their reproductive years. Despite the widespread use, the safety of HC is primarily determined through observation and case control trials due to ethical concerns of having women who are trying to avoid pregnancy take a placebo. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) practices have changed drastically in the last twenty years, since data surfaced showing increased cardiovascular risks with HRT, so that their benefit does not outweigh the potential harm. Despite these findings, HC doses are often given in five to ten times the dose of HRT.

In medicine and bioethics, informed consent is paramount. The intent of the research by Keenan et al was to look at broad safety data of hormonal contraception and evaluate for potential increased risk for venous thromboembolism, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and central venous thrombosis (CVT) in healthy female populations of reproductive age.

Methods

A PubMed search was performed for all relevant publications from inception through April 2018. The following inclusion criteria were used: all articles evaluating risk of any form of HC for first VT in healthy women. Articles had to have a nonuser comparison group and VT confirmed with either imaging study or strong clinical diagnosis with minimum four weeks anticoagulation. Studies had to report relative risk (RR) or odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Type of HC used must have been identified, including the generation of oral contraceptives.

Results

Of the studies reviewed (n=15), 12 were case control studies ranging in size from 36 to 1,524 cases, and 3 were cohort studies ranging in size from 8 to 17.2 million-women-years of observation. All the studies showed an increased risk of VT in women using HC compared to their controls, with the exception of users of the levonorgestrel-releasing IUD. Interestingly, a few studies showed that risk generally decreased with longer use time, with the first year of use demonstrating the greatest risk.

Obesity was also shown to be associated with higher risk of VT in patients using HC. In one study, women taking second generation HC had significantly higher risk, with a sixfold increase in risk if body mass index (BMI) was greater than 30.

This review demonstrated that users of second and third generation HC have significantly increased risk of death due to a fatal pulmonary embolus. A Swedish study demonstrated significant risk of death in women aged 15 to 24 when reviewing the death registry.

Overall, risk was increased for users of all generations of HC, with use of fourth generation HC being greater than third, and third generation greater than second. Use of transdermal patch and hormonal vaginal rings was associated with significant increased risk of VT. Finally, the progestin-only implant was not shown to increase risk, and the levonorgestrel IUD showed decreased risk.

Discussion

This review article set out to explore whether users of HC have a significantly increased risk of confirmed venous thrombotic events when compared to nonusers. The studies reviewed demonstrate that, indeed, users of HC have a three- to ninefold increased risk of confirmed VT. The study reports that HC can therefore be estimated to cause 300-400 young healthy women to die each year because of their contraceptive choices.

 

The authors go on to say that this risk is often justified in the studies reviewed by noting the risks of pregnancy. Yet, the reviewers point out that the absence of HC use is not equivalent to pregnancy, and the studies fail to discuss options that would not expose these healthy women to the potential harmful side effects to which HC exposes them. 

This raises an important issue: are women being adequately informed of the potential risks of their contraceptive choices? Birth control has long been viewed as a positive development for women, and while the benefits are shouted from the rooftops, should we not also be willing to explore their potential harm?

 

The possibility of venous thrombotic events due to HC use is often under-reported and appears to be overlooked by the general public. Although medication safety is usually determined through the gold standard of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), it is not possible to study HC with RCTs, as giving women placebo could lead to unintended pregnancy. Thus, it is imperative to consider studies such as this review to understand the risks of HC and to properly counsel patients on their contraceptive choices so they have full informed consent.

A Reasonable, Safe Alternative

The study authors point out that several fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) of family planning demonstrate typical use rates comparable to those of oral contraceptives. These FABMs have no medical side effects, making the potential harm of VT avoidable if these options are presented to women alongside HC options. They go on to suggest further research to follow a large cohort of women using FABMs compared to a cohort of women using HC to evaluate health outcomes of each choice.

Many women do not think of HC choices as potentially harmful, and many are not counseled on the increased risk of VT. As it relates to HC, for women to have full sovereignty over their bodies and provide true informed consent, physicians must be aware of these risks and personalize counseling.

Death due to VT may seem like a rare possibility, but when it is your best friend, your wife, your daughter, or you, it matters. It’s no longer rare; it’s real.

FABMs are often not presented to women as a viable option for pregnancy prevention. If more physicians were educated about these options, perhaps we would not have to ignore or accept the risk of losing 300-400 healthy young women — women like my friend — each year. 

FABMs empower women with knowledge of whether or not their bodies are healthy. They can also help identify the root causes of women’s health problems that are often merely masked by HC use. This would decrease medical use of HC for reasons other than contraception.

This brings up the painful, yet important question we must consider: what would have happened if, years ago, my friend’s doctor presented an FABM as an option to her?

References

Keenan L, Kerr T, Duane M, Van Gundy K. Systematic Review of Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Venous Thrombosis. Linacre Q. 2018;85(4):470-477. doi:10.1177/0024363918816683.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Natalie Gould, DO

Natalie Gould, DO is a first-year resident at Peak Vista Family Medicine Residency in Colorado Springs, CO. She wrote this review as a fourth-year medical student at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She participated in an FABM elective and is excited to continue her education regarding these important options for women for her future practice as a family physician. She believes all women should have access to FABMs and is excited to do her part to share this important information

 

 

Forced Sterilization

Prophetic words of Pope Saint Paul VI in his most famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

“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 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.”

Forced sterilization is a reality: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=36286

The abortion industry wants to use climate change funding to expand abortion

A New Pro-Life Saint?

A New Pro-Life Saint? This Italian Mother Sacrificed Her Life for Her Unborn Baby| National Catholic Register (ncregister.com)

“Riccardo, you are a gift for us.” These are the words a 26-year-old Italian mother wrote to her newborn 26 years ago. They were words she was willing to live by – and die for.

On Aug. 30, Pope Francis advanced the sainthood cause of Maria Cristina Cella Mocellin, who sacrificed her life for the sake of her baby. Catholics already are comparing her to another saint, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, because both women refused medical treatment that would have endangered their unborn babies, according to EWTN Pro-Life Weekly. After close examination, the Church now recognizes Maria Cristina as a “venerable” for leading a heroically virtuous life.

This is the story of that life.

Maria Cristina was born in 1969 in a town called Cinisello Balsamo, located in Milan. According to La Stampa, she grew up next to the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joan Antida Thouret, and served as a catechist and youth leader. She strongly considered religious life while still a young teenager.

“Lord, show me the way: it doesn’t matter if you want me as a mother or a nun, what really matters is that I always do your will,” she wrote in her spiritual diary in 1985.

Her vocation became clear when, at 16 years old, she met Carlo Moccellin. She was called to marriage – a marriage with him. She never wavered from that conviction, even when doctors discovered a sarcoma in her left leg, Vatican News reported.

“I realized that everything is a gift, even a disease, because if lived in the best way it can really help to grow,” she wrote to Carlo in 1988.

She was successfully treated, and finished her high-school education before marrying Carlo in 1991. They soon welcomed two children into their home, Francesco and Lucia. They were expecting a third – Riccardo – when they found out that her cancer had returned.

Her first thought was of her unborn baby boy.

“My reaction was to say over and over: ‘I am pregnant! I am pregnant! But doctor I am pregnant,’” she wrote in a 1995 letter to her little Riccardo. “I fought with all my power and did not give up on the idea of giving birth to you, so much so that the doctor understood everything and said no more.”

Maria Cristina refused the chemotherapy treatments that would have threatened her unborn baby’s life. Instead, she waited until after Riccardo was born, in 1994. But at that point, the cancer had already spread to her lungs and caused her tremendous suffering.

“I believe that God would not allow pain if he did not want to obtain a secret and mysterious but [a] real good,” she wrote. “I believe that one day I will understand the meaning of my suffering and I will thank God for it.”

On Oct. 22, 1995, she died at 26 years old.

But her story – and her baby – live on. In her letter to Riccardo, which she penned a month before she died, she stressed the beauty of his life.

“Dear Riccardo, you need to know that you are not in the world by chance,” she began.

“The Lord wanted your birth despite all the problems there were… when we found out about you, we loved you and wanted you with all our heart.”

“It was that evening, in the car on the way back from the hospital, that you moved for the first time. It seemed as if you were saying, ‘Thank you mamma for loving me!’ And how could we not love you?” she added. “You are precious, and when I look at you and see you so beautiful, lively, friendly, I think that there is no suffering in the world that is not worth bearing for a child.”

Maria Cristina wrote regularly, and kept a spiritual journal, according to The Associazione Amici di Cristina (Friends of Cristina Association), which promotes the dignity of human life in honor of its namesake. The association’s website includes excerpts from her diary and from her letters.

“Lord I only want You! I only love you! I’m just looking for you!” the organization quotes her as saying. “What does it matter to suffer in life if you are around the corner waiting for me to give me immense joy?”

Joy appears repeatedly in her writings.

“It is my motto: ‘Do everything with joy!’” she stressed in a 1985 letter to Carlo. “Even if sometimes it costs me a lot, especially when my morale is low or when … ‘it seems to you that all things are against you …’ as you say, in your beautiful letter. But, as light comes after darkness, so, after despair, rediscover joy.”

This joy shaped her love of God and her love for Carlo.

“Don‘t you think it’s extraordinary?” Maria Cristina asked Carlo in 1987. “If it weren’t for you and I who love each other, the world would lack that something that no one else in our place could give.”

She also wrote of God’s love – and the call to perfection.

“I become holy to the extent that I empty myself of everything, I remove every impediment from my mind, heart and life to allow myself to be completely penetrated by the love of God,” she stressed to Carlo in 1990. “More concretely, it means living everyday life with great simplicity, in the family, in the study, in the relationship with you, Carlo. My place is in the simple and ‘routine.’”

In the simple, she found the miraculous. In the ordinary, she discovered the extraordinary.

The year that she died, she wrote in another letter that “Although my health is precarious… I AM HAPPY!” She concluded, “I am ashamed to ask the Lord for anything else, for us the miracle is already there: if He loves us and we love each other, nothing else matters.”

Why artificial birth control is sinful…

Why artificial birth control is sinful (tldm.org)

“The encyclical of Pope Paul VI on birth control is true and must be followed by mankind. There shall be no rationalization of sin.” – Our Lady of the Roses, October 2, 1976

Dietrich von Hildebrand, called by Pope Pius XII “the 20th Century Doctor of the Church,” was one of the world’s most eminent Catholic philosophers. Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict) wrote about Dietrich von Hildebrand in the year 2000: “I am firmly convinced that, when at some time in the future, the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the 20th century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time.”  No other Catholic writer has so thoroughly echoed the message of Our Lady of the Roses than Dietrich von Hildebrand.  The following is an excerpt from his essay, 

The Encyclical Humanae Vitae: A Sign of Contradiction:

We can now see more clearly the difference between natural and artificial birth control. The sinfulness of artificial birth control is rooted in the arrogation of the right to separate the actualized love union in marriage from a possible conception, to sever the wonderful, deeply mysterious connection instituted by God. This mystery is approached in an irreverent attitude. We are here confronted with the fundamental sin of irreverence toward God, the denial of our creaturehood, the acting as if we were our own lords. This is a basic denial of the religio, of our being bound to God; it is a disrespect for the mysteries of God’s creation, and its sinfulness increases with the rank of the mystery in question. It is the same sinfulness that lies in suicide or in euthanasia, in both of which we act as if we were masters of life.

Every active intervention of the spouses that eliminates the possibility of conception through the conjugal act is incompatible with the holy mystery of the superabundant relation in this incredible gift of God. And this irreverence also affects the purity of the conjugal act, because the union can be the real fulfillment of love only when it is approached with reverence and when it is embedded in the religio, the consciousness of our basic bond to God.

To the sublime link between marriage and procreation Christ’s words on the marriage bond also apply: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” This becomes still clearer when we consider that the mystery of the birth of a man not only should be essentially linked to wedded love (through the conjugal act, which is destined to be the expression and fulfill­ment of this love), but is always linked to a creative intervention of God. Neither wedded love nor, still less, the physiological process of conception is itself capable of creating a human being with an immortal soul. On this point Pope Paul VI quotes the encyclical Mater et Magistra: ” ‘Human life is holy,’ Pope John XXIII reminds us, ‘and from conception on it demands the imme­diate intervention of God!'” (Humanae Vitae,13). Man always comes forth directly from the hand of God, and therefore there is a unique and intimate relation between God and the spouses in the act of procreation. In a fruitful conjugal act we can say that the spouses participate in God’s act of creation; the conjugal act of the spouses is incorporated into the creative act of God and acquires a serving function in relation to His act.

We thus see that artificial birth control is sinful not only because it severs the mysterious link between the most intimate love union and the coming into existence of a new human being, but also because in a certain way it artificially cuts off the creative intervention of God, or better still, it artificially separates an act which is ordained toward co-operation with the creative act of God from this its destiny. For, as Paul VI says, this is to consider oneself not a servant of God, but the “Lord over the origin of human life” (Humanae Vitae, 13).

This irreverence, however, is exclusively limited to active intervention severing the conjugal act from its possible link with procreation.

The conjugal act does not in any way lose its full meaning and value when one knows that a conception is out of the question, as when age, or an operation for the sake of health, or pregnancy excludes it. The knowledge that a conception is not possible does not in the least taint the conjugal act with irreverence. In such cases, if the act is an expression of a deep love, anchored in Christ, it will rank even higher in its quality and purity than one that leads to a conception in a marriage in which the love is less deep and not formed by Christ. And even when for good and valid reasons conception should be avoided, the marital act in no way loses its raison d’être, because its meaning and value is the actualization of the mutual self-donation of the spouses. The intention of avoiding conception does not imply irreverence as long as one does not actively interfere in order to cut the link between the conjugal act and a possible conception.

Nor is the practice of rhythm to avoid conception in any way irreverent, because the existence of rhythm—that is to say, the fact that conception is limited to a short period—is itself a God-given institution. In Section 6 we shall show in greater detail why the use of rhythm implies not the slightest irreverence or rebellion against God’s institution of the wonderful link between the love union and procreation; it is in no way a subterfuge, as some Catholics tend to believe. On the contrary, it is a grateful accep­tance of the possibility God has granted of avoiding conception—if this is legitimately desirable—without preventing the expression and fulfillment of spousal love in the bodily union.

France to offer free and anonymous contraception for women under 25

Jeanne
Smits,

PARIS (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this month, French health minister Olivier Véran proudly proclaimed that as of January 1, 2022, contraception will be 100 percent “free” for all women up to age 25, as well as pregnancy tests, medical appointments and bio-analyses in connection with birth control. Less than 24 hours later, France’s move was enthusiastically commended by the World Economic Forum in a short video published on its official Twitter account.

Véran made his announcement on the nationwide taxpayer-funded television station France 2, explaining that the main reason a number of young women do not use contraception is because of its cost. This statement was contradicted by the news center of the Fondation Jérome-Lejeune, Généthique.

Continue reading here France to offer free and anonymous contraception for women under 25 – LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Planned Parenthood tells middle schoolers about avoiding parental consent for abortion, contraception

Planned Parenthood tells middle schoolers about avoiding parental consent for abortion, contraception – LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Isabella Childs

TACOMA, Washington, June 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — An eighth-grade teacher in a Tacoma public school distributed a flyer detailing Washington state laws allowing minors to get abortions and contraceptives without parental consent. The flyer, produced by abortion giant Planned Parenthood, was given to Stewart Middle School students as part of their science curriculum.

The flyer said:

  • ABORTION: You do not need to get permission from your parents or guardians at any age.
  • BIRTH CONTROL: You are allowed to get a prescription for birth control without your parent or guardian’s permission.
  • CONDOMS: You can buy condoms at any age.
  • EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: You can buy Plan B Emergency Contraception at a local pharmacy without a prescription at any age.

The flyer also mentions that there are exceptions to state law that says the age of consent is 16, assuring children they can lawfully have sexual intercourse “with somebody two years older or less” at the age of 11.

The flyer caused controversy after a concerned parent posted a picture of it on social media and confronted the school about it. After an investigation, the assistant director of education in the district, Eric Hogan, responded in an email to parents that was obtained by the Jason Rantz Show.

“The flyer is not part of our curriculum and should not have been sent home with students,” Hogan argued. “Previously, Planned Parenthood taught within our schools and supplied the flyer that was distributed to students. We discovered a binder of curriculum materials was left behind for an incoming teacher to use this year, and this flyer was in the binder. Not realizing the flyer wasn’t approved material, the teacher sent it home with students. Corrective action has been taken with this employee.”

Planned Parenthood, in addition to providing hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, is a big player in the field of sex education in schools. The organization and its allies have taught things like BDSM, including using whips, chains and gagging; have informed 11-year-olds about anal and oral sex; and introduced a chatbot that allows kids to go behind their parents’ back to ask about sex and abortion.

 

Texas Heartbeat Act debate exposes the strange pseudoscience of abortion advocates

 

Texas Heartbeat Act debate exposes the strange pseudoscience of abortion advocates

The enactment of the Texas Heartbeat Act has exposed the pseudoscience undergirding the worldview of abortion-rights supporters.

Heartbeat bills such as the one in Texas are predicated on the fact that an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected via ultrasound at about six weeks’ gestation. For a movement that defends abortion on the grounds that the unborn child is not human — or has no claim to rights — this scientific reality poses some difficulties.

An enormous number of the justifications for legal abortion are detached from science, declaring the fetus inhuman or not a rights-bearing person on account of its as-yet-undeveloped or underdeveloped mental or physical functions.

The argument for legal abortion prior to “viability,” for instance, rationalizes abortion before about 20 weeks’ gestation on the grounds that the unborn child’s lungs are insufficiently developed to allow for survival outside the womb. Therefore, on this view, that child can be killed prior to such development because it remains dependent on its mother. (Why this logic doesn’t allow for the killing of newborns or adults who are on ventilators typically remains unexplained.)

 

Philosophical justifications for abortion follow a similar pattern. In her famous 1973 essay arguing that abortion is morally acceptable, philosopher Mary Anne Warren asserted that it is wrong to kill persons, but that not all human beings count as persons. Under her criteria for personhood — consciousness and capacity to feel pain, an ability to reason, self-motivated activity, capacity to communicate, and self-awareness — unborn human beings do not count and therefore can be killed. (Critics have noted that Warren’s criteria exclude additional categories of human beings, too, not just the unborn.)

Many rationalizations for abortion are far less sophisticated. Take one, for example, that suggests that a fetus isn’t human until it is born — as if the birth canal magically confers humanity on an organism that, mere seconds earlier, possessed the exact same qualities as the crying newborn. This is the case for abortion at its most illogical.

This last phrase, which sounds a bit like something out of a horror movie, became so popular among abortion activists that actress Alyssa Milano demanded that the press refer to all heartbeat bills as “fetal pole cardiac activity” bills.

 

Time magazine obliged Milano with “fetal cardiac activity.” The Guardian updated its style guide on the advice of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — a powerful abortion lobby disguised as a medical group — citing the group’s statement that “ACOG does not use the term ‘heartbeat’ to describe these legislative bans on abortion because it is misleading language, out of step with the anatomical and clinical realities of that stage of pregnancy.”

The New York Times chose “the pulsing of what becomes the fetus’s heart” and “embryonic pulsing.” New York magazine’s The Cut ran a piece called “Embryos Don’t Have Hearts,” referring to the heartbeat as “pulsing cells” and dedicated to debunking the “unscientific” notion of a fetal heartbeat:

What is detectable at or around six weeks can more accurately be called “cardiac activity,” says Robyn Schickler, OB/GYN and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health. The difference between “cardiac activity” and “heartbeat” may seem linguistically minimal, but Schickler and others argue otherwise. At this stage, she says, what doctors can detect is essentially communication between a group of what will eventually become cardiac cells.

The Washington Post quoted unnamed “doctors who oppose the legislation” to assert that “what appears to be a heartbeat . . . is simply a vibration of developing tissues that could not exist without the mother. This vibration is a medical term called ‘embryonic cardiac activity.’”

The Post offered a similar notion in an article yesterday, again quoting anonymous “doctors opposed to the bills” who say that “the fluttering [i.e., the heartbeat] that is detected cannot exist outside the womb.” The Post appears to think it revelatory that removing an unborn child from the womb at six weeks’ gestation will result in its death.

READ: MEDIA BIAS: Business Insider claims sound of preborn heartbeat is just ‘from the machine’

In a piece yesterday, the New York Times insisted that the Texas heartbeat bill is misdescribed because “there is no heart at this stage of development, only electrical activity in developing cells. The heart is not fully formed until later in pregnancy.”

None of this has to do with real science or real medicine, both of which confirm the humanity of the unborn child at every stage of development. It is rather a game, designed to do one thing and one thing only: justify, by any means necessary, the ongoing killing of inconvenient human beings before birth.

Far from being champions of science, defenders of abortion twist the facts of biology and push the limits of language to justify dehumanization.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at National Review and is reprinted here with permission.

Do COVID Vaccines Cause Menstrual Changes? NIH Awards $1.67 Million in Grants to Study Possible Link.

Do COVID Vaccines Cause Menstrual Changes? NIH Awards $1.67 Million in Grants to Study Possible Link.

By 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded one-year supplemental grants totaling $1.67 million to five institutions to explore potential links between COVID vaccines and menstrual changes, after thousands of women reported menstrual irregularities after vaccination.

According to the NIH website, some women have reported experiencing irregular or missing menstrual periods, heavier-than-usual bleeding and other menstrual changes after receiving COVID vaccines.

The new funding will go toward research to determine whether the changes may be linked to COVID vaccination itself, and how long the changes last. Researchers will also seek to clarify the mechanisms underlying potential vaccine-related menstrual changes.

The year-long study will initially follow unvaccinated participants to observe changes that occur following each dose. Some groups will exclude participants on birth control or gender-affirming hormones, which may have their own impact on periods.

Researchers will assess the prevalence and severity of post-vaccination changes to menstrual characteristics, including flow, cycle length, pain and other symptoms. These analyses will account for other factors that can affect menstruation — such as stress, medications and exercise — to determine whether the changes are attributable to vaccination.

The five NIH-funded studies will be conducted by researchers at Boston University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University and Oregon Health and Science University.

The studies will likely incorporate between 400,000 and 500,000 participants –– including adolescents and transgender and nonbinary people, according to Dr. Diana Bianchi, director of the agency’s Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which is funding the research along with NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health.

“Nobody expected it [vaccination] to affect the menstrual system, because the information wasn’t being collected in the early vaccine studies,” said Bianchi, who credited The Washington Post’s early coverage of the issue, in April, with first making her and her staff aware of it.

These “rigorous scientific studies will improve our understanding of the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on menstruation, giving people who menstruate more information about what to expect after vaccination and potentially reducing vaccine hesitancy,” Bianchi added.

So far, no published studies have examined — or offered conclusive evidence — of possible links between the vaccines and menstruation.

The COVID vaccine trials did not specifically ask participants whether they saw adverse side effects in their menstrual cycles or volumes — an omission Bianchi attributes to the fact “the Emergency Use Authorization was really focused on critical safety issues” and “changes to your menstrual cycle is really not a life and death issue.”

But the lack of formal research on the potential link between the two “points out the fact that safety studies for vaccines … are not necessarily thinking about the reproductive health of women,” Bianchi said. “We hope one of the things that’s going to come out of this is that questions will be added to clinical trial studies to include any changes in menstrual health.”

According to the NIH, numerous factors can cause temporary changes in the menstrual cycle, which is regulated by complex interactions between the body’s tissues, cells and hormones.

Immune responses to a COVID vaccine could affect the interplay between immune cells and signals in the uterus, leading to temporary changes in the menstrual cycle.

Menstrual changes after COVID vaccination also could be attributed to immune responses to the vaccines and their impacts on the uterus, as well as to pandemic-related stress, lifestyle changes and the virus itself.

The new studies will build on existing research and leverage data from menstrual tracking applications to evaluate the potential impacts of COVID vaccination on menstrual health among geographically and racially and ethnically diverse populations.

The researchers hope that, following a peer-review process, findings will be published by the end of 2022 or soon after.

As The Defender reported, researchers have called for clinical trials since April to track and document menstrual changes in vaccinated women after some women reported hemorrhagic bleeding with clots, delayed or absent periods, sudden pre-menopausal symptoms, month-long periods and heavy irregular bleeding after being vaccinated with one or both doses of a COVID vaccine.

How to Intentionally Promote Better Gut Health After Getting Off Birth Control

Promoting gut health after ditching birth control | Natural Womanhood

If you recently stopped taking the pill and find that your digestive system is in disarray (or, if you’re like I was, and struggling with both PCOS and poor gut health), you’re not alone. As I shared in this article, a number of recent studies suggest that oral birth control may negatively impact gut health, decreasing microbial diversity and leading to intestinal permeability. Eventually, these imbalances in your microbiome can lead to symptoms like bloating, food sensitivities and cravings, nausea after eating, and even inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In fact, a 2017 meta-analysis suggested that those exposed to oral birth control had a 30 percent increased risk for developing an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Learning all this can be overwhelming when you’re already feeling unwell. The good news, though, is that these unpleasant symptoms can often be reversed by using natural remedies and forming new habits. Below, you’ll find five strategies based on the latest scientific research to intentionally heal your gut after being on birth control.

Tip #1: Replenish key nutrients for gut health that were depleted by birth control

Studies dating back to the late 1960s have shown that the birth control pill depletes key B vitamins (B2, B6, B12, and folate), along with vitamins C and E and the minerals magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Although it’s unclear how these depletions occur, it’s been suggested that the pill causes either malabsorption or increased excretion of these nutrients. Since a number of these nutrients are important in gut function and detoxification, it’s important to get your levels back up to normal. Zinc enhances the gut lining, for example, while selenium has been shown to improve gut microbial diversity.

To replenish your nutrient stores, look for a high quality prenatal or multivitamin from a reputable source. It’s a good idea to choose brands that are third-party tested, such as Pure Encapsulations or Thorne. When looking for a prenatal containing folate, consider brands like Designs for Health that use the bioavailable form of folate, L-methylfolate. Many brands opt for cheaper, synthetic folic acid, but studies have shown that 40 – 60% of the population has a genetic mutation that inhibits the conversion of folic acid to its active form. You may also wish to have your doctor run bloodwork, which can help determine if you should supplement your multivitamin with a higher daily dose of any particular vitamin.

Tip #2: Incorporate probiotic and prebiotic foods into your diet

Moving forward, you’ll want to focus on eating foods that will support your microbiome in the long-term. This advice isn’t limited to those coming off the pill. Many of us would do well to incorporate prebiotic and probiotic foods into our diet, as these foods work together to promote a healthy gut.

Because probiotic foods have been fermented by good bacteria, eating them introduces these beneficial bugs into your gut lining. Some common (and delicious) fermented foods include yogurt, raw sauerkraut, kimchi and other pickled vegetables, kefir, and kombucha. Just be sure to select a yogurt, kefir, or kombucha brand that is low in sugar, as eating too much sugar promotes inflammation and alters our microbiome. One word of caution, though, is that if you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which has been associated with using oral birth control, it’s recommended that you avoid fermented foods until the infection has healed.

Prebiotic foods, on the other hand, contain fiber and resistant starch that “feed” your good gut bugs to maintain the health of your microbiome. We’ve already touched on fiber-rich vegetables in tip #1. Resistant starch, however, is a complex carbohydrate that ferments in your large intestine, feeding good gut bacteria in the process. Try incorporating sweet potatoes and yams into your diet or making tortillas and pancakes out of plantains and green bananas. There is even a gluten-free flour made from green bananas that is becoming increasingly popular! Since these foods are high in carbs, just be sure to round out your plate with plenty of non-starchy vegetables to help balance your blood sugar.

 

Tip #3: Support your birth control detox through diet

Dr. Jolene Brighten, a functional medicine physician and pioneer in treating post-birth control syndrome, emphasizes in her popular book Beyond the Pill that those coming off the pill should focus on foods that assist natural detoxification pathways. These foods should support the liver in processing the excess synthetic estrogen that forms a key component of the pill.

Dr. Brighten recommends eating a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day from 3 to 6 cups of organic vegetables, especially leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. If this constitutes a huge change in your diet, though, you’ll want to build up your fiber consumption slowly so that you don’t encourage further digestive distress. She also stresses the importance of finding a high-quality protein source. In practice, this means eating the best meat and eggs that fit your grocery budget. Ideally, you’ll be focusing on grass-fed, organic meats and pasture-raised eggs, but don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of the good.

In addition to eating the right foods, supplementing with a probiotic pill can help balance your gut bacteria. This daily, concentrated dose will help re-introduce the “good gut bugs” that have been crowded out by the bad. Dr. Brighten suggests that the organisms that have proved most helpful for her post-birth control patients are “high-dose, high-strain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, Saccharomyces boulardii, and spore-forming probiotics” (126). What constitutes a high dose? Dr. Hyman at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine recommends seeking out a probiotic with at least 25 – 50 billion living CFUs (colony-forming unity).

Tip #5: Avoid inflammatory foods

Knowing which foods to avoid is just as important as knowing which foods to incorporate. Many experts recommend avoiding the top inflammatory foods for 30 days to give your gut time to heal. Then, you can reintroduce them one at a time to determine if they give you a reaction. I have personal experience with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), which eliminates all potentially inflammatory foods for 30 days, and it had a powerful effect on my own gut health. Many women have also had great success with the Whole30, which focuses on “whole foods” rather than processed foods. The big three offenders are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, but both of these food protocols also recommend avoiding grains, soy, caffeine, alcohol, and inflammatory fats from vegetable and seed oils like canola and safflower.

If you’d like to dive deeper into current research on post-birth control syndrome, I wholeheartedly recommend reading Dr. Brighten’s Beyond the Pill in full. It’s chock full of information and is written in an accessible, conversational style. As Dr. Brighten reminds us, healing your gut is the first step toward reclaiming your health after being on the pill. And, when you’re ready, learning to chart your cycle with a fertility awareness method (FAM) is another excellent way to truly take charge of your reproductive health.

Texas becomes first state ever to enforce ‘heartbeat law’

Texas becomes first state ever to enforce ‘heartbeat law’ (liveaction.org)

As of midnight on September 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet responded to an emergency appeal from abortion proponents to stop the Texas Heartbeat Act from going into effect, which protects preborn children from the first detectable heartbeat (around five to six weeks gestation). According to the Associated Press, at least 12 other states had previously passed legislation to protect children at the same point in gestation, none had been allowed to go into effect until now, making Texas the first state to successfully enforce such a law.

News outlets reported that abortion facilities in the state had stopped scheduling abortions past six weeks days in advance of the September 1 effective date. The AP noted, “Planned Parenthood is among the abortion providers that have stopped scheduling abortions beyond six weeks from conception.”

According to the emergency appeal, the law will “immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close.” The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project estimates that about 80% of in-state abortions will be prevented. However, these estimates are not verifiable because Texas abortion data lumps abortions at eight weeks or earlier together. Data from Texas Health and Human Services shows that in 2020 there were 53,922 total abortions committed in Texas on Texas residents. Of those, 45,458 (about 84%) occurred eight weeks or less into the pregnancy. The Texas Heartbeat Act does not restrict abortion based on gestational age but on the detection of a fetal heartbeat using whatever method the abortionist deems appropriate — likely either an ultrasound or Doppler fetal heartbeat monitor. According to the law, “A physician does not violate this section if the physician performed a test for a fetal heartbeat as required […] and did not detect a fetal heartbeat.” This makes it difficult to determine how many abortions will be prevented, but it will likely be a large percentage, perhaps even greater than 85%.

“Right now in the great state of Texas, every single child with a detectable heartbeat is legally protected from being killed by the violence of abortion. This is a historic step forward for basic human rights,” said Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. “I applaud the brave advocates and lawmakers in Texas for passing this innovative law designed to withstand the tidal wave of attacks from abortionists and their apologists. Citizens and lawmakers must be vigilant in their defense of this law because we know that the abortion industry is determined to profit from the deaths of as many children as they can. No matter what happens going forward, today is a day for celebration and a vital reprieve for the precious children scheduled for death behind the doors of a Texas abortion business. Dozens of life affirming pregnancy centers all around the state stand by with the resources and compassion to ensure every mother and father are equipped to care for their children and families. The pro-life movement will continue fighting until every single child is protected in law and supported to live out her full potential.”

The Texas Heartbeat Act is unique in that it allows for civil penalties against those who commit or “aid and abet” an abortion once a heartbeat is detectable. As Live Action News reported in May following the signing of the law, “Though the law does not include punishments for women who undergo abortions after a heartbeat is detected in their child, it does allow private citizens to file lawsuits against a doctor that commits an abortion on such a child” as well as those who are involved in helping a woman to procure that abortion. The abortion industry responded by labeling the civil action portion of the law as an “abortion bounty.”

A preborn child’s heart begins to beat between 16 and 22 days after fertilization, but a unique human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original publication.

The Startling Ways that Birth Control May Impact Gut Health and lead to IBD

The Startling Ways that Birth Control May Impact Gut Health and lead to IBD

Over the last year, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and began working to balance my hormones through diet and lifestyle changes. My personal experience with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet aligned with recent studies suggesting that an anti-inflammatory diet can mitigate the symptoms of both PCOS and gut dysbiosis—an imbalance in the microorganisms living in your digestive system that can cause a host of GI symptoms.

By all accounts, I am not alone in my gut-related symptoms. While my digestive complaints were not severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis, studies show that cases of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), an umbrella term for disorders involving chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, are rising rapidly worldwide. Symptoms of IBD can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, and abdominal pain, among others.

While researching the risk factors for IBD, I was surprised to learn that a genetic predisposition can account for less than 25% of cases. Scientists now believe that external, environmental factors may account for much of the remaining 75%. What shocked me most was learning that oral contraceptives have been clearly and consistently associated with an increased risk for IBD since at least 2008, with case reports stretching back to the 1960s.

The connection between the pill and IBD

In fact, the number of studies suggesting that oral contraceptives negatively impact gut health grows each year, and known side effects of hormonal birth control include GI issues like nausea and upset stomach. The association was first suggested through case reports that appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, in 1984, one study showed that oral birth control use was common in 100 consecutive women attending follow-up clinics for IBD. Other studies demonstrated that symptoms of IBD often resolved when patients discontinued oral contraceptive use.

A 2008 meta-analysis published in Gastroenterology, which combined the results of 14 different studies including a total of 75,815 patients, found that those using oral contraceptives had a nearly 50% increased risk of developing IBD. Dr. Hamed Khalili, a Harvard-trained gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, headed a sweeping 2013 prospective study involving over 200,000 women that suggested that “oral contraceptive use was associated with risk of Crohn’s disease [a type of IBD].” Shockingly, the study specified that oral contraceptive use could triple the risk of Crohn’s disease in women with a family history of the condition.

More recently, a 2017 meta-analysis of twenty studies and multiple databases reported that those exposed to oral birth control had a 30 percent increased risk for the development of IBD. Specifically, the studies showed that those exposed to birth control had a 24 percent higher risk for developing Crohn’s disease and a 30 percent higher risk for developing ulcerative colitis.

Why a “leaky” gut is an unhealthy gut

At this point, you might be wondering what birth control pills and the hormones they contain could possibly have to do with your digestive system—and if you yourself might be at risk for IBD if you are on or have ever taken birth control.

First, it’s important to understand that the gut microbiome is composed of the “flora” or microbes lining your digestive tract, and that these bacteria and viruses have a large impact on our overall health. For example, we rely on our intestines to form a tight barrier and keep harmful microbes out of our bloodstream. Sometimes, however, gaps form. When this intestinal permeability develops, a phenomenon sometimes called “leaky gut,” invaders may squeeze between the cracks. These harmful microbes may trigger inflammation and changes in our gut flora.

Furthermore, increased intestinal permeability is known to play a role in gastrointestinal conditions including celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

Why oral estrogen might lead to a leaky gut

In a 2016 article, Dr. Khalili points to two biological mechanisms through which birth control might harm gut health. First, he notes that oral estrogen is known to negatively impact gut flora. Oral estrogen, of course, is one of two main hormones found in birth control pills. When a woman is prescribed oral contraceptives, she is usually given a combination of the synthetic versions of two key female sex hormones: estrogen (estradiol) and progestin. The two hormones work together to hinder ovulation, thereby preventing conception. In addition, they make cervical mucus inhospitable to sperm, and change the uterine lining so that an embryo would be unable to implant should breakthrough ovulation occur and fertilization happen.

Intestinal permeability appears to be another, unintended consequence of the hormonal changes wrought by birth control. Dr. Khalili cites experimental data from two studies suggesting that estrogen helps maintain the function of the intestinal barrier. He also writes, in no uncertain terms, that oral estrogen “has been shown to modify intestinal permeability,” and that intestinal permeability is “a critical step in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease.” In other words, oral birth control may lead to leaky gut, and a leaky gut may lead to IBD. If this is the case, then we have a clear indication of how oral birth control is detrimental to gut health.

Similarly, Dr. Jolene Brighten, a naturopathic physician and leader in alerting women to the realities of post-birth control syndrome, emphasizes in one article that birth control can lead not only to leaky gut, but to “yeast overgrowth (candida), decreased microbial diversity and altered gut motility.” In fact, the problems birth control causes in the gut are the subject of an entire chapter in Dr. Brighten’s popular book about hormones, Beyond the Pill.

Strategies for improving gut health

If you’re suffering from IBD or compromised gut health, there is hope. The five strategies I outline in this article have been shown to help restore the gut microbiome, no matter how that dysbiosis occurred. Those approaches include incorporating probiotic and prebiotic foods into your diet, reducing your intake of sugar and processed foods, and switching out make-up and household products that contain potentially harmful ingredients. In a future article, I will offer more in-depth suggestions for how women exposed to oral birth control can intentionally heal their gut and restore healthy flora. If you’d like to learn more about the documented side effects of birth control, you can find a wealth of information here. It’s time to pay attention to the growing body of scientific literature showing that birth control is harming our health.

 

Hyde Amendment Under Attack

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

The Hyde Amendment is one of the most important pro-life achievements in U.S. history. But right now, it is under serious threat.

For those who are unaware, the Hyde Amendment, named after pro-life Rep. Henry Hyde, is an amendment that has been appended to every appropriations (i.e., spending) bill since 1976. The amendment clearly states that taxpayer dollars cannot be used to fund abortions.

Last year, pro-life scholar Michael New analyzed the impact of the Hyde Amendment. According to his analysis, from 1976 to 2020, the Hyde Amendment stopped some 2.4 million abortions.

How? Simple. Research consistently shows that reducing funding for abortion also reduces abortions. By ensuring that our hard-earned tax dollars do not get used by pro-abortion politicians to abort innocent unborn babies, the Hyde Amendment has saved countless lives.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that pro-life political involvement has been for naught,” Dr. New said in an interview last year. “There are 2.4 million women out there who have been spared a lifetime of regret because of the Hyde amendment and there are 2.4 million people walking around today who owe their lives to the Hyde Amendment.”

One of the most important facts about the Hyde Amendment is that it has been passed every year regardless of who was in power – Democrats or Republicans. That is, it has been a truly bipartisan amendment. While there have always been some extremist pro-abortion Democrats who have wanted to get rid of the amendment, there has always been enough consensus to ensure that spending bills were protected by it.

Until now.

Democrats Ditch the Hyde Amendment

One of President Biden’s campaign promises was to scrap the Hyde Amendment. And now it appears that Democrats in Congress are working to make that happen.

A few weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee advanced an appropriations bill that conspicuously lacked the Hyde Amendment. Pro-life Republican Rep. Tom Cole attempted to introduce the amendment, but to no avail.

In a speech, Rep. Cole noted that President Biden had consistently supported the Hyde Amendment throughout his time in the U.S. Senate, but only flip-flopped on the issue while running for President.  “There is no moral equivalent to life and death,” Rep. Cole noted in his speech. “The preservation of one of our nation’s most enduring compromises to protect life and respect religious beliefs goes back to our founding principles. Any other issue falls far short of that standard. That is why we offer this amendment first. That is why this amendment has unanimous support on our side. And that is why we will vigorously fight to ensure this amendment is included in any final agreement.”

The appropriations committee voted 32-27 against Cole’s amendment. Shortly thereafter, the appropriations bill was approved in a 219-208 party line vote by the full House, which is controlled by the Democrats. This marks the first time in some 45 years that the House has passed a spending bill without the life-protecting amendment.

One prominent pro-abortion Democrat, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, attempted to defend the removal of the Hyde Amendment, decrying it as “discriminatory.”

“I am proud that this bill promotes equal treatment for women through increased funding for Title X and by repealing the discriminatory Hyde Amendment,” she said. “But I do believe repealing the Hyde Amendment is the best thing we can do to support our mothers and families and help prevent, rather than penalize unwanted pregnancies and later, riskier and more costly abortions.”

This is the kind of double-speak that abortion supporters have to use to defend using our money to kill unborn children! Somehow preventing taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions is “discriminatory,” while paying for the killing of unborn children somehow supports “families.”

Infuriatingly, the two most prominent figures pushing for the end to the Hyde Amendment are also the two politicians who most conspicuously tout their alleged “devout” Catholic faith – President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In response to this attack on the unborn, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement strongly decrying the effort to scrap the amendment.

“The House has voted in a way that is completely out of step with the will of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer-funded abortion,” they noted. “The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives since its enactment. Without it, millions of poor women in desperate circumstances will make the irrevocable decision to take the government up on its offer to end the life of their child.”

They added, “Funding the destruction of innocent unborn human lives, and forcing people to kill in violation of their consciences, are grave abuses of human rights. We call on the Senate to redress this evil in H.R. 4502, and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that fully support and protect human dignity, and the most vulnerable among us.”

candles

Hope Remains

Fortunately, the passage of the appropriations bill by the House is not the end of the story. The bill still needs to pass the Senate, and while Democrats hold a narrow majority there, it appears that there is yet hope that it will not pass.

Democrat Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, told Chad Pergram of Fox News that he suspects the bill may not pass without the Hyde Amendment.

Pergram reported: “It’s probable the House and Senate will have to do some sort of interim spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September. Such a Band-Aid bill simply renews all spending at old levels and restores old policy on a temporary basis. That means the Hyde Amendment remains in place. Congress will likely pass an amalgamated spending package for all of the measures later in the fall or winter. Stripping the Hyde Amendment on that mega-bill could be enough to spark a government shutdown on its own. So, pro-choice Democrats are unlikely to go to the mat the over the Hyde Amendment.”

In other words, if the Democrats stick to their intent to get rid of the Hyde Amendment, they would be in for a fight that they would likely lose, and that would come with significant political costs. As Pergram notes, that includes the risk of galvanizing pro-life activists into pushing back and perhaps even strengthening the bipartisan commitment to the Hyde Amendment.

However, even if this attempt to gut the Hyde Amendment fails, it stands as proof of just how deadly serious President Biden and the Democrats are about rejecting even the most commonsense and widely supported compromise measures on abortion.

Indeed, in addition to removing the Hyde Amendment, the Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee also stripped the appropriations bill of the Weldon amendment – an amendment included in spending bills since 2005 that prohibits government funds from going to programs that discriminate against health care workers who object to abortion.

As I was concluding this article for publication, I learned that that the Senate voted for a budget amendment to its multi-trillion-dollar spending bill that bans taxpayer-funding of abortions for any federal funds authorized under the bill.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced a resolution amendment that protects against taxpayer funding of abortion. His amendment to prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for funding of abortions and abortion-related discrimination was successfully adopted by a vote of 50-49 to the Democrats’ partisan budget resolution.

The amendment, if adopted by Congress in the final budget resolution, would ensure that the budget will comply with the long-standing Hyde amendment, which bars the use of federal tax dollars to pay for abortion, and the Weldon amendment, which protects health care providers who refuse to participate in abortion from discrimination.

The House of Representatives returns from recess the week of August 23rd where they will reconcile the Senate’s budget with their own. So, please join me in praying that the budget amendment by the Senate will be adopted by Congress. Also, let us call our representatives in Congress, asking them to defend human life and protect freedom of conscience.

By the way, the next time you hear the Democrats proclaim that they want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare,” just remember that they are trying to make you pay for abortions with your taxpayer dollars, and they are actively seeking to undermine the rights of pro-life health care workers to follow their consciences.

Clearly, there is nothing moderate about that.

Comparing the risks and side effects of hormonal birth control vs. natural fertility awareness

 

While some have attempted to claim that pregnancy risks are greater than hormonal birth control risks, this is not an apples to apples comparison. A far better comparison is to assess the risks of someone using hormonal birth control (HBC) to someone who is not — as in the case of women who use fertility awareness methods (FAM) as natural birth control or to address reproductive health issues. In the final analysis, FAMs are the clear winner for promoting true women’s health rather than merely masking symptoms.

Hormonal birth control

Taking hormonal birth control involves a true risk vs. benefit analysis, as the risks are many. Hormonal birth control impacts far more than “just” the reproductive system and the parts of the brain that control it. In her book, “This is Your Brain on Birth Control,” evolutionary psychologist Sarah Hill, who is not opposed to contraception, said on p. 90, “The brain and the rest of the body are too flush with hormone receptors for the pill not to change women.” Also impacted are the areas of the brain responsible for “things like emotional processing, social interactions, attention, learning, memory, facial recognition, self-control, eating behavior, and language processing. And we’re also talking about non-brain body parts like the immune system, the stress response, and your gut hormones.”

Accordingly, the Mayo Clinic notes that the Pill is not recommended for women who:

  • have recently given birth
  • are older than age 35 and smoke, have high blood pressure, a blood clotting disorder, or a history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • have a history of breast cancer, stroke or heart disease, diabetes-related complications, liver or gallbladder disease, migraines with aura, or unexplained uterine bleeding
  • will be immobilized for a prolonged period due to major surgery
  • are taking St. John’s wort or anticonvulsant or anti-tuberculous agents

While the Cleveland Clinic cites stoppage of unwanted hair growth as a potential benefit of taking HBC, multiple versions of the Pill can actually cause male-pattern hair growth in women because the synthetic form of progesterone used in HBC is actually derived from testosterone. Testosterone-derived progestins are also linked to acne, weight gain, and decreases in good cholesterol (HDL). Additionally, HBC worsens migraines for some women.

The Cleveland Clinic cites potential for “irritability and moodiness” in HBC users, but the Mayo Clinic is more straightforward, noting that some women experience depression. In reality, both statements give an inadequate picture of the emotional distress many women, especially young women, experience on HBC. Hill shares on p. 174 of her book, “mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women who go on the pill.”

Disturbing research from Denmark gave a framework for quantifying the risk, finding that women on hormonal contraception “were 50% more likely to be diagnosed with depression six months later” vs. non-HBC users, and that “women who were on hormonal contraceptives were 40% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant” than non-HBC users. Worst of all, women taking HBC “were twice as likely to have attempted suicide” than non-HBC users during the eight-year study, and were three times more likely than non-HBC users to have been successful in taking their own lives, according to Hill’s book, on pages 179-180.

In addition, most forms of HBC can act as abortifacients, killing preborn children without a woman knowing she was even pregnant. Both the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic acknowledge endometrial thinning due to HBC use.

Despite all of the risks, some women take birth control to prevent pregnancy, lighten periods, and lessen menstrual pain. Others take it to alleviate the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and uterine fibroids, and more — though these conditions are actually masked by the birth control rather than addressed.

Fertility awareness methods

The truth is that the steady stream of tiny synthetic hormonal spikes in HBC merely band-aid the symptoms of the variety of reproductive issues it is prescribed to treat. FAMs help women to get to the bottom of their fertility health concerns, rather than masking the symptoms of irregular periods with “faux” regular periods that are actually withdrawal bleeds, for example. FAMs actually promote truly comprehensive pro-women’s healthbody literacy, and women’s ability to advocate for themselves.

Additionally, there are no physical side effects of using FAM, and ovulating normally each cycle has health benefits. Trained medical professionals can use a woman’s FAM chart data to help diagnose and treat the root causes of her problems, including endometriosis, PCOS, PMS, irregular bleeding, and more.

Women can expect to improve their health by using FAMs, though the same cannot be said for HBC users. Importantly as well, modern FAMs have similar pregnancy prevention effectiveness rates to HBC when taught by a trained instructor and used properly.

Comparing apples to apples, women who utilize fertility awareness methods for pregnancy prevention or to address reproductive health issues can expect to improve their health whereas women who utilize HBCs are automatically accepting certain physical trade-offs with varying degrees of seriousness.

Magnetic Birth Control, Delivered By Shots

The following is an article published at  forbes.com 

Scientists Invent Magnetic Birth Control, Delivered By Shots (forbes.com)

Scientists have developed tiny magnetic particles that could one day be used by men for birth control.

The nanoscopic particles are injected into the bloodstream and would then be guided to the testes with a magnetic field, which also generates heat for contraception.

Heat is a natural contraceptive. Male mammals often have a suspended scrotal sac to keep their testes cool. By wearing tight pants or underwear, some male humans also raise the temperature of their scrotums, which can lower sperm counts.

Led by Fei Sun and Weihua Ding from the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at Nantong University in China, a team of researchers has been studying artificial ways to heat the testes — using nanoscopic particles as contraceptives.

In a , the team tested gold nanorods that control contraception by using beams of light to heat the metal pills and create a ‘photothermal effect’.

But as they note in their new study, gold nanorods have “associated limitations, such as testicular administration and infrared laser inflicting severe pain.”

Besides the fact that jabbing your balls and heating them with lasers may not be ideal before lovemaking, the gold nanorods were just 90% effective at reducing fertility, as well as being non-biodegradable and potentially toxic.

Sharing NFP: A Holistic Approach to Sexuality

 

Any fair analysis of how well the Catholic Church has done in educating Catholics about – let alone convincing them of – the Church’s teaching on contraception, would have to conclude that the Church’s ministers have failed quite spectacularly.

One much-cited poll from 2016 found that only 13% of weekly Mass-going Catholics agreed with the Church’s teaching that contraception is “morally wrong.” The number was even lower for those Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly – around six percent.

To say those numbers are dismal is an understatement. So, what went wrong?

Answering that question would take several volumes. Certainly, there is the blunt fact of the unforeseen cultural revolution of the 1960s, which swept and radically transformed practically every nation, class, institution, religion, and denomination, with few exceptions. In the face of the tidal wave of revolutionary moral teaching, the Church was in many ways caught unaware and unprepared.

Then of course, there is that little object, that small round pill, that made that revolutionary tidal wave possible: the birth-control pill. With the invention of the Pill (so monumental was this discovery that we tend to capitalize the “P”), for the first time in history it looked as if it might be possible for human beings to engage in the one activity that for many represents the height of physical pleasure, but without any thought for the enormous consequences that sex naturally carries with it.

Hidden Consequences

“Looked,” I say. Because as Pope St. Paul VI so prophetically warned in Humanae Vitae, behind that great, glistening promise of a new age of unfettered sexuality lay a whole world of pain. As Paul VI anticipated, the Pill unleashed abortion on a scale never seen before; caused men, allured by the promise of “consequence-free” sex, to objectify and abuse women as a matter of course; coarsened public morals beyond recognition, undermining marriage and elevating hedonism; and led to grave threats to human dignity and freedom, with totalitarian nations imposing coercive population control measures on their populace.

But there have been other consequences, too.

A friend of mine, a father of a large family, was describing how, on one occasion, he mentioned to two non-Catholic female friends that he and his wife used Natural Family Planning (NFP). He mentioned to them that not only does the method work, but that, among many reasons, he appreciates it because it is healthier for his wife and respects the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage. Contraception, on the other hand, he added, not only distorts the ends of marriage but many women who take large doses of artificial hormones suffer from several physical side effects. “Yeah,” one of the women agreed wryly, “like reducing a woman’s libido.”

Of course, this is hardly the most important reason to oppose hormonal contraception, but it is a very telling reason. Modern human beings, in their drive to conquer nature, have also attempted to conquer sex, taming it, and making it do our bidding on our terms. And yet, while progressives have a great deal to say about how subjecting nature to violence inevitably leads to unforeseen consequences, for some reason they never seem to consider how our technological violence against sex has had unintended side effects.

The fact that many women do experience reductions in libido while on the birth control pill is perhaps the most ironic of these side effects. In the effort to unleash sex from all limits and to maximize pleasure, our technocratic solution has sometimes had precisely the opposite effect!

However, there are other, graver side effects associated with the Pill: increased risks of stroke, certain types of cancer, and even heart attack; weight gain; headaches; high blood pressure, and others. Which should hardly come as a surprise. What, after all, could possibly be “healthy” about using the blunt instrument of huge doses of synthetic chemicals to interrupt the delicate and complex processes of a woman’s reproductive cycle?

A Better Way

All of which brings me to the central point of this column, and a possible answer to the question I raised above. One possible reason that the Church has not been successful in convincing Catholics of Catholic teaching, is that we have done a very poor job of preaching the beauty of Church teaching regarding the dignity of marriage and the conjugal act and its openness to life. We have not preached an attractive alternative to the contraceptive mentality.

Last week, the U.S. Catholic Church marked Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week. Let me begin by saying that I don’t want you to misunderstand me: It would be a grave mistake to think of NFP simply as an “alternative” to the Pill. While it is true that NFP is a method (or rather, a collection of methods) that can be used by married couples to postpone having another child for legitimate reasons, it is certainly not a method of contraception. For starters, unlike contraception, NFP is a method that is equally successful in helping married couples who are having difficulty conceiving to do so. I’d like to see the Pill do that!

What I mean by an “attractive alternative” is that NFP is a collection of methods that translate into action the totality of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality in a way that offers a compelling response to the many unforeseen side effects and sources of pain brought about by the sexual revolution.

In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II beautifully expressed the truth about NFP in a single paragraph, writing:

The work of educating in the service of life involves the training of married couples in responsible procreation. In its true meaning, responsible procreation requires couples to be obedient to the Lord’s call and to act as faithful interpreters of his plan. This happens when the family is generously open to new lives, and when couples maintain an attitude of openness and service to life, even if, for serious reasons and in respect for the moral law, they choose to avoid a new birth for the time being or indefinitely. The moral law obliges them in every case to control the impulse of instinct and passion, and to respect the biological laws inscribed in their person. It is precisely this respect which makes legitimate, at the service of responsible procreation, the use of natural methods of regulating fertility. From the scientific point of view, these methods are becoming more and more accurate and make it possible in practice to make choices in harmony with moral values. An honest appraisal of their effectiveness should dispel certain prejudices which are still widely held, and should convince married couples, as well as health-care and social workers, of the importance of proper training in this area. (no. 97)

Unpacking that paragraph, we can note a few key characteristics of NFP:

1) It’s scientific. The Church has always acknowledged that married couples may have legitimate reasons for postponing having another child, and that there is no intrinsic moral impediment to timing sexual relations to coincide with the infertile period of the woman’s cycle. However, while a rudimentary understanding of the female reproductive cycle has existed for a long time, until relatively recently we lacked sufficiently detailed scientific information to formulate clear principles.

That all changed beginning in the early 20th century. Now, the science of fertility is a highly developed science, and there are several different methods of NFP that, if carefully followed, will help married couples either to postpone having a child, or to conceive a child, with a remarkable degree of reliability. With the recent explosion in, and popularity of, fertility apps, it is rarer to hear people denigrate “the rhythm method.” But even still a huge number of people remain unaware of just how scientifically advanced NFP has become, and how much easier to practice, due to a huge growth in resources and training materials.

NFP - acronym from wooden blocks with letters, abbreviation NFP, Natural Family Planning concept

2) It is embedded in a basic stance of “openness to life.” Unlike the case of artificial contraception, married couples who practice NFP always have fertility and children on their mind. Whereas the contracepting couple can simply take the Pill and go on “autopilot,” never giving a moment’s thought to children for years and years, the couple practicing NFP is prodded to re-evaluate their reasons for postponing having a child on a monthly basis. It is very difficult for the couple practicing NFP to lose sight of the fact that their reproductive systems are naturally designed for procreation. In this sense, NFP is simply more biologically and philosophically “truthful” than artificial contraception.

3) It demands personal virtue. Unlike artificial contraception, NFP demands personal sacrifice from the married couple, and often, in a special way, from the man, who must gain control over his sexual desires and channel them in a healthy way out of respect for his wife. At first glance this may not seem like a particularly “attractive” feature of NFP, and it is certainly the one that scares many couples away from it. However, those who have achieved any level of personal maturity have learned the truth that true satisfaction in this life is closely linked to the willingness to do difficult things and to delay gratification for good reasons. Married couples who use NFP consistently report all sorts of positive benefits, including better communication; a deepening of the couple’s love; a growth in spiritual and personal maturity; a sense that the woman is not being “used” by her husband for sex; more fulfilling sexual intimacy.

In an age where we prioritize and value “holistic” lifestyles, NFP is the ultimate holistic approach to sexuality: embracing body, mind, and soul. The Church has every reason to be proud of the fact that, long before Silicon Valley app designers discovered the benefits of “fertility awareness” (which is an often flawed ideology that relies on some of the same biological principles) we have preached a holistic approach to sex that emphasizes profound respect for natural processes.

But more than that, we should be proud that the Church’s prophetic vision saw clearly the spiritual, social, and physical dangers of the sexual revolution and the contraceptive mentality. In championing NFP, the Church highlights a far better response to our modern culture of sexual exploitation, or what Pope Francis calls the “throwaway culture,” a culture of discarding the fruit of our sexual unions as well as our exploited sexual partners.

Sexuality must be integrated into a holistic vision of the human person, that considers our fundamental dignity, deepest needs and moral responsibilities. Sexual pleasure is a good, but only when integrated into a loving, permanent union that is open to life. This is the vision of human sexuality embodied in Natural Family Planning. It is worth celebrating, and it is worth telling others about.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae, “The Church is grateful to those who, with personal sacrifice and often unacknowledged dedication, devote themselves to the study and spread of these methods, as well to the promotion of education in the moral values which they presuppose.” (no. 97)

In its teachings on sexuality, the Church has a great light to share with the world. It is time to stop hiding that light under a bushel basket. For this reason, I am grateful to the USCCB for organizing this NFP Awareness Week.

New Study Debunks Infamous Abortion Industry Myth

President of Planned Parenthood Leana Wen speaks during a protest against abortion bans, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, outside the Supreme Court in Washington. A coalition of dozens of groups held a National Day of Action to Stop the Bans, with other events planned throughout the week. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A new peer-reviewed examination of almost eight million pregnancies over a 15-year period debunks the abortion industry’s fictional narrative that abortion is a normal experience for mothers who already have children.

The study conducted by researchers at the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) found abortion among low-income women with children is exceedingly uncommon, if not rare.

Below is one example of the abortion industry’s myth from Planned Parenthood’s own website:

“Deciding to have an abortion doesn’t mean you don’t want or love children. In fact, 6 out of 10 people who get abortions already have kids — and many of them decide to end their pregnancies so they can focus on the children they already have.”

However, according to the new study authored by Dr. James Studnicki and a team of CLI researchers titled Estimating the Period Prevalence of Mothers Who Have Abortions: A Population Based Study of Inclusive Pregnancy Outcomes, revealed that out of nearly five million Medicaid-enrolled women with at least one pregnancy, less than 6% had both births and abortions.

The researchers also found that women in the study population almost never used abortion as a tool to space their children, proving another abortion industry myth is also false.

CLI’s paper was recently published in the international journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology.

Abortion in No Way Typical of Motherhood

The institute’s researchers conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional, and longitudinal analysis of the pregnancy outcomes experienced by 4.9 million Medicaid-enrolled women who had 7.8 million pregnancies between 1999 and 2014.  These women were at least 13 years old, had at least one identifiable pregnancy outcome, and were from the 17 states whose official policies use state taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.

“After studying the largest universe of actual pregnancy outcomes ever analyzed, our team found that abortion is in no way typical of motherhood,” Dr. James Studnicki, CLI vice president and director of data analytics, and one of the paper’s authors said.

“We didn’t sample or conduct surveys – we analyzed all recorded events. We followed the data. It is quite uncommon, if not rare, to have both births and abortions. The overwhelming number of children are born to mothers who never have an abortion,” Studnicki noted.

Other key findings from the CLI study include:

  • Women with both births and abortions have more abortions than births.  Women in the study who had both births and state-funded abortions averaged 3.2 pregnancies or more than twice the average number of pregnancies for women with “only births” or “only state-funded abortions.”
  • Abortion was rarely used to support healthy families or space out children. Abortions that could have been performed to delay a first birth (2.2%), space two births (1.0%), or end childbearing (3.0%) were rare.
  • This latest study expands on ongoing CLI research led by Studnicki analyzing Medicaid claims data to shed light on pregnancy outcome patterns.

    As CBN News reported last month, another CLI study published online in the peer-reviewed Medical Science Monitor found 2,162,600 Medicaid beneficiaries in 17 states with state taxpayer-funded abortion reveals that “rapid repeat pregnancy” (defined as a second pregnancy within 2 years) is most common among women who have abortions.

    Contrary to the narrative pushed by the abortion industry that abortion eases financial or personal problems for pregnant women, the study authored by CLI researchers suggests that a high number of women are pressured into having unwanted first-time abortions.

    Data Doesn’t Lie – Most Mothers Not Undergoing Abortions

    CLI President Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan said the new study reveals the abortion industry’s narrative isn’t true.

    “They want to make it acceptable to target vulnerable women and children by citing estimates and surveys conducted at abortion centers to support the narrative that ‘everybody is doing it,’” he said.

    “What Dr. Studnicki and his team have done is truly remarkable. This peer-reviewed research is based on nearly five million women who had nearly eight million pregnancies. By comparison, the frequently cited ‘Turnaway Study’ from the abortion industry is based on interviews with just 813 women,” Donovan continued.

    “Most mothers are not undergoing abortions.  We know that instinctively. We know that based on logic. Now, we know it based on data,” he added.

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world.

Ecological Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

John and Sheila Kippley
(World NFP Congress, Milan, Italy, June 13, 2015))

Abstract
Background: Breastfeeding mothers experience widely different durations of breastfeeding amenorrhea. Some have a first menses by three months; others one or two years later. Research studies, both prospective and retrospective, were reviewed to determine if breastfeeding patterns affect the duration of breastfeeding amenorrhea. Studies from the 1940s up to the 21stth century show that only frequent suckling provides a significant delay of fertility.

The type called ecological breastfeeding provides, on average, 14 to 15 months of breastfeeding amenorrhea.

Conclusion: Breastfeeding types need to be defined. The Church should promote and teach ecological breastfeeding as a desirable option for natural family planning. Eco-breastfeeding involves no abstinence, offers many benefits to mother and baby, is ecologically sound, and provides extended natural infertility. God does have a natural plan for spacing babies.

Continue reading document “Talk at Natural Family Planning Conference, Milan, June 13, 2015;Delivered by David F. Prentis” here 

Hormonal Contraception and Risk of Venous Thrombosis

In a study published in the journal The Linacre Quarterly, Dr. Lynn  Keenan and collaborators did a systematic review the literature to determine  the risk of objectively confirmed Venous Thrombosis with the use of Hormonal contraceptives  in healthy women compared to nonusers.

The authors searched 1962 publications and identified 15 publications that fit the criteria and were  included.

The researchers found the following results.

1.Users of oral contraception with levonorgesterol had increased risk of VT by a range of 2.79–4.07.

2. The first-generation oral contraceptives had an increased risk of VT of 3.37–8.7. The second-generation oral contraceptives had an OR range of 2.79–4.07. Most studies of Third-generation oral contraceptives  were in the range of 4–9. Of those that separated gestodene from desogestrel, the gestodene range was 5.2–9.1, and the desogestrel was 4.9–9.1. Oral contraceptives with drospirinone had a risk of 6.3 (2.9–13.7).

3. The nonoral forms showed that depot-medroxyprogesterone carried an RR of 3.6 (1.8–7.1).

4. Levonorgestrel intrauterine devices did not increase risk.

5. Etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol vaginal rings increased the risk of VT by 6.5. Norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol patches increased risk of VT by 7.9. Etonogestrel subcutaneous implants by 1.4 and depot-medroxyprogesterone by 3.6.

6. The risk of fatal VT was increased in women aged fifteen to twenty-four by 18.8-fold.

The authors of the study concluded  “current hormonal contraceptives carry a three- to nine fold risk of VT compared to nonusers. Third-generation contraceptives are about twice the risk of the other generations. Combined HC vaginal rings and transdermal patches carry a six- to eightfold risk. Obesity can double the risk compared to normal weight. Use during the first year carries the greatest risk, especially in women under age thirty, where the risk increases thirteenfold.”

Informed consent is needed to provide women with information on the medical risks of oral contraceptives. Women should be made aware of these risks when choosing family planning. Abstinence or fertility awareness-based methods are licit, safe, and effective options for women.

‘The art of the possible’: How science fiction captures the pro-life message

  |

“The Martian Chronicles” author Ray Bradbury once said, “I define science fiction as the art of the possible.” And sometimes, science fiction provides us with a picture of possibilities in the form of pro-life themes found in unexpected places.

Unlikely sources

“The Pre-Persons” is a little-known science fiction short story published in 1974 in the wake of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that made abortion legal in all 50 states. The story takes place in a dystopian United States where abortion is legal not just for preborn children, but also for children under the age of 12 who are unable to comprehend algebra.

As the plot goes, when one adult male sees a group of children about to be taken to the abortion facility, he insists on being taken with the children, claiming he has forgotten how to do algebra. Naturally, this creates quite a stir when he arrives, forcing the administrator and the staff into a quandary as the man insists that he, too, meets the qualifications to be aborted. Soon, the administration decides to let the man and the children go, in an acknowledgement of the humanity of the entire group.

The pro-life themes are quite prevalent throughout the story, showing the humanity of all the characters involved with the plot. Anyone who reads a copy is likely to think that a pro-life advocate penned it — but they would be wrong.

Philip K. Dick was the writer for many groundbreaking science-fiction stories. His novella, “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep,” would go on to become the basis for the hit film “Blade Runner” and its sequel “Blade Runner 2049.” Likewise, his writings such as “Total Recall,” “The Minority Report,” and “The Adjustment Bureau” have all gone on to become major motion pictures. Dick helped to define cyberpunk and is considered one of the best sci-fi writers in the United States.

Philip K. Dick (Screenshot: YouTube)

What readers might not know is that he also is the author of “The Pre-Persons,” which first appeared in the pages of “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” and would go on to be reprinted in anthologies of Dick’s works. However, as his stories gained more notoriety, “The Pre-Persons” slowly vanished from the collections with the last major U.S. reprint being in 2014.

It is no secret that pop culture is plagued with pro-abortion content. From dystopian tales like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to comedies like ‘Shrill,’ the pendulum tends to swing away from the pro-life message. However, “The Pre-Persons” is no outlier. I would make the case that science fiction, even accidentally, is predisposed to being pro-life.

Exploring the possibilities of life

Science fiction is all about the unknown. Even subgenres like steampunk, time-travel, and cyberpunk explore the unknown world to find new adventures. They show the potential and the possibilities that humanity has in making new discoveries. The pro-life message is all about giving preborn children the chance to live — the result being to find their own life adventures, so to speak.

In the episode “Evolution” in season three of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher accidentally creates a form of sentient microscopic robots after they are exposed to the Enterprise’s computer core. At first, a guest on the starship insists they be destroyed, likening them to “insects,” but the crew decides to defend the new life forms and eventually allows them to speak through the android crew member, Data. Their request is simple: “let us live.” In the end, the Enterprise crew leaves the robotic beings on an uninhabited planet that they can make their own.

Star Trek: The Next Generation “Evolution” (Screenshot: YouTube)

It is unknown whether Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry or any of his successors writing Star Trek episodes were at all pro-life. That being said, the analogy is clearly there. The microscopic robots have no voice to speak for themselves, one person insists they be “aborted,” but the crew gives them a chance at life — and they flourish.

Another example of a pro-life ethic displayed in sci-fi is the Netflix thriller “I Am Mother,” in which a robot raises a young girl to eventually take her place and restore humanity after it was wiped out in a catastrophic event. The girl soon realizes that the robot has other sinister motives, but it is the undertones that are important. When we see tubes of preborn human beings gathered in the robot’s lair, it is made clear that these children are alive and that they will eventually become a new population for Earth.

While, again, there is no evidence that the filmmakers are closeted pro-life advocates, it is hard to miss such a clear message that these children are not mere “clumps of cells,” — they are humanity’s future.

Netflix’s “I Am Mother” (Screenshot: YouTube)

This perspective on the pro-life themes found in science fiction is, of course, up for debate. Yet, the reasoning is there. When we approach science fiction, we see new galaxies, advanced technology, intrepid explorers, and brave men and women pushing past their limits into futuristic adventures. You cannot see a galaxy, build equipment, or map new worlds without first recognizing that life, from its beginning moments, is the greatest adventure.

A child in the womb is a human being who is simply growing and being prepared for all of the adventures and possibilities to come.

The Negative Effects of the Pill

The Pill: A Hormonal Method of Birth Control

The class of hormonal methods of birth control include birth control pills; implants such as Norplant, Jadelle and Implanon; injectables such as Depo-Provera and Lunelle; intrauterine devices (IUDs), patches and rings, and, of course, the class of abortion pills and so-called emergency “contraception,” which includes Cytotec, ellaOne, Mifegyne, Mifeprix, Plan B and Misoprostol.

All of these contain either one or a combination of artificial progestins and artificial estrogens.1

 

Health Issues Caused Hormonal Contraception

Though feminist groups and the mainstream media typically present hormonal contraceptives as a boon for women, they overlook the serious side effects reported in mainstream scientific literature, either through deliberate intent or negligence. Women who regularly ingest the powerful steroids in all modern hormonal methods of birth control will find that they usually suffer a wide range of side effects.

negative effects of the pill

This should come as no surprise since hormonal birth control methods such as “the Pill” are listed as carcinogens (causes of cancer) by their own manufacturers.2

The patient information pamphlets for hormonal birth control methods list a long range of side effects, including:3

  • Heart attacks
  • Cancers
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Sudden total or partial blindness
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Early unintended abortion
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Abdominal discomfort, bloating, and pain
  • Gall bladder problems, including gallstones
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Long-term hormonal regulation problems
  • Ectopic pregnancies
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Elevated potassium levels
  • Migraines or severe headaches
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Breast pain and swelling
  • Changes in menstruation patterns, e.g., PMS and dysmenorrhea
  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Stroke
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of libido
  • Fatigue
  • Significant weight gain
  • Fatal blood clots

 

One of the most serious negative effects of the Pill and other hormonal methods of birth control is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots that can potentially be fatal.

According to the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmaco-therapeutics, some versions of the Pill increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis up to eight-fold:4

Among the other various negative effects of the hormonal methods is difficulty regulating a woman’s testosterone levels even when she no longer uses the method. Researchers have found that abnormally low amounts of unbound testosterone caused by the use of the Pill (or other methods of hormonal birth control) persist after women cease using it. Women’s bodies use testosterone, as men’s do, to regulate sexual function, though in far lower amounts. Report coauthor Dr. Irwin Goldstein clarified: “This work is the culmination of 7 years of observational research in which we noted in our practice many women with sexual dysfunction who had used the oral contraceptive but whose sexual and hormonal problems persisted despite stopping the birth control pill.”5

 

Primary Concern: Cancer

negative effects of the pill include breast cancerThe hormonal methods of birth control increase the risk of cancer in women of childbearing age.

When taking hormonal contraceptives, “teenagers are especially vulnerable to breast cancer risk because their breasts are growing,” reports the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. The Institute also says that although the Pill lowers the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers, “according to the American Cancer Society, out of [a random selection of] 100 women with cancer, 31 have breast cancer, 6 have endometrial cancer and only 3 have ovarian cancer, so it is not a good ‘trade-off’ in risk.”

The National Cancer Institute confirms this view by stating that “studies have provided consistent evidence that the risks of breast and cervical cancers are increased in women who use oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers are reduced.”6

 

Psychological Impacts

Elizabeth Lee Vliet, MD, a women’s health specialist and the author of It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!, has studied the birth control pill’s negative impacts on women’s moods, with a particular emphasis on high-progesterone formulations. She found that they “might even bring about the need for antidepressants: The Pill screws up a woman’s mood and libido, and then she ends up on Prozac.”7

Dr. Vliet’s opinion is reinforced by the manufacturers of the hormonal methods themselves. Their patient information pamphlets list depression and nervousness as psychiatric disorders caused by their methods.8

These methods directly influence the hormonal cycle in women, but their impacts go far beyond mood swings. One of the most interesting studies done on the health impacts of the hormonal methods found that they may cause women to begin a relationship with the wrong men.

A study published in the August 2008 edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that when women smelled the T-shirts worn by men, they were attracted to more genetically dissimilar men before going on the Pill, and more genetically similar men after going on it.

As evolutionary psychologist Craig Roberts, one of the researchers, explains, “Not only could [genetic] similarity in couples lead to fertility problems but it could ultimately lead to the breakdown of relationships when women stop using the contraceptive pill, as odor perception plays a significant role in maintaining attraction to partners.”9

This fascinating study has thus found that the negative effects of the Pill are not just physical, but social as well, and may subtly influence a woman into being attracted to “Mr. Wrong.”

 

Environmental Poisoning

Much of the female hormonal content in these birth control methods is excreted via urine and ends up in rivers and lakes. Scientists are finding ever-greater numbers of “intersex” animals in aquatic environments that could lead to a collapse in fish and other populations, followed by a collapse in the populations of animals dependent upon them.

In 2004, The Washington Post reported that 79% of the male smallmouth bass in the Potomac River are growing eggs.10 In certain places, said the Post, “100% of the male fish had some female characteristics.”

 

Environmental Effects of the Pill: 79% of Male Smallmouth Bass in the Potomac Growing Eggs

A later Washington Post article described how scientists said the cause “is probably some pollutant created by humans — perhaps a farm chemical, or treated sewage, which can contain human hormones or residue from birth-control pills.” The later Post article reported that scientists think the problem is caused by a mixture of hormone and hormone-mimicking pollutants and have found negative effects on female fish as well.11

Iain Murray, author of The Really Inconvenient Truths, wrote on National Review Online, “By any standard typically used by environmentalists, the pill is a pollutant. It does the same thing, just worse, as other chemicals they call pollution.”

 

Early Abortion

Though the hormonal methods of contraception, including the Pill, appear to act the great majority of the time in preventing conception by suppressing ovulation and inhibiting sperm transport through the woman’s body, at other times they cause abortion by preventing or disrupting the implantation of an already-conceived child.

In some women, the Pill suppresses ovulation completely. But if the method fails, conception may follow and the user may feel that because she intended not to have a child, and because “technology failed her,” that she is entitled to a surgical or medical abortion.

 

Conclusion

The negative effects of the hormonal methods range from headaches and hair loss to fatal diseases such as cancer and deep-vein thrombosis. They also impact other people and society in general through psychological problems of the users and the environmental pollution they cause. In summary, these methods not only harm women, they harm the rest of us as well.

Want to know more? Try this video:

 

HLI’s Brian Clowes contributed substantially to this article.

 

Endnotes

[1] The chemicals used in hormonal methods of birth control commonly include one of about a dozen different artificial progestins — cyproterone acetate, dienogest, desogestrel, drospirenone, ethynodiol diacetate, etonogestrel, gestodene, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), norelgestromin, norethindrone, norethindrone acetate and norgestrel. All of the methods (except for the progestin-only minipill and some other methods such as IUDs, implants and abortion pills) also include the artificial estrogens ethinyl estradiol or estradiol cypionate. See the patient information pamphlets for each method to determine the exact combination of hormones they contain.

[2] Review of 1,346 patient information pamphlets on various hormonal methods of birth control distributed by the manufacturers. The National Cancer Institute (NIC) states, “The risks of breast and cervical cancers are increased in women who use oral contraceptives, whereas the risks of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers are reduced.”

[3] This example is Janssen Pharmaceuticals, “Micronor®” Oral Contraceptive Tablets, May 2020. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, “Highlights of Prescribing Information: Yasmin,” April 2012.

To see the patient information pamphlet for any hormonal birth control method, visit the National Institute for Health’s DailyMed website.

[4] Kiran G. Piparva and Jatin G. Buch. “Deep Vein Thrombosis in a Woman Taking Oral Combined Contraceptive Pills.” Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, Volume 2, Number 3 [July-September 2011], pages 185 and 186.

[5] Claudia Panzer, M.D., et.al. “Impact of Oral Contraceptives on Sex Hormone‐Binding Globulin and Androgen Levels: A Retrospective Study in Women with Sexual Dysfunction.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 1 [January 1, 2006], pages 104 to 113.

[6] National Cancer Institute. “Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk.” February 22, 2018. It should be noted that the National Cancer Institute also says that breast cancers and cervical cancers are much more common than endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.

[7] Rachael Combe, M.D. “Sexual Chemistry.” Elle, September 2005.

[8] Janssen Pharmaceuticals, “Micronor®” Oral Contraceptive Tablets, May 2020.

[9] University of Liverpool. “Contraceptive Pill Influences Partner Choice.” ScienceDaily, August 13, 2008.

[10] David A. Fahrenthold. “Male Bass in Potomac Producing Eggs.” The Washington Post, October 15, 2004.

[11] David A. Fahrenthold. “‘Human Activity’ Blamed for Fish Ills.” The Washington Post, February 8, 2008, page B03.

Women in India know how to regulate family size naturally, thanks to Mother Teresa

 

Recently, Live Action News reported that as part of a broader national conversation about population control, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is considering implementing coercive population control measures that would strongly incentivize couples who have just one child, and directly penalize couples who have more than two children.

While the case for a need for population control in India as a country is very weak due to a total fertility rate that is already below replacement level, critics of coercive measures correctly noted that in areas where women are more educated, the fertility rate drops naturally. Teaching women in poverty about fertility awareness is a form of education that helps them plan their families without the bodily harms that many experience from hormonal birth control, and which can be particularly dangerous for poor women unable to access follow-up care.

Mother Teresa on “throwaway culture”

The Missionaries of Charity, an order of religious sisters founded by the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, have for decades successfully taught women in Calcutta and throughout India to chart their cycles for pregnancy achievement or avoidance through the symptothermal method of natural family planning (NFP). Mother Teresa saw natural family planning as the antidote to a “throwaway culture” that views children and people in general as problems rather than as unique and unrepeatable gifts.

She commented in a 1994 address to U.S. legislators at the National Prayer Breakfast, “I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception.”

She also drew a connection between contraception and abortion, saying, “In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.”

Every woman can learn

Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity first embraced the Billings Ovulation Method in 1969, a form of the symptothermal method of NFP that utilizes both cervical mucus and temperature observations, after a woman trained in the method applied to join the religious order. An undated handbook put out by the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta sometime during the 1990s entitled “Natural Family Planning and Family Life Education” reported that “12,000 couples are successfully receiving instruction and have been able to rear their families in dignity and happiness.”

While pregnancy avoidance effectiveness statistics for the various methods of NFP can be notoriously hard to come by because many women use barrier methods such as condoms during their fertile time, a 1993 study in the British Medical Journal found that 19,843 women practicing the symptothermal method with abstinence during the fertile time (as taught by the Missionaries of Charity) “had a pregnancy rate approaching zero.” The official website about Mother Teresa maintained by the Missionaries of Charity reports that natural family planning is taught to this day.

The success of the Missionaries of Charity in teaching poor women to use NFP is a reminder that women of every socioeconomic status can learn the natural patterns of fertility and infertility within their own bodies, and they can utilize that information to plan their families in a manner that respects the dignity of all human life.

Potential for Embryo Formation and Loss during the Use of Hormonal Contraception

A recent  review article published in the journal The Linacre Quarterly evaluated “whether there is evidence that ovulation can occur in women using hormonal contraceptives and whether these drugs might inhibit implantation”.

The authors reviewed “English-language research articles that focused on how hormonal birth control, such as the birth control pill, may affect very early human embryos. The authors found that abnormal ovulation, or release of an egg followed by abnormal hormone levels, may often occur in women using hormonal birth control.

This may increase the number of very early human embryos who are lost before a pregnancy test becomes positive.

For women who are thinking about using hormonal birth control, this is important information to consider”.

 

Celebrate grandparents

“Grandparents are the ring linking generations, to transmit to young people the experience of life and faith.”
Pope Francis (2021)

 

In January 2021, after praying the Angelus, Pope Francis declared the fourth Sunday in July as World Day for Grandparents. The date has been chosen to be near the liturgical memorial (July 26) of Saints Anne and Joachim, grandparents of Jesus. Since the date of the memorial falls within the week devoted to raising awareness of Natural Family Planning and Church teaching which support its use in marriage due to the anniversary of Humanae vitae (July 25), it is appropriate for all NFP Week celebrations to include reflection upon the vital role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren.

For more information about World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, please visit the Vatican website.

Scores of women share stories of ‘excruciating’ pain from abortifacient IUDs, dismissal from doctors

July 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A recent article in the Washington Post’s women’s newspaper The Lily provides several accounts of women enduring agonizing pain after having intrauterine devices (IUDs) inserted, most of whom were dismissed by their doctors.

The IUD is a contraceptive tool. According to IUD manufacturer Mirena, IUDs prevent pregnancy by “thickening cervical mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus, inhibiting sperm movement so it’s more difficult to reach and fertilize an egg.”

It can also work as an abortifacient by thinning the lining of the uterus and preventing the embryo from attaching to the uterus. The copper IUD causes an inflammatory reaction which is toxic to sperm and eggs as well as to the fertilized embryo, thereby causing abortions.

Many obstetricians warn their patients of potential discomfort after the IUD insertion procedure, including irregular cramping. However, many women reported extreme pain which forced them to take medication and use other non-pharmaceutical methods to deal with the pain.

The Lily asked women to share their testimonies. One hundred thirty-one women responded, most of whom recounted severe pain either during the procedure or after they received their IUD.

The article cites gynecologist and Planned Parenthood associate medical director Stacy De-Lin. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion chain. De-Lin claimed the “vast majority of her patients who use the IUD are thrilled with their experience,” but many said that they felt ignored or overlooked by doctors who refused to adequately address their pain and were unwilling to remove the IUDs to relieve it.

Danielle Petermann, a 48-year-old woman who has had an IUD since 2013, said, “There are enough tales of discomfort that go beyond just taking an Advil or Tylenol that I think there should be more information available.”

After receiving her IUD, another woman, Tiffany Washington, returned to her doctor because of intense pain that forced her to spend two days in bed. The nurse in the office reportedly rolled her eyes at Washington, asking, “Back so soon?”

This caused Washington to reconsider her decision and to determine to attempt to endure the pain. However, after a few more weeks, she visited a local Planned Parenthood abortuary and had the device removed.

Many other women recounted stories of doctors dismissing their complaints and instead telling them to continue with the IUDs. One doctor advised her patient to remove the IUD herself.

Another woman, Valerie Johnson, recounted her doctor dismissing her extreme pain, only to realize weeks later that the IUD had perforated her uterus and lodged itself in a fat deposit.

She went into surgery a few days later. “I tend to defer to the experts,” Johnson said. “I wish I had been a stronger advocate for myself when my pain was dismissed.”

Pro-lifers have long noted that most gynecologists prioritize contraception over solving women’s underlying health concerns, and that most forms of contraception – including “the pill” and IUDs – have the capacity to induce very early abortions.

Why should ‘choice’ only mean abortion?

July 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Many women choosing a medical abortion (Mifegymiso in Canada) change their minds having taken the first pill.

Abortion Pill Reversal has been developed to assist these women who want to save their children from the effects of the first pill in this protocol (Mifepristone).

Records indicate that so far, 112 Canadian women have contacted the Abortion Pill Rescue Network for information on stopping an ongoing chemical abortion, with 57 choosing to undergo the abortion pill reversal procedure. Nine of these women have reported successful interventions with one mother agreeing to provide her testimony.

Abortion Pill Rescue believes there are many more Canadian babies alive whose mothers have not yet reported back their success stories.

The message that Alliance for Life Ontario is conveying to Canadian women is that there is a safe, effective (64% to 68%) method that may save their children if they have second thoughts after starting the Mifegymiso process.

It seems Canadian abortion advocates do not want women to know that this second chance at “choice” exists, as they are currently engaged in a campaign to silence the message that Alliance for Life Ontario is providing for these women.

In April 2021, MP Pam Damoff called our facts “dangerous misinformation” in Parliament. This is an outrageous lie, but parliamentary privilege protects her from the consequences of that lie. Our Facebook page has been taken down after erroneous complaints, our Google ad campaign has been limited, and now our website abortionpillreversal.ca is being attacked with complaints being made to Health Canada. Since this Health Canada avenue did not work, we are awaiting possible complaints to the Ontario Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians of Ontario from the so-called “pro-choicers.”

Abortion Pill Reversal is being offered around the world with 2,000 little ones saved to-date. Women deserve to know the truth about this second chance at choice and that there are physicians trained and willing to help them try to save their children using similar methods to those used for the last 50 years to assist in the prevention of miscarriage.

However, the politicization of abortion and medical science has world medical bodies, including those in Canada, expressing opposition to the use of progesterone protocols to save these tiny children from the effects of abortion drugs. Physicians are being hauled up before kangaroo courts to explain why they are using drugs “off-label” to save a life – and yet these same medical bodies appear to have no problem with the use of drugs “off-label” to kill a child in the womb.

The Ontario Ministry of Health has reported to Alliance for Life Ontario that a total of 45,363 prescription claims from Canadian pharmacies for Mifegymiso were made between August 10, 2017 and December 31, 2020. Yet we found no sign of these in the official abortion statistics for Ontario released from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

And the 45,363 does not include women receiving Mifegymiso in hospitals or prescriptions paid in cash or by another insurance rather than OHIP.

A final and outrageous fact is that a small study, ostensibly undertaken to prove Abortion Pill Reversal does not work ended up proving that it does and yet the authors had the audacity to claim the opposite of their results.

The study was abandoned because the Mifepristone caused extremely heavy bleeding in three participants, two of whom were in the placebo group and had not been given progesterone. The woman who had the progesterone did not experience such traumatic bleeding.

This study also proved that the progesterone protocol actually had an 80% success rate in maintaining the pregnancy in women who received progesterone without the second abortion drug and a 40% success rate in those who received both abortion-inducing drugs.

We believe that women who decide to have an abortion do not give up their right to the truth. Why does “choice” always have to mean abortion?

Below is Alliance for Life Ontario’s petition to Health Ministeer Patty Hajdu (click HERE to sign it):

To Health Minister Patty Hajdu:

Whereas: Women deserve a second chance at choice, and

Whereas A 2018 peer reviewed study showed positive results for Abortion Pill Reversal, establishing its effectiveness 64%-68% of the time, its safety for women; no increase in birth defects, and a lower preterm delivery rate than the general population, and

Whereas 2,000 pre-born children’s lives were saved in 2020 by Abortion Pill Reversal, and

Whereas Women who decide to have an induced abortion do not give up their right to the truth, and

Whereas, we know of at least 9 Canadian babies who are living today because of the abortion pill reversal procedure, and

Be it resolved that, any Canadian woman requesting Mifegymiso, must be provided Abortion Pill Reversal Procedure contact information, should she wish a second chance at choice after beginning the Mifegymiso abortion procedure.


Can Natural Family Planning help some couples conceive?

A recent study published in the journal Human Fertility looked into the effectiveness of a  fertility-awareness method in achieving pregnancy. The study particularly observed factors associated with the achievement of pregnancy and the usefulness of the mucus pattern, in the context of infertility.

The authors of the study identified 384 eligible women who attended 17 Australian Billings Ovulation Method® and were achieving a pregnancy. Pregnancy was achieved by 240 couples (62.5%) who received instruction to identify mucus symptom observations after a follow-up of two years maximum.

The participants kept a diary record of observations of vulvar sensation and vaginal discharge following the Billings Ovulation Method®  criteria. A changing pattern of vulvar wetness or slippery sensation indicated hormonal activity and potential fertility. The authors stratified “low pregnancy potential” and “high pregnancy potential” according to mucus symptom observations.  Pregnancy rates were ∼30% higher in the high pregnancy potential” group (44.4% versus 72.3%). Also the “high pregnancy potential” group achieved pregnancy in a  shorter period of time (4.2 versus 6.4 months).

In conclusion, these findings indicate that the use of fertility awareness methods helps women to identify critical biomarkers of fertility that may be used to achieve a pregnancy. These methods “provide a rapid, reliable and cost-effective approach to stratifying fertility potential, including directing timely and targeted investigations/management, and is accessible for women who may be remote from primary or specialist care”.

 

 

Does last contraceptive method used impact the return of normal fertility?

obgm0330110_evidence_holfer

According to a prospective observational study of more than 17,000 women that evaluated fecundability after stopping contraception the answer is YES.

The authors found hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) users had slightly increased fecundability compared with users of barrier methods.

There was no difference in fecundability for users of copper IUDs, implant, oral contraception, patches, rings, or natural methods compared with barrier methods.

Users of injectable contraceptives experienced the longest delay in return of normal fertility, about 5 to 8 menstrual cycles.

Responsible Parents Are Open to Life

Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain

Responsible-Parents-are-Open-to-Life-Sartain.pdf (usccb.org)

In an often-quoted and often-misunderstood section of the letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul begins a passage about wives and husbands with these words: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:21ff)

In the late fourth century, St. John Chrysostom suggested that young husbands should say
to their wives:

I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you. (Homily on Ephesians 20,8).

John captured well Paul’s teaching that wives and husbands are to be subordinate to one another–in other words, they are to consider the other’s good as of greatest importance, they are to sacrifice for one another as Christ himself has done, and as a couple they are to see themselves as subject to Christ. The concept of mutual subordination is a way of expressing the particular kind of love which characterizes Christian marriage, which is a union of loves so complete that the two become one.

In the Roman Catholic Church, it is ordinarily understood that husband and wife are ministers of God’s grace and confer on one another the sacrament of matrimony by declaring their consent before the Church. They are chosen instruments of God in one another’s lives–and not just the day of the wedding, but until death do us part. They are literally to help one another get to heaven! Moreover, their vocation entails not only being one in love for each other but also 2 being God’s instruments as a couple, most especially instruments of his creative power in giving life to children. Their love looks beyond itself and seeks to raise up new lives.

These two meanings or values of Christian marriage–the unitive and procreative–are intimately, inseparably linked; they cannot be divided without affecting the couple’s spiritual life and compromising their marriage and the future of their family. In fact, if a person enters marriage with the deliberate intention to exclude children from the marriage, the consent is invalid. Just as the persons of the Trinity are fruitful in love for one another and in creation, so the love of husband and wife is intended to be fruitful in love and offspring. Married couples are cooperators in the love of God the creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters.

Being cooperators and interpreters of the creative love of God carries both extraordinary joys and extraordinary responsibilities. An especially intimate and personal responsibility of every couple is making decisions about the regulation of births. Just as the crown of creation was human life, so the supreme gift of marriage is a human person, and the vocation of husband and wife entails honoring this capacity of their love with special care.

The Church does not teach that couples should have a certain number of children, but it does offer teaching about responsible parenthood, which can be summarized in these five points:
1. Husbands and wives have a responsibility to understand and honor the wisdom of the body, including its biological processes.
2. Humans share certain instincts and passions, and Christians are to guard and control them through reason and will.
3. Taking into consideration the physical, economic, psychological and social conditions of their marriage, couples exercise responsible parenthood by a prudent and generous 3 decision to raise a large family, or by a decision (for serious reasons and made according to the moral law) to avoid a new birth for the time being, or even for an indefinite period.
4. Responsible parenthood has its roots in the truth about right and wrong established by God, and spouses have a duty to inform their consciences and make decisions according to this truth. Husbands and wives recognize their duties toward God, themselves, their family and society, and are called to maintain a proper set of priorities.
5. Offering their marriage in discipleship to the Lord Jesus, couples do not make purely arbitrary or subjective decisions regarding becoming parents but use the wisdom of God as their guide. As in every other aspect of their lives, Christian couples always remain open to God’s wisdom and providence regarding family life, including the size of their particular family. Since God brought them together and shares his love with them, he will always guide them along paths that are best for them.

Interwoven among these aspects of responsible parenthood is the understanding that the two great meanings or values of marriage–the unitive and procreative–are never separated. A love that is complete and faithful, a love which holds nothing back from the other, will remain open to Gods creative plan. After all, it is God’s love in the first place.
_________________________
Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain is the Archbishop of Seattle. This article is part of a six-part series
first published for the Arkansas Catholic, a publication of the Diocese of Little Rock. It is
reprinted here with permission.

The Malthusian fallacy Paul Krugman just fell for

Over the last decade, United States population growth was at its lowest rate since the 1930s, according to a report released by the US Census Bureau in April. Population was up by 7.4 percent over the previous decade, the slowest growth rate the US has seen since the Great Depression. (These findings are a bit surprising since 93 percent of American adults either would like children or already have them, and only 5 percent do not want children, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.)

The Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had positive words to say about the census news. He wrote in a Times article recently, “Is stagnant or declining population a big economic problem? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, in a world of limited resources and major environmental problems there’s something to be said for a reduction in population pressure.”

By expressing a rosy attitude toward the waning of humankind’s proliferation on Earth, Krugman is joining a dubious tradition that has been ascendant since the 18th century.

“Paul Krugman at The Commonwealth Club” by commonwealth.club is licensed under CC BY 2.0

From Malthus to Krugman

The idea that a smaller human population is desirable on environmental grounds has been popular ever since the economist Thomas Malthus published his highly influential 1798 work, An Essay on the Principle of Population. Arguing that each plot of land could only yield so much produce, Malthus surmised that if population growth were to continue without drastic reduction, the vast majority of humanity would inevitably starve within a century of his writing.

Throughout the 19th century, Malthus’s predictions were conclusively disproved by widespread reductions in both poverty and food prices as the population continued to increase. But in the 1960s and 1970s, when the global population was roughly half what it is today, Malthusian ideas once again rose to global prominence. Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, for example, became a celebrity by inciting an international hysteria over population growth. His 1968 book The Population Bomb became a worldwide bestseller, and he got plentiful mainstream media exposure for his ideas, including over twenty appearances on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Ehrlich claimed that not just food, but virtually all natural resource supplies were at the brink of collapse.

His predictions included death by starvation for hundreds of millions before the end of the 1970s (including 65 million Americans), the essential doom of India in its entirety, and even the non-existence of England by the year 2000. Perhaps his grandest forecast, made in 1970, was that “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity” would arrive by 1985.

In the 21st century, population panic has shifted focus mostly to climate change. Environmentalists can now often be heard advocating smaller family sizes, or avoiding child conception altogether, in an effort to limit carbon emissions.

An article in The Guardian is titled, “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.” According to an NPR piece, “A recent study from Lund University in Sweden shows that the biggest way to reduce climate change is to have fewer children.” And the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an essay titled, “Stabilize global population and tax carbon to reduce per-capita emissions,” in which it is argued that, “Tax and other economic incentives should be continuously reconsidered to make population stabilization more likely”.

Given the apocalyptic terms in which some of our most esteemed politicians and news outlets speak about the risks of climate change, these contemporary population doomsayers can hardly be considered less alarmist than Malthus and Ehrlich.

Hunger Versus Science

As you may have noticed, the predictions of Malthus and Ehrlich turned out to be epically off.

Food prices have been falling rapidly since Malthus made his predictions in 1798, and the share of the population living in absolute poverty has fallen even faster.

And according to research by Oxford University economist Max Roser, global per capita calorie intake increased nearly every year during the period about which Ehrlich made his predictions. Data show that between 1961 and 2013, per capita calorie intake increased from 2,196 kcal to 2,884 kcal—even while the world’s population nearly doubled.

What accounts for the radical improvements in global nutrition? The New York Times ran an article about the progress against world hunger since Ehrlich’s predictions. The author stated:

No small measure of thanks belonged to Norman E. Borlaug, an American plant scientist whose breeding of high-yielding, disease-resistant crops led to the agricultural savior known as the Green Revolution. While shortages persisted in some regions, they were often more a function of government incompetence, corruption or civil strife than of an absolute lack of food.

But Borlaug’s innovation was just one in a long trend of improvements to agricultural technology. Early that century, in 1909-1910, the Haber-Bosch process was invented, for which Haber and Bosch each earned a Nobel Prize in chemistry. Their process facilitated the creation of synthetic fertilisers, which revolutionised the capabilities of farmers worldwide and made it possible to feed a much larger population from the same amount of farmland.

Even throughout the nineteenth century, industrialisation was radically improving farmland efficiency. The political economist and historian Peter Kropotkin wrote in his 1892 book The Conquest of Bread about the game-changing impact greenhouses were having on agriculture:

And yet the market-gardeners of Paris and Rouen labour three times as hard to obtain the same results as their fellow-workers in Guernsey or in England. Applying industry to agriculture these last make their climate in addition to their soil, by means of the greenhouse.

Kropotkin noted,

Fifty years ago the greenhouse was the luxury of the rich. It was kept to grow exotic plants for pleasure. But nowadays its use begins to be generalized. A tremendous industry has grown up lately in Guernsey and Jersey, where hundreds of acres are already covered with glass — to say nothing of the countless small greenhouses kept in every little farm garden.

These are just a few of countless such examples of scientific and technological innovations revolutionising the ability of humankind to more resourcefully subsist within its environment.

The Ultimate Resource

Every new human will consume resources, produce carbon emissions, and pollute their environment to some degree. But every new human also comes with a human mind, the source of potential solutions to these problems and many others. Each new able body also contributes precious labour to the economy, contributing to the rearrangement of the world’s atoms into more useful configurations.

The people whose future existence Malthus feared would lead to mass starvation, in some cases, turned out to be the very people who would revolutionise agriculture and virtually every other productive industry.

Likewise, when Krugman’s fear of “limited resources and major environmental problems” leads him to speak positively of “a reduction in population pressure,” he assumes that the destructive capacities of future people are likely to outweigh their creative capacities. But as we have seen, the history of such predictions suggests precisely the opposite. The above-mentioned Lund University study accounts for the carbon emissions of future people, but it does not account for the creative visions of those people, nor can any study before the people exist.

Paul Ehrlich’s archnemesis, the economist Julian Simon, understood this fundamental flaw in Malthusian thinking. As he argued in the second edition of his 1980 book The Ultimate Resource,

Adding more people to any community causes problems, but people are also the means to solve these problems. The main fuel to speed the world’s progress is our stock of knowledge, and the brake is our lack of imagination. The ultimate resource is people – skilled, spirited, and hopeful people – who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit as well as in a spirit of faith and social concern. Inevitably they will benefit not only themselves but the poor and the rest of us as well.

If you want to increase resource abundance and have the climate engineered to your liking, perhaps consider having more children. Your future descendants may be the ones to grow up and create the knowledge required to usher in levels of prosperity that we have seldom dared to imagine.

This article has been republished with permission from Foundation for Economic Education.

Why Natural Family Planning Differs from Contraception

https://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/awareness-week/upload/Why-NFP-Differs-from-Contraception-JPII.pdf

Pope John Paul II

In 1998 Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to Dr. Anna Cappella, director of the Center for
Research and Study on the Natural Regulation of Fertility at Rome’s Catholic University of the
Sacred Heart. The occasion was a convention commemorating Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s
1968 encyclical. Excerpts are reprinted below.

I hope that everyone will benefit from a closer study of the Church’s teaching on the truth of the act of love in which spouses become sharers in God’s creative action.

The truth of this act stems from its being an expression of the spouses’ reciprocal personal giving, a giving that can only be total since the person is one and indivisible. In the act that expresses their love, spouses are called to make a reciprocal gift of themselves to each other in the totality of their person: nothing that is part of their being can be excluded from this gift. This is the reason for the intrinsic unlawfulness of contraception: it introduces a substantial limitation into this reciprocal giving, breaking that “inseparable connection” between the two meanings of the conjugal act, the unitive and the procreative, which, as Pope Paul VI pointed out, are written by God himself into the nature of the human being (HV, no. 12).

Continuing in this vein, the great pontiff rightly emphasized the “essential difference” between contraception and the use of natural methods in exercising “responsible procreation.” It is an anthropological difference because in the final analysis it involves two irreconcilable concepts of the person and of human sexuality (cf. Familiaris Consortio, no. 32).

It is not uncommon in current thinking for the natural methods of fertility regulation to be separated from their proper ethical dimension and to be considered in their merely functional aspect. It is not surprising then that people no longer perceive the profound difference between these and the artificial methods. As a result, they go so far as to speak of them as if they were another form of contraception. But this is certainly not the way they should be viewed or applied.

On the contrary, it is only in the logic of the reciprocal gift between man and woman that the natural regulation of fertility can be correctly understood and authentically lived as the proper expression of a real and mutual communion of love and life. It is worth repeating here that “the person can never be considered as a means to an end, above all never a means of ‘pleasure.’ The person is and must be nothing other than the end of every act. Only then does the action correspond to the true dignity of the person.” (cf. Letter to Families, no. 12).

The Church is aware of the various difficulties married couples can encounter, especially in the present social context, not only in following but also in the very understanding of the moral norm that concerns them. Like a mother, the Church draws close to couples in difficulty to help them; but she does so by reminding them that the
way to finding a solution to their problems must come through full respect for the truth of their love. “It is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ,” Paul VI admonished (HV, no. 29).

The Church makes available to spouses the means of grace which Christ offers in redemption and invites them to have recourse to them with ever renewed confidence. She exhorts them in particular to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is poured out in their hearts through the efficacy of their distinctive sacrament: this grace is the source of the interior energy they need to fulfill the many duties of their state, starting with that of being consistent with the truth of conjugal love. At the same time, the Church urgently requests the commitment of scientists, doctors, health-care personnel and pastoral workers to make available to married couples all those aids which prove an effective
support for helping them fully to live their vocation (cf. HV, no. 23-27).

 

Physician group condemns EU vote as an attack on preborn children

 

Doctors for Life, a pro-life lobby group, spoke out against the recent vote by the European Union Parliament in favor of the Matić Report, which defends abortion as a human right and puts pressure on pro-life member states to legalize abortion. The group called the report “another step in the efforts of the pro-abortion lobby to normalize this abhorrent practice in Europe and force it on member states.”

The Matić Report on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health, pressures pro-life member states of the EU to enact pro-abortion laws. Introduced by S&D MEP Fred Matić, it calls for guaranteed access to sexual and reproductive health. This includes not only abortion, but fertility treatments that often result in the destruction of human lives. The report also aims to end conscience protections for pro-life doctors and medical workers, forcing them to commit or participate in abortions.

“The report utilizes the same shrewd and misleading approach to force politicians and the public to acquiesce and submit to its conclusions by repeatedly conflating gender equality and basic human rights with abortion,” Doctors for Life said in a statement, according to the Times Malta.

“This rationale makes the rejection of abortion equivalent to an unwillingness to grant equality or essential human rights and is a strategy employed repeatedly to compel others to accept such proposals,” the group continued. “Of course, such a strategy necessitates the continued employment of euphemisms like reproductive rights and healthcare to sanitize the brutal reality of the intervention.”

That brutal reality is that abortion “unequivocally involves the intentional killing of a human life,” Doctors for Life said.  Each abortion procedure uses violence to end the life of a living, growing, preborn human being. Abortion is not health care.

Just 16 weeks in the womb

Doctors for Life was also critical of the report’s efforts to end conscience objections, stating that in countries in which abortion is legal, there are a significant number of physicians who are unwilling to partake in abortions. In parts of Italy, 90% of doctors refuse to carry out abortions, and in Ireland, 68% of doctors have said they would not commit abortions.

Deliberately killing human beings in the womb is not health care, and does not make women equal to men. All human beings, regardless of age or gender, are intrinsically equal. Forcing pro-life nations in the EU, or anywhere else in the world, to decriminalize abortion will not decrease poverty or child abuse, and it will not save women from oppression. Abortion is simply oppression redistributed to the most innocent.

To have kids or not: which decision do Americans regret more?

by James L. McQuivey

Should you have children? And if so, how many? Asking and answering these questions is not only deeply anguishing for many individuals but also bears on national and global well-being. Contemporary discussions of childbearing range from the writer who got a vasectomy due to climate change to the regular reports of declining fertility across the world, including the 4% decline in 2020 in the US.

Amid this discussion, The New York Times opinion writer Elisabeth Bruenig penned a moving essay about her personal experience as an outlier among her high-status, educated peers— she gave birth to her first child at 25 and, what’s more, she’s “not sorry she didn’t wait.” This simple notion, timed to coincide with Mother’s Day of all days, caused pandemonium. Among the various critiques of Bruenig’s lived experience were those who suggested that if we have to hear from women who love their children, we should also read more essays from women and men “who regret having children,” as writer Jill Filipovic suggested. Among the many replies were those like this, from @MAStirling, who wrote:

I have daughters so I’ve been pretty honest with them. I’ve encouraged them not to have children. They know I love them, but they also know that motherhood in our country is a prison sentence.

While the commentary focused on whether we should regret the decisions we make about having or not having children, no one presented the facts about how many of us actually do regret these decisions. Each person may have their own individual story to tell, but it turns out that the vast majority of people want to have children and, as we’ll show, more than a third wish they had more children than they currently have.

This is according to the second wave of the “U.S. Adult Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes Study,” a survey of 1,518 adults I designed and fielded in March 2021. Among the respondents, ranging in age from 18 to 74, 68% have at least one child. Another 19% have not had children nor want to have children, while the remaining 13% do not have children but still hope to. The fact that more than three-fourths of adults already have or want to have children should itself be evidence that something very fundamental is at work, likely the same biological predisposition that motivates all life on the planet.

But that fact could open the door to even more regret. If we’re physiologically bent on having children, perhaps we later regret the outcome, encumbering as it is upon our personal freedoms. Though some commenters on the Bruenig essay feel this way, it is not common. While the present study did not explicitly ask whether people regretted having children, it did approach a topic that is similar, asking those with children to agree or disagree with the statement, “I wish I had had fewer children.”

Just 14% of people with children (10% of all adults) agreed with the statement. And even with these, we don’t know whether they regret ever having children or just wish that they had fewer children. Either way, the maximum share of people who are not inclined toward joy in children is 29%, including those who don’t currently have children and those who don’t want to, as well as those who wish they’d had fewer. This is not close to a majority, but it is also not a trivial number.

Conversely, when asked if they wished for the opposite, if they agree that, “I wish I had or would still like to have more children,” 24% fall into the category of already having but still wanting more children. This is consistent with research shared on IFS in 2018 using Gallup data showing that women regularly wish to have more children than they do.

The final score? As shown in the figure below, 29% of U.S. adults either do not want to have children or wish they had fewer. A third (34%) have children and are happy with the number they have and another third—the largest group—wish they had more (37%), whether currently parents or not. In other words, those with no apparent regret or reluctance outnumber the rest by more than 2 to 1.

Of course, none of the aggregate statistics tell us what we should feel individually, nor should they compel someone’s personal choices. But this should give us pause as we consider whether we can so easily tell people that personal choices related to procreation are merely that, just personal choices, some of which we will regret and others we will not. For some reason, most of us really want to have kids. And for those that do, an astonishing 88% agree that “having children is one of the most important things I have done.” This suggests the joy far outweighs the regret.

This all suggests that our bodies are doing what they seem designed to do: motivating us to bond with mates and procreate. As I’ve previously written, people who want marriage and family are happier than those who do not. This includes singles who do not currently have a partner—their life satisfaction is predicted by their desire to bond and procreate independent of their current life situation.

Borrowing from the old Sinatra hit: “Regrets? I’ve had a few.” But having children is not one of them for the majority of Americans.

In March, 2021, the survey of US Adult Sexual Behaviors and Attitudes was fielded to a U.S. representative sample of adults ranging in age from 18 to 74. The outgoing sample was balanced by sex, age cohort, and U.S. Census region. Sample sourced from and data collection provided by Dynata, a global leader in first-party data and data services. The respondents were weighted back to the outgoing sample parameters for sex, age, marital status and region. Data were validated for internal consistency and compared for population representation to U.S. / Census data and GSS data for income, rates of marriage, and childbearing. The project was conceived, designed, executed, and paid for entirely by Dr. James McQuivey.

Republished with permission from the Institute for Family Studies.

Heavy Bleeding, Anxiety, and other Warning Signs Your IUD Is Not Good For You

 

Heavy Bleeding, Anxiety, and other Warning Signs Your IUD Is Not Good For You

After the copper IUD caused Tamara Wilder physical symptoms like sore tailbone and heavy bleeding, followed by more severe symptoms of debilitating anxiety, she founded IUD Awareness, a website with resources for women who have experienced adverse reactions to the IUD. Tamara now also serves on an online IUD support group and says it was finding other women’s stories that helped her find the cause of her health problems. Here is Tamara’s story.

I didn’t recognize the early warning signs when they started happening. Like so many of us, things were going on in my life, and so when I started feeling weird, which when I look back, was right away. Within days of having it inserted I was having a really sore tailbone. I couldn’t sit down for about three or four months without having pain. And I didn’t even identify that as an early warning sign until way later when I got on support groups and I started seeing other people mention it; but it was way at the very beginning.

And then I had a lot of heavy bleeding. I was warned that I would bleed more than usual for several months, and I was bleeding pretty heavily, so I told myself, “I just have to get through this.” And like many doctors, my naturopath said, “your body’s going to do weird things for a few months but you just gotta bear through it, but then it’s all going to calm down and this thing’s going to be great for you.”

But it wasn’t great for me.

This was the first time I’d put anything in my body or altered my body for birth control. And since I’ve joined the support groups and hear other women’s stories, and hear how many birth control types they’ve gone through and how many problems they’ve gone through, I feel incredibly lucky.

The copper IUD did not work for me. It was something that my body responded to negatively from the very, very beginning. And I still was trying to give it a try because my naturopath said it was great. I’d actually had it inserted at Planned Parenthood and they were so pro-IUD. And I remember in the first couple months I would call and say, “I’m bleeding a lot; I’ve sort of bled all month, and it hasn’t stopped.” (I bled about three weeks of every month that I had the IUD, and I would spot every week that I wasn’t heavy bleeding, so I really was constantly bleeding.)

And I was in a new relationship, which was very problematic; this was a bloody, bloody existence. That’s one of the things they tell you [with contraceptive devices]: you can have trouble-free sex, without worrying about getting pregnant. But if you’re bleeding all the time on the copper IUD, that doesn’t make sex very fun.

Ultimately, I had a very negative experience with the IUD, but it took me ten months to figure out what was going on. Even though my body reacted so negatively from the very beginning, looking back I can see the early warning signs. And for that reason, when I did finally make the connection and figured it out, I felt really driven.

From fog to clarity

I was very fortunate that I had a lot of support in my recovery. I was very fortunate that financially, my family helped me out and allowed me to not have to worry about finances for a year; they told me to just take care of my health. And so part of my healing process was getting the word out and telling people my story. Because when I was first trying to figure it out, five months in, I searched like crazy but could not find the information I needed; in fact, I found information that diverted me from what was going on.

So I just wanted to make that information available to people and make a place where stories could be told and people could find them. And so I founded IUD Awareness as a part of my healing process. On the support groups I was seeing so many people having to recover while they had children, while they were still working, while they were struggling on a daily basis—and all of us struggle on a daily basis to recover. So many of us have hard recoveries, but I was being so supported in my recovery and in my financial existence for my first year. So I felt what I needed to do was to put my time and energy into creating an entity that could help people.

The freedom found in IUD support groups

When I found the IUD Side Effects support group it was almost six years ago, and there were 1800 members. At the time there were three admins, and I became the fourth admin. Because it was growing so fast, that it was really overwhelming…

iud awareness copper iud paragard liletta skyleena early warning signs spotting heavy bleeding pain cramps tailbone pain intrauterine device natural womanhood tamara wilder

We get about 100 member requests a week, which is our average. When a film comes out, or like when The Bleeding Edge came out all of a sudden, that went to 200 or 300 a week. And we lose a certain amount, so we’re gaining a net of about 50 members a week as a really constant growth rate, and we’re almost at 25,000 now, which is incredible.

Not everybody on the group has IUD side effects; many women are on the group because they’re looking for side effects. They feel like the IUD is working for them, but they’re trying to empower and educate themselves. And I am very supportive of that because if I had had that information, I would have been able to see the side effects that were plaguing me. Some women don’t see a problem, and they feel like it’s fine. But the majority of the women on the group have seen side effects, have had their lives devastated, have already removed the IUD, and/or are in recovery. We also have some women on the group who are considering getting the IUD, and they’re doing their own research and finding women’s real-life experiences instead of what I call propaganda, hearing all the good things instead of being told what can go wrong.

And we’re not saying on the support groups and on IUD Awareness that an IUD will always go wrong, but we’re saying that it’s going wrong more often than people realize. Because the stories aren’t being reported.

iud awareness iud side effects severe problems anxiety depression mood disorders natural womanhood

Personally, after my experience and after reading all the stories, I do not think that IUDs are safe; I would never recommend them to anybody, but everybody needs to be able to make their own decisions. So by sharing our stories and real-life experiences, people can choose to take the risk, and realize that getting an IUD is actually a risky choice, despite being told it’s totally safe by the doctors who are promoting it to you. And if you do your research you realize it is not totally safe, that there are chances that it will go wrong—and when it goes wrong, it usually goes really wrong. Some people have minor problems, but the majority of people on the support group have huge problems… We’re trying to find people before they’re in that severe state so they don’t have to go through the depth of the health crisis that so many of us have.

Common threads in IUD side effects

One of the trends I see on the support group is people say “the doctor told me to keep it.”… They say, “it’s a foreign object in your body, your body’s going to react to it, but it will get used to it.” And my response to that is: our bodies will adapt to most anything, but that does not mean that the state that we end up in is a healthy, balanced state.

In the training that doctors are receiving, they’re being told don’t take it out too soon; if someone’s having problems with it, get them to hang in there; get them to have it for at least six to eight months before you will take it out. And so that’s why, so many of us, if our bodies are telling us from the very beginning that it’s not working for us, we go to the doctor, and the doctor, if they’re experienced with IUDs, they’ll say “you just have to hang in there.” And if they’re not experienced with IUDs, like my general practitioner, they’ll say, “there’s no way what is happening to you could be related to the IUD, it must be something else.”

My IUD and severe anxiety

In my case, I had worsening symptoms for five months that were taking me down in so many ways. My mental state was degrading really quickly and I didn’t realize what was going on because I never suffered from anxiety before. I’ve always been a very balanced person; I never had any depression or any anxiety. And so I just thought I was feeling tired; I just thought I was feeling stressed. But I was actually falling and running over the cliff and one day I just went over the cliff into the big pit of massive anxiety. And I had a breakdown.

I got diagnosed with sudden anxiety disorder and put on Ativan and then Paxil. My doctor kept increasing the doses of Paxil, and I was completely dysfunctional. Within five months of getting an IUD I went from running my own business, being a super independent person (I’m admired for my independence and my ability to handle anything, because I teach ancient living skills! I teach people how to survive in the woods!) and within five months, I collapsed completely into an agoraphobic, hiding person in a room in my parents’ house, and taking these anti-anxiety meds that were not doing anything. Totally suicidal. Totally not understanding, feeling disconnected, feeling like I was living on a different planet, like a foreign world. And it was a devastating thing. And that started five months after my IUD was inserted.

And for the next five months, I would try to figure it out; I would go online and search and I would try to find answers, and I wouldn’t find anything. Everything would say the copper IUD couldn’t cause these kinds of things. Everything was saying, “oh, it’s totally healthy” which is the propaganda I was finding in my searches. And my mind wasn’t together enough to go deep enough to find all the stories; everything I was finding at the time was pro-IUD. And so I kept saying “well the doctors are saying it can’t be related; I’m not finding anything on the Internet.” I’d find a few little things and then the doctor would say “well that’s just a hack.” And then he told my parents, “don’t let her use the Internet anymore because it’s increasing her anxiety.” And so I actually stopped searching.

About six or seven months in, I had just given up. My doctor just kept saying, “you just have to accept that this happens to women sometimes and you just need to adjust. There’s something you need to change in your life and you just need to adjust to this.”

Funnily enough he was right; the thing I needed to change in my life was I needed to get a foreign object that was poisoning me out of my body, and that made everything get better. But that wasn’t what he was talking about; he was talking about something in my brain.

And that is one of the trends that we on the support groups. And I don’t really see any changing trends; what I see on the support groups is everybody has different clusters of symptomatology. And so we have common clusters, and everybody’s clusters are slightly different, but we have common things that everybody sees. And to me, anxiety disorders and depression—either starting anew, or if you already have it, it getting worse and the things that used to work for you not working anymore—is the predominant thing. Almost everybody experiences some level of that, altering their body.

And I think it is something from what’s in the IUDs; a little bit probably toxicity issues of things that could be causing the anxiety, but I feel that for me, because it went away so quickly after removal—my debilitating anxiety was gone within twenty minutes of the IUD being removed from my body.

So for me it was a foreign object inside my body; I call it a body invasion issue. Our bodies respond to foreign objects being put into them, and the anxiety is the way that they respond in trying to tell you that something’s wrong. But what happened with me was I was being told that something was wrong, but I wasn’t looking in my body for the source, I was looking outside in my world for the source but I couldn’t find it. And the side effects almost keep us from seeing it.

Watch Natural Womanhood’s full interview with Tamara below.

To learn about safe and effective nonhormonal methods of fam

Parents enraged as Planned Parenthood school flyer promotes sex to 11-year-olds

  |

Parents in Tacoma, Washington, are reportedly furious after a Planned Parenthood flyer promoting sex among pre-teen children was distributed at Stewart Middle School. Yet in a statement provided by Tacoma Public Schools to the Post Millennial, the flyer was not part of the curriculum and should never have been sent home with students.

Eric Hogan, assistant director of secondary education at Tacoma Public Schools, told the Post Millennial that the flyer was only distributed to students at Stewart Middle School, and apologized for the mistake. “Previously, Planned Parenthood taught within our schools and supplied the flyer which was distributed to students,” his statement read. “We discovered a binder of curriculum materials was left behind for an incoming teacher to use for this year, and the flyer was in the binder. Not realizing the flyer wasn’t approved material, the teacher sent it home with students. Corrective action has been taken with this employee.”

Hogan added, “Planned Parenthood is no longer giving presentations within our schools.”

Copies of the flyer were posted on social media, and the information was beyond disturbing. Under the title, “Age of minority & consent for sex,” students were told “it is not a crime” if they have sex as young as 11 years old, as long as their sex partners are no more than two years older than they are.

Photo shared publicly on Diego Lopez’ Facebook page.

The flyer reads:

It is not a crime if you are…

  • 11 and have sex with somebody 2 years older or less.
  • 12 to 13 and have sex with somebody who is 3 years older or less.
  • 14 or 15 ad have sex with somebody who is 4 years older or less. 

… If you are 14 years and older, you do not need permission from your parent or guardian to get treated for STDs or HIV, or to get treatment…

You are allowed to get a prescription for birth control without your parent or guardian’s permission…

ABORTION – You do not need to get permission from your parent or guardian AT ANY AGE…

The flyer also explained how students could obtain condoms “at any age” and Plan B, explaining that they didn’t need their parents’ permission for that, either. The only sexual behavior discouraged on the flyer was sexting, which Planned Parenthood noted is illegal in Washington.

Letter from Tacoma Public Schools

Meanwhile, the flyer failed to point out that the consent laws in Washington merely mean the state will not prosecute; as the state points out, “[a]ge is just one of many factors involved in consent.” Emotional and psychological development should be considered as another factor of consent, which for an 11-year-old, raises many red flags. The preteen stage is a time when children are experiencing a lot of hormonal changes, and begin to not only desperately seek independence from their family, but begin to strongly rely on their peer groups instead. This, while perfectly normal, can easily cause pressure and coercion to have sex, with a child feeling that they must have sex in order to be accepted. Adding Planned Parenthood’s propaganda doesn’t help.

But Planned Parenthood’s brand of sex education has been known to go far beyond even what this flyer promotes, as Live Action’s Sex Ed investigation revealed. Planned Parenthood employees were secretly recorded promoting pornography, BDSM, whips, handcuffs, and other violent sexual behaviors and torture devices to teens, encouraging them to experiment and “Google whatever is in your head.”

Encouraging students to use birth control without their parents’ knowledge is also deeply problematic; an 11-year-old is unlikely to know if they have a pre-existing condition which could make hormonal birth control in particular more dangerous. But even more disturbing is the possibility of Planned Parenthood using birth control as a way to get secure pre-teens as future customers, for services other than just contraception.

Former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Treviño told 40 Days for Life that “contraception and abortion are two sides of the same coin,” and that selling promiscuity to young people creates a market for abortion.

“The more people use birth control and adopt a contraceptive mentality, the higher the odds that they’ll seek an abortion,” she explained. “Because, let’s face it, if they’re using birth control, a child is not part of the ‘plan.’ Abortion is the backup, so to speak, for contraceptive failure, misuse, or lack of self-control.”

Monica Kline, a former Planned Parenthood sex educator, agreed that Planned Parenthood intentionally sells sex to children, knowing that it will create future abortion clients.

This blatant effort to promote sex to children, who are too young to truly understand or consent, should never be permitted. Yet too often, Planned Parenthood is still welcomed in schools across the country, grooming them to become future paying clients who will learn to rely on the abortion corporation.

“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!

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.

Failure Rate of the Pill

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% of these occur among girls and women 15 to 24 years old.1

The method effectiveness of the Pill is 99.7% 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% per year.2  This means that 9% 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 3% of all failures, and the users are responsible for the remainder.

The 91% “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:

  • 9% probability of becoming pregnant in the first year
  • One in four (25%) probability in three years
  • 38% in five years
  • 61% in ten years.3

In summary, if a sexually active girl of 15 starts using the Pill continuously, there is a nearly 50% 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, “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.”4  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 which 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.4

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% of aborting women were using the Pill when they got pregnant, and another 27% were using condoms.  And in 2014, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the largest chain of abortion mills in the United Kingdom, found that 27% of women obtaining abortions were on the Pill when they got pregnant, while 35% were using condoms.  BPAS Executive Director Ann Furedi confirmed what pro-lifers have always claimed when she acknowledged, “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.”

Dangers of Birth Control Pills

Even after the shift from high-dose to low-dose pills, United States federal courts classified the birth control as “unavoidably unsafe.”5  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.6

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% 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.7  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.8

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% increased risk of breast cancer in women who were taking the Pill prior to their first pregnancy.

Indirect Dangers of Birth Control

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, and the degradation of marriage and the family.

1. 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% of all couples living together are not married.  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.”9  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.”10

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.”11

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.”12

Drs. Kirstner and Min‑Chueh were certainly correct in their assessment of the situation.  In 1970, only 4.6% of all 15‑year‑old girls had experienced premarital sex.  By 2000, this rate had increased more than eightfold to 40%.  Of all unmarried girls in the 15 to 19 age bracket, 28.6% had had premarital sex in 1970.  This rate had more than doubled to 61.4% by 199013 and reached about 80% by 2000.14

2. 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:

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.15

The illegitimacy rate for births among teenaged girls hovered around 5 – 7% 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% in 1960.  This rate had increased by 700% to 40.7% by 2008.16

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.

3. Degradation of Marriage and Family

In 1965, before the Pill became widely available, about 15% 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.  This in turn causes great problems because more than 75% of all couples who lived together before marriage eventually divorce.17  The Pill has also contributed greatly to our country’s exploding divorce rate, which was about 18% in 1965 and now stands at about 50%.

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, “98 percent of Catholic women use birth control to determine the size and timing of their families.”  The reality is that 83% of Catholic women use artificial birth control (32% have been sterilized), and only 31% of Catholic women use the Pill.

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 1965.18

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
  4. A false sense of unlimited dominion over one’s body.

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

[1] See Chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception.”

[2]  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.

[3] 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.”

[4] Christopher Tietze, quoted in the National Abortion Rights Action League’s A Speaker’s and Debater’s Guidebook.  June 1978, page 24.

[5] Thomas P. Monaghan, Co‑Chairman, Free Speech Advocates.  “Unavoidably Unsafe.”  Fidelity Magazine, October 1987, pages 14 and 15.

[6] 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.”

[7] 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.

[8] 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.

[9] 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].

[10] 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.

[11] 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.

[12] 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.

[13] “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.

[14] United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  “A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations.”  July 2001, page 2.

[15] 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.

[16] 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 website.

[17] 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.

[18] 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.”

Bizarre situations arise as the result of the artificial reproduction industry

June 16, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In 2011, a ground-breaking film titled Anonymous Father’s Day was released, detailing the struggles of thousands of people seeking to discover their genetic origins. Conceived through artificial insemination with donor semen from sperm banks, the documentary traces the stories of men and women attempting to identify their biological fathers. It is based largely on a study on the subject called “My Daddy’s Name is Donor.”

In recent years, there has been an increase in stories about fertility doctors who have artificially inseminated women with their own sperm. USA Today, for example, reported this month on the story of Dr. Martin Greenberg, who worked in New York City in the 1980s and secretly used his own semen while artificially inseminating women. As people increasingly seek out their origins using DNA tests such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, they are making unexpected discoveries.

In response, the biological children of these fertility doctors are demanding regulation and reform. Some doctors have been sued. Six states, including Indiana, Colorado, California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida have passed laws against “fertility fraud.” Other states are contemplating doing the same. The reproductive technology industry sprung up quickly and spread fast — and not until DNA tests became affordable and widely available did it become clear how many physicians were acting unethically, and with bizarre results.

Some, like Greenberg, took the opportunity presented to them by this industry to artificially inseminate women with their own sperm when they believed they were using semen that had been frozen in sperm banks.

But as USA Today revealed in its report, not all of these women were. Dr. Cecil Jacobson of Virginia was revealed to have fathered a minimum of 15 children in this fashion, and was convicted of 52 instances of fraud and perjury in 1992. Ten other doctors have thus far been accused, in court, of “fertility fraud,” according to the research of Jody Madeira of Indiana University. Dr. Donald Cline of Indiana conceived at least 60 children through his fertility clinic to date and was discovered — and convicted — after a DNA test. Attorneys say there are dozens of such cases that have been litigated.

Many other bizarre situations have arisen as the result of the artificial reproduction industry. As the New York Times explained in its 2011 investigative report titled “One sperm donor, 150 offspring,” artificial insemination often has unintended consequences:

Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings — an extended family of sorts for modern times.

So Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son’s group grow. And grow.

Today there are 150 children, all conceived with sperm from one donor, in this group of half siblings, and more are on the way. “It’s wild when we see them all together — they all look alike,” said Ms. Daily, 48, a social worker in the Washington area who sometimes vacations with other families in her son’s group …

Now, there is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another.

“My daughter knows her donor’s number for this very reason,” said the mother of a teenager conceived via sperm donation in California who asked that her name be withheld to protect her daughter’s privacy. “She’s been in school with numerous kids who were born through donors. She’s had crushes on boys who are donor children. It’s become part of sex education for her.

Critics say that fertility clinics and sperm banks are earning huge profits by allowing too many children to be conceived with sperm from popular donors, and that families should be given more information on the health of donors and the children conceived with their sperm. They are also calling for legal limits on the number of children conceived using the same donor’s sperm and a re-examination of the anonymity that cloaks many donors.

As it turns out, the cost of defying nature can be a high one. The reproductive technology industry is in the business of giving people babies, no matter the cost. As one donor-conceived man muses in Anonymous Father’s Day, those babies grow up — and they want to know where they came from. Many of them are not happy with the answers they find.

 

What Are the Environmental Impacts of Hormonal Birth Control?

By Brian Clowes, PhD

Have you ever stopped for gas and watched a giant ten-wheel fuel tanker rumble up to refill the gas station’s tanks? These trucks are enormous, forty feet long, and each carries enough gasoline to fill a small backyard swimming pool.

The powerful hormones in abortifacient methods of birth control dictate their modes of operation. Every year, women in the United States ingest enough of these hormones to fill one of these tanker trucks ― 3,290 gallons (12,500 liters) worth.1 Now imagine a long line of tanker trucks parked bumper to bumper and stretching half a mile. If they were all filled to the brim, they would represent the amount of powerful birth control hormones women have ingested since 1960 in the United States alone.

Environmental Effects of Birth Control

effects of birth control: fish in shallow water get estrogens in their systems; birth control environmental impact

The serious physical side effects inflicted upon women by the Pill, the patch, injectables, implants, and hormone-loaded IUDs are well documented. But the harmful impacts of birth control extend far beyond the boundaries of women’s bodies.

Environmentalists tell us that our ecosystem depends upon an extremely delicate balance of a large number of factors, and that even the most apparently insignificant activities of man are enough to have major impacts upon it.

Yet they are dead silent on the ecological effects of some of the most powerful chemicals on earth.

Twenty years ago, the United Kingdom’s Environmental Agency stated: “Estrogenic steroids ― natural and synthetic hormones in sewage effluent ― have been shown to be more potent than previously thought, with the synthetic steroid 17a ethinyl estradiol showing effects in fish at concentrations below 1 nanogram [one billionth of a gram] per liter.”2 These findings were confirmed in a 2020 study which also found that some streams had an ethinyl estradiol concentration of more than 60 nanograms per liter, far beyond the limit that causes grave harm to fish populations.3 This means that the problem of hormonal pollution is longstanding and causing ever more severe environmental impacts with each generation of fish.

Another 2020 study conducted in a laboratory in order to precisely control all inputs found that a few picograms [one trillionth of a gram] per liter of water caused malformations, decreased egg production and DNA methylation, which represses gene transcription.4

To visualize the scales we are talking about, a single drop of one of these steroids pollutes 66,500 gallons of water severely enough to cause significant health problems in fish at a concentration of one part per billion. This is equivalent to ten drops in a standard Olympic-sized swimming pool of 660,000 gallons. A single thimbleful would have major impacts on fish living in a lake 300 yards in diameter.5

water ripples; there is estrogen in water we drink

This is because excreted birth control pill hormones are a pollutant, just like trenbolone (a synthetic steroid that “bulks up” cattle) and the pesticide bifenthrin. Gord Miller, Ontario’s environmental commissioner, said, “If you were designing the perfect pollutant, it would probably look like a pill.”6

Estrogens which are excreted into the environment are classed as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) because they interfere with the endocrine systems of both humans and animals. Other EDCs, such as those that find their way into the environment from vehicle exhaust, paints, plastics and adhesives, can be filtered out in wastewater treatment plants, but estrogen-based EDCs cannot, and thus pose a greater threat.While municipalities that operate water filtration plants insist that there is no threat to the environment, they cannot explain why the reproductive lives of multiple fish species are being dangerously altered.

The top environmental agencies in the United States, Canada and England have all found that exposure to unmetabolized birth control hormones has caused feminization of male fish, delayed reproduction in female fish, and damaged the kidneys and livers of fish of both sexes.8 Studies have found that female fish outnumber male fish in streams by a ratio of ten to one in areas where there is a high incidence of birth control pill usage. Biologist John Wooding said about this finding, “It’s the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me.”9

One study in New Brunswick by the Canadian Rivers Institute found that entire species of fish were exterminated in a large lake because all of the male fish had become feminized. Study leader Dr. Karen Kidd said, “What we demonstrated is that estrogen can wipe out entire populations of small fish ― a key food source for larger fish whose survival could in turn be threatened over the longer term.”10

These effects of birth control are not limited to fish ― they happen to large mammals as well. A study by the University of Aberdeen found that sheep that grazed on land fertilized with sewage sludge had a high rate of abnormalities in the testes, ovaries, uteri, brains, and thyroid and adrenal glands. These problems were attributed to the high levels of artificial hormones found in birth control pills that cannot be removed by wastewater treatment processes. The study authors warned:

These chemicals are in our air, soil and water. Some are fat soluble and may accumulate in our bodies while others are water soluble and end up passing through us and being flushed down our toilets, entering our environment where they may affect other animals or enter our food chain re-exposing humans.

Many of the changes we see are very subtle and not apparent in the living animal; nevertheless, they may be associated with disruptions of many different physiological systems and increased incidences of diseases and reproductive deficiencies such as those that have been reported in a variety of species, including humans. Embryos, fetuses and young animals appear to be particularly vulnerable.

It’s notable that incidences of breast and testicular cancer and of fertility problems in humans are increasing, while populations of animal groups as diverse as amphibians and honeybees are in decline.11

Why Don’t We Hear of The Effects of Birth Control?

The environmental effects of hormonal birth control have been suspected for more than two decades, yet environmentalists are completely silent on this issue.

If there is the slightest theoretical chance bird eggs might be damaged or thinned by pesticides, the environmentalists’ outcry is immediate and forceful (recall the propaganda campaign regarding DDT). But let the top environmental agencies from several nations definitively document the link between birth control pills and ecological damage, and all we hear from “progressive” groups is … silence.

mouth taped shut

 

This is because “progressives” hold “reproductive rights” above all other considerations ― the right to life, free speech, and even our environment. As Betty Ball of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center said, asking people to stop polluting water with hormones “gets into the bedroom.” She said, “I’m not going there. This involves people’s personal lives, childbearing issues, sex lives and personal choices.”12

And Curt Cunningham, water quality issues chairman for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Sierra Club International, said that people “would not take kindly” to the suggestion of banning or restricting hormonal contraceptives. He added, “For many people it’s an economic necessity. It’s also a personal freedom issue.”13

In other words, “progressive” activists consider their birth control pills, morning-after pills and abortion pills to be so important that even the environment must take second place to “sexual freedom.” Such is the self-centered and hypocritical nature of the culture of death.

The attempts by pro-lifers like Jill Stanek to sound an environmental alarm have been met with silence, denial, and accusations of hypocrisy. The Left employs its usual tactic of suppressing the point so vigorously that anyone who brings it up will be so ruthlessly stigmatized that people will learn that it is unacceptable to bring up the issue in polite [“progressive”] company. Another topic we are commanded to avoid is the spectacle of top global warming alarmists (John Travolta, Al Gore, Leonard DiCaprio, Harrison Ford and many others) zipping all around the world in their private jets to attend lavish environmental conferences that are always held in only the poshest cities.

We also dare not mention the Birkenstock-wearing, fair-source, granola-munching, strictly vegan activists who vigorously protest genetically modified foods and hormonal beef additives ― and then, at the same time every day, pop a powerful steroid pill.

We Drink Estrogen-Polluted Water

Although birth control hormones in the water are not as dangerous to human beings as they are to fish, we must note again that sewage and water treatment filtration cannot remove all of them from the water we drink.

pill with glass of water

Studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada have shown that breast development in young girls has rapidly accelerated since the 1960s, probably due to the estrogens in drinking water. Now young girls are developing breasts as early as six or seven years of age, and spokesmen for the medical societies are, for the most part, silent. Marcia Herman-Giddens, adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, said, “My fear is that medical groups could take the data and say ‘This is normal. We don’t have to worry about it.’ My feeling is that it is not normal. It’s a response to an abnormal environment.”14

Dr. Michelle Bellingham of the University of Glasgow is among the growing number of scientists who believe that male fertility is declining because of the estrogens in our water supplies, leading to an increased use of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies.15

Another study by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Environmental Oncology found that chemicals extracted from randomly sampled fish in the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers caused growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells cultured in a laboratory, eleven of which “produced very aggressive cancer growth.”16

One British study found that the incidence of prostate cancer in men is highest in areas where the use of oral contraceptives is the greatest.17 Several such studies are widely varied in their geographical locations and objectives and, as a whole, are not yet conclusive, but their results should concern conscientious scientists and sociologists.

The University of Aberdeen scientists who performed the sheep study darkly warned:

If we do nothing, endocrine disruptors may not only impact human health but all the ecosystems including those on which we depend ― if we compromise soil productivity and sustainability of our agricultural systems or cause imbalance in marine and freshwater ecosystems through damage to populations of top predators, ultimately, we threaten our own survival.18

Final Thoughts

Virtually every environmentalist group and celebrity is caught up in the cause du jour of global warming. It would be ironic indeed if the end of the human race came about because of the widespread use and effects of birth control pills.

Green solar energy over the whole world - environmentalism

“Fish are really a sentinel, just like canaries in the coal mine 100 years ago,” says Conrad Volz, co-director of exposure assessment at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Center for Environmental Ecology. “We need to pay attention to chemicals that are estrogenic in nature, because they find their way back into the water we all use.”19

“Progressives” push for all kinds of compensation for damage to the environment, the best-known being carbon offsets. Perhaps if a heavy surcharge on the use of birth control pills were levied, people would begin to wake up.

But don’t hold your breath. That idea would actually help the situation — and we can’t have that! After all, if we solved enough of the major crises facing humanity, what would “progressives” have to virtue-signal about?

 

Endnotes

[1] “Fact Sheet: Contraceptive Use in the United States.” Guttmacher Institute, April 2014. According to this source, 9,572,477 women in the United States use the birth control pill, 965,539 use the implant, 1,481,902 use the injectables, 905,896 use the Nuva Ring, 4,452,344 use intrauterine devices (IUDs), 69,106 use the patch, 69,967 use emergency “contraception,” and 375,700 use the abortion pill.

Thus, the total amount of hormones absorbed annually by American women on these birth control methods would be 11,636 kilograms or 3,290 gallons. (The Facts of Life, Excel spreadsheet F-21-06.XLXS)

[2] March 26, 2002 statement by the UK’s Environmental Agency. Described in “Contraceptive Pill Confirmed as Pollutant, Says UK Environment Agency.” LifeSite Daily News, April 11, 2002.

[3] Latonya Jackson and Paul Klerks. “Effects of the Synthetic Estrogen 17α-Ethinylestradiol on Heterandria Formosa Populations: Does Matrotrophy Circumvent Population Collapse?” Aquatic Toxicology, December 2020.

[4] Bethany M. DeCourten et. al. “Multigenerational and Trans-generational Effects of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations of Endocrine Disruptors in an Estuarine Fish Model.” Environmental Science & Technology, 2020 (Volume 54, Number 21).

[5] “Pill-Popping Society Fouling Our Water, Official Says.” CBC News, March 27, 2006; E. Vulliet, C. Cren-Olive and M.F. Grenier-Loustalot.

“Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals and Hormones in Drinking Water Treated from Surface Waters.” Environmental Chemistry Letters, September 2011, pages 103 to 114.

There are about 15,040 drops of water in a gallon. There are 660,000 gallons of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. There are about 20 drops in a milliliter and about ten milliliters in a thimble (See? Your math teacher told you this kind of thing would be fun)! The total amount of 17a ethinyl estradiol in a woman is about 300 parts per trillion of body weight (telephone discussion with Dr. Joel Brind on March 25, 2015).

[6] “Pill-Popping Society Fouling Our Water, Official Says.” CBC News, March 27, 2006.

[7] Thaddeus Baklinski. “Scientists: Harmful Hormones from Birth Control Pill Can’t be Filtered out in Sewage Treatment.” LifeSite Daily News, September 12, 2012.

See also “Can Birth Control Hormones Be Filtered from the Water Supply?” Scientific American, July 28, 2009.

Studies are ongoing, and developments regarding various types of reverse osmosis filtering may remove these hormones from the water we drink. Whether it is economically possible to treat the water that goes into areas where wild fish live is a different story.

[8] “Pill-Popping Society Fouling Our Water, Official Says.” CBC News, March 27, 2006.

[9] “Birth-Control Pills Poison Everyone?: Environmentalists Silent on Threat from Water Tainted with Estrogen.” WorldNetDaily, July 12, 2007.

[10] Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. “Fish Devastated by Sex-changing Chemicals in Municipal Wastewater.” Science Daily, February 20, 2008. Described in Hilary White. “Study Confirms Estrogen in Water from the Pill Devastating to Fish Populations.” LifeSite Daily News, February 18, 2008.

[11] Professor Paul Fowler, University of Aberdeen, Chair of Translational Medical Sciences, and Dr. Stewart Rhind, James Hutton Institute. “Sex and Sewage.” University of Aberdeen, Café Scientifique talk of June 13, 2012. Described in Thaddeus Baklinski. “Scientists: Harmful Hormones from Birth Control Pill Can’t be Filtered out in Sewage Treatment.” LifeSite Daily News, September 12, 2012.

[12] “Birth-Control Pills Poison Everyone?: Environmentalists Silent on Threat from Water Tainted with Estrogen.” WorldNetDaily, July 12, 2007.

[13] Iain Murray. The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don’t Want You to Know About — Because They Helped Cause Them (Simon and Schuster, 2008).

Hilary White. “Hormonal Contraceptives Pollute Drinking Water ― Environmentalists Turn a Blind Eye.” LifeSite Daily News, July 11, 2007.

[14] Marcia E. Herman-Giddens, et.al. “Secondary Sexual Characteristics and Menses in Young Girls Seen in Office Practice: A Study from the Pediatric Research in Office Settings Network.” Pediatrics, April 1997 (Volume 99, Number 4), pages 505 to 512.

Described in Hilary White. “Study Confirms Estrogen in Water from the Pill Devastating to Fish Populations.” LifeSite Daily News, February 18, 2008.

[15] Professor Paul Fowler, University of Aberdeen, Chair of Translational Medical Sciences, and Dr. Stewart Rhind, James Hutton Institute. “Sex and Sewage.

Described in Thaddeus Baklinski. “Scientists: Harmful Hormones from Birth Control Pill Can’t be Filtered out in Sewage Treatment.” LifeSite Daily News, September 12, 2012.

[16] Hilary White. “Hormonal Contraceptives Pollute Drinking Water ― Environmentalists Turn a Blind Eye.” LifeSite Daily News, July 11, 2007.

[17] D. Margel and N.E. Fleshner. “Oral Contraceptive Use is Associated with Prostate Cancer: An Ecological Study.” British Medical Journal, November 2011.

[18] Thaddeus Baklinski. “Scientists: Harmful Hormones from Birth Control Pill Can’t be Filtered out in Sewage Treatment.” LifeSite Daily News, September 12, 2012.

[19] David Biello. “Bringing Cancer to the Dinner Table: Breast Cancer Cells Grow Under Influence of Fish Flesh.” Scientific American, April 17, 2007.

Industrial Chemicals Linked to Decreased Fertility in Women

Industrial Chemicals Linked to Decreased Fertility in Women • Children’s Health Defense (childrenshealthdefense.org)

Birth rates are decreasing worldwide. In all European countries, they’re even dropping below population replacement levels, which refers to the number of children needed per woman to keep a population stable.

While these decreases might be due to many adults intentionally postponing when they have their first child — or actively choosing not to have children — an increasing number of studies suggest these don’t fully explain decreasing birth rates. Some research also indicates that decreasing fertility is a major contributing factor in this decline.

One factor linked to decreased fertility is the presence of industrial chemicals found in our environment. Much is known about the impact of these chemicals on male fertility, but little research has looked into how they affect women. This is what our recent study sought to do.

We found that exposure to common chemical contaminants was associated with reduced egg counts in the ovaries of reproductive-aged women. Though these chemicals have since been banned, they were once used in household products like flame retardants and mosquito sprays, and are still present in the environment and in foods like fatty fish.

Fewer eggs

We measured the levels of 31 common industrial chemicals, such as HCB (an agricultural fungicide) and DDT (an insecticide), in the blood of 60 women. To gauge their fertility, we measured the number of immature eggs they had in their ovaries by counting them in ovarian tissue samples using a microscope. Because ovaries are located inside the body and would require surgery to access, we chose pregnant women who were having a caesarean section, as this made it possible to access tissue samples without additional surgery.

We found that women with higher levels of chemicals in their blood sample also had fewer immature eggs left in their ovaries. We found significant connections between reduced egg numbers and certain chemicals, including PCB (used in coolants), DDE (a by-product of DDT) and PBDE (a flame retardant). As female fertility is age-dependent, we made sure to adjust our calculations accordingly depending on the age of the woman in question. This showed us that exposure to these chemicals resulted in fewer eggs for women of all ages.

We also found that women with higher chemical levels in their blood had to try for longer to get pregnant. For the women with the highest levels of chemicals in their blood, it took more than a year.

Unlike men, women are only born with a fixed set of immature eggs in their ovaries, and cannot produce new ones after birth. A woman’s “reserve” (the number of eggs in her ovaries) naturally diminishes through monthly ovulations, as well as by normal follicle death. When depleted below a critical level, natural fertility ends and menopause begins. Our findings imply that toxic chemicals may speed up the disappearance of ovarian follicles, which could lead to reduced fertility and earlier menopause.

Chemical soup

We’re exposed to industrial chemicals through our food, the products we put on our skin and even through our mothers while developing in the womb.

The number of industrial chemicals, as well as their abundance in the environment, has steadily increased since the 1940s — with devastating effects on ecosystemswildlife and even human fertility. Many chemicals were introduced to the market with little testing for safety. This has led to a situation where humans and the environment are exposed to an extensive “soup” of industrial chemicals.

So far, multiple chemicals have been found to be harmful to reproduction after only decades of consumer use. These include PFAS (the chemical used in Teflon, Scotch Guard and firefighting foam), phthalates (used in plastic packaging, medical equipment and soaps and shampoos), as well as pesticides and other industrial chemicals like PCBs.

The negative effects include reduced sperm counts in men, and potentially the ability of women to become pregnant. Our study is the first to investigate the link between chemical exposure and the number of eggs a woman has.

The chemicals we studied were all “persistent”, meaning they build up in the body over time. Strikingly, the chemicals that we found to be associated with lower egg counts were restricted by an international treaty decades ago. Yet because of their persistence, they still contaminate the ecosystem and our food.

Interestingly, PCBs (one of the chemicals we studied) have also been connected to decreased sperm counts and infertility in men. Simultaneous decreases in male and female fertility could make it more difficult for couples to get pregnant.

In future, researchers should investigate whether the fertility of all women — as opposed to pregnant women — is similarly affected by these chemicals. But these findings may encourage us to rethink chemical safety to take fertility into consideration during safety assessments.

Avoiding certain foods (such as seafood) and certain products (such as those we put on our skin and hair) may also help minimize the negative effects of chemicals on our chances of having a baby

Originally published by The Conversation.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

7 brave mothers who risked their lives to save their preborn babies

By Nancy Flanders |
Becoming critically ill while pregnant can be devastating. While high-risk conditions associated with pregnancy often don’t occur until later in the pregnancy — allowing the preborn child to be delivered prematurely so the mother’s life can be saved — conditions unrelated to pregnancy, such as cancer or ALS, can be diagnosed at any time.

Some cancer treatments are safe during pregnancy, but some are not, and these mothers chose to forgo their own life-saving care to allow their babies a chance at life.

St. Gianna

St. Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian pediatrician who suffered from chronic illness. During her pregnancy with her fourth baby, Gianna began to suffer immense pain. Doctors found a tumor in her uterus and gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, which would also mean the death of her child, or attempted removal of just the tumor in an attempt to save both lives.

Gianna chose the third option and the surgery was a success, but complications continued through the rest of the pregnancy. When it came time to deliver the baby, Gianna told her family, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate. Choose the child. I insist on it. Save the baby.”

In April 1962, Gianna Emanuela Molla was delivered by C-section, and though doctors worked hard to save her, her mother Gianna died just a week later from septic peritonitis. She was 39 years old.

In 2004, Gianna was canonized as a saint. She is known as the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and preborn children, and is the inspiration behind the first pro-life Catholic healthcare center for women in New York: the Gianna Center.

Blessed Chiara

Chiara Corbella Petrillo was just 28 years old when she died. She and her husband Enrico had already lost two babies at birth, Maria and David, choosing to carry them each to term knowing that they would likely die. Pregnant with her third child, the couple discovered he was healthy, but that Chiara was not.

Diagnosed with aggressive cancer, doctors advised her to begin treatments, but those treatments would have risked her baby’s life. She decided to forgo the treatments to protect her preborn son, Francisco. After he was born in May 2011, Chiara began treatments, but the cancer progressed, and she lost sight in one eye. On June 13, 2012, Chiara passed away. In a letter she wrote to Francisco a few days before her death, she told her son, “I am going to heaven to take care of Maria and David, you stay here with Dad. I will pray for you.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Enrico said that he and Chiara had learned from their three children that there is no difference in a life that lasts 30 minutes or 100 years. As her cancer progressed, love grew even stronger.

“I said, ‘But Chiara, my love, is this cross really sweet, like the Lord says?’ She looked at me and she smiled, and in a soft voice she said, ‘Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet,’” he explained. “In this sense, the entire family didn’t see Chiara die peacefully, but happily, which is totally different.”

Ashley Caughey

In 2012, already a mother to a young son, Ashley Caughey began to suffer pain in her knee that doctors wrote off as arthritis. But a year later, the pain began increasing, and walking becoming difficult. An X-ray revealed the news that she had osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. She also learned she was 10 weeks pregnant. The chemotherapy she needed posed a threat to her preborn child, Paisley. Ashley told CNN:

They told me what would likely happen to Paisley, that you know, she most likely wouldn’t make it and I just knew. It wasn’t a choice to me. It was like this is what needs to be done. She’s first. I’m not going to kill a healthy baby because I’m sick. There’s nothing wrong with her. Her life is just as important as mine if not more important. I mean as a mother my job is to protect my kids.

After Paisley’s birth, the cancer spread throughout her body and to her brain, and Ashley was given just months to live. She hoped to make it to her daughter’s first birthday, but Ashley passed away in 2014, a month shy of Paisley’s birthday.

Ellie Whittaker

Two months after suffering the miscarriage of her first baby, Ellie Whittaker found a lump in her neck, and then learned she was pregnant. She was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Doctors advised her to abort her baby and begin chemotherapy.

“The doctor advised I have an abortion because cancer treatment could cause problems for the baby,” she explained. “There was no way I was going to give her up so I chose to delay it.”

Doctors planned to begin chemotherapy at 27 weeks, when it was less likely to harm the baby. But Ellie did so well, doctors held off on treatments until after her c-section at 37 weeks in March 2020. The cancer had progressed to stage three, but after 12 rounds of chemotherapy, in October 2020, Ellie learned she was cancer-free.

Amanda Bernier

Two weeks after she and her husband learned they were having their first baby, Amanda Bernier learned she had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Doctors advised her to abort her baby, but Amanda refused.

Arabella was born in November 2014, and by that time, Amanda was unable to walk, and had lost over 50% of her lung function. She lived for two more years, breastfed her baby, and worked from her bed. She died in 2016.

Having lost both her mother and grandmother to ALS, Amanda asked everyone prior to her death to help find a cure for ALS for her own daughter, “and all of the unborn future ALS patients.”

Angela Bianco

During the first trimester of her pregnancy, Angela Bianco learned she had a malignant brain tumor. She was at her grandfather’s birthday party when suddenly, she fainted after feeling horrific pain in her head. After a few days in a coma, she was told she could have cancer treatments if she had an abortion. She thought it was the end of her and her baby.

“I didn’t want to abort and think about saving myself,” Angela said. “My duty was to give birth.”

She added, “I thought about my life, but also about the baby that was inside me. I told the doctors I did not want to abort, that I wanted my daughter to be born and that she was a great gift, at whatever the price.”

She was found to be a candidate for robotic radiation treatment in Italy, but bureaucratic delays stalled the trip until the fifth month of pregnancy. The cancer had progressed, but she was able to receive the treatment.

Angela gave birth to her daughter Francesca Pia in 2014, and the two are reportedly doing well.

Paula Cawte

Paula Cawte was told by doctors that her pregnancy was ectopic, and her preborn baby was developing outside of the uterus — but not in the Fallopian tubes. The baby was in Cawte’s abdomen, and doctors said she could have an abortion, or risk her own life to save a baby whom they said would likely be disabled or stillborn.

“We had been trying for over a year to have a baby and there was no way I could terminate when I knew she was healthy,” Cawte said. “We knew it was dangerous. The doctors said I could bleed to death if she ruptured an organ or an artery.”

Cawte had moments of intense pain, but she made it to 30 weeks when she delivered baby Eva. Doctors said the baby survived because the membrane of Paula’s abdomen had created a sac containing amniotic fluid that helped the baby’s lungs develop. Paula, however, nearly bled to death as doctors gave her eight pints of blood.

Today, mother and daughter are doing well.

“Now we can’t believe we have such a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl,” said Paula. “It’s a miracle.’

Mothers are constantly giving of themselves to care for their children, even to the point of death. But abortion advocates have long-pitted mother against child for any reason — financial, social, or physical. Sacrificing one’s life for the life of another is the ultimate gift a person can give.

Human Life International inaugurates day of prayer and reparation for the murder of babies through abortion

May 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Human Life International is calling for May 31, the Feast of the Visitation, to be a day of prayer in reparation for the babies murdered by abortion.

Human Life International, the largest global pro-life apostolate, is inaugurating the “Prayer of Reparation for the Murder and Abuse of Unborn Children” to be said on annually on May 31. The prayer is available in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Germany, and Portuguese.

“To defeat evil and counteract the culture of death, we need to bend our knees in prayer, do penance, and offer reparation,” Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, wrote in a column. The prayer is to be recited on the Feast of the Visitation, which has much “significance” according to Boquet.

“Mary is a powerful pro-life figure and model,” he told LifeSiteNews. “After learning that she is to be the mother of the Messiah and that her cousin Elizabeth is also with child, Mary goes in haste to the home of St. Elizabeth to assist her.”

“Her example reminds us of how we too are to respect the beauty of human dignity and the sacredness of human life by generously giving of ourselves in their service,” he continued.

“The encounter between the two holy women is in fact a meeting of four people, even if St. John and the Divine Child are hidden beneath the protruding bellies of their mothers,” Fr. Boquet said. “While worldly powers strive to deny the humanity of the unborn child, the Visitation reminds us of the fundamental truth of the dignity of all human life and affirms the immense value of life from its very conception.”
The pro-life priest praised the ever-growing pro-life movement across America, saying, “Despite the Biden administration’s aggressive anti-life and family tactics and current positions of authority and influence, various states have courageously passed pro-life laws, protecting mothers and their unborn children from the violence of abortion.”

“Of course, these pro-life actions have not gone announced by abortion-minded enthusiasts, who see this as a direct assault upon their beloved industry,” Boquet continued. “The Guttmacher Institute recently voiced its grave concern over the number of pro-life legislation being introduced and signed into law.”

“According to Guttmacher, ‘the number of abortion restrictions – and specifically bans on abortion designed to directly challenge Roe v. Wade and the U.S. constitutional right to abortion [sic] – that have swiftly been enacted over the past four months is unprecedented,’” he added. “If this trend continues, 2021 will end up as the most damaging antiabortion state legislative session in a decade – and perhaps ever.’”

“We could not ask for a better endorsement,” Boquet said, “testifying that pro-lifers are making a tremendous impact. I pray we will keep this momentum.”

Ohio city bans all abortions, instead provides sanctuary for mothers and babies

LEBANON, Ohio, May 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The city of Lebanon, Ohio, unanimously voted to outlaw abortion in order to protect both mothers and their babies.

According to Lebanon mayor Amy Brewer, the decision, made on Tuesday evening, will be enforced immediately, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. While there are currently no abortion facilities in the city, the ordinance aims at stopping all abortions, including mail abortions.

Mark Lee Dickson, founder of Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, said, “Cities must be prepared. The future of the abortion industry is not necessarily brick and mortar but abortion by mail or abortion by vending machine at a school or outside of a grocery store.”

“We are clearly saying in our community we do not think it is in our best interest to open a clinic or a hospital that does abortions,” Brewer said. “We are elected to make decisions based on what’s good for our community today.”

The newly passed law forbids providing an abortion, aiding in an abortion, providing money or transportation for an abortion, or offering instructions to procure an abortion.

Violations are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, pregnant women are exempt from prosecution.

Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal and director for the Ohio initiative, said, “Joe Biden has stated he wants abortion in every zip code in America. Hence, citizens across the country are preventing abortion from being committed in their communities. Ohio is once again taking the lead to protect children, and more cities are joining this movement every week!”

This decision brought an uproar of responses from abortion activist groups. City Council member Krista Wyatt resigned in protest before the meeting took place. She claimed that “as a respectable, decent human being, I can no longer allow my name to be associated with the Lebanon City Council.”

Similarly, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Ohio have condemned the ordinance, with the ACLU threatening a legal challenge.

“This hyper-local strategy is another attempt by anti-abortion extremists to stigmatize and ban abortion in Ohio, by whatever means necessary,” said Freda Levenson, the legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

With the ordinance, Lebanon is joining the ever-growing pro-life movement across America. Recently, cities are seeing an increasing number of pro-life bills either limiting or outlawing abortions. Approximately 20 other cities, all in Texas, have declared themselves “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.”

Roe Must Go: Supreme Court Case Could Overturn Roe v. Wade

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

For the first time in years, pro-lifers have serious reason to hope that the aim towards which they have worked for so many decades – the end of Roe v. Wade – will finally come about, and as soon as next year.

A few days ago, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case – called a “blockbuster dispute” by CBSNews – involves a challenge against a Mississippi law (The Gestational Age Act) that bans abortion after fifteen weeks, except in cases of medical emergency and severe fetal abnormality. The challenge was filed by the state’s only surviving abortion facility.

So far, lower court judges have blocked the Mississippi law from going into effect, citing the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion-on-demand in the United States. Roe v. Wade, and subsequent SCOTUS decisions, have consistently upheld the “right” to abortion pre-viability – that is, before the time when the child can survive on his own outside his mother’s womb. So long as Roe stands, states are prohibited from enforcing any restrictions on abortions pre-viability.

That hasn’t stopped states from passing such laws anyway. In fact, almost a dozen states have so-called “trigger laws” on the books, which would completely ban abortion the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. Others have passed “heartbeat” laws (including Texas, just last week), which would ban abortion from the moment an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected. However, to date, none of these laws have been allowed to go into effect, because of Roe.

The Mississippi law, by banning abortion after 15 weeks, clearly challenges the viability requirement. And that’s the point. Mississippi’s own attorney general has urged the high court to review the challenge against the law, arguing that the viability requirement, “is increasingly out of step with other areas of the law, rejects science and common sense, and is shaky precedent at best.”

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), whose lawyers are involved in the case, the state will argue that “‘viability’ is an arbitrary standard for determining when a state’s interests are sufficient to regulate” abortion.

“Thanks to amazing progress in scientific research and medical technology, the concept of ‘viability’ is an ever-moving target as younger children have survived and thrived after preterm birth,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch last week. “But ‘viability’ has never been a legitimate way to determine a developing infant’s dignity or to decide anybody’s legal existence. The high court should take this important opportunity to resolve the conflicts between its previous rulings and affirm the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law.”

The ‘Best Opportunity’ to Overturn Roe
Pro-abortion advocates are already expressing outrage and outright terror over the Court’s decision to hear the case. In a statement last week reacting to this decision, Nancy Northup, President & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that overturning Roe would be “devastating.” Northup noted that with Roe overturned, “Over 20 states would prohibit abortion outright.”

As legal experts are already pointing out, the mere fact that enough of the justices agreed to hear the case (at least four have to do so, in order for the case to move forward) shows that a sizable number of the justices are at least sympathetic to arguments that Roe must be revisited.

Over at The Dispatch, lawyer David French writes that “the most compelling reason for the emotional reaction is simply this—if the court didn’t want to do something dramatic with abortion jurisprudence, it could have simply left the case alone. It could have denied cert and let the case die.”

They didn’t. And with President Trump having appointed three justices to the court, there is reason to hope that among the six at least-moderately conservative justices now on the court, there are enough with the courage and conviction to revisit and overturn the absurd and flagrantly unconstitutional reasoning that underpins Roe.

However, while the court’s decision to hear this case is enormously encouraging news, it is far too early to celebrate.

Legal abortion is one of the most ferociously defended planks of the left’s political platform. The Biden-Harris administration is easily one of the most – if not the most – radically pro-abortion administrations in U.S. history, and will no doubt do everything in their power to promote their preferred outcome at the court.

Furthermore, this is not the first time that conservatives have hoped that GOP-appointed justices would overturn Roe. On previous occasions – e.g., Planned Parenthood v. Casey – our hopes have been cruelly dashed.

Over at National Review, Ed Whelan has argued that this case may be the “best opportunity the Supreme Court will ever have to overturn Roe.” Matt Purple, writing at The American Conservative, agrees. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is, he writes, “the big one.” However, adds Purple, this case may also mark the Court’s last chance to overturn Roe.

As Purple notes, if the current Court, with its six conservative justices, many of them still quite young, still upholds Roe, further cementing decades-old judicial precedent, it is difficult to imagine any future justices having the courage to revisit the case, and to do the right thing. At least, not any time soon.

In other words, the stakes could not be higher.

The US Supreme Court in Washington DC with dark storm clouds

Roe Must Go!
According to many news articles, the case will be heard sometime this fall, and a decision is likely to be handed down next spring or summer.

The court’s decision to accept this case has given pro-lifers reason for hope, but also a great deal to fast and pray about. For decades now, Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land, removing all human rights protections for unborn children pre-viability, and in many cases all the way up to birth. The result has been untold millions of aborted children, and wounded mothers and fathers.Legal abortion contradicts everything that the U.S. founders aimed to protect and defend. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (emphasis added)

Of these three unalienable rights, the right to life is the most fundamental. Without the right to life, there can be no right to liberty or the pursuit of happiness. The justices who discovered a “right” to abortion in the U.S. Constitution were guilty of an act of naked judicial activism. The consequences of this tyrannical decision have been incomprehensibly destructive.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae:

“The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears. The unborn child is totally entrusted to the protection and care of the woman carrying him or her in the womb. And yet sometimes it is precisely the mother herself who makes the decision and asks for the child to be eliminated, and who then goes about having it done.” (no. 58)

However, responsibility for this great crime also “falls on the legislators [and judges!] who have promoted and approved abortion laws, and, to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers where abortions are performed.” (EV, no. 59)

For governments and legislative bodies to make intrinsically evil actions legal is unconscionable. Thus, those who have the duty to formulate law have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, as Pope Benedict XVI emphasized in 2005 during a meeting with the Presidents of the Episcopal Commissions for Family and Life of Latin America: “In attacking human life in its very first stages, it [abortion] is also an aggression against society itself. Politicians and legislators, therefore, as servants of the common good, are duty bound to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God’s love.” Failing to safeguard the lives of innocent and defenseless unborn children and ignoring their duty to correct such an injustice, politicians and legislators are, thus, guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.

In their document, Living the Gospel of Life, the U.S. bishops remind us of the unique and irreplaceable role Catholics play in defending and serving human life, especially those holding public office:

“Catholics who are privileged to serve in public leadership positions have an obligation to place their faith at the heart of their public service, particularly on issues regarding the sanctity and dignity of human life.” (no. 30)

They also offer a word of warning and fraternal correction:

“We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin.” (no. 31)

“We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public roles and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching. No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can responsibly advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life…no appeal to policy, procedure, majority will or pluralism ever excuses a public official from defending life to the greatest extent possible. As is true of leaders in all walks of life, no political leader can evade accountability for his or her exercise of power (Evangelium Vitae, 73-4). Those who justify their inaction on the grounds that abortion is the law of the land need to recognize that there is a higher law, the law of God. No human law can validly contradict the Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” (no. 31)

In 1976 during the Eucharistic Congress held in Pennsylvania, Pope St. John Paul II, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, prophetically stated that “we are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.” The would-be pope and saint further stressed that we are “facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel.”

It is undeniable. We are engaged in a confrontation between two diametrically opposed forces. As Wojtyla emphasized, “it is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”

In the months ahead, we must keep our eye on the truth, firmly committing to speak out and defend the right to life of all persons, no matter their age or any other characteristics, and no matter how fierce the opposition. We must also ardently fast and pray for those serving in public office and for the right outcome to this once-in-a-lifetime court case, which could alter the future of the United States for the better, contributing to creating a true Culture of Life.

May we live to see the United States finally become a pro-life nation, setting an example for the whole world of how it is possible to reverse course and right the great wrong of legal abortion.

Roe must go!

Texas governor signs law letting anyone sue abortionists for killing babies with heartbeats

AUSTIN, May 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law Wednesday attempting to ban the abortion of babies with detectable heartbeats through an unusual enforcement mechanism supporters hope will get around the legal obstacles pro-life laws normally face.

House Bill 1515, titled the Texas Heartbeat Act, requires abortionists to screen for a preborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibits abortion if a heartbeat can be heard (generally as early as six months), with exceptions only for medical emergencies.

Notably, however, the state would not be prosecuting violators of the new law, which actually forbids any enforcement action “by this state, a political subdivision, a district or county attorney, or an executive or administrative officer or employee of this state or a political subdivision.”

Instead, it “exclusively” empowers private citizens to bring civil suits against the abortionists, punishable by a minimum of $10,000 in statutory relief per abortion plus whatever additional injunctive relief is deemed “sufficient to prevent the defendant from violating this chapter or engaging in acts that aid or abet violations of this chapter.”

“It’s a very unique law and it’s a very clever law,” South Texas College of Law Houston professor Josh Blackman told The Texas Tribune. “Planned Parenthood can’t go to court and sue Attorney General [Ken] Paxton like they usually would because he has no role in enforcing the statute. They have to basically sit and wait to be sued.”

Notably, these private citizens do not need to have any connection to anyone involved in a specific abortion. “Every citizen is now a private attorney general,” Blackman said. “You can have random people who are against abortion start suing tomorrow.”

Whether this new strategy will prevail remains to be seen, but such experimentation with legal strategies has been provoked by national judicial precedent that forbids states from directly banning abortion. Full bans take effect well before the Supreme Court’s “fetal viability” threshold, and so are consistently enjoined by lawsuits from the abortion industry.

Instead, states typically enact them in hopes of provoking a legal battle that would hopefully reach the nation’s highest court and instigate a review of Roe v. Wade, thereby potentially overturning decades of pro-abortion legal precedent and freeing the states to set their own abortion laws.

Pro-lifers are cautiously hopeful that the Supreme Court’s upcoming hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, will provide such an opportunity.

Vogue article asks, ‘Is Having A Baby In 2021 Pure Environmental Vandalism?’

May 10, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Vogue recently ran an article entitled, “Is Having A Baby In 2021 Pure Environmental Vandalism?” The uproar from conservatives was swift. Many commentators blasted the article, with one major media outlet saying the piece was “ripped as completely insane for calling childbearing environmental vandalism.”

Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy called the article “hysterical,” and one Twitter user said, “These people are completely insane.”

Indeed, Nell Frizzell’s article reveals that she was irrationally fearful at one point about the planetary consequences of having a child. “Before I got pregnant, I worried feverishly about the strain on the earth’s resources that another Western child would add,” she wrote.

Frizzell appears to have simmered down a bit after she conceived the child that she — as revealed elsewhere — had longed for so much. But concerns remained: “While gestating my son, and probably every day since, I have wondered whether having children is, in itself, an ecologically sound or unsound decision.”

“Well, spoiler!” She continues. “Like so much in this life, it’s not a simple binary.”

While her thought process is cause for concern, throwing the javelin of the pen at Frizzell like she’s a crazy woman misses the mark. This is not only because, to her credit, she refuses to treat “overpopulation” as a specter to be avoided, but because doing so ignores her piece’s greater context.

More precisely, what is outrageous about the piece is that Frizzell feels compelled to ask the question that she does.

It signals that we have reached a disturbing point in our society, when a sizable number of couples are staying childless — or perhaps worrying “feverishly,” like Frizzell once did — because of concerns about their children’s effects on the planet, or fears that their child will meet with a disastrous planetary future. The likes of a woman who writes for Vogue is swimming in the sea of “climate crisis” hysteria, and without an intellectual anchor, she will easily be caught up in its currents.

In fact, Frizzell’s piece comes close on the heels of another Vogue piece from March, Emma Harding’s “Fear Over the Climate Crisis Has Made Me Reconsider Having Children,” in which she reveals that she has, tragically and truly insanely, abstained from having children in order to help “save” the planet.

“Our own prevailing rationale for not having children stems from the crisis and the limited time we now have to address the climate emergency. I feel privileged to be in a position to be able to make this choice,” wrote Harding. She continues, saying “it is what feels right for us.”

“Even though up until now (I can’t promise an overriding maternal urge won’t consume my body one day) we have decided not to have children of our own, I hope we leave the world a little bit better for the children I so love — my nieces, nephews and goddaughter — so that they, too, can experience, love and protect the wonder of this Earth, for themselves and the generations beyond,” she concluded.

In fact, these worries are common enough — or at least, politically expedient enough — to prompt several mainstream news pieces in recent years featuring couples who’ve decided not to have children due to the climate “crisis.”

These fears generally revolve around both the worldwide environmental impact on others of a new human being’s resource consumption/carbon footprint, and the perceived likelihood that their child will meet with an inhospitable earth.

In 2019, the BBC featured a movement called anti-natalism, which is “based around the tenet that it’s cruel to bring sentient lives, doomed to suffering and to causing suffering, into the world.” The article revealed that anti-natalists had created an online petition, “Overpopulation root of the climate catastrophe — worldwide birth stop now,” which had garnered at least 27,000 signatures, and which they hoped to send to the United Nations.

The Guardian ran a piece in 2018 featuring people who gave up having children to “save” the planet, including a 26-year-old woman who sterilized herself, as well as members and patrons of the group Population Matters, which campaigns for population reduction. One of the group’s board members, Emma Olif, told the Guardian that having children, “from a biological point of view, is probably one of the most selfish things you can do.”

Then there’s the BBC interview with the “[w]omen too scared of climate change to have children,” who are part of the U.K. movement Birthstrike, “a voluntary organisation for women and men who have decided not to have children in response to the coming “climate breakdown and civilisation collapse.”

“I’m so depressed, I feel so hopeless over what I’m reading, just the last couple of months even,” Alice Brown told the BBC. “Insect numbers are plummeting so fast. We’re destroying Biodiversity so quickly that that threatens our food, and the UN have said that that can lead to the risk of our own extinction. My decision for being on Birthstrike mostly has come from not wanting to pass that fear onto someone else.”

The Founder of “Birthstrike,” Blythe Pepino, in an interview with The YEARS Project explained why she founded the movement, despite her own strong desire to have a family. She cited food and water shortages, rising seas, rising carbon emissions, and fear of future instability because of these factors.

“All of those things blew my mind. My life changed. I effectively took the blue pill from the Matrix and I couldn’t go back with what I had learned,” said Pepino.

“Red-pilled” is a term commonly used in reference to a famous scene from the movie The Matrix in which the main character, Neo, reaches a crossroads: He is given the option to become awakened to the true nature of reality (red-pilled), or remain ignorant and accepting of an illusion (blue-pilled).

Neo is told by Morpheus, “You take the blue pill: The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill: You stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Her reference to taking the “blue pill” is perhaps a telling slip of the tongue.

A new mentality that has been in the works for years

This mentality has been in the works for years. Janet Smith, in a revised transcription of her lecture Contraception, Why Not?, given in 2005, shares a sad story that reveals how the “overpopulation” hysteria even affects the minds of children:

Your children are being taught from kindergarten through college that there are simply too many people on the face of the earth. Every child that is being born is being treated as though it’s a little environmental hazard, someone who’s going to “take a bite of my piece of the pie.” Some children think that they are one of those too many people on the face of the earth. I read about one little girl, nine years old, who came home and threw out all of her dolls. Her mother asked her: “Why are you doing that?” She replied: “Because there are too many people on the face of the earth. I’m never going to be a mother.” She got the message: she’s been taught that it is irresponsible to have children.

The idea that we shouldn’t have children — or even that we need to significantly reduce consumption, that is, learn “to live within our environmental means,” as Frizzell argues — is directly challenged by research from an initiative of the Cato Institute.

HumanProgress.org tweeted in response to Frizzell’s article, “@NellFrizzell should read our #SimonAbundanceIndex. Children do not strain the world’s resources. In fact, the opposite is true: each new child is correlated with an increase in resource abundance.”

The Simon Abundance Index, which “measures the relationship between population growth and the abundance of 50 basic commodities,” including food and energy, found that the average person’s “personal resource abundance rose by 303 percent” between 1980 and 2020.

In the United States, farmers continue to be paid by the government to leave land unfarmed.

Even if this were not documented to be the case, it’s strange that many so-called “progressives” — supposedly firm believers in the power of men’s ingenuity to solve the problems of mankind — essentially suppress their imagination about sustainability solutions. That is, if they don’t conclude we must give up children altogether, they conclude that we must live in poverty, or “own nothing,” as the World Economic Forum has told us will be our fate (the original video has since been removed due to backlash).

If human beings can learn to communicate wirelessly from thousands of miles apart, to make 400-ton hunks of metal fly, to make electricity from wind or sunlight … Then why must we resign ourselves to giving up children or living like a third-world country to save the planet?

Frizzell noted that despite her concerns that the world “now is dangerous for children” — because of, for example, the dangers of pollution — she had a baby “anyway,” adding, “Is that because I am selfish, myopic or greedy?… Perhaps.”

But who really suffers from myopia?

A materialist worldview

Those who decide not to have children to “help” the planet are really saying that the world would be worse off, not better off, if they brought a child into it.

There is nothing more cynical, more anti-”progressive,” more self-denigrating, more dense, more senseless, more anti-human, more tragic.

What such a stance really does is expose the frightening and pitiably two-dimensional worldview of the pure materialist, which reduces human beings to their material productivity. If your child consumes more resources than they expend, well, they are a mathematical liability, a useless eater.

Whether or not it is articulated or realized as such, the mentality is that if one human being inconveniences or materially reduces the “quality of life” of another, it is better if the human being didn’t exist. Hence: contraception as the norm, euthanasia for the elderly, abortion of the disabled — abortion, period.

Frizzell’s “feverish” worry before pregnancy about “strain” on the earth’s resources, and her expressed hope that her son doesn’t “destroy” “future humanity,” suggest that she buys into this materialist philosophy.

I imagine that many, many parents have concerns or worries about bringing children into what is — and what has always been — a dangerous world.

But I fear that anxiety about purely material concerns — which do have their place — overshadows concerns about what has a much more profound impact on our posterity’s well-being:

Whether our children can establish whole and meaningful relationships in a forever “socially distanced” and masked world; whether our children will grow up in a loving household with both a mother and a father; whether our children can retain their innocence, or even have an idea of what innocence is; whether our children will live a life of character and principles, even when it is not politically correct or popular; whether they will have a firm reason for and source of those principles; whether our children will grow up knowing they have a loving Father in Heaven, their unshakable Rock and reason for hope.

The greatest miseries of our world are not the physical sufferings. They are the miseries of abuse, mental illness, addiction, neglect, hatred, apathy, loneliness, nihilism … And no amount of “saving the planet” can cure and heal these blights — nor will technological progress, and, it is true, nor will material wealth.

Along with a societal return to God, the opportunity to raise and form strong, principled, and loving children — if possible, many children — is a bright and promising, and beautiful antidote.

Commercial Surrogacy Harms Women and Children, Here’s How

GRACE MELTON AND MELANIE ISRAEL

By now many Americans have read a glowing news article about the latest celebrity to have a child via surrogacy or watched a human-interest piece about a woman carrying a child for a loved one.

From New York, which just quietly legalized commercial surrogacy, to California, which remains a hotspot for individuals and couples from across the country and around the world seeking such services, surrogacy is often positioned only as a positive good. No equivocation or mention of the harms it poses to women and children is even mentioned.

Avoiding the other side of the conversation does a disservice to us all, however. It’s time to talk about the dangers of surrogacy.

Just ask some of the children themselves. “There are a lot of days …where I feel adrift, kind of like a tumbleweed… It’s days like today where my heart hurts a bit more over a surrogacy agency, doctors, lawyers, and the rest of the adults involved not successfully making sure that this product they were creating would be o.k.,” writes “jkiam83” an anonymous surrogate-born woman on her blog. “Where are the resources and communities for us products of surrogacy? [I]s this really what is in the best interest of a child?”

From the perspective of Brian, a surrogate-born man, it’s not; he writes, “It looks to me like I was bought and sold.”

In a surrogacy arrangement, a woman carries a child for an individual or couple who is unable to do so themselves. Sometimes the child is genetically related to the commissioning parents, but often donor gametes are used, and the child is related to only one, or in some cases neither, of the commissioning parents.

Please follow LifeNews.com on Gab for the latest pro-life news and info, free from social media censorship.

Sometimes the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child she carries, but often she is not. Some surrogacy arrangements are domestic, but many commissioning parents pursue international surrogacy arrangements, which adds an additional layer of logistical and legal difficulties.

Surrogacy is fraught with ethical and moral considerations. It is a process that can exploit vulnerable women. It carries significant health and psychological risks for the women whose wombs have been “rented,” the women whose eggs have been harvested to create an embryo, and the children who are born from these arrangements. All too often, the desires of adults—namely, the commissioning parent(s)—supersede the interests of children. Unfortunately, discussions of surrogacy in media—and culture more broadly—rarely focus on the latter.

At the recent United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, The Heritage Foundation and the Center for Family and Human Rights drew attention to surrogacy and the dangers it poses to women at an event that highlighted several instances of women who had been trafficked, rendered infertile, or even died as a result of surrogacy. Michelle Reaves was one such surrogate mother from California. She lost her life last year while delivering a baby for someone else, leaving her own son and daughter motherless and her husband a widower.

By its very nature, surrogacy commodifies both a woman’s body as well as that of the child. The women targeted to become a surrogate by the multi-billion-dollar fertility industry are often wooed by the opportunity to make tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for renting their body. In some cases, a surrogate arrangement is altruistic—perhaps the surrogate mother may want to help a friend or family member who desperately wants a baby, and she does not profit financially from the exchange.

Nevertheless, regardless of the circumstances or motivation, in a surrogacy arrangement a woman’s body is used as a conduit for a transaction that provides a baby for someone else—and the risks for both her, and the baby, are significant.

Whether a surrogate mother is compensated or not, serious concerns involving health risks to mothers and babies remain, and the rights of children must not be ignored.

Children who are born as the result of a surrogacy arrangement are more likely to have low birth weights and are at an increased risk for stillbirth. When a woman carries a child conceived from an egg that is not her own—a traditional gestational surrogate arrangement—she is at a three-fold risk of developing hypertension and pre-eclampsia.

Egg donors have spoken up about experiencing conditions such as loss of fertility, blood clots, kidney disease, premature menopause, and cancer, and the lack of data and studies on both short and long term health outcomes for egg donors makes true informed consent unattainable.

While scientists do not fully understand the scope of these health considerations, it is clear that for both short and long-term outcomes, surrogacy is a frontier of unknowns; children, egg donors, and surrogate mothers may pay a physical or psychological price nobody yet fully knows or understands.

Children’s Rights Matter

Surrogacy gives little consideration to the rights of a resulting child, who in many cases will be intentionally separated from at least one biological parent, as well as potential half-siblings in cases where the commissioning parents are using egg or sperm donors in conjunction with the surrogacy arrangement. In cases of anonymous egg and/or sperm donation, children have been denied part, or in some cases all, of the details of their biological origins. “Genealogical bewilderment” and adjustment difficulties among surrogate-born children are well documented.

Even in cases where a child is raised by his or her biological parents, children’s rights advocate Katy Faust notes that many surrogate-born children in these circumstances experience the primal wound of losing their birth mother, an experience well-documented among adopted children. She argues that “surrogacy is, by its very nature, an injustice to the child. Birth is intended to be a continuation of the mother/child bond, not the moment at which the child suffers an intentional, primal wound. It’s the day when a baby should see the mother she already loves for the first time… not the last.”

Sometimes parallels are drawn between adoption and surrogacy. But this is a false comparison. In many cases surrogacy intentionally creates a situation in which a child will be denied his or her biological parent-child relationship. In every circumstance, the children of surrogacy arrangements are deliberately separated from the only mother they have ever known the moment they are born. Adoption, in contrast, responds to this separation rather than creates it.

Surrogacy Knows No Borders

International surrogacy arrangements can be even more complicated than domestic surrogacy arrangements because issues of citizenship and nation-specific determinations of legal parentage come into play. While there are no exact numbers available of how many children have been born from surrogacy worldwide, it is currently a global industry that is projected to grow to over $20 billion within the next few years.

As Professor David Smolin, a leading legal expert on surrogacy and author of “The One Hundred Thousand Dollar Baby: The Ideological Roots of a New American Export,” explains, “The United States is attractive to foreigners seeking surrogacy services because it is one of the few nations that offers stable legal systems explicitly supportive of commercial surrogacy.”

While America is a popular destination for surrogacy for those who can afford it, some commissioning parents engage in international surrogacy arrangements in countries with even less regulation such as Ukraine and Russia, which raises additional concerns about maternal and postpartum health care for surrogate mothers and babies.

Heartbreaking stories at the height of the coronavirus pandemic exposed the uglier side of international surrogacy as travel restrictions separated surrogates and babies from commissioning parents across the globe.

With such international variation in the legal status of surrogacy, as well as the establishment of parentage and citizenship, commissioning parents and surrogate mothers can find themselves navigating a minefield of unanticipated practical and legal issues.

Internationally, women’s rights groups are split on the issue of surrogacy—much as they are in the debates over prostitution or “sex work”—about whether it exemplifies a woman’s autonomy and choice over what to do with her body or whether it constitutes commodification of a woman’s reproductive and life-giving capabilities.

Sadly, the international surrogacy market appears to have significant and growing overlap with human trafficking. Given the amount of money involved, traffickers stand to profit substantially from selling women and girls into surrogacy arrangements.

As Dr. Sheela Saravanan, author of “A Transnational Feminist View of Surrogacy Biomarkets in India,” wrote in a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, “The surrogacy trafficking trade used the same network that was used for domestic work and sex trade from the poor regions of India into urban areas. These unmarried girls [were] impregnated with embryos without their consent. Others were confined in homes and when some girls tried to run away, they [were] caught, brought back and beaten.”

How Are Governments Responding?

The international community is currently debating a new protocol on international surrogacy arrangements. A group of experts—including one representing the U.S. Government, convened by the Hague Conference on Private International Law—is discussing how to address legal parentage, jurisdictional, and ethical questions about surrogacy, particularly from the perspective of protecting children.

In response to various injustices and exploitation, several countries have closed their borders to international surrogacy arrangements in recent years, including India and Thailand.

Regrettably, the current official position of the United States with respect to international surrogacy is that surrogacy does not involve the exploitation or commodification of children. The U.S. signed and ratified the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child that prohibits the sale of children, but holds that “surrogacy arrangements fall outside the scope” of the protocol.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children recommends that surrogacy agreements be regulated in order to prevent exploitation of women and sale of children. But she has not called for a global ban on surrogacy, although an increasing number of voices do, including hundreds of organizations from eighteen countries that signed an International Statement for a Global Ban on Womb Rental in 2018.

Within the United States, a patchwork of laws makes for a Wild West situation. Some states allow commercial surrogacy, some limit surrogacy to altruistic arrangements, and some do not recognize surrogacy contracts. But most states do not specifically address the issue.

Proposals to more tightly regulate surrogacy, clarify contract legalities, or in the case of the state of New York, provide a full-fledged stamp of approval, don’t resolve the full scope of surrogacy’s challenges and harms.

Time to Reframe the Conversation

Beyond the debates in state houses and international bodies, it’s time to reframe the conversation. Infertility and other health conditions that render a person unable to have a child of his and her own can be a painful and isolating experience, and our society should have compassion for people who walk the road of infertility and loss.

But we should approach the matter of surrogacy from an understanding that the desires of adults to raise a child do not supersede the rights and needs of children.

Listening to the women and children who have suffered deeply because of surrogacy is critically important. Organizations like Them Before Us and the Center for Bioethics and Culture are leading the important work to elevate these voices and tell the stories of women and children that are too often ignored or dismissed.

Clarifying legalities and increasing regulations does not address fully the ethical problems with surrogacy and its harms to women and children. Opposition to surrogacy is not a simple left versus right issue, and people across the political spectrum can agree that American laws and society need to prioritize the dignity and health of women, the needs of children, and the fundamental human rights of all individuals when addressing the matter of surrogacy.

LifeNews Note: Grace Melton is The Heritage Foundation’s associate for social issues at the United Nations. She is part of the think tank’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. This originally appeared at Daily Signal.

Yes, Birth Control Affects Mental Health. Here’s Why It Isn’t Addressed

Portrait of lonely teenage girl sitting alone with depressed expression and showing a paper with a help text. Sad and lonely girl crying with a hand covering her face with help sign

“I had severe depression with suicidal thoughts. I had no libido and I got severe fatigue. I took on weight and was not able to lose it…. After stopping with the birth control pill these symptoms vanished.” —Ursula, public commenter on the FDA Citizen’s Petition for greater transparency of birth control side effects.

It’s not all in your head: the Pill definitely affects mental health

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard women share that they didn’t feel themselves—and worse, experienced severe mental health affects like depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts—on the Pill, patch, shot, vaginal ring, hormonal IUD, or even the copper IUD. It is so common you might think it’d be common knowledge. Yet, week after week I still see women asking about their mental health symptoms on Facebook groups, “is it the Pill or just me?”

Unfortunately, many women don’t find answers from their doctors or even mental health professionals if their depressive or anxious symptoms are due to hormonal contraceptives. Perhaps because contraception is seen as a “given” for all young women of reproductive age, there seems to be a major blind spot in recognizing and addressing the problematic mental health side effects of birth control.

A woman named Rachael left a telling comment at the FDA Citizen’s Petition filed in 2019, which is still open for comment. Immediately after being prescribed the Pill at age 18, she said, she experienced multiple side effects, including depression.

“When I discussed these symptoms with my doctors, I was told that I wasn’t drinking enough water, I was simply underweight or that there was something wrong with me—not the medication … In fact, every Gynecologist I’ve ever seen pushes the pill or another form of hormonal birth control with me even after I discuss with them all of my concerns regarding the bad side effects I’ve had in the past. I find this strange, because whenever I discuss side effects with doctors about other medications, they do their best to avoid it if at all possible, or switch to ones that work differently. Hormonal birth control is the only medication I’ve ever been not just prescribed, but actively encouraged to take despite having an adverse reaction to every single brand I’ve ever taken.”

Why your doctor ignores the mental health side effects of birth control

In an interview with Natural Womanhood this year, Lisa Hendrickson-Jack, founder of the Fertility Friday podcast and author of The Fifth Vital Sign, explained: “We already know women are considered more emotional… all of the stereotypes… so when you as a woman go to a doctor and say that you have anxiety, depression, or panic attacks, there’s this inherent issue with ‘well that’s a part of being a woman.’ So, there’s an inherent barrier to proper diagnosis and care in general and I think we can all recognize those stereotypes.”

Hendrickson-Jack noted that, although every hormonal contraceptive product insert discloses that mental health effects like depression and mood change are among the most common side effects, many doctors dismiss the severity when patients bring them up.

“What I learned when I interviewed a number of doctors over the years on the [Fertility Friday] podcast,” Hendrickson-Jack said, “is that in medical school it seems as though doctors are taught about the life-threatening side effects and how to mitigate those risks, almost to the exclusion of the non-life-threatening risks.”

“When it comes to anxiety and depression,” she said, “many doctors don’t seem to know or aren’t necessarily familiar with those [birth control] side effects.”

Teens are at the greatest risk

Hendrickson-Jack continued:

“A scary stat to illustrate this is that teenage girls who are on hormonal contraceptives are much more likely to also be on antidepressants. There’s research and studies that show this correlation. If you knew that hormonal contraceptives increase your chance of depression, anxiety, then if a 16-year-old comes into your office and says she’s depressed you could say, ‘Are you on hormonal contraceptives? There’s a link there, so maybe we come off it for some months and see if there’s an improvement, and if there isn’t, then we can look at some other prescription or some other treatment for that.’ That’s not what happens.

“So for adult women that are facing these side effects and symptoms, the hard truth is it’s kind of up to you to educate yourself on those most common [birth control] side effects because it’s not every time that you go into your doctor’s office that those links are going to be made, and you’re maybe more likely to come out with another prescription for an antidepressant than you are for someone to make the link that it could be related to the birth control.…”

All of this is especially troubling when we consider how in 2017, The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study of nearly a half million Danish girls, which found that girls and women using hormonal contraception were 97% more likely to attempt suicide than those not taking the drugs, and were 200% more likely to succeed in their suicide attempt. There have also been accounts of women experiencing symptoms of psychosis—symptoms which disappeared as soon as these women stopped taking their contraceptive drugs. All this has begun making more sense as new studies discover the effects that hormonal contraceptives have on the brain.

A better way to plan your family, get help for infertility, or heal painful and irregular cycles

The good news is women don’t need to resort to hormonal contraceptives, or even the also-problematic copper IUD, in order to regulate their periods or practice effective family planning. Modern fertility awareness methods (FAM) teach a woman how to know when she is fertile and infertile during her menstrual cycle with great precision, leading to typical family planning effectiveness rates as high as 98%, depending on the method used. When used in conjunction with restorative reproductive medicine (RRM), FAMs also have the potential to help pinpoint and effectively treat many of the underlying causes of infertility.

What’s more, fertility awareness methods can assist teen girls in greater understanding of their bodies, and assist them in documenting and receiving treatment for irregularities in their cycles. There are now so many excellent resources for teaching teens fertility awareness, and, as teen FAM educator Cassie Moriarty shared in a Natural Womanhood article, many teens prefer fertility awareness to birth control drugs: “I’ve found that when teens understand what hormonal contraception is, how it operates, and what their alternatives are, they are much more likely to choose a Fertility Awareness-Based Method where they can work with, not against, their body’s natural processes.” Further, Cassie says, teen girls “want to know how it works and what the heck is going on with their emotions. This is a crucial step in creating a positive relationship with their bodies.”

Want to hear more about the mental health effects of birth control? Watch this five-minute interview with Lisa Hendrickson-Jack (below) on the truth about mental health and birth control. 

Mental health effects of birth control are real // Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

Interested in hearing more about what fertility awareness has to offer teens? Watch this three-minute video (below) where Lisa Hendrickson-Jack explains how FAMs can be transformative for teen girls. 

What teen girls aren’t taught in sex education (understanding of cycles) // Lisa Hendrickson-Jack

America’s Birth Rate Drops to Lowest Levels Since 1979 Because of COVID

MICAIAH BILGER

Reuters reports the birth rate has been falling steadily for decades in the United States, and, in 2020, it reached a 42-year low.

Many linked anxieties and financial troubles from the COVID-19 pandemic to the drop, though the Centers for Disease Control did not mention this as a possible factor in its new report.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate fell 4 percent in 2020 in the U.S. – the lowest rate since 1979. The birth rate is calculated by the number of births per 1,000 women of childbearing age.

Approximately 3.6 million babies were born in 2020, the CDC found.

Another sign of the decline, companies that sell baby formula and other baby products, including Reckitt, Nestle and Danone, saw a drop in sales last year, Reuters noted.

Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and videos.

Here’s more from the report:

The CDC did not attribute the overall decline to the pandemic, but experts have predicted that pandemic-led reasons including anxiety will hit the country’s birth rate.

In general, US fertility rates have continued to fall over the years as women marry late and delay motherhood especially in years when the economy has slowed.

The report did not mention abortion, though it could be another reason for the declining birth rate.

A recent study by Japanese health ministry researchers suggests the pandemic may have led to an increase in abortions in 2020. They found that about 8 percent of the women who had abortions in Japan between October and November 2020 did so because of the pandemic.

The Planned Parenthood abortion chain also reported record high abortion numbers in its annual report, which includes the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. In the U.S., it performed 354,871 abortions.

Fears and financial troubles, exacerbated by the pandemic last year, often are reasons that mothers give when they abort their unborn babies.

According to the “Turnaway Study,” a project of the pro-abortion Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, 40 percent of women seeking abortions mentioned financial reasons.

However, the study and others also have found that women often mention multiple reasons for an abortion, including relationship problems, future goals, other children and even just “bad timing.”

“Women have cited ‘social reasons,’ not mother’s health or rape/incest, as their motivation in approximately 93% of all abortions,” according to National Right to Life.

Pro-lifers work hard to make sure women never have to feel that they need an abortion because they are financially unstable. Thousand of pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies and other charities provide material and financial support to help families in need.

‘Fertility is not a disease’: How a medical miracle changed this doctor’s stance on contraception

April 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I speak with Dr. Michelle Cretella, the executive director of the pro-life and pro-family American College of Pediatricians. She recounts an incredible miracle story she underwent when she had brain cancer, and how her health struggles changed her perspective on contraception.

Dr. Cretella tells me that even though she always maintained her Catholic faith throughout, she did disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception. Despite this, she was still very “dedicated to doing all I could to save babies from abortion and … to help women have alternatives to abortion.”

Dr. Cretella describes how in 2001, after waking up from sleep at night with terribly painful headaches, she was diagnosed with a tumor in her brain. The cancer was glioblastoma multiforme, a common and deadly brain tumor. Her husband immediately informed their church prayer group about this.

Throughout her experience, Dr. Cretella and her family continued to pray and rely on God for help. Between the diagnosis and the surgery, she was able to go to a parish mission where they were holding confessions. She says that the priest who headed the mission reminded and spoke about how “mortal sins … need to be confessed.”

Cretella mentions that when the priest spoke the words “artificial contraception,” she began to believe in the Church’s stance on the issue without fully understanding it. She states that “every argument in favor of contraception” she had heard and trusted in was all lies. She then promised God she would never use and promote it again.

gery, medical doctors discovered that the tumor was in fact a juvenile parasitic astrocytoma that’s “typically present in children.” It was therefore cured through surgey alone, and she was discharged a few days later cancer-free.

Ever since that experience, Dr. Cretella has refused to prescribe any contraception, and says that “fertility is not a disease.” Lastly, in our interview, she calls on doctors and scientists to put a Christian worldview in science and medicine. “Sometimes you must first believe in order to understand, and that’s what I have learned in my life.”

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

Margaret of Castello, a new saint for the pro-life movement

April 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – It was hardly a fast track, but 14th century St. Margaret of Castello – who was beatified in 1609 – was elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis on April 24 using a process called “equipollent canonization.”

The Arlington Catholic Herald explained exactly what that means:

“The decree is what the Vatican terms an ‘equipollent’ or equivalent canonization; when there is evidence of strong devotion among the faithful to a holy man or woman, the pope can waive a lengthy formal canonical investigation and can authorize the person’s veneration as a saint.”

I’m not sure why the Vatican chose to do it this way, since her intercession is said to have prompted many miracles, but I’m very happy for St. Margaret of Castello, patron saint of the unwanted. For decades, we at Priests for Life have certainly promoted devotion to her and spread the story of her life everywhere.

That story is almost too hard to contemplate. Born around 1287 blind, lame and apparently with dwarfism, her socially prominent parents, who had wanted a boy, were horrified thinking word would get out that their baby was less than perfect. They spread the lie that she had died at birth.

They gave her to a servant who loved and cared for her, but the servant slipped up once and almost let guests at her parents’ castle catch a glimpse of Margaret. To ensure that never happened again, her father, filled with the arrogance that marks the culture of death, had a single-room cell built next to a church in the forest and walled her into it. An interior window allowed Margaret to hear Mass; another window on an exterior wall let servants pass food into the girl.

The priest there discovered Margaret had a fine mind and loved God, so he spent time teaching her the faith. When her family fled from their home when she was a teenager, they took Margaret with them, only to lock her away in an underground vault near their new home.

A year later, her parents brought her to a tomb in Castello where people were said to be receiving miraculous cures of various ailments. When Margaret was not healed, her parents just abandoned her there. Two beggars befriended her and ultimately Margaret’s life began to improve, although with many setbacks along the way.

She died at the age of 33 on April 13, 1320, after having served for years in the habit of the Third Order of St. Dominic. It has been reported that the whole city attended her funeral – that was how well-known and beloved she had become – and that a crippled girl was healed during the Mass.

St. Margaret’s life offers many profound lessons for those of us in pro-life. She disappointed her parents twice at her birth, by being female and for failing to be perfect. Today, both of those things can prompt parents to choose abortion. The world is missing millions of girls because of this preference for sons in so many cultures.

Also, she was unwanted by the very people who were supposed to love and care for her, in much the same way the unborn are unwanted by those who have envisioned a different timeline for their lives.

St. Margaret’s profound physical ailments teach a powerful lesson about how every life – no matter how compromised, no matter how “imperfect” – has value and every person has a contribution to make.

And the question that challenges us most deeply is: If we were there, and knew Margaret was locked up in that cell, would we have spoken up?

St. Margaret’s canonization comes at an interesting time in the U.S., as more states are passing laws to protect babies from abortion based on their sex, race, or disability. Prenatal testing now allows parents to know long before their baby is born if he or she will be everything they have dreamed of and planned for. Babies falling short of that ideal – like those with Down syndrome or dwarfism – are frequently aborted.

I invite everyone who believes in the sanctity of every human life to join me in praying this prayer I wrote some years ago for Margaret of Castello, the newest saint for the pro-life movement.

Father,
Your care extends to every human person,
No matter what afflictions they suffer,
And you uphold the dignity of every human life,
Regardless of the false ways that the world may calculate its value.
You gave us St. Margaret of Castello as a sign and a challenge.
You permitted your glory to shine through her human weakness,
And called those around her to love her
Despite her physical limitations.
Forgive us when we fail to defend the least among us.
Through the intercession of St. Margaret,
Give us grace to speak up for the outcast
and to welcome those who are rejected.
When this brief life is over,
Grant that we who have welcomed all our brothers and sisters,
May be welcomed by you into the life that never ends.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Father Frank Pavone is the National Director of Priests for Life.

Do COVID Vaccines Disrupt Women’s Menstrual Cycles?

Researchers are calling for clinical trials to track and document menstrual changes in vaccinated women after some women reported changes to their menstrual cycles after receiving a COVID vaccine.

Women have reported hemorrhagic bleeding with clots, delayed or absent periods, sudden pre-menopausal symptoms, month-long periods and heavy irregular bleeding after being vaccinated with one or both doses of a COVID vaccine.

“In terms of why women would have a heavier cycle, I think clearly we don’t know the answer to that,” Dr. Heather Huddleston, a reproductive endocrinologist at University of California, San Francisco, told ABC7News.

“However, we do know in addition to hormones being really important in a menstrual cycle, that there is a role for the immune system in the uterus,” she said. Huddleston suggested “if there are changes, perhaps due to a vaccine, maybe that would subtly affect the behavior of the immune system in the uterus.”

A researcher at the University of Illinois described her own experience on Twitter and asked if others experienced menstrual changes after vaccination. The response was robust, so she and her colleague at Washington University in St. Louis turned it into a formal survey.

So far, there’s no data linking COVID vaccines to changes in menstruation. But two Yale University experts wrote in The New York Times last week there could be a connection.

“There are many reasons vaccination could alter menstruation,” wrote Alice Lu-Culligan, an M.D. and Ph.D. student at Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Randi Epstein, writer in residence at Yale School of Medicine.

“Every month the lining of the uterus thickens, driven by a steady increase in estrogen, so that a fertilized egg can implant. If there is no conception, levels of progesterone plummet, causing most of the uterine layer to slough off, causing the bleeding,” Lu-Culligan and Epstein explained.

But periods also involve the immune system, as “the thickening and thinning of the uterine lining are facilitated by different teams of immune cells and signals moving in and out of the reproductive tract.”

Vaccines are designed to ignite an immune response, and the female cycle is supported by the immune system, so it’s possible vaccines could temporarily change the normal course of events, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said.

“For example, an activated immune system might interfere with the usual balance of immune cells and molecules in the uterus,” they explained in the op-ed. “These types of disturbances have been found in studies to contribute to changes in periods, including heavy menstrual flows.”

Forbes health contributor Alice G. Walton agrees. She said a connection between the vaccine and menstrual irregularities is plausible given the interplay between the menstrual cycle and the immune system — the building up and shedding of the uterine lining are processes that each rely on immune function.

When the body mounts an immune response, either to an illness or to a vaccine, it can extend to the uterus and affect immune cells that help control menstruation. A number of doctors have explained how this might work, including fertility specialist Dr. Natalie Crawford.

“We know that the COVID vaccine causes an immune response to make antibodies very similarly to how a COVID infection would in your body, and there is actually a study talking about COVID infection and what it does to your period,” Crawford said.

A study in the Reproductive BioMedicine Journal, “Analysis of Sex Hormones and Menstruation in COVID-19 Women of Child-bearing Age,” retrospectively looked at women in China who had acquired COVID naturally and the affect of the infection on sex hormones, ovarian reserve and period.

The study found that 28% (or 1 in 4) women had a change in their menstrual cycle length, 25% had a change in their menstrual cycle volume and hormone concentrations were altered.

“If a quarter of women who get COVID are experiencing menstrual cycle changes, it is most likely from a cellular immunity response,” said Crawford. She said it would not be surprising if women experienced this from the vaccine as well, as it causes a similar immune response.

To find out whether the COVID vaccine truly disrupts the menstrual cycle, experts say there would need to be a controlled study with a placebo group. Currently, clinical trials omit tracking menstrual cycles, so there’s no evidence to put the women’s reports in context.

“Menstruation is something we don’t know enough about,” said Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine. “It’s an important indicator of a person’s health, like any other bodily function.”

If so many factors can affect periods, and periods are such an important indicator of health, why don’t we know more about how vaccines affect menstruation?

It’s part of a long history of medicine not taking women’s bodies seriously, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said. They explained that it wasn’t until 1993 that a federal law mandated the inclusion of women in government-funded research, which may account for why so little is known about how new drugs and treatments affect women’s health.

Rather than treat menstrual cycles as unimportant or too complicated, researchers should view tracking periods in future studies as a potential opportunity, they said. Clinical trials should track and document menstrual changes as they do other possible side effects.

For now, scientists are still in the dark about so much of female health, Lu-Culligan and Epstein said. But a conversation has begun, thanks to women speaking out.

Why not have a bunch of kids?

Humans are, hands down, the single most fascinating set of creatures on the planet.

by Antony Davies

My wife and I have many kids.

We didn’t plan to have many kids. It just sort of happened. After our fifth child was born, a friend asked my wife how many children she planned to have. She said, “Two.” Yet each of our six kids has been both a joy and an endless source of parenting lessons. Whether you’re considering producing your own mini-platoon, or are merely curious as to how it’s possible for apparently sane adults to cope, I offer here a few insights and one piece of advice: don’t take yourself too seriously, hang on, and enjoy the ride.

How do you handle sickness? 

Commercials where the kid has a cold and the parents give him cough syrup and lovingly tuck him into bed are a joke. Nursing numerous children is like playing whack-a-mole. One kid gets over his cold just in time for another to get it. No, they can’t all be sick at once. They must do it sequentially.

What to a normal family would be a three-day cold, to a large family is a month-long affair. When you have a lot of kids, you don’t quarantine the sick ones. You want them to infect each other as quickly as possible, because you need to process all of them before you come down with the bug yourself. You start to thank God for the blessing of acquired immunity that guarantees each kid will only get the disease once.

Then you discover pink eye.

If dealing with a cold is like playing whack-a-mole, dealing with pink eye is like playing a macabre game of telephone. Kid #1 gives it to Kid #2, who gives it to Kid #3. By this time Kid #1 is cured, but Kid #3 has given it to Kid #4. Now Kid #1 has forgotten your repeated warnings about washing his hands and keeping his fingers out of his brother’s eye, and sure enough, Kid #1 has it again. He gives it to Kid #2, and the whole cycle continues. You find yourself praying for a harsh winter so the freezing temperatures can kill off the germs these house creatures have painted on to every surface.

What do you call them? 

We spent months selecting a name for our first child, Erika. We thought about how it sounded, what it meant, whether it had a long enough shelf life so it wouldn’t make her sound like an old lady just as she was hitting her college years. Ladies named Mavis, Opal, Inez, and Violet weren’t born 80 years old. They just lost the shelf life lottery.

We were quicker at naming our second child, largely because I am a science fiction freak and my hero, Isaac Asimov, had died just before our son was born. So Isaac it was. Our church friends thought it touching that we named him after the one of the biblical patriarchs. We didn’t have the heart to admit that we named him after a lecherous chemistry professor who wrote wicked sci-fi.

With names come nicknames. At first, you’re proud to tell people your baby’s name. “She’s Ivanka, after my wife’s mother. There’s been one Ivanka in each generation in my wife’s family going back five generations. Our little Ivanka is the sixth of that name.” But that doesn’t last. Where names are concerned, poetry eventually takes a backseat to practicality.

Nature has given toddlers the triple advantage of being quick, quiet, and small enough to fit into tiny spaces. When you want to sleep, they’re louder than a frat house on homecoming night. But when they’re getting into things they shouldn’t, they’re like incontinent ninjas. Sometimes the only way to find them is to follow the smell.

So, with locomotion comes the need to summon the little tykes. And this is where practicality comes in. When you finally put that name to work, you’ll regret not having picked an industrial-strength name like “Bob.” You can keep saying “Bob” until the cows come home. “Bob, where are you?” “Bob, come here!” “Bob, don’t bite the cat!”

But if you picked a poetic name, now is when you’ll regret it. Try repeating “Beatrix” or “Jacinda” ad infinitum. This is why God invented nicknames. The nickname is the name you should have given your kid but were too embarrassed to pick. It takes a while to whittle a flowery name down to something practical. And you can tell how much trouble a kid gets into by how quickly the parents adopt an industrial-strength nickname.

Over the course of three days, our lovely Ivanka became “Vonky,” then “Schpanky,” then “Schpank,” then “Spank,” then “Hank.” Now, Hank is an industrial-strength name. You can shout it all the livelong day, and the last use will be as potent as the first. You can put some serious air pressure behind that opening consonant, and the hard “k” at the end cuts off the sound to an immediate and ominous silence. “Hank” is the air horn of the naming world. “Beatrix” is the kazoo.

But nicknames quickly add up to a lot of words to remember. Our last two kids, Alexander and Benjamin, were born just a year apart. Since we both abhor the nickname Alex, we announced his nickname before we left the hospital. “He shall be known as Xander.” We didn’t like the nickname “Ben.” But since “Jamin” sounded like a reggae stoner, #6 stayed straight-up “Benjamin.”

As they tend to be inseparable, my wife has taken to calling Xander and Benjamin (as a conglomerate), “Xanjamin.” Kind of like Brangelina meets the Brady Bunch. “Xanjamin” exhibits a bit of creative flair, but at three syllables it’s not industrial-strength. Plus, if you want to summon just one of them, you have to go back to either “Xander” or “Benjamin,” which means that you now have three names to deal with instead of merely two. The efficient solution we evolved is to give each of them the same nickname: “Kid.” If we need to refer to one of them, we say, “the kid.” As in, “Tell the kid to take out the trash.” If the wrong one shows up, the other one is, automatically, “the other kid.” As in, “Kid, come here. No, the other kid.”

Last in the telling, though not the lineup, is Simon. Simon is the middle child. You hear about middle-child syndrome, where the poor middle child is ignored because he’s not needy like the teenagers or cute like the babies. Middle children, the story goes, grow up to be meek and unsure of themselves. Middle children stay in the shadows of their more outgoing siblings.

Simon does not have middle-child syndrome. If there is an opposite of middle-child syndrome, that’s what Simon has. Picture George S. Patton as a teenager. On a battlefield. In a tank. That’s Simon. When told that their older brother would be staying at college over the summer, the other children cried. Simon’s response was, “Excellent. That means we all move up in rank.”

What do you learn from having many children? 

Humans are, hands down, the single most fascinating set of creatures on the planet. If you want to understand how humans work, just make a few, sit back, and watch them do their thing. But one or two won’t do. To understand humans, you need to observe enough of them so the individual quirks average out and you get to see the commonality in their behaviours. How many are enough? Probably several hundred thousand. As that was outside our budget, we settled for six.

What sorts of insights have we gained into Homo sapiens?

1. Children believe they are inventing the world as they experience it.

The child who, standing in front of you with chocolate all over his hands and face, insists that he most certainly did not eat the cake you left on the counter, believes he has invented lying. Had it occurred to the child that lying was invented about twenty minutes after language itself, he’d suspect that the parent would not only (a) know that lying was possible, but (b) be better at it than the kid, and (c) be able to spot it a mile away.

This belief — that just because they haven’t experienced something before, no one else has either — continues into the teenage years and can even be seen persisting into adulthood. Our teenager who thinks she’s getting away with sneaking out of the house doesn’t consider that her parents are not merely parents. They are also former teenagers who did the same things she is doing. No, she’s not getting away with anything. Were allowing her to believe she’s getting away with something so she doesn’t up her stealth game and actually succeed in getting away with something.

2. Children believe they are smarter than their parents.

When I was a kid, I was embarrassed that my father couldn’t manage to programme the simplest electronic device. And I don’t mean “programme” in the sense of writing code that instructs the device to perform certain functions. I mean “programme” in the sense of any interaction more complicated than “turn it on.” Here he was, a senior executive at a multinational corporation, and he needed me — teenager — to set the time on his clock radio. If this, I thought, were typical of the caliber of mind populating corporate America, I would be running the country by my eighteenth birthday.

Now that I have teenagers on whom I rely to navigate Netflix, I realise the stark truth. I wasn’t a teenaged mental giant. My father simply had more important things to occupy his mind — things I had no idea even existed, like retirement contributions, mortgage payments, and tire rotations — such that he saw no point in wasting his time with a problem he could much more easily solve by telling his son, “Go fix that flashing thing in my room.”

Children believe they are smarter than their parents because children command nearly 100 percent of the knowledge they perceive to exist. The irony, of course, is that they are so aware of the things they know because the number of things they know is embarrassingly small.

3. Children have a keen but myopic sense of justice.

When you confront a child with the accusation that he has wronged someone, the child becomes a firehose of excuses as to why he is, in fact, not in the wrong. The young child will rely on his weak lying skills. The teenager, who has by this age has learned that he isn’t good at overt lying, turns to lying by omission and burying his accuser in a flood of irrelevance.

But when the child is the one who has been wronged, suddenly the kid becomes the world’s shrewdest prosecutor. The arguments that were so reliable in his defence — packed with misunderstandings, questions of interpretation, and mitigating circumstances — disappear. In their place are ice-cold facts and impeccable logic. In a way, this is heartening. It suggests that the child has no problem comprehending justice. It’s the equality of application that’s lacking.

Why have a bunch of kids? 

Children are expensive. They are messy. They are frustrating. They can be selfish and argumentative. They are also immense fun. They are creativity unencumbered by talent. They are slow to judge and quick to forgive. They love not out of reciprocity or personal gain, but because that’s what they do. They are joyful packets of energy that upend your life and wreck your plans in every way possible. They are the most wonderful creatures you will ever have the pleasure to know.

When you reach the end of your life, you will look back on accomplishments that the world has long forgotten and at hard-won money, power, and prestige that have faded into the mists of time. And you will know that the single greatest accomplishment any person can achieve in this life is to populate the world with children who love each other, care for those less fortunate, and walk humbly with their God.

This essay is an excerpt from Why Haven’t You Read This Book?
This article has been republished with permission from The Public Discourse.

Antony Davies

Antony Davies

Antony Davies’ research interests include econometrics, public policy, and consumer behavior. Davies has authored over 150 op-eds for, among others, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes,… 

Stop the Industry of Death and Exploitation

By 

In recent years, pro-lifers have exposed the gruesome, ongoing practice of harvesting and buying and selling the body parts of aborted children for medical research.

series of undercover videos released by pro-life researcher David Daleiden showed abortionists and executives of biomedical companies callously describing how they obtain the bodies and haggling over the prices for different body parts.

In one of the most disturbing videos that I have ever seen, Daleiden and his co-investigators captured footage of the dismembered body of a child aborted at 20 weeks in a dish. At one point the camera operator uses tweezers to lift up the fully intact hand and arm of the baby, who, we are informed, was a twin.

Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry in general, and pro-abortion politicians and the media did everything they could to ensure that as few people as possible viewed the actual videos. When the media did report on the videos (which was very rarely), they slavishly called the videos “deceptively edited” – as if “editing” could possibly explain the gruesome images of the violated bodies of these children.

To this day, far too few people are aware of the macabre experimentation going on involving the bodies of children killed during legal abortions. Even fewer are aware that, in many cases, the federal government has funded this experimentation, using taxpayer dollars.

Biden Administration Renews Fetal Research

In two recent reports, Judicial Watch exposed that between 2012 and 2018, the federal government spent tens of thousands of dollars to buy human fetal tissue from California-based Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR).

In 2018, however, the Trump administration cancelled the contract with ABR. They also clamped down on the funding of fetal tissue research in other ways.

According to the Susan B. Anthony List, the Trump administration committed $20 million to ethical alternatives to fetal tissue; “banned intramural (National Institutes of Health-based) research using tissue from elective abortions”; and convened an Ethics Advisory Board (EAB) to “review all new and renewable requests for research using tissue from elective abortions.” According to the SBA List, that EAB rejected many funding requests from researchers “due to major deficiencies with their consent process for women being solicited for tissue and organ donations.”

Gynecological tools on doctor's table in clinic

In the latest assault on the sanctity of human life, however, the Biden administration has announced that they are reversing some of the key restrictions on fetal tissue research. According to a statement from the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) released Friday, April 16th, “HHS is reversing its 2019 decision that all research applications for NIH grants and contracts proposing the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions will be reviewed by an Ethics Advisory Board.”

The move is hardly surprising, given the extreme pro-abortion views of newly confirmed HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. However, religious leaders and pro-life groups vociferously condemned the decision, which uses our money to fund experiments that are almost too disturbing to fathom.

“The bodies of children killed by abortion deserve the same respect as that of any other person,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a statement. “Our government has no right to treat innocent abortion victims as a commodity that can be scavenged for body parts to be used in research.”

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser noted that the Biden and Harris administration is “working hand-in-glove with radical appointees like Xavier Becerra…to pay back their abortion industry allies and wipe out pro-life progress made under the Trump-Pence administration.”

“Now,” she added, “they would force Americans to be complicit in barbaric experiments using body parts harvested from innocent children killed in abortions, with no limits of any kind. Pro-abortion Democrats push this deeply unpopular agenda at their own political peril.”

Real Children, Real Exploitation

As I have mentioned in the past, I am convinced that one of the reasons that abortion is still legal and widely accepted is that for most people it is basically an abstract issue. We may read about abortion in the news or on social media. But usually, the language used is so clinical, or so familiar, that we fail to grasp the physical reality of what is going on.

For decades now, some pro-life activists have attempted to awaken consciences by confronting people with the concrete, documentary evidence of the brutality of abortion. David Daleiden’s videos remain some of the most powerful recent instances of this strategy.

I have already mentioned perhaps the most heart-wrenching video – the one involving the 20-week-twin, whose mutilated body is captured on camera, while an abortion staff member boasts that sometimes “the organs come out really, really well.”

Another heart-stopping video is not so graphic, visually speaking, but is equally (if not more) damning and horrifying.

In the video, Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, one of the companies that trades in the bodies of aborted children, describes how her company sometimes ships the “intact” bodies of unborn children to academics at research institutes. Dyer explained that they have to warn the lab technicians on the other end that the shipment is coming, “so they don’t open the box and” scream. Sometimes, she admitted, “their lab techs freak out and have meltdowns.”

Dyer sounds positively contemptuous of the delicate feelings of these lab techs. “Academic labs cannot fly like that, they are just not capable,” Dyer says. “It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that.”

In some cases, Dyer says, they receive requests for the “limbs” of aborted children, but with the request that “no hands and feet need to be attached.” At one point Dyer agrees with the “joke” of one of the pro-life investigators that if you’re shipping the bodies of aborted children, they should make sure the “eyes are closed.”

Fighting for the Dignity of Unborn Victims of Abortion

It is important to emphasize that everything that Daleiden exposed in those horrific videos is still happening today. Just a few days ago, Fox News reported that StemExpress had provided the fingers of aborted children to researchers at Stanford University, who injected the human tissue into mice, in an effort to regenerate cartilage.

The papers of one of the studies bluntly explains the origin of the tissue. “Fourteen human fetal samples were obtained from Stemexpress (Folsom, CA) and shipped overnight,” it says. “Samples ranged in age from 10 to 20 weeks of gestation with no restrictions on race or gender.”

“Samples”! In other words: the bodies of children, some of them nearly old enough to live outside the womb had they had a chance to be born!

Although Daleiden’s videos had a huge impact in raising awareness, the powerful pro-abortion legal, media, and political apparatus went into overdrive attempting to crush and discredit him and his videos. Current U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris herself played a key role in persecuting Daleiden, during her time as California Attorney General. Harris colluded with Planned Parenthood executives to launch heavy-handed investigations, which included a raid on Daleiden’s home. Now, unsurprisingly, Harris is once again taking care of her good friends in the abortion industry, making them eligible for our money to support their gruesome and inhuman activities.

It angers me deeply to see Biden, Harris, the FDA, researchers, and biomedical institutes endorse and secure the atrocious actions of this macabre industry. Through words and actions, they blatantly deny human dignity and the personhood of unborn children, determining that they are not only unworthy of life but that these human beings can be treated as commodities – dehumanized and exploited for financial gain and for the benefit of others.

This dangerous mentality – denying the equal dignity of every person, born and unborn – has resulted in atrocious crimes and acts against human life, staining the landscape of human history. Its acceptance, justification, and perpetuation only further degrade our culture and society.

There is a dual injustice inflicted upon the unborn – murder and usury. The unborn has not relinquished its life, nor has the child given permission for its body to be scavenged and trafficked. It is time to end all experimentation on the bodies of unborn children killed by abortion; it has no place in a civilized society. Even if the outcomes of the research are medically helpful, the means are barbaric and evil, and evil means can never be used for a good end.

Human life is always good and from conception has dignity proper to a person that we are obliged to respect and defend, without exception. If a single life is determined to have no value, then no life has value, placing each of us in grave danger, not just the unborn.

Call and write your representatives, senators, and President Biden demanding that the bodies of unborn children killed by abortion be given the same respect as that of any other person. And at the same time let us add, stop the violence of abortion, and end the industry of death and exploitation it has created.

Planned Parenthood is Indoctrinating Public School Children With Pro-Abortion Propaganda

Did you know that Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion provider, has infiltrated the public school system? In their own sneaky and conniving way, the abortion giant has convinced school administrations through veiled language that they can provide important assistance to their students.

For years, we’ve been telling you how Planned Parenthood is targeting children in an attempt to normalize abortion and perhaps, it hopes, create future customers to feed its unholy empire. We told you how a Planned Parenthood representative suggested the need for a “Disney princess who’s had an abortion” to plant the rotten seeds of abortion. Now the abortion giant has its sights set directly on your schools.

This year in New York, The Clarence Central School District’s Director of Health invited Planned Parenthood to give a presentation on their “services offered” to impressionable students in high school health class.

A parent contacted us after receiving a permission slip to allow her child to attend Planned Parenthood’s presentation because she was concerned that it would cover the topic of abortion. In its description of the presentation, the permission slip stated that the presentation covers “[s]ervices offered (Information about STI’s, getting STI tests, and birth control and many other services are mentioned).” It conveniently left off that abortion would in fact be addressed, leaving the parent to question the school’s apparent deception tactic.

The parent immediately reached out to the school district’s health director requesting permission to view the presentation before she signed the permission slip, which was her right as a parent. However, she was groundlessly denied any access to the presentation by the director, the superintendent, and the principal. According to the school, they had been giving this presentation for years, and it was never deemed a problem.

This is when the ACLJ stepped in to intervene. We provided the parent with our memorandum on parental rights in education, including her right to know and be informed about her child’s education under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (“PPRA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1232h, which gives parents the authority to inspect all instructional material.

Being equipped with our letter and knowledge that the school was violating federal law, the parent again insisted that the health director allow her to review the presentation. She also requested that the school add the verbiage “many other services are mentioned, including abortion” onto future permission slips so that parents are no longer being deceived as to the true intentions of this vile presentation.

Not backing down, the parent made a compelling argument that there should be alternative resources for students, like a crisis-pregnancy center presentation, that explain how other options are available for young pregnant mothers.

We are proud to say that this parent was finally granted access to the materials, and the health director even agreed to include abortion as a topic on the permission slip for future classes. This is what advocating for your child can do. The parent has informed us that her work is still not done—she is planning on bringing this issue before the school board and insisting on alternative curriculums.

Normalizing abortion at a young age seems to be the name of the game for Planned Parenthood’s agenda, and it’s up to informed parents like you to advocate on behalf of your children. Don’t forget that these are YOUR tax dollars at work funding these reprehensible presentations and indoctrinating unsuspecting school children. This is why the ACLJ has redoubled our efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

You can join the fight and be vigilant for your child and your community:

  1. Start with understanding your right to inspect all curricula using the ACLJ’s parental rights memo. Ask to view all guest presentations, and know what your child is learning.
  2. Once your information is compiled, use a grassroots strategy and inform other parents—start a petition, hold a parents conference, and bring your concerns before the school board!
  3. Call on your local pro-life community to get more involved—find a local crisis pregnancy center willing to present at a school. Help them build a curriculum that could be presented as an alternative to Planned Parenthood’s presentation and provide it to the school board. Let them know that there are other options!

It’s time for the pro-life community to come alive and protect our innocent children. You  can effect change in your cities’ and counties’ public schools, and the ACLJ is here to support you.

LifeNews Note: Christina Stierhoff writes for ACLJ.

Thousands of reports of menstrual irregularities, reproductive dysfunction following COVID vaccines

April 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands of women around the world are reporting disrupted menstrual cycles after receiving injections of COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.K.’s government vaccine adverse event system has collected more than 2,200 reports of reproductive disorders after coronavirus injections, including excessive or absent menstrual bleeding, delayed menstruation, vaginal hemorrhaging, miscarriages, and stillbirths.

In the U.K., the Yellow Card adverse event reporting system includes 2,233 reports of “reproductive and breast disorders” after reception of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

The U.K. Yellow Card program reports 1,465 reactions involving reproductive systems as well as 19 “spontaneous abortions” (miscarriages), five premature labors, and two stillbirths in association with the AstraZeneca vaccine as of April 5.

The reports include:

  • 255 cases of abnormal uterine bleeding
  • 242 reports of unusual breast pain and swelling
  • 182 women who experienced absent or delayed menstruation
  • 175 cases of heavy menstrual bleeding
  • 165 cases of vaginal hemorrhaging
  • 55 reports of genital swelling, lesions, rashes or ulcerations
  • 19 cases of postmenopausal hemorrhaging
  • 12 cases of premature or “artificial” menopause

Another 768 reports of “reproductive and breast disorders” have been reported for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in the U.K., as well as 42 “spontaneous abortions,” five premature labor onsets, and two stillbirths. These include:

  • 265 reports of breast changes, including 22 reports of breast cancer and 177 reports of breast pain
  • 134 cases of irregular menstrual bleeding
  • 127 reports of absent or light menstruation
  • 92 cases of heavy bleeding
  • 73 cases of vaginal hemorrhaging
  • 5 reports of postmenopausal hemorrhaging
  • 5 cases of premature or ‘artificial’ menopause

Male reproductive disorders are fewer, but 75 Yellow Card reports on AstraZeneca’s vaccine include 63 erectile dysfunction reactions, 50 cases of testicular pain, 11 cases of scrotal pain and swelling, and three reports of haematospermia, or blood in sperm.

Pfizer’s Yellow Card includes 22 reports of testicular and scrotal pain and 21 counts of sexual dysfunction.

None of the Yellow Card reports reveal details about the individuals who experienced the side effects. However, 32-year-old Lorri Emmily Lowe of the U.K. said she felt cramping three days after receiving AstraZeneca’s vaccine in February.

“I also had a completely unusable arm for 24 hours,” she told LifeSiteNews. “It was excruciating and I was pretty much bed-bound just because of the arm. I had to laugh like a mad person for strange pain.”

Lowe said she felt “out of sorts” for about three days but what worried her most was that her menstrual cycle that had been predictably “perfect” for 10 years (not including pregnancies) suddenly vanished.

She had a strange “spotting” episode that she has never had in her life before and her period was five days late. “I’m never late. I’ve been consistent for many, many years,” she said, and when it did come on it was “super heavy and lasted eight days.”

Lowe’s cycle has returned to normal now but is quite heavy. “I do not see how out of the six years since I’ve birthed a baby, that was the one month my cycle decided to go haywire.”

The U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) documents similar reproductive complications.

“My period has always been regular. Expected period was to begin on 02/22/2021 (after second vaccine dose) and bleeding did not occur,” a 25-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, who received both doses of Moderna’s vaccine, reported to the system, which is run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One VAERS report describes a 51-year-old woman from Georgia who received a first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in January and within three days developed a blood rash (petechiae) on her ankles that gradually spread to her knees. She was admitted to the hospital five days after her vaccine with vaginal bleeding and anemia. She was diagnosed with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, a blood clotting disorder, which led to her worsening liver function, painful leg swelling, and purple discoloration. She died February 11. [VAERS ID 1032163-1]

Write-up: Patient received dose #1 of COVID-19 vaccine on 1/16/21. Within 3 days, she developed petechiae up to ankles, later rising up to her knees. Pt admitted to hospital on 2/6/21 for symptomatic anemia 2/2 vaginal bleeding. Patient received 4 units FFP, 4 units PRBC, 1 unit cryoprecipitate, and vitamin K 5 mg IV. Also started on medroxyprogesterone 20 mg PO TID. Alectinib d/ced due to worsening liver function. Evalauted by OB/GYN and Hematology. Diagnosed with DIC. Patient with worsening bilateral lower extremity edema and purpura with pain and weakness. Palliative care consulted. Patient passed away on 2/11.

A 48-year-old woman from Texas received a first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in January and 13 days later was hospitalized with heavy vaginal bleeding and a critically low platelet count. [VAERS ID 0958885-1]

Write-up: The patient was seen in my office on 1/19/21 with complaint of heavy vaginal bleeding. A CBC was obtained which revealed an H/H of 12.2/36.1 and a platelet count of 1 (not 1K, but 1 platelet!) and this was confirmed on smear review. She was immediately sent to the Hospital ED and repeat CBC confirmed the critically low platelet count. She is currently hospitalized and she has received platelet transfusions but her platelet count is still critically low. She is also receiving steroids and immunoglobulin and is under the care of MD (Heme/Onc)

VAERS also includes 26 reports of miscarriage or other “fetal demise” events after COVID vaccinations.

A 40-year-old pregnant physician from California described a patient’s first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine as a “lethal event for the fetus” that led to her delivering the baby stillborn six days later.  [VAERS ID 958755]

Write-up: Pt was 18 weeks pregnant at the time of the vaccine. Second pregnancy. Pt is a physician. Pregnancy was entirely normal up to that time. On 1/18/2021, she began to have heavy vaginal bleeding probably due to a placental abruption and subsequently delivered at 18 weeks. Baby was stillborn. Ultrasound done 1/15/2021 normal. Lethal event for the fetus. The patient did well.

“Something insulted this placenta to lead to fetal demise,” read another VAERS report on a 24-year-old woman who began bleeding two weeks after receiving a first dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in February.  [VAERS ID 1074788 ]

Write-up: At 8 weeks pregnancy (2 weeks after first shot) started bleeding and had a subchorionic hematoma. By 10 week subchorionic hematoma resolved. Received second shot and of Feb. 1 week later, at 12 weeks pregnancy , fetus had no heart beat! It measured normal size (as expected) and limited normal first trimester anatomy by ultrasound. But NO heart beat. Something insulted this placenta to lead to fetal demise.

In most cases, deaths of unborn babies were recorded only as “life-threatening” or as “hospitalizations” for the mother, as in the case of a 35-year-old Ohio woman. The woman lost her baby after she was vaccinated with a first dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine on the same day that an ultrasound and genetic screening showed the 20-week-old baby to be in good health. [VAERS ID 1033412]

Write-up: 20 weeks gestation at time of vaccine administration. Saw OB that morning (1/12/21), normal exam and fetal heart rate. Normal anatomy scan 1/8/21, normal genetic screening. Fetal demise noted at 24 week OB visit on 2/9/21, stillborn baby delivered 2/12/21.

Moderna and Pfizer did not immediately reply to questions about their vaccine and fertility. “It has been incorrectly suggested that COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility because of a shared amino acid sequence in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and a placental protein,” Jerica Pitts, a Pfizer representative, claimed in an email to the Associated Press in December, however. “The sequence, however, is too short to plausibly give rise to autoimmunity.”

Animal studies to investigate the cross reaction of spike protein targeting COVID vaccines with Syncytin-1 have not been conducted to determine if autoimmunity can arise or not.

Fertility-disrupting ingredient in AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine also present in HPV, flu shots

No mechanism to explain disrupted menstrual cycles or reproductive organ pain in males and females has been offered and public discussion of the reproductive reports has been minimal. However, polysorbate 80, a chemical that has exhibited delayed ovarian toxicity to rat ovaries at all injected doses tested over a tenfold range is an ingredient in AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine, along with other vaccines including for influenza and HPV.

Concerns have been raised in the past about these vaccines’ impact on reproductive abilities. An Australian case study in the British Medical Journal described a 16-year-old girl whose regular menstruation ceased after receiving HPV vaccines and she was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure.

In 2014, Australian doctors published a case series of more teens who had entered premature menopause — a phenomenon they described as ordinarily “so rare as to be also unknown.” They raised troubling questions about some HPV vaccine ingredients’ documented risks to fertility including Polysorbate-80, cited serious deficiencies in preliminary vaccine trials and concluded that further research was “urgently required.”

Between 2006 and 2014, VAERS cited 48 cases of ovarian damage associated with autoimmune reactions in HPV vaccine recipients. Between 2006 and May 2018, VAERS catalogued reports of spontaneous abortion (256 cases), amenorrhea (172 cases), and irregular menstruation (172 cases).

A 2020 study of adverse event reports in VAERS reported a statistically significant association between the quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) and premature ovarian insufficiency, including amenorrhea, irregular menstruation, and premature menopause.

Like the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the U.K. Yellow Card program collects voluntary reports and does not prove causal connection between the vaccination and the reported symptom. As a voluntary system, however, it tends to capture only a fraction of adverse events. A Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare study found that fewer than 1 percent of vaccine adverse events are reported to VAERS, which means that the actual numbers of adverse reactions to vaccines are one to two orders of magnitude higher.

Former Pfizer VP’s warning of potential impact on fertility

In December, former Pfizer allergist and immunologist Michael Yeadon and German lung specialist Wolfgang Wodarg wrote a petition to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in which they suggested that any vaccine against coronavirus spike protein, if it were to cross react with a similar human protein called Syncitin-1 in placental tissue, could result in loss of pregnancy and continued sterility in women who developed an autoimmune response to Syncytin-1 as a result of vaccination.

“There is no indication whether antibodies against spike proteins of SARS viruses would also act like anti-Syncytin-1 antibodies. However, if this were to be the case this would then also prevent the formation of a placenta which would result in vaccinated women essentially becoming infertile,” the doctors wrote in their urgent letter to the EMA.

Since pregnant and breastfeeding women were excluded from vaccine trials and women of childbearing age were included only if they were using pharmaceutical contraception, the letter added: “This means that it could take a relatively long time before a noticeable number of cases of postvaccination infertility could be observed.”

UK Government: ‘Insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy’

The menstrual side effects are getting traction on social media where hundreds of women have reported odd symptoms or gone looking for answers about their menstrual irregularities in the wake of receiving coronavirus vaccines. Sharon McGlinchey Seymour posted publicly on a COVID-19 vaccine side effects Facebook page that her obstetrician told her that she was seeing “lots” of women with complaints of uncommon hemorrhaging.

Image

Dr. Kate Clancy, an associate professor at the University of Illinois, tweeted in February that she had been hearing of women who were having heavy periods after their shots. “I’m a week and a half out from dose 1 of Moderna, got my period maybe a day or so early, and am gushing like I’m in my 20s again,” she said.

Another woman who said she will be 65 in July replied that she started menstruating after the shot “fairly heavy.”

In Israel, the Health Ministry reported that it had received 13 reports of women with heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding by mid-February, though women under age 45 had not been eligible to receive the vaccine until the end of January.

The Health Ministry said that Pfizer, whose vaccine was in circulation in Israel, had not reported any menstrual irregularities in its vaccine’s clinical trials.

Media relations officer Fiona Cookson of AstraZeneca in the U.K. said the company does not have a formal response about the reproductive complaints and that the U.K. Government Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would be responsible for monitoring and oversight of such side effects, rather than the vaccine manufacturer.

The Yellow Card reporting website states that 20.6 million first doses and one million second doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine were distributed in the U.K. by April 5.

Moderna and Pfizer did not immediately reply to questions about reproductive side effects of their vaccines.

The U.K. Green Book, described as a “vital guide for public health professionals administering vaccines in the UK,” does not mention menstruation except for to say that “routine questioning about last menstrual period and/or pregnancy testing is not required before offering the vaccine.”

“As with most pharmaceutical products, specific clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy have not been carried out,” according to the vaccine Green Book. As with other vaccines, no investigation of long-term effects on fertility or cancer is required for licensing or emergency use authorization of vaccinations.

The U.K. Green Book states that “developmental and reproductivity testing of the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in animals have not raised any concerns” and vaccines that use adenovirus vectors, similar to those used in the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, have been widely used to vaccinate women against Ebola” and “form trials of these vaccines in pregnancy are due to proceed.”

“Although the available data do not indicate any harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy,” according to the government booklet. Yet the standard of practice has been to recommend the vaccine if it is thought that its benefits would outweigh its risks.

It’s ‘lunacy to get this experimental vaccine if you’re a young female’

Dr. Simone Gold of America’s Frontline Doctors has stressed the experimental nature of the vaccines, which have been granted Emergency Use Authorization only by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and are still undergoing phase III clinical trials.

“We know that the survivability rate [from COVID-19] for women of child-bearing age, as well as children, is exceedingly high at over 99.98% per the CDC even without treatment, and certainly without a new and unproven biological agent that is still only available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as an investigational treatment.,” Gold said in an emailed statement to LifeSiteNews. Using simple logic for a risk assessment would make the decision to give any of the COVID experimental vaccines to a pregnant woman extraordinarily reckless.”

While a year ago, women who were pregnant or planned on conceiving were hesitant to eat tuna because of its mercury content or to take a Tylenol, now they are being badgered into taking experimental injections.

“The desire to get pregnant is overwhelming. It’s not something that can be replaced by something else. It’s not something you can mess around with,” Gold told Michelle Malkin in an interview in February. “The cascade of events that has to go on in the human body to get pregnant and to maintain a pregnancy throughout is incredibly complicated and that’s why historically doctors and scientists have always excluded pregnant women from clinical trials because we don’t know all the details of what we don’t know.”

“It’s lunacy to get this experimental vaccine if you’re a young female,” Gold said. “I would flat-out forbid any young female from getting this vaccine and it’s very unethical for any physician to offer this to any young female.”

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.

The strange truth about the pill

By Zaria Gorvett

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180822-the-birth-control-pill-can-have-male-side-effects

It all started with a Mexican yam.

It was 1942 and a chemistry professor from Pennsylvania was looking for a cheap source of progesterone. The hormone had many uses at the time, including preventing miscarriages and treating women going through menopause.

In fact, Russell Marker already had invented a way to make progesterone from a chemical in certain plants. One option was the tubers of wild Japanese yams. But these were thin and weedy – they just didn’t contain enough of the hormone.

Marker scoured the land for alternatives, examining more than 400 species, but to no avail. Then he stumbled upon a drawing in an obscure botany book. This yam had fat, knobbly roots that reportedly weighed up to 100 kg (220lbs). He travelled to its native Mexico and smuggled one out of the country.

With an affordable source of progesterone found, researchers turned to its uses as a contraceptive. The birth control pill hit the market less than a decade later. Marker, on the other hand, mysteriously disappeared from public life and became obsessed with collecting silver.

The economic and social side effects of the pill were as profound as they are well-documented. Sex could be enjoyed without fear of pregnancy. Suddenly women could devote their 20s and 30s to furthering their education and careers, rather than housework and nappies.

But right from the beginning, the pill has had a secret.

In recent years, scientists have started to realise that the brains of women on the pill look fundamentally different. Compared to women who aren’t taking hormones, some regions of their brains seem to be more typically ‘male’.

There are behavioral changes, too. Women on certain types of pill aren’t as good at coming up with words – something our gender are usually highly skilled at. On the other hand, they’re better at mentally rotating objects, as is often the case in men. Finally, women on a different type of pill are better at recognising faces – something women are usually good at.

Confused? So are scientists. What’s going on?

We’re often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone

We’re often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone.

That is because, when taken orally, oestrogen and progesterone break down too quickly to be practical. Instead, the pill contains synthetic versions, which are built from more stable hormones that have been altered to mimic the hormones.

Every brand of combined pill on the market contains the same type of synthetic oestrogen, ethinyl estradiol, and one of eight synthetic progesterones, called progestins. Ethinyl estradiol prevents the body from releasing an egg every month, while progestins thicken the mucus at the entrance to the cervix and conspire to make the womb inhospitable. Even if an egg slips out and becomes fertilised, it won’t be able to settle down and start growing.

So far, so good. But though the hormones are effective at preventing pregnancy, they aren’t perfect matches for our natural hormones. The end result is that these synthetic versions also have effects that you would never get from raw progesterone.

The internet is awash with anecdotal reports of acne, sweating and unwanted hair growth after going on the pill. One women described sprouting hairs all over her cheeks, while another came down with “pizza face” after starting a new brand. These ‘masculine’ effects have been well-studied by scientists, and they are real: certain kinds of pill really do make them worse, especially in susceptible women.

But the reason is surprising. According to a study from 2012, 83% of US women who are on the pill are taking a version that contains progestins made from male hormones. This includes the popular brands Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Loestrin FE 1/20 and Tri-Sprintec®, among many others.

The male hormone that these pills use is a close relative of testosterone called nandrolone. A potent androgen (a hormone that influences the development of the male reproductive system), it can lead to the development of typically male characteristics.

It’s actually used for doping in men sometimes — Belinda Pletzer

“It’s actually used for doping in men sometimes,” says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so it’s popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015 (he claimed it entered his system after eating the meat of an uncastrated wild boar.)

We’ve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.

Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.

The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.

Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.

But there are some side effects.

“These progestins, which were decreased in dose over the years, are still related to the chemical structure of testosterone. All the derivatives came out to levonorgestrel, which is the most used or known of the progestins,” says Regine Sitruk-Ware, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Population Council, New York. “It is still androgenic by itself, by the fact that it can bind to the androgen receptors.”

Over the years, there have been several generations of progestins. Though the earlier ones are nearly all androgenic, more recently scientists have developed versions made from synthetic progesterone, instead. These have the opposite effects – they are often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth because they are ‘feminising’ (though they, too, can have undesireable side effects resulting from a hormonal imbalance). Some examples include Yasmin® and Ocella™.

Generally speaking, the older, cheaper brands of pill tend to contain androgenic hormones, while newer, more expensive ones tend to contain anti-androgens. This may be one reason that just 17% of women on the combined pill in the US take the anti-androgenic versions.

There are androgen receptors all over the body, particularly in the sweat glands and hair follicles, which explains why androgenic progestins can make some women sweatier, hairier and spottier. But these powerful, gender-bending steroids also affect the brain.

In men, the androgens released at puberty are known to remodel the brain. This is also true in women, where relatively small quantities of testosterone can cause certain areas to shrink and others to grow.

Given what we know about the power of these hormones, it’s perhaps surprising that until recently, no one had checked if progestins made from male hormones might have an impact.

“There has been a lot of research on their physical side effects,” says Pletzer. “There’s also been research on the emotional side effects, because that’s something that women keep complaining about. But very few studies have looked at the brain and cognition.”

One of the first such studies was conducted only eight years ago – after the pill had already been in use for 50 years. At the time Pletzer was interested in how women’s brains change throughout the menstrual cycle. (Read more about how the menstrual cycle changes women’s brains and abilities over the course of the month).

But when she realised she was excluding those on the pill, she asked herself why. “We know that the steroids our own body produces, such as progesterone and testosterone, affect the brain. So of course I would expect any synthetic hormones to have an effect as well,” she says.

Pletzer abandoned her original idea and set out to test the effects of the pill instead. She recruited a mixture of men and women on and off hormonal contraception, then scanned their brains.

What she found was striking. The scans revealed that several brain areas were larger in the women on the pill, compared to those of women who weren’t. These areas just so happened to be larger in men than women, too.

The study involved a relatively small sample and didn’t separate androgenic and anti-androgenic contraception, so Pletzer cautions against reading too much into the results. But other research has hinted that both types of hormones actually may be changing our behavior.

It turns out that women taking pills with androgenic progestins have lower verbal fluency (the ability to think of new words). They were also better at rotating objects. This makes sense, since men are thought to be slightly less articulate than women in certain situations and have better spatial awareness.

Other studies have found that women on oral contraception remember emotional stories more like men

Other studies have found that women on oral contraception remember emotional stories more like men – recalling the gist more than the details. They’re also not as good at recognising emotions in others, such as anger, sadness, or disgust – just like men. It looks suspiciously like certain types of pill are “masculinising” women’s brains.

Perhaps the most striking evidence, however, comes from a paper published in 2015. This time, Pletzer compared the brains of women on the two types of pill with women who were not. Several brain areas were larger in the women whose pills contained the newer, anti-androgenic progestins.

Crucially, these changes seemed to be affecting their behaviour.

Two brain areas were particularly engorged: the fusiform face area, a region about the size of a pea that processes facial information (from photographs of friends to cartoons), and the parahippocampal place area, which important for recognising places (such as cityscapes). These women were also better at recognising faces.

Facial recognition is something women are usually highly skilled at – even as babies – so this fits with the picture of oral contraceptives subtly influencing our brains. In this case, the anti-androgenic pills may be having a “feminising” effect.

Just as before, several brain areas were also larger in women on androgenic pills, including many which are typically so in men. The longer the women had been on the pill, the larger these areas were.

To complicate matters further, all combined pills contain synthetic oestrogen, which is feminising. This means that the same women may be experiencing both ‘feminising’ and ‘masculinising’ effects on their brains at the same time.

No one could have predicted that an ugly yam would give rise to a feminist revolution. The pill has repeatedly been called the greatest invention of the 20th Century and is said to be responsible for a third of the increase in women’s wages since the 1960s.

But contraceptive pills may have a darker side. As Pletzer wrote in 2014, when athletes take steroids we call it ‘doping’ – it’s considered abuse and strongly condemned by society. But we’re happy for millions of women to take these hormones every day, sometimes right through from puberty to menopause.

Scientists don’t yet know if any of the pill’s effects on the brain have much of an impact on our behaviour. But perhaps it is time we put it to the test.

Correction: An earlier version of this story implied that the ‘feminising’ effects of pills like Yasmin could lead to hair loss; while some women do experience hair loss while taking birth control pills, this tends to be for broader reasons such as a resulting hormonal balance. This has been changed.

Abortion is Never a Human Right

By 

One of the great achievements of Christian civilization has been the development of a thorough and robust account of the dignity of the human person – a dignity that outstrips that of any other being in physical creation, to the extent that the human person is viewed as an image of God Himself.

“The divine image is present in every man,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves.” (no. 1702)

Those of us living in a historical time and part of the world so thoroughly indebted to the Judeo-Christian worldview often simply take for granted this view of the human person, failing to appreciate how unique and monumental it is in the history of the human race. Nowadays, even many (although not all) of the most hard-boiled atheists will profess to believe in the “dignity of the human person,” not pausing to appreciate that it is, in large measure, thanks to Christianity that this truth is so widely acknowledged.

It is true that in an increasing number of cases, certain ideologues are openly promoting a utilitarian or eugenic philosophy that measures the worth of human beings based upon various criteria (i.e., health, intelligence, productivity, degree of personal happiness, etc.). However, for the most part people still begin with the basic assumption of the Judeo-Christian worldview – that even those people who seem “useless,” or who have done great harm to others, are owed a basic respect, and certain rights, that they can never lose. We see this instinct manifested, for instance, in the movement against the use of the death penalty, even in the cases of the worst criminals – murderers.

Unfortunately, however, human beings are often inconsistent, and are blinded by their prejudices and selfish desires. In the past century, most of the world, including much of the Christian West, has carved out certain systemic “exceptions” to the dignity of the human person – escaping the duty of respect owed to other persons, often by simply denying that the other is a person to begin with. The primary victim of this movement has been the unborn child, although it is increasingly extending to the disabled, sick, and elderly.

Never before has there been more evidence in support of the humanity (and, therefore, the personhood) of the unborn child. And yet, never since ancient pagan times has the unborn child been so unprotected. This “de-personing” of the unborn child is simply the latest manifestation of the same tendency that led swathes of the world to deny the personhood and worth of black people and other enslaved races. It is the old, pagan view of the human being, escaping from the protective umbrella of Judeo-Christian civilization.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae, “If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenseless human beings, who find their ultimate defense against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God’s commandment.” (no. 57)

More Gaslighting: Abortion as a ‘Human Right’

Last week I wrote about the “gaslighting” of the gender ideologues, who deny the most self-evident truths – e.g., that a man cannot become a woman simply by wanting to – and then accuse those who disagree with them of being delusional or evil.

The same tendency toward gaslighting is present within the pro-abortion movement. Pro-abortion activists will call the baby in the womb – which we can now see on the ultrasound screen with our own eyes – a “blob of tissue,” and then turn around and accuse pro-lifers, who protest that this simply isn’t true, of being “anti-science” or not supporting “women’s rights.”

The pro-abortion position is filled with such flagrant absurdities and contradictions. Consider this recent document from Antony Blinken, President Biden’s new Secretary of State, which suggests that access to abortion and contraception is a “human right.”

As Live Action reports, during the Trump administration the human rights report prepared by the State Department did not mention women not having access to abortion or contraception as being a human rights violation. Blinken, however, indicated that a Biden administration will be reversing course.

“For many years, our human rights reports contained a section on reproductive health, including information about…discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care, and government policies about access to contraception,” Blinken said in a statement. “And we are restoring the practice of documenting these rights in 2021 and future years.”

It is important to note that the phrase “sexual and reproductive health” is widely recognized as being a euphemism that includes access to abortion and contraception. In a statement to reporters, Blinken affirmed, “women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are human rights.”

Unpack the euphemism, and what Blinken is saying is: “The right to kill other innocent human beings is a ‘human right.’” Absurd. Especially when viewed from the perspective of the unborn child, who is stripped of that most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life – in the name of “human rights.”

Unfortunately, this is only one of several extremist attacks on the dignity of the unborn from the Biden administration in recent days. In a move that comes as no surprise, Biden has instructed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review President Trump’s Protect Life rule. That rule had forbidden Title X funding from going to health care providers who provide or refer for abortion. Because of the rule, Planned Parenthood had been withdrawn from Title X, losing tens of millions in taxpayer funding. That will now be reversed.

Recently, the Senate confirmed President Biden’s pick for the secretary of the HHS. Xavier Becerra has been described as a pro-abortion “extremist.” A letter signed by 60 pro-life leaders (HLI being one) called Becerra “an enemy to every pro-life policy and law” who has “demonstrated complete disregard for the religious and moral convictions of those opposed to the brutal act of abortion.”

Becerra previously served for 24 years in Congress. He infamously voted against the Hyde Amendment, which bans government funding for abortion. He also voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003 and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. He also twice voted against a law that would ban abortions at five months in pregnancy. In other words, he’s never met an abortion he didn’t support.

And yet, this is the man that Biden has chosen to promote “health”! Certainly not the health of hundreds of thousands of unborn children who are murdered every year in our country.

candles

Cardinal Burke: Pro-Abortion ‘Catholic’ Politicians Automatically Excommunicated

Unfortunately, Becerra, like Biden, is a lifelong “Catholic.”

In an astonishing statement, Sister Carol Keehan, the well-known Catholic religious sister who headed up the Catholic Health Association for a decade and a half, said she was “relieved and thrilled” at Becerra’s nomination. Sister Keehan called Becerra “a leader whose character is rooted in his Catholic upbringing and values.”

With Catholic leaders like this, who needs enemies!

The simple fact is that abortion is certainly the gravest, and most pervasive violation of human rights and the dignity of the human person being perpetrated in our world today. No one who actively promotes this enormous evil, conducted on an industrial scale, can possibly lay claim to being a “devout” Catholic.

“The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end,” said Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae. “It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity.” (no. 57)

Fortunately, there are some Church leaders left who are willing to call a spade a spade. In a recent statement, Cardinal Raymond Burke once again reiterated the long-established teaching that Catholics who publicly support and promote abortion and other grave intrinsic evils automatically excommunicate themselves.

Cardinal Burke also clarified that “those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

To those who argue that the Church is using the Eucharist as a “political weapon” when it denies Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Cardinal Burke countered: “It is rather the Catholic politician, who publicly and obstinately promotes what is contrary to the moral law and yet dares to receive sacrilegiously Holy Communion, who uses the Holy Eucharist for political purposes. In other words, the politician presents himself or herself as a devout Catholic, while the truth is completely otherwise.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix added his voice to this debate in his Apostolic ExhortationVeneremur Cernui, published on April 1. “Holy Communion is reserved,” says Bishop Olmsted, “for those, who with God’s grace make a sincere effort to live this union with Christ and His Church by adhering to all that the Catholic Church believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.” This is, he emphasizes, why the “Church requires Catholic leaders who have publicly supported gravely immoral laws such as abortion and euthanasia to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they publicly repent and receive the Sacrament of Penance.”

Moreover, states the bishop, “not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is an intrinsically grave sin and that there is a grave and clear obligation for all Catholics to oppose them by conscientious objection.” Quoting Evangelium Vitae, he adds that, “in the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it.’”

If the Judeo-Christian teaching on the dignity of the human person is one of the most precious gifts of Christ and His Church to the human race, it must also be protected by Christians with enormous fervor, lest it be lost and forgotten. In these troubled times amongst rampant confusion and the torrential assault against truth, bereft of sound doctrinal teaching, the leadership of Cardinal Burke and Bishop Olmsted is a welcomed breath of fresh air. Their statements are simply an acknowledgement that no Catholic can support the systematic assault on the dignity of a whole category of persons, and still claim to be a faithful Catholic. The contradiction is simply too extreme, too deep.

In the face of the Biden administration’s assault on human dignity, we must, all of us, respond to Pope St. John Paul II’s “pressing appeal” in Evangelium Vitae: to “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” (no.5)

FDA to allow abortion pill distribution by mail during COVID-19 pandemic

 

letter sent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the pro-abortion American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) indicates that the agency plans to “exercise enforcement discretion” in the dispensing of the abortion pill by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, the FDA intends to continue to allow the distribution of these dangerous abortion drugs by mail for the duration of the pandemic.

The decision follows ongoing litigation filed by ACOG against the FDA asserting that requiring mifepristone (the abortion pill) to be dispensed to abortion clients in person during the COVID-19 pandemic is an undue burden. Under FDA’s REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), the abortion pill mifepristone (used in a regimen with misoprostol) must be dispensed by a certified prescriber at an approved hospital or clinic and is prohibited from being sold online or in a pharmacy.

Live Action News has previously documented how the abortion industry used the COVID-19 pandemic to lift the REMS and expand access to the abortion pill. In fact, well before the pandemic, the industry expanded its abortion pill clinical trials and then rolled out a “no test” abortion pill protocol, which some medical professionals have said endangers women. Around the same time frame, the ACOG also changed its recommendations to line up exactly with the abortion industry’s attempts to expand access to the abortion pill.

The ACOG is not an impartial medical organization; it is radically pro-abortion. It has been funded by organizations that directly received funds from U.S. abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories. ACOG is also funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a Danco investor. In 2018, the ACOG received $1.4 million from the Buffett Foundation — a known abortion philanthropist —and has received hundreds of thousands from the foundation every year for the past several years. Buffett was also one of the first investors in Danco.

The letter was sent by Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of the FDA under the Biden administration who previously served as Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) when the Agency approved the abortion pill.

Image: FDA letter to ACOG allows dispensing of abortion pill by mail outside Rems during COVID-19Image Twitter

FDA letter to ACOG allows dispensing of abortion pill by mail outside Rems during COVID-19 Image Twitter

In the letter, Woodcock claims that CDER reviewed “postmarketing adverse events that reportedly occurred from January 27, 2020 – January 12, 2021” and found the “small number of adverse events reported to FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) provided no indication that any program deviation or noncompliance with the Mifepristone REMS contributed to the reported adverse events.”

What Woodcock failed to note is that changes made to the REMS by the FDA in 2016 no longer required the manufacturer of the abortion pill, Danco Laboratories or its generic GenBioPro to report non-fatal adverse effects

The letter also indicates that CDER reviewed at least four studies published around the dispensing of the abortion pill via telemedicine. One of those “studies” was based on a TelAbortion Project sponsored by Gynuity Health Projects. Live Action News has previously documented the funding streams and conflicts of interest surrounding multiple abortion pill studies like this one.

The letter made clear that the FDA planned to “exercise enforcement discretion” with respect to in-person requirements as well as the dispensing of the abortion pill through the mail.

Provided the other requirements of the Mifepristone REMS are met and given that the in-person dispensing of mifepristone… may present additional COVID-related risks to patients and healthcare personnel… CDER intends to exercise enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 PHE with respect to the in-person dispensing requirement… [and] with respect to the dispensing of mifepristone through the mail either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber or through a mail order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber.

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser called the FDA’s decision “pure politics,” adding, “The Biden-Harris FDA is acting in the financial interest of the big abortion lobby. This is flagrant and dangerous disregard for the health and safety of American women and girls.”

In a press release, Live Action founder and president Lila Rose said:

Because of today’s decision, women will be home alone delivering a dead child, unsure whether the volume of blood loss they see is ‘normal’ for the abortion procedure or them hemorrhaging and bleeding out. Unsure if the pain they feel is the ‘normal’ pain of the abortion procedure or pain from their ectopic pregnancy going undiagnosed and now threatening their life. Now, due to the utter carelessness of the FDA, the door has been opened for sexual predators to have the abortion pill delivered by mail so they can administer it to their victims and destroy the evidence of their sexual crimes.

The FDA is out of line and the American people should respond en masse calling for them to pull the pill. In a move showing blatant disdain for the intellect of the American people, today’s letter from the FDA claims that the ‘small number of adverse events reported to the FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency’ led to their decision.

In reality, there is no requirement for the manufacturer of the pill, Danco Laboratories, or its generic, GenBioPro, to report any adverse reactions except death under REMS since 2016. In addition, there are no federal laws in place to require or track abortion complications across all states. 

In October of 2020, the first U.S. online pharmacy announced plans to ship abortion pills to patients across the country during COVID-19. Shortly thereafter, virtual abortion pill dispensaries began to flood the internet.

While the latest changes to FDA’s REMS are only in effect during the pandemic, the Biden-Harris administration is expected to pressure the FDA to permanently remove the REMS from the abortion pill. If this occurs, it will likely result in a surge of abortion pill sales far beyond the previously estimated $200 million annually.

Editor’s Note: Visit AbortionPillReversal.com for information on how to potentially stop the abortion pill process after it has begun.

Contraception blood-clot risk

By the end of March, 79 cases of rare blood clots had been reported in those who’d received the AstraZeneca vaccine the UK, with cases occurring more frequently in younger women. Because of this, comparisons have been drawn with the contraceptive pill, which carries a greater relative risk of clots. In the UK, blood clots have occurred in people taking the AstraZeneca vaccine at a rate of roughly one in every 250,000, whereas blood clots caused by the pill are estimated to affect one in every 1,000 women each year.

But this isn’t the only difference between the two. Although evidence is still emerging, the mechanisms behind the type of clotting linked to the vaccine and that linked to the pill appear to be quite different. It’s a reminder of how complex the blood and clotting is, with multiple parts of the process that can be disrupted.

The cause of vaccine-induced clots

With the AstraZeneca vaccine, a small number of clots have been reported, with individuals presenting with low levels of platelets in their blood, likely resulting from these clots forming.

Platelets are the smallest of our blood cells. Produced in our bone marrow, they travel to anywhere there is damage to blood vessels to help clotting (to prevent blood from escaping) and start the repair process. A normal number of platelets is anywhere between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microlitre of blood (there are 1,000 microlitres in one millilitre). If you have too few platelets, less than 150,000 per microlitre, then you have a deficiency – known as thrombocytopenia.

Thrombocytopenia can be inheritedacquired through lifestyle factors over time (such as poor diet combined with alcohol) or brought on by medicines or infections. And although yet to be confirmed, it seems the AstraZeneca vaccine, by causing blood clots, may be leading to low platelet levels in an extremely small number of people too. This potential new condition has been called vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT).

If blood clots occur when they shouldn’t, this can be fatal. In some people who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, unwanted clotting is being reported in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thromboembolism (CVST).

As blood leaves the brain, it drains into a dedicated space that exists around it – the cerebral venous sinuses – prior to it being channelled into the major veins that drain out of the head and into the neck, back to the heart.

A diagram showing the sinuses that drain blood out of the brain
Blood leaves the brain by moving into the venous sinuses (blue) and draining into the jugular vein. OpenStax/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY

But for some who’ve taken the vaccine, platelets appear to stick together in the venous sinuses of the brain, which causes a blockage that prevents blood draining out of the brain tissues. This creates back pressure in the small vessels of the brain and blood leaks into the brain itself, causing damage in the same way a haemorrhagic stroke would.

Accompanying symptoms include headache, tiny red spots under the skin, blurred vision, fainting or loss of consciousness, loss of movement in parts of the body, or coma. These typically appear between four and 20 days after vaccination.

These symptoms, as well as the mechanism underlying the formation of these clots, are similar to those from a different type of thrombosis, heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), where specific antibodies bind to a molecule in the blood called heparin, causing platelets to become super sticky and clot. It’s been suggested some form of immune activation, similar to that seen in HIT, might be the cause of what is happening in some vaccinated people.

Clotting and contraception

Despite the combined oral contraceptive pill also increasing the risk of blood clots in those who take it, these clots are likely formed by a different mechanism to those seen in CVSTs.

Clotting is a complex system. It involves more than just platelets. There are also many proteins dissolved in the plasma of blood, which when damage to tissues or blood vessels occurs, launch a series of steps to produce fibrin, an insoluble protein that then combines with platelets and red blood cells to form a clot. These dissolved proteins are called clotting factors, and some of the ingredients in contraceptives increase the levels of certain clotting factors in the blood, which raises the odds of clots forming in veins.

Genetic factors can also work to increase the likelihood of abnormal clots forming in women taking the pill. For instance, having a genetic mutation that affects a specific clotting factor called factor V Leiden is associated with a three-fold increase in risk. About 5% of people categorised as white have this mutation, though it is much less common in other ethnic groups.

It’s plausible that there may be genetic factors that increase the risk of the AstraZeneca vaccine in some people in a similar way, but at this stage, we don’t know. And due to not knowing what the risk factors are for CVST, it is also not possible to say what the risk of taking the combined oral contraceptive pill and having the AstraZeneca vaccine might be. There are a lot of things that still need to be explored.

A woman holding two blister packs of oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptives increase the risk of blood clots by raising the amounts of clotting factors in the blood. PATCHARIN SIMALHEK/Shutterstock

Finally, it’s important to note that COVID-19 itself has been reported to lead to thrombocytopenia in up to 41% of positive patients, with the figure rising to up to 95% in those with severe disease. There are many reports of small blood clots in multiple organs in COVID-19 patients causing organ damage, failure and death.

The mechanism behind this is also unclear, but the COVID-19 infection likely causes these clots either by destroying the bone marrow and preventing platelets from being made, by causing the immune system to destroy platelets, or by increasing the use of platelets to repair damage to lungs and other tissues as a result of the infection (or a combination of all these things).

With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that while there is a small risk of clotting in some individuals who take the AstraZeneca vaccine, this clotting risk is much less than with many other things, including contraceptive pills – and significantly less than the risk of clotting after a COVID-19 infection.

This article was amended on April 12 to correct the suggestion that thromobocytopenia causes blood clots. The likely mechanism is the other way round, with abnormal clotting leading to low platelet levels.

UN Urges Further Reliance Upon Contraceptives, While Pandemic Highlights their Unsustainability

 |

UN Urges Further Reliance Upon Contraceptives, While Pandemic Highlights their Unsustainability

“Contraceptive cost of COVID: a million unplanned pregnancies” read headlines across many major media outlets on March 11. The viral headline was in response to a March 11 United Nations (UN) announcement that the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies, due to the estimated 12 million women in poorer countries who lost access to contraception because of various pandemic-related disruptions.

Those statistics come from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, which recently released a report titled “Impact of COVID-19 on Family Planning: What we know one year into the pandemic” [1].

In its report, UNFPA lists the various pandemic-induced disruptions to contraceptive access, including hits to global manufacturing and supply chains, emptied out shelves, lockdowns and social distancing measures, fears of visiting health clinics, or the inability to visit clinics because of the overwhelm caused by the pandemic. Together, UNFPA believes that these disruptive factors, which they estimate lasted for an average of about 3.6 months in 2020, are responsible for at least 500,000 and as many as 2.7 million unplanned pregnancies (with 1.4 million being their medium estimate) across 115 low- and middle-income countries.

The UNFPA report actually highlights the reasons why pharmaceutical birth control is unsustainable in the face of a disaster (as many of these factors are not unique to a pandemic). Yet, the organization insists that further dependence on these methods of family planning is necessary, stating that contraceptive access must be prioritized for women and girls across the globe. In fact, the UN goes so far as to place contraceptives on a list of items which they consider “life-saving commodities.” But in essence, the UN is just placing more emphasis on the same unsustainable strategy, encouraging women and couples to rely on the same methods of pharmaceutical birth control that left them in a lurch this pandemic.

A new strategy for sustainable family planning

What the UN misunderstands is that the COVID-19 pandemic actually highlighted a dire need for family planning that is sustainable, independent of supply chains, and accessible beyond the clinic.

Thanks to scientifically-backed fertility awareness methods (FAM) (also known as Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, FABMs, or methods of Natural Family Planning, NFP), there are alternatives to pharmaceutical contraceptives that can better serve women and couples in meeting their family planning needs. FAMs are non-pharmaceutical, most require no or little equipment, and they provide sorely needed education and knowledge for women about their bodies and reproductive abilities—knowledge that won’t simply vanish as soon as disaster strikes.

The CDC has acknowledged that some fertility awareness methods have as low as a 2% typical use failure rate; while the CDC currently cites a range of 2-23% failure rate for FAMs, this reflects the range of fertility awareness methods with different efficacy rates. For example, FAMs that measure biological signs of fertility such as cervical fluid, basal body temperature, or hormone levels provide higher efficacy rates, while methods that use calendar estimates instead of biomarkers, are far less effective. Still, the efficacy of modern FAMs is often misrepresented, which leaves women with less quality information to make informed choices about the full scope of their family planning options.

The global applicability of FAMs

In truth, women all over the world have been successfully taught to use fertility awareness methods—and to use them with a relatively high degree of effectiveness. The Billings Ovulation Method (a cervical fluid-only method of natural family planning), in particular, has been taught to people in countries all over the world, in populations with every level of literacy (including no literacy).

For example, a 1996 field trial in India followed over 2,000 women who had been taught to use the Billings Ovulation Method; despite many of the women being illiterate, after 21 months, the method failure rate (for perfect use) was less than 2% per 100 users, and the user failure rate (typical use) was less than 17% per 100 users [2]. In a 1996 12-month multi-center study in China, the results were even more impressive, with a perfect use failure rate of 0, and a typical use failure rate of 0.5% [3]. Particularly noteworthy is the following conclusion from a World Health Organization-conducted, multi-continent study, published in 1981 in the journal Fertility and Sterility:

“The most striking finding was the demonstration that 94% of women representing a wide range of cultural, educational, and socioeconomic characteristics were able to recognize and record the cervical mucus symptom which allows self recognition of the fertile period” [4].

These studies indicate that the Billings method, a widespread and evidence-based method of fertility awareness, can be used by women across cultures and education levels to effectively prevent pregnancy. Even factoring in the initial instruction that women need to use these methods, they are still less expensive than any other form of birth control. Further, using a FAM does not require a prescription or a visit to a clinic or pharmacy to obtain, which makes them a form of uniquely sustainable family planning, especially in the face of a disaster (like a pandemic).

Diminished access to care for birth control side effects

While the UN report emphasizes increasing access to contraceptives, it does not address the increased access to healthcare women may need for side effects they could experience while on contraception (especially in the event of more serious side effects like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes). Unmentioned in the UN report is how women in developing countries (or even women in developed countries during a disaster) may lack access to the care needed to change their birth control method, if health risks or serious side effects arise. Even more troubling in this regard are the long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or the Nexplanon implant, which can produce uncomfortable and adverse effects for users, but which require a clinic visit for removal. Likewise, the Depo Provera shot, which despite its link to increased HIV transmission is one of the preferred methods of contraception in poorer countries, is not reversible at all. Biomedical scientist and author of Target Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha wrote in her 2012 Open Letter to Melinda Gates: “Where Europe and America have their well-oiled health care system, a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot does not have access to 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic. No, she dies.”

Environmentally friendly methods of family planning

In addition to being effective, sustainable methods of natural family planning, FAMs are the most environmentally friendly form of effective family planning. Most fertility awareness methods are zero waste, require no manufacturing, no shipping, and cause no endocrine-disrupting hormones to end up in our waterways.

With the UN’s continued focus on combating climate change, there is a large oversight when it comes to its dependence on pharmaceutical contraceptive drugs and devices, and its ignorance of more sustainable, “green,” and zero-waste forms of family planning. In 2019 alone, UNFPA boasts that it provided 1.3 billion male condoms, 16 million female condoms, 66.6 million oral contraceptives (28-day packs), 2.2 million IUDs, 47 million injectables, 9.9 million implants, and 2.9 million emergency contraceptives, with no mention of any provision of fertility awareness method education.

The UN is not alone in its near single-minded push of contraceptives. The World Health Organization also continues to push contraceptives, especially in poor countries, even though the organization recently acknowledged that breast cancer is now the world’s most-diagnosed form of cancer; the organization appears unconcerned about hormonal birth control’s established link to higher risk of breast cancer.

Accessible natural family planning

At the outset of the pandemic, Natural Womanhood realized that couples would need sustainable family planning more than ever. That is why we immediately published numerous articles to encourage women and couples to learn FAM when they might not have access to other forms of family planning. We have also been offering scholarships for women and couples to learn a FAM of their choice—for free. To date, we have awarded ten couples with a FAM scholarship. Some of these couples have admitted to us that without the scholarship, they might have resorted to hormonal contraception against their health preference or moral values, as their economic situation was too tenuous to allow for another child.

Although UNFPA stated in its report that “the situation could have been far worse,” and that “quick action,” “ingenuity,” and “creative efforts” “helped many health systems maintain or restore access to essential health services, including contraceptives,” those efforts were clearly not enough to help the estimated 1.4 million women avoid unplanned pregnancies [5].

 

Excuse me, Ms. We need babies

by Louis T. March

Excuse me, Ms. We need babies

Ms. magazine is the unabashed holy grail of feminism. Right on the masthead it says “More than a Magazine, a Movement.” But just what is feminism? Like many buzz words in our pestilential popular culture, the term is used like a sledgehammer to set the parameters of permissible public discourse. It is a set piece of the PC lexicon that you will fail to understand at your peril.

The Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English Language”, defines feminism as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.”

Over here in the New World, Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” (Interestingly, the American definition holds the prospective feminist to a higher more specific standard, requiring “belief in” as well as “advocacy” and even encouraging activism to boot.) Gloria Steinem, the doyenne of modern feminism, describes a feminist as “anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

Though I may be woefully unwoke otherwise, I have no problem with any of these basic ideas about feminism. It is when feminism spills over into misandrist grousings about “toxic masculinity” and hoked-up narratives of “oppression” that I part company. That is where feminism morphs into something else and is weaponized for political purposes.

But back to Ms. An interesting article just appeared in its pages, headlined: “Stop Panicking—There Are a Lot of Positives to the Baby Bust.” The article was subtitled: “We should celebrate that increased empowerment and equality are leading this trend of slowing growth and reducing pressure on the climate and environment.”

As an avid reader of headlines, I was struck by that one. Its message seemed to be “Relax, the baby bust is a good thing. Having empowerment and equality and not having children are things to be celebrated.”

Shocker: Is Ms. Magazine actually encouraging its readership of young women not to have children? To put it bluntly, oh yes.

Reading the piece, I hear Ms. saying, “The inability of people, particularly people of color, to access basic health care is a crisis. The climate emergency is a crisis. A million wildlife species going extinct in the coming decades is a crisis. People choosing to delay pregnancy or have fewer children is not.”

While a million species of wildlife going extinct soon would certainly be a crisis, the extinction of our own non-wildlife species, Homo sapiens, certainly is a crisis – and it is already underway. This is not mere alarmist rhetoric – it’s a fact. Believe the science! The global total fertility rate has declined a stunning 50% in the last 60 years. In pre-Covid 2020, the rapidly declining total global fertility rate was slightly above 2.4 and falling (2.1 being replacement level). And that was before the Covid baby bust. While I don’t mean to spoil the empowerment party, I’ll just say that today’s fast-falling fertility rate is nothing to celebrate.

The 2020 Lancet world fertility study projects global population peaking at approximately 9.73 billion in 2064 and declining to 8.79 billion by 2100 – a decline of more than 9% decline in just 31 years. And the rate of decline beyond that is projected to accelerate. While most demographic groups (with the exception of White American males) are living longer and thus slowing population decline, as fertility declines, each succeeding generation will shrink and will bear fewer children and have more elderly to support. The crisis is like a snowball rolling downhill, growing larger and picking up speed as it goes. Already China, Hungary, Russia and other countries are desperately promoting social and financial incentives to halt the decline. Their results thus far are mixed.

Demographers tell us that fertility tends to dip in times of war or pandemic, but the sustained decline in fertility we are now experiencing – over the past six decades – is unprecedented. Yet Ms. says, “Even as our population growth slows, our outsized consumption patterns and reckless industrial growth in the Global North continue to destroy the planet.”

I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Global North” of late. Those who toss the term about are usually talking about exploitative Whites and workaholic East Asians. These are said to be the populations that “continue to destroy the planet.” (Isn’t that racist?) At the risk of being sent to the Unwoke Gulag, I would say that it is folks in the Global North that drive the world economy, and in so doing, much improve the lives of folks in the Global South. The birth dearth is the worst in the Global North, where every major country has been saddled with below-replacement-level fertility for decades.

Ms. wraps the discussion, saying: “By focusing on the positive outcomes like sustainable fertility rates and empowering women, we can shift our perspective to embrace slowing population growth as a good thing and a way to create lasting change. The baby bust is not a signal of societal collapse but a positive indicator that we are getting closer to a sustainable, equitable world.”

This is so shortsighted.

To credibly assess any trend, considering the long-term consequences is essential. First, we do not have sustainable fertility rates, and we won’t see them anytime soon, if ever. The decades-long, unprecedented decline in fertility means unstoppable population decline. Our future could consist of a quasi-dystopia where there are fewer empowered women (and compliant men), so the burden of doing the jobs society needs will fall on fewer people. Elder care will be a big one. Artificial intelligence cannot fill the gap. And if countries resort to mass immigration to do the work, they risk the rise of a diversity dictatorship, and social cohesion will become a thing of the past, as in the United States today.

Personal finances, lack of religious faith and no confidence in the future are often cited as reasons for not having children. But not reproducing for purposes of individual comfort or convenience or ideological commitment pits personal preference against the survival of the species. It is that simple, and a choice must be made.

But what young magazine reader thinks of that, especially when she’s told she has a shot at Empowerment?

Shouldn’t Women Be Able to Control Their Own Bodies?

By |

The battle over “my body, my choice” is not new; it has been raging over a century. A cartoon in the May 1919 issue of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review shows a woman being crushed by a giant roll of paper labeled “Laws Controlling Women’s Bodies.” Another offensive but equally common slogans pro-abortionists use are variations are the indignant demand “What makes you religious fanatics think you can tell me what to do with my uterus?,” and the tiresome chant “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

 

Interestingly, the first person to make the “woman’s body, woman’s choice” argument for abortion was the libertine and reprobate Marquis de Sade. His sexual writings actually inspired the word “sadism,” and he was, not surprisingly, guilty of blasphemy against the Catholic Church. In 1797, he wrote:

The penalty against child-murdering mothers is an unexampled atrocity. Who then has a greater right to dispose of the fruit than she who carries it in her womb? … To interfere with the usage a woman chooses to make of it is stupidity carried beyond any conceivable extreme.1

Let’s examine the science that disproves these claims.

What Should Be Our Pro-Life Response?

To begin with, it is impossible to reply directly to this slogan unless we have the user clarify what he or she means by it. We need to do is ask, “Why do you consider the unborn child to be a part of the woman’s body?”

The usual response is momentary hesitation, followed by one of three possible answers;

  1. The fetus (unborn child) relies on the mother completely for its existence;
  2. The fetus is inside her body, therefore it is part of her body; or
  3. The fetus is a parasite.

You can give concise and effective answers to each of these.

(1)  The unborn child relies on the mother

When asked to clarify, most pro-abortionists will argue that the unborn baby is totally dependent upon the mother. They are implying that this allows the mother the “right” to dispose of her baby.

These are separate arguments and should be treated as such. Certainly a newborn baby is just as dependent upon its parents for all of its needs as one not yet born, and will quickly die if not cared for. Does this mean that the newborn baby can be neglected or killed outright? As we see today in the infanticide debate regarding failed abortions where the child is born alive, the inevitable conclusion to draw if one is pro-abortion is affirmative. Some “intellectuals” have been arguing for decades that it is perfectly permissible to allow handicapped children to die, calling this “fourth-trimester abortion” or “post-natal abortion.” Moving the goal post means more and more killing is inevitable.

For example, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of DNA, actually claimed that “no newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment, and that if it fails these tests, it forfeits the right to live.”2 Hastings Center ethicist Joseph Fletcher has said, “It is ridiculous to give ethical approval to the positive ending of sub‑human life in utero, as we do in therapeutic abortions, but refuse to approve of positively ending a sub‑human life in extremis [after birth].”3

baby sleeping black and white

The pro-life answer is simple rebuttal. Every child who is born healthy is already entitled to care under the pain of prosecution for murder. And that baby, too, is completely dependent, so the argument is a non sequitur.

(2)  The unborn child is inside the mother

The second assertion is that the unborn child is inside his or her mother, and is therefore part of her body.

Sometimes a pro-abortionist will also claim that the unborn child is inside the mother, depends on her completely, and is therefore part of her body. We can reply by describing an analogous situation involving astronauts in space.  They are totally dependent upon their vessel for everything — their air, water, food, and all other needs. If they should exit the vehicle unprotected, they would be nonviable, and would die in minutes. This also holds true for a nonviable unborn baby. Yet no thinking person would argue that the astronauts are part of a space station!

Even the staff of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, recognized the unborn child as a separate human being. Pregnant women entering the White House must formally register their unborn children as separate visitors, with “Baby” as the first name, expected birth date, sex if known, and even “000-00-0000” as a Social Security number!

This silly policy demonstrates the totally illogical and schizophrenic nature of pro-abortion “thinking.”

(3)  The unborn child as parasite

Pro-abortionists have a pressing need to dehumanize the unborn child in order to salve the guilt they feel when they support the practice of abortion or actually have one. Sometimes they will resort to the “fetus as parasite” argument, going beyond dehumanization to paint the unborn child as some sort of disgusting wormlike abomination draining the blood and life force from its “host.”

Third-trimester abortionist Warren Hern insists in his book Abortion Practice, “The relationship between the gravid female and the feto-placental unit can be understood best as one of host and parasite.”4

When pro-abortionists insist that the unborn child is a parasite, they are acknowledging its separate nature, because parasites are never part of their host’s body. They are biologically separate and distinct organisms. Anyone denying this fact is simply being anti-scientific.

 

One way to clarify your point is to ask the pro-abortionist a question.  If they went to some underdeveloped part of the world and picked up a tapeworm because they ate some insufficiently cooked food, would they consider that parasite to be a part of their body?

Woman and Child: Separate Bodies, Separate People

If an unborn baby were part of its mother’s body, it would share all of her biological characteristics. Yet the baby even has its own distinct DNA.

In order to highlight the fact that the baby is a separate being, consider these facts, which not even the most ignorant pro-abortionist can deny:

  • All mothers are obviously female. About half of their children are male. How can a human being be both male and female?
  • The mother and baby frequently have different blood types.
  • The baby can be a different race from the mother.
  • Every cell in the mother’s body has a set of chromosomal characteristics that is entirely distinct from every cell in the baby’s body.
  • When the unborn child anchors to the uterine wall, there is a concerted attack by white blood cells to defeat him, and he must defend himself. The mother’s immune system recognizes it as “non-self.”  Therefore, it is not part of her body.
  • The baby can die without the mother dying. The mother can die without the baby dying (the baby can be rescued if he is viable).
  • The unborn baby initiates a process that culminates in its leaving the mother’s body. Challenge a pro-abortionist to name any other body organ that does this.

Conclusion

Pro-lifers agree that a woman does indeed have the right to manage her own health.  However, maintaining that right does not allow the mother to destroy her child’s body. When she conceived, she had already passed the right to life on to that new life.

Endnotes

  1. The Marquis de Sade, quoted in “Yet another Effort, Frenchmen.” Juliette [New York City: Grove Paperbacks, Inc., 1968], pages 336, 782 and 783.  It is interesting to note that de Sade’s novels were replete with several recurring themes, one of the strongest of which was the pleasure which certain disturbed individuals derive from killing both pregnant women and unborn children. In one of his grisly and deranged novels, he describes with great relish the skewering of a pregnant woman with a red hot iron rod driven through both her and her unborn baby, as described in Dr. Kenneth M. Mitzner. “The Abortion Culture.” Triumph, March 1973, pages 20 to 24.
  2. Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick. Pacific News Service, January 1978.
  3. Hastings Center ethicist Joseph Fletcher. “Four Indicators of Humanhood?:  The Enquiry Matures.”  Hastings Center Report, December 1974.
  4. Abortionist Warren Hern. Abortion Practice.  B. Lippincott Company, 1984.

Experts condemn gestational surrogacy as harmful to children, exploitative to women

 

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C., C-Fam) The state of New York quietly adopted a measure to make commercial surrogacy legal, raising objections by women’s rights and anti-trafficking groups.  Meanwhile, Russia’s parliament is moving to restrict its own booming surrogacy industry.  In a recent webinar hosted by C-Fam, experts in international surrogacy raised concerns about its harms to women and children and positioned the ongoing debate in the context of international human rights standards.

Surrogacy is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry, and while only a handful of countries explicitly allow commercial surrogacy, its legal status in other countries is ambiguous or exists in a legal vacuum.

According to scholar and Marie Curie Fellow Daniela Bandelli, surrogacy couples and individuals who want children, and are willing to pay a considerable cost to have them, and women who need money.  “It is quite a risky activity,” said Bandelli, both for the mother, who is at higher risks of pregnancy and birth complications than those who conceive naturally, and for the child, who is deprived of physical contact, including breastfeeding, “with this person we usually call the mother.”  The key question, says Bandelli, is “are women aware of all the risks they face in participating in the surrogacy industry?”

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, is an advocate for surrogacy abolition and creator of several documentary films highlighting the abuses that occur in the fertility industry.  She contrasted the positions of those who, like her, believe there is no way that surrogacy can be practiced safely and ethically, and those who believe that it is better that surrogacy be legalized and regulated.

Lahl spoke about the harms experienced by surrogate mothers in the United States, including three who died from complications of the process.  “We never want to forget that there are real human beings behind what can seem like a philosophical conversation about helping people build families.”

If such tragedies are occurring in the comparatively wealthy U.S. the plight of surrogates in the developing world is even more troubling.  Emmanuele di Leo, president of the Steadfast Foundation, has documented the growing “reproduction-for-hire” industry in Nigeria, where young women and girls are recruited—by the same methods used to recruit women into prostitution—in poor villages and housed in “baby-factories.”

In all of these cases, the demand for surrogates often originates abroad, and arrangements are conducted through private surrogacy agencies.  While few international organizations have taken a stand against the practice, including the European Parliament, most have either remained silent or, in the case of a growing number of UN experts, appeared to favor taking a more liberal approach.

joint paper presented by C-Fam, Steadfast, and Bandelli’s project WoMoGeS points out that any defense of surrogacy would require watering down the right of the child to know and be cared for by his or own parents, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  C-Fam’s Director of Legal Studies, Stefano Gennarini, argued that this violates established standards for interpreting human rights obligations.

“As any human rights lawyer knows, human rights must be read as broadly as possible, and they must be restricted as little as possible.”

Editor’s Note: Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (https://c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.

Parents receiving a fetal disability diagnosis deserve hope and support

 

A recent Reuters article told the story of an anonymous 29-year-old Polish woman impacted by Poland’s recent ban on abortions for cases of fetal abnormality. The woman, referred to as Paulina, learned at an unspecified point in her pregnancy that her preborn child did not have kidneys and would be unlikely to survive after birth. The distraught mother was quoted as saying, “Everyone says that the reward after the pain of birth is holding your child in your hands. I would have nothing. I would give birth to a dead child, and that pain would be a thousand times worse.”

Eventually, Paulina found several healthcare professionals who, instead of equipping her with counseling and resources and support, were willing to assert that the fetal diagnosis was causing such a deterioration in her mental health as to qualify her for the “life of the mother” exception to Poland’s abortion ban. Sadly, she went through with the abortion.

Abortion is not a ‘treatment’

While abortion might seem to “stop the bleeding” by ending a pregnancy and seemingly also ending the emotional pain associated with the loss of a child before or shortly after birth, abortion is not a “treatment” for fetal abnormality.

Research suggests that women who choose to abort in such cases have worse mental health outcomes than those who carry their pregnancies to term. This makes sense, as abortions for cases of fetal diagnosis are inherently discriminatory and eugenicist, penalizing the weak and the sick. These discriminatory abortions strike at the heart of the natural bond of love and protection that grows between a mother and her preborn child, severing that connection.

The false dichotomy

The Reuters article mistakenly posited that Paulina had only two options after receiving a poor prenatal diagnosis: either choose to carry the pregnancy, soldiering on alone and emotionally broken, or have an abortion and presumably stop the emotional pain.

But this dichotomy is false, because abortion does not magically resolve the emotional pain of receiving an adverse fetal diagnosis, and in fact compounds that pain with the memory of permitting an act of violence against the defenseless preborn person. From a physical health and safety perspective, women often do not learn of fetal abnormalities until their second-trimester, when morbidity and mortality rates from abortion increase dramatically.

Furthermore, women like Paulina need not soldier on alone through a challenging pregnancy.

As Live Action News has previously reported, many life-affirming options such as perinatal hospices exist in Poland to help women bond with their preborn children, walking alongside them every step of the way, ensuring that they feel supported, not alone. Women who bear the heavy emotional burden of receiving such challenging news deserve to have full information about their baby’s diagnosis, treatment options, and resources for emotional, material, and financial support. Often, they are given little or incomplete information and instead are encouraged or even pressured to abort their sick children.

Instead, parents deserve to be surrounded with love and buoyed by hope.

Why the Church Protects Human Sexuality and Marriage

By 

A few days ago the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) somehow captured global headlines for doing something that is not particularly noteworthy, and certainly not surprising.

In a brief statement – called a Responsum – the CDF responded to a question about whether or not the Church can offer “blessings” to same-sex unions. The carefully-worded answer was, in brief, “no.” “[T]he Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” concludes the statement.

In other words, the CDF reiterated, once again, what the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught for the past 2,000-plus years: Marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. Since the Church cannot bless sin, neither can it bless unions that are predicated upon sinful behavior.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. The Church’s teaching on marriage and the sexual act has been consistent throughout its history and is well-known to most people. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, quite unambiguously: “The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion.” (CCC 2390)

However, to read the many media reports on the Vatican’s statement, you would think that the CDF had done something very shocking indeed. Many spoke of a “ban” on blessing same-sex unions, as if the Church had come up with some harsh new rule specifically targeting individuals with homosexual inclinations.

To read the statement, however, is to wonder what the fuss is about. The CDF merely notes, with gentle wording, that the only moral use of the sexual act is within a marriage between a man and a woman open to life, and that blessings, as sacramentals, cannot be conferred on sinful sexual relationships. It reminds pastors that “men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Because of the Church’s great care and respect for human dignity and each individual person, the CDF adds that it “does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”

Furthermore, this “ban” does not exclusively target homosexual couples. The same approach would also apply to heterosexual couples in adulterous, fornicating, or polygamous relationships. Regardless of how much the people in such relationships love one another, their misuse of the gift of the sexual act means that the Church cannot endorse their relationship with a blessing.

As the CDF statement explains:

[W]hen a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.

For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.

Rebellion Within the Church

On the one hand, I am quite encouraged by the CDF statement, which, while pastorally sensitive, is also unambiguous in its teaching.

In recent years powerful lobby groups, both within and without the Church, have been pushing for the Church to change its teachings on sexuality and marriage. At times, Pope Francis has seemed to indicate sympathy towards some of these efforts, something that I have found quite troubling. In a documentary released last year, for instance, the Holy Father appeared to endorse the idea of legalized “civil unions” for homosexual couples – something that the CDF under Cardinal Ratzinger had clearly said could not be supported (“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” the CDF said in that 2003 statement). Whether justified or not, many people expected the Pope, or the Vatican, to soon go one step further, offering a formal endorsement of same-sex unions.

The fact that the CDF published such a clear statement, and that it was approved for publication by Pope Francis, is proof that whatever the forces pressuring the Church, the Holy Spirit is still guarding Her, and ensuring the preservation of true doctrine.

On the other hand, the reaction to the statement is deeply concerning, portending troubling times ahead. Unfortunately, it is not only the usual suspects outside the Church who are openly criticizing the statement – i.e., the secularist media and left-wing pressure groups. Many within the Church, including priests and bishops, are also openly criticizing the statement.

In Germany, 60 priests signed a statement saying they will defy the CDF, and bless same-sex couples. Another 350 priests in Austria signed a similar statement. Both of those statements used similar wording, saying that the priests will “continue” to bless such unions – highlighting the fact that many priests in Europe are already openly defying Church teaching. Another statement condemning the CDF responsum was signed by 230 theologians in Germany and elsewhere.

And it isn’t only priests that are signaling their dissent. Several bishops have also indicated their intent to pursue a different path, regardless of what the CDF says. “I feel ashamed for my Church. I mainly feel intellectual and moral incomprehension,” said Belgian bishop Johan Bonny in a statement. In the U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich, while noting that the responsum said “nothing new” about marriage, also added that it is “understandable” that many people feel “disappointment”. Experienced Vatican watchers are also pointing to the fact that, while Pope Francis apparently approved publication of the statement, he himself did not affix his name to it – possibly suggesting that he has mixed feelings about it.

The boldness of some of these expressions of defiance suggests the existence of an undeclared schism within the church, with a considerable number of priests, bishops, and theologians holding and promoting a position that is wholly out-of-step with the Church’s teaching on a crucial matter.

Reclaiming Church Teaching

The widespread shock and anger found in much of the media reporting, and even from many Catholics, highlights the discouraging fact that many people are deeply confused about what the Church teaches about marriage and the sexual act, and why it teaches what it does. Many people simply view the Church’s teachings as being harsh and judgmental, condemning people who “love” one another for no good reason.

Clearly, our culture is deeply confused about human dignity and the sacredness of marriage and the sexual act, and this confusion has infiltrated the walls of the Church Herself. Where the Church, her ministers, and her faithful should be beacons of light, showing another way forward, a more loving way, all too often we are finding the exact same confusion as in the broader culture.

married couple with rings

I am very grateful that at a time when confusion is reaching such a peak, the CDF’s new statement has provided us with a great opportunity to dispel the many misunderstandings about Church teaching!

Fundamentally, the CDF is upholding the truth about the human person. After all, written into the nature of the human person is a call to union and communion with and between one man and one woman. This union is indissoluble and by its nature procreative, participating in the generation of a new human life. Nature has a plan for human sexuality, and it doesn’t involve homosexual acts.

To “bless” any act contrary to the nature of the human person and the nature of marriage is contradictory. A same-sex couple cannot generate children because the nature of their sexual activity is not capable of procreation. There is no sexual complementarity. Moreover, there are two different kinds of sexual activity that should not be spoken of or treated as if they were the same – the conjugal act between one man and one woman, and a homosexual act.

Sexual intimacy is a mystery that symbolizes marriage and only belongs in marriage. Outside of marriage, conjugal relations are essentially untruthful. In upholding the good of the human person and of marriage, we are opposed to what threatens the context of sexual intimacy – i.e., premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual activity, etc.

Whereas the culture tends to view the modern approach to human sexuality and the sexual act as “broad–minded” and “liberating,” and the Church’s teaching on the same as being excessively “narrow” and “restrictive”, the reality is the exact opposite. The Church’s teaching on these subjects are so broad that they take into account the way the sexual act affects the whole person and impacts not only the people engaged in sexual behavior, but also others around them (especially their children), and society.

The modern approach, on the other hand, reduces the sexual act to a biological transaction that has no intrinsic meaning or purpose, and which is utterly private. This understanding of human sexuality is not only horribly reductionist, stripping the sexual act of much of its beauty and richness, but has also unleashed much suffering – through widespread divorce; the creation of an exploitative dating culture, characterized by mutual use rather than the pursuit of love; the consequent, ubiquitous disenchantment about romance and the possibility of finding true love; an explosion in STDs and out-of-wedlock births; the near-ubiquity of hardcore and degrading pornography, which exploits the actors and actresses, and enslaves many people in addiction, and so on.

The wisdom of the Church’s teaching is in how it captures the totality of what the sexual act is about: not just a source of physical pleasure, or even an expression of love between a couple, but also the means by which humans establish families, and contribute to the health and continuity of society. The Church’s view of sexuality is that the sexual act that is exclusively reserved to married couples is so noble and so powerful, that it must be carefully protected and nourished, integrated within the person, and within society.

The Church, in teaching that the sexual act is reserved for life-long unions of a man and a woman, is not against sex or against love. Instead, the Church is for sex and for love, including love for children, who have a right to be born into a stable union, and to be raised by a mother and a father. The problem with same-sex unions, or other sinful sexual relationships, is not that two people love one another, but that their love is expressed in a way that misuses and reduces the gift of sexuality, and thereby harms themselves and others.

For understandable reasons, this message is not nearly as popular as the message that people should pursue as much sexual pleasure as possible, in whatever ways they want. The good and the true are often not nearly as immediately alluring as the sinful and the untrue. To sin is easy; to be virtuous is hard. Nevertheless, the great saints and sages have always taught the same message: that the hard work involved in living in accordance with the good and the true is worth it. Wisdom is, in large part, the capacity to see through the superficial glitter of sin, and to recognize the subtle, but deep beauty of goodness and virtue.

The Church’s message about human sexuality, marriage and the sexual act, and the call to chastity, is a harder message to sell than the message of the Sexual Revolution. Nevertheless, it is our duty to do our best to find new ways to explain the truth about them, and to set the example ourselves by joyfully living according to this truth. I am grateful to the CDF for holding the line, and giving us some encouragement in this fight.

Women don’t need to fear using natural fertility awareness methods for family planning

 

A February 2021 TIME magazine piece about the Natural Cycles birth control app mimicked the skeptical, gloom-and-doom tone of most mainstream commentaries on fertility awareness-based methods of family planning (FABMs). The article trotted out the same concerns about their potential “inconvenience” and difficulty of use, as well as the claim that “it takes a very specific patient to be a good candidate to use FAMs as contraception.” Fortunately for girls and women seeking a hormone-free alternative to conventional birth control, the facts about modern, evidence-based FABMs of family planning are far different from what potential users are often led to believe.

Myth: FABMs are “inconvenient” and “difficult” to use.

The TIME article quoted a Seattle-based OB/GYN taking issue with Natural Cycles’ utilization of the woman’s waking temperature each day. She stated, “Taking your basal body temperature should be done before you move out of bed in the morning. And depending on how well you wake up, getting that accurate reading is really difficult and usually takes months of practice, because you literally have to do it before you get up to pee or move your body. So you have to reach over and take your temperature and then have the wherewithal to record it as well. It’s difficult for most people to do.”

Portraying the taking and recording of one’s own temperature as “difficult for most people” is arguably an exaggeration, not a statement of medical fact — especially given the simplicity of typing it straight into an app. Why should a woman who is considered capable and motivated enough to take a birth control pill each day be incapable of checking her own temperature?

In a world where women in particular often pay extraordinary detail to the food they consume and the chemicals in the products they use, the “inconvenience” and “difficulty” arguments don’t hold water. Certainly, women have other fertility awareness options that do not require a daily recording of one’s temperature, but automatically assuming that many or most women are incapable of this basic task is patronizing.

Myth: Very few women can use FABMs to successfully prevent pregnancy.

While the TIME article acknowledges Natural Cycles’ admirable effectiveness rate when it comes to pregnancy prevention (93% with typical use, comparable to the birth control pill, and 98% with perfect use), it quotes several medical professionals downplaying the statistics with various what-if scenarios.

One provider states that “If you’re someone who has irregular menses, or sometimes skips periods every other month, or has longer or shorter cycles, then this can make tracking your periods very difficult.” She adds, “An app (like Natural Cycles) does not take into account travel that you might be doing, stress from working night shifts, stress from childcare, stress from being in a COVID-19 pandemic, stress from an argument that you had at work, and all of those things can significantly affect your cycle.” She concludes, “These aren’t things that would necessarily be tracked in a fertility awareness method application, and a particular stress could make the fertility awareness method unsuccessful.”

The article fails to mention that Natural Cycles’ app takes into account the possibility of irregular periods, sickness, and more, and still boasts the effectiveness rate mentioned above. Other evidence-based FABMs also have similar pregnancy prevention rates even given the factors listed above. The single most important factor for pregnancy prevention when using an evidence-based FABM is learning the particular method from a trained instructor, who can answer follow-up questions and help the woman understand her own body as she begins to put what she learned into practice. Certainly there is a learning curve when a woman begins for the first time to get in touch with the natural patterns of her own fertility and infertility, and a trained instructor can help her interpret the signs and identify what she sees.

Here’s the truth: FABMs teach women to get in touch with their own bodies.

At one point, the TIME article accurately captures the beauty of FABMs, quoting a healthcare provider who says, “[FAMs] really allow the patient to become more aware of her own menstrual cycle and have a much greater awareness of her own body and her own fertility in a way that does not necessarily happen if she’s on some type of prescribed contraception.” This is exactly the message that truly pro-life, pro-woman health care communicates.

Women’s bodies are inherently beautiful, not broken, and fertility is actually an indicator of overall health, not a liability or a burden. Learning the natural patterns of fertility and infertility in their own bodies and utilizing that knowledge to plan their families empowers women at their core, in a way that suppressing, altering, or destroying a functioning reproductive system never can

“Big Abortion ally” puts Christ-centred organization commissioned to help women in the crosshairs

The Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a subsidiary of Heartbeat International, is claiming it was targeted last week by a leftist independent global media organization in an effort to discredit their work.

Andrea Trudden, Sr. Director of Communications and Marketing at APRN, notified ifamnews.com via email of openDemocracy’s “deceptive work (which) stole hours of hotline consultants’ time… (preventing) women truly in need from receiving the timely help they deserved.”

APRN had noticed an irregular increase in international calls to their organization, and to Option Line – their 24/7 contact center. Hotline nurses, despite the red flag and the overwhelming number of calls, did not waver in their response and continued to provide the usual compassionate service and care intended for women in genuine need.

APRN’s suspicions were confirmed Monday when openDemocracy contacted Heartbeat International for response to their “findings” of its “investigative report” on the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

The email sent to ifamnews.com also states that Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey had anticipated the ruse the week before. “We know that our team only supplied evidence that we love and care for women as they seek to make the choice to rescue their baby from a chemical abortion,” said Godsey. “The good news? Our team performed excellently.”

“We hear from women every single day who regret taking mifepristone to end a pregnancy and desire a way to continue their pregnancies and rescue their babies,” said Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact at Heartbeat International. “Abortion Pill Rescue Network listens to their requests and offers women real choices even after starting a chemical abortion.”

In a phone call with ifamnews.com’s Robert Siedlecki, Trudden stated the abortion pill reversal process uses doses of progesterone, “a time-tested FDA-approved treatment used for decades to prevent miscarriage and preterm birth.” Regarding openDemocracy’s wave of calls, Trudden also relayed that the callers wanted everything done via email – likely for the purpose of a “paper trail” – as opposed to using normal vehicles like various online chat platforms. What heightened the suspicion was that “a disproportionate number of callers went through the whole process and then suddenly said they didn’t want any help”.

For the online helpers at APRN and Option Line, time is of the essence in helping women in need. From the moment a woman takes the abortion pill, she has about 72 hours to change her mind and save her baby. The Abortion Pill Rescue Network answers more than 150 mission-critical calls a month from women who regret their abortion decision. Statistics show that more than 2,000 lives have been saved (and counting) through the abortion pill reversal protocol.

“The Big Abortion allies at openDemocracy may have grist for their hit piece, but what they really did was distract our good people from the life-saving work APR actually is,” Godsey said. “It will certainly be lost on openDemocracy that their efforts fail women.”

‘Humanae Vitae’ farewell. Here comes the one who will celebrate its funeral

March 18, 2021 (L’Espresso) — Sandro Magister note: Published as received. The author of the commentary, Thibaud Collin, is a professor of philosophy at the Collège Stanislas in Paris and has written important essays on “gender” theory, same-sex marriage, and political secularism. His latest book, from 2018, is entitled: “Le mariage chrétien at-il encore un avenir?”

The starting point for his reflection is the appointment of Philippe Bordeyne, 61, moral theologian, rector of the Institut Catholique of Paris, as president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, replacing PierAngelo Sequeri.

The rotation will take place in September. And it will mark a definitive course reversal for the institute that bears the name of John Paul II, but is increasingly distant from the teaching of the pope who founded it and of his predecessor Paul VI.

The earthquake that rocked the Institute in 2018 was unleashed by its Grand Chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, on a mandate from Pope Francis and with the visible disagreement of pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

But still there as dean was Sequeri – a theologian of recognized talent and not suspected of conservatism – to courageously keep alive an interpretation of Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae” faithful to its original meaning:
> Surprise. Among the Francis Men Is One Who Is Defending “Humanae Vitae”

But now this last levee has fallen as well. For years Bordeyne has backed the supplanting of that encyclical and the rethinking of the theology of the family, which for him – and in his judgment also for Pope Francis – “by no means ends with the little bourgeois triangle of a father, a mother and children,” but “is the place where each individual grows as a person in relationship,” so that “to despise different families would also be to despise this work of socialization” (interview with “La Croix,” April 8 2016).

Professor Collin’s turn.

But then let’s call it the “Amoris Laetitia” Institute

by Thibaud Collin

The announced appointment of Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne, current rector of the Institut Catholique of Paris, as dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute is the last stage of the refoundation carried out by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Pope Francis of this institution explicitly desired by St. John Paul II and founded by Carlo Caffarra, the future cardinal. That confirms this refoundation is a real and true revolution.

The rich reflection of the Polish pope on the sexual body, marriage, and the family can be understood as a response to the failure of the reception of St. Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae.” Of course, this document does not touch upon the entirety of those themes, far from it, but it can be considered as the touchstone of the whole doctrine of the Church on sexuality and marriage. The contraceptive mentality that the encyclical opposes is in fact objectively the condition of possibility of the social legitimation of abortion, of the technologies of procreation, and of all LGBTQ demands.

Now, the refoundation of the John Paul II Institute begun a few years ago by Archbishop Paglia, passing through the dismissal of most of its professors and the appointment of theologians such as Maurizio Chiodi and Gilfredo Marengo, clearly no longer takes “Humanae vitae” as touchstone. This document is now seen as too “abstract” and “theoretical”; the status accorded to it makes it only an ideal, even if it is described as “prophetic,” as if it were an ornament set on the mantel as decoration and no longer touched. The appointment of Philippe Bordeyne confirms this paradigm shift. It should be judged on the basis of the facts. Here is what he says in a text written on the occasion of the synods on the family of 2014 and 2015:

The encyclical ‘Humanae vitae’ teaches that natural methods of controlling fertility are the only legitimate ones. However, it must be recognized that the distance between the practice of the faithful and the teaching of the magisterium has grown even wider. Is it simple deafness to the calls of the Spirit or is it the fruit of a work of discernment and responsibility in Christian couples subjected to the pressure of new ways of life? The human sciences and the experience of couples teach us that the relationships between desire and pleasure are complex, eminently personal, and therefore variable according to the couples, and evolve over time and within the couple. Faced with the imperative moral duty to fight against the temptations of abortion, divorce, and the lack of generosity in the face of procreation, it would be reasonable to leave the discernment on birth control methods to the wisdom of couples, placing the emphasis on a moral and spiritual education that would make it possible to fight more effectively against temptations in a context that is often hostile to Christian anthropology.

In this perspective, the Church could admit a plurality of paths for responding to the general call to maintain the openness of sexuality to transcendence and to the gift of life. […] The way of natural methods that involves continence and chastity could be recommended as an evangelical counsel, practiced by Christian couples or not, that requires self-control in periodic abstinence. The other way whose moral legitimacy could be admitted, with the choice entrusted to the wisdom of the spouses, would consist in using non-abortive methods of contraception. If the spouses decide to introduce this medicine into the intimacy of their sex life, they would be encouraged to double their mutual love. Only this latter is capable of humanizing the use of technology, at the service of a human ecology of procreation” (“Synode sur la vocation et la mission de la famille dans l’Eglise et monde contemporain. 26 théologiens répondent,” Bayard, 2015, pp. 197-198).

This quotation is a summary of what a large number of theologians and episcopates have said about the ethical norm recalled by St. Paul VI and founded by St. John Paul II anthropologically in the catecheses on the “theology of the body” and morally in the encyclical “Veritatis splendor.”

But now the circle is closed: the ecclesial spirit of the seventies has ended up conquering Rome! But why has the “distance” been so “widened” if not because most pastors, not having wanted to embrace this good news on birth control, identified as an unbearable burden, never really passed it on to those who had been entrusted to them? At that point why even speak of “deafness” to the calls of the Spirit as if His voice had actually reached the ears of the faithful?

The reality is that most of these have had no inkling of the Church’s doctrine on this issue except from the dominant media. Since the transmission work has not been done, it is not surprising that there has not been assimilation.

It is therefore quite a stretch to say that this document, not having been accepted, needs to be sifted through the human sciences and the “wisdom” of couples. Circular reasoning that allows it to be discreetly cashiered. Making natural birth control the object of a choice reveals that the sacrament of marriage is no longer perceived as oriented towards the holiness to which all the baptized are called.

How can we fail to see that these statements gravely relativize the teaching of the magisterium and mislead couples of good will, who consequently see this ethical norm not as a way to happiness but as an almost inhuman ideal? The doctrine of “Humanae vitae” certainly needs to be embodied in pastoral practice and in a “moral and spiritual education,” but this need not be measured by the human sciences, unable by their nature to grasp the truth of the language of bodies. The purpose of education is adequate subjectivation, meaning the free realization of the true human good.

Pastors and lay people engaged in the pastoral care of marriage must therefore work to make lovable the good to be realized in the free acts through which the spouses signify in the language of the body the truth of their conjugal love. Affirming that the choice of birth control methods should be left to the conscience of couples reveals that the ethical norm is applied externally, without engaging the person as a whole; in short, in a manner that is already technical, a bit as if I were asking myself: “I have to go to that place: do I take the bike or the car?” Hence that very revealing expression which is the “humanization of technology through love,” when instead the very introduction of technology ends up obscuring the gift of self, making the union of bodies a sort of lie, which no longer objectively signifies the communion of spouses. The height of confusion is reached when it is indicated that this humanization of technology must be placed at the service of human ecology!

Only the virtue of chastity, intrinsically linked to the good of conjugal communion and the source of temporary continence while however not being reduced to this, can safeguard, in the unity of the person in body and soul, the truth of love. Only chastity raises the sexual life of the spouses to the height of the value of the person and avoids reducing this to its sexual values alone. In the field of love, technology cannot and will never be able to replace virtue.

Finally, it is amazing to think of contraception as a kind of bulwark against abortion, when all the studies show on the contrary that the advancement of the contraceptive mentality actually encourages abortion, not to mention that today many pills are also abortifacient.

In short, the appointment as manager of a figure like Philippe Bordeyne confirms that the John Paul II Institute, in full hemorrhage of students, should for the sake of intellectual honesty change its name. It could be called, for example, the “Amoris Laetitia” Institute.

3,000+ women report a popular IUD broke in their body, causing complications

https://13wham.com/news/spotlight-on-america/thousands-of-women-claim-a-popular-iud-broke-in-their-body-and-caused-health-complications

WASHINGTON (SBG) — Millions of women use implanted IUDs for contraception. The Food and Drug Administration has approved several brands as a safe and effective form of birth control. But one device, the Paragard IUD, is drawing thousands of complaints and dozens of lawsuits over concerns it can break, leaving women facing surgery and other complications. Now, some health advocates are calling for the FDA to step in and investigate so women can have more information about the device.

Anna Speaks lives in a rural area where she’s surrounded by forest, gardens and scenery. Her connection to nature has always made her careful about what she puts in her body. After her son was born in 2013, Speaks wanted a birth control method that didn’t involve hormones, so she decided to try Paragard. The popular and effective T-shaped IUD gets implanted in the uterus and is approved to stay there as long as 10 years. It is considered the only non-hormonal form of birth control, instead using copper to prevent pregnancy. Approved by the FDA in 1984, Paragard has been on the market since 1988.

Anna Speaks told Spotlight on America that Paragard seemed like a low maintenance, low fuss method. But she says she was never warned by her health care provider that the device could potentially break.

Anna Speaks says her Paragard IUD broke upon removal from her body (Photo: Alex Brauer)

After about five years with the device, Speaks decided to remove the IUD. While Paragard says the removal of its product should be done by a health care professional, there’s debate among experts, with some saying self-removal is safe and often the choice women make who don’t have access to care or insurance — just like Anna.

When Speaks removed the device, she immediately noticed a problem. The T-shaped device was broken and she knew a piece was still inside of her.

“When I realized one of the Ts had broken off, I just kind of started to freak out,” said Anna Speaks, a former Paragard user. “I was panicked. It was devastating, actually.”

Anna Speaks says when she removed her IUD, she immediately realized that a piece was missing (Photo: Anna Speaks)

Panicked, she realized the problem would now require an expensive and traumatic visit to a doctor to try to retrieve the broken piece. Eventually, surgery was required in an attempt to locate the missing fragment, which turned up on an X-ray supplied to Spotlight on America.

Our team discovered breakage like what Speaks experienced is a well-documented, yet little-publicized problem with the Paragard IUD. Spotlight on America dug through thousands of “adverse events” listed in a database known as FAERS – The FDA Adverse Events Reporting System, which tracks problems reported by individuals and health care providers.

According to the voluntary reports filed with the FDA since 2013 regarding Paragard, there have been:

  • 3,186 reports of “device breakage”
  • 1,910 of those events deemed “serious”
  • 102 related reports of hospitalization or life-threatening complications

An exclusive Spotlight on America investigation found 3,000+ reports of Paragard breakage in an FDA database (Photo: Alex Brauer)

Those figures uncovered in our Spotlight on America investigation are attracting new attention from national leaders in women’s health. Cindy Pearson is Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network, an organization that strives to empower women and promote equity in health care.

We shared what we found about the Paragard IUD with Pearson, who told us the complaints are just the tip of the iceberg, since they represent only those that took the time to file a report in a government system that is cumbersome and not well known to the public. The problem with voluntary reporting, Pearson says, is it’s hard to tell how often these issues happen, which specific lot numbers they may be tied to and whether the complication is related to the device or something specific about the individuals using it.

Getting the answers about the source of complications or adverse events after products hit the market can be difficult. Generally, companies are not obligated to look at the long-term effects or complications following FDA approval unless the agency instructs them to act or they voluntarily choose to conduct a study. But Pearson says with more than 3,000 Paragard breakage reports, it’s time for the FDA to take a closer look. “It’s a warning sign that deserves to be investigated,” said Pearson. “The FDA should now step in, investigate and use its authority.” Pearson says the agency could potentially require a study so that women can make an informed choice.

“That’s something that shouldn’t kill the method, it should just inform us,” said Cindy Pearson with the National Women’s Health Network. “If there’s no way to figure out what makes it more likely to break but we’re able to determine it breaks 1 in 25,000 times, then that’s a risk many women would still be willing to take, but we need to know.”

Cindy Pearson, Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network, says IUDs are a safe & effective birth control method but women should be informed about potential complications

The FDA told Spotlight on America it is not currently requiring any new studies of the Paragard IUD. You can read their complete response to our questions at the bottom of this article.

For now, many impacted women are banding together on social media pages to discuss their experience with Paragard. One community on Facebook has more than 8,000 members, supporting one another by sharing personal stories. Some on the site have shared experiences discussing breakage of Paragard. Pearson says those collective experiences can prove powerful, with the FDA previously taking action on another birth control device, Essure, after a grassroots campaign on social media compelled the agency to look closer at complications. Essure is no longer on the market after advocates spent years highlighting problems with the device.

Health advocates say social media can be a powerful tool to compel the FDA to action, as was the case with the birth control device, Essure (Video: WJLA)

As women wait to see if the FDA will take a closer look, some are taking action in court. Spotlight on America discovered at least 55 recent lawsuits filed in more than 20 states by women who claim Paragard “has a propensity to break upon removal, causing complications and injuries, including surgeries to remove the broken piece of the device, infertility and pain.” The lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Georgia in December 2020 and are awaiting the next step.

Spotlight on America repeatedly tried to contact the maker of Paragard, reaching out by phone, email and even sending direct messages on social media platforms. Our requests to speak with the company were not returned.

Paragard has argued in the past that its warnings about the device are adequate, though you won’t hear any mention of breakage in the listing of potential side effects we found in commercials posted online.

When our team went through the prescribing packet for Paragard, we did find a mention of breakage in the fine print, “Breakage of an embedded Paragard during nonsurgical removal has been reported.” In a later section the company says, “Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of an uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.”

The prescribing information for Paragard notes that because reactions like breakage are reported voluntarily, it is not always possible to determine how often they happen (Photo: SBG)

Anna Speaks says she was unaware of the potential for breakage and never saw a product label. She is sharing her experience, hoping it will help other women make informed choices. She filed a report with the FDA and says she is working with an attorney. Speaks encourages anyone who’s experienced a complication to share their story. “I do think there’s power in that,” Speaks said. “That’s how we create better regulations and how we create more transparency with these companies and help protect women and their bodies.”

If you’ve had experience with Paragard IUD breakage, contact us on Twitter or email us spotlight@sbgtv.com.

An X-Ray image shows a broken piece of the Paragard IUD in Anna Speaks’ uterus (Photo: Anna Speaks)

Spotlight on America reached out to the FDA to see if they are taking any action on Paragard and to get their reaction to criticism of the voluntary reporting system. The full Q&A is below:

1) Is the FDA currently doing any studies or follow-up research when it comes to adverse events involving the Paragard IUD?

Response: The FDA has been monitoring the safety of Paragard, as we do with all approved drug products, and remains committed to informing the public in a timely manner if and when the Agency identifies new safety issues that warrant FDA action. FDA is not currently requiring or requesting any studies on the Paragard intrauterine system. Also see our response to questions 3 and 4 regarding our use of the FAERS database and the strengths and limitations of FAERS.

2) Does the FDA perform any oversight of the manufacturing of the Paragard IUD – including inspections of materials, factory process, etc.?

Response: At the FDA, protecting patient and consumer health is our highest priority. For Paragard and other FDA-approved products, the FDA inspects manufacturing facilities and, when needed, takes action to enforce current good manufacturing quality standards and applicable regulations. When objectionable conditions are identified with manufacturing processes or controls, creating a risk of potentially producing an unsafe product, it’s important that the problems are quickly remedied. When needed, we exercise our regulatory authority commensurate with the assessed risk, including issuing import alerts, warning letters, and in the most serious cases, working with firms as they recall drugs, seizing drugs in commerce or enjoining manufacturers to prevent further violations. We continue to remain vigilant in our compliance and enforcement work, and we’ve taken a number of actions already this year. These actions are key parts of our commitment to ensure high-quality manufacturing, and to make sure Americans have confidence in the quality of products sold in the U.S.

3) Is there a threshold for the number of complaints to the FAERS database before the FDA will re-examine a drug?

Response: There is no specific threshold for the number of reports required before FDA will reexamine a drug. The FDA is monitoring the safety of Paragard, as we do with all approved drug products, and remains committed to informing the public in a timely manner if and when the agency identifies new safety issues that warrant FDA action. The reports in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database are routinely evaluated by FDA staff to monitor the safety of products after approval. On a weekly basis, FDA reviewers monitor individual spontaneous adverse event reports from the FAERS database. These staff also routinely monitor other sources of data, such as published literature and mandatory periodic safety reports from manufacturers. This information is collectively reviewed to inform whether regulatory action, such as labeling changes or other FDA communications, are needed. Additional information on postmarketing safety is available here.

Healthcare professionals, consumers, and manufacturers submit reports to FAERS. FDA receives voluntary reports directly from healthcare professionals (such as physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and others) and consumers (such as patients, family members, lawyers, and others). Healthcare professionals and consumers may also report to the products’ manufacturers. If a manufacturer receives a report from a healthcare professional or consumer, they are required to send the report to FDA as specified by regulations.

While FDA relies on the FAERS database as a drug safety surveillance tool after a product is approved and marketed, there remain limitations to the data that you should consider.

  • FAERS data by themselves are not an indicator of the complete safety profile of a drug.
  • Duplicate and incomplete reports are in the system: There are many instances of duplicative reports and some reports do not contain all the necessary information.
  • Existence of a report does not establish causation: For any given report, there is no certainty that a suspected drug caused the reaction.
  • Information in reports has not been verified: Submission of a report does not mean that the information included in it has been medically confirmed.
  • Rates of occurrence cannot be established with reports: The information in these reports cannot be used to estimate the incidence (occurrence rates) of the reactions reported or be used to make comparisons between products.
  • Differential reporting for one product over another may occur: Reasons for this include the time the product has been on the market, publication of literature reports related to an adverse event, and publicity surrounding the product or adverse event.

4) Because the FAERS database is voluntary, critics have asserted that it does not provide a complete picture of potential adverse reactions (i.e., It does not compel medical providers to report adverse events, which would help glean specific information about the frequency of specific issues, etc.) How does the FDA respond to that criticism?

Response: While there are limitations to FAERS (see response to Question #3), there are also notable strengths. FAERS data are particularly useful for identifying new (i.e., unexpected), rare, serious adverse events that are temporally associated with a product for which the background rate of events is low. Such adverse events are often not observed in the premarketing trials because these trials are limited in the number of patients, the types of patients included, and the duration of treatment. In addition, the spontaneous adverse event reports in FAERS can further refine or characterize a known adverse event.

As also noted in our response to Question #3, in addition to FAERS, other sources of postmarketing data are utilized to monitor and assess adverse events in the post-market setting.

Scientists Want to Kill More Unborn Babies for Unproven Embryonic Stem Cell Research

During the Great Stem Cell debate, “the scientists” said they “only” wanted to be able to create and experiment on embryos up to 14 days of development, when cells begin to differentiate. Of course, at the time they couldn’t maintain them for longer than 14 days, so nothing was actually limited.

Now that they can, they plan to ditch the “14 day rule” as it is called — actually, it is a guideline since it isn’t legally binding — promulgated by the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

From the MIT Technology Review story:

For the last 40 years, this voluntary guideline has served as an important stop sign for embryonic research. It has provided a clear signal to the public that scientists wouldn’t grow babies in labs. To researchers, it gave clarity about what research they could pursue.

Now, however, a key scientific body is ready to do away with the 14-day limit. The action would come at a time when scientists are making remarkable progress in growing embryonic cells and watching them develop. Researchers, for example, can now create embryo-like structures starting even from stem cells, and some hope to follow these synthetic embryo models well past the old two-week line.

And after that? Once embryos can be gestated in artificial uteruses, why not go to one month, three months, or six months? Hell, why not up to the point of birth? These are developing human beings, but there will always be a utilitarian excuse! Vermont has already passed a law that states no embryo or fetus has any rights of their own that have to be respected.

Much of this is learning how to engage eugenic manipulations:

Scientists are motivated to grow embryos longer in order to study — and potentially manipulate — the development process. But such techniques raise the possibility of someday gestating animals outside the womb until birth, a concept called ectogenesis.

According to [bioethicist Tetsuya] Ishii, new experiments “might ignite abortion debates,” especially if the researchers develop human embryos to the point where they take on recognizable characteristics like a head, beating heart cells, or the beginning of limbs.

Just know this: All of these talks of “limits” and “ethical boundaries” are a big con. Guidelines will not protect against abuse because those in charge will keep changing the guidelines.

And people wonder why there is so much distrust of our institutions.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Brain Health & Development

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Brain Health & Development

Earlier this year, we started a “Reasons Women Need Periods” series putting a spotlight on how women’s periods play a crucial role in other elements of women’s health. We talked about the importance of endogenous (i.e., naturally occurring) hormones and healthy cycles for immune system maturation, bone health, and heart and blood pressure regulation. Today we’re turning to the biggest and baddest organ of all—the brain.

Our noggin uses over 20% of our energy, making it the most “expensive” organ we have. And, you guessed it, our reproductive hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone) have really important effects on the brain. Brain health is another reason why you need a period—and therefore ovulation, and the healthy hormone production that makes your cycle possible.

Your brain and your hormones need each other

The first important thing to note is that steroid hormones (primarily estrogen and progesterone) are synthesized in the central and peripheral nervous system. This means they cross the blood-brain barrier and have organizational effects on the brain. Estrogen generates plasticity in the brain and improves cognitive function while progesterone regulates glial cells and promotes mood stabilization [1]. Before you think about these two hormones as independent players, they are anything but. If the effects of these hormones are not experienced in a balanced and cyclical way, the neuroprotective factors they are supposed to provide vanish.

In the first portion of our cycle (the follicular phase), estrogen is king. Or should I say—queen. As the dominant follicle in your ovary gears up for ovulation and grows, it produces increasing amounts of estrogen. This estrogen increases serotonin receptor levels as well as dopamine synthesis. This boils down to an increase in neuron excitability. These stimulated neurons increase structural plasticity of dendritic spines in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Neuron excitability often translates to general feelings of an upbeat mood, increased energy levels, and improved verbal and lingual skills.

In the second portion of our cycle (the luteal phase), progesterone sweeps in and takes the stage. Progesterone is estrogen’s foil character. Instead of stimulating brain cells, it heals and maintains them by inhibiting dopamine-induced glutamate release. In this therapeutic phase, women often report mellowness in mood, decreased anxiety, and even more maternal tendencies. This is all thanks to GABA, the most inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Progesterone (and allopregnanolone, which comes from progesterone) potentiates GABAergic synapses [2]. If there’s no progesterone, there’s no GABA. And interestingly, GABA has been shown in early studies to be an effective treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) [3].

Teens need their cycles for proper brain development

Have you ever wondered why teenagers and young adults seem to make more brash decisions and seem less grounded with risk assessment? It’s because quite literally, their brains—or more accurately, their prefrontal cortices—can’t process risk until they have fully matured. This full maturation usually occurs in the mid-twenties. Exposure to endogenous and balanced hormones (which occurs through regular ovulation and menstruation) throughout the teenage and young adult years helps develop and protect the brain. Without ovulation, the brain doesn’t have the same chance to mature. And even better, maturation under healthy endogenous hormones can help retain brain plasticity better for women after menopause.

Brain fog and depression: Birth control’s effects on the brain

You may think that the hormones in hormonal contraception have the same effect on brain health as endogenous hormones do. Unfortunately, the synthetic alternatives of estrogens and progesterone found in birth control have been shown to decrease serotonin concentrations and increase hepatic sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). In effect, this makes your naturally occurring sex hormones harder for your body to utilize.

This could be also why women on hormonal contraception have been shown to have a decreased hypothalamus, “which helps regulate essential bodily functions including body temperature, mood, appetite, sex drive, sleep cycles and heart rate [4].” A smaller hypothalamus is connected with increased irritability and depression symptoms. Additionally, “synthetic estrogen and progestins in OCs may decrease cortical thickness bilaterally in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and in the posterior cingulate cortex” which can permanently alter certain pathways of cognitive function in women [5].

It’s well documented that the pill (and any of its relations, including the patch, the vaginal ringthe implant, the shot, and the hormonal IUD) comes with an increased risk of depression and mood disorders. Additionally, many women report “foggy brain” as a side effect of hormonal birth control. Some women don’t realize the symptom of brain fog until they get off birth control, and many women report feelings of “seeing in color for the first time” after returning to their cycles post-birth control. This is all related to the way the endocrine system acts on the brain. When you look at the bigger picture of how these synthetic hormones not only alter brain organization, but also rob the brain of exposure to endogenous hormones, these risks start to make sense.

You’re not crazy—your thoughts and feelings are very much tied to your hormones!

The Pill and your stress response—or lack thereof

Another glaring contrast in pill-taking brains as opposed to non-Pill-taking brains is the stress response, or rather the lack thereof.

As the author of the 2019 book This is Your Brain on Birth ControlDr. Sarah Hill puts it:

“For almost three decades now, researchers have been documenting that women on the birth control Pill lack the cortisol response to stress. Pill-taking women exhibit higher than average levels of total cortisol, high levels of corticosteroid binding globulins (CBGs), and dysregulated responses to exogenously administered cortisol. This is significant because these patterns are typically only observed when the body becomes so overwhelmed with cortisol, signaling that it has no choice but to shut the signal down, altogether.”

“We should all be alarmed by the fact that the stress hormone profiles of women who are on the birth control pill look more like those belonging to trauma victims than they do like those belonging to otherwise healthy young women [6],” Hill exhorts.

When women’s bodies naturally ovulate and menstruate, women’s brains are enabled to mature, improve, and maintain cognitive function, and even protect their future neuroplasticity. When they take synthetic hormones that disrupt these natural reproductive processes, these brain developments are inhibited.

So, do you need a period? The answer lies in how much we care about women’s overall health as the interconnected ecosystem that it is—where hormone health affects heart health, immune system health, bone health, and now we can add brain health to the list. Since ovulation and menstruation have lifelong effects on cognitive function—which can affect how you interact with yourself and others in the world—there is a compelling case that these are vital aspects of women’s health.

References: 

[1] Del Río J, Alliende M, Molina N, Serrano F, Molina S, Vigil P. Steroid Hormones and Their Action in Women’s Brains: The Importance of Hormonal Balance. Front Public Health. 2018;6. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00141

[2] Boero G, Porcu P, Morrow A. Pleiotropic actions of allopregnanolone underlie therapeutic benefits in stress-related disease. Neurobiol Stress. 2020;12:100203. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100203

[3] Hantsoo L, Epperson C. Allopregnanolone in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Evidence for dysregulated sensitivity to GABA-A receptor modulating neuroactive steroids across the menstrual cycle. Neurobiol Stress. 2020;12:100213. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2020.100213

[4] Study finds key brain region smaller in birth control pill users. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191204090819.htm. Published 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020.

[5] Petersen N, Touroutoglou A, Andreano J, Cahill L. Oral contraceptive pill use is associated with localized decreases in cortical thickness. Hum Brain Mapp. 2015;36(7):2644-2654. doi:10.1002/hbm.22797

[6] Hill S. This Is Your Brain On Birth Control. New York, NY: Avery; 2019.

Ten-year study shows legalized abortion does not improve maternal mortality

 

Restrictions on abortion do not lead to an increase in women dying due to a lack of “safe” abortions, according to a new study highlighted by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).

In a recent tweet, AAPLOG cited a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open, which examined maternal mortality in 32 Mexican states over a 10-year period, between 2002 and 2011. The study began by acknowledging the pro-abortion argument that “the legal status of abortion … is a factor that influences maternal health.” They also acknowledged the common argument that restrictions on abortion are thought to lead to “clandestine, or illegal, or unsafe abortions” leading to an increase in maternal deaths.

But instead of discovering data in support of that argument, the study instead found that “states with less permissive abortion legislation exhibited lower MMR [maternal mortality rates]” (emphasis added) than those where abortion laws are more permissive. In other words, pro-life restrictions on abortion did not result in higher maternal mortality rates.

Even in Mexican states that enacted constitutional amendments outlawing abortion, women’s health did not suffer: “No evidence of deleterious or beneficial effect [on maternal mortality] was found for the presence of constitutional amendments protecting the unborn over a 4-year study period.”

To be clear, the Mexico study’s authors did not find evidence that abortion restrictions were the cause of better maternal outcomes. Independent variables between the states explained most of the differences in outcomes. As AAPLOG’s tweet pointed out, “non-legislative factors (female literacy, birth weight, skilled attendance at birth, clean water, etc.) were leading causes” in the lower maternal mortality rates in the states with more abortion restrictions.

An attempted rebuttal published in the noted pro-abortion journal Contraception sought to undermine the Mexico study’s conclusions by attacking the authors’ use of the underlying data, while also engaging in ad hominem attacks. The paper claimed the Mexico study’s authors “have failed to respond to anti-abortion ‘junk science,’ which influences policy in the region,” claims an excerpt in Retraction Watch.

Yet the critique did not hold up to scrutiny. “Sincerely, I don’t know how our study is ‘influencing’ policies in the region, and of course I don’t consider our work as ‘junk science’,” said Elard Koch, the main author of the Mexico study. After an examination of the data and counter-argument in the paper, Koch pointed out a major statistical error in key calculations of the rebuttal that undermined the published conclusions. The flaws in the Contraception article were serious enough that the editors were forced to issue a public retraction.

The finding that abortion restrictions do not cause higher mortality rates deals a blow to a common line of argument for abortion activists. The notion that maternal health suffers when abortion restrictions are enacted is a narrative that abortion activists often trot out in response to the enactment of new pro-life laws. In 2019, in response to Georgia’s heartbeat bill, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “When anti-choice politicians limit access to reproductive care, women die.” She argued that “we must continue to fight the new wave of six-week abortion bans that make women collateral damage for extremist views.”

The misperception about abortion and maternal mortality has its origins in a big lie told by early abortion activists. In the years leading up to the legalization of abortion, abortion activists like Dr. Bernard Nathanson (one of the founders of NARAL) disseminated false statistics about the number of women dying each year from illegal abortions, as Live Action News has reported. The widely cited figure — that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying each year from back-alley abortions — was a deliberate fabrication designed to advance the pro-abortion agenda. Dr. Nathanson, who later became pro-life, admitted to fabricating this number because it was a “nice, round, shocking figure.”

The Mexico study correlates with historical analyses of maternal mortality in the 20th century. As a Live Action Pro-Life Replies video notes, maternal mortality in the United States dropped precipitously in the decades prior to the legalization of abortion, and not as a result of legalized abortion. It was the advent of antibiotics like sulfa and penicillin in the mid-20th century, not abortion legalization, that resulted in the dramatic reduction of maternal mortality rates.

Current maternal mortality rate comparisons between countries further refute abortion activists’ arguments. Countries like Poland and Malta — which have tight abortion restrictions — have lower mortality rates, at three and nine deaths per 100,000 live births respectively, while the U.S. rate stands at 17 deaths per 100,000 according to the latest data, as Vox reported.

If the Mexico study is right, then the remedy for maternal mortality is not permissive abortion legislation, and abortion activists need to stop using a deceptive narrative to further their cause. By doing so, they prevent us from getting at the real solutions to maternal mortality, as identified by the Mexico study: the “non-legislative factors,” or medical, social, and educational variables, that were shown to have a causal effect on maternal mortality rates.

What you need to know about fetal cell lines and vaccines

Dr. Marissa Brand

March 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The first vaccine in the United States to use an aborted fetal cell line in its production was the MMR vaccine in 1979. Currently in the United States there are many vaccines that contain aborted fetal DNA in the end product of the vaccine, while others use aborted fetal cells in their research and development.

There are four cell lines that are being used in vaccines currently available, including those expected to be available in the next month or two. These four cell lines are MRC-5, WI-38, PER C6, HEK293.

In addition to these cell lines, abortions were also done to obtain RA27/3 for use in the rubella vaccine. The rubella vaccine alone is the result of at least 99 abortions (32 for WI-38 and 67 for RA27/3). Yes, they came from abortions, not babies who died naturally in the womb.

The baby has to be alive when the tissues are taken. Otherwise, they are unusable.

MRC-6 and Wi-38 are both from the 1960s. PER C6 is from 1985, while HEK293 is from 1972. There are other aborted fetal cell lines that exist, but are not currently being used for vaccines.

The most recent aborted fetal cell line is from 2015 (Walvax2). This particular cell line is the result of 9 abortions.

Of those vaccines that are currently FDA-approved, all of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis a, and chickenpox vaccines, including any combination vaccines for these illnesses, use aborted fetal cell lines. One of the shingles vaccine brands and one of the rabies vaccines also use aborted fetal cells.

As for experimental COVID injections, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca both use aborted fetal cell lines on which to grow the virus for their vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna, for their COVID-19 injections, used the aborted fetal cell line HEK293 for the research and development of their vaccines.

With the exception of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the others do contain aborted fetal DNA in the end product. It is next to impossible to remove all of the DNA from the virus grown in the aborted fetal cell lines. In fact, independent research has found levels as high as 142 to 2000 ng per dose, despite the FDA and WHO recommending limits of 10ng per dose.

The aborted fetal DNA contamination present in vaccines that use aborted fetal cell lines in their production come with risks. Specifically a risk of triggering autoimmune disease, as well as the risk of DNA insertion into the vaccine recipient’s DNA.

In addition to these risks, it is particularly interesting — given the current autism spectrum disorder (ASD) epidemic — that research shows that strong change-point correlations exist between rising ASD rates and when the first MMR vaccine with aborted fetal DNA was introduced, when the second dose was introduced, and when the chickenpox vaccine, which also contains aborted fetal DNA, was introduced in the United States.

The use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccine research and production carries the serious moral concerns of abortion, trafficking of these babies, and denial of a proper burial, as well as serious health concerns.

As long as we as a society keep rolling up our sleeves for vaccines and other pharmaceuticals that use aborted fetal cells in their research, development or production, the situation is not going to get better, as there is no motivation for these companies to change their ways.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.

Dr. Marissa Brand is a board-certified Doctor of Natural Medicine and Doctor of Humanitarian Services, with a PhD in Natural Medicine.

Is Gardasil Vaccine Linked to Record Birth Rate Declines?

Birth rates in the U.S. started their decline in 2006 — the same year the CDC recommended every American girl between the ages of 9 and 26 get Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine.

The Equality Act Necessitates a Response From All

By 

What are we doing to ourselves, and to our children? This is a question I am pondering a lot as of late, as I watch our nation, and so many parts of the world, racing to embrace ever more extreme and ever more destructive forms of anti-life and anti-family ideology.

With a kind of reckless abandon, we are casting aside common sense principles that have guided individuals and societies towards health and well-being for countless generations, replacing them with untested, unproven, and often flagrantly absurd ideas about sex, gender, marriage, family, life, and death.

In a way, I suppose I am “used” to the radicality and irrationality of the anti-life and anti-family revolutionaries. I expect bad and absurd ideas. After all, what could be more absurd than the claim that the unborn child is merely a “blob of tissue,” with no moral weight? And this in the 21st century, when we can watch detailed, 3D videos of the unborn child moving about in his mother’s womb!

And yet there is something that is somehow uniquely horrifying about the speed with which so-called “gender theory,” with its ever more implausible claims, has flooded the airspace in the past decade, going from something that most people had never given a moment’s thought to, to the dominant “social justice” cause of the day, with acquiescence demanded and enforced by the cultural and political elite.

Growing Intolerance

You would think that the burden of proof for the radical ideas of gender theory would rest on the revolutionaries who propose to turn our world topsy-turvy. Instead, however, in the historical equivalent of the amount of time it takes us to blink an eye, a new orthodoxy has swept our culture, quashing all dissent. Any amount of questioning or criticism is shouted down and shunned as a “dangerous” and “violent” assault on a vulnerable minority population.

Even merely to wonder, for instance, whether it is good for children and young teens to take puberty-blocking hormones, or to undergo irreversible surgical interventions, is proof-positive that one is “transphobic.” The only acceptable attitude to gender theory is unqualified enthusiasm. Anything less is a form of intolerance and bigotry that will – we are assured – drive transgender people to self-harm and suicide, and is therefore tantamount to “violence.”

At the moment, most of the enforcement mechanisms are social, rather than legal, taking the form of public shaming, and a growing censorship by private corporations. Any public figures who dare to publicly question any tenet of gender theory can expect an online mob to descend upon them, and for their employers to be pressured to cast them out into the darkness of unemployment. Often, the mob gets what they demand.

Meanwhile, the tech giants are increasingly ensuring that there is little space in the online world for expressing dissent. For years now, Twitter has banned so-called “dead-naming” – that is, referring to a transgender person by his or her birth name and/or biological sex. When President Biden recently appointed a transgender “woman” – i.e. a biological man who claims to be a woman – as the Assistant Secretary for Health, a conservative publication was suspended from Twitter for correctly noting that, biologically, he is a man. In other words, Twitter has formally banned stating a scientific truth as hateful and intolerant.

Recently, Amazon also stepped into the ring. Without notifying anyone, Amazon quietly pulled Ryan T. Anderson’s best-selling book When Harry Became Sally from their online store. Given that Amazon accounts for an overwhelming majority of online book sales, the disappearance of the book essentially makes it invisible to most online consumers. That, of course, is the whole point.

In the book Anderson had carefully scrutinized, and criticized, gender theory. It is worth noting that Anderson is no polemicist. He is a highly competent and highly respected conservative academic. In the book he presents his findings backed up by the best scientific data and takes enormous care to make his case in a way that is respectful towards individuals with gender dysphoria. And yet, none of that is enough for the progressive overlords at Amazon. As many commentators have rightly pointed out, you can buy Hitler’s Mein Kampf on Amazon, but you cannot find what is arguably the best book addressing one of the most hotly debated contemporary social issues.

Amazon eventually issued a terse statement saying that the book violated their “content policy.” That content policy states that Amazon reserves the right not to sell content “we deem inappropriate or offensive” – language that is so broad and subjective that it could be applied to just about anything. As Anderson noted in an article in First Things in response to Amazon’s move, “It’s not about how you say it, or how rigorously you argue it, or how charitably you present it. It’s about whether you affirm or dissent from the new orthodoxy of gender ideology.”

The Equality Act

Given the march towards censorship, it’s hardly surprising that a movement is afoot to take the next logical step – that is, to move beyond shaming and censorship, and to enforce this new ideology using the full apparatus of the State.

Enter the so-called Equality Act.

It is typical of the progressive left that they should disguise something so pernicious in language that sounds so harmless, indeed quite positive and uplifting. Who, after all, could possibly be against “equality”?

The Equality Act, which was passed just a few days ago in the U.S. House of Representatives, would ostensibly ban “discrimination” based upon “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” In other words, it introduces the ill-defined, scientifically unsupported, and revolutionary notion of “gender identity” all throughout federal law.

The effect of the law would be widespread. Conservative commentators, including the U.S. Catholic bishops, have warned that the law would be used as a bludgeon against conscience rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

In a list of the effects of the Equality Act, the U.S. bishops note that it would require “women to compete against men and boys in sports, and to share locker rooms and shower facilities with men and boys.” The bill, they said, also “forces faith-based charities…to violate their religious beliefs,” “forces religiously operated spaces and establishments…to either host functions that violate their beliefs or close their doors to their communities,” and “jeopardizes existing prohibitions on the use of federal taxpayer funds for abortion.”

In a recent letter to Congress, the five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned: “The [Equality Act] represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations. This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct.”

They continued, “It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.”

Push Back

On the question of gender theory, there is no doubt about Pope Francis’ position. He has been vociferous, repeatedly and often condemning gender theory as a diabolical innovation.

During a speech in Poland in 2017, he warned that, “[T]oday children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this?” On one occasion, he even compared the imposition of gender theory to the propaganda of the Hitler youth.

More recently in a book prepared by Father Luigi Maria Epicoco commemorating the 100th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s birth, Pope Francis, who offered commentary, was asked where he sees evil most at work today. “One place is ‘gender theory,’” said the pope. The Holy Father continued to say that gender theory is “dangerous” because it aims to erase “all distinctions between men and women, male and female.” It seeks to “destroy at its roots” the creative project that God wanted for each of us: “diversity, distinction. It would make everything homogenous, neutral. It is an attack on difference, on the creativity of God and on men and women.”

Indeed, I fear that we have barely begun to grapple with the impact that the ubiquity of gender propaganda in our schools and universities is having upon the younger generations, and what it portends for the future of our nation.

One shocking recent poll found that record numbers of youth are self-identifying as LGBT. Whereas in 2017, only 4.5 percent of the population identified as LGBT, that has since risen to 5.6 percent. A huge proportion of the increase can be traced to so-called Generation Z – that is, people born between 1997 and 2002. Nearly one in six members of Generation Z self-identify as LGBT, compared to 9.1% of millennials, and 3.8% of Generation X.

Pro-LGBT activists are interpreting this data as proof that more LGBT people feel comfortable “coming out,” due to more tolerant attitudes towards diverse sexualities. While it is possible that this is one contributing factor, I think it is naïve in the extreme to discount the ways that constant bombardment with pro-LGBT messages is recruiting more and more young people into experimenting with sexual identities and practices that would never have occurred to them otherwise.

Indeed, there are a growing number of stories of schools and communities where transgender identification has rapidly spread through the ranks of young teens. In many cases, these young people are immediately being shuffled towards “treatments” that are either completely irreversible, or have significant long-term impacts.

Courageous thinkers like Ryan Anderson are precisely what we need, to stand in the gap and question the dominant narrative using the best evidence available. Unfortunately, many people are being cowed into silence by the ideologues, afraid for their livelihoods and their reputations. The problem, however, is that every person who chooses silence and safety over truth, is one more person who gives the revolutionaries the space they need to steamroll others, and more of our culture, into acquiescence.

As always, hope in the face of lies and evil is found in adherence to truth and the willingness to fight to uphold it.

It is time for all Christians and people of good-will to rise up. One thing that every American can do today is to contact their senator, urging them to vote “no” to the deceptively-titled “Equality Act.” Do it today. The future of our country, and our youth, depends on it.

Study suggests abortion pill complications are underreported, and ERs are managing the majority

 

Abortion pill clients experiencing a complication are more likely to receive care from an emergency center than the abortion facility where they obtained the pills, according to an analysis of adverse events reports (AERs) submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by abortion pill manufacturer Danco.

A team of over 30 board certified physicians spent three years reviewing thousands of pages of AERs and discovered glaring deficiencies in reporting on abortion pill complications and deaths. They also found that more than 60% of the surgeries due to abortion pill complications were not handled by the abortion facility, increasing the potential for large amounts of underreported complications.

Published by Issues in Law & Medicine, “Deaths and Severe Adverse Events after the use of Mifepristone as an Abortifacient from September 2000 to February 2019,” sheds doubt on whether deaths and adverse events are being properly tracked. The authors of the study included researchers from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). “[T]he analysis of the AERs revealed glaring deficiencies… Throughout the reports, there was also a lack of detail and many patients who were simply ‘lost to follow-up,’” the authors wrote.

Due to the dangers posed by the abortion pill, the FDA put in place a safety system called REMS. While anyone can submit an AER, the FDA currently requires AERs on the abortion pill (Mifeprex or mifepristone) to be submitted by Danco Laboratories, Inc. or by the abortion pill’s generic manufacturer, GenBioPro.

More ERs are treating complications than abortionists, which means complications may go unreported

The study found a greater percentage of emergency rooms were treating abortion pill complications than abortion facilities. And, since abortion pill complications are only reported to FDA once the prescriber (abortion facility) or Danco becomes aware, it is likely many complications are falling through the cracks unreported. Interestingly, Live Action News has documented how the abortion industry has advised women to present to ERs claiming miscarriage if they experience abortion pill complications.

Equally as troubling is that there is no federal mandate to report abortion-related complications across all 50 states.

AAPLOG’s executive director Dr. Donna Harrison and her team found that less than half of the women who experienced a complication received follow-up care from their abortion providers. Dr. Harrison said the AER reports indicated that “[m]ost of the time the women had to resort to the ER to get their care. And often it was after multiple visits to the abortion clinic.”

Reports suggested abortionists were often unaware of complications unless women returned to the abortion facility. As such, they would be unlikely to file reports in those instances.

“The information in the AERs is almost exclusively obtained from abortion providers, rather than the physician treating the complication, yet in this analysis, abortion providers managed only 39.75% of surgical complications (a number which is likely much lower since these are only the cases which are known to the abortion provider). Throughout the reports, there was also a lack of detail and many patients who were simply ‘lost to follow-up,” the authors wrote.

According to Dr. Harrison, “surgical complications” included a failed abortion requiring a complete D&C, an incomplete abortion (tissue left inside), a missed ectopic pregnancy and in a small number of cases, overwhelming infection leading to hysterectomies.

“Many of the AEs [adverse events] experienced by women were unknown to the abortion provider until the follow-up examination, which is troubling considering the poor follow-up rate and elimination of the requirement for an in-office follow up visit. Some of the patient deaths were not known to the abortion provider until they saw the death in an obituary or were contacted by an outside source,” the authors stated (emphasis added).

“Because of this, in addition to abortion providers, hospitals, emergency departments, and private practitioners should be required to report AEs,” the authors suggested.

How many women present to ERs for abortion complications?

“We know from other studies that about five percent of women end up in the emergency room,” Dr. Harrison stated.

Pro-abortion ER doctor Dara Kass confirmed this fact when she stated that eight percent of abortion pill patients end up in the ER. In 2019, Kass told Vice News, “[…] when patients are scared, or have pain or bleeding, they come to me.” She then pointed out, “Recently published results of the Gynuity pilot project showed that 8 percent of their patients who received abortion medication sought follow-up care at a local urgent care clinic or emergency department.”

Five to eight percent is no small number and may represent anywhere from 17,000 to 27,000 possible emergency or urgent care visits in one year, based off the most recent data (2017) showing 339,640 medication abortions were committed nationally out of 862,320 total abortions reported.

The question is, where are all those complication reports? Women are being misled. It is not as safe as the abortion industry claims.

Uncodable reports 

Dr. Harrison said her team of researchers found the information they reviewed to have scant details, and she described many of the AER reports as “uncodable.” Some indicated emergencies that did not specify whether the woman lived or died.

“No tests, no examination, no vital signs, no follow-up,” she described them. “Most of these reports we called ‘uncodable,’ and they were likely life threatening. We called these uncodable because there was no way to find out how sick she was or how much she hemorrhaged or how much blood was needed to save her life,” Harrison added. “And there’s no way that the FDA could tell that, either.”

Deaths and Complications

Live Action News has previously documented that, as of December 31, 2018, there were 24 women reported to have died from the abortion pill since its approval in 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 website states.

The FDA also found nearly 4,200 adverse events including 1,042 hospitalizations and nearly 600 serious cases of blood loss along with over 400 cases of infection.

Despite thousands of adverse events and deaths, changes made by the FDA in 2016 no longer required Danco to report non-fatal adverse effects, so the true complication numbers are not known. In addition, despite numerous requests to the FDA and a requirement that Danco and GenBioPro report all known deaths, Live Action News has been unable to obtain more recent data.

Compromised and inadequate complication reports

The most important findings the researchers discovered, according to Dr. Harrison, was that the current FDA system to determine the safety of drugs like the abortion pill is inadequate.

The information given to the FDA was “compromised” and significantly underestimated the adverse events from mifepristone, Dr. Harrison said. In many cases, the researchers who reviewed reports found there was minimal to nonexistent clinical information for which to judge the severity of the events. Dr. Harrison suggested the reports may be filtered by the abortion pill manufacturer from an industry which has no motivation for accuracy.

“We found that almost one of six of the… reports didn’t even have enough information to tell the FDA or anyone else what actually happened to the woman. The FDA could not have used these reports to reassure anyone that Mifeprex is safe,” Dr. Harrison emphasized. “We are left with the sobering conclusion that the FDA now has no real-world idea of the number of women who are dead or injured from Mifeprex abortions.”

Dr. Harrison predicted the push to demedicalize abortion and lift REMS so women can obtain the abortion pill online, at a pharmacy, or over the counter would only serve to worsen the problem of faulty reporting. “More women will suffer complications invisible to oversight,” she said.

As such, AAPLOG is calling for the FDA to strengthen not weaken or eliminate the REMS on the abortion pill. In addition, they are also calling for mandatory abortion complication reporting to be implemented at the federal level for the safety of women.

Editor’s Note: For information on abortion pill reversal, visit AbortionPillRescue.

Does Contraception Lead to Abortion?

By 

Does Contraception Lead to Abortion? | Human Life International (hli.org)

“No matter how thin you slice it, ladies and gentlemen, family planning is a euphemism.  We don’t intend or desire to prevent conception for conception’s sake; we want to prevent conception because of what follows conception.  Family planning is the prevention of births, and as birth is the end of a sequence which begins with the sexual urge, then family planning is anti‑conception, anti‑nidation, and the termination of the conceptus if implanted.  This is the societal role of abortion in the future.”

― Professor Irvin Cushner of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1971.[1]

In 1986, Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, gave an excellent talk on contraception in my home town of Portland, Oregon.  I met him afterwards and explained that I still didn’t understand the connections between contraception and abortion.  After all, I asked, “Isn’t contraception designed to reduce the incidence of abortion?”  For a moment, he stared at me as if I had suddenly sprouted a third eye in the middle of my forehead.  Then he said, “Ve haff to talk.”

Half an hour later, I understood.

various forms of contraception

The Pro-Life Movement and Contraception

The pro‑life movement is currently divided into two schools of thought on the link between contraception and abortion.

The first group either sees no connection between the two practices, or takes a “no official position” stance on contraception in order to avoid controversy or to focus attention solely on abortion.  But more and more pro‑life groups and individuals have seen their many connections and realize that, as long as contraception is widely available and the underlying anti‑life mentality reigns, the practice of abortion will never end.

Regardless of what a person thinks about the links between abortion and contraception, he should consider the following, and perhaps reflect on the relevance of contraception to his own life.

Even committed Christians rarely discuss the moral aspects of contraception any more.  Mortal sin has become just another brightly-packaged consumer item on the grocery store shelf.  Despite this profound silence, it remains one of the major life issues of our time because it serves as the foundation of the practice of abortion.  Wherever contraception leads, abortion always follows, whether for a married couple, for a church denomination, or for an entire country.

At one time, the Protestant churches were united in opposing both contraception and abortion.  After the Anglicans accepted contraception in limited cases during their 1930 Lambeth Conference, resistance to all of the anti‑life practices unraveled with amazing speed.  All but a few of the many Protestant denominations now accept or at least tolerate contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, euthanasia, and pornography.  Today, most of the churches that actively oppose abortion are those that have steadfastly defended the Christian tradition against birth control.

The Sequential Connection  

In Western nations, pro‑abortion groups work for school‑based birth control clinics and comprehensive sex education programs that include training children in the use of contraceptives.  Alan Guttmacher revealed one of the primary purposes of value‑free sex education when he admitted, “The only avenue the International Planned Parenthood Federation and its allies could travel to win the battle for abortion on demand is through sex education.”[2]

sex education handritten with white chalk as a class or lecture topic on blackboard

The pro-abortion/population control strategy in the Southern Hemisphere is different.  Population control groups spend billions of dollars annually in order to saturate developing nations with birth control.  They know very well that contraception fails frequently, leading to an increasing demand for illegal abortion.  Women begin to die from these illegal abortions, so the population controllers hugely exaggerate these numbers and then demand the legalization of abortion.  This is a tried and tested formula that has worked successfully in more than one hundred nations.

The ultimate objective of the population controllers is to legalize abortion worldwide.  NSSM-200, written in 1974, has not been amended and thus continues to represent official United States population control policy.  It says, “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”[3]

Pro‑abortionists, population controllers, “family planners” and sex educators all over the world falsely claim as part of their propaganda campaigns that as contraceptive and abortifacient use increases, “unwanted pregnancies” and both illegal and legal abortions will decrease.  At first glance, this allegation seems logical.  After all, authentic (non-abortifacient) contraception is designed to stop conceptions and, if more conceptions are prevented, fewer abortions will occur.

As Father Marx explained to me long ago, however, this theory does not work in the real world, because the large‑scale use of contraceptives and abortifacients leads to a tremendously increased rate of sexual activity, which, combined with method and user failures, leads to a huge increase in the number of “unplanned pregnancies.”

But science and history do not deter the “family planners,” who continue to claim that increased contraceptive use reduces the number of abortions.  They know that this message will appeal to the large segment of the public that uncritically accepts their assertions.

It would seem to be counterintuitive that a wider use of artificial contraception would lead to a great increase in the number of abortions, since the stated purpose of contraception is to prevent “unwanted” conceptions that lead to abortion.

However, there are two methods by which a greater general public use of contraceptives will lead to more, not less abortions.

  1. Both of the co-inventors of the birth control pill have confessed that a greater use of contraceptives has led to greater promiscuity and carelessness, which inevitably leads to more abortions.  Dr. Robert Kirstner said, “For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I’ve changed my mind.  I think it probably has.”[4]  And Dr. Min-Chueh Chang said, “[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity … I personally feel the pill has rather spoiled young people.  It’s made them more permissive.”[5]
  2. Secondly, contraception is failure-prone, but people put so much confidence in it because it is advertised as being reliable.  There are more than two million contraceptive failures in the United States annually, half of which end in abortion.[6]  In fact, more than half of all women currently obtaining abortions were using contraception when they got pregnant.[7]

welcome to reality sign

Up until the early 1980s, the most famous pro‑abortion leaders admitted that an increase in contraceptive availability inevitably leads to an increase in promiscuity and therefore abortions.  None other than America’s most famous “sexologist,” Alfred Kinsey, admitted, “At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraceptives.”[8]  And the world’s most experienced abortion statistician, Christopher Tietze, said:

A high correlation between abortion experience and contraceptive experience can be expected in populations to which both contraception and abortion are available. … Women who have practiced contraception are more likely to have had abortions than those who have not practiced contraception, and women who have had abortions are more likely to have been contraceptors than women without a history of abortion.[9]

Malcolm Potts, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), acknowledged the contraception-abortion link in 1981 when he said, “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.”[10]  Dr. Judith Bury of Canada’s Brook Advisory Centre confirmed Potts’ view when she said, “There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”[11]

People’s laziness about using contraception has naturally morphed into laziness regarding abortion.  Canadian sex educator David Robinson stated, “Today abortion is the most widely used birth control method in the world.”[12]

Indeed, some gender feminists see no distinction whatever between artificial contraception and abortion, seeing both as part of an unbroken continuum.  Kristin Luker, in her revealingly‑entitled book Taking Chances:  Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, says, “We would argue that since abortion has become a primary method of fertility control, it should be offered and subsidized in exactly the same way that other contraceptive services are.”[13]

The thinking behind the use of contraception is quite straightforward.  Once a couple starts using contraception, they make lifestyle changes and commitments that do not allow room for children.  When contraception fails and they become pregnant, their “life plan” wins out over their preborn children.  Additionally, they have been conditioned to see their preborn child not as a gift from God, but as a “contraceptive failure” or a “mistake.”  Since their contraceptive method has failed them, they feel cheated and therefore “entitled” to an abortion — using one method of medical technology to cover up for the failure of another.

View of the “Family Planners

The primary mission of the research arm of the vast “family planning” industry is to develop more and more effective abortifacients.  Every year, fewer women use true contraceptives and more are using abortifacient chemicals.

There are several reasons why abortifacients are preferable to contraceptives from a “family planning” point of view.  To begin with, abortifacients are much more effective at ending pregnancies than contraceptives are at preventing them.  The best user (‘real world’) effectiveness rates of the birth control pills, the IUDs, the injectables and the insertables average about 96-98%, and the best user effectiveness rates for the male and female condoms, cervical cap, diaphragm and sponge average only about 80%.[14]

There is another reason that “family planners” prefer that women use abortifacients.  Despite all of the propaganda promoting “woman-controlled” birth control, the population controllers are actually more interested in increasing their own control of women’s fertility, primarily in developing nations.  Abortifacients put more control into the hands of the medical profession and mean more money for the international pharmaceutical cartel than true contraceptives do.  Abortifacients must be prescribed by health professionals.  By contrast, contraceptives are controlled by the user.

Greater abortifacient use will ensure that physicians ― and, in some cases, the State ― will be able to strictly monitor and even control the fertility of the people.  This is now happening in the People’s Republic of China and has happened on a smaller scale in more than thirty other nations.

The Legal Connection

judge's gavel

The sequential link between contraception and abortion is not the only connection, however, between the two.

More than 25 years ago, pro-abortion lawyer Frank Susman recognized that the “rights” of abortion and contraception now actually merge:

For better or for worse, there no longer exists any bright line between the fundamental right that was established in Griswold and the fundamental right of abortion that was established in Roe.  These two rights, because of advances in medicine and science, now overlap.  They coalesce and merge and they are not distinct.  The most common forms of contraception today ― IUDs, low‑dose oral contraceptive pills, which are the safest type of oral contraceptive pills available ― act as abortifacients.[15]

The principle used to justify all anti‑life practices in the United States is the “right to privacy,” which is not actually mentioned in the Constitution of the Unites States.  The United States Supreme Court first used this term in its 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which legalized contraception for married couples nationwide.  Three years later, the Court extended this “right” to unmarried people.  And, of course, five years after that, it quickly applied the “right to privacy” to abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision.

Every American values personal privacy.  Everyone wants the government to interfere with their private lives as infrequently as possible.  So the “right to privacy” is used as a cover to justify practices that the public will not accept until it has been exposed to them for years.  We can see this principle at work in the seamless progression from contraception to abortion to euthanasia.  And the “right to privacy” is also used to justify homosexual acts, adultery, infanticide and all kinds of pornography.

The public has “evolved” to accept acts that were once universally believed to be immoral and loathsome.  Anti‑lifers now label any opposition to abortion, euthanasia, pornography and other evils “anti‑choice,” “anti‑freedom,” and “anti‑American.”

The Psychological Connection

brain psychology

So there are legal, medical and practical connections between contraception and abortion.  But they all pale in comparison to the most important connection of all: the fact that the belief system which accepts contraception will inevitably require abortion.

Most people — including most Christians — use contraception because they can’t afford a baby, they have problems with their relationships, they want to avoid single parenthood, they aren’t ready for the responsibility, they have all the children they want, or they are concerned about how a child (or another child) would change their lives.

These are exactly the same reasons women give for having abortions.[16]  Underlying them all is the fundamental denial of God’s design of man and woman as sexual beings, and His plan for children in our lives.  People today want to “plan” their families.

Why does a couple contracept?  Because they don’t want a child.  Why don’t they want a child?  Because they have made Important Plans for Their Lives.  And when contraception fails, the resulting “unplanned” child is often seen as an intruder, one who will spoil the couple’s carefully laid plans.

And when a couple has denied God’s plan for their lives once through contraception, it is so much easier to do it again through abortion.  As St. Teresa of Calcutta observed:

In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self.  This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gifts of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception.  Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.[17]

For decades, pro‑abortionists have worked to blur the distinction between abortion and contraception in people’s minds.  For example, a writer for “Catholics” for Choice said:

If RU‑486 is also used monthly, pro-lifers would have a hard time convincing the public that the drug isn’t just another contraceptive.  Indeed, a 1982 New York Times story on [Etienne‑Emile] Baulieu and RU‑486 described the drug as “a new birth control pill.”  Planned Parenthood released a “Fact Sheet” in October that refers to RU‑486 as a type of “interceptor (luteal contraception).”  If most people hear a new drug described as “birth control,” they’ll think of the Pill and IUD, not abortion.[18]

And the National Abortion Federation has said, “If RU‑486 is referred to as an ‘abortion pill,’ it has significantly less support than if it is called a new form of birth control.  In many polls, the description can change support by as much as 15‑20 points and determine if a majority of those polled are in favor of the Pill.”[19]

woman taking abortion pill

Conclusion: Pro‑Lifers and Birth Control

Some pro‑life activists will certainly be offended by the classification of artificial contraception as “anti‑life,” because they have completely separated contraception from abortion in their minds.  As far as they are concerned, abortion and artificial contraception are two entirely separate issues.

I used to think that way until HLI founder Father Paul Marx set me straight.

Many pro‑life activists use artificial contraception.  In fact, it is safe to say that many pro‑life women use “birth control” methods that are actually abortifacients.  These men and women may not want to hear that they may be committing one or more “silent” abortions themselves every year, but it would not be intellectually or ethically honest to deny the truth in this matter.  It is extremely ironic that a “pro‑life” woman who uses an intrauterine device or the Pill for a decade will suffer ten to twenty “silent” abortions, while a pro‑abortion woman using the same methods may only commit only one or two additional abortions through surgical means.

Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, former Prefect of the Pontifical Council on the Family, said:

Getting human sexuality “right” is one of the great challenges of our time.  Meeting this challenge is very much part of the work of the pro‑life movement.  The mysterious links between sexuality, life, and death are part of our psychology and our experience of life.  The anti‑life mentality began, not with abortion, but by separating sexuality from the transmission of life in contraception and sterilization.  As the Holy Father points out in Evangelium Vitae [¶13], “Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected.”

I invite everyone here to think seriously about the roots of the anti‑life mentality.  I urge you never to fall for the shallow argument that providing widespread contraception will reduce the number of abortions.[20]

statue hands holding unborn child right to life pro life anti abortion

Evangelium Vitae [¶13] points out, “Contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree.”

As such, all of this tree’s fruits ― whether they be contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual activity, masturbation, or pornography ― are poisonous to the soul.  Everyone who genuinely seeks God’s will for his or her life must avoid them like the spiritual plagues they truly are.

 

Endnotes

[1] Professor Irvin Cushner, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, at the Symposium on Implementation of Therapeutic Abortion, International Hotel, Los Angeles, January 22 to 24, 1971.  Quoted in the Marriage and Family Newsletter, July 1971, page 3.

[2] Alan Guttmacher quote of May 3, 1973, Humanity Magazine, August/September 1979, page 11.

[3] National Security Study Memorandum 200, “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests,” December 10, 1974.  Special footnote, “Worldwide Abortion Practices.”

[4] Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School, co-inventor of the oral contraceptive pill, quoted in “In Brief:  Harvard, Mass.” ALL About Issues, June 1981, page 5.

[5] Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, co-inventor of the oral contraceptive pill, quoted in Charles E. Rice. “Nature’s Intolerance of Abuse.” ALL About Issues, August 1981, page 6.

[6] See Excel Spreadsheet F-21-03.XLS, “Statistics on Birth Control Methods Used by Women of Childbearing Age in the United States, and Total Annual Contraceptive Failures.”  For a copy of this spreadsheet, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[7] Rachel K. Jones, Jacqueline E. Darroch and Stanley K. Henshaw.  “Contraceptive Use Among U.S. Women Having Abortions in 2000-2001.”  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health [formerly Family Planning Perspectives] [Guttmacher Institute], November/December 2002 [Volume 34, Number 6], pages 294 to 303.  Table 1, “Percentage Distribution of Women Obtaining Abortions in 2002, by Contraceptive Method Used in the Month of Conception, and of Women at Risk of Unintended Pregnancy in 1995, by Contraceptive Method Used.”

[8] Alfred Kinsey, America’s most famous “sexologist,” quoted in Mary Calderone, M.D. [Editor]. Abortion in the United States [New York:  Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1956], page 157.

[9] Christopher Tietze.  “Abortion and Contraception.” In Abortion:  Readings and Research  [Toronto:  Butterworth & Co.], 1981, pages 54 to 60.

[10] Malcolm Potts.  “Fertility Rights.”  The Guardian, April 25, 1979.

[11] Judith Bury, M.D., Brook Advisory Centre.  “Sex Education for Bureaucrats.”  The Scotsman, June 29, 1981.  Also quoted in Rudolf Ehmann, M.D., “Consequences of Contraception and Abortifacient Birth Control,” Human Life International pamphlet.

[12] David Robertson, et al.  Sex Education:  A Teacher’s Guide.  The Canadian Ministry of National Health and Welfare, Volume 4, pages 24 and 25.

[13] Kristin Luker.  Taking Chances:  Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, 1975, page 144.

[14] Robert A. Hatcher, et. al. Contraceptive Technology (18th Revised Edition) [New York:  Ardent Media, Inc.], 2004.  Table 31-1, “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 792.

Spermicides include foams, creams, gels, vaginal suppositories, and vaginal films. The female condom “Reality” is known as “Femy” in Spain and “Femidom” in the rest of the world.

Annual rates are not applicable since RU-486 effectiveness is measured on a per-use basis. For further information on the RU-486 abortion pill, see Chapter 2 of The Facts of Life, “Abortifacients.”

Eight major studies on the effectiveness of typical methods of natural family planning in the 1990s show an average user failure rate of 2.8%. These studies were carried out in a wide variety of cultures in Moslem, Hindu, Chinese and Christian cultures. The user failure rates by country were: United Kingdom 2.7%, Indonesia 2.5%, India 2.0%, Germany 2.3%, Liberia 4.3%, Europe 2.4%, China 4.4%, and Belgium 1.7% [Bob Ryder and Hubert Campbell. “Natural Family Planning in the 1990s.” The Lancet, July 22, 1995, page 233. Also see R.E.J. Ryder. “”Natural Family Planning:” Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church.” British Medical Journal, 1993;307:723-726].

[15] “Excerpts of Arguments before Supreme Court on Missouri Abortion Law.”  Washington Post, April 27, 1989, page A16.

[16] Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest.  “Why Do Women Have Abortions?”  Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, pages 169 to 176.

[17] Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  “Whatever You Did Unto One of the Least, You Did Unto Me.”  Address given at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 3, 1994.

[18] Tony Kaye.  “Are You for RU‑486?:  A New Pill and the Abortion Debate.”  Conscience [newsletter of ‘Catholics’ for a Free Choice (CFFC}], July/August 1986 [Volume VII, Number 4], pages 15 to 17.

[19] National Abortion Federation.  Abortion:  Moral Choice and Medical Imperative.  “Abortion Practice Advancement, Sixteenth Annual Meeting Workbook, April 13‑14, 1992, San Diego, California,” page 133, “Successful Strategies:  Managing the Media.”

[20] From the address by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, given March 23, 1996 in Westminster Central Hall, London.  “Evangelium Vitae and the Pro‑Life Movement.”

Male Infertility Threatening ‘Future of Human Race,’ Says Author of New Book

By Megan Redshaw, J.D

Scientists are witnessing an alarming trend: Men’s sperm counts are down, testosterone levels have plunged and erectile dysfunction is increasing. Male infertility is on the rise — and exposure to synthetic chemicals known as phthalates could be to blame, according to fertility scientist Shanna Swan, Ph.D., author of the new book, “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.”

Citing Swan’s book, the New York Post reported that the global fertility rate has dropped 50% between 1960 and 2016, with the U.S. birth rate 16% below where it needs to be to sustain the population.

Although girls are experiencing early puberty, and women are experiencing declining egg quality and more miscarriages, emerging science is shifting the focus toward men as more couples suffer from infertility.

Scientists report sperm counts have been dropping, infant boys are developing more genital abnormalities and men’s problems with conception are on the rise. Erectile dysfunction is increasing and testosterone levels are decreasing 1% each year.

In 2017, Swan, one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists, co-authored a meta-analysis that came to a staggering conclusion: The sperm count of average Western countries had fallen by 59% between 1973 and 2011.

Normal sperm counts range from 15 million sperm per milliliter to 200 million per milliliter. A rate below 15 million is considered “low” by the World Health Organization (WHO), but Swan argues that anything below 40 million creates challenges for reproduction. The average male is nearing that number at 47.1 million sperm per milliliter compared to his father who had an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter at the same age.

“If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward — which is always risky — it reaches zero in 2045, meaning the median man would have essentially no viable sperm,” Swan writes in her book.

Men are also experiencing lower testosterone levels. A 2006 study showed that a 65-year-old man in 2002 had testosterone levels 15% lower than a 65-year-old man in 1987. A 2020 study in the Urology Times Journal showed a similar drop with young adults and adolescents.

As a result, more men are getting prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapy, which increases testosterone levels but causes an even greater reduction in sperm count. “Ninety percent of men can have their sperm counts drop to zero while they’re on it,” according to Swan.

Sexual desire among men is also declining. Swan, who has studied infertility for more than 30 years, says men are seeking help for erectile dysfunction on average seven years earlier than they did in 2005, with 26% of men falling under the age of 40.

According to the New York Post, research shows an overall increase in genital abnormalities, including a higher rate of undescended testicles and unusually small penises. Growing numbers of sperm appear defective with some having two heads or wandering aimlessly instead of pursuing an egg.

Exposure to phthalates is a particular problem during pregnancy when fetuses are sexually differentiating in the first trimester, says Swan, and infants with greater exposure to phthalates during pregnancy are shown to have smaller penises.

Similar abnormalities have been observed in animals. Small penises are being reported in alligators, otters and minks. Polar bears have lower-than-normal testosterone levels, panthers are showing an increase in genital abnormalities, and fishfrogs and turtles are being born with both male and female organs.

Research points to endocrine-disrupting phthalates as likely cause

Swan and her colleagues say the problem could be caused by a class of endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, which mimic the body’s hormones.

Phthalates are synthetic chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. The chemicals are everywhere: plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, furniture, flame retardants, personal care products, pesticides, canned foods and even receipts.

In several studies over the last two decades, phthalates have been shown to disrupt male hormones like testosterone and to cause genital birth defects in male infants.

A 2018 systematic review published in Environmental International showed phthalates decreased testosterone and caused negative reproductive outcomes in men.

Flame retardants found in mattresses and foam furniture were linked to male infertility in a 2016 study published in the Reproductive Toxicology Journal, and chemicals in stain, water, fast-food packaging, paper plates, stain-resistant carpeting and other household items have been linked to a reduction in semen quality, testicular volume and penis length.

A 2017 U.S. study showed that 45 potentially harmful chemicals, including phthalates and flame retardants, were present in dust buildup in 90% of homes sampled, reported the New York Post.

Pesticides and herbicides have also been found to negatively affect male infertility. Atrazine, an herbicide used to prevent certain weeds from growing in corn, has been linked to lower sperm quality.

In her latest book, Swan writes:

“The problem isn’t that something is inherently wrong with the human body as it has evolved over time; it’s that chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing varying degrees of reproductive havoc that can foil fertility and lead to long-term health problems even after one has left the reproductive years.”

The cumulative effect of endocrine disruptors affect multiple generations. Patrician Hunt, a reproductive geneticist at Washington State University, conducted experiments on mice. When infant mice were exposed to disruptive chemicals for a few days their testes as adults produced fewer sperm. The mice passed on this propensity to their offspring, and after three generations of exposure, one-fifth of male mice were infertile.

“I find this particularly troubling,” Professor Hunt told The New York Times. “From the standpoint of human exposures, you could argue we are hitting the third generation just about now.”

According to the Times, the Endocrine SocietyPediatric Endocrine Society, President’s Cancer Panel and WHO have all warned about endocrine disruptors, while Europe and Canada have moved to regulate them.

Expert recommendations to increase male fertility 

Although more research, government regulation and corporate responsibility are needed, Swan offers practical suggestions to help men tip the scale:

  • Store food in glass containers and never microwave food in plastic.
  • Stop smoking and cut back on drinking. Cigarette smoke is associated with a lower sperm count and increased sperm defects, while more than seven drinks per week is harmful to sperm.
  • Buy organic to avoid pesticides and herbicides that interfere with male hormones, especially strawberries, spinach, kale, apples and grapes. Swan also recommends reducing full-fat dairy foods, which have been linked to greater sperm abnormalities and avoiding processed meats, which can harm the DNA of sperm.
  • Avoid saunas, binge watching TV and cut out stress, says Swan. A Danish study, “Psychological stress and testicular function: a cross-sectional study of 1,215 Danish men,” published in Fertility and Sterility Journal, showed that high levels of work stress resulted in a 38 percent lower sperm concentration.“Men who’ve experienced two or more recent stressful life events — such as the death or serious illness of a close relative, divorce or serious relationship problems, moving, or a job change — were more likely to have below-normal sperm concentration,” writes Swan.
  • Buy products labeled “paraben-free” and “phthalate free” and avoid skin-care products that are “antibacterial,” vinyl shower curtains, air fresheners, toxic household cleaners, and dust often to remove the build-up of chemicals, urges Swan.

“We can no longer afford to behave as though it’s business as usual,” Swan writes in her book. “The time has come for us to stop playing Russian roulette with our reproductive capacities.”

Democrat Equality Act ‘the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law’

February 24, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Following the announcement that the radical pro-abortion and pro-LGBT Equality Act will be brought before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, pro-life and pro-family leaders have described the proposed legislation as “the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.”

Dr. Bill Donohue, Ph.D., president of the Catholic advocacy group Catholic League, said that, contrary to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the Equality Act is “about ending discrimination,” that in fact the opposite is true, with Christians set to experience severe discrimination should the act be passed into law.

Donohue explained that, as well as amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act “to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of sex,” a thing never intended or envisioned by the authors of that legislation, the Equality Act would “undermine the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by allowing gay rights to trump religious rights.”

Donohue said that the act’s broad scope would force healthcare providers to supply hormone therapies and even surgeries in accordance with “sex change” procedures.

Women’s sports, too, will become unfairly altered by the inclusion of boys and men who purport to be female. “These biological males can use the locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities that have always been reserved for females,” he added.

But for Catholics and members of other religious groups who hold to a traditional understanding of human nature, they “could not raise religious liberty objections to any of the aforementioned rights of transgender women. In effect, religious entities would be secularized,” Donohue warned.

As an example, Donohue explained that “if the Equality Act were to become law, Catholic foster care programs would be shut down. They would either have to agree to allow two men to adopt children—a clear violation of Church teachings—or lose federal funding.”

Additionally, Catholic hospitals would lose any federal funding they receive under the proposed Equality Act if they refuse to perform abortions, “or be forced to get into the abortion business.”

“This is the kind of ‘gotcha’ type element that makes this bill so pernicious,” Donohue said.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins described the Equality Act as “a catastrophic loss of religious freedom in America.”

“The Equality Act is a grave and treasonous threat to our nation’s core values contained in our First Amendment. The fact that no Republicans have co-sponsored it, even those who co-sponsored in the previous Congress, underscores the Democrats’ lurch to the Left. This is a radical bill that uses the government to control, through coercion, how every American thinks, speaks, and acts on issues of human sexuality. It may be named the Equality Act, but as the details make quite clear, the only equal thing about it is how much damage it does to many facets of American life,” Perkins said.

“The bill erodes parental rights and positions the government as lord over churches and other faith-based institutions, potentially dictating how their facilities are used, who they hire, and even punishing them for not falling in step with a view of human sexuality that directly contradicts orthodox biblical teaching,” he continued.

“No person of faith or religious institution, whether school, church, synagogue, mosque, business, or non-profit, will escape the Orwellian reach of the Equality Act,” Perkins warned.

Mary Beth Waddell, FRC’s Director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty, commented that the bill “politicizes the medical profession and denies biological reality, harming those it claims to protect.”

“In addition to obliterating the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls, this extreme bill would politicize the medical profession, forcing doctors who provide legitimate hormone treatments and surgical procedures to offer those treatments against their conscience. It would put the threat of litigation over every medical professional who would dare to stand up for the science that indicates the harms of these treatments and surgeries, likely causing many to stay silent. The misnamed ‘Equality Act’ has no place in any just, fair, and tolerant society.”

Lila Rose, Founder & President of Live Action, described the Equality Act as “deceptively named and corrupt in its vision.”

“There is nothing empowering or ‘equalizing’ about killing innocent preborn children nor confusing what it means to be male and female. This deceptively named piece of legislation hides within it policies that override conscience rights, require employers to cover abortions in their healthcare plans, and nullifies pro-life laws and protections on a massive scale,” Rose said.

Experts from the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) agree. President Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., a specialist in bioethics, religious liberty, and political philosophy, said: “The so-called Equality Act is legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head.”

“It isn’t drafted as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities from unjust discrimination, but as a sword to persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.”

Anderson cautioned as to the effect the act would have on religious agencies, like schools and adoption firms, warning that, if the act passes, they “would face federal sanction for operating according to basic biology and mainstream biblical teaching on sex and marriage.”

Anderson’s colleague and EPPC Fellow Erika Bachiochi, J.D., a legal scholar specializing in Equal Protection jurisprudence, criticized the bill as an attempt to “transform the great Civil Rights Act of 1964 into a mechanism for public funding of abortion.”

“But taxpayer funding of abortion — deeply unpopular among Americans — would only further incentivize employers to prefer abortion for their pregnant employees over far more costly accommodations for parenting,” Bachiochi said.

Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., a scholar in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life criticized Biden in particular, whose “appeal to unity and moderation” he described as merely “a shallow political ploy.”

“This bill targets goodwill people of faith by making historic and reasonable claims about gender and sexuality suspect and ripe for exclusion from the public square,” he said.

The American Principles Project (APP), a national organization for pro-family advocacy in public policy, have released a scathing review of the impact of the Equality Act, recommending that Congress oppose the legislation on multiple grounds.

Terry Schilling, APP’s executive director, expressed dismay at the continued efforts of Democratic legislators to limit religious freedom, “now trying to make these changes permanent in federal law.”

“Of course, this has been their goal for a long time, and we know by now the very terrible consequences which will occur if the ‘Equality’ Act passes: female athletes will be forced to compete against biological males; women will be forced to share private spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters with men; and religious charities will be coerced into violating their beliefs or else be shut down.”

Connecticut public health committee passes anti-pregnancy center bill

  |

A Connecticut anti-pregnancy center bill is moving forward after passing the Public Health Committee in a 19-12 vote on February 22, despite dozens of people testifying against the bill in a public hearing earlier this month. This is the fourth year in a row such a bill has been introduced in the Connecticut State Senate.

Senate Bill 835, aims to “prohibit deceptive advertising practices by limited services pregnancy centers.” After a pregnancy center moved into the same building as an abortion business and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut in Hartford, NARAL became the driving force behind the bill in an effort to dictate how pregnancy centers advertise their services (while simultaneously downplaying what those services are). The bill claims that pregnancy centers are dishonest and trick women into choosing life. Proponents of the bill also claim that pregnancy centers stall women, preventing them from getting abortions right away.

When women don’t know about their other options or the help available to them, they frequently feel abortion is their only choice. Many choose it out of desperation, without informed consent — and sometimes even against their wills. Pregnancy centers exist to be a safe place for women to learn about all their options without being pressured by a business which will make money from the sale of an abortion.

Pregnancy centers provide women with free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, free baby gear, free clothing, and assistance with other needs such as housing, medical care, education, parenting classes, job placement, and more. Some pregnancy centers also offer limited medical services and many have medical professionals serving on staff or as volunteers. Services vary from center to center and women have often shared their joy at having been given a way out of abortion.

Meanwhile, abortion businesses offer one option for women facing unplanned pregnancies: abortion. Women have stated that they were purposefully deceived by abortion businesses regarding the development of their babies as well as abortion procedures as well. Women deserve to know the full truth before they undergo an abortion and the time to make the decision rather than be rushed into an abortion. Pregnancy help centers give them just that.

As Breast Cancer Rates Soar, the WHO Doubles Down on Promoting Birth Control

As Breast Cancer Rates Soar, the WHO Doubles Down on Promoting Birth Control

“Breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly-diagnosed cancer,” reads a February 3 press release from the World Health Organization (WHO). The occasion for the press release was to mark World Cancer Day 2021 on February 4. Overall, the news was not good:

“In the past two decades, the overall number of people diagnosed with cancer nearly doubled, from an estimated 10 million in 2000 to 19.3 million in 2020. Today, one in 5 people worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime. Projections suggest that the number of people being diagnosed with cancer will increase still further in the coming years, and will be nearly 50% higher in 2040 than in 2020.”

Breast cancer risk and birth control: The unmentioned connection

“The Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030 will need to ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are widely available and used. This includes supporting contraceptive services through effective government policies and the provision of high-quality services for individuals.”

To make matters worse, the WHO often promotes hormonal contraception in countries that may not have the sophisticated medical systems needed to detect and treat cancer.

Breast cancer risk and hormone exposure go hand-in-hand