News & Commentary

The most infamous cases of forced sterilization in America… and the people behind it

 

Recent accusations of forced sterilizations have brought the United States’ dark history of eugenic, compulsory sterilization programs — which once targeted those deemed by elites as “unfit” — back into the spotlight.

The 1934 film, “Tomorrow’s Children,” portrayed a state’s coercive power to eugenically sterilize a young pregnant woman. While the woman portrayed in the film succeeded in stopping the state’s court order, actual eugenics programs within the United States resulted in the sterilization of an estimated 60,000 people — many minorities, who were eugenically sterilized against their wills. Many more have been subjected to these atrocities worldwide.

California’s eugenics: Coercive sterilization of over 20,000 people

In 1909, California passed the third sterilization bill in the U.S., which sanctioned the coercive sterilization of over 20,000 patients, noted an American Journal of Public Health report. According to author Edwin Black, “[T]he code permitted castration or sterilization of state convicts and the residents of California Home for the Care and Training of Feeble Minded Children in Sonoma County. Two institutional bureaucrats could recommend the procedure if they deemed it beneficial to a subject’s ‘physical, mental, or moral condition.’”

Eugene S. Gosney, founder and President of the Human Betterment Foundation (HBF), published a study with his his associate Paul Popenoe entitled “Sterilization for Human Betterment,” focusing on sterilizations ordered under California’s law. In July 1931, Margaret Sanger published Gosney’s views on sterilization in her Birth Control Review. He wrote, “Eugenic sterilization is, under usual state laws, ordered or permitted by the state, for the benefit of the state…. Eugenic sterilization starts where contraception stops. It is applied primarily to people or families without the intelligence, emotional stability, or self-control to handle contraceptives successfully. It succeeds where contraception would fail.”

In 1932, according to the New York Times, Gosney’s group published a paper warning America of “race degeneration” unless it adopted “eugenic sterilization of the large numbers of the mentally defective.”

Iowa’s eugenics: Planned Parenthood desired ‘wider application’ of coercive sterilization 

Iowa’s first sterilization law passed in 1911. According to researcher Amy Vogel, “In 1929 the Iowa General Assembly created a Board of Eugenics to investigate persons who were a ‘menace to society,’ so that such ‘degenerates’ could be sterilized. Between then and 1977, when the legislature voted unanimously to abolish the board, it authorized the sterilization of more than two thousand individuals, three-fourths of them women.”

“Although the Iowa law was intended to be voluntary, there were undoubtedly instances when patients felt they had little choice,” she wrote. “… In Iowa, as in other states, many sterilizations were probably conducted without the knowledge or approval of the Board of Eugenics, but the extent to which physicians acted independently is unknown.”

Planned Parenthood was a referral agency for Iowa’s sterilization board, according to a 1969 report published in the DesMoines Register. Iowa State’s Eugenics Board Chairman Dr. S.M. Korson admitted a percent of their referrals came from the welfare office or Planned Parenthood.

When Korson noted a decrease in sterilizations due to a “more humane and enlightened attitude,” Rev. Robert L. Webber — the executive director of Planned Parenthood of Iowa — attacked board members, saying they “should reinterpret the law and give it wider application than they do now or they should quit.”

Minnesota’s eugenics: Wishing Hitler success

In 1925, Minnesota passed legislation allowing the sterilization of “feeble-minded” and “insane” residents of state institutions, according to the Minnesota History Center. Charles E. Dight, who was “largely responsible” for Minnesota’s Sterilization Law, also reportedly “fought unsuccessfully for expansion of the law to include sterilization of the ‘unfit’ who lived outside of institutions.”

In the 1930s, Dight joined the Minnesota Birth Control League, the forerunner of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota. In 1933, as president of the Minnesota Eugenics Society, Dight wrote a letter to Adolf Hitler wishing him success in “stamping out mental inferiority among the German people,” noting the Nazi leader’s efforts would “advance the eugenics movement in other nations as well as in Germany.”

According to Minnesota Magazine, the state’s eugenics program authorized the sterilization of 2,350 people.

Charles F Dight letter to Hitler ( Image from document provided by the Minnesota Historical Society)

North Carolina’s eugenics: Black men, women, and “feeble-minded” targeted

The state of North Carolina sterilized about 7,600 people before it ended in 1974, according to the Winston-Salem Journal which exposed the program in an award-winning series, “Against Their Will.”  That program targeted many Black men and women for forced sterilization. One of those women was Elaine Riddick, who became pregnant after rape at age 13.

Watch Riddick’s emotional story from the documentary film Maafa21 below:

 

A prominent supporter and staunch advocate of that eugenics program was Proctor and Gamble heir Clarence Gamble, who served as director of Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League board (as well as Planned Parenthood’s). It was to Gamble that Sanger penned her famous letter about her “Negro Project” to recruit Black ministers and physicians to further her eugenic agenda in the Black community.

“Gamble helped found the Human Betterment League of North Carolina in 1947 to promote eugenic sterilization,” reported the Winston-Salem Journal.

According to the documentary Maafa21, “In 1947, Gamble called for the expansion of North Carolina State’s sterilization program, saying that for every feeble minded person sterilized, 40 more were polluting and degrading the bloodlines of future generation with their defective genes.”

Excerpt: Margaret Sanger Letter to Clarence Gamble, Negro Project

Another coercive eugenic sterilization program in the state was headed by Wallace Kuralt, who served as Mecklenburg County’s welfare director from 1945 to 1972. A 2014 Slate article in Slate noted that Kuralt believed sterilization would save taxpayer funding by reducing poverty among the “low mentality-low income families, which tend to produce the largest number of children.”

Live Action News previously documented that Kuralt influenced the opening of Planned Parenthood’s first Charlotte clinic. In 1983, Planned Parenthood of Greater Charlotte awarded Kuralt the Margaret Sanger Award.

North Carolina later became the first state to offer any kind of restitution to sterilization victims.

Virginia’s eugenics: Over 8,000 sterilized

On March 20, 1924, the Virginia General Assembly passed “The Racial Integrity Act” overseen by eugenicist Walter Ashby Plecker. The Assembly also passed the state’s 1924 Sterilization Act, which became a model for other states, after the 1927 U.S. Supreme Court decision Buck v. Bell upheld it. The act was based on Model Law written by American Eugenics Society founder Harry Laughlin.

In 1933, Laughlin’s ideas were published by Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review, and in 1938 he became part of the Citizen’s Committee on Planned Parenthood. Laughlin was an unabashed Nazi sympathizer who, in 1936, “received an honorary degree from the Nazi-controlled University of Heidelberg as ‘a pioneer in the science of race cleansing,’” according to researcher Paul A. Lombardo.

Image: Harry Laughlin author of Immigration Act signed Committee for Planned Parenthood

Harry Laughlin author of Immigration Act signed Committee for Planned Parenthood

It is estimated that the State of Virginia sterilized more than 8,300 people.

Not all instances of eugenics were in America, but Americans were connected to efforts in Germany as well as Sweden:

Germany’s eugenics: Sanger’s cohorts praised Hitler, who sterilized hundreds of thousands

Another Nazi sympathizer who worked with Sanger was Eugen Fischer. In 1927Fischer sat on Sanger’s World Population Conference committee and served on committees that planned the sterilization of Afro-German Blacks.

Fischer was in charge of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, where racist Nazi programs were developed. According to the DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor, the Rockefeller Foundation — which has long funded eugenics and abortion organizations including the Population Council — provided funds to construct the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute.

Fischer praised Hitler in a 1935 New York Times article, asking the World Population Congress to “Hail Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler.” According to the DNA Learning Center, “Hitler read Fischer’s textbook Principles of Human Heredity and Race Hygiene while in prison at Landsberg and used eugenical notions to support the ideal of a pure Aryan society in his manifesto, Mein Kampf… By the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, an estimated 400,000 people had been sterilized.”

Image: Eugene Fischer (Image: DNA Learning Center)

Eugen Fischer (Image: DNA Learning Center)

Another Sanger cohortLothrop Stoddard, traveled to Germany to observe a Nazi eugenics court.

Stoddard was a journalist and Exalted Cyclops of the Massachusetts chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. He served on Sanger’s National Council, her ABCL Board of Directors, and the conference committee of the First American Birth Control Conference.

Stoddard described this Nazi meeting in his book, “Into the Darkness: A Sympathetic Report from Hitler’s Wartime Reich.”

“The first case I saw looked like an excellent candidate for sterilization. A man in his mid-thirties, he was rather ape-like in appearance–receding forehead, flat nose with flaring nostrils, thick lips, and heavy prognathous jaw. Not vicious-looking, but gross and rather dull,” Stoddard wrote in part.

 

Sweden’s eugenics: Sterilization in the name of a ‘progressive, enlightened welfare state’

“From 1934 to 1974, 62,000 Swedes were sterilized as part of a national program grounded in the science of racial biology and carried out by officials who believed they were helping to build a progressive, enlightened welfare state,” wrote the Washington Post in 1997.

“No one can document with certainty how many of these sterilizations were involuntary, but those who have looked at the program believe that, at its peak, a sizable majority were forced… In some cases, couples judged to be inferior parents were sterilized, as were their children when they became teenagers,” they added.

The program was strongly supported by Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, the paper noted. Gunnar authored the 1500-page book, “An American Dilemma: the Negro Problem and Modern Democracy,” paid for by the eugenics-founded Carnegie Corporation. His wife Alva was published in Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review and was later honored by Planned Parenthood.

Many studies on how contraceptives affect mental health are biased

 

Recently, more secular, mainstream authors and websites are addressing the downsides of hormonal contraceptives. Notably, many of these pieces first launch into a litany of praise for hormonal contraceptives, as if to defend themselves from the charge of desecrating what one author called the “scientific sacred cow of feminism.” However, after the requisite kowtowing to all the ways that birth control supposedly emancipates women, authors are acknowledging that all is not well among hormonal contraceptive users, especially when it comes to mental health outcomes.

Effects of hormonal birth control are broad

We now know that hormonal birth control, even progesterone-only forms like the IUD, traditionally considered to have only localized effects in the body, are associated with an increased risk of depression and that the risk is highest among new users in their teens. We also know that the pill in particular changes women’s brains.

This is because, says author Sarah E. Hill, far from acting only on the ovaries, “[s]ex hormones impact the activities of billions of cells in the body at once, many of which are in the brain. There, they play a role in influencing attraction, sexual motivation, stress, hunger, eating patterns, emotion regulation, friendships, aggression, mood, learning, and more.” This is particularly concerning because, notes Hill, “By changing what women’s brains do, the pill also has the ability to have cascading effects on everything and everyone that a woman encounters. This means that the reach of the pill extends far beyond women’s own bodies, having a major impact on society and the world.”

Many recently published articles about the harmful effects of hormonal birth control cite a landmark 2016 Denmark study, which was groundbreaking both because of its results and because of the sheer number of women studied (over one million women’s health records kept over 16 years). The results? “Women taking the combined oral contraceptive pill were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression, while those using progestin-only pills were 34% more likely.”

Many studies skewed and of poor quality

Regrettably, according to the lead author of the study, Dr. Ojvind Lidegaard, much of the research previously done on the connection between hormonal birth control use and poor mental health outcomes has been poor quality. “There has been a lot of research in hormonal contraception,” Lidegaard said. “On mental health, the quality of the studies have been poor and the results consequently unreliable. Those studies, for example, had not followed women from their first use of hormonal contraception in the way we did here has been a lot of research in hormonal contraception.”

A 2016 Harvard Health article concurred with Dr. Lidegaard’s assessment of the previous research literature, stating, “While many of these did not show a definitive association, a critical review of this literature revealed that all of it has been of poor quality, relying on iffy methods like self-reporting, recall, and insufficient numbers of subjects. The authors concluded that it was impossible to draw any firm conclusions from the research on this birth control and depression.”

Dr. Lidegaard offered another disappointing piece of information about research into hormonal contraceptives and mental health, saying that many research studies are “sponsored by the marketing holders” — in other words, the drug companies themselves. “I think it’s true that the companies who produce these pills are very willing to support proving that there are benefits to taking hormonal contraception. It is much more difficult to get support to study the negative reactions and demonstrate the adverse effects. Many more studies have been conducted to prove that [the pill] protects against ovarian cancer than that it can increase the risk of depression.”

The alternatives

While the status of research into contraceptive-caused adverse mental health outcomes leaves plenty to be desired, on the other hand fertility awareness-based methods of natural family planning are gradually losing their status as the “best-kept secret” for addressing women’s health holistically. Furthermore, NaProTECHNOLOGY and other similar approaches to women’s reproductive health can utilize women’s own “data” as the basis for diagnosis and treatment of common reproductive problems, even including treatment of issues like PCOS that historically have been assumed to require treatment with the birth control pill.

54 Prayer Vigils Nationwide Mourned the 62 Million Babies Killed in Abortions

MICAIAH BILGER

All across the country last weekend, pro-life advocates gathered to pray and remember the unborn babies who have been victims of abortion.

In Kansas City, Kansas, Catholic Archbishop Joseph Naumann led pro-lifers in mourning for the unborn at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, one of 54 memorial sites for aborted babies in the U.S., according to The Leaven, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City.

Local pro-life organizations sponsored the event, and Naumann spoke about the value and dignity of every human life, the report states.

In Pennsylvania, another group of pro-lifers placed flowers on a memorial for aborted babies at St. Jerome’s Cemetery in Tamaqua. The Republican Herald reports, during the special ceremony, pro-life advocate Cheryl Kiefer shared her testimony about aborting three of her unborn babies.

After her abortions, she said she turned to alcohol to drown out her pain and regret. Kiefer said God eventually changed her life, and now she looks forward to seeing her babies in heaven someday.

“He is here to forgive us and heal us,” she said. “I believe my babies are with God.”

Pro-lifers welcome Kiefer and others who have had abortions to mourn with them during the annual event.

The National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children began in 2013 on the 25th anniversary of the burial of 1,500 abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to the Pro-Life Action League. Since then, thousands more aborted babies have been buried in mass graves, including 47 victims of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia and 2,411 victims of Indiana abortionist Ulrich Klopfer in South Bend.

More than 100 memorial services were scheduled across the country this year.

“The National Day of Remembrance calls upon America to mourn for these children, to reckon with the absence that we’ve experienced because their lives were taken away,” Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told One News Now. “Their lives were violently and unjustly ended through abortion.”

Scheidler said they welcome mothers of aborted children and fathers who have participated in, coerced or tried to stop the abortion of their child. He said the day is for everyone to “mourn for those children, to take stock of our involvement, and to seek God’s healing and mercy.”

The pro-life groups that lead the nation-wide effort are Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League.

The U.S. Supreme Court forced states to legalize abortion on demand in 1973 through Roe v. Wade. Since then, nearly 62 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions.

ICE facility doctor accused of forcibly sterilizing immigrant women

IRWIN COUNTY, Georgia, September 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A nurse has come forward to accuse a privately-run Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Georgia of performing hysterectomies on female illegal immigrants en masse, without medical necessity. Whether the women consented or understood the procedure they were undergoing is unclear.

The activist groups Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network have filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) against Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) on behalf of a nurse who used to work there, Dawn Wooten.

Law & Crime reports that Wooten and others allege witnessing several examples of “jarring medical neglect” at ICDC (which is run by the private prison company LaSalle Corrections), the most alarming of which is the claim that an outside physician was brought in to examine women, most of whom he performed hysterectomies on.

“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy—just about everybody. Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad,” Wooten says. “We’ve questioned among ourselves, like, goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out…That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector.”

“Recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done,” the complaint says. “When she talked to them about the surgery, the women ‘reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.’”

Among the complaint’s examples is a detainee who says she was improperly anthesized beforehand and subsequently heard the doctor had mistakenly removed the wrong ovary, destroying her ability to have children in the future:

Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy—just about everybody. He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady [detained immigrant woman]. She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary; he took out the right one. She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left and she wound up with a total hysterectomy. She still wanted children—so she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can’t bear kids… she said she was not all the way out under anesthesia and heard him [doctor] tell the nurse that he took the wrong ovary.

LaSalle Corrections has so far refused to comment on the allegations. ICE has issued a statement claiming that it “does not comment on matters presented to” OIG, and while it “takes all allegations seriously,” it also maintains that “anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.” ICE added that ICDC “has been inspected multiple times, with and without warning, and that the facility has been found to be in compliance with Performance Based National Detention Standards.”

In 2014, the California State Auditor released a report which of the 144 prison inmates “who underwent tubal ligations from fiscal years 2005-06 to 2012-13, auditors found nearly one-third were performed without lawful consent.”

“In some cases, physicians falsified the consent forms,” USA Today reported. The audit found “that all women receiving tubal ligations had been incarcerated at least once before, indicating that they were repeat offenders,” seeming to suggest they were targeted.

Forced sterilization in California prisons was the subject of a Human Rights Watch film released earlier this year.

Beginning in 1932, what is now known as the infamous Tuskegee Study or Tuskegee Experiment was a “40-year experiment run by Public Health Service officials followed 600 rural black men in Alabama with syphilis over the course of their lives, refusing to tell patients their diagnosis, refusing to treat them for the debilitating disease, and actively denying some of them treatment,” The Atlantic summarized.

BEING PRO LIFE: CATHOLIC BIOETHICS IN A MORALLY CONFUSED WORLD.

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings – and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation – need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. (Paul VI, Pope, 1897-1978, Humanae Vitae, 17).

This quote from St. Pope Paul VI’s famous encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, has proven prophetic, even 50 years later. He affirmed Church teaching that marital love is about giving oneself completely to the other, using the words “total,” “faithful” and “fecund” (fruitful). He went on to discuss the damage that a relationship incurs when those principles are disregarded, and how it would damage society as a whole as well.

I spoke with Dr. Diann Ecret of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) about artificial birth control. In addition to Church teaching, Dr. Ecret also spoke about the medical problems with artificial birth control. There are physical health risks such as heart disease, loss of bone density and even infertility after ceasing their use. She also discussed emotional side effects such as depression and lowered libido. The modern world downplays these risks, declaring them the tolerable side effects of a drug designed to cure an illness – as if pregnancy is comparable to death. Advocates of birth control also seem to presume that there are only two options for people: artificial birth control or pregnancy. They ignore the very real and positive choices of abstinence for single people and Natural Family Planning for married couples, a family-planning method that promotes respect, mutual love and other virtues essential for a fulfilling marriage.

On the other end of the fertility spectrum is help for those who are battle infertility. I spoke with Dr. Paul Day, a local family physician, about solutions for infertility. One of the more commonly-known methods today is in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is contrary to Church teaching for several reasons. First, it uses technology to replace the marital act, treating children as products. Secondly, IVF can lead to abortion if more embryos are successfully implanted than are desired. Finally, IVF produces multiple embryos, the majority of which are either discarded or frozen in storage. There are hundreds of thousands of human beings stored in fertility clinics around the world and possibly millions already discarded.

Is there hope for Catholics who suffer from infertility? The answer is, yes, and it is called NaPro Technology. This is treatment that works cooperatively with a woman’s body to restore fertility naturally. It begins with charting and hormone tests. Treatments can include hormone supplementation and/or corrective surgery, among others. To learn more, visit naprotechnology.com. Of course adoption and foster care are beautiful ways to make a family, as well.

This is neither the end of the story nor the end of bioethics topics. Tune in to the full interviews of Drs. Ecret and Day, as well as my interview with Dr. Ted Furton on common vaccines developed from aborted fetal tissue lines. I also interviewed Bobby Schindler on end-of-life issues in light of his experience with the 2005 court-ordered cessation of life support for his sister, Terri Schiavo. Watch the video interviews and listen to the podcasts from our website at www.catholicaoc.org/being-pro-life. Let us strive to educate ourselves so we can all take a stand for life on these important medical issues.

BEING PRO-LIFE PODCASTS  Click on name to direct you to the podcast!
SEPT 1
Dr. Ted Furton, vaccines & aborted fetal cell lines
SEPT 8
Dr. DiAnn Ecret, artificial birth control
SEPT 15
Dr. Paul Day, ethical and unethical treatment for infertility
SEPT 22
Terri Schaivo’s death and Catholic teaching on end-of- life issues

9/11 Memorial remembers preborn children too

 

 

9/11 Memorial remembers preborn children too: ‘They were who we are’

Nineteen years ago on September 11, 2001, America was left shaken after a series of unexpected terrorist attacks served as a reminder of the inherent preciousness of human life. Three thousand Americans were killed after two hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York, a third struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Buried deeply in the minds of many in the aftermath of the attacks was the heartbreaking impact of so many lives being lost in one devastatingly cruel and deliberate stroke. 

To commemorate the 9/11 victims, the state of New York holds an annual Tribute of Light Ceremony. Two beams of light reaching into the sky are meant to evoke the fallen Twin Towers, and the event gives people the opportunity to come together and mourn. The iconic sight honors those who were killed, but it also represents a need for healing in the city where many deaths occurred on that awful day. 

Which is why it was strange for Governor Andrew Cuomo to light up New York’s landmarks in pink after signing the Reproductive Health Act into law in January 2019, a radical bill that expanded the ‘right to abortion’ in the state up to birth. New York’s 9/11 lighting ceremony pays tribute to the lives that were lost, but Cuomo’s twisted version of it celebrated the ‘right’ of women to kill their own preborn children. In America alone, over 2,300 preborn children are killed every day by abortion. 

READ: Never forgotten: Remembering the preborn victims of 9/11

9/11 did more than take the lives of thousands of innocent people – it wiped out future generations. This is why the names of pregnant women and their preborn children are inscribed on the 9/11 memorial. These women were mothers when they died, and their babies are mourned alongside them. 

Dianne T. Signer was six months away from giving birth when she and her baby died in the World Trade Center. Signer’s mother, Patricia Signer, is pleased the 9/11 memorial honored the legacy of both her daughter and her grandchild. 

“I’m so happy the baby is mentioned,” she said. “Because that baby will always be in my heart.” 

On the morning of 9/11, Louis Massari and his wife Patricia were ecstatic when they learned Patricia was pregnant. The couple wept tears of joy together before Patricia left for work at the World Trade Center. Sadly, Patricia never returned home. 

“Two things were taken from me on that day,” Massari said. “I was looking forward to being a father.” 

The tragedy of 9/11 is not limited to the many individual deaths that occurred, but the families that were destroyed because of it. This is why 9/11 memorial president Joe Daniels expressed his belief that acknowledging the deaths of the preborn children killed that day in the tragedy was so crucial. 

“It’s a special part of the memorial,” he said. “It reinforces that message about the whole project that the folks were just like us, that they were about to start these lives… It reminds us that they were who we are.”

Promiscuity and the price of free love

by Ann Farmer

Promiscuity and the price of free love

Public Health England says that gonorrhoea cases have risen “to their highest level in more than 100 years”, with 70,936 cases diagnosed last year — a 26 percent increase on 2018. In the same year, all cases of sexually-transmitted diseases rose by five percent — from 447,522 in 2018 to 468,342 — with gonorrhoea “the second-most commonly diagnosed STI after Chlamydia, accounting for 15 per cent and 49 percent of all cases respectively”.

Their 2018 report found that among over-65s, gonorrhoea was rising at nearly double the national average. It blamed divorce and dating apps for the increase in promiscuity. Dr Hamish Mohammed of Public Health England said they “expect to see further cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea in the future, which will be challenging for healthcare professionals to manage”. He added: “The consistent and correct use of condoms with new and casual sexual partners is the best defence against all STIs.”

Official records of sexually-transmitted diseases began in 1918, but the only war we seem to be fighting at the moment is the war against disease. And yet, while the public is subjected to strict rules to protect us against the coronavirus, no one suggests that the “best defence” against Covid-19 is “the consistent and correct use” of a face mask.

And while the Government declares war on obesity, the official approach to promiscuity is that it “can’t be helped” like drug abuse, crime and even terrorism — but unlike smoking, eating and drinking alcohol. Indeed, for decades now, school children have been taught that having sex is inevitable. No wonder abortion is also at sky-high levels.

But the West’s other war is against population, which paradoxically requires promiscuity to function. Instead of forming families, individuals are encouraged to remain as individuals because of the alleged cost of new life. And judging by our precipitously declining birth rate, that is one war that we seem to be “winning”.

However, for those really interested in public health, the answer to promiscuity is not to make abortion easier and look for new antibiotics, but to encourage behaviour change. That presupposes the existence of free will, with its inescapable associations with outdated religion; but if we can choose to restrict our diet, then presumably we can also exercise control in other areas that impact on our health and welfare.

The alternative is to hire even more healthcare professionals to restrict our freedom, rather than being allowed to manage our own lives.

It turns out that religious teaching was right after all — free love does come with a price tag.

Why sex education has so successfully increased promiscuity, STDs, abortion

September 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — How did we get modern sex education — and why? These are questions I frequently get from parents. A few years ago, I decided to pose them to Peter Hitchens, a well known journalist, author, and cultural commentator hailing from Oxford, England. He has had much to say about the idea of modern sex education in his various writings and media interviews. For more insight into how modern sex education in the West came about, I decided to interview him. According to his analysis, the suspicions of many parents are absolutely correct. In his view, the entire concept of sex education fails on its own terms.

“The problem with sex education,” he told me by phone, “is that the ostensible purpose for which it is advocated turns out not to be true. I did a study a few years ago of the development of sex education in my own country, and what I found is that it’s been justified really since the middle part of the Second World War, when of course there were a lot of venereal diseases, on the basis that if people were better educated about it, then it would reduce the amount of sexually transmitted disease and the amount of unwanted pregnancy. And yet if you watch the figures for both sexually transmitted disease and for unwanted pregnancy, and increasingly now for abortion, we find that despite the greater and greater extent of sex education in our society, more and more frankness about sex, and more and more pornography (which is also supposed to end repression), the number of people becoming pregnant when they didn’t want to continues to rise and the number of people contracting sexually transmitted diseases continues to rise.”

This is partially because, as the late National Post columnist George Jonas wrote during one sex education controversy, educating young people in an activity will increase that activity. Thus, the risk of abortion, sexually transmitted disease, and teenage pregnancy will only go up. If sex education’s intent, however, is not simply to prevent these things, but rather to re-educate, then it still can suit the purposes of the State quite nicely.

“It is said,” Hitchens noted, “that Gyorgy Lukas, who was commissar for education in the short-lived Bela Kun Soviet Government in Hungary in 1918, openly said that the purpose of sex education when he introduced it then — I think he was probably the first person to do so — was to debauch the minds and morals of religiously brought up young women particularly. It seems to me to make a certain amount of sense … because the kinds of things that people are taught in sex education are disinhibiting things. When I was in school no one ever mentioned masturbation. It would have been extremely bad manners to mention it anywhere, let alone for an adult teacher to talk to quite young children about it and about other sexual practices in class. The moment these things start being discussed, it disinhibits people, it takes restraints off them that previously were there. Now, you may believe, and a lot of people do believe and have believed for many years, that these inhibitions are bad for us. That’s a point of view. I don’t happen to share it, and if you follow that belief as a parent, I suppose you’re entitled to introduce your child to this sort of thing as early an age as you wish in a free country, but what bothers us in many cases [is that] parents don’t realize what is being done in classrooms until after it’s happened.”

“Discussing these things in the way that they’re discussed [makes these] things sound normal,” Hitchens pointed out. “So it’s assumed that children will have underage sex or unmarried sex or promiscuous sex, and it’s assumed that they will do so, and all the precautions they’re supposed to take is based on this idea that this will happen. ‘If you can’t be good, be careful.’”

That is why our public schools are so involved in handing out condoms and ensuring ready access to birth control pills — because they assume that people, even children, are entirely incapable of abstaining from sex outside marriage. Sex education, in essence, proceeds directly out of that assumption. And that assumption is very much promoted by our current political class.

“There [are] politics in sex,” says Peter Hitchens. “Much of those politics are about the family and the State. The state is increasingly hostile to the strong family, and the strong family is sustained by lifelong marriage and by a pretty stern and puritan attitude towards sexual relations — whereas the strong state benefits in many ways, as does modern commerce and the modern employer, from weak marriages and relaxed sexual relations. There’s also the point that Aldous Huxley makes, which is that we are increasingly going to embrace our own enslavement in the pursuit of pleasure, which [is a point] I believe actually the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm made … that there is absolutely no congruence in human history between sexual freedom and political freedom. Slaves have always been allowed to copulate. What they haven’t been allowed to do is marry.”

“And this,” Hitchens continued, “is an extremely important point. There is no necessary connection between a society which is sexually free and sexually uninhibited, and a society that is politically free and has free speech and freedom of assembly. It doesn’t necessarily follow at all. So [this is] a very, very profound philosophical battle about the nature of society, and it needs to be conducted in a very serious fashion. The difficulty is in finding anyone to give you a hearing.”

It’s a fascinating perspective, especially coming from someone who was once a radical Trotskyist as Hitchens was. When I pointed this out to him, Hitchens responded by noting that this is precisely the reason he is so well versed in the way the left thinks and does business.

“I decided to stop believing it because it seemed to me to be morally wrong and highly dangerous,” Hitchens told me. “But the great advantage which it gives me is that I know what left-wing people say and think in private when they’re not trying to please people on television shows. I know just how dogged and devastating this project is, which they want, and I know that the fundamental engine of left-wing activity, really since the 1960s, has not been to seize the post office and the barracks and the railway station; it’s been to seize the television station and the newspaper and the university, and to obtain victory through capturing the minds of people, and also to alter society not through the nationalizing of railways, but through the nationalizing of childhood.”

The nationalizing of childhood — a chilling idea that makes much sense. Give to the State and its education system the task of teaching children what to believe and which values to hold, and you’ve essentially co-opted the family structure.

“When they say children should speak for themselves,” Hitchens pointed out, “what they actually mean is that the parents should be removed from the discussion. They don’t actually want them to speak for themselves; they want the children to do what they want them to do, and they know the parental home is the biggest obstacle to this thing.”

This is why many states seek to ban practices that threaten this goal, like homeschooling: “There’s a certain amount of it in Britain, it’s actually illegal in Germany to this day because of the National Socialist law passed under Hitler, which has never been repealed, and attempts are being made to restrict it in Britain. They’re in their infancy, but they’re on their way, and I think parental resistance to it on that scale is probably the only effective answer. You say, ‘All right, well, if you feel that this is how you want to drive your power into my home and into my life, then I thank you very much, but I’m not going to let you. We’ll educate our children at home.’ And quite honestly, I don’t know what your public school system is like, but if it’s anything remotely like ours, it’ll probably come up with a much better general education on top.”

Parental resistance is, at the end of the day, the answer to the State’s attempt to educate and re-educate children, and that is already increasingly difficult. In many places in Canada and the United States, governments are stepping in and demanding that acceptance of certain sexual behaviors be taught. Officials are objecting to parents who want to opt their children out of sex education. Christian schools are being told that the day is soon coming when they will no longer be allowed to teach sexuality from the Christian point of view. Many people, after all, consider that point of view hateful and harmful.

First and foremost, it is essential that parents take the responsibility of educating their children on sexuality seriously. This is something Christians have often done quite badly, but it is the most effective way of inoculating the youth against many of the damaging ideas promoted everywhere in our society. If we teach our children nothing about biblical sexuality and send them out into a hedonistic and exhibitionist culture, we are practically guaranteeing that they will not be able to withstand the poisonous intellectual onslaught and torrent of temptation. Our children are the future, and if we do not educate them, the culture — and the state — will be more than happy to do it for us.

Mary: Mother of Divine Life: Model of Prolife Apostles

Happy birthdayBlessed Mother! We love you dearly! This article was written by Fr John A Hardon  S.J encouraging us to model our faith in the faith of Mary.

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Pro_Life/Pro_Life_008.htm

Faith after the Example of Mary

There is no human person in the annals of history whose faith was deeper or more precious in the eyes of God than that of His Mother, Mary. As we read the Gospels, we see something of what this means.

At the Annunciation, Mary believed that she was being invited to become the Mother of the Most High. When the angel explained to her how she would conceive the Redeemer, without losing her virginity, she made an act of faith, “Be it done to me according to your word.” She believed what the angel had told her, “Nothing is impossible with God.” When she conceived her Son, she believed that she was carrying her Creator in her womb. No mother’s faith before or since has ever been greater. In fact no woman’s faith can be Mary’s equal. When we say in the Hail Mary, “Blessed art thou among women,” we are affirming the fact that Mary was so blessed by God because she so deeply believed in the God whom she carried for nine months before His birth. This, we may say, is what the women of the world today most need to be blessed with by their Lord: something of the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Creator.

At the Visitation, she believed what Elizabeth told her when she addressed Mary as “the Mother of my Lord.” She believed what Elizabeth told her when the unborn John the Baptist stirred with joy in his mother’s womb. Why did he stir with joy? Because Mary began to exercise her mediation of grace from Jesus whom she was carrying in her womb. Mary’s words in Elizabeth’s ears, as the Church believes, sanctified John and enabled him to be born without sin.

Mary believed every word that she said in the Magnificat:

  • that all generations would call her blessed,
  • that God’s mercy is on all who fear Him,
  • that God casts down the mighty from their thrones, and lifts up the lowly

At Bethlehem, Mary believed what the shepherds told her about the angels announcing the birth of the Savior. She believed that God does give His peace to those who do His will.

At the Presentation Mary believed that her Son would be contradicted, opposed, and finally crucified. She believed that her own soul would be pierced by a sword. She expected suffering. She knew that to accept Christ means to embrace the cross.

At Cana Mary believed that Jesus could work the miracle of changing water into wine. That is why, after apparently being rebuffed by Him, she told the servants to “do whatever He tells you.” Jesus worked the miracle that His Mother asked Him to perform.

During Christ’s public life, Mary believed that some, at least, would also believe in her Son’s divinity; that some, at least, would obey His teaching and would follow His example.

On Calvary Mary believed that the dying Man on the cross was God. She believed that Jesus would rise from the dead. Her faith never wavered. That is why over the centuries Saturday remains Mary’s Day or, as it is also called, Faith Day.

Our Faith Modeled on the Faith of Mary

There is nothing more needed in the Pro-life Movement than a deep faith in the providence of God. There is nothing which pro-life apostles need more than a share in the faith that Mary had when she saw the Author of Life murdered by His own creatures.

What does it mean to model our faith on that of Our Lady? We must believe without comprehending. We must believe against all human odds. We must believe that God has an all-wise purpose in permitting the anti-life crimes in the world today. We must trust that He will bring good, even greater good, out of greater evil. We must trust in God’s providence, that where crime is so abundant there God’s loving mercy will be even more abundant.

Let us be clear, however. Christ is giving us this grace to believe the incomprehensible and to accept the humanly unbearable. But we must cooperate with this grace, even as Mary did. The heart of this cooperation is knowing what Christ wants and then doing it. That was Mary’s message to the servants at Cana. They did what Christ told them to do. Then, as the poet tells us, the water looked at its Maker and blushed.

Like Our Lady we should expect miracles. The highest miracle is not moving mountains. It is moving human wills from self-idolatry to submission to the will of God. This is the moral miracle that we should expect if we hope to convert a society in which innocent people are murdered, and the murderers become leaders in the modern world.

Prayer through Mary to her Divine Son

We commonly speak of praying to Mary. This is correct provided we understand what this means. What do we mean? We mean that because Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God; therefore whatever she asks of her divine Son, He will grant her. But we must ask. We must keep asking. We must keep asking confidently, trusting that our prayers will be heard.

That is why the Memorare is such an important prayer in Catholic Church and, I would say, indispensable in the Pro-life Movement. We tell Our Lady that “never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided.” That is why we continue, “Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, our Mother, to thee we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us. Amen.”

Mary’s power of intercession with her divine Son is beyond human calculation. It is no wonder, then, that most of world-famous shrines are dedicated to Our Lady. Centuries of Christian experience have taught the people that Mary is the wonder-worker used by her divine Son to do what only God can perform. Only God can change a culture that destroys human life into a culture that respects even the life of an unborn child. But Mary must be invoked by us so that she, in turn, may intercede with her Son to change hearts of stone into hearts of selfless love.

Recommendations

I wish to make two recommendations to those engaged in the Pro-life Movement. Following the example of Mary, they must grow in their faith; and they must cultivate a deep loving devotion to the Mother of God.

Growth in the Faith.

Thank God there are people from various faith traditions in the Pro-life Movement. There are Orthodox Jews and Evangelicals; there are Mormons and Southern Baptists; there are Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians. But the leadership in the pro-life cause must come from believing, practicing, and instructed Catholics. Why do we say this? We must say this because the Catholic Church has the fullness of God’s revealed truth. Let us be honest. One reason for the rise of the anti-life forces throughout the world is that Catholics have not been as humbly believing, faithfully practicing, and well instructed in their faith as they should be. Concretely, this means that we must grow in our faith by becoming more Marylike in our belief.

  • By accepting, as Mary did, everything which God tells us,
  • By loyally living out what we believe, up to and including standing, like Mary, near Mary under the Cross of Jesus; as she stood in her Calvary, and we standing in our Calvary,
  • By striving to understand what we believe, especially following Mary’s example of “pondering the things we believe in our heart,” through daily meditation, mental prayer, and reflection on our faith in God’s presence, and in Mary’s company.

All of the foregoing are indispensable for lasting programs in the Pro-life Movement.

Devotion to Mary.

The Pro-life Movement will grow in the measure that we Catholics practice devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Why? Because in the Pro-life Movement we are not struggling with mere flesh and blood but with the powers of darkness–in high places, which means with the devil and his human legions on earth.

In every major crisis over the centuries, the Church has appealed to Mary to overcome the forces of evil. That is why we absolutely must develop an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The daily Rosary must become an essential part of our daily life. The daily Angelus, morning, noon, and night, should also become part of our daily living. A picture or statue of Our Lady should be an integral part of every Catholic household. Enrollment in a confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and wearing a medal of the Blessed Virgin should become normal for every professed Catholic. Spiritual reading about Our Lady should become part of the mental diet of those, like us, who believe that Mary is the Mother of our God. Saturdays are not just ordinary days. For almost two thousand years, Saturday has been called Mary Day and Faith Day. Why? Because she alone of all the followers of Christ never wavered in her faith in His Resurrection from the dead. From childhood, my widowed mother and I never ate meat on Saturday. It was the least, I was told, that we can do to show our love for the Mother of Jesus.

It is surely not coincidental that the five hundred million Moslems throughout the world have a great love for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In our day, the Moslems are almost unique in the non-christian world for their opposition to the pro-death movement which has reached a peak in the Beijing Conference which is now meeting, ironically, under the auspices of the United Nations.

May I suggest the following prayer to our Blessed Mother. You compose your own prayer, but this is what I recommend:

“Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, obtain for us from your divine Son something of His great love for human life, which He received from you and began in your womb. Help us to exert ourselves to the limit to safeguard the sanctity of all human life, whether born or unborn, whether helpless or strong. Ask Jesus, the Light of Life, to enlighten the leaders of nations that human life is to be loved, because that is why we are conceived–to serve God by loving others here on earth and be happy with Him and with our families, for all eternity. Amen.”

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica

Is Birth Control Messing With Your Nutrition?

(ONE MORE SOUL NOTE: Although this is an interesting article about the pill and nutrition we do not agree with the author’s opinion that the birth control pill is essential and “life-saving”. The author mentions some serious life-threatening conditions associated with the use of the pill. A better way to keep optimal nutrition will be to eat a healthy diet, get supplementation when needed, and avoid harmful hormonal steroids such as birth control pills.)

BY 

You can eat your fruits and veggies, exercise regularly, and take the occasional gummy vitamin—but that may not be enough to reach optimal health if you’re currently on a hormonal birth control pill. One of the lesser-known side effects of the Pill is it’s ability to cause deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin b12, folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc, among others. With immune health being of critical importance these days, why aren’t more women aware of this side effect?

“The science is there, but it’s certainly not new,” says Dr. Charis Chambers, a Board-certified OBGYN who is known as The Period Doctor. “I mean, this has been written about and discussed since the ’70s.” She notes that B vitamins are “particularly important for women of reproductive years,” and in addition to preventing anemia, they also play a key role in the “normal development of a fetus.” Some of the key vitamins and minerals birth control pills deplete—like vitamin c, for example— can lead to an increase in oxidative stress, triggering a potential cascade of negative effects. Especially since birth control is something women take for years, sometimes decades.

So why does birth control impact your bioavailability of these nutrients? The science points to a variety of causes, all of which Dr. Jolene Brighten, a nutritional biochemist and naturopathic physician, covers in her book Beyond The Pill. Hormonal contraception impacts so many processes, Brighten explains, from how your liver functions to your gut permeability (and even who you’re attracted to). But both Brighten and Chambers agree that it’s largely the Pill’s impact on your liver function that’s to blame. “The human body is so complex,” says Chambers. “It’s mostly because these hormones are affecting your liver, which affects how everything is metabolized to your body.”

All this isn’t to say that birth control is bad—for many women, it’s essential and life-saving. It’s just worth noting that in addition to preventing pregnancy and quelling symptoms of PCOS, hormonal pills can also impact your nutritional health.

Chambers stresses that just because a vitamin or mineral shows up as low on a blood test doesn’t mean it automatically correlates to any serious health issues. “How am I helping you by letting you know, hey, that’s a little low? It doesn’t equal that you would have depression, it doesn’t equal that you would be anemic. It doesn’t even equal greater birth defects,” says Chambers. To understand your health is to look at the big picture.

So why isn’t this decades-old side effect more commonly discussed? Chambers explains that the reason doctors don’t usually tell their patients about this risk is because their time with you is quick, and they’d rather let you know about more serious complications like strokes and blood clots. “We have limited time and I want I don’t want to get so lost in the weeds that I miss an opportunity to help you reach your life goals, which is planning your life and your family,” she says. If you want to optimize your nutritional health, don’t be afraid to discuss any concerns with your doctor.

This begs the question: while you’re still on the Pill, how can you optimize your nutrition outside of a balanced diet? Some supplement brands are currently selling capsules designed specifically for women on the Pill to fill in the gaps, though critics say they’re not well-rounded enough. Brighten and Chambers both agree that all women of child-bearing age, whether they’re on birth control pills or not, should be taking a prenatal or women’s multivitamin, which will cover all of your nutritional bases.

“If you’re concerned about the nutrient depletions happening, get on a multivitamin or prenatal, but it’s not urgent right now for you to get b12 tested,” adds Brighten. Chambers also cautions against taking extreme measures to course-correct your nutrition at-home. “It doesn’t mean you should be like loading up on just B complex vitamins or chugging magnesium, or anything extreme,” she says.

In the age of COVID-19, it’s tempting to think more is better when it comes to immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and zinc. That’s not the case. Other than taking a daily vitamin supplement, Brighten advises to only rush to a doctor if you’re exhibiting serious, life-threatening symptoms like difficulty breathing or chest pain that could indicate either a COVID infection or blood clot. “Will taking a multivitamin or prenatal prevent you from getting COVID? Absolutely not. Can you out-eat your way from contracting COVID? No,” says Brighten, who publicly battled the disease earlier this year. “So [supplements are] not a treatment and not a cure, and it’s not going to prevent it. But it is something that my doctors have said to me multiple times: if I had not had the diet and lifestyle that I did, I probably would have died from COVID.”

 

Is There a Right to a Child?

By 

The goal to be a father, to be a mother, is a human right. An absolute human right.~Italian infertility specialist Severino Antinori.1

God bestowed men and women with an innate desire to procreate and to nurture their children. This is one of the most fundamental instincts of all, shared by all of God’s creatures. But sometimes God’s plan for our lives differs from our own, and couples find that they cannot have their own natural children.

In this most complex of issues―infertility and its possible resolutions―there is a great amount of confusion and misunderstanding regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church. After all, we have a virtual universe of surgical and medical procedures to evaluate, with new ones being announced on nearly a monthly basis. We must consider the impregnation of single women and lesbian couples with sperm; various forms of surgery to repair damaged reproductive systems; early human embryos grown in cow or other animal uteri (“xenotransplantation”); numerous variants of in-vitro fertilization (IVF); designer babies conceived solely to avoid (or even inherit) certain genetic diseases; reproductive cloning; and surrogate motherhood, to name just a few.

We must judge each specific procedure on its own merits, but underlying all of them is the fundamental question: “Is having children a right?”

IVF specialist Randy S. Morris, M.D., says, “A different [religious] view states that in order to determine God’s will, fertility treatments must first be tried. If God truly does not want a couple to have children, he will simply prevent the treatments from working.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Morris’ misunderstanding of Church teachings is shared by many. Under the same reasoning, I could point a gun at someone and pull the trigger. If God desires my intended victim to live, He will make certain that the gun jams or misfires. Whether it is reproductive technologies or outright murder, God permits us to bypass His will for our lives because He has given us the most precious gift of free will. He allows us to choose evil.

Then Dr. Morris goes on to accurately describe the difference between morally licit and illicit ARTs:

If a couple has no right to a child, then it can be argued that a doctor lacks the moral justification to help produce one for them. While it may be moral to treat a disease which hinders the body from producing a child, such as surgery to open blocked fallopian tubes, it would be morally unacceptable to use those treatments which aim to produce a child but still leaves a couple infertile. IVF would fall into this latter category.

In practice, impermissible assisted reproductive technologies do not seek to heal an illness or injury. They instead cater to a desire by bypassing or replacing the marital act. By contrast, licit ARTs actually treat an injury or a defect, with the intent of allowing the married couple to conceive naturally.

man and pregnant woman - is having children a right

Is Having Children a, Right?

As the quotation at the beginning of this article demonstrates, many scientists equate urges and wants with “basic human rights.” Large multinational organizations are taking up this cause; the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) recently published a document claiming that the inability to have children (including a lack of success in finding a sexual “partner”) constitutes a disability that governments are obligated to ameliorate, giving every person a “right to reproduce.”2 In other words, single men and women are by definition “infertile.” Fertility specialist David Adamson, one of the authors of the new and expanded classification of “infertility,” claims that the new definition

…puts a stake in the ground and says an individual’s got a right to reproduce whether or not they have a partner. It’s a big change. It fundamentally alters who should be included in this group and who should have access to healthcare. It sets an international legal standard. Countries are bound by it.

Apparently, the ivory tower medical bureaucrats at the WHO are blissfully unaware that every new “right” they invent necessitates a corresponding obligation on the part of others—in this case, the use of a woman’s body, a fact noted and rightly criticized by leading feminists.

Simply proclaiming something to be “an absolute human right” does not magically make it so. Even a happily married couple with ample resources does not have a right to a child, because a child is a person, and nobody has a “right” to another person.

We are all created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore share in His dignity. Unfortunately, our world is rife with violations of this dignity, especially at life’s beginning and at its end. In addition, married couples share an additional unique and precious dignity due to the fact that they have been united in one flesh. When other parties are introduced into their co-creation of a child, many problems―both spiritual and physical―will result.

Of all people, pro‑life activists can empathize with the yearning for a child that an infertile couple experiences. Crisis pregnancy center workers and sidewalk counselors, especially, are struck by the irony of abortionists killing thousands of perfectly healthy children every day―while thousands of couples undergo the stress and pain of a complicated and expensive series of tests and procedures so they can have what others are contemptuously disposing of as “biological waste.”

People who know infertile couples often wish that they could somehow miraculously present them with the infant they long for.

This kind response is commendable, but unfortunately it defines children as a “right” and intrinsically and unconsciously reduces their status from a supreme “gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3) to an acquisition or a possession. Worse, it seems that those who promote the most popular assisted reproductive technologies do not even begin to consider the impacts the procedures may have on resulting children.

child, little boy, curly hair

Donum Vitae explains:

A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception. [II,8]

Our Lord gives every one of us crosses to bear. Some of these involve losses close to us and are much more difficult to carry than others―such as the death of a child, the inability to conceive or lack of success in finding a spouse.

The thinking that there is a “right” to a child is a derivation of the mentality that is confused about the nature of true freedom. True freedom is doing what you should do, not what you want to do. Those who pursue their desires without regard for the moral law are enslaved to those wants and tend to trample any person or law that gets in their way.

Final Thoughts

We can respond to the severe trial of childlessness or an inability to find a spouse in one of two ways. We can struggle against them with all of our energy and strength, and, whether we conquer them or not, find ourselves afflicted with a strange emptiness of soul. Or we can use licit technology in an attempt to bypass our infertility, while acknowledging God’s mastery over our lives, knowing that our ultimate happiness is His concern.

Donum Vitae offers hope and solace to infertile couples:

Spouses who find themselves in this sad situation are called to find in it an opportunity for sharing in a particular way in the Lord’s Cross, the source of spiritual fruitfulness. Sterile couples must not forget that even when procreation is not possible, conjugal life does not for this reason lose its value. Physical sterility in fact can be for spouses the occasion for other important services to the life of the human person, for example, adoption, various forms of educational work, and assistance to other families and to poor or handicapped children. [II,8]

 

Endnotes

[1] Italian infertility specialist Severino Antinori, quoted in the Lexington Herald‑Leader, January 26, 2001 and the SPUC News Digest for 30 January 2001.

[2] Julian Vigo. “The World Health Organization And The ‘Right’ To Reproduce.” The Huffington Post Blog, October 31, 2016. Males could even be classified as “infertile” in the sense that “the inability to find a suitable sexual partner—or the lack of sexual relationships which could achieve conception—could be considered an equal disability.”

The abortion pill is not like Tylenol, and parents should know if minors obtain it

 

The abortion industry is highly skilled at marketing its “services,” changing tactics to suit various situations. From “safe, legal, and rare” to simply “legal,” pro-abortion businesses and organizations frequently change their terminology. In one recent example, the abortion pill has been compared at least twice to Tylenol, but in very different ways.

Some claim the abortion pill is “safer than Tylenol”

Former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in 2018 in which she erroneously claimed, “There is no medical or health reason for [a] ban on medication abortion. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, non-invasive medication abortion is safe by all measures — safer than Tylenol and Viagra, even.”

What Richards neglected to mention is that the abortion pill  carries risks of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, heavy bleeding, and maternal death — all of which can happen when taking the prescribed dosage on just one occasion. Additionally, the abortion pill can fail and lead to follow-up surgical abortions. Some women have died from infection or undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies after taking the abortion pill.

For these reasons, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has specific safety regulations in place (REMS) which require one of the two drugs in the abortion pill regimen (mifepristone) to be dispensed by a certified prescriber at an approved hospital or clinic. (Some of these requirements have been suspended during COVID-19, a decision which the FDA is actively opposing.)

Tylenol is an over-the-counter medication which is not subject to REMS.

The abortion pill is clearly not safer than Tylenol.

 

Others claim the abortion pill is really “not the same as taking a Tylenol”

Yet this week in response to Florida House Bill 265, which requires that minors have written consent from their legal guardian for an abortion, pro-choice Generation Action board member Emma Moses said that the abortion pill is actually “not the same as taking a Tylenol” so that she could argue that a minor taking the abortion pill should not be forced to tell her parents, despite any safety risks.

She’s right, but perhaps not in the way she thinks. There are consequences to taking the abortion pill that are dangerous, yet Moses argues that telling parents that their child is taking the abortion pill is what puts girls in a “really dangerous” situation. That argument is misguided.

In reality, withholding that information from a minor’s parents could be dangerous because girls taking it could suffer major complications, including death. If a girl’s parents are unaware that she has taken the abortion pill, they cannot properly communicate with emergency responders. Additionally, a teen could potentially be a victim of sexual abuse by a teacher, an uncle, or a coach. Informing her parents about the abortion could be the one window of opportunity to save her from the abuse.

The abortion pill is not safer than Tylenol, as was claimed by Planned Parenthood’s former president.

Yet, despite the difference in safety, the major difference between Tylenol and the abortion pill is that only one exists solely to end the life of a human being.

HIV Transmission & Depo-Provera, the Birth Control Shot

HIV Transmission & Depo-Provera, the Birth Control Shot

Most women know that pharmaceutical birth control does not protect against STDs. But did you know that certain forms of birth control can actually increase your risk for contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which if left untreated, may progress to the deadly disease known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)?

Depo-Provera (also referred to as DMPA, or DMPA-IM), a brand of birth control that is often referred to as “the birth control shot,” is one such form of birth control that introduces so much risk for users, that a group of doctors and researchers have petitioned the FDA for its complete removal from the market. While all forms of pharmaceutical birth control come with side effects, the FDA petitioners claim the health complications of the Depo-Provera birth control shot are too high to justify the benefits of pregnancy prevention.

Depo-Provera, Depo, the shot, Depo shot, birth control shot, Depo-Provera and HIV, Depo-Provera and AIDS, birth control HIV, birth control AIDS

The doctors and researchers who petitioned the FDA presented evidence that conclusively shows that Depo-Provera is responsible for increased transmission of HIV from men to women. Again, if left untreated, HIV will progress to the extremely deadly disease known as AIDS.

According to UNAIDS, between 31.6 million and 44.5 million people globally were living with HIV in 2019. An estimated 500,000 to 970,000 people globally died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2019. Sub-Saharan Africa alone contains more than two-thirds of all people living with HIV globally. Notably, according to data from the United Nations, Depo-Provera is the most popular method of contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A 2016 meta-analysis of global survival rates from HIV diagnosis to AIDS onset, and from AIDS onset to death, found that “the majority of HIV-positive patients progress to AIDS within the first decade of diagnosis. Most patients who receive highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) will survive for >10 years after the onset of AIDS, whereas the majority of the patients who do not receive HAART die within 2 years of the onset of AIDS.”

Despite the established side effects of Depo-Provera, including increased risk to HIV—which is clearly still an extremely serious and deadly disease despite significant advances in HAART—this side effect is currently not reported by mainstream sources of contraceptive information, such as Planned Parenthood. Notably, when discussing the side effects and disadvantages of Depo-Provera, Planned Parenthood also neglects to mention another serious, well-established risk of the birth control shot: bone mineral density loss, which leads to an increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis later in life for women.

Depo-Provera’s Connection to HIV Risk

As the Citizen’s Petition to the FDA documents:

“four meta-analyses (3 reports, one of which is known as the 2015 Morrison SRMA trial) were published in 2015. Each used different inclusion criteria and compiled the data on different numbers of studies, yet all 4 came up with essentially the same result of significantly increased risk of male-to-female HIV transmission in women using DMPA. . . . Importantly, no consistent association has emerged with regard to oral contraceptives or other injectable or implantable contraceptives and the facilitation of HIV transmission.”

In contrast, organizations that downplay the risk of HIV for Depo-Provera users cite a study known as the ECHO Trial study which was conducted between Dec 2015 and Sept 2017 to examine the risk of HIV acquisition by women using the Depo-Provera birth control shot. Published in The Lancet in June 2019, the study concluded that the ECHO Trial Consortium of researchers “did not find a substantial difference in HIV risk among the methods evaluated [including Depo-Provera, the copper IUD, and the levonorgestrel implant], and all methods were safe and highly effective.”

According to the authors of the Citizen’s Petition to the FDA, ECHO’s conclusion is erroneous and also potentially disingenuous:

“a careful analysis of the design and results of the ECHO Trial reveals that in fact, the ECHO Trial results of 2019 provide a near perfect confirmation of the results of the 2015 Morrison SRMA trial, and that the authors misrepresent them as the opposite; as the exculpation of DMPA as ‘safe.’”

Closer inspection of their analysis reveals that the ECHO researchers decided that they would only consider a 50% increase in HIV risk as “meaningful” on the basis of “formative work with stakeholders to determine a meaningful difference that would inform policy change.” Thus, they instead advocate for “continued and increased access to these contraceptive methods.”

Understanding the ECHO study on HIV risk for Depo-Provera users

As it happens, the ECHO study did find that compared to the use of the levonorgestrel implant, Depo-Provera use was associated with an increased risk of HIV infection (with a hazard ratio of 1.29, as seen in their “continuous use” dataset in Table 2, almost identical to the Morrison SRMA trial, which concluded an increased HIV risk with Depo-Provera use). However, the study wasn’t statistically powered to measure the percent increased risk of hazard ratios below 1.3 (which would indicate a 30% increased risk). So while we can’t conclude with certainty from these data what exactly the increased HIV infection risk of Depo-Provera is, it does seem that there is at least some increased level of risk (especially when considered with other robust studies which have indicated similar levels of increased risk), despite the ECHO Consortium’s insistence to the contrary.

In the ECHO study, the exact level of risk has been obscured for unknown reasons, making it difficult for women to get accurate information about HIV risks and Depo-Provera use.

Since other robust studies have indicated an increased risk of contracting HIV for Depo-Provera users—even if it’s less than a 50% increase—women should be informed of it so that they may consent to taking the risk. Greater transparency about birth control risks is in fact what motivated the Citizen’s Petition writers to urge the FDA that, of all the birth control methods available, Depo-Provera should be removed from the market.

Given how many highly effective methods of birth control are available to women today, there is little justification for downplaying the risks women face by receiving the Depo-Provera birth control shot. If you have had a negative experience with the birth control shot, we encourage you to submit your experience as a comment on the FDA petition.

Army doctor at RNC who became nun: ‘I’m not just pro-life. I’m pro–eternal life’

WASHINGTON, DC, August 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A religious sister who was formerly a colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps gave a knock-out speech at the Republican National Convention last night, moving from a description of her recent work with refugees to her concern for the unborn.

“Those refugees all share a common experience,” said Sister Deirdre “Dede” Byrne, POSC.

“They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States,” she continued.

“They are the unborn.”

Sister Dede held up the Lord Jesus Christ both as an example of someone once an embryo and as a model of defending justice against political correctness.

“It is no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what He said wasn’t politically correct or fashionable,” she said.

“As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb.”

Sister Dede combined her roles as a spiritual leader and a doctor to get across her deeply pro-life, humanitarian, and unabashedly Christian message.

“Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity,” she said.

“And we must ask ourselves, ‘What are we saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life?’” she continued.

“As a physician, I can say without hesitation, ‘Life begins at conception.’ While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life; I’m pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday.”

Sister Dede told her audience of millions of American viewers that she had been praying to be allowed to be a voice for human life. She saw the invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention as an answer to that prayer and was firm in her support of the re-election of Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages,” Sister Dede said.

“His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics.”

In contrast, she described Biden-Harris as “the most anti-life presidential ticket ever” because together they support even late-term abortion and infanticide.

Therefore, Sister Dede declared, the president has two solid groups of allies.

“Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community,” she said.

“Moreover, he has a nation-wide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary.”

“So thank you, Mr. President. We are all praying for you.”

One of seven children, Deidre Byrne studied medicine at Georgetown University, where she joined the U.S. Army. Her service, which included roles as both doctor and surgeon, lasted 29 years. According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), she was asked to be on “standby” as personal physician to Mother Teresa when the saint visited Washington, D.C. in 1997. Byrne was also a first responder during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

Convinced that she was being called to religious life, Byrne pronounced her first vows with the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which has a medical apostolate, in 2004. She continued to serve with the military, including in Afghanistan, until she retired in 2009 at her order’s request.

In the wake of Sister Dede’s speech, there has been a robust conversation on social media about how extreme the pro-abortion views of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are.

Their opinions have certainly diverged in the past. Biden previously had only a 36% rating as a pro-abortion politician from NARAL, thanks to his previous support for the Hyde Amendment. However, Biden has subsequently rejected the amendment, and the anti-life organization now says it is “proud to endorse” him.

The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for most abortions, anathema to radically pro-abortion politicians like Planned Parenthood ally Kamala Harris. Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser described Harris earlier this month as “an extremist.”

“Kamala Harris is an extremist who supports abortion on demand through birth, paid for by taxpayers, and even infanticide — an agenda rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans, including millions of Independents and rank-and-file Democrats,” Dannenfelser said.

“As attorney general of California, Harris conspired with the abortion industry to launch a politically-motivated shakedown of brave citizen journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvest and sale of aborted baby parts for profit.”

“The stakes are life and death and the choice is clear. Pro-life Americans must unite to defeat Biden-Harris.”

Abby Johnson Tells GOP Convention the Reality of Abortion: The Baby “Fought Back, Desperate to Move”

Pro-life activist Abby Johnson discussed her experience working at Planned Parenthood at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, saying that her experiences with the nation’s largest abortion provider are why she advocates “so passionately for life.”

Johnson said Planned Parenthood approached her at a volunteer fair and convinced her to volunteer for the organization by talking about “helping women in crisis and their commitment to keep abortion safe, legal, and rare.” She began working for the organization, she said, and received Planned Parenthood’s employee of the year award.

“My supervisor assigned me a new quota to meet… an abortion quota,” she said. “I was expected to sell double the abortions performed the previous year. When I pushed back, underscoring Planned Parenthood’s public facing goal of decreasing abortions, I was reprimanded and told abortion is how we make our money.”

“But the tipping point came a month later when a physician asked me to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion,” she continued. “Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen. An unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction.”

Johnson said that she will “never forget” the doctor joking, “Beam me up, Scotty.”

“The last thing I saw was a spine twirling around in the mother’s womb before succumbing to the force of the suction,” Johnson said. The incident happened in August, she noted, and she left the clinic in October. Johnson says that she only looks back on her experiences there “to remember why I now advocate so passionately for life.”

“For me, abortion is real,” she continued. “I know what it sounds like. I know what abortion smells like.”

“Did you know abortion even had a smell?” Johnson asked the audience.

The pro-life activist said that she now supports President Donald Trump because “he has done more for the unborn than any other president.”

“During his first month in office, he banned federal funds for global health groups that promote abortion,” Johnson said. “That same year, he overturned an Obama-Biden rule that allowed government subsidy of abortion. He appointed a record number of pro-life judges, including two Supreme Court justices. And importantly, he announced a new rule protecting the rights of healthcare workers objecting to abortion, many of whom I work with every day.”

“This election is a choice between two radical, anti-life activists, and the most pro-life President we’ve ever had,” she concluded, urging viewers to take action and vote to re-elect Trump.

“And do it with our very most vulnerable Americans in mind – the ones who haven’t been born yet,” she added.

WATCH: 

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

Systemic Violence Begets Hatred

By Judie Brown

It has been so long since America lived through Griswold v. Connecticut, followed by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, that our citizenry may not realize that our current national plague of systemic violence has roots. But really, it is not at all surprising.

If you are wondering how Supreme Court decisions dealing with human sexuality could lead to mayhem, murder, and a general disregard for human dignity, let us explain.

French archbishop Michel Aupetit explains that a lack of appreciation for the gift of fertility is the beginning. He argues that rejection of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae by Catholics—including many members of the hierarchy—led to an acceptance of contraception and abortion. In the midst of this calamitous shift away from “genuine loving interpersonal relations” there came a “corrosive shift in the way people think about parenthood and childbearing.”

At this point, the human family began to disintegrate, and systemic violence took root, first by the slow disappearance of men as the head of the family, and at the same time, the emergence of women’s liberation as a way of life.

Rejection of fertility as the norm was the first fatality. That was followed by chemical and mechanical interventions to avoid pregnancy and the elimination of the preborn baby by an act of direct killing. In this milieu, systemic violence took root, and from there things both sexual and cultural have only gotten worse.

Contraception can and does kill, maim, and alter natural cycles in women. As Nebraska bishop James Conley explains:

Contraception conditions men and women, and therefore the cultures which they form, to deny the obvious and intrinsic relationship between sex and the conception of new life. Contraception pits couples into a kind of unknowing war with themselves. . . . It is as if they are saying to one another, “yes, I’m yours, but not all of me.” This subtle and unknowing war with the partner and with the self inevitably leads to alienation, to atomization, and, eventually, to a kind of loneliness.

Alienation, manipulation, distrust, and disregard for the uniqueness of the human person are just some of the repercussions. If that is not a path to hostility, I do not know what is.

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Americans in general do not want to get to the root cause of systemic violence because a desire to dig deeper would create discomfort, so why bother? Blame it on some radical group, a political party, or a respectable entity like a local police department and move on.

While such trivial excuses summarize the prevailing attitude today, we know that babies are still dying, women and men are still suffering, and families are in shambles. The deadly carnage resulting from the sexual revolution obliges us to bring it to the attention of anyone with ears to hear.

Believe me, politicians will never do it. Judges will not acknowledge their roles in it, and far too many religious leaders prefer to turn a blind eye than confront the evil in our midst.

At this moment in time, we need a restoration of moral sanity.

And while the Democrats and the Republicans are jockeying for their version of political moral high ground, the real answer is here before us, and it has no partisan label. It is simply common sense—a recognition of truth. All we need to do is take our cue from St. John Paul II, who wrote that the Gospel of Life was “meant to be a precise and vigorous reaffirmation of the value of human life and its inviolability, and at the same time a pressing appeal addressed to each and every person, in the name of God: respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!”

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In the service of life, each of us can help stem and eradicate the systemic violence that begets hatred. Where there is disdain, we are called to sow the seeds of hope as we teach the meaning of true freedom, peace, and happiness in Jesus Christ.

Let the healing begin, one soul at a time.

LETTER to the FRONTLINE HEROES: Viganò on COVID, Abortion, and Destruction of the Family

Written by  + Carlo Maria Viganò

https://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/5031-letter-to-mothers-from-archbishop-vigano

Dearest Mothers,

Dear Sirs,

I have received your kind email, in which you inform me of the initiative you have scheduled for this coming September 5 for the protection of the physical, moral, and spiritual health of your children. In responding to you, I address all the mothers of Italy.

The demonstration you are promoting intends to express the dissent of citizens and in particular of parents against the norms that the government, abusing its power, is preparing to issue in view of the new school year; norms that will have very grave repercussions on the health and psychosomatic equilibrium of students, as authoritative experts have rightly demonstrated.

First of all, the systematic effort to demolish the family, the foundation of society, must be denounced, with the multiplication of ferocious attacks not only against conjugal life, which Christ has elevated to a Sacrament, but also against its very natural essence, against the fact that marriage is by nature constituted between a man and a woman in an indissoluble bond of fidelity and reciprocal assistance. The presence of a father and a mother is fundamental in the upbringing of children, who need a male and female figure as a reference for their integral and harmonious development; nor can it be permitted that children, during the most delicate phase of their infancy and adolescence, be used to advance partisan ideological claims, with serious damage for their psychosomatic equilibrium, by those who with their own rebellious behavior reject the very idea of nature. You can easily understand the impact of the destruction of the family on the civil consortium: today we have right before our eyes the results of decades of unfortunate policies that inevitably lead to the dissolution of society.vigano mothers 1

These policies, inspired by principles that are repugnant both to the Law of nature inscribed in man by the Creator as well as to the positive Law of God given in the Commandments, combine to permit children to be placed at the mercy of the whims of individuals, and that the sacredness of life and conception become objects of commerce, humiliating motherhood and the dignity of woman. Sons cannot be bred by mares for a fee, because they are the fruit of a love that Providence has ordained must always be an enduring love, even in the natural order.

Parents have the responsibility, as a primary and inalienable right, to educate their children: the State cannot arrogate this right, much less corrupt children and indoctrinate them in the perverse principles that are so widespread today. Do not forget, dear mothers, that this is the distinctive sign of totalitarian regimes, not of a civil and Christian nation. It is your duty to raise your voice so that these attempts to steal the education of your children may be denounced and rejected with force, because you will be able to do very little for them if your faith, ideas, and culture are judged incompatible with those of an impious and materialistic state. And it is not just a matter of imposing a vaccine on your children and teenagers, but also of corrupting their souls with perverse doctrines, with gender ideology, with the acceptance of vice and the practice of sinful behaviors. No law can ever legitimately make the affirmation of the truth a crime, because the authority of the law ultimately comes from God, who is himself the highest Truth. The heroic testimony of the martyrs and saints responded to the oppression of tyrants: may you too today be courageous witnesses of Christ against a world that would like to subject us to the unleashed forces of hell!vigano mothers 2

Another crucial aspect in this battle for the family is the defense of life from conception to natural death. The crime of abortion, which has claimed millions of innocent victims and that cries out for vengeance from heaven, is today considered as a normal health service, and just in recent days the Italian government has authorized the more widespread use of the abortion pill, encouraging an abominable crime and keeping silent about the terrible consequences on the psychological and physical health of the mother. If you think about how during the lockdown all care of the sick was suspended and yet abortions continued, you can understand what the priorities of those who govern us are: the culture of death! What progress can be invoked when society kills its own children, when motherhood is horribly violated in the name of a choice that cannot be free, since it involves the ending of an innocent life and violates one of God’s Commandments? What prosperity can our country expect, what blessings from God can it hope for, if human sacrifices are being made in our clinics just as in the times of the most bloody barbarism?

The idea that children are the property of the state repulses every human person. In the Christian social order, the civil authority exercises its power to guarantee its citizens that the natural well-being is ordered towards the spiritual good. The common good pursued by the state in temporal things therefore has a well-defined object that cannot and must not be in conflict with the Law of God, the Supreme Legislator. Every time that the State infringes on this eternal and immutable Law, its authority is diminished, and its citizens ought to refuse to obey it. This certainly applies to the hateful law on abortion, but it should also be applied to other cases, in which the abuse of authority regards the imposition of vaccines whose danger is unknown or that, by their very composition, are ethically problematic. I am referring to the case in which a vaccine would contain fetal material coming from the bodies of aborted children.vigano mothers 3

But there are other disturbing aspects now envisaged, which regard not only the content of instruction but also the method of participation in the lessons: social distancing, the use of masks and other forms of presumed prevention of contagion in classrooms and school environments cause serious damage to the mental and physical equilibrium of children and young people, compromising their ability to learn, the interpersonal relations between pupils and teachers, and reducing them to automatons that are not only ordered what to think but also how to move and even how to breathe. It seems that the very notion of common sense that ought to govern choices fraught with consequences in social life has been lost, and it seems that an inhumane world is being heralded in which parents have their children taken away from them if they test positive for an influenza virus, with mandatory health treatment protocols applied as in the most ferocious dictatorships.

It is also very perplexing to learn that the WHO has chosen Mario Monti as the President of the European Commission for Health and Development, who has distinguished himself by draconian measures imposed on Italy, among which, it must not be forgotten, is the drastic reduction of public appropriations for hospitals. These perplexities are confirmed by Monti’s membership in supranational organisms like the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Club, whose aims are in clear contrast to the inalienable values protected by the Italian Constitution itself, which are binding on the Government. This mixing of private interests in public affairs, inspired by the dictates of Masonic and globalist thought, should be vigorously denounced by those who are representatives of the citizens, and by those who see their legitimate powers usurped by an elite that has never made a mystery of its true intentions.vigano mothers 4

We should not lose sight of a fundamental element: the pursuit of ideologically perverse goals is invariably accompanied by an interest of an economic nature, like a parallel track. It is easy to agree on the fact that there is no profit in the voluntary donation of umbilical cords, just as there is no profit in the donation of hyper-immune plasma for the treatment of Covid. Conversely, it is extremely profitable for abortion clinics to provide fetal tissue and for pharmaceutical companies to produce monoclonal antibodies or artificial plasma. Thus it is not surprising that, following a logic of mere profit, the most reasonable and ethically sustainable solutions are the object of a deliberate campaign to discredit them: we have heard self-styled experts make themselves promoters of cures offered by companies in which they themselves – in a clear conflict of interest – hold shares or are well paid consultants.

Having said this, it is necessary to understand whether the solution of a vaccine is always and everywhere the best health response to a virus. In the case of Covid, for example, many exponents of the scientific community agree in affirming that it is more useful to develop a natural immunity rather than inoculate the depowered virus. But also in this case, as we know, herd immunity is attained without any costs, while vaccination campaigns involve enormous investments and guarantee equally large profits for those who patent and produce them. And it should also be verified – but in this the experts will certainly be able to speak with greater confidence – whether it is possible to produce a vaccine for a virus that does not yet seem to have been isolated according to the protocols of science-based medicine, and what potential consequences may come from using newly generated genetically modified vaccines.vigano mothers 5

The world health industry, led by the WHO, has become a true multinational corporation that has as its primary end the profit of shareholders (pharmaceutical companies and so-called philanthropic foundations), and its means of pursuing it is the transformation of citizens into chronically ill people. And it is obvious: the pharmaceutical companies want to make money by selling drugs and vaccines; if eliminating diseases and producing effective drugs leads to a reduction in the number of sick people and thus of profits, it will only be logical to expect that the drugs they make will be ineffective and that the vaccines they promote will be the instrument of spreading diseases rather than eradicating them. And this is precisely what is happening. How can we think that the search for cures and therapies is being promoted in a disinterested way if those who finance the search profit disproportionately from the persistence of pathologies?

It may seem difficult to persuade ourselves that those who ought to be protecting health instead wish to ensure the continuation of illnesses: such cynicism repulses – and rightly so – those who are strangers to the mentality that has been established in healthcare. And yet this is what is happening right before our eyes, and it involves not only the emergence of Covid and vaccines – in particular anti-influenza vaccines, which were widely distributed in 2019 right in those areas where Covid has had the highest number of victims [in 2020] – but all treatments and therapies, as well as childbirth and care for the sick. Such cynicism, which is repugnant to the ethical code, sees in each of us a potential source of profit, while instead what should be seen in every patient is the face of the suffering Christ. We therefore appeal to the many, many Catholic doctors and all doctors of good will, asking you not to betray the Hippocratic oath and the very heart of your profession, which is mercy and compassion, love for those who suffer, and selfless service to the weakest among us, recalling the words of Our Lord: “As often as you did these things for the least of my brothers, you did it for me” (Mt 25:40).vigano mothers 6

The Catholic Church, especially in recent decades, has intervened authoritatively in this debate, thanks also to the Pontifical Academy for Life founded by John Paul II. Its members, up until a few years ago, gave medical-scientific directives that did not conflict with the inviolable moral principles of any Catholic person.

But just as in civil society we have witnessed a progressive loss of responsibility of individuals as well as those who govern in the various spheres of public life, including health care, so also in the “Church of Mercy” that was born in 2013 it is preferred to adapt the commitment of the Pontifical Dicasteries and the Academy for Life to a liquid vision – and I dare say a perverse vision because it denies the truth – which embraces the demands of environmentalism with connotations of Malthusianism. The fight against abortion, which opposes the reduction of births desired by the New World Order, is no longer the priority of many pastors. During the various pro-life demonstrations – such as those held in Rome in recent years – the silence and absence of the Holy See and the hierarchy has been shameful!vigano mothers 7

Obviously the moral principles which form the basis for norms to be adopted in the medical field remain perennially valid, nor could it be otherwise. The Church is the guardian of the teaching of Christ and she has no authority to modify or adapt it to her own liking. We remain bewildered, however, as we witness the silence of Rome, which appears to be more concerned with promoting recycling – to the point of writing an encyclical about it – rather than the lives of the unborn, the health of the weakest, and the assistance of the terminally ill. This is only one aspect of a much wider problem, a much greater crisis, which as I have said many times stems from the moment in which the deviant part of the Church, led by what was once the Society of Jesus, seized power and made her a slave to the mentality of the world.

When we consider the new orientation of the Pontifical Academy for Life (whose presidency has been entrusted to a person who is well-known for having shown the best of himself when he was bishop of Terni), we cannot expect any condemnation of those who use fetal tissue from voluntarily aborted children. Its present members hope for mass vaccination and the universal brotherhood of the New World Order, contradicting previous pronouncements of the same Pontifical Academy.[1] In recent days the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales[2] has entered this anomalous wave. On the one hand it recognizes that “The Church is opposed to the production of vaccines using tissue derived from aborted fetuses, and we acknowledge the distress many Catholics experience when faced with a choice of not vaccinating their child or seeming to be complicit in abortion,” but it then affirms, in very grave contradiction with the stated unchanging principles of Catholic morality,[3] that “the Church teaches that the paramount importance of the health of a child and other vulnerable persons could permit parents to use a vaccine which was in the past developed using these diploid cell lines.” This statement lacks any doctrinal authority and instead aligns itself with the dominant ideology promoted by the WHO, its principal sponsor Bill Gates, and pharmaceutical companies.vigano mothers 8

From a moral point of view, for every Catholic who intends to remain faithful to his or her Baptism, it is absolutely inadmissible to accept a vaccination that utilizes material coming from human fetuses in its process of production. This has also been restated authoritatively recently by the American Bishop Joseph E. Strickland in his April 27 Pastoral Letter[4] and in his August 1 tweet.[5]

We must therefore pray to the Lord, asking him to give Pastors a voice, in such a way as to create a united front that opposes the excessive power of the globalist elite which would like to subjugate us all. It should be recalled that while the pharmaceutical companies are proceeding on the plane of economic interests only, there are people operating on the ideological plane who, using the opportunity of the vaccine, would also like to implant devices for identifying people, and that these nanotechnologies – I am referring to project ID2020, “quantum dots” and other similar initiatives – are being patented by the same individuals who patented the virus as well as its vaccine. Furthermore, a cryptocurrency project has been patented to allow not only health identification but also personal and banking information to be monitored, in a delirium of omnipotence that up until yesterday could have been dismissed as the ranting of conspiracy theorists, but that today has already been initiated in several countries, including for example Sweden and Germany. We see the words of Saint John taking shape right before our eyes: “It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a mark on the right hand and the forehead; so that no one could buy or sell without having the mark” (Rev 13:16-17).vigano mothers 9

Given the gravity of the situation, we must also speak out with regard to these aspects: we cannot remain silent if the public authority would make vaccines obligatory that pose serious ethical and moral problems, or that more prosaically do not give any guarantee of obtaining the promised effects and that are limited to promising benefits that from a scientific point of view are absolutely questionable. May the pastors of the Church finally raise their voice to defend the flock entrusted to their care in this systematic attack against God and man!

Do not forget, dear Mothers, that this is a spiritual battle – even a war – in which powers that no one has ever elected and that do not have any authority other than that of force and the violent imposition of their own will seek to demolish all that evokes, even only remotely, the divine Paternity of God over His children, the Kingship of Christ over society and the Virginal Motherhood of Mary Most Holy. This is why they hate to mention the words father and mother; this is why they want an irreligious society that is rebellious against the Law of God; this is why they promote vice and detest virtue. This is also why they want to corrupt children and young people, securing hosts of obedient servants for the foreseeable future in which the name of God is being cancelled and the Redemptive Sacrifice of his Son on the Cross is blasphemed; a Cross that they want to banish because it reminds man that the purpose of his life is the glory of God, obedience to His Commandments and the exercise of Christian charity: not pleasure, self-exaltation, or the arrogant overpowering of the weak.

The innocence of children and their trusting recourse to Mary Most Holy, our Heavenly Mother, can truly save the world: for this reason the Enemy aims to corrupt them in order to distance them from the Lord and to sow the seed of evil and sin in them.

__________

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Friends, social media is cracking down on Conservative content. Many of you have complained that you stopped seeing our content in your news feeds. We hear you, and we have a way of staying connected in the fight — subscribe to my FREE weekly eblast. Click here.  – MJM
___________

Dear mothers, never fail in your duty to protect your children not only in the material order but also, even more importantly, in the spiritual order. Cultivate in them the life of grace, with constant prayer, especially through the recitation of the Holy Rosary, with penance and fasting, with the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, assiduously and devotedly frequenting the Sacraments and Holy Mass. Nourish them with the Bread of Angels, the true food of eternal life and our defense from the assaults of the Evil One. Tomorrow, they will be honest citizens, responsible parents, and protagonists of the restoration of the Christian society that the world would like to cancel. And please also pray, dear mothers, because prayer is a truly fearful weapon and an infallible vaccine against the perverse dictatorship that is about to be imposed on us.

I take this occasion to assure you of my prayer and to impart my Blessing to all of you: to you, dear mothers, and to your children, and to all those who are fighting to save our children and each one of us from this ferocious global tyranny that is striking our beloved Italy.vigano signature

+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

15 August 2020
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Official translation by Giuseppe Pellegrino

[1] Cf. Pontifical Academy for Life, Note on the Nature of Vaccination, 31 July 2017.

[2] Cf. Bishops’ Confernce of England and Wales, The Catholic position on vaccination.

[3] Cf. Pontifical Academy for Life, Moral Reflections on Vaccines Prepared from Cells Derived from Human Fetuses, 5 June 2005.

[4] Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Pastoral Letter from Bishop Joseph E. Strickland On the Ethical Development of COVID-19 Vaccine, 23 April 2020.

[5] Tweet of August 1, 2020: “I renew my call that we reject any vaccine that is developed using aborted children. Even if it originated decades ago it still means a child’s life was ended before it was born & then their body was used as spare parts. We will never end abortion if we do not END THIS EVIL!”

Essure Birth-Control Litigation

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced Thursday it had agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle nearly all claims filed in the United States over controversial birth control implant Essure.

“The company will pay approximately $1.6 billion to resolve these claims, including an allowance for outstanding claims, and is in resolution discussions with counsel for the remaining plaintiffs,” the German company said in a statement.

“There is no admission of wrongdoing or liability by Bayer in the settlement agreements,” the statement said, and the settlement does not apply to claims filed in other countries.

Essure, a non-hormonal coil implant used to prevent pregnancy, has in some cases caused chronic pain, perforation of the uterus and fallopian tubes and led to hysterectomies, news reports say. It was discontinued in 2018. Nearly 39,000 women had sued Bayer or hired lawyers over their use of Essure.

Approved in the United States in 2002, the device’s perceived advantage is that it is a less invasive alternative to tubal litigation, in which a small hole is cut into the abdomen and the surgeon blocks or cuts the fallopian tube.

Bayer’s pharmaceutical division said in the second quarter it took a charge of 1.25 billion euros for litigation, primarily for claims around Essure.

All told, Bayer reported a loss of 9.55 billion euros in that quarter, which was mostly reflective of a US settlement of thousands of claims that its glyphosate weed killer may have caused cancer.

Is emergency contraception different from the abortion pill?

 

Morning after pill

Previously, Live Action News has discussed how emergency contraception (EC) can act as a potential abortifacient. Emergency contraception is typically taken by a woman to prevent pregnancy if her preferred method of birth control has failed or was not used. In order to understand how things like the Morning After Pill (Plan B) or Ella (a different type of EC) might cause early abortions, it’s important to know how emergency contraception differs from the abortion pill (RU-486). It is easy to confuse Ella or Plan B with the abortion pill (mifepristone), but they are not the same.

Women deserve to know if a contraceptive method has the potential to harm them physically or emotionally, or if it terminates a pregnancy. Let’s see how the abortion pill, Plan B, and Ella compare.

What Happens After a Woman Takes the Abortion Pill? 

chemical abortion (abortion pill regimen) involves two different drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the progesterone hormone needed to sustain the pregnancy. It breaks down the lining of the mother’s uterus to deprive the baby of the nutrients needed to survive.  

About 24-48 hours later, misoprostol is taken to cause contractions that will expel her dead baby from her body. 

 

The FDA has only approved mifepristone (the abortion pill) to be taken up through 10 weeks of pregnancy. Taking the abortion pill is said to be four times more dangerous than a surgical abortion. So far, we know at least 24 women have died after taking the pill. 

Because approximately half of U.S. states are not required to report abortion complications, it is difficult to know the full impact of the abortion pill and surgical abortions on women. Abortion groups have admitted that they coach women who suffer side effects from the pill to lie to emergency room staff and say they are experiencing a natural miscarriage. 

Not only is the abortion pill dangerous, it is clearly designed to end the life of a preborn child.

When it comes to emergency contraception, do Ella and Plan B operate the same way? 

Plan B 

Plan B is composed of 0.75 mg of levonorgestrel, and its primary function is to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary). However, the manufacturer’s insert for Plan B admits the product may prevent the implantation of an already fertilized human embryo. Since life begins at fertilization, this means it is possible for Plan B to stop a human being that has already come into existence from implanting inside his mother’s womb, even though that is not Plan B’s primary, intended function. 

Distributors of Plan B claim it does not end a pregnancy because in 1959, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) voted to redefine pregnancy — changing its definition from the moment of fertilization to the moment of implantation into the wall of the uterus. This is incredibly misleading, and women deserve to know Plan B can act to prevent an already developing human being from continuing its development.

Even Barr Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Plan B, has acknowledged it has potential abortion-inducing effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concurred, stating, “Plan B One-Step is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. . . . In addition, it may inhibit implantation (by altering the endometrium). It is not effective once the process of implantation has begun.”  

Ella 

Ella (or ella) works differently from Plan B, as it is made of a different chemical compound. This type of EC actually has properties similar to the abortion pill. Ella is composed of 30 milligrams of ulipristal acetate, and like the abortion pill (mifepristone), acts as a “selective progesterone receptor modulator” (SPRM). Because it blocks progesterone receptors, Ella can cause the death of an already-implanted embryo, unlike Plan B.

The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) discovered that Ella “is embryotoxic at low doses, when given to rats and rabbits” and  “[was] approximately equipotent at the dose levels of 10 and 30 mg/day in terminating pregnancies in guinea-pigs.” The similarities between Ella and mifepristone, combined with studies conducted through animal testing, has led researchers to conclude that a 30 milligram dose of Ella can abort a preborn child. 

The pro-life American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) has found similar evidence to support the conclusion that Ella acts as an abortifacient. The ability of ulipristal, according to the AAPLOG, “to destroy established pregnancies, as well as prevent implantation, makes it an embryocidal drug.” 

Conclusion

While the abortion pill is not the same drug as either kind of emergency contraception, it seems that of these three drugs, Plan B alone does not have the ability to abort an already implanted embryo (though it has the potential to end the life of one that has not yet implanted). Women deserve to know the differences and similarities of these three drugs. They also deserve to know that there are better methods of preventing pregnancy (see more here on fertility awareness methods) that do not deprive a preborn child of his or her life. 

The link between sex trafficking, abortion, and Planned Parenthood

 

“At least one of my [six] abortions was from Planned Parenthood because they didn’t ask any questions.”

Those are the words of a sex trafficking survivor who took part in the study, “The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities,” which found that 55% of sex trafficking victims in the study had obtained abortions. Thirty percent had undergone more than one abortion.

Americans have recently become much more aware of the prevalence of child sex trafficking amid the unraveling of the secrets of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. But sex trafficking has been a profitable industry for decades, having a symbiotic relationship with the porn and abortion industries.

Sex trafficking, porn, and abortion

These three unethical and horrific industries are deeply entangled, each thriving off of the others. DKT International, which sells the abortion pill and owns the worldwide rights to sell manual vacuum aspiration kitsfought against a 2003 law requiring organizations funded by the U.S. to take an official position against sex trafficking. To do so could have hurt DKT’s business.

DKT International was founded by Philip Harvey, who has made millions of dollars selling pornographic films and sex toys through his company, Adam & Eve. Those films, according to a report by National Review, likely contain footage of sex trafficking victims forced to participate in pornography. DKT International receives 25% of the profits from Adam & Eve ($75 million in sales in 2019) and then in turn funds the overseas birth control and abortion industry. Harvey sits on the board of the UK-based Marie Stopes International, one of the largest abortion chains in the world.

Meanwhile, sex trafficking victims are frequently forced to undergo multiple abortions to be able to continue ‘working.’ Abortionists are, therefore, making money off of sex trafficking.

“The prevalence of forced abortions is an especially disturbing trend in sex trafficking,” wrote study authors Laura J. Lederer and Christopher A. Wetzel. “One victim noted that ‘in most of [my six abortions,] I was under serious pressure from my pimps to abort the babies.’ Another survivor, whose abuse at the hands of her traffickers was particularly brutal, reported 17 abortions and indicated that at least some of them were forced on her.”

READ: To help prevent human trafficking, hold Planned Parenthood accountable

Despite clear signs of abuse, abortion businesses frequently fail to report these instances to authorities, though they are mandated to do so. Instead, they collect money for abortions and return victims to their traffickers and abusers.

“The abortion industry is profiting tremendously [from sex trafficking] …financially,” explained Nita Belles, regional director for Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans.

It’s a cruel, inhumane, brutal circle in which Planned Parenthood can often be found at the center.

Planned Parenthood’s role in sex trafficking

“Survivors [of human trafficking] also had significant contact with clinical treatment facilities, most commonly Planned Parenthood clinics, which more than a quarter of survivors (29.6%) visited,” reported Lederer, former senior advisor for trafficking in person for the U.S. Department of State. “… Since pimps and traffickers generally exercise nearly complete control of their victims, these points of contact with healthcare represent rare opportunities for victim identification and intervention.” 

One victim who took part in the study explained that no one at any clinic she ever visited, including Planned Parenthood, ever asked her questions about her situation. “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 increase women’s risk of contracting HIV by 40%] which I got at the Planned Parenthood and other neighborhood clinics. I also got the morning-after pill from them. I was young and so I had to have a waiver signed in order to get these.”

 

That waiver, it turns out, could be signed by the victims’ abusers — as was revealed during Live Action’s Aiding Abusers investigation into Planned Parenthood’s willingness aid abusers and traffickers, and cover up sexual abuse.

In 2011, Live Action investigators posed as a pimp and one of his prostitutes seeking a place that would handle STI treatments for his sex trafficking victims — some as young as 14. Planned Parenthood employees at seven facilities across the nation actually worked to help the “sex traffickers” by telling them how to get victims tested, the best way to skirt the laws to get abortions for them, and how to lie on paperwork about the ages of the girls so Planned Parenthood could avoid mandated reporting laws. One Planned Parenthood staffer even encouraged the “pimp” to sign the paperwork as the girls’ guardian.

Planned Parenthood manager Amy Woodruff worked at the facility in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and was videotaped coaching the “sex traffickers” on where to get abortions for underage girls

WOODRUFF: You never got this from me, just to make all of our lives easier.

PIMP: Ok.

WOODRUFF: If they’re 14 and under…

PIMP: Yeah, yeah.

WOODRUFF: [circles clinic paper] … just send ‘em right there if they need an abortion. OK? [Laughter].

WOODRUFF: … Here’s the thing too. If they’re minors, just tell them to put down that they’re students.

PIMP: Students?

WOODRUFF: Yeah, just kind of play along that they’re students. We want to make it look as legit as possible…

While these “sex traffickers” were actually undercover investigators, their experience supports what trafficking victims are saying. One trafficking victim said in an interview that she was “trusted” by her pimp and was given the task of scheduling abortions for the other girls. “The pimps and the traffickers would get fake I.D.’s for the girls and we would take them to have abortions,” she explained.

She added that abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood would commit the abortions without question. “[H]onestly they had to know that these were teenagers,” she said, “they were not adult women.”

After Live Action’s Aiding Abusers investigation was released, Planned Parenthood quickly fired the staffers caught aiding the “sex traffickers” and even announced they would be retraining their staff to spot abuse. This was false.

According to former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino, who was present for one of these retraining sessions, she and her fellow staffers were taught how to spot undercover investigators and determine whether or not they were being recorded — not how to identify trafficking victims.

As more information comes to light about sex trafficking in the U.S., those who have covered it up for decades, like Planned Parenthood, must be held responsible for aiding the abuse of thousands of children and women.

Why do some women gain weight on birth control?

by Grace Stark 

Why do some women gain weight on birth control?

Many of us have been there: we’re eating right, we’re exercising, but still the scale won’t budge, and our clothes are still fitting the same. What gives? For some women, their birth control might be to blame for thwarting their fitness goals, possibly causing them to gain weight, changing where their body stores fat, altering their eating patterns, or even keeping them from gaining muscle.

birth control weight gain, nexplanon weight gain, birth control muscle gains, birth control fat distribution

Which kind of birth control can make you gain weight?

Weight gain has long been a contested side effect of birth control, and not all women gain weight when they go on the Pill–so why do some women gain weight on birth control, and is it really the birth control’s fault?

According to new research, women with certain genetics may be more prone to weight gain when using a certain type of birth control–namely, the etonogestrel contraceptive implant, otherwise known as Nexplanon. The study, which followed the weight of women implanted with Nexplanon, found that women with two copies of a certain estrogen receptor 1 variant in their DNA gained an average of 30 more pounds than the women in the study without that ESR1 genetic variant. While the study only included women implanted with Nexplanon, etonogestrel (a synthetic form of progesterone, known as a progestin) can also be found in the vaginal ring (such as the NuvaRing) in combination with the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol; the study authors therefore remark that other forms of birth control could conceivably have similar effects on women with a particular genetic makeup.

Birth control and weight gain: Genetics or behavior?

Whether or not birth control actually causes weight gain is a pretty hotly contested subject. Like many birth control side effects, weight gain is often disregarded as “just in her head,” or the fault of the woman herself. Sometimes, when the potential for weight gain on birth control is admitted, it is simply chalked up to temporary “fluid retention” or bloating (which is a commonly reported side effect of birth control).

But what about the women who gain more weight than can simply be attributed to retained fluid?

As seen with the Nexplanon study, your DNA could be at play. It’s also possible that the question “Does birth control cause weight gain?” might be something of a red herring altogether. Because it might not be the birth control itself causing weight gain for some women—it might be the changes in eating patterns that birth control could be causing.

In her book, This is Your Brain on Birth Control, author and evolutionary psychologist Sarah E. Hill describes what birth control may be doing to your eating habits to cause you to eat more, and therefore gain weight.

Hormonal birth control tricks your body into believing it’s perpetually in the luteal phase of your cycle (the time after you ovulate, and prior to when your period begins), so that your body never releases another egg (and no egg = no chance of getting pregnant).

Dr. Hill describes how humans (and other animals) tend to eat less when gearing up for ovulation (when it is possible to get pregnant), and eat more in the aftermath of ovulation (when a woman’s body is preparing itself for the potential months of pregnancy to come). The theory behind this decreased intake during the first half of the cycle, Hill says, is that it “reflects an unconscious motivational trade-off in which women’s increased sexual motivation comes at the expense of decreased motivation to do other things, like eat and digest.” So, if your body constantly thinks it’s in “we need to eat ALL THE THINGS” mode because that’s what the Pill is making it believe, it would make sense to see some weight gain while on the Pill.

The possible birth control-stress-weight gain connection

Yet another theory Dr. Hill posits in her book for why some women may gain weight on birth control is the way it affects how women process stress. We’ve discussed before how birth control causes a woman’s HPA-axis to go into overdrive, sending her cortisol levels through the roof. This results in women’s bodies on hormonal contraception actually mimicking bodies under chronic stress (after the body simply cannot take the elevated stress response anymore, and the HPA-axis basically shuts itself down). Cortisol actually sends fat and sugar out into the bloodstream, so that a healthy body can react as needed in a tense, fight-or-flight situation.

“In the long term, though (as in the context of chronic cortisol signaling), this isn’t great for the body” writes Hill. “Higher-than-normal levels of fat and sugar in the bloodstream can increase the risk of glucose intolerance (pre-diabetes), weight gain (especially abdominal fat), and coronary heart disease.”

How birth control can change your body shape—even if you’re not gaining weight

Maybe your birth control has never made you gain weight, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t affect your shape in other ways. Hill cautions in her book that for the time being, the reasons for possible weight gain on the Pill are just theories—but other research has found that women on the Pill tend to have more of a “pear-shaped” figure, and have more subcutaneous fat than women who aren’t on the Pill (even if it doesn’t necessarily make women on the Pill weigh more).

In another example of the Pill affecting body shape, a 2009 study by an exercise physiologist from Texas A&M University found that women on the Pill gained 40% less lean muscle mass than women who weren’t of the Pill, after the women completed a ten-week exercise regimen designed to build muscle mass. The researchers found that women on the Pill had much less DHEA—a naturally occurring steroid precursor that signals the body to grow muscle, among other functions—circulating in their bloodstream. They deduced that birth control pills containing a certain progestin (synthetic progesterone) may compete with DHEA for the same binding sites, prohibiting the DHEA from doing its job to signal muscle growth.

Weight gain on the Pill might be a complicated discussion, but what’s clear is this: birth control has far more effects on a woman’s body than simply preventing her from getting pregnant. By altering a woman’s hormones, birth control has the potential for downstream effects that many are unaware of until doing their own research. If you’re tired of playing a game of roulette when it comes to the various forms of birth control and their myriad side effects, but you still want effective family planning, it might be time to learn more about fertility awareness methods (FAM) or natural family planning (NFP).

As Cassie Moriarty wrote for Natural Womanhood in “A Case for Organic Birth Control”:

“There are any number of reasons why women switch from hormonal contraception to a fertility awareness method, but the whole ‘not putting synthetic hormones in my body’ bit is often the most popular. By regularly ovulating, women protect their future bone and heart health, often find better intimacy, improve their gut health, lower their risk of depression, and gain important insight into their hormonal health.”

Women shouldn’t have to suffer side effects while planning their families. As women are learning more about evidence-based and effective fertility awareness methods, many are finding freedom from the unwanted weight gain and mental health effects of birth control.

Want some help figuring out which fertility awareness method (FAM) could be right for you? Check out our quiz:  Quiz: how to choose your fertility awareness method 

When this article refers to fertility awareness methods (FAM), or natural family planning (NFP), we are referring to Fertility AwarenessBased Methods, evidence-based methods of cycle charting which can be used as effective forms of natural birth control when learned by a certified instructor.

Search our list of NFP ONLY Physicians and Instructors

OB/GYN stops praising birth control pill after patients’ side effects became unbearable

By Anne Marie Williams

August 13, 2020 (Live Action News) — Given the multiple side effects and risks of hormonal birth control, there has never been a better time for women to learn about evidence-based methods of fertility awareness. A growing number of medical professionals are utilizing fertility awareness–based methods (FABMs) of natural family planning as they seek to address root causes of infertility, and others are seeking to offer their female patients additional treatment options beyond a prescription for hormonal birth control to manage painful periods, irregular cycles, and more.

Dr. Summer Holmes Mason of Ohio is one such provider. In a 2019 interview with Natural Womanhood, she said that initially in her practice she considered hormonal birth control “bread and butter gynecology for me. It was probably one of the largest tools I had in my arsenal as an OBGYN to treat medical issues.” Yet, she found that birth control was not a good fit for some of her patients.

“After a couple of years, I realized people were coming back to me with more side effects than I thought was acceptable,” she said, recalling one patient who experienced a blood clot, a potentially life-threatening complication of hormonal birth control. Additionally, Dr. Holmes Mason saw other patients “cycle through birth control. They’d be on, sometimes, five or six or seven different kinds of birth-control pills . . . and they couldn’t find one that worked well for them.” Just as troubling, she found that hormonal birth control was masking symptoms rather than resolving underlying problems.

“Often times I see women in my office who have been on the Pill for 5 or 10 years, and they’ve had menstrual dysfunction since they were 12 or 13 years old. . . . I’m seeing them for the first time, and we don’t really know why their menses were dysfunctional,” Dr. Holmes Mason said. “The Pill has been masking whatever pathology was going on. Maybe they want to come off the Pill, for whatever reason — a medical issue, or they want to get pregnant. But the original issue still remains.”

She wanted to offer her patients more options, but her only exposure to FABMs during medical school and residency was learning about the rhythm method, a 1930s precursor to today’s evidence-based methods. She was surprised to find a podcast that featured an interview with Dr. Marguerite Duane, co-founder of the Fertility Awareness Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS), a group of medical professionals and others which works to “provide information about natural or fertility awareness based methods of family planning with the medical community.” When Dr. Duane specifically addressed the use of FABMs for medical management of common reproductive issues, Dr. Holmes Mason thought, “Aha! This does exist!”

Fast forward several years, and Dr. Holmes Mason is now certified in FEMM Medical Management, which along with Neo Fertility and NaProTechnology has treatment protocols for various reproductive problems that work to restore health by identifying and treating underlying root causes. For her part, Dr. Holmes Mason now says she has “so much more to offer” patients besides hormonal birth control.

Public perception about FABMs is slowly shifting, amongst medical professionals and users alike. Growing numbers of providers have incorporated FABMs, leading to significant increases in patient load. Georgetown University is now offering an elective on FABMs to med students. In 2019, the CDC finally updated its effectiveness statistics for FABMs. What’s more, a 2018 survey found that more than 4 in 10 women were open to hearing about FABMs from their OB/GYN.

Evidence-based FABMs offer women holistic options to restore reproductive health without side effects, and can be used to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. Their growing popularity is worth celebrating.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

New Study Demonstrates Better Covid-19 Outcomes in Women Who Ovulate

Article by: Siobhan Heekin-Canedy

New Study Demonstrates Better Covid-19 Outcomes in Women Who Ovulate

Do healthy hormone levels and ovulation help women battle COVID-19? According to a recent study, the answer seems to be yes.

One of the most important principles of FEMM education and medical management is that ovulation is a sign of health. As explained in the FEMM White Paper, “a woman’s biomarkers indicate the vital signs of her entire health. Since ovulation is a sign of both health and fertility, understanding these changing hormonal fluctuations through biomarker observation allows a woman to understand and manage her long-term health.” Learning to chart her cycle using FEMM or a similar method can help a woman to identify potential underlying health problems and collaborate with her doctor to find solutions that improve, rather than suppress, the functioning of her ovulatory cycle.

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that new research is still revealing important connections between ovulation and improved health outcomes. As the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, one new study is particularly noteworthy. The study, titled “Potential Influence of Menstrual Status and Sex Hormones on Female SARS-CoV-2 Infection,” explicitly links healthy hormone levels and ovulation to improved outcomes in women suffering from COVID-19.

The researchers behind the study were motivated by a puzzling phenomenon: studies have shown that women are generally less vulnerable to COVID-19 than men, demonstrating lower morbidity and mortality, as well as a lower severe case rate. As early as February, data had begun to emerge suggesting that men were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In fact, one study in China showed that the death rate for men with COVID was 2.8 percent, while it was only 1.7 percent for women. Theories abounded about the reasons for this, and as early as April, some doctors in the US were testing their hypothesis that female sex hormones could be the key. No one was sure what caused the disparity in outcomes, though. The researchers behind this most recent study readily admit that there is still a need for further research, but their work is a significant step toward answering the “why.”

Through their studies involving COVID-19 patients in China, the researchers discovered that the key factor in the disparity between male and female outcomes may not be just be sex, but hormone levels and ovulation. While non-menopausal women with COVID-19 fared better than men of the same age, menopausal women (i.e. women who no longer ovulate) had outcomes similar to men of their age. In particular, the non-menopausal women were less likely than their menopausal counterparts to be hospitalized, and when they were, they were generally discharged more quickly. This implies that “female hormones of pre-menopausal women may provide protection.” In other words, women who ovulate seem to have an advantage when it comes to fighting COVID-19.

The researchers concluded that this may be due to the high levels of E2, or estradiol, that are present in women who ovulate. Estradiol is a type of estrogen, which in turn plays a crucial role in the ovulatory cycle; if estrogen doesn’t reach a high enough level in a given cycle, ovulation fails to occur. While the researchers stopped short of drawing a definitive causal connection between E2 and improved COVID-19 outcomes, they did note a strong correlation and suggested that E2 likely offers protection through its regulation of cytokines (cell proteins that play an important part in the immune system’s functioning).

While this is good news for ovulating women, it might seem discouraging to women who have reached menopause or who struggle with anovulatory cycles (i.e. cycles in which no ovulation occurs). In reality, however, this study is good news for everyone. As doctors learn about COVID-19, they can make treatment decisions tailored to the specific needs of their patients. Identifying ovulation and hormone levels as important factors in managing COVID-19 opens up new possibilities for treatment, even for women who don’t ovulate regularly and have low levels of estrogen. The researchers behind this study suggested that hormone therapy might benefit COVID-19 patients. In particular, it seems likely that estrogen replacement could improve outcomes for menopausal women, as well as women with anovulatory cycles and low levels of estrogen.

Today, many women are taught that female hormones and ovulation are inconveniences that ought to be suppressed. In some societies, menstruation is considered to be shameful. Too often, complaints of severe symptoms that could indicate underlying conditions fall on deaf ears. Fortunately, many women have been able to break free of this mentality through hormonal health education programs like FEMM. As women learn to chart and understand their cycles, they are able to work with their doctors to significantly improve their health. The need for education on the importance of ovulation existed before COVID-19, and it will still exist once the pandemic ends. In the meantime, however, this study is a reminder that women’s reproductive health can never be separated from overall health and wellbeing. Let’s hope that this study inspires more women to learn about their bodies and gives doctors much-needed insight into the best treatments for COVID-19.

‘Please have children,’ an expert researcher warns

by Shannon Roberts

Child playing on outdoor playground. Kids play on school or kindergarten yard. Active kid on colorful swing. Healthy summer activity for children. Little boy swinging in tropical garden.

An expert New Zealand researcher is warning women to “please have children” as, mirroring other Western nations, New Zealand’s fertility rate reaches an all-time low.  The country’s total fertility rate is now 1.71 children per woman, well below the population replacement level of 2.1.

Increasingly, greater numbers of researchers are acknowledging the grave problems associated with a society that delays having children and seemingly celebrates career milestones over marriage and parenthood.

It is likely that, for many couples, the increased cost of housing and food in New Zealand also plays a part in their decision about family size. The current global uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic could well now contribute too.

Dr Pushpa Wood, who is the director of Massey University’s financial education and research centre, says that if the downwards trend continues New Zealand will be left with an ageing population, more retired people needing care, and fewer people to care for them, with devastating impacts on the country.

A recent report from a New Zealand organisation entitled “Families: Ever Fewer or No Children, How Worried Should We Be?“  also worries:

“Without population replacement or growth, economies decline. A nation’s strength lies in its young: their energy, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship. The new blood drives the exchange of ideas and experimentation. If these attributes aren’t home-grown, they have to be imported. At an individual level, single person households are the fastest growing household type in New Zealand. Increasingly people face old-age with few or no family supports.”

As the working-age population reduces globally in the coming years, it will likely become untenable for New Zealand to simply rely on immigration.  Wood suggests that the Government needs to take action by incentivizing people to have children.  Measures could include increased parental leave, financial support for childcare, and initiatives such as the “baby box” which the Finnish Government provides to new mothers, and includes items such as clothes, sheets, and toys.

However, governmental incentives to have children do not appear to have made much of a difference to dire fertility rates overseas.  Changing social trends likely have a far greater impact.  If we want women to have babies, ultimately we need to value parenthood, family and the important role of a homemaker, no matter what other roles it might, or might not, be balanced with.

The federal government must stop the deadly abortion pill

 

(National ReviewWhile COVID-19 dominates the news cycle, a battle is being fought over a deadly drug that has killed over 3.7 million children and at least 24 women. The drug is Mifeprex — commonly known as the abortion pill. On July 13, an Obama-appointed federal judge enjoined the Food and Drug Administration requirements governing the prescription of Mifeprex. He ruled that requiring pregnant women to complete an in-clinic appointment to procure the drugs was a “substantial obstacle” to abortion and was to be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ruling suspends, for the abortion pill, the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), the FDA’s rules for “certain medications with serious safety concerns to help ensure the benefits of the medication outweigh its risks.”

Women procuring abortion drugs without proper education or evaluation are at greater risk of complications and death due to undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhaging, infection, and more. This dangerous judicial activism should compel elected officials, entrusted with the care of their constituents, to take a stand when federal agencies jeopardize public health and safety.

WATCH: ‘The True Story Behind the Abortion Pill’ details dangers and major players behind the deadly drug

The first drug in the abortion-pill regimen, Mifeprex was approved by the FDA in 2000 after a highly politicized scramble within the Clinton administration. Beverly Winikoff is the founder of one of the abortion pill’s loudest proponents, Gynuity Health Projects. Winikoff claimed that the September 11 terrorist attacks “saved” Mifeprex because the nearly 3,000 Americans killed that day overshadowed news of a woman killed by the abortion pill a day prior. Mifeprex was designed specifically to kill the developing child and is approved for use up to ten weeks, at which point a child has arms, eyelids, toes, fingers, and organs.

 

Since the drug’s approval, over 4,000 adverse maternal reactions have been reported to the FDA. The FDA acknowledges that adverse reactions are notoriously underreported, and most women experiencing hemorrhaging and severe infections will seek follow-up care at emergency rooms instead of returning to the abortion clinic. Yet emergency rooms are not required to report adverse reactions. And as of 2016, the Obama administration changed the requirement so that abortion-pill manufacturers must report only maternal deaths to the FDA. The number of women seeking blood transfusions and emergency intervention is likely much greater than 4,000.

The Mifeprex regimen has unleashed horrors on America’s women and children while providing no medical benefit. Killing innocent children, endangering mothers, and abusing the health-care system to do harm is tragic. And as long as this deadly drug remains on the U.S. market, it will pose a serious health risk.

Pregnancy is not a disease and abortion is not health care. The abortion pill is not medicine. No child deserves to be killed by a drug, and pregnant women deserve better. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn should acknowledge the subversion of the abortion industry and its allies, which are using a national pandemic to instigate abortion expansions that could remain long after the pandemic is over. The FDA should protect the public health of Americans and pull this lethal drug, Mifeprex and its approved generics, from the market immediately.

Ted Cruz is a U.S. senator from Texas and a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Lila Rose is the president and founder of Live Action, a nonprofit human-rights organization educating on abortion and the abortion industry.

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

Taxpayer-funded, illegal ‘sex ed’ propaganda threatens children in Ohio

By Linda Harvey

August 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The city of Cleveland, Ohio is putting the lives of its children at risk. And it is receiving federal taxpayer funds to do so.

No, it’s not COVID. For that low-risk disease, children are sheltered, masked, kept away from many schools, and scared to death by the hovering helicopter government bureaucracy.

But what about advice to teens that leads to lifelong complications from underage sexual promiscuity, along with the high likelihood of emotional disaster? And may cause the death of a child through abortion?

Who will be held accountable for this?

Cleveland is not alone, but let’s look specifically at what Cuyahoga County, Ohio communicates to teens on a website the health department operates, www.216Teens.org (216 is the Cleveland area code).

It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and claims to tell the truth about sexuality for adolescents. But very quickly the extreme bias is evident. The site includes zero pro-life or abstinence-focused resources. There is a nominal page on abstinence, which dismisses it quickly as almost impossible. Adolescents who visit the site will read biased, X-rated, high-risk, pro-abortion, and pro-homosexual advice encouraging early experimental sex.

216Teens is not “medically accurate” and “evidence-based” as it claims to be. All the best medicine and evidence points to providing youths with an unequivocal message that delaying sex until marriage is positively correlated with life success and healthy outcomes. Premature sexuality leads to the opposite result.

YouTube video produced by Protect Ohio Children lays out the irresponsible, dangerous messages of 216Teens and its pro-abortion, pro-“LGBTQ,” condom-obsessed, anti-abstinence advice.

For instance, the 216Teens Facebook page included a recent post from NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) that trashes authentic abstinence. “Say it with us. Abstinence only programs don’t work. No matter how many times the anti-choice movement pushes its lies about sex ed, science isn’t on their side. EVERY young person deserves inclusive, evidence-based sex ed at school. ”

Ohio parents need to recognize that this is open defiance of an Ohio law mandating that sexuality education shall emphasize abstinence until marriage. Where are Ohio lawmakers and the Ohio State Board of Education to hold the Cuyahoga County Board of Health accountable for this illegal, child-endangering action?

On March 17, 216Teens posted on Facebook this pandemic advice for teens: “While you are out purchasing all the toilet paper and water consider adding these items to your emergency preparedness list: filled birth control prescriptions, emergency contraception, menstruation products, condoms.” What happened to social distancing?

Along with rioting, looting, and Democrat politicians’ funerals, does the virus cease being a threat during progressive activities like underage teen sex?

How stupid does this health department think Cleveland’s people are?

Another post on June 5 told kids, “Guess what? There isn’t an age requirement for buying condoms.” Take that, parents! And another post gave the phone number and website for Preterm, a Cleveland area abortion clinic, while another on July 24 offered this helpful information: “Did you know there are 64 terms that describe gender identity and expression?”

No, this is a lie. There are two sexes, male and female. Facts, not mythology, is what a health department should be offering to teens.

Parent avoidance is the theme of another page on the 216Teens site to make sure teens know all the sexuality services available without parental consent.

The good news is that the Protect Ohio Children video gives the phone number for Ohio governor Mike DeWine (614-644-4357) and Ohio attorney general Dave Yost (614-466-4986).

Other posts on 216Teens include promotion of www.bedsider.org , a vulgar site that is a whole problem in itself. Bedsider promotes itself as “an online birth control support network for women 18–29 operated by Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy.”

But Bedsider is way beyond birth control, providing sex advice for “Frisky Fridays” and asking, “Is the pandemic wrecking your libido?” It provides teen readers a list of topics from aphrodisiacs to sex toys.

Just what every Ohio teen needs from a health department. Ohio has an abstinence education law. Right? Right.

Meanwhile, through 216Teens, “Bedsider” is being promoted to teens as young as 13 in northeast Ohio.

Power to Decide (Bedsider’s parent group) raises a whole nest of new questions. Power to Decide/Bedsider has a Pop Culture Partners section on its site and serves as an “expert adviser” to CosmopolitanBustleGlamour, and Teen Vogue magazines; the sex-drenched “progressive” programs GrownishGood TroubleThe FostersThe Bold TypeBlackishUnexpected, and East Los High; the program Sex Education on Netflix; Disney’s Andi Mack; MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom; and Hulu’s Shrill.

Power to Decide launched a social campaign, “Thanks Birth Control!,” picked up by many of these pop culture partners. Ever wonder why the “early sex is normal and cool” message seems to be everywhere? This explains some of it.

Power to Decide joined SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, and others to start the campaign “Sex Ed for All” in May 2019. In announcing this effort, they’ll “no longer observe National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.” Why? With the new focus on “LGBTQ” behaviors, the sex ed cartel is way beyond concerns about pregnancy alone.

This coalition is committed to selling underage teens on their sexual “rights” with a new emphasis on “justice” for “LGBTQ” identifiers and non-white teens.

And 216Teens picked up this “justice” emphasis with a recent Facebook post inviting teens “13 to 19” to an online summit to learn about the intersection of “racial and reproductive justice.”

Pro-abortion groups are beginning to capitalize on trending concerns about racial inequality to conflate it with access to abortion and contraception. These are “justice” issues, teens will be taught. “You have ‘rights’ that are being denied!”

So will abstinence messages become “racist”? That’s where many fear this is going.

What can Ohioans do? Call the governor and the attorney general. Ohio children are being corrupted and exploited by 216Teens.org and comprehensive sexuality education in general. It’s promiscuity promotion, plain and simple. And our kids deserve the “right” to hear the truth.

Ohio has an abstinence education law, and we need to follow it!

Linda Harvey is president of Mission America.

Is Abortion Killing Maternal Health?

“NO JUDGMENT, JUST CARE.” These words cover the walls of a bus stop near my house. It is an ad for Planned Parenthood—the organization that, depending on one’s perspective, is known as America’s largest, best-funded abortion provider, and/or as a champion of women’s health. For Planned Parenthood, the term “women’s health” is synonymous with access to abortion and contraception. Yet their sole focus of “women’s health” on methods that seek to prevent motherhood has played a part in the United States’s comparatively dismal state of maternal health among the developed countries of the world.

An incomplete picture of “women’s health”

Last year, Planned Parenthood ousted president Dr. Leana Wen after just eight months at the organization’s helm. The exact circumstances that led to Wen’s departure (or removal) from Planned Parenthood are murky, but rumors swirled that Wen’s desire to focus more intensely on non-abortion care—such as maternal health—produced “philosophical differences” with the organization’s board chairs.

When women’s health groups focus on abortion and contraception access first, it suggests that preventing or postponing motherhood are the top goals for women regarding their health today. But the majority of women in the United States say they desire to be (and will eventually become) mothers. Of course, there are some women who will not become mothers, some by circumstance and others by choice. But given the fact that most women will eventually bear children at some point, it seems that a conception of “women’s health” predominantly focused on preventing motherhood misses an extremely significant aspect of the life and health of the average woman. It is one of many potential reasons why the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (MMR) among the developed nations of the world.

Pregnancy and childbirth in the United States

Around 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the CDC estimates that about 700 women die each year from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. While these numbers indicate that death from childbirth is still a blessedly rare occurrence in the United States, the maternal mortality rate appears to be rising. But the MMR alone presents an incomplete picture with regards to maternal health: investigative reporting in 2017 by NPR and ProPublica found that for each American woman who dies in childbirth, an additional 70 come close to dying (suffering from what is known as severe maternal morbidity). Therefore, while death in pregnancy or childbirth might be rare, nearly dying during those times is much less so.

The reasons why our MMR is on the rise are likely multifactorial. On the whole, Americans are increasingly unhealthy, suffering from obesity and associated risks like diabetes and hypertension, and American women are increasingly delaying childbirth until an older age than prior generations. All of these conditions increase the likelihood of complications in pregnancy, delivery, and during the postpartum period.

When mothers’ concerns go ignored

In interviews with NPR and ProPublica, many of the mothers who almost died from pregnancy, childbirth, or related complications expressed that they felt like their health concerns were not taken seriously, or were completely dismissed until things became blatantly dire. For women who did die, their family members reported feeling the same way.

In the course of writing this article, I put out a call for personal stories on social media about pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum complications that could have been avoided if doctors took their patients’ concerns more seriously, and the responses came flooding in. There are too many to include them all here, and of course, all of the women who answered my call are fortunately still alive, but for some, death came too close for comfort. One woman shared with me how she almost lost her life from an ectopic pregnancy that could have been caught earlier if her “extreme pain and bleeding” had been taken more seriously. Another shared how after a miscarriage led to complications, she had to “beg and plead for appointments, antibiotics, and attention,” and ultimately was hospitalized for an infection that had worsened due to lack of care.

Many women have experienced the incredibly frustrating experience of being turned away at the hospital while in labor; this can be even more frustrating for women who have had babies before and know when they are in labor. This happened to Haley Stewart, who was sent away from the hospital with assurances of, “No, you’re not in labor,” as she moaned through painful contractions during the end of her fourth pregnancy at age 32. This led to an incredibly fast birth (with almost no time to get into a hospital bed) a mere three hours later. Recounting the birth story on her blog, Haley says, “I do feel angry that my instincts were dismissed and that I was told not to listen to my body.”

Amy Garlick was 27 at the time of her first pregnancy, and also felt her health concerns were disregarded to the point of serious risk. Incredibly sick during the first trimester of her pregnancy and plagued by severe panic attacks, Garlick’s doctor told her more than once to stop “being a baby” when she shared her symptoms. It took until her 12-week appointment when she weighed in at under 100 pounds, for her doctor to start taking her concerns seriously. It turned out that Garlick had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), a serious condition that can require hospitalization if it causes severe enough dehydration and weight loss.

Melissa Kobialka, 32, experienced postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA) after the birth of her first child at age 27 that resulted in “suicidal ideation and full blown panic attacks if I heard a crying baby (any baby, even someone else’s child or a doll that made crying sounds).” Shockingly, Kobialka was not even screened for PPD at her six-week postpartum visit. Instead, she was screened at her daughter’s two-month pediatric appointment, but the pediatrician “blew off” the positive results of Kobialka’s PPD survey. It wasn’t until seven months postpartum, when Kobialka says she “started to wish I was dead,” that she finally received help for her PPD.

The MMR for black mothers in the United States is a shocking three to four times higher than what it is for white mothers. The C-section rate is also higher for black mothers.

study from the American Journal of Public Health concluded that black mothers are more likely to die from conditions such as “preeclampsia, eclampsia, abruptio placentae, placenta previa, and postpartum hemorrhage” than white mothers who have the same conditions. This terrible disparity holds true even across income and education levels: the MMR for black women with at least a college degree is 5 times as high as it is for white women with a similar education. Status and experience in public health won’t save a black woman from pregnancy morbidity or mortality, either: whether she is a famous athlete (Serena Williams, who very nearly died in childbirth), an epidemiologist (Shalon Irving, who died three weeks after giving birth via planned C-section), or a former American Hospital Association staffer (Arika Trim, who recently died one week after giving birth via emergency C-section). According to the NPR/ProPublica MMR investigation, the disparity in maternal health outcomes between white and black women is “the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other affluent countries.”

The reasons for the disparity in maternal health outcomes between white and black women are complex and multi-faceted. Obesity and hypertension are more prevalent in black women, and both can adversely affect pregnancy outcomes. On the whole, black women are also less likely to have access to early prenatal care, the lack of which is associated with worse maternal and fetal outcomes. Again, however, having a higher income and/or higher education level is not protective for black women or their babies against the increased risk of maternal or fetal death. This has led many in public health to theorize that an insidious form of racism may be at play in black women’s interactions with the medical system, putting them at higher risk of death when their concerns are dismissed as “not a priority.” Bias in medicine (and a vile legacy of historical mistreatment of Black Americans in health care and medical research) has perhaps fostered a culture of mistrust between black patients and their health-care providers, especially in situations where women cannot be treated by a provider with whom they have had an opportunity to establish a trusting relationship.

Babies vs. mothers: a false choice

Whether the mother is white or black, some say that the United States’ focus on saving babies during and after childbirth is largely to blame for the state of maternal health. There may be some truth to this claim (as long as the babies are wanted and viable, of course). The NPR/ProPublica investigation found that “federal and state funding show only 6 percent of block grants for ‘maternal and child health’ actually go to the health of mothers.”

Consider also the current disparity in follow-up care after childbirth for moms versus their babies. The prenatal period is full of dozens of checkups, but after childbirth, most mothers are afforded only one quick check-up at four to six weeks postpartum which will be covered by insurance. For women who have had any sort of complications in pregnancy or childbirth, this can literally be too little, too late; the CDC estimates that one-third of pregnancy-related deaths occur one week to one year after delivery. This is also prime time for postpartum mental health issues to appear, from postpartum depression, to postpartum anxiety, to postpartum psychosis, which if gone undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to devastating outcomes for mothers and their babies. New babies, meanwhile, will have several thorough checkups within their first six months of life. The contrast in care sends a clear message: “Mom’s health doesn’t matter.”

How can we decrease the maternal mortality rate?

What are we to do about the increasing MMR in the United States? First, it is clear that we must shift our focus to recognize the truth that a healthy mother makes for a healthy baby, and that both are worthy of the same level of dignity and care. Too often, mothers’ health concerns go ignored, and they need to be taken seriously by healthcare providers before it is too late. No child should have to lose his mother on his birthday, and no mother should have to lose her life on what should be a most joyful and meaningful day.

Practically speaking, it is clear from the NPR/ProPublica reporting that doctors and nurses need better training in recognizing and treating the leading, treatable causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, such as hemorrhage and preeclampsia. States like California have made significant strides in this direction. The recent standardization of maternal mortality reporting data across all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories will also, one hopes, prove to be a useful tool in better identifying the leading causes of maternal mortality and in developing data-driven protocols for how to better recognize, prevent, mitigate, or treat these causes. The United States also needs to make a concerted effort in improving postpartum care. A single appointment at four- to six-weeks postpartum is insufficient to safeguard the physical or mental health of new mothers. Especially for women who have experienced any complications in pregnancy or delivery, additional care (preferably in the form of home visits) is needed, as is education of the mother and her partner/caregiver for warning signs of any serious complications that require immediate attention.

It is also clear that the disparity in MMR across racial differences deserves far more attention than it has received. Health-care providers need a better awareness of the conditions that disproportionately plague black mothers, and how to recognize and treat them earlier. More initiatives like the Black Child Legacy Campaign, which pairs black women with doulas to assist and advocate for them during labor (based on research that shows better outcomes for mothers and their babies when the mother has continuous support during labor), are needed on a wider scale, especially in areas where racial disparities are highest. Increased focus on identifying and mitigating possible implicit biases in health-care providers is also of vital importance, as is a commitment on the part of providers to forming trusting doctor-patient relationships.

Better care for women who aren’t seeking pregnancy termination

There is some good being done to increase awareness of both the maternal mortality rate and the racial disparities in MMR in the United States, but there is a long way to go. Further, the focus on abortion access has somewhat stunted women’s health conversations when it comes to pregnancy. The sad irony is that maternal health is suffering as abortion and pregnancy prevention takes up all the oxygen in the women’s health conversation.

Recall how the World Health Organization listed “unsafe abortion” as one of the leading causes of maternal deaths worldwide. Yet the WHO also doubles down on abortion as a way to prevent maternal deaths: “To avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted pregnancies. All women, including adolescents, need access to contraception, safe abortion services to the full extent of the law, and quality post-abortion care.” Abortion providers constantly assure us that legal abortion is an extremely safe procedure—in fact, Planned Parenthood says it “is one of the safest medical procedures you can get.” Abortion advocates stress that unsafe abortions will kill women, but in the same breath, many fight against legislation that would hold abortion clinics to medical standards prioritizing patient care. When the Supreme Court recently struck down a Louisiana law requiring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event of abortion complications, the ruling was heralded as a victory for women’s health. Ensuring widespread access to abortion was prioritized over ensuring that women could get immediate, emergency care in the event of a complication.

Of course, some states have instituted their own abortion restrictions in recent years, while others have become even more liberal. Take New York and its recently signed Reproductive Health Act, which notably allows for late-term abortions up until birth. New York consistently tops the list of states with the most abortions performed per thousand women, and that number is disproportionately made up of black women; in fact almost half of black pregnancies in New York City are ended through abortion rather than through delivery (notably, NYC also happens to be the location of Planned Parenthood’s headquarters). And yet despite the access to (and utilization of) abortion services by black women in NYC, they are still twelve times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than white women.

The New York City example showcases that the WHO’s recommendation that “to avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted pregnancies” is like placing a dirty Band-Aid over the open wound of our maternal mortality crisis. Is abortion truly the best we have to offer women so that they don’t die in childbirth? It is sad if this is the implication—but it is also untrue.

Pregnancy prevention at all cost

From a young age, American girls are put on hormonal contraceptives and conditioned to treat their fertility as something to be controlled, covered up, and little understood. Pharmaceutical birth control has been used as a symptom cover-up for common reproductive issues (like endometriosis and PCOS) for so long, that it has disincentivized doctors and researchers from investigating root causes for these disorders and developing effective treatments for them.

In America, instead of seeking answers as to why a young woman is having intensely painful, irregular periods, cystic acne, and debilitating PMS, we place her on a birth control method that will simply mask her symptoms—at least, for as long as she stays on it. When she gets off it, her symptoms may be worse. If later in life she’s trying to get pregnant, she may face infertility due to an underlying condition that could have potentially been treated years earlier.

If we are to expand to a more comprehensive view of women’s health, beyond pregnancy prevention and toward greater reproductive health, we should equip girls from a young age to understand their fertility. Widespread contraceptive access has not convincingly reduced the numbers of women seeking abortion for unplanned pregnancies, since about half of all abortions are obtained by women who were using contraceptives at the time they conceived.

Hope for comprehensive women’s health

These days, some of the most substantive advances in women’s health toward solutions for reproductive disorders have come from the corners of medicine specializing in what’s called “fertility awareness.” There is a growing field of restorative reproductive medicine that uses health information collected by women charting their cycles with fertility awareness methods, such as the Creighton Model, Fertility Education & Medical Management (FEMM), Marquette Method, and Sympto-Thermal Method. Doctors specializing in restorative reproductive medicine are able to use information from a woman’s monthly charts and any accompanying symptoms to pinpoint and treat reproductive health disorders like PMS, PCOS, and endometriosis, including disorders that can cause infertility. In addition, since fertility awareness methods teach a woman how to identify the signs of her fertility, a woman using fertility awareness can work with her body to plan for or avoid pregnancy without side effects (and, depending on the method, with rates as effective as the leading methods of contraception).

Advances in fertility awareness and restorative medicine offer hope that the field of women’s health can incorporate a more holistic view of women’s health and doesn’t have to pit pregnancy avoidance against maternal health. This vision of women’s health puts each woman back in the driver’s seat of understanding her unique body and fertility, equipping her with greater self-knowledge and agency to be a more active participant in her reproductive and overall health care.

Given the sad fact that too many pregnant and postpartum women cannot trust the medical field with their lives in the moments that count the most, we need a paradigm shift away from one-size-fits-all prescriptions and toward more personalized care to treat the unique woman in the doctor’s office. The best path toward greater transparency and accountability for poor care is a more informed patient base. Toward that end, the greater self-knowledge and agency that comes with fertility awareness may be exactly what the field of women’s health needs most.

Morally speaking, not all Covid-19 vaccines will be equal

by Carolyn Moynihan

A doctor in a white robe and blue gloves holds a syringe with a coronavirus vaccine. Injection of the vaccine from covid-2019. Pandemic coronavirus 2020. vaccine test. Covid-2019. Pandemic 2020.

The race is on to develop a vaccine for Covid-19. More than 140 vaccines are being tested around the world, according to the World Health Organisation. In Australia alone at least half a dozen vaccines are being trialled.

At the same time, the WHO and various experts keep warning us that, even with a vaccine, the coronavirus will remain a threat and that we must adapt our habits accordingly. Among other things, they are worried about community take-up of anti-Covid vaccines as they become available – whenever that is.

Mistrust of vaccination has grown in recent years. In his bizarre announcement of a bid for the US presidency, rapper Kanye West appealed to anti-vaccine sentiment, saying vaccines are “a mark of the beast” and are among the things that “make God mad”.

A recent YouGov survey found that one in six UK respondents indicated they “definitely” or “probably would not” get vaccinated if a coronavirus vaccine became available. A further sixth of respondents to the survey were unsure what they would do. “Worryingly, this means up to a third of UK people could turn down a coronavirus vaccine,” writes an Australian academic.

She continues: “But there are many reasons why people might reject vaccines. Research has found that people with a fear of needles, low tolerance to perceived impingement of freedoms or belief in conspiracy theories are more likely to have anti-vaccine attitudes.”

One reason she does not mention is that some essential vaccines have been developed from the cells of aborted foetuses. This is not the only or even the main reason for the “anti-vaxxer” movement, although it may be the reason for Kanye West’s attack.

The link between abortion and some vaccines is real

For years, opponents of abortion were dismissed as crazy scaremongers for advancing this objection to vaccines. But in 2013 their concerns were acknowledged by the editors of the leading science journal, Nature, following a scandal over another cell line, HeLa, derived from the cancerous cervical cells of a woman named Henrietta Lacks in 1951.

The journal helpfully provided a history of the fetal cell line WI-38, which has been the focus of contention for decades.

From this article we learn that in 1962 a Swedish woman had a legal abortion at four months because she did not want another child. The lungs of the fetus were removed and sent to the Wistar Institute for Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia where they were processed and cultured by Leonard Hayflick. WI-38 was distributed to drug companies and researchers around the world and used to create vaccines for rubella, rabies, adenovirus, polio, measles, chickenpox and shingles.

The leading issue with both HeLa and WI-38, as far as Nature’s editors were concerned, was the absence of the women’s consent, which was certainly unethical. However, pro-life objections concern primarily the injustice of abortion and the question of moral complicity in a particular abortion through acquiring foetal tissue, using it to make a product, and administering or receiving vaccines derived from it.

Are some of vaccines now in development on that list of morally questionable therapies?

And just what does that mean for people with a conscientious objection to abortion?

Covid-19 vaccine research does not need foetal cells

According to a briefing paper put out by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre (Oxford) in April, the answer to the first question is, yes. The author, Helen Watt, says:

“One such cell-line used in COVID-19 vaccine research (including a project of the University of Oxford5) is the HEK 293 cell-line modified from tissue taken from the kidney of an unborn child aborted probably in 1972, while another is the PER C6 cell-line from the retinal tissue of an 18-week baby aborted in 1985.”

Even people who do not object to abortion in general, Watt points out, may object to a late-term abortion like that used for the PER C6 cell line. In any case drug companies and researchers are aware by now of such objections and should take them into account.

In the US, new research using fetal tissue is effectively banned. In June last year the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) issued a statement which includes the following principle: “Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration.”

However, this is keeping a leading researcher, Kim Hasenkrug, from using “humanised” mice to test potential therapies. These mice have human-like lungs with tissue derived from aborted human fetuses.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have attacked the ban. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in April, they wrote: “Because of your restrictions, NIH is unable to utilize human fetal tissue to develop animal models of COVID-19 that can test potential vaccines and treatments to decelerate or even end this global health crisis. This inaction may ultimately put Americans further at risk of disease or death from COVID-19. “

Republicans in the House and Senate rubbished these claims, pointing to the dozens of Covid-19 treatments already being investigated without the use of fetal cells. In the Anscombe briefing Helen Watt mentions such ethically uncontentious sources as insectstobacco plants, and hamster ovaries. One Australian trial is adapting the BCG vaccine, which was designed to protect against tuberculosis and has been around for 100 years – well before permissive attitudes to abortion made fetal tissue possible as a medium.

Complicity and conscientious objection

Chances are, then, that vaccines will be available which are not tainted by abortion. But what if you are a conscientious objector and your government decides to buy the one that is? This a question particularly in welfare states like New Zealand where governments fund the bulk of healthcare; and particularly, should a government try to make vaccination compulsory.

The Anscombe briefing is very helpful here, providing an ethical framework for those involved in any way with the provision or reception of such vaccines and aware of their origin.

It begins by pointing out: “There is a chain of actions from the original abortion and harvesting of fetal tissue, to the creation of a fetal cell-line, to its use in the creation of a vaccine, to the vaccine’s marketing and purchase, and offer to and use by members of the public. Is complicity involved at every stage, and if so, to what extent?”

The original act is ‘deeply immoral’

The original collection, involving arrangements between the scientist and the abortionist (with possibly an agent in between) for the cells of a particular baby, is deeply immoral. The scientist’s needs will dictate the precise way in which the abortion is done (as described, for example, in the 2015 undercover videos of an interview with a Planned Parenthood medical director) and using a go-between cannot sanitise his actions.

Such arrangements could encourage more abortions. They could make a woman who is ambivalent feel better about going ahead, because something good might come of it, and yet create subsequent conflicts for her.

“After the event, the knowledge that tissue was taken from her child with her consent will complicate her thoughts and feelings about the abortion: any grief, pain and guilt she experiences may be even harder to process and resolve.”

What if the cells were created long ago?

More morally complex is the use of cell lines already created, perhaps long ago.

“The more pairs of hands that separate us from the original wrongdoers, and the less we are part of an organised system, the less scandalous the messages we send out and the more likely it is that our actions are defensible. However, these actions are, conversely, less likely to be defensible if the wrongs in question, as with abortion and foetal tissue harvesting, not only continue to the present day, but continue with some degree of social sanction.”

It may be possible that a scientist does not know the provenance of a particular cell line. However, it is difficult to plead ignorance once a controversy about it has developed (and the pro-life movement can be counted on to create that controversy). Using the cells under these circumstances is a serious moral issue and can convey approval and encourage continuing fetal tissue experiment.

Conversely, there is an opportunity (and a moral obligation) to discontinue use and promote alternative research: “One scientist who formerly used an embryonic stem cell-line obtained from another institution led his laboratory colleagues to conclude that the end (scientific discoveries from embryonic stem cell research) must justify the means (destruction of IVF embryos).”

Catholic responses

Though objections to fetal tissue research are not limited to religious people, religious people tend to be more sensitive to the morality. A 1995 Vatican document, Dignitatis Personae (The Dignity of Persons), is the most authoritative statement of the Catholic Church’s position. It says that scientists have a duty to refuse the use of illicitly-produced material “even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilization or the abortion”.

This duty, it claims, “springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.”

However, the document states that “within this general picture there exist differing degrees of responsibility. Grave reasons may be morally proportionate to justify the use of such “biological material”, reasons relating to the health of children, for example.

“Thus, … danger to the health of children could permit parents to use a vaccine which was developed using cell lines of illicit origin, while keeping in mind that everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available. Moreover, in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision.”

What about boycotts?

Watt discusses protesting a morally fraught vaccine by refusing to use it:

“Boycotting a COVID-19 vaccine in the absence of an alternative is a serious action that should be carefully considered, because of its potentially grave risks both for the person and for others. These risks will in turn depend on such factors as the person’s state of health and family and work circumstances and the presence of the virus (or immunity to the virus) in the community in which he or she lives.

“To give just two examples, for health care professionals and those with vulnerable family members living with them, a boycott may be incompatible with retaining a role in health care, or living with/caring for the family member.”

This is especially applicable to Covid-19. But, if truly ethical alternatives for vaccination against this virus are available, those who can access them “without excessive difficulty” have a moral duty to do so, “as a witness to the value of human life and life-respecting research.”

“If an alternative is not reasonably available, some will decide, under protest, that they have grave reasons (in the words of Dignitas Personae) to accept a vaccine out of concern for their own health and the health of others they may infect. Such individuals should make their views on use of foetal cell-lines known to the health authorities, as Dignitas Personae urges, in the hope of raising awareness and helping to change the brutal culture in which abortion products are so widely used.”

In other words, boycotting unethical vaccines is a matter for the individual conscience, and “some will feel, whether rightly or wrongly, called to a boycott even if no alternative vaccine is available to them.”

However, governments should seek to fund research on vaccines that do not depend on the killing of human beings, and to purchase them.

That is something for pro-life people everywhere to add to discussions about Covid-19 research, in the hope that, in the words of Helen Watt, “morally uncontentious vaccines will be made widely available to all peoples of the world, both to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to combat other threats to life and health.”

Why Are Late Abortions Performed?

By 

As experts have known for years, unborn children begin to feel pain as early as eight weeks after fertilization, and definitely no later than 14 weeks.  In fact, University of Arkansas Professor Kanwaljeet Anand, the world’s leading authority on fetal pain, says that preborn children probably feel pain much more acutely than adults.  Their nervous systems develop early in gestation, but their pain modulation pathways do not begin to function until about six weeks after birth.1

Science proves that an unborn child, when being aborted in the second or third trimester, feels hideous pain as he or she is cut apart by the razor-sharp instruments of the abortionist.  As more and more testimonies from pro-abortionists show, many of them do indeed acknowledge that a baby aborted late in pregnancy feels pain but say that this factor should not carry any weight when a woman decides whether or not to have an abortion.  (Strangely, many of these same people are champions of animal rights, in particular efforts to ban any treatment of animals that might lead to their unnecessary pain or suffering.)

Pro-abortionists often dismiss pro-life concerns by saying that there are only a few third-trimester abortions performed in the United States each year, and only for the most extreme cases, as if the rarity of an evil makes it any less evil.  For example, the National Abortion Federation claimed, without evidence, “This particular procedure [partial-birth abortion] is used only in about 500 cases per year, generally after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and most often when there is a severe fetal anomaly or maternal health problem detected late in pregnancy.”2  Planned Parenthood stated in a November 1, 1995 press release: “The procedure, dilation and extraction (D&X), is extremely rare and done only in cases when the woman’s life is in danger or in cases of extreme fetal abnormality.”

The question we must ask is whether these unsubstantiated claims are true.

Why Do Women Have Late-Term Abortions?

What Abortionists Say

But the partial-birth abortionists themselves have repeatedly contradicted the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood.  Martin Haskell, the inventor of the partial-birth abortion procedure, said that 80% of the procedures he performs are “purely elective.”3  Partial-birth abortionist James McMahon says that the primary reason given by those requesting the procedure is “depression.”4

The National Abortion Federation even contradicted its own 1993 statement that most partial‑birth abortions are performed for such reasons as “lack of money or health insurance, social‑psychological crises, lack of knowledge about human reproduction, etc.”5

Third-trimester abortionist George Tiller said at the 1995 National Abortion Federation conference in New Orleans, “We have some experience with late terminations; about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years.”  This means that Tiller alone did 2,000 partial-birth abortions every single year, and only eight percent of them were for birth defects.

The Statistics

In addition to the testimony of the partial-birth abortionists themselves, there is a large body of evidence showing that the procedures are much more common than most people believe.6

statistics analysis graph chart data

The number of abortions that have been done since legalization is so huge that even the small percentage of late abortions done results in a very large number. For example, in 2019 alone over 860,000 abortions were performed in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The Guttmacher Institute also surveyed a large number of women obtaining late abortions and asked them their reasons for doing so.  It found:

  • Only about one percent of second- and third-trimester abortions are performed for fetal anomalies, or eugenics
  • One-third (31%) of the women surveyed said that they misjudged how far along they were
  • One-fourth (27%) said that they found it hard to arrange an earlier abortion
  • 14% said that they were afraid to tell their parents or their “partner”
  • The rest gave reasons such as taking their time to decide or waiting for a change in their relationship.8

Remember that Planned Parenthood claims that all partial-birth abortions are done for fatal birth defects or to save the life of the mother.  It turns out that the actual number done for these reasons is about one percent.

The Quick Slide to Infanticide

The fundamental nature of evil is that it always expands unless it is relentlessly opposed.  Certainly this is true of abortion.  Typically, its supporters first demand an exception just to save the mother’s life, then more exceptions for rape and incest, then for the mother’s mental and physical health, and finally abortion for any reason whatsoever throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Now we see them agitating for so-called “after-birth abortion,” as more and more “ethicists” baldly advocate infanticide in prestigious medical journals.  As one example, it is only necessary to read the beginning and end of one article published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal to see where this train of thought is transporting us:

By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.…If economical, social or psychological circumstances change such that taking care of the offspring becomes an unbearable burden on someone, then people should be given the chance of not being forced to do something they cannot afford.9

This is how far we have fallen down the slippery slope.  The two professors who wrote this article callously approve of the murder of a newborn if the mother “cannot afford” to raise him or her.  We have arrived at the point where many say that we do not even have to justify the killing of a newborn; now the little ones have to somehow wordlessly prove that they are worthy of life, as the above article’s title reflects: “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?”

newborn-sleeping beautiful infant baby boy

In reality, American abortionists have been practicing “after-birth abortion” for a long time.

Alisa LaPolt Snow, a lobbyist for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, gave startling testimony during the Florida House debate over a state Infants Born Alive Act in 2013.  She said that helping a healthy newborn who has survived a botched abortion “inserts politics where it doesn’t belong.”  She suggested that such infanticide is part of “a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions.”  Representative Jim Boyd asked her “So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief.  If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child who is struggling for life?”  Snow replied without hesitation “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”

And then, of course, we have the example of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who routinely delivered full-term babies in his Philadelphia abortion mill and then severed their spinal columns with scissors.  This was done with the full knowledge of the National Abortion Federation, which had inspected his clinic, and other Pennsylvania pro-abortionists.  Not one major so-called “pro-choice” group has condemned Gosnell.  They are willing to say that he is the exception, not the rule, but that is as far as they are willing to go.

Gosnell is certainly not the first abortionist who has engaged in infanticide of born-alive babies.  There have been many cases of abortionists being brought to trial for either murdering these babies outright or setting them aside and allowing them to die of starvation and thirst.

Conclusion

Statistics show that that late-term abortions are rarely done for the “hard cases” of the health of the mother or fetal deformities—and the excruciating pain experienced by the baby during a late-term abortion should remind us that even in the hard cases, abortion cannot be permissible.

After all, if it is legal to kill a preborn child just hours before birth, what is to stop people from killing them after they are born?

Endnotes

[1] Annie Murphy Paul. “The First Ache.”  The New York Times Magazine, February 10, 2008.

[2] “Fact Sheet” on the National Abortion Federation (NAF) web page, downloaded on February 18, 1997.

[3] Partial-birth abortionist Martin Haskell, of Dayton, Ohio, quoted in Gene Peterson.  “Senator, Former Official Equate Late Term Abortion to Infanticide.”  Ludington Daily News, October 21, 1996, page 4 (original quote in American Medical News, November 20, 1995).

[4] Partial-birth abortionist James McMahon, quoted in a Sixty Minutes episode of June 2, 1996 entitled “Partial Birth Abortion Ban.”

[5] 1993 National Abortion Federation internal memorandum, quoted in United States Senator Bill Frist. Bill Frist: A Senator Speaks Out on Ethics, Respect, And Compassion (Washington, D.C.: Monument Press), 2005, page 247.

[6] There is abundant evidence that there are many more third-trimester abortions performed than there are reported, and that most of them are done for relatively trivial social reasons:

  • A former employee of third-trimester abortionist George Tiller, Luhra Tivis, wrote:

I witnessed evidence of the brutal, cold blooded murder of over 600 viable, healthy babies at seven, eight and nine months gestation. A very, very few of these babies, less than 2%, were handicapped.…I thought I was pro-choice and I was glad to be working in an abortion clinic.  I thought I was helping provide a noble service to women in crisis.…I was instructed to falsify the age of the babies in medical records.  I was required to lie to the mothers over the phone, as they scheduled their appointments, and to tell them that they were not “too far along.”  Then I had to note, in the records that Dr. Tiller’s needle had successfully pierced the walls of the baby’s heart, injecting the poison that brought death.

Luhra Tivis.  “Where is the Real Violence?”  Celebrate Life (American Life League), September/October 1994.

  • Dr. Grace Morrison of the Vitae Foundation says:

I have been protesting at Carhart’s on Mondays since December 6 [2010].  During this time, I have had the opportunity to speak with over twenty-five mothers who were there seeking late-term abortions.  There has only been ONE case of a mother seeking a late-term abortion because of a poor prenatal diagnosis.  The other mothers were reportedly there because, even at this advanced stage in their pregnancy, they decided that the baby was an inconvenience.  One mother, Kiesha, who came to Carhart’s for a late-term abortion decided to save her baby.  She just gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

  • Midtown Hospital was Georgia’s largest abortion mill, a member of the National Abortion Federation and heartily endorsed by Planned Parenthood.  Eventually, it was closed by officials due to its filthy conditions and endangerment of patients.  One former employee testified in an affidavit:

On April 18, 1998, at approximately 7:00 a.m., I witnessed a patient deliver an intact fetus in the toilet of a bathroom in the waiting room area.  After expelling the baby and the afterbirth, the patient walked to the operating room because there were no wheelchairs.  I opened the fetal sac so that the fetus could be weighed.  The weight was approximately 3029 grams [over 6 pounds, 10 ounces].  It was a very big fetus.  My impression is that at Midtown Hospital a procedure will be done at any gestational age as long as the patient has the money.

“Men Behaving Really Badly.”  Life Insight (National Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities), Volume 9, Number 8, October 1998.

  • An article in the September 17, 1996 Washington Post said:

It is possible, and maybe even likely, that the majority of these abortions are performed on normal fetuses, not on fetuses suffering from genetic or developmental abnormalities.  Furthermore, in most cases where the procedure is used, the physical health of the woman is not in jeopardy.

  • In After Tiller, a 2013 pro-abortion propaganda film that lionizes four partial-birth abortionists, Susan Robinson, who performs third-trimester abortions at her clinic in Albuquerque said:

Women whose fetuses have terrible abnormalities…are a lot easier for people to understand. The husband and wife want to spare their baby whatever suffering that baby would have.  Then there’s the group of women who didn’t know they were pregnant.  They were told they were not pregnant for one reason or another and they are just as desperate.  “I already have three children, my husband just lost his job and I can barely put food on the table.  If I add a new baby to this family, we’ll all go under.”

Sarah Terzo.  “Third-Trimester Abortions in America: ‘Healthy Babies at Seven, Eight and Nine Months Gestation.’”  LifeSite Daily News, February 8, 2013.

[7] Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest.  “Why Do Women Have Abortions?“  Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988 (Volume 20, Number 4), pages 169 to 176, Table 4, “Percentages of Women Who Reported that Various Reasons Contributed to Their Having a Late Abortion and Who Cited Specific Reasons as Accounting for the Longest Delay.”

[8] Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.  “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?”  British Medical Journal Online, March 2, 2012.

Endocrinologist, hematologist warn birth control pill may increase risk of blood clots from COVID-19

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PORTLAND, Maine, August 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A recent paper has suggested that women who use the birth control pill may be particularly susceptible to blood clots if they contract COVID-19.

Doctors Daniel I. Spratt, an endocrinologist, and Rachel J. Buchsbaum, a hematologist, published “COVID-19 and Hypercoagulability: Potential Impact on Management with Oral Contraceptives, Estrogen Therapy and Pregnancy” in the Endocrinology journal on July 29.

The physicians wrote that one of the consequences of contracting the coronavirus seems to be an increased risk of blood clots.

“The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has proven unusual with respect to the spectrum of its pathological effects,” they wrote.

“In addition to damage inflicted on the lungs, kidneys, heart and other organ systems, reports have emerged of hypercoagulable states in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”

These clots and their travels from one part of the body to another “occur with a troublesome frequency” in coronavirus patients, they added.

Given this situation and other emerging COVID-19 research, the authors suggest there may be a chance that risk of blood clots and strokes for pregnant women and those using the pill or hormone replacement therapy is heightened by the virus.

“As more information emerges regarding the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on coagulation, questions arise as to whether infection with this virus aggravates the risk of [venous thromboembolic events (VTEs)] and strokes associated with combined oral contraceptives (COC’s) and other estrogen therapies as well as pregnancy-associated risks,” they wrote.

High doses of estrogen already have their dangers, and not just for older women and, for that matter, not just for women.

The doctors noted that contraceptive pills are linked to a “2- to 6-fold increase in risk for VTEs.”

“The risk for stroke is increased in young women from about 4 to 8 in 100,000 women per year,” they wrote.

“Similar data exist for oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopausal women and oral estrogen therapy in male-to-female transgender patients [sic].”

The doctors added that, although there is no “clear data” to support this advice, it is commonly recommended that people stop taking estrogen two weeks before they do something that could also increase their risk of blood clots, like surgery or long flights.

Spratt and Buchsbaum also noted there have so far been no reports of increased incidents of VTEs among women with coronavirus who are pregnant or using estrogen products. However, one “preliminary report” has suggested that “vascular abnormalities in the placenta” can accompany a COVID-19 infection. Also, given the relationships between the virus and blood clots, the doctors believe that more research must be done for women already at a higher risk for the latter.

Their questions include concerns for the effect of the coronavirus’s tendency to cause hyperinflammation on the health of unborn babies, as well as the measures that should be taken to reduce the risk of blood clots to pregnant women, women who use estrogen products, and women with the virus.

The doctors stressed the importance of these questions by predicting that the novel coronavirus will be around for years to come.

“We do not know how long the current pandemic will endure and can be reasonably certain that, like the H1N1 virus causing the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, SARS-Co-V-2 will return cyclically for years if not decades,” they wrote.

“Thus, the importance of undertaking research to answer these questions will continue with findings likely to be applicable in a wide range of clinical situations.”

As yet doctors do not know why or how the virus has an impact on blood coagulation. Spratt and Buchsbaum called for researchers and clinicians, and for endocrinologists and hematologists to work together to find the answers.

Rachel J. Buchsbaum, MD, is the Director of the Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Daniel Spratt, MD, works in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Dr. Spratt for further comment today and is awaiting a reply.

The Business of Birth Control

https://www.thebusinessof.life/business-of-birth-control

In the 1960’s the pill was revolutionary, giving women the ability to control their fertility and advancing their equality in the workplace and in society.  But when the pill came onto the market, women were not fully informed of the side effects and risks. Sixty years later, any conversation around the drawbacks of hormonal birth control remains politicized and suppressed.

Today, over half the women prescribed hormonal birth control are on it for non-contraceptive reasons like acne, irregular or painful periods, PCOS and endometriosis.  Hormonal birth control has been linked to depression, autoimmune disease, cervical cancer, fatal blood clots and other chronic conditions; yet it is still prescribed to healthy women as a panacea for every hormonal and reproductive issue.

With pharmaceutical companies making billions on blockbuster products and reproductive rights under attack, exposing the downside of hormonal birth control is controversial.  Yet, as the scientific research grows, there is a rising consciousness around the mental and physical impacts of these medications and the landscape is shifting: A Danish study found an 80% increase in the risk of depression for teenagers on hormonal contraception. Younger generations want to avoid endocrine-disrupting chemicals and are scrutinizing everything they put in their bodies. Femme-tech and fertility awareness methods are becoming mainstream and hormonal health coaches are reframing natural menstrual cycles as more empowering than suppressing ovulation.

Looking at the complex relationship of hormonal contraception to women’s health and liberation, The Business of Birth Control features the stories of activists, doctors and scientists who are blowing the whistle on how hormonal birth control affects the mind and body. The film revisits the 1970’s Nelson Pill Hearings, where feminists disrupted the proceedings to demand informed consent and follows a courageous group of bereaved parents who are fighting to get warning labels on Yaz and NuvaRing fifty years later.

The filmmakers trace the shocking history of how hormonal birth control has been weaponized against communities of color, while capturing a revived feminist health movement that is embracing body literacy and redefining reproductive justice. The Business of Birth Control is primed to ignite the next women’s health revolution. It is sure to be required viewing for anyone with a uterus.

The little lives being saved by Covid

by Helen Watt

Will Covid-19 lockdowns allow some babies to be born this year who would otherwise be aborted? Yes – and that’s not, it seems, a good thing, according to a report on “compromised abortion” from the Indian abortion provider Ipas.

It says that redeploying abortion facilities and staff to prioritise care for Covid-19 patients has had deleterious effects on India’s abortions, including the fact that some may not take place at all.

It urges that all stops be pulled out to provide abortions for Indian women, including second-trimester abortions. “Unwanted” pregnancies, as they are baldly described, must not be allowed to go to term. Missing in the report is any reference to “unwanted” fetal sex, a frequent motivation for abortion in India; female children who succeed in being born may well have escaped an abortion precisely on this ground.

There is great social pressure on women in India to abort female babies for a host of cultural reasons. The huge sex imbalance in the country is troubling even to those who support abortion. In-laws and husbands push for sex-selective abortion, and pregnant women, willingly or otherwise, comply. Indeed, this also applies in the immigrant population in the US where, unlike in India, there are no legal restrictions on antenatal sex screening.

Despite the law in India concerning screening, abortions based on sex continue in large numbers. It is clear from other reports where Ipas’s priorities lie: efforts to stop sex selection must not, they admonish us, get in the way of abortion provision. So if more baby girls die this year simply for being girls – including those who die because of the zealous efforts of Ipas – Ipas will not be, it seems, to blame.

Ipas are not alone in seeming to regret the births of unaborted babies. Regretting lost opportunities to abort, whether due to Covid-19 or to other factors, is a regular feature of British abortion advocacy. Recently, we saw the abortion provider BPAS shaking its head over the fact that women presenting for late-term abortions are being “compelled to continue pregnancies they do not want”. This is, it seems, an intolerable means to the surely good end of birth when the pregnancy is completed.

It is doubtful whether the mothers who requested these late-term abortions now regret their baby’s birth. After all, even the famous and flawed Turnaway study of women refused an abortion found that the great majority did not regret having the baby.

Even for those who did, the value of children is not conferred by parents: no child should have to prove, by “wantedness”, her right to remain in the land of the living. The answer to reluctant or simply challenged parenthood is serious support for parents – or in extreme cases, but only then, transfer of care.

Abortion is something many women mourn, particularly those who were conflicted or coerced, who wanted the baby, or who believed that abortion was morally wrong. Surprising as this may seem, even if the baby is terminally ill, abortion seems to produce for women significantly more despair, depression and avoidance than going through with the pregnancy. The hospice/palliative care approach, here as later in life, carries huge emotional benefits for those left behind.

Of course, most women are aborting not for fetal disability or sex selection, but simply due to personal circumstances. Women in poverty, and those who have been abandoned or abused, need real and positive help with their pregnancies. Such help is available from various sources in Britain, though not often publicized by abortion clinic personnel. The organization Be Here for Me gives a voice to women, often migrants lacking access to public resources, who accepted such positive help at the very last minute – help of which the clinic certainly did not make them aware. Again, far from regretting their born children, these women cannot speak too warmly of their children and of the support they received to keep them in some extremely fraught situations.

Most of us, even those who are pro-choice, regard the birth of a child who might otherwise have been aborted as a good thing. Birth, and life generally, pre- and post-natal, is to be celebrated, not deplored. And while Covid-19 is certainly a disease to fight with vigour, pregnancy is not. Indeed, it has been described by one author as “the most universal, accessible and prodigious symbol of peace man has ever been granted the privilege to perceive.”

Redeploying abortion resources to Covid-19 care, as in India, is the medical equivalent of beating swords into ploughshares. Contemplating peace and its challenges, the union leader Walter P Reuter remarked in 1953 that it was “fantastic and inhuman” that those in Wall Street and elsewhere should be afraid that “peace will break out”, and depression then follow.

For some of us, it is no less “fantastic and inhuman” that activists across the world should be so afraid of the escape of – hopefully – many babies in 2020, whose mothers will have not a mere painful memory, but a child in their arms.

This article has been republished with permission from The Conservative Woman UK.

‘The Billionaires Behind Abortion’ exposes ‘ultra-wealthy’ funders of global population control

  

In a newly-released eight-minute video, “The Billionaires Behind Abortion,” Live Action exposes the “who’s who” behind the push for population control—by means of contraception and abortion—from its beginnings to today. “Without the financial support of these billionaires,” says the video, “abortion would not be nearly as prevalent as it is.” The video is part of a new exposé by Live Action, “Abortion Pill Kills,” which reveals the largely unknown details surrounding a dangerous drug that has killed millions of preborn children and which has also injured and even killed women.

So who are these influential billionaires? Their names are probably very familiar. Watch:

 

The top funders of contraception and birth control worldwide are, according to the video, the foundations of Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft and the second richest man in the world), Warren Buffett (successful investor and the fourth richest man in the world), and William Hewlett and David Packard (the founders of the Hewlett-Packard corporation). Other funders include George Soros, The Ford Foundation (Henry Ford), and the Rockefeller Foundation (John D. Rockefeller, the world’s first billionaire).

The video notes that population control is the motive behind these philanthropists, stating that the Rockefeller family “was influential in the development of the American eugenics movement of the 1920s” which “later served as the basis for the eugenics movement in Nazi Germany.” John D. Rockefeller founded an organization called the Population Council after the atrocities of World War II.

Frederick Osborn, Rockefeller’s successor at the Population Council, was also the founding member of the American Eugenics Society. He believed strongly in birth control and abortion as “the great eugenic advances of our time.” A later Population Council president, Bernard Berelson, suggested that if voluntary birth control efforts were unsuccessful among the population, birth control agents should be put into the water supplies of urban areas.

Today, the Population Council is still operating full force, and is funded by many of the previously mentioned billionaires.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has long funded population control efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and, as seen in the video, has stated that funding “reproductive health” efforts has always been “the main thing” on the Gates Foundation’s list of priorities, especially “in the very poorest places.”

Billionaire Warren Buffett reportedly had a “Malthusian dread of overpopulation’s potential negative effects.” Billionaire David Packard, likewise, was concerned that overpopulation would cause other societal problems to “become unmanageable.”

Today, as the video states, these same billionaire philanthropists are funding efforts to expand access to the abortion pill. French pharmaceutical company Roussel-Uclaf donated the abortion pill’s patent rights to The Population Council in 1994. The Council formed Danco Laboratories to manufacture and market the pill in the U.S.

Screenshot

Danco has been “shrouded in secrecy,” notes the video, has “refus[ed] to release the names of its investors and executives,” and “has been shielded by the FDA, who in an unprecedented maneuver concealed the name and location of the manufacturer… as well as the names of the experts who reviewed the pill.” Buffett, Packard, and Soros have all invested financially in Danco. Gynuity Health Projects, a sponsor of U.S. clinical abortion pill trials, is also funded by many of these billionaire foundations, as is DKT International, which sells the abortion pill internationally.

As the video sums up, “The abortion movement has always been fueled by ultra-wealthy individuals as a means to control global populations, promoting the killing of children and exploitation of women under the guise of reproductive health and women’s rights.”

Sign the petition to ban the abortion pill here.

For more information on some of these billionaire investors, visit the links below:

Bill Gates

Funded by Bill Gates, this organization is marketing the abortion pill worldwide

‘Abortion is safer than childbirth’ — according to those who profit from abortion

Who’s paying millions for this abortion training program? Taxpayers.

Warren Buffett

If the abortion industry has its way, abortion will no longer be ‘between a woman and her doctor’

Who’s making millions from the sale of the abortion pill? The answer may surprise you.

Pro-abortion men led the push to legalize abortion. Now, another one leads the push to expand it.

Study endorses self-managed abortions for ‘public health’ reasons… funded by taxpayers

David Packard

UNCOVERED: Abortion pill investor now pouring millions into generic abortion pill company

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Study claiming abortion is safe was funded by those who profit from it, and the media fails to investigate

Who’s doing a new ‘TelAbortion’ abortion pill study? Groups who would profit from abortion’s expansion.

The secrecy surrounding the abortion pill’s maker and influential financial investors must end

George Soros

Who’s funding NPR, other media outlets slandering pro-lifers? George Soros.

George Soros and family are top donors to Planned Parenthood Votes

Seizures, blood clots, and depression: Why many women in the UK are leaving the Pill behind

 

In 2018, the BBC published several articles noting that British women were beginning to trend away from the birth control pill and were instead opting for long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARC) like IUDs and the implant. Reasons for this transition vary, including a desire for a “set it and forget it” method that doesn’t require taking medication at the same time every day. For other women, the side effects of the birth control pill led them to seek an alternative. In a brief video, the BBC shared a snapshot of these women’s experiences. Though a switch to LARCs is unsettling, what should not be overlooked is these women’s shared negative experiences taking birth control pills.

Each of the women interviewed for the BBC had a different reason for taking the Pill; some started taking it for health reasons, others were looking for reliable birth control. One woman had grown up believing that “if you were going to be having sex, like with a partner or anything, you would have to be taking the Pill. You know, you could use condoms, but if you were going to be in a relationship, you needed to go on the Pill.” Another woman started the Pill as a teen due to heavy periods that were causing her to miss high school.

And all of the women experienced side effects severe enough to outweigh any possible benefits to them.

Some of the side effects were physical. Two of the women developed blood clots, which are six times more likely to occur in women who are on the Pill versus non-users. While blood clots anywhere in the body are dangerous, one of the women developed a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs which can cause death even without prior symptoms. Other physical side effects of the Pill included significant weight gain “right off the bat,” whole-body muscle aches and heart palpitations, and migraines, which one woman said “would shock my body into so much pain that I would have seizures.”

Several of the women additionally experienced new onset mental illness. One woman recalled, “I would be awake for three days straight, because I had such insane anxiety attacks that I couldn’t sleep” and also would “have depressive attacks so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t go to school.” Even antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications did not resolve her struggles. Another woman reported developing depression and decreased sex drive. Unfortunately, new-onset depression, especially amongst teenage girls who go on the Pill, is far from uncommon. In fact, according to the BBC video, which cited CDC statistics, about 30% of American women who stopped taking the Pill did so due to “dissatisfaction,” with side effects being the most common reason for their dissatisfaction.

Despite all of these issues, when these women went to their doctors reporting new health concerns, few were told that the Pill might be causing their problems. The woman who experienced seizures due to Pill-induced migraines saw nine different neurologists in the United States and the UK over the course of two years, and tried out over 30 different medications for her migraines. The woman with the pulmonary embolism was misdiagnosed with “exercise-induced asthma” when she first went to her doctor with breathing difficulties. The woman on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications said she asked her doctor multiple times about a possible link between the Pill and anxiety and depression, but said, “No one once said anything about it, not the psychologists, or therapists, or gynecologists.”

Each of the eight women in the video eventually stopped taking the Pill, with unanimously positive results. The woman who went on antianxiety and antidepressant medications experienced significant improvements in her mental health after stopping the birth control. She asserted, “We should be telling young girls that they have options and that there are other ways to take care of your body and other ways to take charge of your reproductive health.”

That woman was right. Women and girls do have options for pregnancy avoidance and reproductive health issues that respect and work cooperatively with the natural rhythms of their bodies. Fertility awareness methods of family planning enable women to become experts about their own bodies and to use that information to achieve their personal and health goals, without any nasty side effects.

Why NFP is not just ‘Catholic contraception’

.- As someone who teaches couples about Natural Family Planning (NFP), Jeanice Vinduska most often fields questions of doubt from couples who are used to artificial means of contraception, such as birth control pills and IUDs.

It can be difficult to convince some people that a natural means of planning and spacing children is effective and worthwhile, especially in a culture where artificial contraception is widely accepted and used, Vinduska told CNA.

But Vinduska also fields questions from Catholics and Christians who are dubious of NFP because they are concerned it could be contraceptive too.

“I had a woman in my parish who said…’Well, this is just natural contraception,’” Vinduska recalled. Vinduska works as the co-director of the FertilityCare Center of Omaha, with the St. Paul VI Institute, which specializes in teaching women and couples the Creighton method of NFP.

The Creighton method is a method of NFP that tracks cervical mucus as a symptom of fertility in women. It can be used by couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy, and it can also help diagnose conditions like endometriosis.

But methods of NFP differ from artificial means of contraception in that they do not do anything to disrupt the sexual act, Vinduska said. “Contraception basically prevents fertilization. It prevents human life,” she said. “Oral contraception can even act as an abortifacient.”

NFP, on the other hand, allows married couples to track their fertile and infertile days and to decide when to be sexually intimate and when to abstain from sex, based on what is best for their family at that time, Vinduska said.

And unlike contraception, NFP is approved by the Catholic Church as a means of planning and spacing children in accordance with God’s plan.

The ‘quiverfull’ movement

Some Christians are part of the “quiverfull” movement, which gets its name from Psalm 127: 3-5: “Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.”

Christians with a “quiverfull” mentality towards family planning believe that they should have as many children as God will give them, and refuse the use of contraception or Natural Family Planning. They also do not attempt to resolve any physical defects that cause infertility, which they also see as God’s will.

But the “quiverfull” mentality has never been a part of the teaching of the Catholic Church, Vinduska said.

“That’s never been a teaching. It’s more about being open to life and finding a responsible way of family planning, of fertility regulation.”

Dr. Janet Smith is a Catholic theologian and author of “Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later” and “Self-Gift: Essays on Humanae Vitae and the Thought of John Paul II.” She has frequently written and spoken about Humanae Vitae, including in her signature talk, entitled “Contraception: Why Not”.

Smith said the Catholic Church instead teaches that God has given humans reason and freedom to choose to have children freely, or to abstain when they are fertile.

“God gives us the possibility of pursuing many goods; he forbids us from doing evil, but permits us to choose freely between goods,” Smith told CNA.

“Some couples are blessed with many resources both material and spiritual that enables them to have many children, but others need to limit their family size because of various difficulties in their lives. Certainly couples should be generous in their child-bearing, but the Church teaches that for serious or just reasons spouses may limit their family size,” she said.

NFP differs from contraception by allowing the couples to fully participate in the marital embrace without removing the possibility of conceiving, Smith noted. The Church supports NFP because it does nothing to change the meaning of the marital act.

“Contraception undercuts that meaning since it removes the commitment-making power of procreation.”

Church teaching also differs from the quiverfull mentality in that couples experiencing fertility are also free to attempt to remedy physical defects so that they may have children, Smith said.

“[I]f couples have correctable physical defects that prevent them from conceiving, it is fully in accord with God’s will that they attempt to have those defects repaired,” she said.

Humanae Vitae

Pope Paul VI, for which the institute in Omaha is named, wrote one of the most oft-referenced encyclicals on the subject of marriage, sexuality and family planning in his encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae.

In it, Pope Paul VI first states that “the transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.”

In section 10 of the letter, the pope states: “Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood.”

Rightly understood, responsible parenthood is exercised “[w]ith regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions…by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time.”

What serious reasons are serious enough?

Pope Paul VI wrote that while Catholic couples are free to exercise their reason and freedom in planning their families, they also must involve God in their decisions.

“[T]hey are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow,” he wrote. “On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out.”

Smith said that there are a variety of serious reasons for which couples may decide to avoid having children for a time or an indefinite period, depending on the circumstances.

“For example, if a family is financially strapped and can’t pay the bills, it would make sense to postpone having a child; if the wife has serious health conditions that a pregnancy would exacerbate or if she has duties that are so consuming (such as caring for an elderly parent or challenging child) another child may be an excessive burden,” Smith said.

Vinduska said she has worked with couples to avoid pregnancies for certain periods of time for such reasons. For example, she said, one woman was on a strong medication for a disease that made her bones brittle that would have caused serious defects if she were to become pregnant; other women with cancer have needed to avoid pregnancy while going through treatment.

The woman was successfully able to avoid a pregnancy while on the medication using the Creighton method, Vinduska said.

“We want to make sure that they are using a natural system and following their moral beliefs,” she said. “And they don’t have to be Catholic to do this. We teach NFP for everybody.”

Smith said that NFP could even be used for lesser reasons. During a 2018 talk at for a symposium at Benedictine College, Smith noted that couples can morally abstain from having sex for all kinds of non-fertility related reasons: someone has a headache, the couple wants to catch a sports game, or finish a movie, or they are staying somewhere with thin walls, and so on.

In those instances, Smith said, it is perfectly moral to abstain from sex.

“So I have a simple question for you. Why would it be wrong not to have sex because it’s not a good idea to have a child at that time?” she said.

The Church does not mandate any particular amount that couples must be sexually intimate, she said.

However, she told CNA, couples should “keep praying that God will let them know if they are being selfish,” although she added, “that selfishness is usually incompatible with long term use of NFP since only the virtuous and unselfish can use NFP over a long period of time.”

The benefits of NFP for marriage

Both Vinduska and Smith said that using a method of Natural Family Planning can be very beneficial for couples.

Vinduska said one of the biggest benefits of using NFP in a marriage is that it improves “communication, especially communicating where they’re at with their fertility and infertility. If the couple is charting together, it’s not such a surprise for either one of them where they’re at in their cycle.”

Something else that benefits couples using NFP is using the periods of abstinence to reconnect in ways other than sexuality, Vinduska said. She said she encourages couples she works with to use these times to develop common hobbies and interests, which serve to strengthen their relationship in other ways.

“Once you’re married, you kind of slip a little bit in doing the things like you did when you were dating,” she said. “But you shouldn’t have to always spend a lot of money. If you both like the outdoors, find a time to set aside to go hiking, go to a park. Maybe they can garden together, take up a new activity that gives them that sense of doing something together.”

The low divorce rates among NFP using couples speak for themselves, Smith added.

“The fact that couples using NFP almost never divorce…is a very revealing fact. NFP is a lot more than abstaining during the time a woman is fertile; it is a method that requires a lot of communication and shared values,” she said.

“It fosters the virtues of patience and ability to sacrifice. Women in couples who use NFP believe their husbands are exceptional (and husbands love that) and know their husbands love them for more than their sexual availability – a feeling that delightfully leads to them wanting to be more available (and their husbands love that).”

Abortion appointments stop after priest makes Sign of Cross with Blessed Sacrament over killing center

BELLEVUE, Nebraska, July 22, 2020, (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates in Nebraska joined together for a prayer rally across the parking lot of an abortion center that included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The prayer rally included a priest making the sign of the cross over the killing center with the Blessed Sacrament.

Pro-lifers on the ground told LifeSiteNews that after the prayer rally, there were no abortion appointments at the center on the usual killing days (Friday and Saturday), something that has not happened since they’ve been doing sidewalk advocacy there. It remains unclear if abortions will resume tomorrow (Thursday).

At one point during the prayer event, Fr. Michael Voithofer, the founder and leader of Ablaze, made the sign of the cross over the abortion center with the Blessed Sacrament. He also prayed the St. Michael prayer written by Pope Leo XIII and recited the litany of the saints.

Dr. Patrick Castle, the founder of Life Runners, told LifeSiteNews that their goal is to “end abortion now.” He pointed out how “one in three women in America have had an abortion; one in five conceptions in America end in abortion.”

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Pro-lifers pray and sing in front of abortion center in Bellevue, Nebraska, July 16, 2020.

Castle said that abortion takes more lives than all “combat casualties in the history of our country.” He explained that the fight to end abortion is a “spiritual war.”

“We did a holy battle there,” he continued, “to push back the demonic, to claim that space in the Lord’s name.” Castle hopes to “memorialize the unborn that have been slaughtered there (at the abortion center).”

“Abortion is the greatest WMD, weapon of mass destruction,” Castle said. “It is the leading cause of death on the planet.” He said that the Holy Eucharist, “the most powerful spiritual weapon,” was used to fight abortion during the July 16 rally.

“The ground is blessed now so the mothers that go into the clinic will be walking on blessed ground in their moment of crisis,” he continued.

This was the first known time that the sign of the cross was made over the center with the Blessed Sacrament. Just last month, a Mass was celebrated across from the abortion center.

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Pro-lifers lift their hands in prayer in front of abortion center in Bellevue, Nebraska, July 16, 2020.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Fr. Michael said the fight to end abortion is a “spiritual battle.” He explained that, “praise is really a weapon we can use to ward off evil.”

“Our battle is not against people; it’s against demons,” he continued. “The devil wants to sacrifice these children.”

Offering prayer to God through singing is like a “blast of light that demons can’t stand,” said the priest.

By making the sign of the Cross with the Blessed Sacrament over the abortion center, Fr. Michael said he fought against “the demons and spirits that are behind this evil of abortion.”

“What perpetuates the abortion industry,” he explained, “is a demonic stronghold” that seeks to “destroy human life.”

“Every pregnant woman is a reminder to Satan that he’s done — he lost — because every pregnant mother reminds Satan of the Blessed Mother.”

The Carhart center is open for abortion usually on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week. However, after the prayer rally on Thursday evening, the center did not perform abortions Friday and Saturday, according to pro-life eyewitnesses on the ground. It remains to be seen if the center will resume abortions later this week.

“They didn’t have any abortion appointments on Fri and Sat. We were there. Fri and Sat without abortion appointments hasn’t happened since I’ve been doing sidewalk advocacy there, 3 years.  Praise God!,” Castle told LifeSiteNews.

Castle encouraged pro-lifers to go to abortion centers to fight with the weapon of prayer.

“We know that that is often enough for a mom to not turn in to that abortion facility,” he said.

The prayer vigil occurred during the pro-life Across America Relay, sponsored by LIFE Runners. The relay began on July 4 from the north, south, east, and west coasts of the United States. Four groups will walk or run 5359 miles in 5-kilometer legs, meeting in Kansas City on August 9 for a mass celebrated by Archbishop Naumann.

The only requirement to be a LIFE Runners is to wear a “REMEMBER The Unborn” jersey as “a public witness to impact hearts and minds for saving lives.” LIFE Runners has 14,657 members in 2,553 cities across 39 nations.

Castle explained the importance of wearing these jerseys, “78% of post abortion mothers say that if just one person had encouraged them to choose life of if they saw an encouraging sign to choose life, they would not have aborted their child.”

Castle explained that pro-lifers can sign up to remotely participate by walking or running 5 KM legs while wearing LIFE Runners jerseys anywhere in the world.

WHO PROGRAM OF SEX ED FOR KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR

The curriculum suggested by the United Nations health organization promotes aberrant sexuality for children, claiming their guidelines supersede those of the parents. This takes on chilling implications when considering the history of rape and pedophilia within the organization.

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health, established in 2003 at the German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) focused on establishing standards for sexuality education, providing guidance for implementation and support the implementation of training programs for educators.   The program has been translated into several languages and used internationally.  The program was produced in a framework document for the development of sexuality education. It has been used in at least 14 countries to develop or adapt curricula for sexuality education and/or for advocacy towards decision-makers.

The WHO curriculum suggests that children ages four to six, the  be given information “about friendship and love towards people of the same sex” and “same-sex relationships,” and be guided to develop “an open, non-judgmental attitude.”

The WHO also removes the authority of the parents in such matters, establishing its standards as superseding those.

“As argued,” reads the document, “parents, other family members, and other informal sources are important for learning about human relationships and sexuality, especially for younger age groups.

In 2018, Andrew MacLeod, the former chief of operations at the UN’s Emergency Co-ordination Center claimed that an estimated 60,000 cases of sexual exploitation had been committed over the last decade by 3,300 pedophiles working in the organization.

“Child rape crimes are being inadvertently funded, in part, by United Kingdom tax-payers,” he said in an interview with British tabloid The Sun. At the same time,  UN Secretary-General António Guterres admitted that the UN had “wrestled for many years with the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse,” as reported by the British newspaper The Times. In early 2017 the United Nations Secretary-General admitted to 145 incidents involving 311 victims in 2016 alone, mainly in peace operations.

“Under the guise of community worker, claiming to educate poor kids and provide the necessary support, he had been sexually exploiting these children. We have developed a sound network to track down and arrest pedophiles entering Nepal. We had been following Dalglish’s activities for the last two weeks after we were tipped about his activities,” CIB chief and Deputy Inspector General of Police, Pushkar Karki said, according to the Kathmandu Post.

Prior to his stint in Nepal, he had worked for a number of United Nations agencies and was the U.N.-Habitat country representative for Afghanistan.

He was also part of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response in Liberia until January 2016 and has been an advisor to the World Health Organization to help tackle the spread of the disease.

Oxford University and AstraZeneca Making Coronavirus Vaccine Using Cells From Aborted Babies

STEVEN ERTELT

Multiple possible coronavirus vaccines that are on a fast track for development as the world awaits a vaccine to deal with the international pandemic. But one of the COVID-19 vaccines that is receiving the most attention is also the most controversial because it relies on cells from the body part of an aborted baby.

Despite a strong outcry from pro-life and Catholic leaders and despite ethical alternatives being available, a number of research teams still are using the cells from aborted babies in their work. These include Janssen Research & Development USA, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, and the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which could be the first to make a coronavirus vaccine available in the United States.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca team appears to be in first place in the vaccine race and doses of the vaccine were given to 1,077 healthy adults aged between 18 and 55 in five UK hospitals in April and May as part of phase one of the clinical trial. A new paper published in The Lancet medical journal revealed the vaccine appears safe and induces a strong immune response following the first phase of human trials. It also appears to be helping the human body make antibodies by the body’s B cells, which is very helpful in staving off the virus in the future.

But the vaccine is not without ethical concerns.

The team at Oxford University is developing the vaccine using the HEK 293 cell-line. This cell-line was originally created from tissue taken from the kidney of an unborn child probably aborted in 1972.

Dr Anthony McCarty, a pro-life physician in the UK, spoke out about the moral concerns.

“For those of us who see the original abortion as the unjustified taking of the life of the unborn child, such use of the products of abortion, even a cell line derived from the original tissue, risks sending out a harmful social message concerning the value of early human life,” he said.

Dr McCarthy added: “Even those not opposed to all abortion may well have serious and substantial moral concerns over practices which seem to treat opportunistically the remains of an aborted unborn child. Society needs to respect the consciences of its members who uphold the inviolability of human life from conception and who do not wish to be involved in anything they may see as complicit with the unjust taking of such life.”

In April 2020 the British pro-life group SPUC wrote a letter to Jo Churchill the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care), requesting that the Government make available vaccines which are not made using cell lines originally derived from the tissue of aborted unborn children.

Some vaccines are being developed without the use of foetal cell lines. These vaccines may involve plant or animal cells. For example: cells from insects, tobacco plants and hamster ovaries. A team at Imperial College London is working on a ‘synthetic’ vaccine i.e. a ‘cell-free’ method. There are no pro-life concerns with these vaccines.

Other researchers also using cell lines from aborted babies include CanSino Biologics, Inc. and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the University of Pittsburgh, Science reports. Some are using a cell line from a baby who was aborted sometime around 1972, while others are using one from a baby who was aborted in 1985.

University of Pittsburgh researcher Andrea Gambotto said the cell lines from aborted babies are more useful than ethically-derived sources.

“Cultured [nonhuman] animal cells can produce the same proteins, but they would be decorated with different sugar molecules, which—in the case of vaccines—runs the risk of failing to evoke a robust and specific immune response,” Gambotto said.

But other scientists disagree. Earlier this year, the Charlotte Lozier Institute identified 60 potential treatments for the virus that are being investigated using materials that do not come from aborted babies.

Respected researchers Drs. James L. Sherley, MD, PhD and David A. Prentice, PhD recently reviewed the vaccines in development for the coronavirus and published a list identifying which are being made ethically and unethically. They found at least 10 companies that are not using cell lines from aborted babies in their vaccines.

Pro-life leaders also have highlighted how ethical alternatives to cell lines from aborted babies are available, including pluripotent stem cells and tissue from placentas, umbilical cords and amniotic fluid. In 2018, the Trump administration created a $20 million grant to invest in these ethical research alternatives.

Catholic and pro-life organizations have been advocating against research using aborted baby body parts for years. During the coronavirus crisis, they have renewed calls to scientists to abide by basic ethical standards in their efforts to save lives.

According to the Catholic News Agency, a Canadian Catholic archbishop recently took his pro-life advocacy a step further by donating thousands of dollars to an ethical vaccine research project at the University of British Columbia.

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure vaccines are being produced ethically.

“… we think it’s very important at this moment to let the voice not only of the Church but other concerned citizens to voice that we want to—we all want a vaccine, we realize that’s important for our public health, but we also want a vaccine that has no ethical problems in the way it’s developed,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, earlier this spring.

US Catholics urged to take part in Natural Family Planning Awareness Week

Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week is slated for 19 to 25 July this year, and has for its theme: “Live the truth and beauty of God’s plan for married love!”

This annual week-long event is a national educational campaign of the Natural Family Planning Program of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference that promotes Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

According to the U.S. Bishops, Natural Family Planning is the general title for “the scientific, natural and moral methods of family planning that can help couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies.”

The week highlights the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968) on human life, and the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (26 July), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Natural Family Planning

The Church teaches that the “Sacrament of matrimony symbolizes Christ’s relationship with His Church…a relationship of total, faithful, permanent and fruitful love,” the Bishops explained in their Prayer and Liturgy guide for the event.

Therefore, when couples live out their vocation according to the Church’s teachings, especially with regard to the transmission of life, they grow in “holiness and consequent deepening of their respect and awe of God’s gift of human sexuality, marriage and family.”

NFP methods are based on the “observation of the naturally occurring signs of symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle, ” the Bishops said. It requires “no drugs, no devices or surgical procedures” to avoid pregnancy

2020 NFP Awareness Week

Every year, the USCCB’s Natural Family Planning Program issues a poster, alongside basic supportive materials for the campaign. However, it is individual dioceses that offer a variety of educational formats best suited for the local church to focus on NFP methods and their use in marriage.

The USSCB materials for this year’s event include among others, homily aids for priests and deacons, documents and articles on the Church’s teachings on NFP, and stories from real-life couples who have put the method to use.

In one of the stories, the writer recounts that after taking an NFP class, she understood “the relationship that God designed between the marital act and procreation” and it made her “open to life.”

“Today, I am confident that had I not been open to life in the practice of NFP,” she said. “I would not have needed to depend on God, and not have grown as a person. This growth benefits my family and the people I meet in everyday life. Jesus calls us to serve others. Marriage and parenthood are ways we can immediately apply this call in our lives.”

Expanding access to the abortion pill poses health risks to women

 

(National Review) Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, women do not need to abide by a policy requiring that they go to a medical facility in order to obtain chemical-abortion drugs. The ruling by a U.S. district judge in Maryland, Theodore D. Chuang, stated that the “in-person requirements” were a “substantial obstacle” to women seeking abortions. As a result, the ruling allows health-care providers to mail or otherwise deliver abortion pills directly to women.

During the recent pandemic, supporters of legal abortion have been aggressive in their efforts to expand access to chemical abortions. In March, a coalition of 21 state attorneys general wrote to the commissioner of the FDA requesting that it loosen its safety regulations for chemical abortions. In June, more than 100 members of Congress made a similar request of the FDA.

Unfortunately, this decision by Judge Chuang likely will have adverse effects on women’s health.  There is a body of research suggesting that chemical abortions pose significantly greater health risks to women than surgical abortions do. One of the best studies on this subject was published in 2015 after obtaining comprehensive and reliable data from Medicaid billing records in California. It found that chemical abortions result in a complication rate four times higher than the complication rate for first-trimester surgical abortions. The risk of a major complication with a chemical abortion was nearly twice as high as the risk of a major complication with a first-trimester surgical abortion. It seems likely that, if a higher number of chemical abortions are conducted without medical supervision, the risks of a complication will only increase.

 

Some supporters of loosening restrictions on chemical abortion cite a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology surveying chemical abortions provided via tele-medicine im Iowa and purporting to show that those procedures were safe. However, that study had a number of shortcomings.

For instance, it used data from a survey of Iowa hospitals, with only a 35 percent response rate. It also failed to hold constant the gestational age of the unborn child and other factors that could increase the health risks involved with obtaining an abortion. Finally, the authors of the study admitted that some respondents might not have reviewed medical records and instead relied on their recall of events, making it possible that some adverse events were excluded. As a result of those shortcomings, this study should not be taken as a definitive data point regarding the safety of tele-med abortions.

There is evidence that the incidence of abortion has increased during the pandemic. According to a CBS News article from April, some abortion facilities have reported an increase in the number of women seeking abortions.

Meanwhile, ABC News reported that many “abortion funds,” which use private donations to subsidize abortions, had seen an increase in requests for help funding abortions. Data from Florida this spring show that the number of abortions in the state has increased by nearly 7 percent since a similar point in time last year. It is unfortunate that judges and policymakers are prioritizing access to medically risky chemical abortions instead of finding creative ways to support pregnant women in need.

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

Using reproductive technologies to avoid suffering has led to suffering of its own

 

The coronavirus pandemic has served for many as a forceful reminder of our mortality as humans. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that the transhumanism movement capitalizes on such fears, touting the promise of “eternal life through advanced technology” to bolster support for what otherwise might be considered extremist or unethical goals.

Currently, nanorobots (and other artificial intelligence), prosthetics and implants, and genetic engineering are the most favored technologies of the transhumanist movement, whose 1998 Transhumanist Declaration sought “the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.” According to a 2019 Areo magazine article, these ideas are being adopted and used by companies like Google, Apple, Tesla, and Space X and financially backed by Silicon Valley executives like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, and Peter Thiel of PayPal and Palantir, and more.

In some ways, transhumanism’s pursuit of a future without suffering is already being aggressively pursued through artificial reproductive technologies (ART). Preimplantation genetic testing and genetic testing during pregnancy offer a false hope for a future without suffering—and surrogacy, womb transplants, and three-parent babies promise a baby at all costs.

All of these technologies lead to the commodification of human beings, dehumanizing the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

READ: Woman’s DNA test shows 29 siblings, thanks to unchecked fertility industry

 

Preimplantation genetic testing, preimplantation genetic screening, and “designer babies”

On the surface, preimplantation genetic testing done on embryos conceived through IVF seems like a positive means of preventing disease. When performed on embryos who have one parent with a known genetic abnormality, it is known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). When performed on embryos as a generic screen for a plethora of potential problems, it’s called preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Families in which one parent has cystic fibrosis are just one example of potential candidates for PGD. Yet some would go so far as to say that even if families don’t have trouble getting pregnant, they have a “duty” to themselves and/or their potential children to use IVF to avoid having children with the same genetic condition. Families who have sought IVF after years of unexplained infertility are also potential candidates for PGS.

In plain language, the thinking goes that if getting pregnant is this costly and time-intensive, you had better be getting your money’s worth. While screening embryos with the goal of avoiding future suffering is understandable (yet misguided), that’s not the only reason for preimplantation genetic testing. “Designer babies” can also be chosen based on arbitrary characteristics like height, weight, eye color, and more. No matter what the reason, PGD and PGS lend themselves to the commodification of human beings, treating preborn people as “manufactured goods,” with the natural end results of genetically inferior embryos being discarded like so much excess waste.

Prenatal genetic testing for eugenic purposes

Once children have been conceived, via whatever means, they face another existential threat in the form of prenatal genetic testing. While genetic testing falsely promises to alleviate future suffering, it has been used repeatedly for eugenic purposes. Initially developed for “high-risk” mothers only, genetic testing is now offered to all expectant mothers in the United States as part of routine prenatal care. These screening tests are not 100% accurate, and positive results are meant to be confirmed with other diagnostic tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, but there have been known cases of abortion based on the results of screening tests alone.

Being able to diagnose children prenatally has led to “wrongful birth” lawsuits like this one over a girl born with cystic fibrosis. Iceland has gained notoriety for nearly “eradicating” Down syndrome… by aborting every single baby diagnosed prenatally with it. In the United States, the abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome is more difficult to ascertain, but is estimated to also be high.

Surrogacy, womb transplants, and three-parent babies viewed as “progress”

The Areo article noted, “Some transhumanists view a wish to obtain satisfaction from natural bodily functions, such as carrying a baby to term and experiencing the various associated biological and emotional sensations, as anti-progress.” Since part of transhumanism has a goal of pushing the limits of what is physically possible, it is no wonder that surrogacy, womb transplants, and three-parent babies are all promoted in the name of progress.

Surrogacy has been criticized internationally as reproductive human trafficking by essentially turning women—especially poor women—into “wombs for hire.” Even in situations of “altruistic surrogacy” in which the mother is not paid, the potential for abuse still exists, as surrogate mothers are vulnerable to pressure to abort the babies they carry if the genetic parents change their minds.

Womb transplants are also fraught with ethical concerns, like potential risks to both mother and baby, and the exploitation of vulnerable women as with surrogacy. Three-parent babies are already being born in Europe. Speaking of this process, which involves manipulation of two women’s eggs before fertilization by a man’s sperm in a laboratory, bioethicist Fr. Tad Pacholczyk noted, “The final egg produced really belongs to neither woman, so that the technological manipulations introduce a fissure between any child conceived from the engineered egg and both ‘mothers.’ The child becomes ‘distanced’ and to a significant degree ‘orphaned’ from both women involved in the process.”

Transhumanism’s tenets are already being promoted within the artificial reproductive technology (ART) industry, and these current practices are already leading to devastating situations. This shouldn’t surprise us. After all, as Areo states, “If we see bodies as little more than parts, to be artificially generated, assembled and disassembled, we need not associate them with human rights, nor should any biological process be viewed as exclusive to any particular group.”

Why are pro-lifers concerned about Communion in the hand?

July 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday, July 16, some of the most well-known pro-life heroes from all over the world will proclaim that out of love and reverence due to Our Lord they would never receive Holy Communion in the hand.

That message will be apart of the, “Love and reverence to Our Lord: Let’s always receive Holy Communion on the tongue” online conference, which is set to begin at 12:00 p.m. noon EST and run until 2:30 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 16, 2020. You can watch the conference on LifeSite’s YouTube channel and on the LifeSiteNews Catholic Facebook page for free. To visit the LifeSite YouTube channel, click here. For more information about the conference, click here.

Some of the world’s most famous converts to Catholicism will explain why they will never receive Communion in the hand. Those voices who you will hear from include Abby Johnson, the head of the March for Life in Italy, the founder of the March for Life in New Zealand, the President of the largest pro-life group in Canada, the President of the organization best known for pro-life lobbying at the United Nations, the CEO of the oldest pro-life group in all the world based in the UK and the daughter of a proclaimed saint in the Catholic Church who’s mother was proclaimed a saint for giving up her life so that her unborn child could live.

Have you ever wondered why pro-life advocates are making such a big deal about receiving Holy Communion on the tongue kneeling and not receiving Holy Communion on the hand? Doesn’t that seem strange? Why would they be doing that? Why would they risk the credibility they have to push for something so seemingly obscure? I’m going to tell you why so many of them are ready to sacrifice themselves, and their reputations for this.

Pro-life activists all over the world spend their lives defending the reality of hidden life, of the child hidden in the womb of his or her mother. That life is not recognized, not valued, by most of society. Many fail to recognize the inestimable value of the child in the womb precisely because these children are not seen, the truth of their lives, even though they are there and very much-alive is concealed in the wombs of their mothers.

In very much the same way Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, is not seen and thus not recognized for Who He truly is in the Sacred Host. Our Lord and God conceals Himself under the appearance of a wafer of bread, and yet it is He, the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords-in-the-flesh Whom we are called to receive in Holy Communion.

The same Savior Who sacrificed Himself in the terrible passion and crucifixion to save you and me from eternal damnation is right there before us in Holy Communion. If we truly recognized Him how could we fail to show Him the reverence He is due? If we bow before Princes and Kings of this world, if we salute the powerful and make acts of self-effacing love towards those on earth to whom we are most devoted, how can we not be on our knees before Almighty God and Our Greatest Love compared to Whom we are to disdain all earthly loves?

Now what I’m about to say may be very controversial but it’s a thought that came to me while praying and meditating about this subject. It was that kind of inspiration that makes you feel you have to share it even though it seems very socially awkward and you worry about it being offensive to some.

It is relates the pro-life struggle directly to Communion in the Hand. Of course the primary reason for not receiving Holy Communion in the hand is the awe and reverence due Our Lord and the need to have the consecrated hands of the priests and ordinary ministers of Holy Communion handle Our Lord in the Eucharist with consecrated hands. However, from the most ancient times of the Church, the Fathers spoke of the need to guard the fragments of the Eucharist from being lost.

The most well known quote used to promote Communion in the hand is attributed to St. Cryril of Alexandria in the 300s. However the quote of his used is most often taken out of context. While he did speak of receiving Communion in the hand, his main emphasis was to warn against losing the fragments.

Here is what he said in full:

Approaching therefore, do not come forward with the palms of the hands outstretched nor with the fingers apart, but making the left [hand] a throne for the right since this hand is about to receive the King. Making the palm hollow, receive the Body of Christ, adding “Amen”. Then, carefully sanctifying the eyes by touching them with the holy Body, partake of it, ensuring that you do not mislay any of it.

Be careful that you do not lose anything of the Body of the Lord. If you let fall anything, you must think of it as though you cut off one of the members of your own body. Tell me, I beg you, if someone gave you kernels of gold, would you not guard them with the greatest care and diligence, intent on not losing anything? Should you not exercise even greater care and vigilance, so that not even a crumb of the Lord’s Body could fall to the ground, for It is far more precious than gold or jewels?

So where does this tie in to the pro-life movement?

One of the things that has been most distressing over the last 50 years has been the deception that has gone on in the medical field concealing the grim realities of abortion. One of the biggest deceptions was over the abortifacient nature of the birth control pill. For decades women were unaware that the birth control pill could cause abortions, for decades women were inadvertently aborting their children and had no clue about it.

They were told by doctors that the pill was healthy, even good for their ability to have children when they wanted them. And yet the grim reality was that the pill caused the lining of the uterus to be inhospitable to life such that with breakthrough ovulations resulting in conception of a new life, that newly conceived child could not implant in the uterine wall.

It struck me that this is very very similar to what we’ve experienced in the Church for the last 50 years, where with Communion in the Hand our bishops and priests for the most part never told us of the danger of the fragments falling to the floor. Never explained the reality of Jesus being present in those small fragments as He is in the full Sacred Host.

We have for 50 years been counselled to receive Our Lord in such a way that had us participate inadvertently in the trampling of Our Lord with our feet at Mass. We were told communion in the hand was a better way to receive, a more dignified way, a superior way for mature Christians. And now we have some bishops and priests suggesting, despite contrary opinion from some physicians, that communion in the hand is a healthier way to receive due to Coronavirus. And never in all that time did they explain about guarding the fragments.

These thoughts were germinated with the statement of Bishop Athanasius Schneider written in his most recent book-length interview with former LifeSite correspondent Diane Montagna, Christus Vincit.

“There is the grievous fact of the loss of Eucharistic fragments because of Communion in the hand. No one can deny this,” he wrote. “Fragments of the consecrated host fall to the floor and are subsequently crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God is trampled on in our churches! No one can deny it.”

That part about the Our Lord’s Body in Holy Communion being ‘crushed’ via the practice of reception of Holy Communion in the hand

Pro-lifers seek to stop abortionists from laying their hands on the child in the womb and violating them, literally stop them from crushing the precious child in the womb.

And that is exactly the same with the Holy Eucharist which when received in the hand has fragments and particles scattered on the floor and trampled and crushed by the feet of parishioners. Even though each particle is Jesus Himself.  The awe and reverence due our Lord and this desecration of the Holy Eucharist are exactly why Communion in unconsecrated hands was banned for over 1000 years in the Church until it was reintroduced in 1969, right around the same time abortion came to most of the world.

New demographic study predicts ‘jaw-dropping’ population decline this century

By Paul Smeaton

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A new study on global population trends by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has concluded that falling fertility rates will lead to a dramatic decline in global population by the end of this century.

Professor Christopher Murray, one of the authors of the study published in The Lancet, told the BBC that the findings are “jaw-dropping.”

The BBC report says that in 1950 an average of 4.7 children were being born for every woman, but that by 2017 that number had fallen to 2.4 and is expected to continue to fall significantly in the coming years.

In many countries the fertility rate is already beneath 2.1, the minimum average number needed for a population to replace itself.

This means that while global population numbers continue to reach all-time highs, the numbers are expected to peak before rapidly declining later this century.

Japan, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, and South Korea are among 23 countries “expected to see their population more than halve” by 2100.

“It makes me worried because I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wonder what the world will be like,” he said, “we need a soft landing.”

The BBC report says that the fall in fertility rates is “being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children” and says that “[in] many ways” this is a “success story.”

“Responding to population decline is likely to become an overriding policy concern in many nations, but must not compromise efforts to enhance women’s reproductive health or progress on women’s rights,” Professor Stein Emil Vollset, another of the study’s authors, said.

“I find people laugh it off; they can’t imagine it could be true, they think women will just decide to have more kids,” Murray said.

“If you can’t [find a solution] then eventually the species disappears, but that’s a few centuries away,” he added.

The study also predicts that the population of sub-Saharan Africa will treble in size to more than three billion people by 2100, with Nigeria becoming the world’s second biggest country.

“We will have many more people of African descent in many more countries as we go through this,” Murray said.

Noting the role played by migration in sustaining population numbers where the fertility rate is below replacement level, such as the U.S., Canada, and the majority of Western European nations, Murray says that “[w]e will go from the period where it’s a choice to open borders, or not, to frank competition for migrants, as there won’t be enough.”

Population analysts have long argued that policies around the world promoting contraception and abortion are leading to an inevitable “demographic winter.” In 2007 a U.N. report described the global demographic trends of decreased fertility and ageing populations as “a process without parallel in the history of humanity.”

Many social commentators have noted that while birth rates continue to decline among post-Christian secularists in European nations, the birth rate among Islamic communities in those countries is generally considerably higher.

Not Your Usual Sex Ed: The Unexpected Results of Teaching Teens Fertility Awareness

Do you remember your first “very special” health class? Mine was taught by a middle-aged lady whose first priority was eliminating dirty fingernails. She stalked around our fifth-grade public school classroom, examining each girl’s hands, prepared to name and shame any offenders.

Besides the hygiene review, we also received a blurry diagram of the female reproductive system. The teacher unconvincingly strove to impress upon us that we each had inside ourselves a duplicate of this diagram, and that soon these organs would power on, like a self-aware computer. As far as I was concerned it may as well have been a map of the battle of Gettysburg, labeled entirely in French.

She explained that an egg would one day travel down one of our tubes like a marble, and if that egg wasn’t fertilized by sperm, “it” would happen. “It,” the teacher made clear, was an unstoppable part of life. The train was bearing down upon us and there was no way to unstrap ourselves from the track. Carnage—ahem, menstruation—was inevitable.

We also watched a sappy video produced under the mistaken assumption that all tween girls long with their whole hearts to get their periods, grow breasts, and most of all, be noticed by boys. I was in no hurry to grow up, and I experienced the same feeling of loneliness I got from reading Judy Blume novels. The girls in the video, like the characters in the Judy books, seemed anxious and very unhappy, so I was glad their problem was not my problem. Still, was there something wrong with me? Should I be worried that I wasn’t worried about eggs and tubes and bras?

Unless you were very lucky, you can probably tell a similar story about your first sex-ed experience. It was probably strange, awkward, and not what you needed. Can you imagine another way? What if the way kids learned the “facts of life” was positive, useful, and even feminist?

Fertility awareness has been grabbing headlines recently as women discover one of medicine’s best kept secrets—that they can plan their families without being chained to a pill bottle. But fertility awareness is not, at its core, about avoiding pregnancy. It proposes the radical notion that women are people with bodies that deserve to be studied, understood, and appreciated. I spoke with three women helping lead the fertility awareness charge to find out what that looks like with teenagers.

Sex ed that teen girls actually want to learn

Cassie Moriarty is a women’s health dynamo based in New York City—she’s a certified breastfeeding counselor, a trained DONA postpartum doula, and knows multiple methods of natural family planning. She’s also a certified teacher for FEMM, a comprehensive women’s program that helps women understand how their cycle intersects with their health.

“I got involved with TeenFEMM when I was training with FEMM,” Moriarty says. “I saw it as such an opportunity. I view sex ed as something that happens periodically throughout one’s life rather than a conversation that happens once; sex ed should happen even throughout your twenties. The idea of teaching teens about fertility awareness sets a great foundation for young girls with their bodies.”

Moriarty works with clients of all ages, usually in small groups or in one-on-one sessions, sometimes even with OB/GYNs alongside teens who are dealing with hormonal disorders. Regardless of the setting, the material hits home.

“Honestly teens are some of my best students!” says Moriarty. “For one, they are in the swing of learning. They are used to having homework and pop quizzes. Almost everyone I have taught has been bright, mature, curious, and excited . . . they are usually more intrigued than embarrassed. I joke that the couples I work with who are getting married sometimes act more squeamish than a 13-year-old girl.”

I asked Moriarty what young women can learn from fertility awareness that they may never discover otherwise.

“The biggest most obvious piece is cervical fluid. That is something virtually every teen girl experiences, and just about all of them aren’t taught about it in their public school sex ed. A lot of young girls, like myself at that age, experience shame about a totally normal bodily function,” she told me. She also says that students benefit from hearing “a different angle” than simply “Don’t get pregnant!”

I remember as a 13-year-old feeling like pregnancy wasn’t even close on my radar . . . but I did want to know more about that strange bleeding I was experiencing. And headaches and cramps.

“Sex ed is usually built upon the message of ‘here’s how pregnancy happens, here’s how to avoid it’ rather than ‘here are these amazing (and sometimes annoying, strange, and intrusive) things your body is doing.’ I hardly even talk about pregnancy in the first few classes. I talk more about mental health, hormonal health, and cycle health.”

Your body is feminist

Leah Jacobson had been working with young people and moms for more than a decade by the time she founded the Guiding Star Project in 2011. She saw a deep, unmet need for an initiative to bring together whole-woman feminism and women’s health. Guiding Star Centers around the country offer a variety of location-specific health-related services like childbirth education, breastfeeding support, postpartum care, and family planning to help women achieve or avoid pregnancy. It also includes fertility awareness outreach to young girls.

“The core of these programs and our philosophy on fertility, is that there’s nothing wrong with our fertility. It’s a really beautiful part of who we are,” Jacobson says. “It’s our belief that by giving [young people] the tools and the education to understand their bodies, they’re going to make better decisions that are in line with avoiding risky behaviors. They’re going to care for their dignity and the dignity of their partner.”

In our culture, which regards a woman’s fertility as an obstacle or a potential threat to her success and happiness, Jacobson has seen first hand how women have lost touch with their bodies.

“It’s sad; we have had women come in for the first time to learn how to chart their cycle, and you explain to them more than once that they have to come off the Pill to chart,” Jacobson told me. “They don’t understand, because they somehow think that they have a natural cycle, when what they actually have is withdrawal bleeding [when they take the ‘inactive’ drugs in their pill pack]. That’s an incredibly shocking and alarming situation for women to be in. They feel empowered, they feel like they’re ‘doing something’ because they’re taking the Pill. But for them to not even know that they’re not ovulating and that they don’t have a cycle . . . that’s disturbing, because it means they don’t at all understand the function of these drugs that they are [taking].”

For so many of us, that confusion starts at the very beginning, with that first period. Almost as a rite of passage, many moms take their daughters to the doctor, who may perform a pap smear but who almost certainly will want to discuss medication to “treat” and control her new, risky state of natural fertility.

The result is that thousands of children are prescribed synthetic hormones. It’s clear many kids are never told how the Pill works, nor are they routinely screened and warned about the Pill’s links to depression and breast cancer. Some girls stay on the drug for decades, until they decide to have children—only to confront the reality that they know virtually nothing about what to expect from their bodies once the medication leaves their system.

This is even more so the case if girls complain of symptoms like cripplingly painful periods or irregularity. Few OB/GYNs make the effort to find out what is wrong when hearing of period symptoms.Take for example endometriosis, a painful condition that affects one in every ten women and can destroy a woman’s quality of life and fertility. Even though it is one of the most common diseases affecting women’s health, it takes a woman an average of seven years of suffering, begging, and doctor-shopping before she can get a diagnosis. Because hormonal contraception covers up the symptoms of diseases like endo, doctors often employ birth control as an easy fix for any potential reproductive problem—as if passing the buck to the next doctor to figure out whatever it may actually be. One study from the Guttmacher Institute found that more than 80 percent of teens on the Pill had been prescribed contraceptive meds for non-contraceptive reasons.

“What is our health-care system doing? This is a complete act of paternalism,” Jacobson says. “It’s dignifying to tell girls the truth about themselves. It should be the core of feminism. Feminism that fails to acknowledge the female body does not have women’s best interests at heart. All it is, is a facade for a male normative culture. Fertility is a liability to how success is currently defined in [that culture].”

Authentic feminism, according to Jacobson, will “redefine the worldview—not just accept the male normative world and say we have a right to fit ourselves into it. It’s confusing to tell our daughters, your breastfeeding is good, you should breastfeed, but your fertility is dangerous, you should suppress that. We have to have a consistent narrative. It’s all good.”

Each Guiding Star center has different programs, ranging from the Guiding Star Cycle Show—a five-hour, interactive, hands-on experience for young girls—to offerings that can be accessed online, particularly useful in the era of coronavirus. Jacobson specifically points out that the programs are science-based and secular. “Our presentations don’t have a religious aspect. . . . We want every girl regardless of any religious affiliation to understand this applies to her,” she says. They’re already used in public schools in Germany, China, and the United Kingdom.

China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/29/china-forces-birth-control-uighurs-suppress-population/

The Chinese government is allegedly taking forceful measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, according to an alarming new report on aggressive birth control policies in China’s Xinjiang province.

The report by China scholar Adrian Zenz, released on Monday, has prompted a coalition of leading international politicians to call for an independent United Nations investigation into human rights abuses in Xinjiang, to prevent the further suffering of the Uighur people.

A statement by the interparliamentary alliance on China (IPAC) cites “a body of mounting evidence” of alleged “mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labour, and the destruction of Uighur cultural sites,” as the basis for action by the UN General Assembly.

Professor Zenz’s new research suggests that the sudden fall in Uighur birthrates coincides with reports of a Chinese state policy of intrusive birth prevention, including female sterilization.

“This may indicate that the Chinese government is pursuing and enforcing a coordinated policy to reduce the population of minority groups. The world cannot remain silent in the face of unfolding atrocities,” said the statement by IPAC, a cross-party international group of politicians, including Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.

The findings by Professor Zenz, an independent contractor with the nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, shows that population growth rates fell by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, declining further in 2019.

The report links the drop to state-driven efforts to forcibly suppress Uighur birthrates relative to the numbers of ethnic Han Chinese, using measures that include mandatory birth control, family separations and sterilisations.

“Since a sweeping crackdown starting in late 2016 transformed Xinjiang into a draconian police state, witness accounts of intrusive state interference into reproductive autonomy have become ubiquitous,” it claims, adding that anecdotal accounts have been confirmed for the first time through “a systematic analysis of government documents.”

According to the research, “documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in “training” camps” and “reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilisation in rural Uighur regions, targeting married women of childbearing age.

Among the conclusions, it claims the project targeted southern Xinjiang and continued in 2020, likely aiming to sterilise women with three or more children.

“Budget figures indicate that this project had sufficient funding for performing hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilisation procedures in 2019 and 2020, with least one region receiving additional central government funding,” it reports.

It adds that by 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80% of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries -IUDs or sterilisations – and reveals that in 2018, 80% of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang.

“This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs,” Mr Zenz told the Associated Press.

The practice of forced birth control is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to the AP’s own investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor.

They include women like Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh, who was ordered by the government to get an IUD inserted after she had her third child.

Four officials in military camouflage also came knocking at her door to threaten Ms Omirzakh, the penniless wife of a detained vegetable trader, with a $2,685 fine for having more than two children. Failure to pay, they warned would result in her incarceration in an internment camp.

“To prevent people from having children is wrong,” Ms Omirzakh told the newswire. She fell deep in debt to scrape together the money and later fled to Kazakhstan. “They want to destroy us as a people.”

Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines.

The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang has prompted some experts to call it a form a form of “demographic genocide.”

The interviews and data reportedly show that women are even subjected to forced abortions, and that the hundreds of millions of dollars the government pours into birth control have transformed Xinjiang from one of China’s fastest-growing regions into one of its slowest in just a few years.

One former camp detainee, Tursunay Ziyawudun, said she was injected until she stopped having her period and kicked repeatedly in the lower stomach during interrogations. She now can’t have children and often doubles over in pain, bleeding from her womb, she said.

Ms Ziyawudun said women at her camp were made to undergo gynecology exams and get IUDs, and their “teacher” told them they would face abortions if found pregnant.

Zumret Dawut, a Uighur mother of three, said after her release from an internment camp in 2018, authorities forced her to get sterilised. If she didn’t, they told her she’d be sent back to the camp. “I was so angry,” she said. “I wanted another son.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinjiang government have not responded to the reports. However, Beijing has said in the past that the new measures are merely meant to be fair, allowing both Han Chinese and ethnic minorities the same number of children.

‘Silver bullet’ for the virus.

ODESSA, Texas — The inhaled steroid Budesonide is being hailed by one West Texas doctor, Richard Bartlett, as the ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19.

Midland Memorial Hospital seems to disagree with him, telling us Tuesday that there is no such thing a ‘silver bullet’ for the virus.

But Bartlett’s patients credit the treatment for saving their life. He has treated well over a dozen patients and has had a 100% success rate.

Even with patients who have preexisting conditions.

 “I’m in my 60s, I’m living with two different types of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Kathy Lollar, Dr. Bartlett’s patient and COVID-19 survivor, said. “In fact I’m on daily chemo.”

Lollar is one of many at-risk patients Bartlett has treated.

“I’m 48-years-old, I’m diabetic and I’m a bit overweight,” Eric Rodriguez, another one of Dr Bartlett’s patients and also a COVID-19 survivor, said.

When they were diagnosed with the virus, they both thought the worst-case scenario.

“I was scared, fearful, desperate,” Rodriguez said. “I starting thinking about my children without a father.”

Rodriguez lost his 31-year-old brother, who had no preexisting conditions, to the virus in June. For that reason, Rodriguez sought a different treatment and reached out to Dr. Bartlett for help.

He started taking Budesonide twice a day.

The inhaled steroid Budesonide is being hailed by one West Texas doctor, Richard Bartlett, as the ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19. Midland Memorial Hospital seems to disagree with him, telling us Tuesday that there is no such thing a ‘silver bullet’ for the virus. But Bartlett’s patients credit the treatment for saving their life. He has treated well over a dozen patients and has had a 100% success rate. Even with patients, like the ones I talked to, who have preexisting conditions.

“The difference? It’s life and death right now,” Rodriguez said.

As for Lollar, she believes it would have been a different outcome if it were not for Dr. Bartlett.

 “I would have been at the hospital on a ventilator,” she said. “Trying the Budesonide I could tell improvement. It wasn’t a miracle but I was improving.”

Dr. Bartlett tells us budesonide works well if COVID is diagnosed early like it was for Lollar and Rodriguez.

He also tells us he is not taking any more patients. He suggests people ask their own physician to see if Budesonide can work for them.

Supreme Court backs Little Sisters of the Poor against Obamacare mandate

By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Wednesday in a decision siding with the Little Sisters of the Poor and their bid to stop being forced to distribute abortifacient and contraceptive drugs to their employees.

The Obama administration had first mandated that employers subsidize the provision of contraceptives, including abortifacient drugs, to their employees under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic institution that provides support for the elderly poor, refused to comply, as did other religious employers, sparking years of litigation.

In November 2018, the Trump administration announced two final rules to protect Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plan, one to cover conscience objections on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” and another for small businesses and nonprofits with non-religious moral objections.

In January 2019, multiple federal judges granted injunctions to several liberal states that had challenged the Trump rule, preventing it from taking effect.

According to the religious-liberty firm Becket Fund, the federal government admitted that it broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide contraception in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs. The government issued a new rule in October 2017 that protected the religious exemptions of the Little Sisters and others.

Despite the announcement,  the state of California sued the federal government to eliminate the religious exemption. California has numerous contraceptive programs of its own, and it never filed suit over the much larger secular exemptions created by the Obama administration for corporations such as Pepsi and Chevron, according to Becket, that applied to tens of millions more people than the religious exemption. Also, the state has not identified a single person who had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of the new rule.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments to this effect in May of this year, which ultimately won the day. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer joined the majority, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ judgement that federal agencies had no authority to exempt the Little Sisters in the first place “was erroneous,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his majority opinion. ‘We hold that the Departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”

In a concurring opinion, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch went a step further and argued that not only were the Departments allowed to exempt the Little Sisters, but the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) actually “compels an exemption for the Little Sisters and any other employer with a similar objection to what has been called the  accommodation to the contraceptive mandate.”

While ultimately voting with the majority, Kagan explained in a concurring opinion that while she believed the relevant departments did have “statutory authority to exempt certain employers from the mandate,” she also believes the accommodation made for the Little Sisters was broad enough that it could still be invalidated under the federal Administrative Procedure Act. So while the ruling is a major victory the Little Sisters and other opponents of compulsory birth control coverage, Kagan’s opinion also provides ammo to a potential future challenge.

“The Supreme Court was right to, in the face of outrageous legal challenges from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, allow the Trump administration to protect the freedom of these religious nuns and so many other religiously affiliated groups,” Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson said. “This case stemmed from mandates that the Obama administration promulgated that put unreasonable demands on employers to cover potentially life-ending drugs, contraception, and sterilization. Hopefully, this brings an eight-year ordeal for the Little Sisters of the Poor to a close and they can focus entirely on ministering to the poor in our communities.”

This ruling, and the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of religious schools’ right to judge their own educators’ understanding of the faith, represent significant victories for religious liberty, and may help reassure conservatives stung by the court’s recent pro-abortion ruling in Louisiana that there remain significant differences between the judicial nominees of President Donald Trump and the type who would be appointed by former Vice President Joe Biden.

God put me here for a reason’: Soccer star with limb difference meets very special fan

 

As a defender for the Orlando Pride women’s soccer team, 26-year-old Carson Pickett is no stranger to the spotlight. But last year, a photo of her went viral not for her athletic achievements, but for her meeting with a very special fan.

Pickett was born missing her left hand and part of her forearm, and after one of her games in April she met a young fan with the exact same disability. The Orlando Pride shared a video from their meeting on social media, and it generated so much positive support that some called it the 2019 Picture of the Year.

Even though Joseph Tidd was not yet two years old at the time, Carson told USA Today that “Literally within five minutes of me meeting him, we had an instant bond. It’s interesting, though, because for a kid that young, I didn’t expect him to connect the way he did. Even though we both have the same [birth defect], it was amazing to me that it felt like he realized why we were bonded.”  She added, “I know I might be seen as his role model, but he’s also mine. It’s just a gift to feel so much emotion from a little boy who understands you in a way other people can’t.”

In an interview with CBS Evening News, she shared, “”Seeing him gives him and me just as much joy as seeing my best friends.”

The two met as part of Carson’s partnership with the Lucky Fin Project, which raises awareness about the 2,500 children born with limb differences in the United States each year. Groups like the Lucky Fin Project ensure that children who are born missing limbs grow up in a different world than Carson, who didn’t know anyone who looked like her as a child. Joseph Tidd’s parents are part of that effort, maintaining his Instagram account to continue supporting children like him.

A year later, Joseph Tidd is still raising awareness for children with limb differences.

Commenting on her ongoing friendship with little Joseph back in 2019, Pickett said, “When I was younger and I didn’t know how the world works, it was hard. My parents always tell me that God put me here for a reason. The biggest thing I’d want Joseph (and others) to know is that even if people see you as different, it’s what’s in your heart that counts.”

In late May of this year, Pickett told Just Women’s Sports, “I want [people] to ask me what happened because then I can educate more people about limb difference. It’s not that I want to stand out, but I want to help people who are like me. And I know I’m also reaching people who have both of their hands, but who may be struggling with other problems. Everyone has their own story, everyone is different, everyone has gone through struggles and has weaknesses. It’s how you use that story and those weaknesses and the struggle to best help people in the world. Now that I’m able to reach so many diverse groups, it’s really become more of a blessing.”

New investigation shines light on China’s forced abortions and sterilization of minority women

 

A recent investigation from the Associated Press (AP) is finally opening the world’s eyes to the genocide against Uighur Muslims in China. In addition to the concentration camps holding an estimated one million Uighurs, the AP investigation revealed that the Chinese government is taking “draconian measures” to prevent Uighurs from having children – including forced birth control and abortion, sterilization, and even ripping infants away from their mothers while they breastfeed.

The AP’s sources for what it has labeled a “demographic genocide” include government statistics and documents, as well as interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members, and a former detention camp instructor. Uighur women, along with other Chinese minorities, are regularly subjected to pregnancy checks by government officials. They are also being forcibly sterilized, are forced into intra-uterine device (IUDs) insertion, and are even forced into abortions. The AP estimates that this affects hundreds of thousands of people. Women who do not comply with government demands are sent to a concentration camp.

READ: United Nations gives China seat on Human Rights Council, despite abuses and genocide

 

Gulnar Omirzakh spoke to the AP about her experience as a victim of China’s communist regime. After having a third child, she was ordered to have an IUD inserted and to pay a $2,685 fine, though her husband was already detained and she was struggling financially. She was threatened with imprisonment if she did not comply. “God bequeaths children on you. To prevent people from having children is wrong,” Omirzakh told the AP tearfully. “They want to destroy us as a people.”

Uighur birth rates are drastically falling in comparison to nationwide Chinese birth rates, making Xinjiang —a Uighur majority area—one of China’s slowest-growing areas. Just a few years ago, it was one of the fastest-growing. “This kind of drop is unprecedented… there’s a ruthlessness to it,” explained Adrian Zenz, a China scholar and expert in the country’s minority regions. “This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs.”

The Chinese government denies these claims, as it has denied the existence of concentration camps and torture. Yet experts refuse to accept their explanations. “It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” Joanne Smith Finley, who works at Newcastle University in the U.K., told the AP. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”

It is estimated that the targeting of Uighurs began in 2017, with people thrown into camps simply for praying or traveling abroad. Government officials went door-to-door, looking for pregnant women and children. All minorities were required to attend flag-raising ceremonies each week, and women were forced to take pregnancy tests afterward. Abdushukur Umar was one of the people who fell victim to this terror; the father of seven children, he was put into a camp in 2017, sentenced to a year in prison for each of his children.

“How can you get seven years in prison for having too many children?” Zuhra Sultan, Umar’s cousin, said to the AP. “We’re living in the 21st century — this is unimaginable.”

READ: Trump signs legislation to hold China accountable for human rights abuses

Leaked data obtained by the AP revealed that one of the most common reasons for detainment was having “too many” children.

In the camps, women have been forced to get IUDs and “pregnancy prevention shots,” although they have never been explicitly told what the shots are. After being released, many have later discovered only they could no longer have children. Dina Nurdybay, one of the women forced into a camp, said married women were separated from the unmarried women. Those who were married were forced to get IUDs. An official who stopped by her cell one day insulted the women, saying, “Do you think it’s fair that Han people are only allowed to have one child? You ethnic minorities are shameless, wild and uncivilized.”

Nurdybay was eventually transferred to a facility which also had an orphanage, with hundreds of children separated from their parents. “They told me they wanted to hug their parents, but they were not allowed,” she said. “They always looked very sad.”

 

Tursunay Ziyawudun, another detainee, told the AP she is now sterile. While in the camp, she was repeatedly kicked in the stomach and was given numerous injections. One of the pregnant women who was detained with her disappeared. Gulbahar Jelilova, another detainee, said pregnant women were forced into abortions there. Jelilova also told the AP that one woman’s infant was cruelly taken from her, and she was still leaking breastmilk. The mother did not know where her baby had gone or what had happened to her.

Gulzia Mogdin, another victim, was forced into an abortion at two months pregnant. “That baby was going to be the only baby we had together,” Mogdin told the AP. “I cannot sleep. It’s terribly unfair.”

Zumret Dawut was put into a camp simply because she had an American visa. Later, she was forcibly sterilized. “I was so angry,” she said. “I wanted another son.”

Congress and the Trump administration recently worked together to pass legislation to hold the Chinese Community Party responsible for the genocide against the Uighurs, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wasted no time responding to this latest revelation, calling it “horrifying” and “an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity.” In a statement to Reuters, he said, “We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses.”

A lesson in human dignity from stone age Ireland

by Michael Cook

Five thousand, two hundred years ago, long before Stonehenge, long before the Pyramids, farming communities in the Boyne Valley of Ireland built a gigantic passage tomb, called Newgrange. It covers 4,500 square metres, or more than one acre, of ground. The builders heaped alternating layers of stone and earth until it was 12 metres high.

Every year, on the winter solstice, a shaft of sunlight pierces a passage formed by gigantic stone slabs which illuminates a chamber 19 metres within. Archaeologists have found human remains, some cremated, in the passage.

Newgrange, in County Meath — older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids

Newgrange is just the best preserved of a number of Neolithic tombs scattered across the Irish landscape. Another is the Poulnabrone portal tomb, in County Clare, on the other side of the island, which was probably built before Newgrange, between 4200 and 2900 BC. The remains of 22 people – 16 adults and six children — were discovered beneath it by archaeologists in the 1980s.

Who constructed these monuments? Why?

Whoever they were, they left no written records, just elaborate art motifs scribed into sandstone or limestone slabs. But genetic detective work just published in the journal Nature opens a window onto the human drama of these ancient peoples.

First of all, the skull of a male interred at Newgrange’s inner chamber points to first-degree incest: he was the offspring of brother and sister or perhaps parent and child. For the archaeologists this was an amazing find.

Inbreeding is a near universal taboo across continents and centuries. It only happens among ruling elites – typically within a deified royal family. It was customary in Hawaii, the Inca Empire and ancient Egypt. By breaking the rules, archeologists hypothesise, an elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and thereby legitimizing its power. Extravagant monumental architecture often co-occurs with dynastic incest. A faint echo of this is found in the mediaeval Irish name for one of the passage tombs, Fertae Chuile, or “Hill of Sin”.

Second, and more relevant to our own times, is the genetic analysis of the people buried in Poulnabrone. Previous investigations suggested that they, too, were members of an elite. Judging from the manpower and organisation required to build a portal tomb, they must have ruled over a numerous and fairly sophisticated society. Even so, their lives were tough. Only one adult had lived past the age of 40. They suffered bouts of infection and malnutrition. They lived with violence. One individual may have died after being struck by an arrow; another had a crushed skull; still another a rib broken by an aggressive blow.

It sounds like Thomas Hobbes’s classic description of the lives of men in a state of nature: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

Don’t believe that old cliché. These Neolithic people could teach us a thing or two about human dignity – as the archaeologists discovered when they examined the genome of PN07.

PN07 – we’ll never know what name his mother gave him – was a male infant with Down syndrome. He is, the archaeologist proudly report, “the earliest definitive discovery of a case of Down syndrome”. Up until now, the earliest remains of an individual with Down syndrome dated from the 5th or 6th Century in France. Furthermore, genetic analysis reveals that PN07 had been fed from his mother’s breast.

What does this suggest?

The lives of these Neolithic people were harsh beyond our comprehension. Every day was a struggle to survive. They battled wild animals, disease, injuries, rival tribes, the weather, hunger. A Down syndrome boy must have been a heavy burden on their scarce resources. His tribe or clan must have known that he would never be a warrior and that he would not live long. Yet they nurtured him as best they could. They made him feel loved. And when he died they treated his body with the dignity due to the child of an elite household.

If the true measure of a society is to be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, the Poulnabrone people were civilised.

Indeed, they compare favourably, very favourably, with us. We abort at least 90 percent of all of our Down syndrome babies – even though research shows that 99 percent of parents with Down syndrome children love them and 97 percent are proud of them.

Perhaps we can learn something from the 5,000-year-old tenderness of PN07’s mum.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

Helen Alvaré

Today, by a vote of 5 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their practice. The opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo is quite fractured and legally technical. It does not bring the pro-life movement any closer to overthrowing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; but it does not likely move us further away from that end either. More litigation to that end is still required.

In June, a plurality of Justices (Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan) voted to strike down the Louisiana law on the grounds that the burdens it imposed upon women were greater than its claimed health benefits, just like the Texas admitting-privileges law struck down in the 2016 case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Chief Justice John Roberts provided the fifth vote for the Court’s holding in a concurrence in which he disagreed with the plurality’s standard for striking the law down, but agreed that the law was unconstitutional under the standard established by the Court in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh dissented, with only Thomas using his opinion as an occasion to also declare Roe v. Wade an unprincipled decision that should be overturned.

June Medical raised several legal questions with important implications for the future of abortion law: first, whether or not abortionists have what is called “standing” to challenge laws that were enacted in order to better vet abortionists to ensure that they provide safe medical services to women. “Standing” requires that the party challenging a law has or will suffer an actual injury to a legally cognizable interest. This question is important because the vast majority of cases seeking to overturn abortion restrictions are filed by abortion doctors and clinics, not by individual women. It is also important because of the obvious conflicts of interest in cases like this one, where abortionists are seeking to quash a law that could make abortion safer for their patients.

The five justices in the majority concluded that the abortionists and abortion clinics had standing, even though abortionists do not have any sort of “right” to practice abortion that the Louisiana law burdens.

The plurality claimed that the state of Louisiana had “waived” the problem of third-party standing in the two lower federal courts that had heard the case. But they also noted that abortionists had previously generally been permitted to sue to defeat abortion restrictions, and that they should be permitted to challenge a law that might “indirectly” harm women’s interests in obtaining a convenient abortion.

Three of the dissenters (not including Kavanaugh) agreed that abortionists and clinics lacked standing to challenge the Louisiana law. In lengthy treatments of Supreme Court precedents about the importance of standing in order for the Court even to have the authority to hear a case under its Article III powers, Justices Thomas and Alito forcefully pushed back on the majority. Alito and Gorsuch spoke particularly fervently about the dangerous conflict of interest in allowing doctors to overthrow laws designed to safeguard the patients in their care. Gorsuch penned a detailed portrait of the dangers that abortionists in Louisiana pose to their patients. He noted the extraordinarily lax reviews the clinics conduct prior to hiring abortionists, reporting that abortion clinics had previously allowed ophthalmologists and radiologists to perform abortions! He also pointed to the “dozens” of ethical and safety violations that Louisiana abortion clinics had committed in the past.

The next important question the Court considered is the appropriate standard for reviewing abortion laws. The plurality justices stood by the standard that the Court (then including Justice Anthony Kennedy) adopted in Whole Woman’s Health. It allows the Court to conduct the kind of test that legislators use when they evaluate whether or not to pass a law: whether the benefits of the law outweigh the burdens the law imposes, considering the law’s object. This test differs from the one announced in the Casey decision. There, the Court did not claim a right to balance benefits and burdens; rather, it analyzed whether the effects of an abortion restriction constituted a “substantial obstacle” or “undue burden” upon a woman’s access to legal abortion.

Which test the Court adopts matters a great deal. The Whole Woman’s Health test allows the Court to perform a legislative task forbidden to it under Article III of the Constitution. It allows the Court to pick and choose what evidence it wants to highlight on benefits and burdens and give almost no deference at all to state legislatures’ findings. This is equivalent to (in a famous legal phrase about cherry picking) “looking over the crowd and picking your friends.” It means more state abortion restrictions become subject to the whims of the Court’s reigning majority.

Five justices, including Chief Justice Roberts and the four dissenters, rejected the Whole Woman’s Health test. But because Roberts believed that the Louisiana law would constitute a substantial obstacle to abortion for a large fraction of Louisiana women, he voted to strike down the law, even as he disagreed with the test the majority employed to do it!

The third important question June Medical considered concerns whether or not the law makes abortion too difficult to obtain for a large number of Louisiana abortion clients. The majority held that it did. Employing detailed geographic and doctor-specific details (and even maps, printed in the opinion), the Court concluded that the vast majority of doctors and clinics would go out of business were the admitting-privileges law to stand, leaving many women without a sufficiently-close-by abortionist.

This part of the plurality opinion extended tremendous deference to the claims of the abortionists and the clinics, regarding how hard they had tried to obtain admitting privileges, and what would happen if they failed. On this matter, Justices Alito and Gorsuch were particularly appalled. Justice Alito — continuing his theme of abortionists’ conflicts of interest — pointed to the doctors’ lackluster efforts. He highlighted emails from one of the abortionists revealing that during his alleged “good faith” search for admitting privileges, he took into consideration that a denial of privileges would best support a victory for his side of the case. Justice Gorsuch noted that one Louisiana doctor already had such privileges, that one hospital was already changing its admitting-privileges rules in order to make it easier for abortionists to succeed, and that privileges requirements applied to other types of ambulatory surgical centers (for, e.g., colonoscopies, Lasik eye treatments) had not diminished the number of those centers able to continue operating.

Furthermore, even while objecting to the majority’s “balancing test,” Justice Gorsuch wrote a detailed summary of all the health benefits of the law attested by experts testifying before the Louisiana Legislature. In addition to those described above (ameliorating lax clinic rules for licensing doctors, improving clinics’ ethics and safety records), Gorsuch highlighted the testimony of women abandoned by their abortionists to seek follow-up care, after the doctors had botched their abortion procedures.

Finally, only Justice Thomas took direct aim at Roe and Casey. In memorable language, he referred to the reading of the Constitution on which it is based as “legal fiction” and the “putative right to abortion [as] a creation that should be undone.” He wrote that it is “farcical” to imagine that the legislators who created the 14th Amendment’s “due process” language intended it to protect a procedure nearly completely banned in every state and territory in the U.S. at the time it was passed. He called Roe a “demonstrably erroneous” decision.

On this subject, Gorsuch, Alito and Roberts only noted that no one had asked for a reconsideration of the constitutional right of abortion. Roberts, instead, opined that the work before the Court involved only the application of existing precedent — in this case Whole Woman’s Health and Casey — to the question of the constitutionality of the Louisiana law before it.

Helen Alvaré is a professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

For decades, the U.S. has sent unsafe contraceptives rejected by the FDA to developing nations

 

An eye-opening article from the November/December 1979 issue of Mother Jones suggests that for decades, the United States has had a “double standard” when it comes to “dumping” unsafe contraceptives in developing countries.

IUDs

Throughout the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of dangerous Dalkon Shield IUDs were distributed in 42 developing nations, despite the growing list of documented serious or life-threatening side effects experienced by U.S. women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, sepsis, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, uterine perforations, and hemorrhage. Even after the Shields were taken off the U.S. market in 1975 (after at least 17 deaths were attributable to their use), the IUDs continued to be “dumped” overseas by the United States International Agency for Development (USAID) as well as NGOs like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) that it funded.

Just as disturbing, many of the IUDs were unsterilized, provided in boxes of 1,000 with only a few applicators and instructions that were not in the language of the people administering or receiving them. This lack of standards was considered acceptable in developing nations because the IUDs were cheaper and aided the goal of population control in order to maintain U.S. economic interests, so USAID officials turned a blind eye. Women seeking care at family planning clinics in Paraguay, Israel, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, and 37 other countries were left to deal with the disastrous consequences.

High dose birth control pills

But Dalkon Shields were only the beginning of unsafe contraceptive “donations” by USAID to developing countries, writes Mother Jones. After that came the “contraceptive inundation program” in the 1970s, which ” disseminat[ed] contraceptives through any outlets, to any and all takers.” USAID and its NGO partners distributed birth control pills to countries like Bangladesh where it was available without a prescription or any medical oversight. Additionally, after U.S. health officials recommended that birth control pill dosage be decreased from 80 mcg to 50 mcg because of health risks, the 80 mcg pills became much cheaper to obtain and were distributed en masse overseas instead of their safer but more expensive counterparts.

Depo-Provera shots

The next phase of the contraceptive inundation program was a population control advocate’s dream. Depo-Provera, an injectable medication that provided contraception for three to six months at a time, did not require any effort or maintenance by users. As an added bonus, many users associated injections with “safe, effective, modern medicine.” But as Mother Jones noted, “The overseas consumer of Depo [didn’t] know that the ‘latest research’ is what prevented the contraceptive from being approved for use in the United States, and that [was] why it [was] being dumped.”

Risks

In research on animals, the shot caused breast nodules and reproductive system cancers. In humans, the shot caused severe bleeding, increased susceptibility to infection, long-term or permanent sterility, and birth defects when given accidentally to pregnant women. In breastfeeding women, it appeared to decrease their breastfed children’s susceptibility to diarrheal illness, a leading cause of infant mortality in impoverished nations.

FDA rejects for U.S., but shot distributed among poor women in other countries

On March 7, 1978, the drug maker’s manufacturer Upjohn received a letter from the FDA stating their decision not to approve the drug for use in the U.S. Despite this, Depo-Provera was distributed for “research” purposes to 8,000 poor women in San Pablo Autopan, Mexico, as well as 120,000 women in Sri Lanka, some 250,000 women in Bangladesh, and hundreds of thousands more in Thailand. One report noted that at an International Planned Parenthood-sponsored clinic in Thailand, each woman was given only 60-90 seconds for “the time to make her ‘free choice’ and have the injection….”

Though the U.S. was not the only Western nation pouring contraceptives into developing Countries, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), to its credit, decided in 1980 to stop distributing Depo-Provera overseas. SIDA found that “[t]he use of Depo-Provera needs continuous medical follow-up by health staff in a well-functioning health system. We know this is lacking in many of SIDA’s programme countries. Without a good health infrastructure, there are risks that the clients are not given enough information to make an informed choice of contraceptive method.”

Safety of shot has not improved

Given that Depo-Provera is now widely used in the United States, one might expect that its safety has drastically improved since the 1970s. This is not the case. Since 2004, the shot has had a black-box warning (used by the FDA to highlight special concerns about a drug) about the shot’s potential to decrease bone density when used long-term in young women. Decreased bone density can lead to bone fractures, and to osteoporosis later in life. This risk is logically compounded in already malnourished women living in less developed nations. These effects may not be reversible after the drug wears off.

Depo-Provera use has also been associated with an up to 40% increased risk of HIV infection, as well as increased risk of contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia, just as it was associated with increased susceptibility to infection almost 50 years ago. As a previous Live Action News article noted, “More than half of the 36.7 million people living with HIV reside in eastern or southern Africa, and DMPA [Depo-Provera] is the primary birth control used in sub-Saharan Africa. It is used by over 50 million women around the world.”

Whereas American women have ready access to treatment options if they experience significant side effects from the Depo-Provera injection or other forms of birth control, women in developing countries continue to suffer to this day from the “beneficence” of Western nations.

Facing a falling birth rate, Italy passes law to encourage families to have children

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In an effort to increase the birth rate and repair the stalled economy, Italy’s parliament passed a bill last week to encourage couples to have more children.

“The Family Act” will provide a universal monthly allowance for children to be paid to families beginning in the seventh month of pregnancy until the child turns 18, which may be in the form of a direct payment or a tax credit. These payments will be on a sliding scale based on the income of the parents. Fathers will be given ten days of mandatory paternity leave and there will be salary supplements for mothers returning to work. Each parent has the choice of taking an additional two months of leave. The government will also triple the amount of money spent to help parents pay for daycare from €1,000 to €3,000 a year depending on the parents’ income, and there will be additional allowances for children with disabilities. These changes will take effect in the next two years.

“We have approved the Family Act to support parenting, combat the falling birth rate, encourage the growth of children and young people, and … help parents reconcile … family life with work, especially for women,” said Premier Giuseppe Conte after the law’s passage.

In 2018, Italy had its lowest birth rate on record with just 464,000 births, the lowest in all of the European Union. “If Italians don’t start having more babies, you have to wonder what Italy will look like in the next few decades,” said Francesco Scalone, a demographer at the University of Bologna. Last year, the Italian government said it would begin building a plan on how to combat this issue.

While Germany and Scandinavian countries offer new fathers weeks to months of paternity leave, 10 days is double what Italian fathers had been given previously and meets the 10-day minimum paternity leave requirement of the EU. Other countries, including Singapore and Hungary, have taken similar steps to encourage couples to have more children to reverse their declining birth rates and aging populations as well. Despite the common societal belief that overpopulation is a serious threat, it is actually a decline in population that is causing problems for the economies of many nations, including the United States.

The Environmentalist Roots of the Population Control Movement

By 

Concern for our environment is the most altruistic of the several primary motivations which drive the activities of the population control movement.  Unfortunately, the leaders of many population control groups think that the best way to preserve our natural surroundings is to decrease the number of people in the world by whatever means are available.

Environmentalism and Population Control

Environmentalism has led to many drastic measures in the name of population control.

For example, we have witnessed forced abortion and sterilization programs in China, Vietnam, Peru and many other countries, partly in support of programs to preserve the environment.  There have been vast numbers of women sterilized or fitted with IUDs without their knowledge or consent for the same reason.1  Animal rights activists and environmentalists have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage with arson and sabotage, and have tried to murder researchers and loggers with nail bombs and tree spikes.  They have also published many “how-to” guides with titles such as:

  • Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching
  • Setting Fires with Electrical Timers
  • How to Sink Whalers, Driftnetters and other Environmentally Destructive Ships
  • Killing People to Save the Animals and the Environment.2

Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring is widely credited with launching the modern environmentalist movement.  Carson’s book focused on documenting the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, with a particular emphasis on birds.  One of the deadliest impacts of this book was the banning of DDT, which was effectively used to hold down mosquito populations all over the world.  This led to a dramatic increase in the incidence of malaria, typhus and dysentery, resulting in tens of millions of additional deaths and unspeakable suffering, mostly among Africans.3  Despite this terrible tragedy and scant evidence that DDT causes harm to birds, most radical environmentalists today continue to lobby for the continued ban on the pesticide, essentially meaning that they hold bird eggs in higher esteem than the lives of poor Africans.

african boy black and white

Six years later, in 1968, Zero Population Growth founder Paul Ehrlich kicked off the modern population control movement with his atrociously-researched book The Population Bomb.  He predicted that more than 90% of the population of the United States would die of starvation and radiation sickness by 1999 in an event he called the “Great Die-Off.”4  Every one of the other major predictions he made in his book did not even come close to being fulfilled.

Despite the glaring failings of Carson’s and Ehrlich’s books, population controllers found “cover” for their activities by claiming that they were acting in the best interests of the environment, and therefore humanity at large.  Many influential people began to advocate measures that completely disregarded the most basic of human rights.  For example:

  • In 1969, Bernard Berelson, President of the Population Council, recommended punishment for large families and a widespread program of “involuntary fertility controls.”5
  • Also in 1969, Frederick S. Jaffe, Vice-President of Planned Parenthood-World Population, recommended that the United States government “encourage increased homosexuality;” place “fertility control agents in water suppl[ies],” and “require women to work and provide few child care facilities.”  He also recommended “compulsory abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies;” “compulsory sterilization of all who have two children,” and “stock certificate type permits for children.”6
  • In his 1971 book The Case for Compulsory Birth Control, Professor Edgar Chasteen proposed a stringently-enforced two-child law for the United States, with every child being immunized against fertility at the age of ten.7
  • Even the United States Postal Service jumped on the bandwagon, releasing an eight-cent stamp in 1972 showing a perfectly-groomed, white, “gender‑balanced” family joyously embarking on the wide and smooth road to the Brave New World.  The USPS proudly declared, “The new stamp will serve as a reminder for all members of our society of the current world environmental situation and the need for planning to have a better America and a better world.”8

Thanks in large part to Carson and Ehrlick, a misguided concern for the environment has led to the suggestion of drastic population control measures.

Government Response

United States Capitol

It did not take long for these views to insinuate themselves into government agencies and documents.  The 1972 Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future (“The Rockefeller Report”) is larded with scores of statements and recommendations for holding down the population of the United States for the sake of the environment.  The foundational document of the United States international population control program, the 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200, echoes much of what the Commission said.

Many influential people still hold these views.  John P. Holdren, Obama’s “Science Czar,” has never repudiated the views he expressed in his book Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, which he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in 1977.  He called for seizure of all illegitimate children from their mothers, forced abortions and sterilizations for unmarried women, mandatory implantation of a reversible infertility drug in all adolescent children, a national two-child policy, and the addition of sterilizing agents to the water supplies of our nation (so long as they did not affect livestock or pets).  Most appalling of all, Holdren and the Ehrlichs recommended a United Nations-run “Planetary Regime” that would control population by whatever means necessary.

Others recommended even more extreme measures.  In 2006, Professor Eric R. Pianka of the University of Texas said that we should manufacture and then release the Ebola virus, thereby killing 90% of the world’s population in order to preserve the environment.  Pianka does not seem to care that Ebola sufferers die an agonizing death over several days as their internal organs slowly liquefy.  He said:

We’ve got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans.  Killing humans.  Think about that….We’re no better than bacteria!…And the fossil fuels are running out, so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people….You know, the bird flu’s good, too.  We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth.”9

As always, we cannot eliminate a class of people until we dehumanize them.  Hitler called the Jews “vermin,” racists called blacks “animals,” and pro-abortionists call preborn children “blobs.”

In order to eliminate people in general, we now have to dehumanize ― ourselves.

In 1966, the United States Department of State declared, “Mankind is the cancer of the planet.”10  Since that time, hundreds of influential leaders have repeated this view until it has become a virtual mantra of the environmentalist movement.11  Some have suggested that we excise this “cancer” by whatever means are available.  For example, Jacques Cousteau, said, “Our society…is a vicious circle that I compare to cancer….In order to stabilize world population we must eliminate 350,000 people a day.”12

Final Thoughts

We must not make the mistake of dismissing these people as mere cranks.  The first step towards implementing any idea, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at the time, is to talk about it.  And talk about it.  And talk about it.  This leads first to outrage among the people, then irritation, and finally indifference as they become desensitized to the message.  Twenty years ago, people laughed when radicals talked about homosexual “marriage,” but now it is being rammed down our throats while its opponents are being silenced, punished and persecuted.

You can find bumper stickers online that say “Humans are a Pestilence,” or which show the outlines of two people and say “Worst Species Ever.”  This depressing worldview is in total opposition to the Christian view of Man, who is made in the image and likeness of God.

woman hope sun

St. Paul wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?  You did make him for a little while lower than the angels, you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet” (Hebrews 2:6-8).

We must care for our natural surroundings without violating the rights of humanity.  Evangelium Vitae says:

As one called to till and look after the garden of the world, man has a specific responsibility towards the environment in which he lives, towards the creation which God has put at the service of his personal dignity, of his life, not only for the present but also for future generations.

Losing sight of this balance means the inevitable proliferation of horrible human rights abuses all over the world.

 

Endnotes

[1] Just one of these programs sterilized thousands of women in the area around Cebu City in the Philippines.  A “Safe Motherhood” program funded by the West promised to give all women in the area free pelvic examinations.  While doing so, the doctors placed IUDs in all of the women without their knowledge.  Years later, the Dominican sisters in the area, who are also qualified as medical doctors, ran clinics to remove these IUDs, many of which were impacted or had migrated into the abdominal cavity (witnessed by Brian Clowes in November 1996 in Cebu City).

[2] These books are definitely not “for entertainment purposes only.”  For electronic copies of these books, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.  The liberal establishment has defended the publication of all of these manuals under the banner of free speech; but try to imagine how they would react if somebody published a guide on how to blow up an abortion mill (oh, wait, they already screamed in outrage when someone published the anti-abortion “Army of God Manual”).

[3] Dr. Henry Miller, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Gregory Conko Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  “Rachel Carson’s Deadly Fantasies.”  Forbes Magazine, September 5, 2012.  A 1970 study by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences found that “to only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT.  In a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable.”

[4] Zero Population Growth (ZPG) founder Paul R. Ehrlich.  The Population Bomb (New York City: Ballantine Publishers), 1968; Paul R. Ehrlich.  “Looking Backward from 2000 A.D.”  The Progressive, April 1970, pages 23 to 28.

[5] Bernard Berelson.  “Beyond Family Planning.”  Studies in Family Planning (Publication of the Population Council), February 1969, pages 1-16.  For a PDF copy of this article, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[6] February 11, 1969 memorandum from Frederick S. Jaffe (Vice-President of Planned Parenthood-World Population) to Bernard Berelson (President of the Population Council) found in “Activities Relevant to the Study of Population Policy for the U.S.”  Table 1, “Examples of Proposed Measures to Reduce U.S. Fertility, by Universality or Selectivity of Impact.”  For a PDF copy of this Table, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[7] Edgar R. Chasteen.  The Case for Compulsory Birth Control (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice‑Hall), 1971, back cover.

[8] United States Postal Service (USPS) comments on its 1972 eight‑cent stamp.  Shown in “Family Planning Gets ‘Stamp of Approval’ from U.S. Postal Service.”  Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood newsletter, February‑March 1972, page 4.  The USPS unveiled its new “Family Planning” stamp at the winter meeting of the Planned Parenthood‑World Population Board of Directors in New York City on March 17, 1972.

[9] Professor Eric R. Pianka, University of Texas lizard expert and evolutionary ecologist, during a speech before the Texas Academy of Science.  He received an enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation for his remarks, and five hours later, the President of the Texas Academy of Science awarded him the title of 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.  Reported by Forrest S. Mims III.  “Meeting Doctor Doom.”  The Citizen Scientist, March 31, 2006.

[10] “U.S. Presents Views on Population Growth and Economic Development.”  Department of State Bulletin, January 31, 1966, page 176.

[11] Some examples of famous people referring to mankind as a “cancer:”

  1. Third-trimester abortionist Warren Hern (“Anthropologist Symposium Calls Human Beings a Cancer Infecting Planet Earth.”  Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) Friday FAX, January 1, 1999).
  2. Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, in a November 1991 UNESCO Courier interview.
  3. Environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki (Victoria Branden.  “The Abortion Merry‑Go‑Round.”  Humanist in Canada, Autumn 1989, pages 14 to 15).
  4. National Park Service Research biologist David Graber (“Mother Nature as a Hothouse Flower.”  Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 22, 1989, page 10).
  5. Dr. Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachusetts, coauthor of the “Gaia Hypothesis” (“Anthropologist Symposium Calls Human Beings a Cancer Infecting Planet Earth.”  Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) Friday FAX, January 1, 1999).
  6. Ingrid Newkirk, Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who famously said, “We [humans] have grown like a cancer.  We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth” (Charles Oliver. “Liberation Zoology.”  Reason Magazine, June 1990, pages 22 to 27).

[12] Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau in a November 1991 UNESCO Courier interview.

Documentary filmmaker and guest discuss birth control’s ‘anti-Black history’

 

A recent Instagram discussion between documentary producer Ricki Lake (“The Business of Being Born” and the forthcoming “The Business of Birth Control” slated for release later in 2020), and Chelsea VonChaz, co-founder of #HappyPeriod, centered on “The Anti-Black History of Birth Control.”

During the discussion, VonChaz admitted that ‘birth control has this kind of dark connection with eugenics, population control, and just the feeling of superiority, or feeling as if this specific intelligence or this specific trait—physical trait—is superior over the other….” She added that “because of racism… so many individuals… in the past used fake news, fake science, fake research to uplift the narrative that whites are better and Black is not.”

And this philosophy—that Black women were ‘less than’—led to human atrocities. “… [A] lot of individuals who [were] men, specifically, white men… spent a lot of time experimenting on Black bodies and Black female bodies, and using their research findings as a means to push the narrative [of racism] in the healthcare system,” added VonChaz.

Lake responded, “So when was this happening? Because I know that Margaret Sanger has a complicated history.” But here, Lake is being much too generous with Sanger, a staunch eugenicist who believed the “unfit” should not reproduce and who stacked her American Birth Control League (which later became Planned Parenthood) with white supremacists and fellow eugenicists.

While VonChaz had not referenced Sanger, she immediately referenced Sanger’s work in the 1920s and 30s—and in particular, the Negro Project, which she said gave Sanger “a lot more success within the Black community, claiming that “when [Sanger] and her group went to the South… they saw that in the 30s pretty much everyone was suffering.” She continued, “So they just felt like ‘ok, well, since they are famished, since a lot of their babies are dying because they don’t have good diets, maybe it’s solely because they are the lesser race, the weaker race, and maybe they really don’t want to have kids, maybe we should figure out how we can “empower” them in a way.’”

But the Negro Project had nothing to do with empowering Black women, and everything to do with finding a way to halt their reproduction. And VonChaz seemed to have a sense of this, because she added an immediate caveat:

I actually—to be honest with you—I’m really iffy with Sanger because there’s really no proof to what her intention was when it came to [the Negro Project]…. Is she for the “advancement” of whiteness or was she really for women in general? Especially when they started the Negro Project. That was when they went into Black communities, they told Black mothers, “Hey, take this pill, take this powder [birth control was originally developed as a powder]…. This will help you….”

This was a way of them connecting with women and connecting with communities and they would also even use organizations like churches to get the word out, but there was nothing as far as going back into the community and building the community, so of course all of the funding would go back into Sanger or into the Negro Project. Nothing would go towards aiding the women at the time.

Rather than addressing malnutrition and other causes of high infant mortality in the Black community at the time, Sanger’s “solution” was birth control and more birth control – and later, Planned Parenthood pushed for the legalization of abortion. Little has changed; today, Planned Parenthood still offers only abortion as a “solution.” As a result, Black women have 38% of all abortions in the U.S. even as Black Americans make up just 12% of the population.

VonChaz added that this “project” bled over into other projects through the decades where the “Black body was the subject, the Black body was the guinea pig” for medical research, and “unfortunately, some women were sterilized without even knowing it.”

She was referring to the trials of the early birth control pill on “women of color across the diaspora, from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, the majority of the studies being in Puerto Rico, where women used this product and they ended up being sterilized. A lot of them also ended up being very, very sick and actually did not know why they were sick.” As Lake noted, informed consent for these women was virtually nonexistent, and they were left alone in an impoverished U.S. territory with no resources to deal with the consequences.

As she made clear near the end of the Instagram video, VonChaz does not consider herself pro-life, specifically stating, “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, she’s anti-birth control. She’s anti-choice.’” But as she also made clear during the video, with a little research, anyone can come to understand the racist origins of birth control.

NIH approves 70 new human embryonic stem cell lines for use in federally funded research

By Paul Smeaton

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved 70 new embryonic stem cell lines for use in projects eligible for federally funded research.

The new cell lines, which come from human embryos created and destroyed in a laboratory, were approved by the NIH last month. The new cell lines come from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel.

Despite President Donald Trump’s many pro-life accomplishments, pro-lifers have expressed concern about NIH director Francis Collins, an Obama appointee who has defended research using tissue from aborted babies. In 2018, the March for Life and Live Action called for Collins to be ousted.

Collins’ replacement should be “someone who recognizes that children who are killed by abortion should be mourned, not experimented on,” Live Action President Lila Rose said at the time.

President George W. Bush’s administration banned public funding of research involving the creation of new stem cell lines through the destruction of new human embryos. In other words, he stopped taxpayer funding of the creation of new human beings in laboratories whose sole purpose for being created was so they could then be destroyed for research.

During Bush’s presidency, private funding of such research was not prohibited, and research using existing stem cell lines was permitted to continue.

But in 2009, shortly after he first assumed office, via executive order, President Barack Obama reversed Bush’s ban on public funding for research involving new stem cell lines created through the destruction of new human embryos.

Last year the Trump administration removed funding from some projects using human fetal tissue from aborted babies. The administration also instituted a policy which had the effect of making it more difficult for projects which use fetal tissue from aborted babies to receive federal funding. However, federal funding applications for projects using embryonic stem cells or embryonic cell lines were not impacted and the policy specifically excluded them in its definition of research involving human fetal tissue.

Pope John Paul II: Abortion is an “Evil” That Denies “The Basic Value of Human Life”

MARIA GALLAGHER   JUN 22, 2020

The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of an incredible document defending the sanctity of human life.

Evangelium Vitae [“The Gospel of Life”] by Pope John Paul II has definitely stood the test of time. Its powerful arguments are as relevant today as they were two-and-a-half decades ago.

The Pontiff issued this warning about attacks on human life:

…not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

In contrast, Pope John Paul II offered his “Gospel of Life”:

…the splendour of truth which enlightens consciences, the clear light which corrects the darkened gaze, and the unfailing source of faithfulness and steadfastness in facing the ever new challenges which we meet along our path.

The Pope also presented a powerful Biblical rationale for preserving and protecting life from the very moment of conception.

The New Testament revelation confirms the indisputable recognition of the value of life from its very beginning. The exaltation of fruitfulness and the eager expectation of life resound in the words with which Elizabeth rejoices in her pregnancy: “The Lord has looked on me … to take away my reproach among men” (Lk 1:25). And even more so, the value of the person from the moment of conception is celebrated in the meeting between the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth, and between the two children whom they are carrying in the womb. It is precisely the children who reveal the advent of the Messianic age: in their meeting, the redemptive power of the presence of the Son of God among men first becomes operative.

The Gospel of Life is available online here. In these difficult days, reading or re-reading this classic work can help give you the strength you need to speak out boldly and convincingly for the sacredness of life.

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Gallagher is the Legislative Director and Political Action Committee Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

Sacred Heart of Jesus: A Pro-Life Heart!

By Dr Jeanette Pinto

June is the month devoted to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It reminds us of the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of God’s revelation of Himself to us. Not too long ago the Holy Father Pope Francis declared: “Mercy is the Lord’s most powerful message.” Where does this mercy come from? You guessed right- from the loving Heart of Jesus. He truly has a Pro-life heart.

With the Indian summer just coming to an end everyone braving the monsoon with the wind and rain which is welcoming and soothing. It is like welcoming the sight of an oasis in a desert. The heat of the sun and the humidity can be exhausting and life ebbing. A person exposed to this bears a tired body which languishes for nourishment and the sagging spirit deeply desires to be uplifted; that is exactly when a person longs for the sight of an oasis.  Truly then the month of June is welcome as it becomes joyful, life giving and exhilarating. It is also exciting after a long vacation to look forward to a new season and routine for children and family.

We have all been babies once upon a time. Babies have hearts that radiate love like the sun in the tropics. But as we grow up, the bumps and bruises, and hardships of life gradually force us to layer our heart with toughness and defensiveness locking the love inside and disallowing the love of people from entering. The common factors that close the heart are Fear, Resentment, Unsolved grief, Jealousy, Pain, Attachments, and Ego. This leaves us with a closed or cluttered heart. Only selfless people can keep their hearts always open like Jesus, Mother Mary and extraordinary human beings like Mother Teresa. The radiance of their open merciful, compassionate hearts is likened to a ‘pro-life mystery.’ They are fully life-giving.

If anyone wants to have a pro-life heart then kindness is the key to unlock the Love, Compassion and Forgiveness present in this mysterious heart.  When your heart is filled with love, you feel happy and peaceful for no external reason. The basic energy is the loving, life-giving energy of the heart. Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to reach out, help another and soothe his pain.  It literally means “to suffer together”. In order to cultivate compassion in others, we should start modelling kindness and show love first in the family, where each person can experience very deeply and intimately the love of Jesus. It can be quite contagious and spreads to friends, neighbours and others around.

Resentment which is past anger is normally built over months and years; it is the junk that clogs the free flow of love in and out of your heart. It also forms a crust over the heart like plaque making it hard and perhaps diseased. In that situation forgiveness is the only universal solvent that washes the crust away. When you open your heart and allow yourself to fill it with love, you will feel the clouds around your heart wafting and dispersing. When you ask for forgiveness you are saying, “Please take me back into your heart.” Imagine how you would feel when slowly the layers of resentment and pain peel off with forgiveness. Many gifts and blessings will follow and be bestowed upon you.  When we make this our motto in life it will help create a unique society. We need to reach out to others as channels of mercy and compassion.

The life of Jesus is rooted in love; all the miracles he worked were the result of his Pro-life heart. His love is total and unconditional; His heart is sensitive and responsive to the needs of all his people. His love is universal, embracing all, the rich, the poor, the dregs of society, the prostitute the sinner et al.  He does not refuse anyone. Jesus’ love is persevering and enduring to the end. His love unites and binds together in community. Truly His Sacred heart is patient, forgiving, active, practical and efficacious to the end.

As we rejoice in His glory we remember the gifts of His Heart and feel drawn us closer to His love. May the Prolife heart of Jesus bring all humankind into His kingdom of justice, peace and love.


Dr Jeanette Pinto, an educator for the past 5 decades, headed the Department of History was Vice Principal of St. Xavier’s College Mumbai, and retired as Principal of Sophia College, Mumbai.  She is a counsellor and conductor of Personal Enrichment Programmes for students and teachers.

She set up the Human Life Committee in the Archdiocese of Bombay.  As a sex educator she has given talks on Human Sexuality in India and abroad. In 2014 she received the Rachana Outstanding Woman of the Year for her Pro-life work presented by the Diocese of Mangalore.  She has attended many National and International Pro-life conferences and given talks at other fora on various women’s issues.

She is author of a couple of books, her most recent ones are titled: I’m Pro-Life Are you? & Sex Talk: Parent to Child. She has also written a number of articles on a variety of themes and subjects, which have been published in research journals, The Examiner and other Catholic publications.

Scientists Edited Genes of Unborn Babies. When the Experiment Failed, They Killed the Babies

MICAIAH BILGER

An experiment that involved editing the DNA of unborn babies at their earliest stage of life and then destroying them ended in disaster, scientists in London reported this month.

Medium reports the research by biologist Kathy Niakan and her team at the Francis Crick Institute is being widely regarded as a warning sign about the dangers of trying to create a genetically modified human being.

Niakan used the CRISPR gene-editing technology to experiment on 25 human embryos, all less than 14 days old, according to the report. Although the embryos were in their earliest stage of life, they already were individual human beings with their own unique DNA.

According to the report, the London scientists used CRISPR to remove a gene known as POU5F1 in 18 of the embryos. Afterward, when they examined the 18 embryos and compared them to the seven that had not had their DNA edited, the scientists said about half had major DNA abnormalities that they did not intend.

Though the full impact of DNA editing is unknown, the scientists predicted that the abnormalities could cause birth defects, cancer and other problems, the report states. It also is unknown how DNA edits could affect any future children of those children.

Here’s more from the report:

The researchers then used sophisticated computational methods to analyze all of the embryos. What they found was that of the edited embryos, 10 looked normal but eight had abnormalities across a particular chromosome. Of those, four contained inadvertent deletions or additions of DNA directly adjacent to the edited gene.

A major safety concern with using CRISPR to fix faulty DNA in people has been the possibility for “off-target” effects, which can happen if the CRISPR machinery doesn’t edit the intended gene and mistakenly edits someplace else in the genome. But Niakan’s paper sounds the alarm for so-called “on-target” edits, which result from edits to the right place in the genome but have unintended consequences.

After the experiment, the scientists said they destroyed all the embryos.

Genetic experts at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania reacted strongly to the research and warned other scientists about moving forward with similar experiments.

Professor Fyodor Urnov at UC Berkeley said the disastrous results should be regarded as a “restraining order for all genome editors to stay the living daylights away from embryo editing.”

Kiran Musunuru, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said the experiment suggests DNA editing is much more complicated and dangerous than initially thought.

“What that means is that you’re not just changing the gene you want to change, but you’re affecting so much of the DNA around the gene you’re trying to edit that you could be inadvertently affecting other genes and causing problems,” Musunuru said.

For pro-life advocates, the experiment is troubling on multiple levels. The destruction of human life, no matter how early, is always wrong. From the moment of conception, unborn babies are unique, living human beings. Yet, their bodies are destroyed and used for experiments in laboratories across the world.

Genetic editing also has many concerned about the possibility of “designer babies,” or children whose genes have been edited to produce desired traits, such as height, hair color and sex.

In late 2018, a Chinese scientist caused international outrage after he announced that he had successfully changed the DNA of twin girls Lulu and Nana when they were embryos. The experiment involved editing a gene associated with HIV infections to make the twins resistant. One of the problems with the experiment, however, is that no one knows the effects of genetically altered DNA on human beings or their offspring.

In December, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported the scientist, He Jiankui, was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally practicing medicine and fined 3 million yuan (about $430,000).

Meanwhile, international health agencies are considering international guidelines for genetic editing.

Research Supports Educating Men in Fertility Awareness

https://www.factsaboutfertility.org/research-supports-educating-men-in-fertility-awareness/

Overview

This randomized controlled trial done in Sweden assessed whether the fertility awareness counseling tool known as Reproductive Life Plan (RLP) could increase men’s fertility awareness. The authors sought to address the limited awareness many people have about the factors that affect their fertility. They noted this lack of fertility awareness was especially problematic for men, at least partly due to the general paucity of attention directed at men’s reproductive health both in terms of education and research.

Background

The Reproductive Life Plan provides a structured format for people to consider whether or not they are interested in having children in the future. It is intended to motivate individuals to reflect on their reproductive goals and create a plan to achieve them. Additionally, it creates the setting for a conversation with a health care professional, during which patients can discuss factors that affect their fertility. RLP-based counseling has been shown to have positive results with women. However, prior to this research, it had not yet been studied in men.

Methodology

This trial included 201 men ages 18-50 who visited one of two sexual health clinics in Sweden for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. All 201 men received the care and STI testing for which they presented to the clinic. Additionally, 101 of them (the intervention group) received oral and written RLP-based information about fertility and lifestyle factors that can affect fertility. The RLP-based counseling was carried out by nurse midwives who, in Sweden, are responsible for much of the sexual and reproductive health care for healthy young adults.

During the RLP-counseling session, the nurse midwives consulted a list of fertility facts as a guideline and checked off any topics that were discussed. Furthermore, they emphasized relevant fertility information and lifestyle recommendations based on a predetermined checklist. After the counseling session, participants were sent home with a brochure about male fertility and lifestyle.

Assessment

The authors assessed any change in the men’s fertility awareness by administering a questionnaire before the intervention, and comparing the results via a telephone survey administered three months later. The initial questionnaire included general background questions, six open-ended questions about reproduction, and two open-ended questions about lifestyle factors relevant to fertility. The questions sought to assess the participants’ general knowledge about male fertility and reproduction. As an example, one question stated, “How long does sperm usually survive in the uterus/fallopian tubes after intercourse?”

The follow-up phone survey occurred three months after the RLP-counseling session, and the participants were asked the same knowledge questions as they had during the initial assessment. All the answers were given a score of 0-2 points based on a correction template, with the maximum possible total score being 12 points.

Results

In terms of participant characteristics, many had STI’s (75% had Chlamydia), one out of three (33%) had been involved in at least one pregnancy, and most of those resulted in induced abortions. 71% of participants wanted children in the future and, for the intervention group, the number of men who stated they wanted children increased from 58% before the intervention to 76% at follow-up.

Regarding the six general fertility questions, men in the intervention group increased their average score from 4.6 to 5.5, whereas there was no improvement in the control group. Regarding the two questions about lifestyle factors, men in the intervention group increased their average number of accurate lifestyle factors listed from 3.6 to 4.4, while the control group had no improvement.

As for feedback received about the RLP-counseling, some participants suggested a mobile application would be helpful. Three out of four participants (75%) noted they would likely make a pre-conception lifestyle adjustment if planning for a pregnancy.

Discussion

This research suggests RLP-based counseling targeted toward men can increase fertility awareness and ultimately help men adjust lifestyle factors that may impact their fertility. Given the fact that the recruited participants were all seeking STI testing, an important next step will be to determine if this research is reproducible with a larger, more diverse patient population.

Editor’s Note: It is encouraging to see this type of research taking place during a time when many couples are seeking healthier, safer, and more natural alternatives for family planning. The research by Bodin et al uncovered limited knowledge in the population studied concerning potential impact of age, weight, STI’s, and chemicals known to affect the endocrine system. It also identified and attempted to rectify misinformation about factors the men thought impact fertility, yet studies have shown they do not. We hope future research will incorporate more strategies to provide pre-conception counseling to educate men about modifiable lifestyle factors impacting their fertility.

Resources
[i] Bodin M, Tydén T, Käll L, Larsson M. Can Reproductive Life Plan-based counselling increase men’s fertility awareness? Ups J Med Sci. 2018;123(4):255‐263. doi:10.1080/03009734.2018.1541948.

Moral, Social Damage Done By Pill Still Disturbing

By FR. GEORGE WELZBACHER

Forty years have passed since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first authorized physicians to prescribe a drug that would subvert the institution of motherhood. May 9, 1960, was the day on which the authorization was granted; it was, by ironic coincidence, the day after Mothers’ Day. The drug, of course, was Enovid, a/k/a “the pill.”

Developed by Dr. Gregory Pincus and Dr. John Rock and manufactured by the Searle Pharmaceutical company, “the pill” was hailed by feminists at the time as a great liberator, providing women for the first time in history with a level playing field, allowing women as equals to compete with men in the work force and in the pursuit of sexual pleasure. For women who preferred a more formal and lasting commitment rather than the one-night stand, marriage itself, so went the prevailing wisdom, would be transformed by the new freedom from the encumbrance of unwanted children.

Every child would henceforth be a welcomed child and the fear — or the reality — of unwanted children would no longer put marriages under stress.

There were, to be sure, certain naysayers who did not line up promptly to salute the pill as an unmixed ‘benefaction. The Catholic Church, after careful study, found oral contraceptives to be nothing more than a more sophisticated method of frustrating God’s plan for the upbuilding of mankind.
Even certain secular thinkers were expressing concern at the likelihood of the collapse of sexual guidelines that had proved to be beneficial over time. Some political economists were fretting in public about the pill’s potential for catastrophic reduction in population levels, though such were gainsaid by the larger throngs of alarmist “experts” who feared that the Earth had already far too many people for the planet’s limited resources to sustain. And some physicians could be heard muttering in the corner about the pill’s potentially deleterious effects on women’s health.

But these demurrers were in the minority. The crowd was shouting: “Three cheers for the pill!”
Looking back from our vantage point today, we can see that there was reason indeed for second thoughts about the pill. In its original form, the pill had a dangerously high concentration of synthetic variants of progesterone and estrogen. That such was the case is attested by the fact that current forms in use today have less than a hundredth of the estrogen dosage found in the original form of the pill. Even at the time of the pill’s introduction, astute observers took note of the fact that while many physicians were assuring the public that the pill was perfectly safe, not a few of those physicians were loath to recommend the use of this medication to their own wives.

In a commemorative article in The New York Times (May 9 issue), Health reporter Jane Brody writes, “For the first time millions of young, healthy women were taking a potent drug every day, raising legitimate concerns about the drug-induced health risk. . . . And, as predicted, serious, even fatal, complications did occur among users of oral contraceptives, especially among women who smoked or were over 35 and those who used the early high-dose pills. These problems prompted a host of warnings and stimulated research that resulted in safer products containing far smaller hormone doses.”
Brody goes on to comment, however, that even the mini-doses available today are by no means utterly risk-free. “The pill today is sold with an insert mandated by the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) and filled with . . . facts, figures, and warnings that . . . women . . . should know if they wish to avoid becoming a statistic. Blood clots, which can result in heart attacks, strokes, thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, or vision-impairing eye damage, are the most common serious side effects and are most likely to occur in women who smoke and in older women. A smoker in her middle to late 20s is seven times as likely to die as a non-smoker from the pill-related clots, and the older the woman, the more smoking increases her risk if she also takes the pill.

“Women who have already had a clot-related disorder are advised not to take the pill. Women who have had cancers of the breast, lining of the uterus (endometrium), cervix, or vagina are advised not to take the pill, since it is possible that the hormones it contains could stimulate the growth of such cancers. . . . While there is at present no clear evidence that the pill increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, women taking the pill who have strong family histories of breast cancer or those who have had breast nodules or abnormal mammograms should be monitored closely by a doctor.”
Thus the risk to a woman’s physical health present in the use of oral contraceptives is by no means negligible even today. But the moral and social and even economic damage wrought by the pill is equally disturbing. Today every nation in Europe is rapidly aging as the number of children drops well below — in the case of Russia, drops far below — the number needed just to preserve the numerical status quo, let alone to maintain a vigorous growth in the economy.

What masks the situation in the United States is massive immigration. On the moral front, the pill has vastly popularized the “playboy philosophy” among men. So many men in the age of the pill now look upon women as little more than casual accomplices in sensual satisfaction, accomplices to be nonchalantly discarded as fresh accomplices come upon the scene. A woman’s dignity as potentially a mother, to be revered by her children and by her faithful husband, is swept away.
And if, against expectation, a child is conceived from such casual liaisons, this turn of events is now thought to be the woman’s “fault”; it is accordingly her responsibility to provide a “solution” for the “problem,” either by aborting the child or by rearing it on her own.

The liberated male admits no obligation: “If you had taken the pill we wouldn’t have this problem” is his likely retort as he heads out the door.

The moral harm wrought by the pill within marriage has been similarly calamitous. Our national divorce rate of 50 percent is the predictable outcome of the prevailing mindset in which, thanks to the pill, the humble and complete gift of oneself to one’s spouse is replaced by exploitation of the other in self-centered satisfaction in the impeded marriage act. Living side by side with another person soon becomes intolerable in the absence of mutual respect. And when one regards one’s partner as mainly a means to one’s own selfish ends, mutual respect will wither and die.

To regard another person as a means to an end is to reduce that person to the status of a thing, an instrument to be manipulated for one’s own advantage. One can offer another person no greater insult. That is precisely what contraception does. Accordingly contraception erodes the foundations of a stable and happy marriage.

The most destructive impact of contraception, however, is what it does to one’s relationship with God. The pill frustrates the natural order by telling a biochemical lie. The hormonal content of the pill sends a woman’s body a false signal to the effect that she has already conceived. Nature being thus deceived, ovulation is suppressed and actual conception becomes impossible as long as the false signal is maintained. Thus the basis of the pill’s effectiveness in frustrating the natural order is cleverly orchestrated mendacity. As such, it carries the family features of the “Father of Lies.”

To reject in any fashion the natural order governing human relations is to reject the order’s author, Almighty God. To reject that order in a serious matter is to separate oneself from God. Since human life is preeminently sacred, to misuse the sources of human life is to sin in a serious matter, i.e., to commit a mortal sin. Contraceptive misuse of sexual power is accordingly seriously sinful. In thus separating the soul from God, contraception empties the soul of grace and of that fullness of peace that is the companion of grace, the peace that God wishes each soul to possess, to possess already in this life.
Far worse, contraception, in separating the soul from God, places the soul in danger of losing God for eternity.

Taken all in all, and in each point severally, the Age of the Pill has been a disaster.

Women need to understand the Effects of Birth Control on Their Bodies and Hormones

Most American women use some type of contraception in their lifetimes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 13% of women aged 15 to 49 are currently on the pill, while about 10% use an intrauterine device or contraceptive implant.

Those birth control options are often touted as safe and effective methods for preventing pregnancy or addressing hormonal imbalances.

But Dr. Jolene Brighten suggests that isn’t the whole story. Dr. Brighten, a naturopathic physician and women’s health specialist by training, explores the effects hormones can have on women’s health.

That’s why she wrote the book “Beyond the Pill: A 30-Day Program to Balance Your Hormones, Reclaim Your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill,” to delve deep into the issues that can arise with the use of the pill.

“I wanted to provide women with a user’s manual for their bodies and give them the information I wish I’d been given early in life,” Dr. Brighten said.

If women are diagnosed with a hormonal issue, they’re often offered the pill as the first — or sometimes only — solution. But Dr. Brighten seeks to educate women about the effects hormone imbalances can have on their well-being. The book also offers advice to remedy these imbalances through lifestyle changes, supplements, and nutritional modifications.

Some women experience side effects when they start birth control, including hair loss, lagging libido, extreme fatigue, and chronic infection. And those issues aren’t always taken seriously by their doctors. But women may not realize that they don’t have to live with those problems. Dr. Brighten discusses in her book how to locate the root cause of hormonal issues, attain a pain-free, manageable period free of cramps, acne, stress or PMS, and how to support liver detox, among other helpful topics.

“The book also provides them with tools to have a more productive conversation with their doctors and monitor and support their health if they do choose hormonal birth control,” Dr. Brighten said.

In addition to books, her website, www.drbrighten.com, has articles and resources to help women identify their symptoms and have more informed interactions with their doctors.

Birth Control May Not Be Right for Every Woman

Dr. Brighten said she doesn’t think women always have the right tools to understand their own bodies. Instead, she believes that women are often recommended birth control without clearly understanding its risks.

Birth control can lead to a variety of issues in women, including thyroid dysfunction, adrenal problems, loss of libido, menstrual irregularities, PMS, and anxiety.

Women don’t always link these problems to birth control or hormones, however. Until they read Dr. Brighten’s writings or consult with her, many believe they have to live with these symptoms.

“We serve women all over the world who are struggling and feeling dismissed by doctors about their concerns,” Dr. Brighten said.

But Dr. Brighten said she doesn’t think that birth control is inherently bad. Instead, she said she believes that women should have all the information about it when making choices about what to put in their bodies.

Nutritional Advice and Supplement Guidance Promote Hormonal Health

In addition to reaching a global audience with her writing, Dr. Brighten is also a clinician who works with clients.

In her clinical practice, she focuses on teaching women to make better choices that support their wellness. Often, that focus turns to diet and supplement changes to promote hormonal balance.

Dr. Brighten’s expertise on the connection between women’s hormones and nutrition informs those recommendations. She also shares that nutritional healing advice on her website.

“As both my family and myself leverage supplements, I wanted to have a line of the highest quality products I could trust to give to my family and take myself. One of our core values is to think about our customers like our family,” Dr. Brighten said.

Trump Admin Fights UN, WHO Efforts to Use COVID-19 to Spread Abortion

In April of this year, President Trump temporarily halted funding from the World Health Organization over concerns that it had grossly mishandled the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, he has threatened to make the decision to withhold funding permanent.

For the WHO, the loss of U.S. funding is no small thing: The U.S.’s contributions of some $400-$500 million per year to the WHO amount to approximately 14 percent of the organization’s operating budget.

However, for pro-life Americans—and indeed pro-life individuals globally—the Trump administration’s decision was welcome for a reason completely separate from the organization’s missteps on the pandemic. The WHO has long been one of the most pro-abortion organizations on the planet, using the ostensibly humanitarian nature of its mission as cover to promote the killing of preborn babies throughout the world.

The same is true of a number of departments and organizations associated with the United Nations. The UN was founded as a political body intended to protect peace and uphold human rights around the world, yet large segments have been hijacked by radical pro-abortion activists. Disturbingly, the UN’s pro-abortion agenda has been on prominent display throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as various agencies—including the WHO—have attempted to promote abortion access as somehow being a crucial part of the response to the pandemic.

Trump Admin Opposes Hijacking COVID-19 for Abortion Advocacy

Thankfully, the Trump administration has been at the forefront of the efforts to get out ahead of this anti-life agenda.

In a letter dated May 18, John Barsa, the acting USAID administrator, blasted the United Nations’ drafted “Global Humanitarian Response Plan.” The Global HRP is supposed to be the UN’s formal reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, laying out a united global plan for how to respond. However, instead of putting a laser focus on the pandemic, the statement included troubling and divisive language promoting abortion.

In his letter, Barsa urged the UN not to use the pandemic “as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service.’” “Unfortunately,” Barsa continued, “the Global HRP does just this, by cynically placing the provision of ‘sexual and reproductive health services’ on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation. Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings.”

Barsa made it clear to UN Secretary General António Guterres that the U.S. will—quoting President Trump’s address to the UN—“never tire of defending innocent life.” “Indeed, the UN should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life,” he continued. “To use the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to pressure governments to change their laws is an affront to the autonomy of each society to determine its own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn.”

Amen. I will never tire of seeing the leadership of our country stepping forward and boldly defending the dignity and right to life of the preborn on the global stage.

Just last week, the Trump administration also rejected another attempt to insert pro-abortion language into a UN document. In a statement entitled the “U.S. Mission to the United Nations,” the administration said that it would not sign on to the proposed resolution for the 2020 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment at the UN, specifically due to the inclusion of the terms “sexual and reproductive health care services” and “sexual and reproductive health.” These terms are understood by many UN bureaucrats to include not only contraception, but legalized abortion.

“The United States rejects any interpretation of international human rights to require any State Party to provide access to abortion,” the U.S. statement said bluntly.

Austin Ruse, the head of the pro-life organization C-FAM, which lobbies at the UN, said in response: “This is a great victory for pro-lifers around the world who are justifiably concerned that COVID funding would be used to promote abortion in humanitarian assistance. We thank the Trump administration for taking this strong stance in favor of true humanitarian assistance and in favor of the unborn child.”

The WHO’s Extensive Abortion Advocacy

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his dismay that international organizations were using their clout to promote abortion, particularly in third world nations. He wrote:

Some non-governmental organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific healthcare policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favor of its juridical recognition.

The Holy Father wrote movingly of the ills that NGOs are guilty of when they promote abortion instead of authentic development. “Openness to life is at the center of true development,” he said. He continued:

When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.

Unfortunately, as one recent in-depth study makes clear, the WHO—which should, by virtue of its name, be promoting health—is one of the leading organizations promoting the “suppression of life” rather than an “openness to life.” In a white paper entitled The World Health Organization’s Abortion Overreach, Dr. Rebecca Oas exposes how the WHO is lobbying to legalize abortion throughout the world and strives to make abortion more prevalent by promoting the use of dangerous abortion drugs, including those taken without medical supervision. She also exposes how, in some cases, the WHO has trained doctors in pro-life countries to perform abortions and promotes “comprehensive sexuality education” that includes pro-abortion propaganda aimed at children. In addition, her white paper explains how the WHO’s abortion advocacy has distracted the organization from addressing the actual healthcare needs of women and infants.

Dr. Oas traces many of these shady activities to the WHO’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (SRH). Behind the SRH is a group of wealthy, pro-abortion Western nations and nonprofits—including the Ford, MacArthur, and Packard Foundations—as well as (unsurprisingly) International Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, in the latest records available (2016-17), the United States was also listed as a donor to the SRH.

Another outsized influence, observes Dr. Oas, is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the second largest donor to the WHO, second only to the United States. Dr. Oas notes that the influence of this foundation is troubling, since it “derives its influence from the wealth of a single family, and is not subject to the norms that govern the UN and its agencies, such as the need for global consensus.” While the Gates Foundation carefully massages its messaging to focus on contraception rather than abortion, it also donates huge sums of money to leading abortion organizations, like Marie Stopes International and International Planned Parenthood. With the Gates Foundations’ deep pockets and enormous influence at the WHO, it’s unsurprising that the WHO has increasingly openly promoted abortion, despite the opposition to abortion held by many UN Member States.

In the end, the clear picture that emerges from the evidence presented by Dr. Oas is that the WHO is diligently working to give a veneer of credibility to abortion by calling it “essential health care” and then using its considerable wealth and power to impose abortion—in flagrant violation of the law if necessary—in developing nations. The same is true of other UN agencies, including the UN Population Fund, UN Women, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With a $50-billion-a-year budget, the UN is arguably the biggest engine of the Culture of Death today. That is why pro-lifers everywhere can celebrate the Trump administration’s decision to halt funding to the WHO as well as to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with its horrific history of supporting coercive abortion and sterilization.

However, as Dr. Oas argues, it is time to go further. Until the UN and WHO stop meddling in the affairs of pro-life nations and pushing the killing of innocent human beings under the guise of “health care,” they should never again receive another dime of U.S. taxpayer money.

Your heart on birth control

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Heart Health

The two primary female reproductive hormones are estrogen and progesterone. When estrogen zigs, progesterone zags. They are like foil characters that have important balancing characteristics. We see the impact of this balancing act on our bone health, mood stabilization, and even our libido. We also see it in our heart health: recent research has found a connection between cardiac functioning and our natural monthly cycles of endogenous estrogen and progesterone, and it has also indicated a relationship between our cycles and heart disease risk. As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for post-menopausal women, it is crucial to understand why and how Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs) can help.

The estrogen-dominant phase of the menstrual cycle is often referred to as spring and summer: Libido is high, the endometrium proliferates and grows, brain cells are stimulated, and bone mass is built. Following this is the progesterone-dominant phase, which is often compared to fall and winter: Libido drops, moods are stabilized, the endometrium maintains, and brain cells restore and repair, as does bone mass.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, taking charge of your fertility, know more about your body, understanding fertility, understanding fertility health, improving fertility health, improving women's health, natural birth control, heart health, reasons women need periods, women need menstrual cycles, women need periods, heart health and menstrual cycle, periods and heart health, ovulation and heart health, fertility and heart health, estrogen and heart disease, progesterone and heart disease, hormones and heart diseaseAs these hormones have an effect on our brain, bones, libido, and moods, it should come as no surprise that even our heart is affected by them, too.

Your heart loves your hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone)

Recent findings show that resting heart rates follow distinct patterns across the menstrual cycle. Resting heart rate is slower in the menstrual and follicular phase (the first half of the cycle, when estrogen dominates), while it is significantly faster in the ovulatory and luteal phase (the second half of the cycle, when progesterone dominates).

We also know that estrogen has a preventative effect on coronary artery calcification (CAC). CAC can cause blood vessels to narrow and lead to the development of heart disease, but estrogen helps prevent the buildup of calcium in the arteries. Estrogen also positively influences myocardial contractile reserve, which gives the heart the ability to pump harder when it needs to, and to rest easier when it doesn’t.

Progesterone plays an important role in cardiovascular health, too: it decreases blood pressure through vasodilation and decreases angiotensin-II vaso-responsiveness. Vaso what? Angiotensin-II is a blood vessel constrictor that increases blood pressure, and progesterone helps moderate that response. See? Zig and zag.

When you pair these effects of estrogen and progesterone on cardiovascular functioning with other research that connects reproductive factors and incidence of heart failure, the importance of the cyclical effects of these hormones for optimal heart health becomes even more striking. In a 2017 paper, researchers found that a “shorter total reproductive duration [defined as the time from menarche to menopause] was associated with a higher risk of incident total heart failure hospitalization in post menopausal women.”

More research is needed to determine the exact relationship between endogenous (that is, naturally occurring) progesterone and estrogen exposure, but these results seem to indicate that a longer reproductive lifespan seems to reduce one’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease and/or having a cardiovascular event later in life: according to the study, “a total of 1494 women (5.2%) were hospitalized for adjudicated incident heart failure, with women who had fewer total menstrual cycles having a greater risk for incident heart failure at 1 year.”

Your heart on birth control

But reproductive duration isn’t necessarily measured in time alone. It’s what is actually happening during those cycles throughout those prime years of reproductive potential that matters the most.

So what should be happening during those prime reproductive years? Well, ideally, you’d be ovulating and menstruating in a predictable, healthy manner. But if you are on hormonal contraception of any kind, you are not ovulating or cycling at all. This, by definition, means shorter time of potential fertility. Even though the same amount of time is passing than would be off the Pill, your reproductive duration is shortened because there is no exposure to biological cycles—the zig-and-zag of your naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone.

When a woman takes hormonal birth control, instead of ovulating and experiencing the cyclical effects of her naturally occurring sex hormones, the menstrual cycle is suppressed, and the heart is no longer experiencing this beneficial balancing act. And, in case you’re wondering whether the synthetic forms of estrogen or progesterone found in hormonal contraception have this same beneficial effect, the answer, unfortunately, is “no.”

It is commonly known that smokers and women over 35 are not good candidates for hormonal contraception, but women with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol are also at higher risk for developing coronary heart disease, which makes hormonal contraception a riskier family planning choice for them, too. Hormonal contraceptive use itself has been linked with increased risk of blood clots, and their associated cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack.  High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all associated with hormonal contraceptive use, too.

Healthy cycles for a healthy heart

Of course, even if you aren’t on birth control, cycling alone is not enough to reap the benefits of your hormones’ balancing act for optimal heart health. Similar to our discussion with Dr. Prior on bone health and ovulation, we know that healthy, ovulatory, and functional cycles are needed for our bodies to reap the benefits of our cycles.  Hormonal disorders—which usually correspond with irregular, anovulatory, progesterone deficient, and/or estrogen dominant cycles—can mess with this delicate balance, even if a woman is not on birth control.

Good nutrition and regular, moderate exercise can go a long way in balancing hormones, but they are not the *only* variables—sometimes more interventions may be needed to find balance. This is where charting cycles with a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) can be a vital tool in assessing a woman’s overall health. Healthcare providers who understand how to use the biological information gleaned from a woman’s menstrual cycle can diagnose and treat the hormonal disorders that may be affecting a woman’s health—from her fertility, to her immune functioning, to her bone and heart health, and everything in between.

What’s happening to my heart if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Obviously, pregnancy is a time of anovulation (that is, when ovulation does not occur). Women who are breastfeeding also may not see a return to fertility for weeks, months, or even years. But whether you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or both, those are the only times (except for puberty and pre/post menopause) when it is considered biologically normal to go without the zig-and-zag of progesterone and estrogen that cause the regular cycle of ovulation and menstruation. And your body—savvy as it is—has a fix for that! The incredible amounts of endogenous progesterone and estrogen that a woman is exposed to throughout her pregnancy more than recoup for the effects of anovulation due to pregnancy or breastfeeding. Further, prolactin (better known as the lactation hormone) has indirect, beneficial effects on the new mom’s heart. Prolactin actually modulates neural pathways in the brain to decrease stress, which decreases cortisol. And as we all know, cortisol is that greedy stress hormone that (when left unchecked due to chronic or long term stress), can rob your body of estrogen and progesterone, and raise your risk for heart disease.

It is true that pregnancy is a time of complicated risk factors for heart disease—and pregnancies before age 20 especially seem to increase one’s risk for heart disease. But this is where it comes in handy to have had those years of protective exposure to endogenous hormones prior to pregnancy. Just another reason why teens and young women need a (regular, functional) period! It’s also another big point in favor of FABMs, which allow women to cycle naturally whether they are trying to achieve pregnancy or not.

Women need periods

If we haven’t already convinced you how important menstruating (and ovulating) is for your heart health, consider that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for post-menopausal women. While more research is needed to determine the exact effects of progesterone and estrogen on the heart, the decades of natural, cyclical, endogenous hormone exposure throughout a woman’s reproductive life could have an important impact on her heart disease risk. It’s certainly something to take into account when considering your family planning options.

The more we learn about feminine health, the more reasons we encounter why #womenneedperiods. Regular and functional ovulation benefits the development and maintenance of your immune system, the building and protecting of your bone mass, and the functioning and preservation of your heart. As hard as it may feel to appreciate at times, your period actually does a lot of good for you.

 

Why do black lives ‘matter’? Not because they’re black, but because they’re human

By Seth Gruber

June 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Many of the greatest defenders and proponents of stay-at-home orders and Black Lives Matter protests are rabidly pro-abortion, yet their responses to COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd reveal staunchly pro-life principles.

The entire narrative built by politicians and the mainstream media following the government’s stay-at-home orders was that we had to temporarily sacrifice our lifestyle and freedoms in order to protect the vulnerable. We were told every day that we didn’t have the right to endanger the health and lives of others.

Similarly, if every other form of bodily rights can or should be temporarily restricted in a pandemic to save lives, why shouldn’t abortion, which always ends a life? Many politicians and pundits argued that social distancing and stay-at-home orders illustrated that your right to bodily autonomy should be regulated if your actions risk harming others. Regardless of whether those orders were justified, this is the exact case pro-lifers make for protecting the unborn: A pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy ends the moment that exercising that autonomy harms or kills others.

Obviously, pro-lifers maintain there is a difference between unintentionally infecting a vulnerable person at Disneyland and having an abortion, which always involves the direct and intentional killing of a human being. But this only strengthens the case for regulating bodily autonomy when it comes to abortion.

It is not unreasonable for the government to temporarily restrict a pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy to protect the health and life of her vulnerable child.

Then, after two months of stay-at-home orders, a police officer in Minneapolis brutally mistreated and killed a black man named George Floyd, whom he held down on the street with his knee placed directly on Floyd’s neck for a full eight minutes.

This incident incited protests and riots all around the country. While there is a clear distinction between peaceful protestors truly angered by Floyd’s murder and the criminals using his death to “justify” their looting and burning, the protests were nearly all called Black Lives Matter, which quickly became the trending hashtag on social media platforms.

Putting the question of systemic racism in the police force aside, it is obvious that Americans are united in calling racism evil. We all believe that Black Lives Matter, not because they’re black but because they’re human beings with intrinsic dignity. Everyone agrees that intentionally harming or killing innocent human beings without proper justification is wrong.

But if Black Lives Matter because they’re human beings, then they matter from the moment they ARE human beings. If systemic racism is true and Gayle King at CBS This Morning is right that there is an “open season on black people,” such that we need to initiate systemic change to correct injustice, then how can we continue to tolerate the injustice of abortion, which quite literally is “open season” on black people?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans account for 13.4 percent of the population but obtained 36 percent of the country’s abortions in 2015. That means that Planned Parenthood alone kills more black lives in two weeks than the KKK lynched in a century. The most dangerous place for an African American to be is not in an altercation with a white police officer. It’s in the womb!

While the claim that there is systemic racism in America’s police force targeting black lives is not verifiable, it is proven that the abortion industry targets black lives because of their race. Fully aware of the disproportionate amount of abortions that black America obtains, Planned Parenthood strategically places their death camps in black neighborhoods. A study by Protecting Black Life found that “79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are strategically located within walking distance of African and/or Hispanic communities.”

If Black Lives Matter, then ALL Black Lives Matter, both born and pre-born. There is no greater assault on black lives than the one the abortion industry wages, as they specifically target black babies to increase profits.

Both the COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter responses reveal the self-evident nature of the pro-life position: Human beings have intrinsic dignity and value that should be respected and protected.

Unfortunately, after decades of pro-abortion propaganda, that self-evident truth is not as self-evident as it used to be. While recognizing this truth as it applies to born people, too many of our countrymen still don’t believe it applies at the beginning of a human being’s existence!

The Abortion Pill is Not Safe for Women

JEANNE MANCINI

Those who really care about women’s health and safety should be deeply concerned about the latest push to expand chemical abortion via telemedicine and look for ways to communicate the serious risks involved.

The use of chemical abortion was already on the rise in the United States, but calls to expand access have become even louder during the coronavirus pandemic. In October, the Guttmacher Institute (originally the research branch of Planned Parenthood) reported that the use of chemical abortion over the past two decades has ballooned. “Medication abortions increased from 5% of all abortions in 2001 to 39% in 2017, even while the overall number of abortions declined,” reads the report. In 2001, there were approximately 71,000 chemical abortions; in 2017, this number climbed to 340,000. It will very likely increase during the pandemic.

Billed as safe and effective by the abortion industry, chemical abortion is arguably much harder on women’s health than surgical abortion — and there’s certainly less medical oversight. A study out of Finland showed that women are four times more likely to suffer severe complications as a result of chemical abortion than they are as a result of surgical abortion.

Chemical abortion is grueling and takes a nasty toll on a woman’s body, in addition to ending the life of her unborn child. It is a two-step regimen. The first step requires a woman to take a drug called mifepristone, which blocks progesterone and prevents an unborn baby from receiving vital nutrients, effectively starving the baby to death. The second drug, misoprostol, causes strong uterine contractions that expel the unborn baby from the uterus. With both drugs come vaginal and abdominal bleeding and cramping, according to the Mayo Clinic, and the clinic advises that anyone who has an at-home chemical abortion to get access to a doctor and emergency services.

The use of telemedicine only to prescribe a chemical abortion eliminates critical medical oversight afforded by an ultrasound. Ultrasounds should always be performed to determine the gestational age and location of the baby; if not, chemical abortions can pose potentially fatal risks to women. Perhaps the most dangerous possibility of all is if a woman uses chemical abortion when she has an ectopic pregnancy — that is, when the baby has attached to her fallopian tubes rather than the uterine wall. It’s a life-threatening situation that ultrasound can either rule out or accurately diagnose.

The gestational age is also important because, for safety reasons, the Food and Drug Administration has approved chemical abortion only up until 10 weeks into pregnancy. And an ultrasound is generally needed to date a pregnancy accurately because many pregnant women aren’t certain about the date of their last menstrual period.

peer-reviewed study from 2015 on the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of self-administered abortion pills through 70 days showed that almost 30% of the 40 women taking chemical abortion did so after the FDA-approved time frame of 63 days. Very sadly, 62% of these women had incomplete abortions. Surgical evacuation was required for 68% of these patients, and 23% of these women had a failed abortion. For 12.5% of them, they received surgical evacuation with blood transfusion. The authors concluded that “unsupervised medical abortion can lead to increased maternal morbidity and mortality.”

When chemical abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, the drugs required a “black box warning” because of mifepristone’s known ability to suppress the immune system and issues with bleeding. In the years since chemical abortion was approved, the FDA has reported adverse events, the latest information shows that at least 24 women have died as a direct result of chemical abortion in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, and there have been thousands of serious adverse event reports submitted to the FDA including hospitalizations and blood transfusions. With increasing numbers of women using telemedicine to obtain a chemical abortion, the number of complications and deaths caused by chemical abortion will very likely increase.

In light of the many risks associated with chemical abortion, it is profoundly troubling that anyone would advocate for telemedicine abortion — or demand that the FDA relax the policies designed to mitigate those risks. No one claiming to champion women should prioritize “access” above their health and safety.

How Charting My Cycles with Fertility Awareness Saved My Life

posted on June 3, 2020 by Nia Husk

How Charting My Cycles with Fertility Awareness Saved My Life

When I was in college was when I first heard about Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) and about six months before I was to be married, I learned how to chart a specific method.

A few months after we were married, we went on a trip to Guatemala, and while we were there I was charting out my cycles and noticed that something was bizarre. I was trying to figure out the days that I was fertile and infertile, and wasn’t able to do so. At that point, though, I had no other symptoms and so I ended up calling my instructor to see if she could guide me.

My instructor told me, after taking a look at my charts and my cycles, that she agreed that something odd was occurring and she referred me to my fertility awareness doctor who was trained in the specific method that I had learned.

When I saw my doctor, she took a look at my chart; she agreed with me that it was definitely strange that I couldn’t tell when I was fertile or infertile.

And so she decided to do an exploratory ultrasound just to figure out if there was something we could be missing.

So we did the ultrasound, and she told me she found a six-centimeter tumor on my left ovary.When I heard that information from my doctor, it was very shocking, and I remember entering into her office and just feeling like the world around me was going in fast motion–but I was still stuck in slow motion, almost as if I was in a movie.

After the surgery, they did a biopsy of the tumor and found that it was a borderline tumor. A borderline tumor is one that is a slow-growing nonmalignant cancer. And I remember that as the surgeon was explaining to me about this that my husband had asked her, “what would have happened if we had waited two months to find out?” And the surgeon replied back to him, “honestly I wouldn’t have wanted you to wait another two weeks to have this removed.’

Many women are put on birth control for irregular menstrual cycles– but if I had been using an artificial means of birth control, I may not have found out that I was sick.

That was four years ago, and I am happy to report that I’m healthy—that all is well. Originally I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to conceive with one ovary, but we were able to have a child two years ago; and so we have our little Gigi, and our life is very blessed.

Ultimately it was charting that saved my life. I have no other symptoms, and it was only by charting the natural signs of my cycle that I was clued into there being anything wrong. If I had been using an artificial means of birth control, I may not have found out that I was sick.

Since then I have spoken to many people who have found out about health problems solely through charting, and I am very passionate about getting the information out there about these methods, so much so that I now teach a Fertility Awareness-Based Method myself.

Fertility awareness is learning the signs of your body and charting them out to be able to achieve or avoid pregnancy, and ultimately to know your reproductive health.

My hope in sharing my story is to really empower women to not be afraid to learn the natural signs of their bodies, and to learn these methods that can truly be beneficial to their lives and their health.

Shrinking Populations Represent Shrinking Future

By 

Many millennials and gen-z-ers never had the experience of “going out to play” in generally safe neighborhoods without constant parental supervision. High divorce rates and the rising influence of the Internet deprived them of this particularly formative part of their childhoods. Their schools reinforced the idea of constant supervision by an education philosophy that is long on ideology and short on truth.

Not only do the newer generations have difficulty going out to play but they have fewer playmates. Fewer couples are having children. Statista relates that 49.5 million families in the U.S have no children under the age of eighteen, 14 million have a single child, 12.8 million have two children, and only 7 million have three or more. While these figures do not reflect homes where children are grown, the trend is undeniable. Children are vanishing in America.

The Long Term Trends

The fertility rate in the United States has been on a steady decline since 2007. It is now at an all-time low. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Vital Statistics System, “The general fertility rate was 59.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 2% from 2017 and another record low for the United States.”

The Hill presented the overall picture as it rolled out over time. “[T]he TFR (Total Fertility Rate) hovered above 3.0 in the early twentieth century; declined to replacement levels of about 2.1 in the 1940s; reached a peak of 3.7 in the post-World War II baby boom; and then declined rapidly to relatively stable low levels in the seventies. Declines in fertility have accelerated since 2010 — raising questions about the economic and public policy implications if this latest trend continues.” The Washington Post pegs the current fertility rate at 1.73.

Reasons for the Decline

The reasons for this decline are well-known. Contraception is more common and available everywhere. Couples wait longer to get married, and then delay childbearing until they consider themselves more financially secure. The costs of raising children – especially daycare and education – continue to rise faster than the general cost of living. Many couples simply decide never to have children.

The influence of culture and government also contributes to this trend. Many schools and other public agencies promote contraception and abortion among the young. Such efforts are often done in tandem with Planned Parenthood. Under Obamacare, contraception drugs are mandated for all health insurance packages. The United Nation’s World Health Organization actively promotes abortion and contraception worldwide. Much of the environmental movement favors fewer people since the mere existence of humanity is the source of the coming global collapse.

This depopulation trend has massive social and economic consequences.

Children and the Family

Neighborhoods that once crawled with children are now relatively quiet. Rather than neighborhood games of tag, baseball, or other games, which could go on for hours, the now-common “playdate” is more likely to be indoors and have a set end time. The playdate is tailored to the dwindling number of children that now must play by appointment only.

The playdate is a poor substitute for the neighborhood. The limits on the parents’ time make these occasions relatively rare, which makes forming lasting friendships more difficult. The pool of children is limited and thus makes it more difficult to develop social skills with groups that should develop naturally.

When the playdate has to be called off or postponed, the most available alternative is “screen time.” That screen might be attached to a television, a computer or a video game, which is a poor replacement for human interaction.

Can A Shrinking Society Support Itself?

Most couples who delay or limit childbirth cite economic reasons. They may not realize that a shrinking society carries severe economic costs.

Euromonitor International reported on the global impact of an aging consumer base. Its study is ominously titled Developed Cities with Lower Birth Rates Forecast to Register Slower Real GDP Growth by 2030. The report finds that “While new opportunities will certainly arise in light of a growing elderly demographic,… continuously low birth rates will inevitably lead to a drop in total consumption in the future as overall population will begin to decrease.”

Euromonitor also reported on the negative impact of a decreased number of workers. “The shrinkage of the working-age (15-64) population is the single biggest danger for the economic health of cities. This age category is the main supplier of productive labour for businesses, which means the working-aged are also the taxpayers and the care providers for the age-dependent.”

Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research also described this impact in March 2019. “[L]ower fertility has serious consequences:  a smaller future workforce will result in slower overall economic growth and higher tax burdens to support pay-as-you-go programs such as Social Security.  According to the 2018 Social Security Trustees Report, a total fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman instead of 2.0 would increase the program’s 75-year deficit by 0.41 percent of taxable payrolls or a present value of almost $2 trillion.”

Eventually, the Social Security System may collapse or be restructured as a taxpayer-subsidized welfare program. Of course, there will be fewer taxpayers.

European and Asian Situations Are Even Worse

While American population trends are troubling, the situation is far worse in Western Europe and parts of Asia. Figures compiled by The World Bank find that no European Union nation hits the population replacing 2.0 fertility rates. Malta’s rate is lowest at 1.2. Cypress, Italy and Spain are at 1.3. France is the highest at 1.9.

Japan has not replenished its population since 1975 and currently sits at slightly under 1.4, according to the website Macrotrends. Even the liberal New York Times acknowledges that China’s low birth rate has “undesirable side effects” stemming from its tyrannical thirty-five year “One Child Policy” that was slightly changed in 2015. “It upended traditional structures for supporting older adults and led to a widening imbalance in the number of men and women, one that could sow social unrest.”

Indeed, the present generations are too selfish to reproduce.  Like most selfish behavior, it is short-sighted. Individuals and families think they are short-term advantages to having small families. However, these “advantages” will come to haunt them as they age and the smaller generations that follow struggle to keep society running.

“There is No Right to Abortion”

MARIE SMITH   JUN 1, 2020

During the recent virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly-the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO)-the US submitted its written Explanation of Position (EOP) on the COVID-19 Response Resolution, disassociating itself from a number of paragraphs, including two related to “sexual and reproductive health”.

The US statement expressed regret at the failure to achieve consensus language in all areas of the resolution and explained:

“The United States dissociates from operative paragraphs 7.5 and 9.4. The United States strongly supports women reaching the highest attainable outcomes for health, life, dignity, and well-being throughout their lives. We champion access to high-quality health care for women and girls across the lifespan. However, we do not accept references to “sexual and reproductive health,” or other language that suggests or explicitly states that access to abortion is included in the provision of population and individual level health services. The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn, and rejects any interpretation of international human rights (such as General Comment 36 on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) to require any State Party to provide access to abortion. As President Trump has stated, ‘Americans will never tire of defending innocent life.’

Each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies, free from external pressure. There is no international right to abortion, nor is there any duty on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion. Further, consistent with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our global health assistance.”

UN “Experts” Object to US States’ Right to Decide Abortion Policy

Pro-abortion activists serving on the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls attacked US states for not treating abortion as “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis. In the release, United States: Authorities manipulating COVID-19 crisis to restrict access to abortion, issued by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the activists target Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

According to Elizabeth Broderick, Vice-Chair of the Working Group, “We regret that the above-mentioned states, with a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, appear to be manipulating the crisis to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights.

“This situation is also the latest example illustrating a pattern of restrictions and retrogressions in access to legal abortion care across the country. We fear that, without clear political will to reverse such restrictive and regressive trends, states will continue pursuing this pattern.”

The Working Group also expressed its opposition to USAID’s letter to the UN Secretary General which requested the removal of references to “sexual and reproductive health and its derivatives” from the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on COVID-19.

Broderick said, “We reiterate that sexual and reproductive health services, including access to safe and legal abortion, are essential and must remain a key component of the UN’s priorities in its responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

PNCI notes that the Working Group disregards UN consensus agreed to in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action which states in 8.25 “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process”. State legislators are the ones to determine state policy on abortion, not abortion activists who are appointed by the Human Rights Council to serve on Special Procedures.

What do declining fertility rates tell us about a society’s future?

by Marcus Roberts

Over at National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty recently discussed the latest fertility figures from the United States. Once again, they were in decline: in 2019 the total fertility rate (the number of children each woman on average is expected to have over her life) dropped to 1.7. This is well below the replacement rate of 2.1 and means that, absent large scale immigration, the USA’s population will start to naturally decline.

This fertility rate is the lowest on record and marks about the twelfth year in a row in which it has declined (from just before the GFC). This is now a trend which has reduced the USA’s position as the outlier among western nations – for many years America had a fertility rate closer to replacement than its East Asian and West European competitors and allies.

Dougherty worries about the atomisation that this trend will bring. Family trees will collapse inwards: there will be fewer siblings, aunts, cousins and uncles. As he puts it “more people in the future will grow up with shrivelled kin networks, fewer relations with people who are obliged to socialise and network with each other”.

This reduces our sense of comfort and confidence in the world: the school and support which the family provides to us all will be weakened, especially in its role as the first of the independent civic associations that undergird society.

Without a strong family network, society loses a bulwark against the forces of social conformism. (I’m not sure about the States, but this is something desperately obvious in New Zealand – the last few weeks have shown us comprehensively that we are a nation of conformists.)

More generally, low fertility societies are low confidence societies: too few are investing in the future by investing in the next generation. They also tend towards suspicion and paranoia: immigrants aren’t seen as reinforcements to the nation’s mix, but replacements of the nation’s natives.

A large part of the decision to delay having children, or forgo doing so at all, is due to concern that we have material prosperity sorted before bringing children into the world.  We need to have finished our education, have a secure job lined up, and preferably be on the property-owning ladder before we feel settled enough to have children. Even if all of these material goals are met, having children is pushed back into the late 20s or early 30s. Making child rearing dependent on material security also means that fertility rates are depressed by economic downturns and recessions.

But even when the economy is growing, the lack of extended family trees and social networks in which more than two children are the norm means that it is hard for a society to increase its fertility rate. There are fewer social support networks available: older parents means older grandparents who can contribute less to the raising of grandchildren.

What can be done? Is this a problem which merely requires policy tinkering like maternity leave or increased day care? Are we instead witnessing something greater: the beginning of the end of our current economic/social/culture milieu as we fail to replace ourselves? And if so, what will replace us?

If a society is not even guaranteeing its future through replacement generations of children, then it is a failing society. We need to start acknowledging this.

Born for each other: How family planning and porn keep company

by Carolyn Moynihan

You can tell something about a person by the company she keeps, and the same applies to organisations. Marie Stopes International, a high profile British birth control non-profit, was outed in The Mail on Sunday recently for receiving cash and goods worth 7.5 million pounds from American porn tycoon Phil Harvey over the past 15 years.

Harvey himself has been a direct player in the international “reproductive health” game since the 1970s, funding his own and other charities through Adam & Eve, a business that sold 60 million pounds worth of sex toys and pornographic film in 2019.

What does this say about Marie Stopes?

At best that it suffers from poor taste. It also has a strange attitude to women. MSI touts its contraceptive and abortion services as empowering “women and girls all over the world to choose when or whether to have children.” Yet it works hand in glove with an industry that disempowers women by making them sexual playthings, if not facilitating sexual assault and human trafficking.

Harvey’s sex business offers an array of pornographic material including female sex robots which promote the fact “her inflatable body is also practical if you need to store her or take her on journeys.” An huge list of pornographic films is also flaunted on his sex website.

But by peddling contraception and abortion to vulnerable women in developing countries, MSI, like Planned Parenthood and the rest of them, is handmaiden to every man who would sexually exploit a woman. Yet it is blasé about the connection.

Its response to the Mail on Sunday was: “Phil Harvey has spent his life defending sexual and reproductive health rights, and played a significant role in expanding access for women across the world. We are proud that he continues to contribute to the organisation.”

Harvey, 82, is not the only unsavoury mogul to cosy up to the birth control industry. Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, used his magazine to campaign for legalised abortion. Harvey Weinstein apparently posed as a cheerleader of Planned Parenthood. It makes sense: the women they used or encouraged other men to use might need the odd abortion, and it goes down well with the liberal crowd.

However, Phil Harvey’s US$9 million equivalent over a decade or two looks paltry compared to what Marie Stopes gets from other sources every year. The UK government alone gave them £48million last year which helped them deliver around five million abortions and pay its CEO £434,000 – among other things. Harvey’s position as a board member of MSI signals that he is much more important to the organisation than his cash grants.

profile of him in Mother Jones magazine back in 2002 reveals that the relationship between Harvey and Marie Stopes goes back more than 50 years, to when he was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health, on a Ford Foundation fellowship (Ford being one of the main powerhouses of the population control movement). There he worked with a young British doctor, Tim Black, who went on to rescue the bankrupt Marie Stopes Foundation in 1975 and turn it into a “social business” with its current name.

Both Harvey and Black had spent time in developing countries and were convinced that what the poor of the world needed more than food was fewer babies. As part of their thesis work they came up with a plan to test social marketing of contraceptives in the American marketplace. With a university grant they began a mail order business, running clever ads in college newspapers and selling condoms to students. Next they added other merchandise and eventually struck gold when they threw in sex magazines. This was the genesis of Adam & Eve, which under Harvey surfed the wave of the home video boom in the 1980s and survived efforts to shut it down under the Reagan administration.

But Harvey and Black hadn’t forgotten the poor: perhaps social marketing of condoms would work in the developing world as well. To this end they set up a dual venture: a profit-making arm called Population Planning Associates, and a separate nonprofit, Population Services International (PSI), which by 1975 was running condom-marketing programmes in Kenya and Bangladesh. PSI remains one of the big guns of population control alongside International Planned Parenthood.

Harvey left PSI in the late 1970s and focussed on his porn business, but a few years later he founded another non-profit, DKT International, to take up marketing and supplying cheap condoms to the poor again.

In 2017 DKT launched a “WomanCare” platform “to dramatically increase the use of high-quality contraceptive, safe abortion, and reproductive health products.” In 2019, DKT WomanCare sold 222,123 manual vacuum aspiration abortion kits, 1.8 million cannulae and 1.4 million implants (linked with high rates of HIV in some African countries) in 90 countries. The organisation’s homepage currently features an example of its social marketing in the form of an article headed, “5 People Share Why Their Abortion Was Beautiful”.

This seems to be the real value of Phil Harvey to MSI and the whole international birth control industrial complex. As an entrepreneur he will use some of his own profits from porn to boost the supply of something like manual vacuum aspiration kits where, say, the British foreign aid agency or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the UN Population Fund might hold back until the product is more acceptable to recipient governments.

Perhaps in somewhere like Kenya, where, although Marie Stopes says it only does abortions where they are legal, it more or less openly flouts the country’s highly restrictive law, and cloaks its activity with the saintly garb of “after abortion care” – that is, cleaning up after illegal abortions, which MSI dramatises (and inflates?) in order to push its abortion rights barrow.

On its home turf in Britain, MSI has had to clean up its own operations after unannounced official inspections. A highly critical Care Quality Commission report found major safety flaws at MSI clinics, with more than 2,600 serious incidents reported in 2015. A follow-up report in 2017 found there were 373 botched abortions in just the first two months of that year. MSI had issues with infection control and staff at one clinic complained of a “cattle market” approach with incentives for putting through as many abortions as possible.

No doubt there was some kind of idealism driving the founders of MSI and PSI/DKT, as there may be among those working for the organisations today – an actual belief that preventing births is a real favour to women and to the world in general. After all, the rich and respected of the world, the Fords, the Hewletts, the Gates and others have thought and continue to think so.

But the pornography connection that has helped so many of their projects along shows the true character of the birth control enterprise. Harvey told Mother Jones in 2002 that in the early days he was “terrified that, because of Adam & Eve, we were going to lose support for some of our programs.” Then he added: “But it never happened. I think part of the reason was that the key people in charge of family planning overseas, even in conservative governments, are not the types who are likely to be upset by sex products. After all, they’re in the sex business themselves.”

Yes, sex boils down to business for the so-called family planning establishment. A business requiring certain products to make it “safe” if not enjoyable for all concerned. And porn is one of those products, nearly as important as the condom itself, and often more effective since it removes the need for any human contact whatsoever. In that way, however, the pornographers could drive MSI and company out of business, ending a beautiful friendship, as beautiful as abortion.

Does hormonal contraception use negatively affect bone health?

by Cassie Moriarty

When you think about cycling and menstruation, you don’t typically think about your bone health. But important research has emerged in the last few decades linking the natural cycle of women’s reproductive hormones to their bone health and development. That’s right, yet another thing your cycles are good for, is protecting your current and future bone health–which is especially important for women. Just another reason why, yes, you do “need” a period!

How bones work

We often think of our skeleton as a fixed structure, just there to hold our bodies upright. But the truth is that our bones are anything but static; they have a life cycle that involves building up, tearing down, and rebuilding tissue constantly. Kind of like construction at the LaGuardia airport.

Kimberly Reda-Wilson is a four-year apprentice in the program Bones For Life, which offers classes that “explore movement intelligence of bone strength and weight-bearing posture,” as a preventative measure against osteoporosis. Reda-Wilson explains, “Bones are living tissue. They have blood vessels and are made of living cells, which help them to grow and repair themselves. They are just as alive as your heart or brain or lungs.”

There are two main types of cells that comprise bone tissue: Bone forming cells and bone resorbing cells. The types of cells that form bone are called osteoblasts and osteocytes. The type of cells that resorb bone are called osteoclasts. Bone also contains nonmineral matrices of collagen and noncollagenous proteins called osteoids, as well as mineral salts. The higher your bone mineral content, the denser your bones are—which, as you might guess, is a good thing. The denser your bones, the less likely you are to experience fractures. Low bone density can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become dangerously porous and fragile, increasing their risk of fracturing.

Hormones, cycles, and their roles in bone health & development

It is well established that estrogen plays a role in bone formation. The major physiological effects of estrogen are to inhibit bone resorption and to promote bone growth. For years, researchers have surmised that post-menopausal bone loss is attributed to the lack of estrogen that occurs after menopause. But estrogen isn’t the only thing post-menopausal women lack. After cycles cease, progesterone is low as well. Mounting research indicates that bones need progesterone just as much estrogen.

In this 2010 research paper co-written by two of the leading researchers on reproductive hormones and bone health, Dr. Jerilynn Prior and Dr. Vanadin Seifert-Klauss, it was confirmed that “In vitro studies of human osteoblasts in culture, prospective studies in adolescent, premenopausal, perimenopausal, and post-menopausal women all indicate that progesterone—likely working through bone formation pathways—plays an active role in maintaining women’s bone and in osteoporosis prevention.”

Dr. Jerilynn Prior is the director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) and her life’s work has been researching and educating about progesterone’s relationship to bone health.

“You need ovulation, as well as normal cycles, for healthy bones,” Dr. Prior told me in a virtual meeting. “Women spend the first 25 years of their lives building bone mass. If they are ovulating normally, they should be able to keep that bone mass throughout their reproductive life and beyond.”

That means post-menopausal bone health is decided by hormone processes that occurred decades earlier. “The story that everyone hears is that it’s estrogen deficiency that causes post-menopausal bone loss. But in reality, it’s the long time of pre-menopausal bone loss that’s silent if you’re not cycling regularly over the course of your reproductive years,” Dr. Prior explains.

In other words, if you’re not ovulating during your prime reproductive years, your bone density will be negatively impacted, and those effects will manifest in your post-menopausal years.

So, how we can support bone health for post-menopausal women? Dr. Prior says plainly, “You need to put bone mass in your bank in those [prior] critical years—and the only way to do that is by ovulating [regularly and functionally].”

Progesterone: the “heal and repair” hormone

Considering what we know about the effects of estrogen and progesterone in the body, Dr. Prior’s message makes intuitive sense.

We know that estrogen and progesterone have complementary effects on our reproductive and general health. Estrogen proliferates the endometrium and breast tissue, elevates blood sugar, dilates blood vessels, stimulates brain cells, and gives women a general boost of energy and feeling of well-being. Progesterone, estrogen’s alter ego, maintains endometrium tissue, relaxes blood vessels, normalizes blood sugar, maintains and heals brain cells, and promotes mood stabilization. We need both. Can you imagine being stimulated all of the time without the heal-and-repair mode?

So it should come as no surprise that the same is true of our bones. In this paper by Dr. Prior, she explains that, “when menstrual cycles are normal length and normally ovulatory, estrogen and progesterone are balanced and bone mineral density is stable. However, clinically normal cycles commonly have ovulatory disturbances (anovulation, short luteal phases) and low progesterone levels; these are more frequent in teen and perimenopausal women and increased by everyday stressors: energy insufficiency, emotional/social/economic threats and illness.”

Dr. Prior claims that the main contributor to ovulatory disturbances these days is … drum-roll … stress. “Women are expected to perform in the workplace the same as men. Yet, they’re also doing all the traditional things at home with little to no help. Women have an incredible burden today.” It’s true, women are under great demands emotionally, socially, culturally, financially, and physically in a fast-paced world. You could argue that women don’t get a “heal and repair” mode both hormonally and literally in their daily lives.

Synthetic hormones are not created equal

“Great,” you may be thinking. “I’m on hormonal contraception, and doesn’t that contain a form of progesterone? That should be good for my bones.” Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

Hormonal contraception contains an artificial form of progesterone known as progestin. There are six different compounds of progestins used in hormonal contraception. But Dr. Prior warns that progestins do not have the same positive effect on our bone health (nor on our general health, either) as natural or bio-identical progesterone does. “Progestins do not have a class effect except for two things that are signified in their name,” Dr. Prior says. The first effect is “to preserve an existing pregnancy, and the other is to transform the proliferative effect of estrogen on the endometrium to a secretory one. Those are the only two things all progestins do.”

So, progestin in birth control may send a negative feedback signal to the part of the brain that wants to start a new cycle (the same thing that preserves an existing pregnancy), but it does not do anything to preserve your bones. In fact, it could actually be robbing them of a crucial opportunity to build bone mineral density.

Does hormonal contraception use negatively affect bone health?

Remember the ovulatory disturbances Dr. Prior talked about? As it happens, another huge correlation to ovulatory dysfunction is hormonal contraceptive use. One third of women who go on the Pill do so for solely gynecologic reasons, such as irregular or painful periods. These are usually glaring symptoms of an ovulatory dysfunction, which then goes untreated as a woman is prescribed birth control that masks the underlying dysfunction without actually doing anything to resolve it.

When I asked Dr. Prior if hormonal contraceptive use affects bone health, she gave a resounding “Yes!” After all, hormonal contraception creates an “ovulatory dysfunction” itself, in that it prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Ovulation is the only thing that can produce progesterone, so if there is no ovulation, then—you guessed it—there is no progesterone. And we’ve already talked about how vital progesterone—the real stuff, not synthetic progestin—is for bone health and development!

It’s especially problematic for their future bone health when teenagers and young women start birth control. Since the teenage years are so critical for building bone, it is that much more important for adolescent girls to have normal menstrual maturation undisturbed by artificial hormones. “Birth control use in adolescent girls has been shown to be significantly negative for spinal bone gain,” says Dr. Prior. “That’s something everyone needs to know.” The detrimental effects of progestin on bone health for adolescent girls was confirmed in a 2001 study that focused on Depo-Provera use. The Depo shot, which comprises one high dose shot of medroxyprogesterone acetate (a progestin) every 3 months, also happens to be the highest progestin dose of all hormonal contraceptives. And, as shown by the study, it also happens to significantly decrease bone mass density (BMD). This is just one more reason why women, and teenagers especially, need a (regular, post-ovulatory) period.

Cycles and stress-management: Keys to good bone health & preventing osteoporosis

So what does this mean for women hoping to maximize their bone health and maybe even evade osteoporosis?

Dr. Prior makes the point that perimenopause and menopause—and the bone density loss they come with—are very normal parts of life. If a woman has had the opportunity to cycle normally through puberty and onward, she should be well-equipped to withstand the natural loss of bone density that occurs in those years. And Dr. Prior makes it clear that while estrogen is important, progesterone deserves its 15 minutes of fame, too. “Although the dominant osteoporosis paradigm for women is, and should remain, centered on estrogen, progesterone is emerging as an important partner hormone that collaborates with estrogen,” she says.

Kimberly Reda-Wilson’s work with Bones for Life focuses on women in the post-menopausal years, and the things women can do to combat osteoporosis as they age. “While there are common denominators (diet, exercise, and stress management) among bone loss prevention programs, each one seems to emphasize a different component,” Reda-Wilson explains. “Originally the Women to Women’s program (now Women’s Health Network) emphasized an alkaline-based diet, exercise, supplements, and stress management. The Save Our Bones program also emphasizes an alkaline-based diet, exercise, supplements and stress management,” she says.

There it is again . . . the word stress! Both Reda-Wilson and Dr. Prior agree that stress management is a huge component in osteoporosis prevention. Of course, not all stressors are within each individual woman’s control—in fact, many stressors could be systemic, cultural, and political. But healthy stress management is certainly something healthcare providers should prioritize discussing with their patients. If women can bring down the stressors in their life, cycle naturally, and minimize ovulatory dysfunctions, it is quite reasonable to expect their bone health to benefit.

So there you have it. Having a period improves your immune system (as we discussed last week, here), and it also improves your bone health. These are two pretty darn good reasons women need their cycles–that is, they need to ovulate and have periods–for optimal health, and why Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), which allow women to cycle naturally while planning their families with high effectiveness rates, are far superior to contraception when it comes to safeguarding women’s health while preventing pregnancy.

Stay tuned for more in our “Reasons Women Need Periods” series in the coming weeks.

 

Kidney disease kept her from becoming pregnant – until her father saved her life

 

When she was a teenager, Angela Retchless was told she should never become pregnant. But thanks to an incredible gift from her dad, she was able to have the family she had always dreamed of.

Diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of nine, a doctor gave her devastating news as a teenager: it would be too dangerous for her to ever have a child. “I was only 16, but I’d always imagined that one day I’d be a mother,” she wrote for That’s Life!, an Australian magazine. “Glancing over at my mum, Julie, I could tell she was heartbroken for me too.” With her diagnosis, Retchless was told that her kidney function would continue to worsen until she would need to go on dialysis, and eventually, need a transplant. Her father, Leon, promised that he would give her one of his.

At 23, Retchless said she met her future husband Luke and had to break the news to him that she couldn’t have children; though she said he took it well, she knew deep down he wanted a family as she did. And after getting married, she had to deal with the pain of constant questions from people wanting to know when they would have kids. At first, Retchless thought her only option was IVF.

“[I]t was distressing to be asked when I knew the odds were stacked against us,” she said. “About a year after we were married, my doctors gave us the green light to try IVF. Then, my kidney function dropped to 40 per cent. Cross that off the list, I thought, devastated.” A friend offered to be a surrogate for her, but her kidney function was so dangerously low, that even egg retrieval was too dangerous. Meanwhile, she began to feel worse and worse.

“My head throbbed constantly and I woke up exhausted. To make sure I had enough energy to go to work on a Monday, I’d have to spend all Sunday resting,” she wrote. “‘If you don’t get a transplant, you’ll be on dialysis by the end of the year,’ my specialist said.”

But then, her dad stuck to his promise to give her a kidney — and even better, he was a perfect match.

“The 12-month recovery was tough. But almost instantly, with Dad’s kidney inside me, I felt better,” she said. “Before, I didn’t have the energy to go to the gym at all – now I was working out four times a week! And Luke and I were able to go on lovely weekends away.”

 

After she began feeling better, she and her husband decided to try IVF. But she needed to take a pregnancy test before they could get started. “What?! I thought, shocked, as two pink lines appeared,” she wrote. “That can’t be right, I decided, going outside to hang up some washing. Walking back inside, I half expected the lines to have disappeared. But they hadn’t.”

When she broke the news to her husband, it was an understandably emotional moment. “I was bawling,” she recalled. “‘Are you okay?’ he asked, worried. ‘I’ve got a baby in my belly!’ I sobbed even harder. Doing two more tests, together, both came up positive too! After eight years of trying, we’d fallen pregnant naturally.”

But that wasn’t the only surprise for the happy couple. At 13 weeks, she had an ultrasound and found out even more exciting news.

“As the sonographer slid the wand over my belly, I could see two little moon-like shapes on the screen,” she said. “‘There’s two, isn’t there?’ I asked. ‘Yes, you’re having twins,’ she said.” Doctors made sure to monitor her carefully, and Retchless said she had a “dream pregnancy.”

At 31 weeks, she successfully gave birth to her twin boys, Wyatt and Morgan. Each weighing less than four pounds, they were premature but still healthy. “[T]hey were tiny but perfect,” Retchless said. The twins are now three years old, and “best of mates.” And she said she will always be thankful for the gift her dad gave her.

“Each year on our transplant anniversary, Dad and I have a special outing for coffee and cake to celebrate,” she said. “I’ll never stop thanking Dad for the gift he gave me. Without his kidney, my body wouldn’t have been able to sustain a pregnancy. He gave Luke and me our beautiful twins!”

‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control

By 

Breast cancer. Cervical cancer. Depression. Mood disorders. Suicide. Multiple sclerosis. Ulcerative colitis. Venous thromboembolism. Inflammatory bowel disease. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Cystitis. Crohn’s disease. Urogenital effects. Cardiovascular events. Increased chance of HIV transmission.

Your doctor rattled off those words like he was calling roll in a classroom. But each one made you cringe a little more than the last. You could feel your eyes widening as the list grew. Side effects—for a drug you don’t even need, for a drug not designed to alleviate a sickness. You look at him dubiously, as if maybe he’s joking. These can’t all be side effects from one drug, you think. But the look on his face tells you that he is not joking. In fact, he is very serious. And luckily for you, he cares enough about you to tell you what could happen if he prescribes the drug you’re asking for. You start to think to yourself: I don’t want to do that to my bodyI value my health too much. I respect my body more than that.

You wonder why you never heard any of this before, and you realize you’re going to have to rethink your desire for hormonal birth control.

The Petition

In June 2019, 10 doctors and researchers who had formed a Contraceptive Study Group published a document entitled Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives. This document evaluated existing literature and synthesized studies on hormonal birth control in order to present information on their side effects in one comprehensive document. The Contraceptive Study Group’s goal was to not only warn potential users, but also to petition the government to add black box—or warning—labels onto the boxes of contraception and to include warnings on patient-related information so that women know and understand the risks of the chemicals they put into their bodies. This article serves as an overview of just some of the major findings and of the information this group desperately wants to put forward for all to know.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group understand the damage hormonal contraceptives do to women, to the babies they may carry, and to the families who love them. That is why they undertook the daunting task of reading, interpreting, compiling, and then disseminating the information they found. In all, this petition cites 230 outside sources—not counting those related to the environmental impact. This petition was not only a labor of love and compassion for their fellow human beings but also serves as a wake-up call to people who unknowingly—or knowingly—ingest these harmful chemicals.

Millions of women take hormonal birth control or receive contraceptive injections without any idea about the poison they’re putting into their bodies. According to the petition, “Based on data from the Guttmacher Institute, a conservative estimate of 11 million women aged 15-44 in the US take some form of hormonal contraceptive each day. A 2015 study reports that about 21 percent of women of reproductive years are using some form of hormonal contraceptive, which equates to about 13 million women (Daniels 2015).”

In addition, millions of babies die when these contraceptives thin the lining of the uterine wall, thus preventing the baby from implanting.

Hormonal contraceptives have been on the market for over 50 years, yet the scope of the devastation and health ramifications they have caused can never be known. Some women don’t even realize that the causes of the health problems they face may be contraception. If this petition succeeds in its intent, pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose these side effects.

The petition begins by listing the side effects of combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives (COCs). Many are mentioned in the first paragraph above. COCs include oral, intravaginal, and transdermal formulations. The petition lists the brand names of all of these—in six pages.

According to the team, progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs) “have not been extensively studied, but one large registry study did show a significantly increased risk of breast cancer with use of POCs.”

Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies COCs as Group I carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer in humans.

Recommendations

The petition recommends that the government “remove from the market the injectable contraceptive Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA; Depo-Provera) based on conclusive evidence that it facilitates the transmission of HIV from men to women.” It then recommends that black box warnings should be added for the following diseases and conditions: breast cancer, cervical cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, depression and suicide, venous thrombosis, and cardiovascular events. In addition, safety information should be added to advertisements and patient-related materials about multiple sclerosis, bone fractures, body mass effects, and urogenital problems.

Countless women suffer the side effects of hormonal contraception. Countless women feel duped by healthcare providers, by pharmaceutical companies, and by organizations that tout the benefits of COCs. Rarely do they hear of these side effects—side effects that can appear after long-term use, after a few months, or even after just a few short weeks.

In conjunction with the petition, the public is asked to post comments or stories to this site in order to encourage the government to add warnings to contraceptive labels. Many of these comments reference tragic and heartbreaking stories of loss—loss of life, loss of health, and loss of autonomy.

You might wonder why many physicians don’t warn their patients about these side effects.  Dr. Ken Stone offers some insight:

It is common practice that physicians do not discuss any significant adverse effects of oral contraceptives or require an informed consent. Some colleagues have said to me that they do not want to say anything that would deter them from using the pill. Standard adverse effects in formularies for prescribed contraceptive medicines usually do not mention the most severe ones like pulmonary embolus, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, etc.

This petition for removing certain contraceptives from the market, listing those adverse effects that should have black box warnings in prescribed contraceptives, and those that need additional safety warnings in prescribed contraceptives provide[s] more than adequate research data to require the actions requested. As a family practice physician for the past 41 years, I believe the scandal of not informing women of the known side effects of contraceptives is an egregious injustice and needs immediate correction.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group believe that the public should know the truth. Throughout the next several pages, we will discuss some of the findings and data they presented regarding many of the major side effects of hormonal contraception. To read the petition in its entirety, and to see the comprehensive list of side effects, visit the petition’s site.

HIV Transmission

Depo-Provera, or DMPA, is an injectable contraceptive that is administered quarterly. However, according to the study group: “Evidence began emerging in the 1990s, which has become compelling in recent years, that DMPA is unique among contraceptives in its property of facilitating the transmission of HIV.”

How is this so?

According to research, DMPA has an immunosuppressant quality. It binds to the glucocorticoid receptor of human leukocytes, which, in layman’s terms, means that it represses the woman’s innate immune responses and allows for an increase in HIV replication. Thus, when an infected man has intercourse with a woman taking DMPA, her compromised immune system cannot fight off the disease.

Because of this, the authors want DMPA taken off the market.

Breast Cancer

According to the petition, there are 1.7 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer among women in developed countries and accounts for 20% of cancers in females.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies COCs as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer in human beings. Studies have long shown the link between breast cancer and COCs. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 that found that COCs increase the risk of breast cancer. That same year, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic) published a meta-analysis that confirmed the findings that COCs increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

 

According to the Contraceptive Study Group, “Studies that looked at recent use (within 1–5 years) or current use of COCs in premenopausal women showed the most dramatic increased risk for breast cancer.” The most significant study found that women between the ages of 20-49 who had used COCs “within a year had an increased risk of breast cancer.”

Other studies corroborate these findings as well. Most found that women who used COCs for a year or more had a higher risk of breast cancer. A Danish study found that a woman’s risks increased even after she discontinued use if she had used COCs for five or more years.

The comments site offers many stories from women who have suffered from breast cancer and from the doctors who have treated them. Included among them are these:

Anthony Vigil, MD, FACS, says:

As a general surgeon, me and my partners ask our breast cancer patients about OCP [oral contraceptive pills] use since our best cancer textbooks describe an increased risk of breast cancer with OCP use. It is ethically imperative that women are made aware of the risks of ingesting hormones into their bodies.

Anna Poynter says:

At age 31, I found a small breast lump. I went to more than one doctor, but the last one I saw was the head of the UCSD Cancer Institute, a Dr. Barone, in San Diego, where I lived at the time. He told me that it was small, movable and I didn’t have any pain but that I should GET OFF THE PILL. 19 years later that very same lump grew and became malignant, and I ended up having a mastectomy.

An anonymous writer says: “Recently diagnosed with breast cancer; I was on the pill for 10 years.”

The authors recommend that a black box warning be included with COCs, along with warnings on patient-related materials, so that women understand the risks they face.

Cervical Cancer

According to the petition, approximately 260,000 women in the United States have cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that there will be about 14,000 new cases this year alone. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of cervical cancer associated with COCs and that the risk increases for women currently taking hormonal birth control. In addition, the risk increases with the length of time the woman has taken the COCs.

The risk also increases if the woman has tested positive for HPV—the human papilloma virus.

The authors recommend both a black box warning and a warning on patient-related materials.

Depression, Mood Disorders, Suicide

 According to the study group, “The largest study of incident depression and use of anti-depressant medication (Skovlund 2016) indicates significantly increased risks for both COCs and POCs for both outcomes. The same group studied for suicide attempts and suicides (Skovlund 2018). Elevated risks were seen, and this was the case for both COCs and POCs. The recent NCHA study (Gregory 2018) showed a similar trend.”

The authors claim that their research has shown an “increased risk for depression, suicide risk, and suicide within 3 months of beginning to use the drugs and tapering off after 6 months, partly due to attenuation of symptoms, partly due to discontinuation due to adverse effects.”

depressed woman

The comments section of the website paints a dismal picture and offers evidence that these hormones cause new mental health problems and exacerbate existing or latent ones.

Julie Baltz, a family practice clinician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, states that she has seen the psychological harm caused by hormonal contraceptives. She wrote:

Even more subtle and more underreported are the psychological effects. These patients simply state “I didn’t feel right” and often think that there something wrong with them that they don’t tolerate this type of medication. I’ve seen insomnia, anxiety, depression, anhedonia, anorexia, and poor libido directly improved within my clinical office by discontinuing a combined OCP.

Another person, known only as TF, wrote in to say:

In 2011 I was prescribed hormonal birth control to “fix” a very irregular cycle. Three months later I started to struggle with crippling fatigue, loss of appetite and disinterest in everything except sleeping. I was shortly after that diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and still to this day have to be on medication to remain functional. I still struggle with my energy levels, unfortunately medication can’t cure depression and make it disappear. My doctor and I both believe that the hormonal birth control was likely a trigger to a predisposition for Major Depressive Disorder.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous stated:

In my early twenties I was prescribed birth control pills. The first cycle I took the pills as prescribed. I began to feel depressed, anxious, crying daily, with mood swings. Prior to beginning the oral contraceptive pills, I had none of these symptoms. After completing the first 2 weeks of the medication packet, I called the nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN clinic that I originally got the prescription. She told me that the changes in my mood, depression, and anxiety among others, could not be due to the new medication, that it must have just been life. She changed me to a lower dose contraceptive pill. After three weeks of taking the second prescription pack as directed I decided to discontinue use of oral contraceptives due to the side effects. I had gained 15 pounds and felt terrible.

The site is filled with story after story of people who have suffered—mentally and physically—because of these drugs. The authors want a black box warning about this side effect and warnings on patient-related materials.

Body Mass

While studies have varied regarding weight increase in women who use COCs, the strongest data found that levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs do, in fact, affect body mass. The authors stated that “a significant increase in % fat mass with a corresponding decrease in % lean body mass was observed in both studies where these were measured.”

Women have found this side effect all too real. For example, a woman who wishes to be anonymous said:

When I was taking hormonal birth control (HBC) I underwent a massive weight gain. From 120 lbs. to 155 lbs. That’s almost adding 30% to my body weight! I also suffered with severe stomach cramping, constant discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed it at IBS. I was only on HBC for 8 months and got pregnant while taking it. I stopped taking it upon pregnancy and have never touched the stuff again!

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

woman standing on scale

Urogenital (Urinary and Genital) Effects

The authors found evidence of several different kinds of urogenital problems in women. These include interstitial cystitis (a condition that causes bladder pain and pressure), bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vaginal dryness, female sexual dysfunction, and more. They state that the risk increases for adolescents and if the woman uses COCs for at least two years.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous experienced a whole host of problems, including urogenital. She said:

I was put on birth control by my parents when I was only 15 years old after a sexual assault incident. I then continued it for another 5 years before I began to question it. In that time frame I experienced extreme weight gain and loss from one pill to another, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my manic depression and severe mood swings (I am not bipolar), experienced a miscarriage, developed cysts in my breasts, had continuous pregnancy symptoms (including morning sickness every day), and had frequent UTIs and yeast infections. No one ever associated any of my problems, other than the breast cysts, to my birth control pills. It wasn’t until I discontinued the use once learning of the cysts that I began to feel normal and realized the association between my symptoms and the pill.

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

Venous Thromboembolism, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Events

 Venous Thromboembolism

A venous thromboembolism (or VTE) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein, most often in the leg, arm, or groin, and then lodges itself in the lung. This is an extremely dangerous health problem that can cause death. Even the American Heart Association website agrees that COCs can cause a VTE: “In women, pregnancy and the use of hormones like oral contraceptives or estrogen for menopause symptoms can also play a role.”

The comments regarding this side effect address the tragedies that have befallen women and families as a result of hormonal birth control. For example, Carol Pepin wrote about the loss of her daughter:

My 19-year-old daughter Shelby Pepin . . . died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke, and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing. Shelby had been on the NuvaRing for 18 months.

Joseph West has a similar story:

Our daughter died at age 29 in the Intensive Care Unit of her local hospital where she had been transferred after presenting herself at her local walk-in clinic. Her death was five weeks to the day after getting married and one day before [her] scheduled departure on a delayed honeymoon cruise. The autopsy report stated that she had “bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli” with a thrombus present in the left popliteal fossa. She had been using NuvaRing at the time of her death [which] had been removed at the walk-in clinic prior to transport to the hospital. . . . The [ICU] doctor stated that she believes that hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to the death of our daughter.

Kimberly Phipps-Nichol shared her personal story of survival:

Last year, at the age of 46, I was hospitalized with a cerebral thrombosis that was literally caught right before causing a stroke. The ER docs told me that if it had not been for the fact that the people I was with at the time of the event were trained to recognize the signs of stroke and called 911 for a stroke paramedic unit that arrived quickly, I would have been somewhere between a vegetative state and severely disabled. After countless CT scans and MRIs, along with a thorough study of my family history, the neurologist and hematologist teams determined it was the oral contraceptives that I was taking that had caused the thrombosis.

Diagram of thrombosis blood clotting

Diagram of thrombosis

An anonymous family physician claims to have seen the negative side effects of contraceptives firsthand and tells of several cases, including her treatment of a young woman in her late 20s who went into a coma brought on by a pulmonary embolism. The only known risk factor was that this woman was taking hormonal birth control. In addition, a medical colleague of this doctor suffered a pulmonary embolism that was attributed to OCP.

Nancy Brockoff wrote to say that she had four friends, who were all young mothers, who died of blood clots related to hormonal birth control.

Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by plaque. Arteries clogged with plaque lead to heart problems. Even as long ago as 1982, researchers understood and took interest in the fact that vascular disease and COCs were linked. According to the petition, these researchers “found that combination oral contraceptives (COCs) caused ‘greater cell proliferation and incorporation . . . in both human arterial smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts.’ Smooth muscle cell proliferation is an integral feature of all atherosclerotic lesions (Bagdade 1982). In 2007, a presentation at the American Heart Association meeting described a study of 1,301 Belgian women, which showed that women had a 20 to 30 percent increase of plaque for every decade on COCs (Rietzschel 2007).”

Furthermore, the Danish Heart Association “released the results of a 15-year historic cohort study looking at thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, which observed over 1.6 million women. The results demonstrated that women taking COCs with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 [micrograms] had a risk of arterial thrombosis that was 0.9 to 1.7 times higher than non-users, while those taking a dose of 30 to 40 [micrograms] had a 1.3 to 2.3 higher risk” (Lidegaard 2012).

The current black box warning about thrombotic events mentions smoking and age, which the authors believe misleads the consumer into thinking she’s safe if she doesn’t smoke or if she’s younger than 35. They want the warning amended to read: “Warning: Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including blood clots.” Additionally, they request warnings on all advertising and patient-related materials.

Environment

The synthetic hormones that women take are continually released from their bodies through their waste products. When researchers noticed changes in the aquatic environment—especially in fish—they began conducting studies to determine the cause of these changes. What they found astounded them.

The Contraceptive Study Group explained:

EE2 [the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol] is metabolized in the liver undergoing first pass metabolism, but ~6% of the administered dose appears as untransformed EE2 in the urine and ~9% in the feces (Stanczyk 2013)….Even at low concentrations, these compounds can act as potent endocrine disruptors, affecting the growth, development, and reproduction of exposed aquatic organisms (Tyler 1998, Larsson 1999).

While wastewater treatment plants have the ability to filter out many chemicals and pollutants, they cannot filter out EE2.

Studies have found that these synthetic chemicals cause changes in male fish. A 1995 paper found that male fish in nearly 30 rivers throughout Britain had become “feminized” by these pollutants.

The Contraceptive Study Group also referenced a seven-year long study of the effects of EE2 on Canadian lakes. In that study, researchers approximated the amount of EE2 that would reach the waterways from a town of 200,000 people. They immediately saw the feminization and transgendering of male fish and a “near extinction” of the population of the fathead minnow there. Once the researchers stopped adding EE2 to the water, the population of minnows returned to normal.

We find further evidence in a study that looked at the fish populations near three Colorado sewage treatment plants. There, researchers found a significant difference between the fish upstream of the plant and those downstream. They stated:

The fish in the upstream locations enjoyed a balanced 1:1 female-to-male sex ratio. Downstream there were five female fish for every one male, and twenty percent of the reduced male population demonstrated intersex characteristics, such as eggs in their testes and the presence of vitellogenin, an egg yolk protein normally found only in fertile females. The consequences also appeared to ascend up the food chain in a measurable way, specifically with the feminization of trout, mink frogs and green frogs (Parke 2009). Both the predicted and the measured concentrations of EE2 in the US, including effluent of waste water treatment plants, surface water, or ground water, exceeds the predicted no-effect concentrations on fish populations (Kostich 2013).

fish under water

Conclusion

In addition to these diseases and the pollution in the environment, the economic costs from these side effects and their resultant diseases/health problems to the patient and to the community are in the billions.

This article touched upon some of the most egregious side effects. To read the full list of side effects and the studies referenced, to read all of the comments, or to add your own comment, visit regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2019-P-2289-0001.

This health crisis affects us all. Whether you are male or female, elderly, middle aged, young, a mother, or a father, hormonal birth control does affect your life in some way because these hormones affect your wives, your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your best friends, the environment, and even your dinner table. It’s time to speak up and tell the government that women must know the truth. It’s time to help women understand that their health is more important than a drug that can alter their body and mind. Synthetic hormones and their deleterious effects leave a lasting impact and crush our society.

Abortion is ‘easier to justify’ when society views children as ‘uninvited guests’

 

In a recent podcast, 40 Days for Life president and CEO Shawn Carney and two other 40 Days for Life directors — Steve Karlen, and Robert Colquhoun — tackled the topic of contraception and how it relates to abortion in society.

Historically, children were viewed as a gift

Steve Karlen, director of North American Outreach for 40 DFL, noted that our current cultural mindset represents a major shift from centuries past, saying, “Throughout all of human history, children have been viewed as a blessing,” adding, “We all know this to be true, and at the same time we have this schizophrenia where we have mass use of contraception that says ‘no, we don’t really want children around here.’”

Karlen further characterized contraception as “contrary to human nature” because he believes human beings “have this innate longing to bring children into the world and to love them and to make the world a better place for them.”

A contraceptive mentality increases abortions

40 DFL CEO Shawn Carney defined a contraceptive mentality as one that divorces the idea of babies from sex, primarily via hormonal birth control that acts against (“contra”) conception.

Because we expect contracepted sex to be sterile and for the purpose of pleasure only, when a child does result, as Karlen pointed out, we tend to view him or her as “an intruder, an invader, an uninvited guest. And that makes abortion so much easier to justify at that point.”

Robert Colquhoun, director of International Campaigns for 40 DFL, said many people believe “if we just use birth control, we can reduce abortions.” In actuality, he said, increased use of contraceptives correlates with increased rates of sexual activity. When the contraceptives fail, as some inevitably do, there’s an increase in unintended pregnancies accompanied by an increase in abortions to “deal” with them. He added, “Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be handing out contraceptives if they knew that they led to a decreased abortion rate.”

 

Some contraception may cause abortions

As Karlen, Carney, and Colquhoun noted, the science behind contraceptives acting as abortifacients is not complicated. Contraceptives act in several ways to prevent ovulation, but they also thin the lining of the uterus, making implantation of an embryo much more difficult. Once fertilization occurs, a genetically unique human being is created. Preventing implantation, then, would mean that a child dies.

Contraception’s negative impacts on society

Karlen said, “Contraception is not good for our relationship with children in the womb” because it leads to a classification of children as “wanted” or “unwanted” depending on whether their parents intended to get pregnant or not.

As Shawn Carney recalled, decades ago, the Catholic Church was considering whether to change its longstanding prohibition on contraception, and Pope Paul VI released a 1968 document called Humanae Vitae. In that document, he made three predictions about what would happen if contraceptive use became widespread: 1) a rise in divorce, 2) a decreased respect for the wellbeing of women, and 3) governmental coercion of human reproduction (i.e. China’s One Child Policy and the forced sterilization of thousands of U.S. women between the 1920s and 1970s). These predictions have sadly come true.

Life of chastity brings ‘great peace, great hope’

Carney noted that while 40-50% of couples who contracept reportedly divorce, the divorce rate among couples who use fertility awareness-based methods is only 3-5%. Carney believes this is due to a fundamental difference in mindset among those using NFP — one that values the woman as a whole person and doesn’t pathologize her fertility, and which views children as a blessing and a joy rather than a burden.

For those struggling with infertility, natural family planning could be the answer

 

When Amanda Nichols and her husband Charlie were trying to become pregnant, Natural Family Planning (NFP) led them to the discovery of the causes of their infertility. And when Tara Horesowsky and her husband Bryan were ready to start having children, they were able to use NFP to know on which days they were most likely to conceive. NFP has been belittled by the fertility industry and birth control industry for years, with doctors telling women that it simply doesn’t work — but this couldn’t be further from the truth, and recent studies have shown how incredibly effective it is. NFP isn’t the rhythm method our grandmothers used, but rather a way of understanding one’s own personal fertility and making decisions based on each body’s unique rhythm.

After using their chosen method of NFP, the Horesowskys learned when they had reached peak fertility, and within a couple of months, they were expecting their first child.

“It was the most incredible news and it was so clear to us that NFP helped us prevent pregnancy when it wasn’t the right time, and helped us achieve pregnancy when we felt that calling,” Horesowsky told the Catholic Messenger.

There are a variety of ways to practice NFP, and every couple can choose for themselves which works best for them.

Types of NFP

The Billings Method/Cervical Fluid. By observing changes in cervical (cervix) fluid, a woman can notice when she is infertile and when she is near peak fertility as well as when she reaches peak fertility. Used in combination with basal body temperature reading, understanding cervical fluid can help a couple achieve pregnancy. The Billings Method uses cervical fluid to help women chart their cycles.

The Couple to Couple League/Sympto-Pro Method. Examples of the Sympto-Thermal Method are the Sympto-Pro Fertility Education and the Couple to Couple League methods. Through these, couples can combine the cervical fluid and basal body temperature methods in order to achieve pregnancy. By using a thermometer that measures her basal body temperature, a woman can take her temperature each morning before getting out of bed. Before ovulation, her temperature will be at her lowest and after ovulation, her temperature will rise about half a degree and remain elevated. By observing and charting these changes together, a woman can better track fertility and interpret her unique chart to find her most fertile days. Women who have irregular cycles can do well with this method as it is based on their own unique fertility.

The Marquette Model. With the Marquette Method of NFP, couples can use modern technology to monitor fertility. By using urine fertility biomarkers, along with the observation of cervical mucus or basal body temperature, couples use a fertility monitor that shows them when certain hormones have been detected in the woman’s urine which indicate ovulation is about to occur. It is easy to use and understand and when using the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor, women can look back on their cycles for the last six months to determine their personal fertility patterns or issues with their cycle.

The Creighton or FertilityCare Method. This method not only helps women understand their cycle, but is the basis for NaProTECHNOLOGY, a revolutionary method of achieving pregnancy for couples struggling with infertility. The Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS) is built off of the Billings Method and requires the participation of both spouses. NaProTECHNOLOGY has helped couples who have been struggling with frequent miscarriages, premature births, abnormal bleeding, and ovarian cysts, as well as other fertility problems.

Couples who use NFP aren’t sitting on the sidelines of their fertility. They have taken control and are therefore able to know when is not only the best time to conceive but when to refrain from sex if seriously trying to avoid pregnancy. Over 6 million women in the United States struggle with infertility. In Vitro Fertilization is expensive, highly controversial, and has a success rate only as high as 30 percent per cycle. NaProTECHNOLOGY, however, has up to an 80 percent success rate for couples struggling with infertility through the use of charting along with medical or surgical restorative treatments that address the cause of infertility.

Nichols and her husband were struggling to become pregnant when they reached out to Dr. Monica Minjeur, who is trained in CrMS. Minjeur used NFP to help identify why the couple was having trouble conceiving because Nichols had been charting her cycles. Minjeur noticed that Nichols’ temperatures were lower than normal which was a sign of a thyroid condition. She was able to diagnosis Nichols with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as well, which explained infrequent ovulation. In addition, low progesterone was determined to have been the reason that they weren’t able to conceive even when she did ovulate. With changes in her diet and the addition of progesterone supplements, the couple was able to become pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl.

NFP has been disparaged by industries built on making money off of women’s bodies and fertility. But in reality, a woman’s ability to gain understanding and knowledge of her body and her unique cycle is empowering, allowing her to be freed from the constraints and health risks associated with hormonal birth control.

‘We brought light into the world’: Laura chose life and left behind her addiction

 

At 27 years old, recovering drug addict Laura Amoretti discovered that against all odds, she was pregnant. She had only been sober for 90 days and her sister pressured her to have an abortion, kicking Amoretti out of her home when she refused.

“I began having problems with drugs and alcohol at 19 after an abusive relationship and serious depression left me broken, lost, with an overwhelming sadness and dislike for myself,” she wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “As my addiction progressed, I found myself 27 years old with a crippling heroin addiction and I hadn’t gone a day in 8 years without drinking. I was a master at hiding my addiction from family and friends but when I was alone, I was an absolute mess. I cried myself to sleep every night and woke up in full blown withdrawal almost every day. When I wasn’t falling asleep smoking cigarettes I was escorting or partying.”

After finally telling her family the truth, they helped her quit drugs and get through “the most painful and debilitating withdrawal.” Amoretti also found support in a fellow-recovering addict, until one day he was tragically robbed and killed. His death nearly sent her back to drugs, but instead, she found herself at a meeting for recovering addicts. “… I spoke and told everyone what happened and told them I was so distraught I couldn’t think of what to do but to go back to addiction,” she said.

A week later, after her friend’s funeral, Amoretti texted her dealer and set up a time to meet him. “[I]n that exact instant I received a different text that I believe saved my life. A guy from that meeting texted me asking if I was ok, how was I doing. I stopped and made a decision right there not to use drugs that day. It was GOD was showing me there was something else waiting for me if I just stayed sober,” she explained.

The two soon began dating, and two months later – only 90 days sober – Amoretti learned she was pregnant. She was shocked. At 13 years old she had been told it would be nearly impossible for her to become pregnant because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. But there they were — two recovering addicts expecting a baby. Her sister, with whom she was living, insisted that she abort, but Amoretti refused. “I was soon forced to leave her house because she didn’t agree with my decision and in a scramble and with almost nothing to work with, me and him found the tiniest guesthouse to live in. We both found jobs and slowly but surely created a modest life to bring our baby into.”

Abortion isn’t the solution

Unfortunately, this sort of treatment is common toward women dealing with unplanned pregnancies, and it’s even worse for pregnant women battling addiction. Rather than helping women, abortion has been tied to an increased risk of drug and alcohol use. One study found that women who aborted unwanted pregnancies were “270% more likely to report subsequent alcohol abuse or dependence.” And post-abortive women are more likely to become addicted to drugs than women who choose life (15.8 percent vs. 5.3 percent). Based on this, abortion could certainly send a recovering addict into a downward spiral.

As for babies conceived while their mothers are addicted to drugs, they do not deserve death. When we help the mother, we help the child in the womb as well; the focus should be on assisting women in overcoming their addictions. The effects on the child depend on the type of drug abused during pregnancy, and killing a child through abortion is not a morally acceptable response to the fear of a substance’s effect on that child’s body.

While society’s “solution” of aborting a child is often cloaked in a misguided sense of compassion and a desire to avoid suffering, eliminating the sufferer is surely not a proper way to avoid life of potential suffering. After all, “suffering is not evil,” noted the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles in a recent video. “Actually, suffering is morally neutral…. What is good or evil is how you react to suffering. You can react in a way that is ennobling, dignified, and good. Or you can react in a way that is selfish, wicked, evil, and wrong.” Reacting with killing — abortion — is wrong.

Coercion isn’t the solution

Other individuals, such as Barbara Harris, believe that the best way to help women who are addicted to drugs is to coerce them into sterilization. Harris travels the country in an RV, offering cash to women struggling with addiction in exchange for being permanently sterilized. “Nothing positive comes to a drug addict who gives birth to eight children that are taken away from her. This is a win-win for everybody,” she said. Harris has reportedly paid more than 7,000 women to be sterilized.

While on the surface, this might seem reasonable, it isn’t. Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, says Harris’ method of assistance isn’t morally acceptable. “[Harris] perpetuates really destructive and cruel myths about pregnant women and their children,” she said. She sees Harris as operating under the false narrative that the children of drug addicts have no hope and that drug addicts themselves have no chance at recovery. This is far from the truth.

For many addicts, becoming pregnant actually saves them from their addiction, as they feel a new sense of responsibility and purpose in life.

Leilani is one woman who discovered she was pregnant while she was homeless, addicted to drugs, and had already been in jail for stealing. She chose life for her baby and for herself with the help of Ventura County Pregnancy Center. She was able to continue her education, find a job, and be the mother she wanted to be, all because she said yes to life and had the support to do so. Another drug addict, Kailee, was dating and living with her dealer when she learned she was pregnant. He and her stepfather both wanted her to abort, but she knew she wanted her baby. Still, they told her she “would be doing [her] baby a favor” with abortion, and that taking her child’s life “would be the best thing for me.” They told her she would be a terrible mother. But a pregnancy center helped her choose life and Kailee was able to go to rehab. Her baby’s father also quit drugs and got a job. The two married and have since had two more children.

As for Amoretti, she and her boyfriend also overcame addiction and welcomed a baby boy. They work hard to stay sober for his sake. Amoretti says that together they are “sober, stronger, and happy as can be.”

“The odds were fully stacked against us,” she said, “but we both stayed sober and in a mountain of grief and chaos we brought light into the world.”

Babies are a light in the world and a miracle in the darkness of addiction.

Author’s Note: If you are pregnant and living with addiction, contact OptionLine for help in your local area. 

Supreme Court once again hears why Little Sisters of the Poor don’t want to fund contraceptives

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor, pro-life nuns who care for the elderly, are once again part of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Their goal is to stop the government from forcing the Catholic community to participate in the provision of contraceptives and life-ending drugs to their employees.

The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments at 10:00 a.m. EST. Given the coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings, everything is set to take place remotely by phone.

“The Court will provide a live audio feed of the arguments to FOX News (the network pool chair), the Associated Press, and C-SPAN, and they will in turn provide a simultaneous feed for the oral arguments to livestream on various media platforms,” the Supreme Court announced.

Preceding the oral arguments, there was a “virtual” rally to support the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Leaders from around the country will offer messages of support for the Little Sisters of the Poor as they head (virtually) to the Supreme Court,” the organizers stated.

The rally closed with a rosary prayed by different religious communities.

The Obama administration had first mandated employers to participate in or help facilitate the provision of contraceptives, as well as abortifacient drugs, to their employees. The Little Sisters of the Poor refused to go along with the new policy, as did Hobby Lobby and other religious entities.

If the Little Sisters of the Poor – pro-life Catholic nuns – were forced to provide contraceptive and life-ending drugs and devices, they would explicitly contradict their mission of respecting the dignity of every human life.

On October 6, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services came out with an updated, broad religious exemption protecting communities like the Little Sisters of the Poor from having to provide goods and services that would violate their conscience.

Thus, the Trump administration admitted that the federal government broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide services like the week-after-pill in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, the state of Pennsylvania went on to sue the federal government, arguing the religious exemption should be removed.

“Pennsylvania admits that it already has and already uses many government programs to provide contraceptives to women who need them,” wrote Becket Law, the religious liberty law firm representing the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“Pennsylvania never challenged the Obama Administration for creating much larger exceptions for secular corporations – exceptions that covered tens of millions more people than the religious exemption,” Becket pointed out. “Pennsylvania does not even have its own contraceptive mandate at all. And Pennsylvania’s lawsuit does not identify a single real person who previously had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of the new Rule.”

If Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, prevails before the Supreme Court, and the sisters refuse to comply, they would be forced to pay millions of dollars in fines.

Beginning in November 2017, Becket intervened on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor in California and Pennsylvania, working its way through the court system.

Countless groups, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus, as well as many legislators, have filed amicus curiae briefs, supporting the Catholic nuns in their fight.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg phoned into oral arguments from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where the 87-year-old underwent “non-surgical treatment for acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition” on May 5, according to the Court.

New report reveals Catholic Relief Services promoted sex ed and contraception

By Michael Hichborn

BALTIMORE, Maryland, May 4, 2020 (Lepanto Institute) — A sixth investigative report on Catholic Relief Services projects, published by the Lepanto Institute, shows that CRS both implemented and promoted comprehensive sexual education curriculums that include pornographic images and the promotion of contraception.

The first curriculum profiled by the Lepanto Institute, called Go Girls!, was linked to directly by a CRS copyrighted document about its DREAMS/4Children project in Lesotho titled, “TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS TEN.” The CRS-produced document says that the Go Girls! curriculum was adapted for use by CRS Lesotho, and a footnote referencing the curriculum provided a link directly to it.

“The Go Girls! curriculum not only pushes contraception and promotes masturbation, but has a pornographic illustration that actually demonstrates the genital use of a condom,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “Why on Earth would someone at CRS ever think this curriculum would be acceptable on any level? The leadership at CRS needs to ask why a morally acceptable curriculum wasn’t used, because CRS paid for this immoral curriculum and provided it to a vulnerable community.”

The Lepanto Institute’s report also showed that CRS had implemented a curriculum called Aflateen, and maintains a close relationship with Aflateen’s parent company, Aflatoun. Not only does the Aflateen curriculum clearly promotes the use of contraception, but Aflatoun publicly signed a statement announcing its support for the abortion-funding initiative called “She Decides.” But despite this, CRS has been found to be promoting the curriculum to other agencies.

“Curriculums like this have to be paid for when they are implemented, which means that even if CRS claims to have implemented a sanitized version of them, they still paid for them,” said Hichborn. “These curriculums might as well have been created by Planned Parenthood; would CRS purchase curriculums from Planned Parenthood with the intention of using only the morally acceptable portions? If the answer is no, then CRS is guilty by purchasing and distributing these curriculums.”

The report can be viewed at the link, here: https://www.lepantoin.org/pornographic-contraception-promoting-curriculums-used-by-catholic-relief-services/

“For the last two months, we have been issuing heavily documented proof that there are serious problems with Catholic Relief Services projects, and despite an initial promise to investigate and respond, CRS has yet to address a single concern,” Hichborn added. “It is for this reason that we continue to call upon the bishops of the United States to conduct an independent, third-party investigation of CRS, and to withhold their support for the agency until such an investigation is convened.”

A petition asking bishops to conduct an investigation of CRS can be found here: https://lifepetitions.com/petition/stop-catholic-relief-services-condom-promotion-now

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

UK judge orders woman with disability be forced to use long-term birth control

 

A woman living with a disability in the United Kingdom will be forced to receive a long-term contraceptive implant against her will, thanks to a court ruling from a judge.

According to Metro, the woman, who was not named, is in her late twenties and has had children before, all of whom were taken away from her and placed into child protective services. She is currently pregnant and did not want to receive an implanted birth control device.

The woman arrived to testify on her own behalf for the Court of Protection and explained that she was willing to use birth control — specifically, the birth control shot, which lasts for three months at a time. “It’s my body and it’s my life,” she said. “I should have the choice on what I want.” Yet Justice Gwynneth Knowles disagreed, and ruled that when the woman undergoes a c-section, the implant should be put in anyway. Knowles said that she lacks the mental capacity to make the decision for herself.

In addition to ignoring the woman’s willingness to use birth control, Knowles’ justification for her decision highlights an inherent problem in her logic. If the woman in question is not capable of making the decision for herself on what kind of birth control to use, then she does not have the ability to consent to sex, meaning that every sexual encounter she has had has been rape. Yet it doesn’t seem that there is much concern for finding the men assaulting her — as long as she isn’t getting pregnant, it doesn’t seem to matter. On top of that, the issue also seems to be that she’s having children, raising the question of how Knowles would have responded if the woman was having multiple abortions, rather than giving birth to living children. Would she be considered capable if that were the case? There are also alternatives to forcing her to be on a method of birth control she does not want, like providing her with liaisons or aides to ensure her safety.

People with disabilities are routinely mistreated in the United Kingdom. It’s far from the first time that someone with a disability has been forced onto birth control there, and around the world, forced sterilization, abortions, and birth control for people with disabilities are common, both throughout recent history and in the present day. Even a Paralympian felt compelled to speak out after she was pressured to have an abortion because of her disability. The country’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has found “deeply concerning” evidence that people with disabilities there routinely face abuse, mistreatment, bullying, and exclusion. And yet, when these people come forward to report the abuse they face, authorities don’t believe them. Doctors in the United Kingdom have also been known to issue DNRs for people with intellectual disabilities — without their or their families’ knowledge or consent. Other families report receiving substandard health care for their loved ones with a disability.

This kind of decision should be troubling for all people because ultimately, it sets a disturbing precedent: that at any time, a judge can decide that someone isn’t capable of making decisions for themselves, and thereby be forced into birth control, abortion, or sterilization. Yet what makes this worst of all is that because cases like these involve people with disabilities, next to no one will step forward and say that this is wrong.

Why pro-lifers should question the agenda of the World Health Organization

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) proved itself to be an advocate for abortion and sexual liberation after it declared abortion to be an essential service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Health officials with the organization said the possibility of a woman being infected with the virus should not impede her ability to access abortion, and if she lives in a state with restricted access to abortion, the woman should seek an at-home, do-it-yourself abortion. This is not only dangerous, but it exposes the radical agenda behind a group that is supposed to prioritize the health and well-being of individuals.

WHO has partnered with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in the past to promote abortion and various sexual practices. This collaboration has included promoting the idea that programs geared towards encouraging sexual abstinence are harmful to “young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.” WHO and IPPF’s programs encourage impressionable youth from 9-12 years of age to masturbate in private, discourage teenagers from 15-18 years of age from holding their parents’ views on sex, and teach kids from ages 12-15 how to derive pleasure from sexual acts without risking pregnancy.

But these combined efforts to enforce comprehensive sex education also include educating adolescent girls about ‘abortion rights’, as well as information about using emergency contraception. While advocates for Plan B, Ella, and the Morning After Pill insist these pills merely prevent pregnancy without acting as abortifacients, this is misleading. In an effort to capitalize on the normalization of hormonal birth control, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) altered the definition of conception.

Instead of life being recognized as beginning at fertilization, in 1965, the ACOG contended that it began at implantation, which enabled the marketers of emergency contraception to claim that it did not cause abortions. But in altering the lining of a woman’s uterus, emergency contraceptives like Ella or Plan B can create a hostile environment for a developing embryo, preventing as a secondary action the implantation of the new life that has already begun. While the Morning After Pill may not always induce an abortion, it can function in this way if ovulation is not prevented.

Another reason to be concerned about WHO’s agenda is that hormonal birth control and emergency contraception can dramatically alter women’s bodies. It’s especially concerning when hormonal contraceptives like this are promoted to young girls, as they can not only change their reproductive systems in unhealthy ways, but in the case of emergency contraception, a woman may find herself at an increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy.

Recently, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that funds originally directed towards WHO would instead be directed to the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse in order to combat COVID-19. This comes at a time when, based on WHO recommendations, the United Nations has attempted to push a $2 billion spending plan for the virus that includes funding for abortions.

Pro-Life Feminist documentary now available to watch free online

  

The documentary “Pro-Life Feminist,” originally released in 2018, was recently made viewable for free online via YouTube.

Aimee Murphy, founder of Rehumanize International, a nonprofit best known for its “consistent life ethic” approach, opens the film commenting on an unfortunate contradiction in the modern-day feminist movement. “There are some who say that equality for the preborn is contrary to the liberation of women. You know, that perspective is really pitting women against their children.” She also notes in the film, “Feminism is about human equality. You can’t just leave some humans out.”

 

Viewers also meet Christina Marie Bennett, a writer for Live Action News who worked for years at a Connecticut pregnancy center and now works for Family Institute of Connecticut. She too understands the abortion issue as part of a larger framework – the struggle for human rights for all humans. “I’m not ok with injustice in any way, shape, or form…and so I came to this realization that I am a feminist. And it’s okay. It’s okay, because I am going to redefine [feminism]. To think that, because we value the littlest women of all, just as much as any other woman at any other stage in her life, means that we are against womanhood, or that we are disconnected to the reality of the pains and struggle and trauma associated with being a woman…are not we women? Do we not hurt and ache in the same way?”

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa is also featured in Pro-Life Feminist. She founded New Wave Feminists because of her son, whom she had at 16. The organization received significant media attention due to its inclusion in and then subsequent exclusion from the Women’s March on Washington in 2017 because of its pro-life position. From her perspective, “The pro-life side, a lot of times, they see one person, they see the unborn child. And the feminist person, they see one person. The woman. But pro-life feminists see two people. We want to protect two people.”

Aimee, Christina, and Destiny’s pro-life feminist stories make clear that the old stereotype of pro-lifers as a bunch of old white men imposing their religious beliefs on women’s uteruses is just as much a relic of the past as the chilling accusation from the Roe v. Wade audio recordings that opponents of abortion want to “force” women to continue pregnancies. On the contrary, far from “forcing” anything on anyone, these three women seek justice, freedom, and equality for all. And they’re shaking up both the pro-life and feminist movements in the process.

Abortion pill reversal saved her baby. Now she’s pro-life

By Katie Franklin

April 23, 2020 (Pregnancy Help News) — Rita and her fiancé were in the midst of a three-hour car drive home when she began hemorrhaging. She was eight weeks pregnant and had just left an abortion facility where she had begun a chemical abortion.

As Rita would later recall, she was bleeding “so severely it was dripping like a faucet that wouldn’t turn off.”

Rita’s fiancé rushed her to the hospital where she was given a blood transfusion and monitored for the next three days.

“I was in so much pain it felt like I was being ripped apart internally!” she said.

Despite the terror of those few days at the hospital, Rita discovered something that would bring her immense happiness: She was still pregnant and her baby still had a heartbeat.

With that news, Rita was able to find a life-saving treatment known as abortion pill reversal. To Rita’s joy, it worked.

Now, nearly two years after that fateful day on the road, Rita is the mother to a happy one-year-old boy.

“He’s 15 months old now and is the sweetest, happiest and most beautiful little boy I have ever laid my eyes on!” she wrote on a Facebook post made by pro-life advocate Laura Klassen. “God was truly with me, and now I see why, my son’s my biggest blessing.”

So impactful was the experience on Rita’s life that today she is outspokenly pro-life.

According to a message she sent to Klassen, that wasn’t always the case.

Rita explained that she grew up believing that abortion was a “choice” and that an unborn child in the womb wasn’t a human life. Her own mother had two abortions.

But because of the transformative experience of saving her baby, Rita was able to help her mother become pro-life, as well.

“I should have never been able to take my son’s life,” Rita wrote to Klassen. “And seeing him here today is such a blessing! He’s a radiant soul with a happy, laughing, and smiley energy that radiates a room! He, like all other babies, deserves life!”

That’s exactly what the team at Abortion Pill Rescue is hoping to ensure. The group — a network of more than 800 medical providers run by Heartbeat International — has helped save more than 1,100 from in-progress chemical abortions since it launched more than a decade ago.

“Many women regret their abortions and often that regret sets in right away,” said Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International. “Many women contact the APR hotline as soon as they get to their cars in the abortion clinic parking lot. Or, like Rita, regret already begins on their way home from the clinic. The realization sets in that they are ending the life of a child and they want to know if they have options.”

A chemical abortion — often referred to as the “abortion pill” or RU-486 — actually involves two drugs. The first, which Rita took, is mifepristone, a drug that destabilizes the pregnancy by blocking progesterone receptors. The second, typically misoprostol, triggers contractions, forcing the woman’s body to expel her baby in very premature labor, often at home.

If a woman changes her mind after taking the first drug, she may be able to save her baby with help from the Abortion Pill Rescue Network. By calling the 24/7 helpline (877-558-0333), she is connected with a local medical provider who offers the treatment.

Brown says that even in seemingly dire cases — like Rita’s — babies have been rescued.

“Many assume that some bleeding after taking mifepristone means it’s too late to save the baby,” Brown said. “But that isn’t necessarily true.”

She said that mifepristone is known to cause fever, heavy bleeding, abdominal pain and nausea.

“The FDA states that cramping and vaginal bleeding are expected with mifepristone and warns that one in one hundred women who have taken just the mifepristone will have bleeding so heavy they will require a surgical procedure to stop it,” she said.

When combined with the second drug, misoprostol, the effects of a chemical abortion are more alarming still.

“I’m very concerned about the abortion pill because aside from the fact that it’s killing babies, it’s being marketed heavily to young women as ‘easy’, and ‘safe’, and that you can ‘do it in the comfort of your own home,’” Laura Klassen told Pregnancy Help News in an email. “But I am hearing the horror stories regularly.”

Some of those she posted recently on Facebook.

“What I have come to find is that the RU-486 pill is much more bloody and painful than the abortion industry portrays it,” Klassen said. “What I am hearing is that women are often sent to the hospital during the process because of hemorrhaging, or else they’re having to go weeks later to have surgery because parts were left inside.”

Brown says the Abortion Pill Rescue Network hears similar accounts.

“The medical staff of APR hear from women who are scared, alone and bleeding heavily,” she said. “Because chemical abortion is often advertised as ‘inducing a period,’ and because abortion providers often describe the bleeding as spotting, many women are shocked by the amount of pain and bleeding the abortion pill causes.”

Yet if a woman contacts the Abortion Pill Rescue hotline soon enough after taking the first drug, she may not suffer the same experience.

In cases where an ultrasound can still detect a baby’s heartbeat — even a faint one — the abortion pill reversal treatment can begin. To initiate that process, a medical provider prescribes bioidentical progesterone, such as Prometrium, to the pregnant woman. The hope is that by flooding her body with progesterone, they can restabilize the pregnancy.

“It works to outnumber and outcompete the mifepristone for those receptor sites in the uterus and placenta and is successful about 68 percent of the time,” Brown said, referring to a study by physician George Delgado, one of the founders of the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

With more and more babies being rescued by the treatment, Brown says the protocol is an important form of empowerment for women.

“APR empowers women with real choice,” Brown said. “No woman should ever feel pressure to complete a medical procedure she no longer desires.”

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control

By 

Breast cancer. Cervical cancer. Depression. Mood disorders. Suicide. Multiple sclerosis. Ulcerative colitis. Venous thromboembolism. Inflammatory bowel disease. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Cystitis. Crohn’s disease. Urogenital effects. Cardiovascular events. Increased chance of HIV transmission.

Your doctor rattled off those words like he was calling roll in a classroom. But each one made you cringe a little more than the last. You could feel your eyes widening as the list grew. Side effects—for a drug you don’t even need, for a drug not designed to alleviate a sickness. You look at him dubiously, as if maybe he’s joking. These can’t all be side effects from one drug, you think. But the look on his face tells you that he is not joking. In fact, he is very serious. And luckily for you, he cares enough about you to tell you what could happen if he prescribes the drug you’re asking for. You start to think to yourself: I don’t want to do that to my bodyI value my health too much. I respect my body more than that.

You wonder why you never heard any of this before, and you realize you’re going to have to rethink your desire for hormonal birth control.

The Petition

In June 2019, 10 doctors and researchers who had formed a Contraceptive Study Group published a document entitled Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives. This document evaluated existing literature and synthesized studies on hormonal birth control in order to present information on their side effects in one comprehensive document. The Contraceptive Study Group’s goal was to not only warn potential users, but also to petition the government to add black box—or warning—labels onto the boxes of contraception and to include warnings on patient-related information so that women know and understand the risks of the chemicals they put into their bodies. This article serves as an overview of just some of the major findings and of the information this group desperately wants to put forward for all to know.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group understand the damage hormonal contraceptives do to women, to the babies they may carry, and to the families who love them. That is why they undertook the daunting task of reading, interpreting, compiling, and then disseminating the information they found. In all, this petition cites 230 outside sources—not counting those related to the environmental impact. This petition was not only a labor of love and compassion for their fellow human beings but also serves as a wake-up call to people who unknowingly—or knowingly—ingest these harmful chemicals.

Millions of women take hormonal birth control or receive contraceptive injections without any idea about the poison they’re putting into their bodies. According to the petition, “Based on data from the Guttmacher Institute, a conservative estimate of 11 million women aged 15-44 in the US take some form of hormonal contraceptive each day. A 2015 study reports that about 21 percent of women of reproductive years are using some form of hormonal contraceptive, which equates to about 13 million women (Daniels 2015).”

In addition, millions of babies die when these contraceptives thin the lining of the uterine wall, thus preventing the baby from implanting.

Hormonal contraceptives have been on the market for over 50 years, yet the scope of the devastation and health ramifications they have caused can never be known. Some women don’t even realize that the causes of the health problems they face may be contraception. If this petition succeeds in its intent, pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose these side effects.

product liability word cloud

The petition begins by listing the side effects of combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives (COCs). Many are mentioned in the first paragraph above. COCs include oral, intravaginal, and transdermal formulations. The petition lists the brand names of all of these—in six pages.

According to the team, progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs) “have not been extensively studied, but one large registry study did show a significantly increased risk of breast cancer with use of POCs.”

Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies COCs as Group I carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer in humans.

Recommendations

The petition recommends that the government “remove from the market the injectable contraceptive Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA; Depo-Provera) based on conclusive evidence that it facilitates the transmission of HIV from men to women.” It then recommends that black box warnings should be added for the following diseases and conditions: breast cancer, cervical cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, depression and suicide, venous thrombosis, and cardiovascular events. In addition, safety information should be added to advertisements and patient-related materials about multiple sclerosis, bone fractures, body mass effects, and urogenital problems.

Countless women suffer the side effects of hormonal contraception. Countless women feel duped by healthcare providers, by pharmaceutical companies, and by organizations that tout the benefits of COCs. Rarely do they hear of these side effects—side effects that can appear after long-term use, after a few months, or even after just a few short weeks.

In conjunction with the petition, the public is asked to post comments or stories to this site in order to encourage the government to add warnings to contraceptive labels. Many of these comments reference tragic and heartbreaking stories of loss—loss of life, loss of health, and loss of autonomy.

You might wonder why many physicians don’t warn their patients about these side effects.  Dr. Ken Stone offers some insight:

It is common practice that physicians do not discuss any significant adverse effects of oral contraceptives or require an informed consent. Some colleagues have said to me that they do not want to say anything that would deter them from using the pill. Standard adverse effects in formularies for prescribed contraceptive medicines usually do not mention the most severe ones like pulmonary embolus, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, etc.

This petition for removing certain contraceptives from the market, listing those adverse effects that should have black box warnings in prescribed contraceptives, and those that need additional safety warnings in prescribed contraceptives provide[s] more than adequate research data to require the actions requested. As a family practice physician for the past 41 years, I believe the scandal of not informing women of the known side effects of contraceptives is an egregious injustice and needs immediate correction.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group believe that the public should know the truth. Throughout the next several pages, we will discuss some of the findings and data they presented regarding many of the major side effects of hormonal contraception. To read the petition in its entirety, and to see the comprehensive list of side effects, visit the petition’s site.

HIV Transmission

Depo-Provera, or DMPA, is an injectable contraceptive that is administered quarterly. However, according to the study group: “Evidence began emerging in the 1990s, which has become compelling in recent years, that DMPA is unique among contraceptives in its property of facilitating the transmission of HIV.”

How is this so?

According to research, DMPA has an immunosuppressant quality. It binds to the glucocorticoid receptor of human leukocytes, which, in layman’s terms, means that it represses the woman’s innate immune responses and allows for an increase in HIV replication. Thus, when an infected man has intercourse with a woman taking DMPA, her compromised immune system cannot fight off the disease.

Because of this, the authors want DMPA taken off the market.

Breast Cancer

According to the petition, there are 1.7 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer among women in developed countries and accounts for 20% of cancers in females.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies COCs as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer in human beings. Studies have long shown the link between breast cancer and COCs. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 that found that COCs increase the risk of breast cancer. That same year, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic) published a meta-analysis that confirmed the findings that COCs increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

woman about to take birth control pill

According to the Contraceptive Study Group, “Studies that looked at recent use (within 1–5 years) or current use of COCs in premenopausal women showed the most dramatic increased risk for breast cancer.” The most significant study found that women between the ages of 20-49 who had used COCs “within a year had an increased risk of breast cancer.”

Other studies corroborate these findings as well. Most found that women who used COCs for a year or more had a higher risk of breast cancer. A Danish study found that a woman’s risks increased even after she discontinued use if she had used COCs for five or more years.

The comments site offers many stories from women who have suffered from breast cancer and from the doctors who have treated them. Included among them are these:

Anthony Vigil, MD, FACS, says:

As a general surgeon, me and my partners ask our breast cancer patients about OCP [oral contraceptive pills] use since our best cancer textbooks describe an increased risk of breast cancer with OCP use. It is ethically imperative that women are made aware of the risks of ingesting hormones into their bodies.

Anna Poynter says:

At age 31, I found a small breast lump. I went to more than one doctor, but the last one I saw was the head of the UCSD Cancer Institute, a Dr. Barone, in San Diego, where I lived at the time. He told me that it was small, movable and I didn’t have any pain but that I should GET OFF THE PILL. 19 years later that very same lump grew and became malignant, and I ended up having a mastectomy.

An anonymous writer says: “Recently diagnosed with breast cancer; I was on the pill for 10 years.”

The authors recommend that a black box warning be included with COCs, along with warnings on patient-related materials, so that women understand the risks they face.

Cervical Cancer

According to the petition, approximately 260,000 women in the United States have cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that there will be about 14,000 new cases this year alone. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of cervical cancer associated with COCs and that the risk increases for women currently taking hormonal birth control. In addition, the risk increases with the length of time the woman has taken the COCs.

The risk also increases if the woman has tested positive for HPV—the human papilloma virus.

The authors recommend both a black box warning and a warning on patient-related materials.

Depression, Mood Disorders, Suicide

 According to the study group, “The largest study of incident depression and use of anti-depressant medication (Skovlund 2016) indicates significantly increased risks for both COCs and POCs for both outcomes. The same group studied for suicide attempts and suicides (Skovlund 2018). Elevated risks were seen, and this was the case for both COCs and POCs. The recent NCHA study (Gregory 2018) showed a similar trend.”

The authors claim that their research has shown an “increased risk for depression, suicide risk, and suicide within 3 months of beginning to use the drugs and tapering off after 6 months, partly due to attenuation of symptoms, partly due to discontinuation due to adverse effects.”

depressed woman

The comments section of the website paints a dismal picture and offers evidence that these hormones cause new mental health problems and exacerbate existing or latent ones.

Julie Baltz, a family practice clinician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, states that she has seen the psychological harm caused by hormonal contraceptives. She wrote:

Even more subtle and more underreported are the psychological effects. These patients simply state “I didn’t feel right” and often think that there something wrong with them that they don’t tolerate this type of medication. I’ve seen insomnia, anxiety, depression, anhedonia, anorexia, and poor libido directly improved within my clinical office by discontinuing a combined OCP.

Another person, known only as TF, wrote in to say:

In 2011 I was prescribed hormonal birth control to “fix” a very irregular cycle. Three months later I started to struggle with crippling fatigue, loss of appetite and disinterest in everything except sleeping. I was shortly after that diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and still to this day have to be on medication to remain functional. I still struggle with my energy levels, unfortunately medication can’t cure depression and make it disappear. My doctor and I both believe that the hormonal birth control was likely a trigger to a predisposition for Major Depressive Disorder.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous stated:

In my early twenties I was prescribed birth control pills. The first cycle I took the pills as prescribed. I began to feel depressed, anxious, crying daily, with mood swings. Prior to beginning the oral contraceptive pills, I had none of these symptoms. After completing the first 2 weeks of the medication packet, I called the nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN clinic that I originally got the prescription. She told me that the changes in my mood, depression, and anxiety among others, could not be due to the new medication, that it must have just been life. She changed me to a lower dose contraceptive pill. After three weeks of taking the second prescription pack as directed I decided to discontinue use of oral contraceptives due to the side effects. I had gained 15 pounds and felt terrible.

The site is filled with story after story of people who have suffered—mentally and physically—because of these drugs. The authors want a black box warning about this side effect and warnings on patient-related materials.

Body Mass

While studies have varied regarding weight increase in women who use COCs, the strongest data found that levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs do, in fact, affect body mass. The authors stated that “a significant increase in % fat mass with a corresponding decrease in % lean body mass was observed in both studies where these were measured.”

Women have found this side effect all too real. For example, a woman who wishes to be anonymous said:

When I was taking hormonal birth control (HBC) I underwent a massive weight gain. From 120 lbs. to 155 lbs. That’s almost adding 30% to my body weight! I also suffered with severe stomach cramping, constant discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed it at IBS. I was only on HBC for 8 months and got pregnant while taking it. I stopped taking it upon pregnancy and have never touched the stuff again!

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

woman standing on scale

Urogenital (Urinary and Genital) Effects

The authors found evidence of several different kinds of urogenital problems in women. These include interstitial cystitis (a condition that causes bladder pain and pressure), bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vaginal dryness, female sexual dysfunction, and more. They state that the risk increases for adolescents and if the woman uses COCs for at least two years.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous experienced a whole host of problems, including urogenital. She said:

I was put on birth control by my parents when I was only 15 years old after a sexual assault incident. I then continued it for another 5 years before I began to question it. In that time frame I experienced extreme weight gain and loss from one pill to another, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my manic depression and severe mood swings (I am not bipolar), experienced a miscarriage, developed cysts in my breasts, had continuous pregnancy symptoms (including morning sickness every day), and had frequent UTIs and yeast infections. No one ever associated any of my problems, other than the breast cysts, to my birth control pills. It wasn’t until I discontinued the use once learning of the cysts that I began to feel normal and realized the association between my symptoms and the pill.

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

Venous Thromboembolism, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Events

 Venous Thromboembolism

A venous thromboembolism (or VTE) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein, most often in the leg, arm, or groin, and then lodges itself in the lung. This is an extremely dangerous health problem that can cause death. Even the American Heart Association website agrees that COCs can cause a VTE: “In women, pregnancy and the use of hormones like oral contraceptives or estrogen for menopause symptoms can also play a role.”

The comments regarding this side effect address the tragedies that have befallen women and families as a result of hormonal birth control. For example, Carol Pepin wrote about the loss of her daughter:

My 19-year-old daughter Shelby Pepin . . . died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke, and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing. Shelby had been on the NuvaRing for 18 months.

Joseph West has a similar story:

Our daughter died at age 29 in the Intensive Care Unit of her local hospital where she had been transferred after presenting herself at her local walk-in clinic. Her death was five weeks to the day after getting married and one day before [her] scheduled departure on a delayed honeymoon cruise. The autopsy report stated that she had “bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli” with a thrombus present in the left popliteal fossa. She had been using NuvaRing at the time of her death [which] had been removed at the walk-in clinic prior to transport to the hospital. . . . The [ICU] doctor stated that she believes that hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to the death of our daughter.

Kimberly Phipps-Nichol shared her personal story of survival:

Last year, at the age of 46, I was hospitalized with a cerebral thrombosis that was literally caught right before causing a stroke. The ER docs told me that if it had not been for the fact that the people I was with at the time of the event were trained to recognize the signs of stroke and called 911 for a stroke paramedic unit that arrived quickly, I would have been somewhere between a vegetative state and severely disabled. After countless CT scans and MRIs, along with a thorough study of my family history, the neurologist and hematologist teams determined it was the oral contraceptives that I was taking that had caused the thrombosis.

Diagram of thrombosis blood clotting

Diagram of thrombosis

An anonymous family physician claims to have seen the negative side effects of contraceptives firsthand and tells of several cases, including her treatment of a young woman in her late 20s who went into a coma brought on by a pulmonary embolism. The only known risk factor was that this woman was taking hormonal birth control. In addition, a medical colleague of this doctor suffered a pulmonary embolism that was attributed to OCP.

Nancy Brockoff wrote to say that she had four friends, who were all young mothers, who died of blood clots related to hormonal birth control.

Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by plaque. Arteries clogged with plaque lead to heart problems. Even as long ago as 1982, researchers understood and took interest in the fact that vascular disease and COCs were linked. According to the petition, these researchers “found that combination oral contraceptives (COCs) caused ‘greater cell proliferation and incorporation . . . in both human arterial smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts.’ Smooth muscle cell proliferation is an integral feature of all atherosclerotic lesions (Bagdade 1982). In 2007, a presentation at the American Heart Association meeting described a study of 1,301 Belgian women, which showed that women had a 20 to 30 percent increase of plaque for every decade on COCs (Rietzschel 2007).”

Furthermore, the Danish Heart Association “released the results of a 15-year historic cohort study looking at thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, which observed over 1.6 million women. The results demonstrated that women taking COCs with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 [micrograms] had a risk of arterial thrombosis that was 0.9 to 1.7 times higher than non-users, while those taking a dose of 30 to 40 [micrograms] had a 1.3 to 2.3 higher risk” (Lidegaard 2012).

The current black box warning about thrombotic events mentions smoking and age, which the authors believe misleads the consumer into thinking she’s safe if she doesn’t smoke or if she’s younger than 35. They want the warning amended to read: “Warning: Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including blood clots.” Additionally, they request warnings on all advertising and patient-related materials.

Environment

The synthetic hormones that women take are continually released from their bodies through their waste products. When researchers noticed changes in the aquatic environment—especially in fish—they began conducting studies to determine the cause of these changes. What they found astounded them.

The Contraceptive Study Group explained:

EE2 [the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol] is metabolized in the liver undergoing first pass metabolism, but ~6% of the administered dose appears as untransformed EE2 in the urine and ~9% in the feces (Stanczyk 2013)….Even at low concentrations, these compounds can act as potent endocrine disruptors, affecting the growth, development, and reproduction of exposed aquatic organisms (Tyler 1998, Larsson 1999).

While wastewater treatment plants have the ability to filter out many chemicals and pollutants, they cannot filter out EE2.

Studies have found that these synthetic chemicals cause changes in male fish. A 1995 paper found that male fish in nearly 30 rivers throughout Britain had become “feminized” by these pollutants.

The Contraceptive Study Group also referenced a seven-year long study of the effects of EE2 on Canadian lakes. In that study, researchers approximated the amount of EE2 that would reach the waterways from a town of 200,000 people. They immediately saw the feminization and transgendering of male fish and a “near extinction” of the population of the fathead minnow there. Once the researchers stopped adding EE2 to the water, the population of minnows returned to normal.

We find further evidence in a study that looked at the fish populations near three Colorado sewage treatment plants. There, researchers found a significant difference between the fish upstream of the plant and those downstream. They stated:

The fish in the upstream locations enjoyed a balanced 1:1 female-to-male sex ratio. Downstream there were five female fish for every one male, and twenty percent of the reduced male population demonstrated intersex characteristics, such as eggs in their testes and the presence of vitellogenin, an egg yolk protein normally found only in fertile females. The consequences also appeared to ascend up the food chain in a measurable way, specifically with the feminization of trout, mink frogs and green frogs (Parke 2009). Both the predicted and the measured concentrations of EE2 in the US, including effluent of waste water treatment plants, surface water, or ground water, exceeds the predicted no-effect concentrations on fish populations (Kostich 2013).

fish under water

Conclusion

In addition to these diseases and the pollution in the environment, the economic costs from these side effects and their resultant diseases/health problems to the patient and to the community are in the billions.

This article touched upon some of the most egregious side effects. To read the full list of side effects and the studies referenced, to read all of the comments, or to add your own comment, visit regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2019-P-2289-0001.

This health crisis affects us all. Whether you are male or female, elderly, middle aged, young, a mother, or a father, hormonal birth control does affect your life in some way because these hormones affect your wives, your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your best friends, the environment, and even your dinner table. It’s time to speak up and tell the government that women must know the truth. It’s time to help women understand that their health is more important than a drug that can alter their body and mind. Synthetic hormones and their deleterious effects leave a lasting impact and crush our society.

While Africa asks for ventilators and PPE during COVID-19, groups send abortion kits instead

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The BBC recently reported that African countries do not have enough ventilators to treat people affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization’s Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated that “the issue of ventilators is one of the biggest challenges that the countries are facing.” Other concerns include limited personal protective equipment (PPE) and a lack of access to soap and clean water. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough supplies for every country in the continent, as the Associated Press detailed how one major shipment included “more than 400 ventilators… for sharing among all 54 countries.”

So how did the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) respond to the crisis African people are facing? While they created a $2 million aid plan, the money is not going towards these urgent medical needs. Instead, Sida plans to use the $2 million to fund abortion kits for the continent.

“Our program is especially important for vulnerable women and girls in the region. We need to address the effects of COVID-19 quickly to have their human rights safeguarded, so they are able to decide for themselves when and with whom they will have children,” Sida Director General Carin Jämti.

Sida will send funding to DKT International, an organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that provides products such as manual vacuum aspiration kits and abortion drug kits. On its webpage, DKT boasts that about 8 million pregnancies have been “averted” because of its services. The kits Sida obtains from DKT International are to be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.

 

The agency will also allocate funds towards the education of local health care workers, community leaders, and individuals. Instead of providing African countries with the equipment necessary for saving lives, Sida is focused on promoting a radical abortion agenda.

Pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha has spoken extensively about this attempt by Western societies to force abortion and contraception into African culture. According to Ekeocha, the beliefs of most African women do not align with the radical views pro-abortion groups are trying to push on them.

“I don’t know many African women who would choose contraception over everything else,” Ekeocha said in a statement printed at Catholic Digest. “Africans cherish babies and celebrate motherhood even in the midst of poverty.”

Ekeocha has detailed how pro-choice organizations sneak their agenda into Africa under the guise of philanthropic work. While their intention is to push young girls to have abortions and take contraceptives, Ekeocha says these groups disguise their goal by claiming their actions are part of a “maternal mortality reduction” program.

Now, as Africa is suffering in the midst of COVID-19 due to a lack of medical equipment, Sida — through DKT International — is attempting to do the same thing. Despite claims that abortion is necessary healthcare, more than 30,000 American doctors have refuted this point, calling it “medically irresponsible” to allow such procedures to continue during a global pandemic.

Instead of saving lives, groups like Sida are dedicating funds towards ending them.

Pro-Life Leaders Call for Coronavirus Vaccine Without Abortion Ties

Catholic News Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Development of an effective, safe and widely available vaccine for the novel coronavirus is deeply important, but its development should avoid unethical links to abortion, said pro-life leaders in a letter to the Trump administration.

“It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience,” said the April 17 letter to Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines,” it continued.

The letter’s signers include Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities; the heads of three other bishops’ conference committees; and leaders of many other Catholic and non-Catholic groups.

The letter comes after the release of the Trump administration’s gradual three-phase plan to remove restrictions on economic and social life while seeking to contain the coronavirus spread, especially spread to vulnerable populations. A coronavirus vaccine, if effective, could help prevent infection and speed economic recovery.

The letter’s signers “strongly support” vaccine development “as quickly as possible.” At the same time, they urged the federal government to “ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

“We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies,” signatories said.

They cited the case of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, which has a “substantial contract” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is working on a vaccine produced using “ethically problematic cell lines.”

The letter encouraged other vaccine development that uses cell lines not linked to these “unethical procedures and methods.” These are in development by companies like Sanofi, Pasteur, and Inovio, they added, while also noting the work of the Iowa-based John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

The letter was copied to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar, II.

Besides Archbishop Naumann, other bishops signing the letter are Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chair of the Committee on Doctrine; and Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette, chair of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues.

Signers include Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Michael Parker, president of the Catholic Medical Association; Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center; Ellen Gianoli, president of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A.; Marianne Linane, director of the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses; Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Michael P. Farris, president, CEO and general counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom; Travis S. Weber, vice president for policy and government affairs at the Family Research Council; Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life America; and Lila Rose, president and founder of LiveAction.

Catholic teaching acknowledges the right to well-formed conscientious objection to many legal mandates and medical procedures, while also emphasizing vaccination as a matter of public responsibility.

A 2005 document from the Pontifical Academy for Life considered the moral issues surrounding vaccines prepared in cell lines descended from aborted fetuses. The Vatican group concluded that it is both morally permissible and morally responsible for Catholics to use these vaccines.

The pontifical academy also noted that Catholics have an obligation to use ethically-sourced vaccines when available, and have an obligation to speak up and request the development of new cell lines that are not derived from aborted fetuses.

The 2008 Vatican document Dignitatis Personae strongly criticized aborted fetal tissue research. However, as regards common vaccines, such as those for chicken pox and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), that may be derived from cell lines of aborted babies, the Vatican said they could be used by parents for “grave reasons” such as danger to their children’s health.

In a 2017 document on vaccines, the Pontifical Academy for Life noted a “moral obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others… especially the safety of more vulnerable subjects such as pregnant women and those affected by immunodeficiency who cannot be vaccinated against these diseases.”

Contraception cut us off from God’s grace. His Divine Mercy restored us

By L.J. Helferty

Editor’s note:  L.J. and Joan Helferty believed they had every good reason to use contraception in their Catholic marriage. But then everything started falling apart. Their story, published exclusively on LifeSiteNews, is one of the best testimonies about the spiritual blindness that follows the sin of contraception and about the mercy of God that follows true repentance. 

April 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Sunday Dec 10, 2000.  About 7:00 a.m.  A cold crisp cloudy Sunday morning.  I was the first one awake and out of bed. That was normal.  I usually stoked the furnace and got our farmhouse warmed up before calling everyone.  Mass was at 9:00.  There would be just enough time to get ready.  We had eleven children, nine at home and two older ones away at post-secondary institutions.

I had slept in this morning.  We had installed a new furnace that weekend and I was exhausted by the time we were finished on Saturday evening.  When I went downstairs into the kitchen on my way outside to the furnace, I noticed a hand-written note on the table, at the place where our 15-year old son Matthew usually sat for family meals.

Curious, I glanced at the first line.

“By the time you are reading this, I’ll already be dead.  Hey, it’s Matthew.  You’ll find my body in the front field…”

I froze. “Not possible,” I thought. This boy had everything going for him – brilliant, thoughtful, lots of friends,…  “Okay, this has to be some sort of terrible joke or experiment, because it just isn’t possible.”

I ran upstairs to his bedroom.  The bed was neatly made up.  It hadn’t been slept in. I awoke my wife and told her to call 911 and ran outside, shouting his name, hoping that he would be sitting somewhere, not able to go through with his plan. I was too late – only by minutes – he had used a hunting rifle in one decisive act.

When I returned to the house with the heart-breaking news, my wife Joan made the necessary phone calls while I sat on the kitchen steps in disbelief.

When she got off the phone, she came over to me and said, “It’s because of the tubal.”

I couldn’t believe she was saying that.

After our eleventh child was born, we had secretly arranged for Joan to have a tubal ligation.  We hadn’t told anyone because we had always professed to be in union with the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the use of the natural cycles to limit the size of your family, if there was a serious reason to do so.

We seemed to lack the discipline to make that work for us, and we thought that we were at the point where we needed to stop having children, so we opted for tubal ligation.  Both of us went to confession afterwards, but the sacrament can’t help you much if you don’t have contrition and don’t plan to make satisfaction for the damage you have done.

The thoughtfulness and generosity of our parish priest, the police, our parish members, friends, and our funeral director became manifest as soon as the terrible news spread, and helped to sustain us through the coming days, weeks and months.  It is impossible to describe the impact suicide has on each family member, especially the parents and the closest siblings. Thankfully, in His generosity, God gave us several consolations, allowing us to be confident that Matthew’s eternal salvation was assured.

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In Loving Memory of Matthew Helferty SOURCE: Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

After the wake and funeral, I became driven, attempting to understand how we had lost our son in such a terrible manner.

Eventually, it became evident that Matthew had descended into deep depression and that he was listening to music on his personal CD player that would further contribute to his depression and offer the ultimate solution.  He had also been playing violent video games and a card game called ‘Magic: The Gathering’ with some of his friends. But… this explanation was incomplete.  Lots of kids listen to this terrible music and play those games and have depressing lives, but they don’t commit suicide. Matthew was part of a loving family, and we hadn’t even noticed that he was depressed, until we looked back and saw some of the obvious signs.

I was not convinced.

To settle the matter, we decided to visit our former spiritual director and family friend, Father Jim Duffy of Madonna House. He had called us on the day of Matthew’s death, to offer prayers and condolences.  He was perplexed that this had happened.  I agreed that I would accept that the tubal was the explanation, if Father Jim said so.  It was Divine Mercy Sunday, 2001.  When we arrived at Madonna House in Toronto – it’s a 4-hour drive from our home – Father Jim offered mass for our intentions in their chapel, then we went to a nearby restaurant & park for lunch.

When Joan told him that she had undergone a tubal ligation, he stopped eating and his countenance dropped.

He gravely explained that our experience was simply the re-telling of the stories of the Old Testament.  When the Jewish people strayed from the ways of God, when they rejected His teachings, they experienced suffering and loss.  When they realized their faults and turned back to God, their lives were restored.

I was devastated.

But, I knew that Father Duffy, a devout and holy priest, with many decades of experience, would not mislead us.  During the drive home, we decided to arrange for a reversal of the tubal ligation and to confess this sin again, this time with true contrition.

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Divine Mercy Image

We realize now that when we had the tubal ligation, we cut our family off from many of God’s graces and guidance and protection.  We were blind. Matthew was the one that suffered the most, and we didn’t even notice.  We are convinced that if we had been living within God’s order, either the perfect storm of circumstances and events that plunged Matthew so quickly into such deep depression would not have occurred or we would have noticed the seriousness of his condition and been able to save him.

Since the reversal and confession of that sin, our family has been blessed tremendously.   There are still lots of challenges, but sincerely attempting to live within God’s order provides spiritual protection and peace of mind that we treasure dearly.

After the reversal of the tubal ligation, we were hoping for more children, but each pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We have accepted that when you tamper with the natural law, there are natural consequences.  Nineteen years later, several of our children are married and we currently have close to 20 grandchildren.  One of our sons is a priest and one of our daughters is a Sister.  All of these things bring great joy to Joan and me.

The consequences of our sin were severe, but God has restored our lives miraculously. Deo Gratias!

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We hope that by sharing our experience, we will help others to avoid the sins related to artificial contraception and sterilization. We have learned that God’s way is the best way, regardless of how difficult it may seem at the time.  Please observe the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding family planning in Humanae Vitae.  Our son’s death on December 10, 2000 was the worst day of our lives.  Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001 was indeed the day our lives were restored.

Mom put on ventilator for COVID-19 at 34 weeks pregnant wakes to find she’s given birth to healthy daughter

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(NRL News Today) When Angela Primachenko told Sheinelle Jones on the TODAY show this morning,” I feel like I’m a miracle walking,” she was not exaggerating. Consider…. The 27-year-old respirator therapist from Vancouver, Washington, who was 33 weeks pregnant, had among other symptoms a fever, and was tested for COVID-19 on March 24, Scott Stump of NBC/Today reported.

Eight days later she… was fighting for her life on a ventilator while in a medically induced coma.

At the same time, she gave birth to her daughter after doctors at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center induced labor to give Primachenko more of a fighting chance while also protecting her child. …

Primachenko was taken off the ventilator on April 6, and one look down at her body told her that her baby must have been born.

“Obviously nobody expected that I was going to get that sick, so no, absolutely not, I did not expect to deliver my child,” she said. “After all the medication and everything I just woke up and all of a sudden I didn’t have my belly any more. It was just extremely mind-blowing.”

 

Stump explained that Primachenko, who was released from the hospital Saturday, has not been able to hold daughter Ava who is in neonatal intensive care. Fortunately, neither her husband David nor their 11-month-old daughter, Emily, have tested positive for COVID-19, so they are able to hold the newest member of the family. Primachenko has had to content herself with FaceTime.

Another blessing: Ava has tested negative for COVID-19.

NBC/Today detailed the loving contributions of Primachenko’s supportive family and friends.

Her twin sister, Oksana Luiten, had been keeping family and friends updated through Primachenko’s frightening ordeal, asking for prayers on Instagram for a “miraculous healing.”

Primachenko also had a moment she’ll never forget when she was wheeled out of the intensive care unit in her bed.

“Everyone did a standing ovation and just clapped me out of the ICU, which is so amazing and such a huge thing to be able to leave the ICU and go to the floor — it’s just the grace of God,” she said.

Washington state has been hit hard by COVID-19. Primachenko said she “is hoping her story can send a positive message during a difficult time.”

“That there’s hope,” she said. “That even in the hardest days and the hardest times that there’s hope and you can rely on God and people and community. The amount of community and people that were praying for me is just unbelievable. I was blown away, and I’m so incredibly thankful.”

Giving her daughter the name Ava also has a special meaning, particularly after everything that mother and daughter have endured.

“It means ‘breath of life,”’ Primachenko said. “So she’s our new little breath of life.”

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

Is your birth control putting you at greater risk for an STD?

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Birth control is touted as one of the greatest medical advancements ever made for women, allowing them to take charge of their sexuality without worrying about unplanned pregnancies — or so the narrative goes, anyway. But birth control has risks that go along with it, and those who use it should weigh those risks before taking it. Unfortunately, many women aren’t properly informed of the risks beforehand. For certain kinds of birth control, those risks include an increased susceptibility to getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

DEPO PROVERA

Depo Provera is a birth control injection given four times a year, and is intended for women who don’t want to take a pill every day. It works by suppressing ovulation — preventing ovaries from releasing an egg — and thickening cervical mucus, so that sperm are less likely to reach an egg, should one be released.

However, Depo Provera has been found to possibly increase the chances of contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. It’s not clear why this happens, but it should serve as a warning to women who choose Depo Provera. “These findings underscore the need to counsel all sexually active women who use DMPA and who are not in a mutually monogamous relationship to use condoms consistently and correctly,” Dr. Charles Morrison, the first author of one of the studies that found this increased risk, said in a press release. “For sexually active women not in a mutually monogamous relationship, limiting the number of partners may also help to reduce the risk.”

It should be noted that limiting one’s number of sexual partners always reduces one’s risk of getting an STD.

COPPER INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)

IUDs have become popular in recent years, as they’ve allegedly become safer (although there are still plenty of horror stories) than in past decades. The copper IUD is considered a non-hormonal contraceptive device, and works by triggering an inflammatory reaction from the copper wire coiled around the device. The copper is toxic to both sperm and eggs. It can be left in place for up to 10 years, and can be removed at any time, making it seem like a very attractive option for women.

Yet there are questions being raised about whether it may make women more susceptible to contracting STDs. KQED noted that along with the rise of IUDs in California, STDs — including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — also drastically skyrocketed, and the “why” behind this is still unclear. “These are things that are happening at the same time and in tandem, but we can’t necessarily say there’s causality between them,” Stephanie Arnold Pang, director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, told KQED.

Meanwhile, a medical paper posited that a potential risk might exist between using copper IUDs and HIV, specifically in women who have copper sensitivity. It’s because in these women, the copper IUD causes severe dermatitis; this, along with the excessive menstrual bleeding women sometimes experience, could put them at higher risk. Other studies, however, found no difference in HIV risk between copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs.

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

The birth control pill, or oral contraceptives, was the first modern birth control method created. It works by preventing a woman’s egg from fully developing each month, and therefore, unable to accept sperm and become fertilized. The pill also thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach any egg that might be released. However, birth control pills are notorious for their side effects. One of the lesser known side effects is an increased chance of STDs.

The Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, published a study showing that women who used oral contraceptives were more likely to get chlamydia and vaginal candidiasis, compared to women who don’t use them.

Women should be aware that there are effective, risk-free natural methods available for them, should they choose to forgo artificial birth control methods. Women deserve to know what they’re risking before they take birth control, whether it’s an increase risk of pulmonary embolism or STDs. True empowerment comes when women are given all the information they need beforehand so they can make informed decisions.

Is the Culture of Death being undermined?

by Paul Murano  •  ChurchMilitant.com

The Wuhan virus pandemic has begun to attack the very foundation of the Culture of Death.

Media reports show the pandemic is causing the shuttering of some abortuaries as well as the canceling of “gay pride” events.

But the effect on contraception has been largely ignored.

The Wuhan pandemic is causing supply shortages for pharmaceutical companies around the world, creating shortages of chemical contraceptives.

Likewise, restrictions on doctor visits is also diminishing access to contraception.

The normal protocol of getting an exam, blood test and consultation before obtaining a prescription has been curtailed. And without a prescription, one cannot purchase or refill contraceptive pills, which act as abortifacients.

Further, Malaysia-based Karex Industries, responsible for 20% of the world’s condoms, has shut down factories in China and India due to government lockdowns, slowing the distribution of condoms worldwide.

The United Nations is warning of “devastating” consequences.

Even Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania has announced it has dropped all birth control services during this time.

Faithful Catholics are hoping diminished access to contraception and abortion will force young people to reflect on the importance of chastity, the sanctity of marriage and the dignity of human life; and that God will use this to lead many souls back to Him — and, perhaps, save Western civilization in the process.

Italy, the Coronavirus Pandemic and Demographic Winter

Heartbreaking stories have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. Hospitals are too full. Doctors are overworked. People die alone. Coffins pile up. The Pope walks through empty Roman streets, praying alone.

The coronavirus has created these scenes. Yet, behind the scenes of the crisis is another one. Slow-moving, largely hidden, yet destructive both physically and socially, a problem people prefer to ignore. I am speaking of demographic winter: the worldwide fertility decline. This problem aggravates the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus is especially lethal for the elderly. The death rate (deaths per number of cases) is 15% for people over 80, 8% for people in their 70s, 3% for people in their 60s and less than 1% for people under 50. The countries with the highest number of cases and fatalities per capita are countries with a large percentage of elderly people. For instance, Italy’s fertility rate is now 1.33 children per woman, far below the replacement level of 2.1. As a result, Italy has a rapidly aging population. Almost a quarter (23%) of Italy’s population is now over 65 years of age. In 2019, the median age was 46.3, projected to rise to 51.4 by 2050. An aging population is creating and will continue to create rising costs for both pensions and health care.

But beyond the dollars and cents are the human costs. Low fertility rate means fewer young people to take care of the increasing number of older people. Even if the fear of contagion had not prevented family visits, more and more people have no young relatives to come visit them. Even without coronavirus, for example, Japan has so many childless elderly people who die alone that the culture has developed a special term: “lonely death.” People die in their apartments, alone, sometimes undiscovered for days or more, sometimes much more. The first person to whom the term was applied, evidently, was a man who was discovered three years after his death.

We are so accustomed to hearing about “overpopulation” and “The Population Bomb” that we scarcely consider the opposite problem of underpopulation. Yet the fact is that birth rates in most of the world are well below replacement rates. And the problems are becoming harder to ignore and harder to solve.

Political scientist Nicolas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute stated in a depressing article entitled, Growing Old the Hard Way:

“Left unaddressed, the mounting pressures that population aging would pose on pension outlays, health care expenditures, fiscal discipline, savings levels, manpower availability, and workforce attainment could only have adverse domestic implications for productivity and economic growth in today’s affluent societies.”

These pressures have been pretty much “left unaddressed” during the 15 years since Eberstadt penned those words. Public policy around the globe still emphasizes the need to slow population growth. The problems created by population decline never seem to get the same attention.

Did you know that most college educated women end up with fewer children than they originally wanted?* Most people don’t know this. Yet this is the case in pretty much every rich country. The “fertility gap” is highest in Southern European countries, such as Italy and Spain, where the coronavirus just happens to be the most virulent.

There is no world overpopulation crisis. The bigger problem is that we don’t have enough people. We cannot solve this problem overnight. There is nothing we can do today to increase the number of 40 year-olds we have tomorrow. Sure, we could increase immigration. But that is neither a global, nor a long-term solution.

In fact, we know today with absolute certainty the maximum number of 40-year-olds there could possibly be in the world in April 2060. (Demography is predictable that way.) We can’t do anything about that. But we can do something about how many 40 year-olds there will be in January 2061 because we can do something about how many babies we have in January 2021.

The COVID-created enforced “social isolation” could well result in a baby boom. Some “experts” offer you a free abortion as a “solution” to your “unwanted” pregnancy. I offer a different suggestion: Have the baby. Pull yourself together to take care of that baby, even if you didn’t “plan” it. Lots and lots of people who didn’t “plan” their babies will tell you later they don’t regret having them.

We baby boomers were, frankly, idiots on this point. We thought we were so smart, putting off our pregnancies and “planning” our families. We planned ourselves right into the personal heartbreak of infertility and the social crisis of demographic winter.

Of course, we as good Christian citizens must do our best to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But we must also understand the role of demographics in making us more vulnerable to this pandemic. A nation without children has no future, no matter what diseases may emerge.

For the love of God and all mankind, be not afraid! Have the baby! With any luck, and by the grace of God, Italy and all of us, will experience a post-COVID baby boom.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the author of  

The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

She is the founder and president of The Ruth Institutean international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

 

*See figures 1-3 of the linked article, which states on page 527, “Highly educated women generally show the largest gap between intended and realized fertility.”

Our Lady of America Warned Us

With the country grinding to a halt, it’s time to consider Our Lady of America’s words and take them to heart.

Our Lady of Fatima cautioned us and gave remedies. So did Our Lady of Akita. So did Our Lady of America.

But instead, the heedless world has been in the hot pursuit of what Cardinal Arinze pointed out as the three major “P’s” — Pleasure, Power, Possessions. A lot of that has come to a halt in the last few weeks.

Most aren’t familiar with Our Lady of America and what she said. Beginning in late 1956, Our Lady came and identified herself as Our Lady of America to bring warnings and solutions. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives, she told Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil), a cloistered nun in Ohio. I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of my Son.

Our Lady wished America to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the Soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart.

I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.

Our Lady said she was coming to us children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God.

Here’s a mother pleading with her wayward children to please listen and then do what she’s telling them. If they don’t? In January 1957, Our Lady did not mince words.

The hour grows late. My Son’s patience will not last forever. Help me hold back His anger, which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men. Suffering and anguish, such as never before experienced, is about to overtake mankind. It is the darkest hour.

We know Jesus is merciful, more than we could imagine. Earlier he told St. Faustina “before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy.” Again, “I never reject a contrite heart. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul.”

Our Lady told Faustina, “I am Mother to you all, thanks to the unfathomable mercy of God.” One of her titles proclaims her Mother of Mercy. She is that also — and refers back to Fatima too — as she appeared as Our Lady of America and continued: But if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God’s peace upon the world.

There’s great hope because Our Lady said mercy is ready and waiting. Remember, this was back 63 years ago. When life was simpler, and on Sundays, churches were filled. Look at society’s downhill race since.

Next, Our Lady of America requested, Reform of life is what I ask as the sign and proof of my children’s love for me. God looks at the heart, and if it resembles the Heart of His Divine Son, it is with the greatest pleasure He regards it…But to make your hearts grow more and more like to the Heart of the Son, you must go to the Mother, whose heart is most like His. From this Pure and Immaculate Heart you will learn all that will make you more pleasing to the Divine Heart of the Son of God.

Again, the message is similar to Fatima’s. Now 40 years later people still hadn’t listened enough. Our Mother was again trying to get our attention. Come to me, my children, come to me and learn. There is much I would teach you. It is for your own happiness and eternal salvation. Do not disregard the voice of your Mother. It is the voice of love trying to save you from eternal ruin.

She said her Immaculate Heart desires to see the kingdom of Jesus established in everyone’s heart. Now I have pleaded with my children to open their hearts to Him, but most are cold and indifferent.

Three months later Our Lady again warned: Unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in His justice will have to send upon him the punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions.

But her children were stopping their ears and hearts.

On Aug. 22 (the feast of the Queenship of Mary), she said, What am I to do…when my children turn from me? The false peace of this world lures them and in the end will destroy them. They think they have done enough in consecrating themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is not enough. That which I ask for and is most important many have not given me. What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life…I will work my miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son.

Oh, what grief my children have caused me!

 

Another Message for America

Then on the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, Oct. 7, Our Lady, holding a rosary, gave a warning, and still another avenue of hope. [W]hat I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children in America. Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and thus reform their lives, God will visit them with punishments hitherto unknown to them.

My child, there will be peace, as has been promised, but not until my children are purified and cleansed from defilement, and clothed thus with the white garment of grace, are made ready to receive this peace, so long promised and so long held back because of the sins of men.

My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy.

Let’s be honest. Look how in the last few decades the world has speeded up turning Genesis upside down — declaring as good something that was unheard of and would shock the people during that 1950’s message.

Oh, if you knew the punishments I am holding back from you by my pleading and intercession on your behalf! Will you do as I wish at last, my children? she continued.

Repent. Stop sinning. Live according to God’s commandments, not man’s. She taught,

Making the Rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say it with great devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted therein. Live the mysteries of the Rosary as I lived them, and it will become a chain binding you to me forever. They who are found in the circle of my Rosary will never be lost. I myself will lead them at death to the throne of my Son, to be eternally united to Him.

Earlier the next year, Our Lady assured, My Immaculate Heart will win in the end, and the Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of men. Those in whom this Spirit is not found will be condemned to eternal hell-fire.

She then reminded that because nothing is accomplished without pain there needed to be preparation to suffer much. She showed the sword she suffered in her own heart. It is also the sword of grief plunged therein by my children who refuse to let me teach them the true way. There is only one true way to the Father, my child, only one way to eternal union. That, she affirmed, is through her Son Jesus.

But my children will not heed; they will not listen. Every other way they will take, but not this one.

Did people finally listen and change? A year later, in 1959 Our Lady said, I come again to warn and to plead. Oh, penance, penance! How little my children understand it! They give me many words, but sacrifice themselves they will not. It is not me they love but themselves. Oh, what blindness, sweet child, what blindness! How it pierces my heart!

See, I weep, but my children show me no compassion. They behold the sword in my heart but will make no move to withdraw it. I give them love; they give me only ingratitude.

Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away.”

At the time she also said she had a great interest in America’s young people, for them to become the next leaders of renewal.

 

Plans for the United States

Obviously, things didn’t get better. On the day after the feast of St. John the Baptist, June 25, 1967, Our Lady of America came once again because people didn’t change. Their sins cry to heaven for punishment. I hold out help, but they will not receive it…they only spurn the efforts of my love.

Then on Nov. 22, 1980, a Saturday, Our Lady came with a message specifically for the United States:

It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that he brought with Him from heaven in His birth as a man in the little town of Bethlehem…

Unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven, and yet fails tin the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or co-operate then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall.

The warning ramped up on Jan 23 (the old feast of the Espousal of Joseph and Mary).

The world was paying no attention to what Malachi (2:17) said — “You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’” — and what Isaiah (5:20) made clear — “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
Our Lady of America reminded us of this on Holy Saturday in 1981, saying, Evil is so insidious it often passes for good. The simple and pure of heart alone can detect the difference. Many good works and many a good person or persons are thwarted or destroyed by apparently good people who are manipulated by the powers of evil because they do not possess that finer sense of being able to detect a false spirit form a true one.

In the next two years she again repeated, O my children, you still aren’t listening. I see the destruction coming but you do not believe me…The Divine Spirit is there but you are continuing in your blindness and so blotting out the Divine Light and closing your ears to eternal truth. I beg of you to heed my voice or there will be no more time for you to turn back the Divine Wrath. I weep for you because I love you and wish, my dear children, to spare you this terrible suffering.

Hope Remains — A Chance Too

In 1984, on Jan. 3 (the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), Our Lady of America gave a Final Message:

If my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and their outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war.

There must be much more good then evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching.

Yet I tell you, my daughter, even should such destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant — untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives.

These will renew the earth win the power and light of the Holy Spirit. These faithful ones of my children will be under my protection and that of the Holy Angels, and they will partake of the life of the Divine Trinity in a most remarkable way.

The choice is clear. Listen to Our Lady. Do what she says. Never lose hope. Pray.

 

Planned Parenthood begs for protective equipment to do abortions as coronavirus rages

By Norman Fulkerson

April 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Planned Parenthood is begging supporters for protective equipment and other supplies while other doctors and nurses go without as they try to save the lives of coronavirus patients.

Sue Dunlap, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, wrote a message to the abortion giant’s mailing list asking for “all of the same supplies you are hearing about on the news.”

“In order to keep our patients, staff, and sites moving through this emergency, we need all of the same supplies you are hearing about on the news,” she wrote.

“As gloves, masks, and medications run low, we are doing all that we can to procure supplies for the essential care our community is depending on us to provide.”

Like the World Health Organization, Planned Parenthood considers the killing of unborn human life “an essential service,” and abortion businesses remain open in most American states while other elective services, like dental care, are suspended. Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood is asking not only for scarce medical resources, but also for extra funds for its “almost-500 coworkers in order to help them cover groceries, child care, or any other expenses they are incurring while working and supporting Planned Parenthood patients through this difficult time.”

Much of California, including Los Angeles, is under lockdown, and social distancing between households is being encouraged. Hundreds of daycares have been shut, so it is unclear whom Planned Parenthood employees are paying to care for their children.

Planned Parenthood Keystone, which operates in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, is also asking for supplies to continue aborting children during the pandemic. In late March, it asked for donations of “hand sanitizers, home sewn masks, shoe covers, and surgical hats.” According to National Right to Life News, Planned Parenthood Keystone is providing only abortions, and no other services, during the national health emergency. Meanwhile, the government of Pennsylvania has suspended all elective surgery in the state.

Catholic writer John Zmirak said Planned Parenthood’s determination to keep harvesting human beings even during the pandemic shows the organization for what it is.

“Planned Parenthood wants masks and gloves? Fine. Send them Halloween masks, since they’re a pack of ghouls,” Zmirak told LifeSiteNews via social media.

“Send them baseball gloves, since they only play at providing health care. What they are is a murderous cult, little better than the Manson Gang,” he continued.

“The fact that they want us to divert life-saving surgical masks and gloves away from real health care providers, so they can go on stealing organs from tiny Americans and selling them, tells us all we need to know. These people belong in prison cells.”

Selene Cerankosky of Students for Life of America told LifeSiteNews that Planned Parenthood’s days of insisting that abortion is only part of what they do are over.

“I think they can never again be defended as an organization who ‘does more than abortion,’ considering they are defaulting to this ‘service’ over any other during this time,” she said via social media.

“They are so dead set on profiting over caring for women that they’ll attempt to rob women suffering from the coronavirus of essential supplies,” Cerankosky added.

“Why not ask for supplies to perform pap smears,” Cerankosky wondered, “or STD tests? It’s because they’re well aware abortion is their most profitable engagement, and they’ll leave everything else they do unaddressed in order to cash in on ending lives.”

Radical liberal group: Corona panic perfect time to abolish the family

March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — I’ve always been close to my family, but the coronavirus pandemic and the requisite social distancing have reminded me not to take them for granted. Never again will I “just drop by” my parents’ place without being reminded that it is a blessing to be able to do so. My toddler daughter is so fed up with not seeing her extended family that she frequently demands that we video-call her grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Like everyone else, I worry about my elderly grandparents. In the midst of the panic, many of us are feeling profoundly grateful for the families we have been blessed with.

But if you are a certain type of progressive, this global upheaval presents an opportunity. Open Democracy, for example, published an essay this week with this headline: “The coronavirus crisis shows it’s time to abolish the family.”

Open Democracy’s motto is “free thinking for the world,” and I certainly hope nobody is paying for that garbage. But the group’s essay is a good reminder that many progressives see this crisis as an opportunity to further their political agenda, especially as large swathes of the population are at this point willing to accept massive government oversight of their lives in order to flatten the curve and protect the elderly and the vulnerable. This crisis has taught us that our families are essential and that our elderly are valuable, and I hope we remember these lessons when this is all over.

But if you’re one of the clowns over at Open Democracy, the crisis is leading you to entirely different conclusions — conclusions such as the fact that we must get over “the mystification of the couple-form; the romanticisation of kinship; and the sanitization of the fundamentally unsafe space that is private property.” And why do we have to “get over” the idea of marriage and cease “romanticizing kinship,” whatever that means? Because of “the power asymmetries of housework (reproductive labor being so gendered) … of patriarchal parenting and (often) the institution of marriage.” One genuinely wonders what the author of this gibberish had to suffer in order to produce such twisted nonsense.

Homes, Open Democracy informs us, are fundamentally unsafe: “[q]ueer and feminized people, especially very old and very young ones, are definitionally not safe there: their flourishing in the capitalist home is the exception, not the rule. It follows that, upon closer inspection, both terms — ‘social distancing’ and ‘sheltering in place’ — appear remarkable as much for what they don’t say (that is, what they presume and naturalize) as what they do. Sheltering in what place…and in whose? Distance from whom…or everyone but whom?”

Obviously, domestic abuse is an enormous issue, and the sad fact is that some people will feel trapped in their homes. But I would argue that family breakdown has contributed to abuse rather than lessened it, and that the idea of getting rid of the family to eliminate domestic abuse would exacerbate the problem rather than mitigate it. But according to Open Democracy, “the pandemic is no time to forget about family abolition.” In fact, even when homes are safe, the author theorizes, they are still awful and should still be abolished:

[E]ven when the private nuclear household poses no direct physical or mental threat to one’s person — no spouse-battering, no child rape, and no queer-bashing — the private family qua mode of social reproduction still, frankly, sucks. It genders, nationalizes and races us. It norms us for productive work. It makes us believe we are ‘individuals.’ It minimizes costs for capital while maximizing human beings’ life-making labor (across billions of tiny boxes, each kitted out — absurdly — with its own kitchen, micro-crèche and laundry). It blackmails us into mistaking the only sources of love and care we have for the extent of what is possible. We deserve better than the family. And the time of corona is an excellent time to practice abolishing it.

I suspect that there is as much of Freud as Marx in all of that, as the logic of attempting to contain a pandemic by collectivizing and moving us into large group homes escapes me. Perhaps it escapes the author, as well, as I see that this essay is long on abolishing things and short on what, exactly, those things will be replaced with. (Smart Marxists always remain fuzzy on the details.) But I think this crisis, whatever else it brings, will be doing precisely the opposite of what the progressives over at Open Democracy hope. Yes, there are genuinely tragic situations occurring. But for most of us, our families are the silver lining in all of this. Trying to figure out where all of this is headed and to plan for the future is stressful, but all of that can vanish the minute your two-year-old tugs on your sleeve and says: “Hey, Daddy. Wanna snuggle for a minute?”

Ohio abortionists ask courts for exemption from coronavirus hold on elective ‘health care’

Providers have challenged being included in the suspension of elective procedures, arguing that their work is ‘essential’ and ‘vital.’

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As states order suspensions of non-essential medical procedures in order to conserve resources and contain the spread of the coronavirus, abortion facilities in Ohio are calling on the courts to step in and allow abortions to proceed as usual.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have advised healthcare facilities to reschedule non-urgent appointments and elective procedures, both to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to free up time and resources to focus on patients afflicted by COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus).

Compliance with this guidance has been mixed, leading numerous states to mandate that facilities temporarily halt “non-essential” procedures, with Ohio among them. On Monday, state abortion centers, including Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, filed a motion demanding that the Ohio Department of Health be blocked from applying the order to them, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The abortion centers argue that abortion should be deemed “essential” because it’s time-sensitive in nature, even when sought for economic or lifestyle reasons rather than medical ones.

“As leading medical groups have recognized, abortion is essential and time-sensitive health care,” said attorney Elizabeth Watson of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “We hope the court will recognize the urgency of this matter and grant relief for our clients so that they can continue the vital work of providing care to their communities.”

“The idea that all abortion care is essential is overblown,” responded Ohio Right to Life executive director Stephanie Krider. “If a woman needs an abortion for some sort of life-saving situation, she’s not going to Planned Parenthood for that abortion. She is going to a hospital.”

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are also suing Texas over a similar suspension in that state.

Pro-life medical professionals have assailed the notion that the abortion industry should get a pass from the same standards currently being applied to every legitimate field of medicine.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” it “does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

 

SPECIAL MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 AND ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

 

SPECIAL MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 AND ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

How many times have we thought – or heard someone say: “I don’t want to be kept alive by a machine.”

As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, the public is learning about the importance of mechanical ventilators in providing temporary breathing support for many of those infected.  Ventilators are saving lives!

A false understanding of respirators and ventilators has become commonplace in recent years. Many people think that these and similar machines’ only role is prolonging the dying process. The widely publicized treatment of COVID-19 patients is helping to dispel that myth. Many patients rely on machines temporarily every day for any number of reasons and go on to make full recoveries.

Unfortunately, many individuals have completed advance health care directives stating or suggesting that they do not wish to receive breathing assistance through mechanical ventilation.

Please take the time to review any advanced medical directives (including POLST forms) signed by you or your loved ones to make sure they are clear that mechanical ventilation is not among the forms of care that are refused. If there is any ambiguity, you may want to consider writing, signing, and dating an addendum specifying that mechanical ventilation is authorized.

If you have not already done so, we also encourage you to think about preparing an advance health care directive—especially if you are in a high-risk group. It is important to be sure your documents indicate that you want mechanical ventilation in the event you are unable to express your health care wishes. Click here for Life Legal’s guidance on advance health care directives, which includes a link to state-specific advance directive templates.

If you or someone you know is having trouble receiving life-sustaining medical care, please contact us at info@lldf.org or 707.224.6675.

Christ, Celibacy and Contraception

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The new book From the Depths of Our Hearts by Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict XVI continues the Church’s ongoing discussion about clerical celibacy, but it seems to me that the whole topic has been kicked into a new category by the invention of artificial contraception.

What has contraception to do with celibacy? The quick-witted might observe that celibacy is the most effective “contraception.” It’s also a sure fire way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

However, that’s not the point of the headline. Instead I’ve been thinking about the way artificial contraception has radically changed the whole idea not only of sexuality, but of celibacy, and especially of the celibate priesthood.

Artificial contraception has changed celibacy because it has separated sexual activity from procreation, and once it separated sexual activity from procreation it follows that sexual activity might  just as well also be separated from marriage, for marriage is not only for the support and love of the spouses, but also for the security and well-being of children.

The secularist might argue that if sex is not about procreation it is not necessarily about marriage either.

Artificial contraception has made sex into recreation rather than procreation, and therefore the meaning of marriage has also changed. Marriage is intended to be a sacrament of self-sacrifice. Now for the majority of Americans it is a sacrament of self-gratification.

Consequently, celibacy has also lost its meaning. Celibacy only has meaning within the context of marriage. Marriage is a lifelong commitment within which two people grow into the maturity of love and (ideally) do so within the natural dynamic of a large and loving family. Celibacy reflects that love, because when the celibate person sacrifices marital love and family love to make their own lifelong commitment to the greater love of God and others.

The husband and wife love one another and their children completely and fully win a lifelong commitment. The celibate loves God and the human family of his parish and church as fully and completely as he can in a lifelong commitment. Contraception, however, reduces the fullness of marriage and family life to unlimited sexual gratification and thus pulls the meaning out from under marriage and not only pulls the meaning and purpose out of marriage but also pulls the meaning and purpose out of celibacy.

Because artificial contraception turns marriage into little more than sex it therefore turns celibacy into little more than “not having sex.”

Both celibacy and marriage, however, are far richer and deeper and more beautiful than “just sex” or “not having sex.”

Artificial contraception has not only degraded marriage, but it has completely altered the popular conception of marriage. This, as a result, has changed totally the conception of the celibate priesthood.

Let me explain with a practical example. Before artificial contraception, marriage was a sacrament of self-sacrifice. For the vast majority of men and women, marriage meant a large family, long hours of hard work to support that family and a difficult, but rewarding life of sacrifice, work, trials, tribulations, joys and sorrows. To be a celibate priest was also a rewarding life of self-sacrifice but by a different path.

Think for a moment of the choice a young man would have had in a Catholic community in a place like Philadelphia in the 1940s.

He would have seen his uncles and father and older brothers who had chosen marriage. Perhaps they lived in a little row house with a wife and half a dozen kids. The man would work long hours to support his large family. He and his wife had a joyful but hard life of self-sacrifice.

The young man might be considering the priesthood, and for him the celibate life was not so bad. He got an education. Maybe he had the chance to travel. He lived in a big rectory with three or four other priests with a nice Italian grandma to cook for them and look after them. In the extended family in his part of the city he had mom and pop and brothers and sister and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews. He served them as “father” in the way his brothers served their own kids. It was also a way of self-sacrifice, and compared to his brother’s big family it has equal joys and sorrows of its own.

The choice between celibacy and fatherhood was between one way of total sacrifice and another way of total self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice as a father and husband or self-sacrifice as a father-priest.

Now think of the choices facing a young Catholic man today: the models he has for fatherhood are mostly men who have used contraception to have two or maybe three children. The wife works. Double income. Trophy house. A good retirement plan. Kids in private school. Not much suffering or difficulty at all. It seems to him like the modern American Dad has it all because contraception has provided the way for him to “have it all.”

The young man who is considering the priesthood is likely to face a life living alone in a big rectory, being suspected of being a pedophile and working long hours for little reward or recognition. His celibacy seems like a curse not only of loneliness, but a reminder that he has given up everything the suburban man takes for granted. Contraception has not only given the suburban man endless child-free sex. It has given him access to a previously unimagined level of wealth.

Marriage has therefore become not a sacrament of self-sacrifice, but a sacrament of self-gratification. Whereas, for our grandfathers marriage was a way to give all, for us marriage is a way to get all.

No wonder the celibate may think from time to time that it is all very unfair. Not only does he give all, but the very meaning of what he is giving is pulled out from under him because the meaning of marriage (in which the meaning of celibacy is rooted) has been destroyed. Conversely, while marriage gives celibacy meaning, it may be now that celibacy may begin to give meaning back to marriage.

This could be reversed, however. The self-giving service of the celibate priest may start to remind people of the true meaning of marriage. The true meaning of marriage is that it is a sacrament of self-sacrifice and service. Married people may observe the self-sacrificial sacrifice of the priest and be reminded that as the priest is “married to the church” in loving service, so too, they are to be married to their spouses in a lifelong commitment of loving service.

This is why the Catholic Church will soon become the sole defender of marriage: because it has continued to be the sole defender of celibacy.

Sisters of Life continue to expand outreach out to abortion-vulnerable college students

By Anne Marie Williams
“Every single person is made by God for love. Every single person is made for a great and beautiful purpose.” Since their founding in 1991, the Sisters of Life, a vibrant order of Catholic religious sisters, have been sharing this message with women experiencing unplanned pregnancies or suffering in the aftermath of an abortion.

What started out as a local ministry to women near their New York City convent spread over time to missions in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Toronto. Then, five years ago, they began bringing this good news to college campuses in Colorado. Live Action News spoke to Sr. Maris Stella, one of the sisters living at the Denver convent, about why they are called the Sisters of Life, what brought them to minister on college campuses, what a day in their life looks like, and how their work is building up a culture of life.

While all religious sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Sisters of Life take a fourth vow “to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.” Sr. Maris Stella said that this vow flows from their understanding that “every person is good and valuable, and their life has meaning.” While the sisters have been inviting pregnant and post-abortive women to accept this radical love for years, Sr. Maris Stella told Live Action News that she and her fellow sisters in Denver undertook “a mission of evangelization on college campuses because this population is most vulnerable to abortion. Oftentimes, a pregnant woman in college feels that the only way to preserve her dreams is to end the life of her child.”

The sisters in Denver aim to meet women in this place of overwhelming uncertainty and fear with another option: “You can make choices that will help your life flourish.” The Sisters have found that “when people experience being loved for who they are, they thrive, live in joy, and dream about their futures.”

Five school years ago, the sisters launched their ministry on three college campuses. Now, the Sisters minister monthly to six campuses, five in Colorado and one in North Dakota. They typically travel in teams of several sisters, and occasionally all six together, for three days at a time to each place. Their schedules usually include hosting a women’s night, composed of a dinner, a talk on some aspect of God’s plan for life and love (often as part of a semester-long series), and a holy hour of Adoration.

The sisters also engage in “tabling,” setting up a table and engaging students in high-traffic areas of each campus. Sr. Maris Stella shared a story from a recent project where the sisters passed out stickers with messages like, “Created by God: Irreplaceable.” One young woman walked by the group, head down, and a sister called out to her, offering her a sticker. The woman looked up with a hostile expression and refused. The sister said, “it just says ‘you’re irreplaceable.’” The woman stopped in her tracks and received the sticker.

In a completely different tone of voice, the young woman said, “Thank you. I needed to hear that because I have been feeling very replaceable lately.”

The sister said, “She left believing something different about herself and her identity.”

The sisters also spiritually mentor 150-180 young women each month. The goal listed on their website is “to accompany students in discovering their beauty, value, and uniqueness. We want you to know, deep down, that your life is a gift, full of meaning and purpose. We are here to walk with you as you come to discover your inner greatness and the gifts that you are destined to share with the world.” Sr. Maris Stella commented that this can serve “as a point of integration for all aspects of their lives.”

While the Sisters may not always speak directly to abortion-vulnerable women, through their evangelistic efforts they can reach the people these women are likely to turn to in times of crisis: their roommates and friends.

Overall, the Sisters’ most important “task” is to pray for four hours each day. All of their work flows from this primary relationship with Jesus Christ. Having first been loved by Him, they can then “bring a maternal presence” to the college campuses, a presence that includes a listening ear and a warm, open heart that accepts and welcomes the other person in. This unconditional love builds up a culture of life.

Researchers demand aborted babies’ bodies for coronavirus experiments

By Doug Mainwaring

March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –– Scientists who are now claiming that the Trump ban on fetal tissue usage is blocking coronavirus treatment research are using the current pandemic opportunistically to reinstate the usage of tissue derived from aborted babies at government research facilities.

“A senior scientist at a government biomedical research laboratory has been thwarted in his efforts to conduct experiments on possible treatments for the new coronavirus because of the Trump administration’s restrictions on research with human fetal tissue,” blared the lede in a Washington Post article.

Kim Hasenkrug, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, told the Post that he has been arguing for a month that the pandemic “warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work.”

‘Humanized mice’

U.S. scientists had found last year that “mice could be transplanted with human fetal tissue that develops into lungs — the part of the body the new coronavirus invades,” according to the Post report.  These “humanized mice” are seen as important by some because they “could then be infected with coronaviruses — to which ordinary mice are not susceptible — closely related to the one that causes the new disease, covid-19.”

The fetal tissue to create the  “humanized mice” that researchers like Hasenkrug would like to access would have to be provided by women undergoing elective abortions.

Hasenkrug, who works at an NIH research lab, has been prohibited from using aborted baby body parts since Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last year that it had changed its policies concerning the use of fetal tissue.

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” an HHS statement explained.

Playing on people’s fears

“Those who advocate experimentation using body parts harvested from aborted children are shamelessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, playing on people’s fears at a vulnerable time so that a select few can continue to use aborted fetal tissue in their research,” declared a statement released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) in Washington, D.C.

“The fact is that there are modernsuccessful alternatives available,” continued the CLI statement. “Already, over 60 potential treatments are under investigation — none of which need aborted fetal tissue to fight coronavirus.”

“Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don’t require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis,” said CLI.

Last month, CLI criticized claims made in a USA Today opinion piece by San Francisco–based professors Irving Weissman and Joseph McCune. The pair made an appeal similar to Hasenkrug’s, asserting, “People will suffer and die for lack of adequate treatments,” because aborted fetal tissue could not be used for research.

In December 2018, CLI’s vice president and research director, Dr. David Prentice, and senior fellow in life sciences Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before Congress regarding the array of ethical alternatives to experiments using aborted baby parts and that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.

Sander Lee explained that less than 0.4 percent of the NIH’s budget is currently going toward research involving fetal tissue; that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue”; and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.

The CLI scholar went on to detail how the original polio vaccine was first developed with monkey kidney cells; how vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella can be produced with cell lines from chicken eggs, human placentas, human kidney cultures, monkey cells, and chick embryo fibroblasts; how the vast majority of the research currently being done on the Zika and Ebola viruses does not use fetal tissue; and how even the vaccines currently being produced in the United States with fetal tissue are using cell lines from the 1960s rather than newly obtained tissue from abortions.

Ethical alternatives currently available to researchers “include, but are not limited to, fresh human tissues from adult and pediatric populations, donated and discarded biopsies and surgical specimens, from both living and post-mortem individuals,” she continued. “There are numerous examples of investigators successfully using these ethical alternatives for research and clinical trials for studying the most complex processes, such as brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders, immune response to pathogens, and stroke.”

Sander Lee is an associate scholar with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, studied molecular and cell biology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and has 20 years of experience with both academic and clinical medicine.

‘Incompatible with life’? People with Trisomy 18 are proving doctors wrong

 

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, has been labeled as “incompatible with life” by some doctors. Those doctors will often advise expectant parents to terminate their pregnancies when babies are determined to have the condition. But, as difficult as it might be, there are people living their lives every single day with the condition, and proving that Trisomy 18 and life are not incompatible when they are given a chance.

Faith Smith

Trisomy 18

Faith. Photo courtesy of Smith family.

When Faith Smith’s parents Brad and Jesi were told by doctors that there was no hope for her survival and that they should undergo amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis so they could abort, they refused. Doctors said Faith would destroy their finances and ruin their marriage, but the couple insisted that they would not end their daughter’s life.

After Faith was born, she was officially diagnosed with Trisomy 18, and her parents did everything in their power to get her the care she needed. They often had to fight doctors — and even an ethics committee — to ensure Faith was cared for. It paid off. Faith is now 11 years old and just underwent spinal surgery for scoliosis and kyphoscoliosis in February.

“She is now several inches taller, back to walking in her gait trainer, and playing her keyboard with such great posture that our family is encouraged to sit straighter too,” Jesi Smith told Live Action News. “She has somehow gained extra sympathy from her siblings due to the surgery and has us all trained to give her back rubs. Really, with as much attention and love she gets from all of us her life is enviable.”

Melody Thenhaus

trisomy 18

Melody practicing walking with her monkey bars built by her dad. Photo courtesy of Thenhaus family.

Melody Thenhaus wasn’t diagnosed with Trisomy 18 until after birth. She had just one marker for the condition during pregnancy, and doctors weren’t concerned. Her parents, Jennifer and Andrew, named her Melody partly because of how she loved music even while in the womb. But at birth, she did not open her eyes, cry, or move.

“That evening my husband decided to play music from the Eden String Quartet on his phone. All of a sudden we saw movement in Melody’s little isolette,” her mom Jennifer Thenhaus recalled. “Little toes wiggled, hands moved, and then eyes popped open. […] This incident was a significant gift from the Lord that gave us a glimmer of hope.”

Melody is now seven years old! “She is healthy, happy, and full of personality,” her mom told Live Action News. “She is extraordinarily charming. It is not uncommon for someone who works with her on a regular basis to exclaim that she is the sweetest child on the planet. She is exceptionally lovable. Melody currently has no health issues. Although Melody has delays in her development, she has been making remarkable advances lately. She loves to read books, play, cuddle, and drive her pink Porsche.”

Kayden McClanahan

trisomy 18

Photo: Marta McClanahan Facebook

Now almost 19 years old, Kayden has been defying the odds for nearly two decades. His parents were told he wouldn’t survive to see his first birthday, but last year, he graduated from high school, pushed across the stage by his big brother. On his 18th birthday, his mother Marta Johnson McClanahan shared photos of him throughout his life, saying he had lived “an amazing 18 years full of LOVE, happiness and lots of fun!”

“Drs talked about no quality of life does this look like no quality???” she wrote.

McClanahan told Live Action News that Kayden underwent open-heart surgery this year and is doing well. He is looking forward to receiving a new adaptive bike. Kayden lives a happy life and is adored by his family.

Bella Santorum

trisomy 18

Photo: Bella Santorum via Karen Santorum Facebook.

Bella Santorum is the 11-year-old daughter of former Senator Rick Santorum and his wife Karen. Doctors predicted she wouldn’t survive long enough to be discharged from the hospital, but she has proven them all wrong.

“When I think of being pro life, an image comes to my mind,” Bella’s sister Elizabeth Santorum Marcolini wrote on Facebook. “It’s not a baby in a womb or a mother in distress, it is my 11 year old sister. Bella was born with a rare genetic birth defect called Trisomy 18. According to medical textbooks, she is ‘incompatible with life,’ but from where I’m sitting, that’s the biggest lie we were ever told. Bella is full of life.”

Marcolini describes Bella’s “beautiful giggle, her joy, her sweetness” and considers how many children like Bella are missing from the world because of abortion. Her mother calls her “the happiest little girl in the world.”

While Trisomy 18 is a very serious health condition and not everyone who has it will survive as long as these individuals, what’s important to realize is that each of these lives is precious and deserves to be lived to the fullest. Even if a baby with Trisomy 18 lives for only hours after birth, his or her life is a gift and should be honored with love rather than tossed away through abortion.

Catholic health care model with pro-life principles is coming to the United States

 

In 1940, an Italian Catholic priest known as Padre Pio announced his plans to found a “Home for the Relief of Suffering” (Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza), a hospital that would serve as “a haven of relief from suffering for all of God’s children in pain in body or soul.” The Casa’s doors opened in 1956, with 300 beds. At the same time, Padre Pio developed a worldwide prayer ministry to support the work of the Casa. Today, the Casa is a thriving 1,000+ bed hospital facility, considered “a model of community of Catholic Christian health delivery.” All this is despite its location in “one of the most remote, desolate and poorest parts of Italy,” some four hours from Rome.

Fifty-three years later, Padre Pio is a canonized saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and in October of 2009, the administration of the Italian Casa entered into formal agreements with the administration of Catholic Healthcare International to bring the Casa model to the United States.

 

In early 2020, Catholic Healthcare International announced that it is actively moving forward with plans to break ground in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. According to the CHI website, the Casa USA has a three pillar vision: 1) a medical school faithful to the teachings of the Catholic faith, to be called the School for the Relief of Suffering; 2) a Casa USA hospital; and 3) a Catholic physician practice network.

A recently released bulletin also listed a worldwide prayer ministry, an on-site perpetual adoration chapel, and planned collaboration with the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to “establish a safe-haven center” for “patients with traumatic brain injuries” like Schiavo’s. There will also be a partnership with the Christ Medicus Foundation to include a National Center for Public Policy on-site. According to the CHI flyer about the project, the Casa USA will serve as a “‘Beacon
of Light’ of faithful Catholic health care delivery for all Catholic providers of care and medical education in the US.”

Image result for casa usa pillar

Far from having implications for Catholic health care professionals alone, the Casa USA endeavor bears watching for all pro-lifers in health care. In a culture increasingly desensitized to the innate dignity and value of human life, the Casa model represents hope for ethical health care for all of us.

Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy Does Not Pass from Mother to Newborn

Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy Does Not Pass from Mother to Newborn

The results of a small study in China that followed four pregnant women infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy, suggest that the viral infection doesn’t pass from mother to infant at birth. All four mothers in the study, which focused on the health of their newborns, gave birth at Wuhan’s Union Hospital. The report, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, is the second to come out of China within a month to find that mothers infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus did not infect their babies.

“Importantly, we found neither SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic positivity nor immediate evidence of symptomatic COVID-19 among these infants born to symptomatic, test-positive mothers,” commented Yalan Liu, PhD, at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and colleagues in their Frontiers in Pediatrics report, which is titled, “Infants born to Mothers with a New Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Liu also works in the Department of Pediatrics at Union Hospital.

The study by Liu and colleagues follows on from a report by researchers in China, and published in The Lancet in February on the results of a study in nine pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia. This report had also concluded that there was “… currently no evidence for intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy.”

Liu et al. followed four pregnant women who presented with symptomatic COVID-19 infections during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Four full-term infants were born. Cesarean sections were performed for 3 patients in the acute phase of the disease, and the fourth patient underwent a vaginal delivery because of the onset of labor. The nine mothers followed in the prior study in The Lancet had all undergone Caesarian sections.

“To avoid infections caused by perinatal and postnatal transmission, our obstetricians think that C-section may be safer,” Liu said. “Only one pregnant mother adopted vaginal delivery because of the onset of the labor process. The baby was normal. Maybe vaginal delivery is OK. It needs further study.”

None of the four infants in the latest study developed any serious symptoms, such as fever or cough, which are associated with COVID-19, although all four were initially isolated in neonatal intensive care units and fed formula. Three of the four tested negative for the respiratory infection following a throat swab, while the fourth child’s mother declined permission for the test. “ … we found neither SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic positivity nor immediate evidence of symptomatic COVID-19 among these infants born to symptomatic, test-positive mothers,” the investigators noted.

One newborn did experience a minor breathing issue for three days, and this was treated using non-invasive mechanical ventilation. Two babies, including the one with the respiratory problem, exhibited body rashes that eventually disappeared on their own. The team acknowledged it’s not possible to conclude whether there’s a connection between these other medical issues and COVID-19. “We are not sure the rash was due to the mother’s COVID-19 infection,” said Liu. All four infants remained healthy, and their mothers also fully recovered.

In previous coronavirus outbreaks, scientists found no evidence of viral transmission from mother to child, but SARS and MERS were both associated with “critical maternal illness, spontaneous abortion, or even maternal death,” according to Liu.

The authors said further investigations into other aspects of potential COVID-19 infection in newborns and children are needed. For example, the sensitivity of the current diagnostic test for detecting the virus is about 71%, they noted, and its reliability should be evaluated in children. “Further study for viral infection in placenta, amniotic fluid, neonatal blood, gastric fluid and anal swab, and the viral depending receptor on children will be detected in future,” they further commented.

Abortionists push online access to abortion pills amid coronavirus panic

 

(MRC-TV) Amid mass panic over the seemingly inevitable coronavirus outbreak sweeping the country, some in the abortion industry are using the widespread alarm to tout the importance of…abortion.

Why? Well, that’s unclear, given that abortion has nothing at all to do with the coronavirus. Even still, several abortionists and abortion advocates have taken to Twitter to stump for the public’s “right” to access abortion pills via telemedicine (i.e., an online consultation without having to physically see a doctor).

Dr. Dustin Costescu, an OBGYN, associate professor and “sexual medicine specialist” at McMaster University, tweeted that “self-managed abortion is safe” and “avoids in person appointments,” inexplicably predicting that telemedicine abortion “will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.”

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

is a good time to remind you that Self-Managed abortion is safe, avoids in person appointments, and will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.

After claiming that at-home abortions via the abortion pill are “safe,” Costescu seemingly contradicted himself by adding that “Systems need to be prepared to respond to possible complications from failed self-management, including ectopic pregnancy and bleeding.”

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

Pregnant patients with low risk of ectopic pregnancy and with reasonable certainty of their last period being within 8 weeks can safely use mifepristone followed by misoprostol with over 95% probability of successful completion without medical intervention.

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

Systems need to be prepared to respond to possible complications from failed self-management, including ectopic pregnancy and bleeding.

But abortion by telemedicine or self management are safe and effective strategies to reduce visits during the outbreak.

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“But,” he simultaneously said, “abortion by telemedicine or self management are safe and effective strategies to reduce visits during the outbreak.”

Dr. Daniel Grossman, another vocal abortionist with a large Twitter following, retweeted Costescu’s statements, adding that the coronavirus is “a reminder of why we must expand telemedicine to patients, including for medication abortion.”

“Patients should have access to healthcare, whether they are able to make it to the clinic or not,” he wrote. “Self-managed abortion and telemedicine can ensure they receive care.”

This is also a reminder of why we must expand telemedicine to patients, including for medication abortion. Patients should have access to healthcare, whether they are able to make it to the clinic or not. Self-managed abortion and telemedicine can ensure they receive care. https://twitter.com/BirthControlDoc/status/1237177485336416258 

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

#COVID2019 is a good time to remind you that Self-Managed abortion is safe, avoids in person appointments, and will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.

The drug centers on two drugs. Mifepristone, or “Mifeprex,” is a synthetic steroid. When taken in conjunction with misoprostol, the combination carries a 95 percent success rate of forcing a woman’s body to miscarry. Because of its function, it’s recommended that the drug only be taken up until the 10th week of pregnancy. The roughly five percent of children who survive the process are at much greater risk of birth defects.

While abortion supporters say the medication carries a low risk of complications, the FDA warns against women with certain conditions taking these drugs, as side effects can include uncontrolled bleeding that requires surgery, sepsis, flu-like symptoms and even death. The FDA added it has “received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex, including “one case of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal; and a single case of non-fatal heart attack.”

Editor’s Note: This article was published at MRC-TV and is reprinted here with permission.

‘Game changer’: High school students see the miracle of life through live ultrasounds

 

A pro-life ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, has found an innovating new way to reach the next generation. Heart of a Child Ministries has been using ultrasounds to show people the humanity of preborn children within the womb. Founded by Bernie and Nikki Schaefer in 2012, the ministry offers ultrasound presentations, along with pro-life prayer pillows, to help build a culture of life.

One of their recent presentations at a Catholic high school was highlighted in a story in the Omaha World-Herald. Haley Lubeck, who is 24 weeks pregnant, sat for an ultrasound conducted by Angela Himmelburg, a professional sonographer who graduated from the University of Jamestown and University of Nebraska Medical Center. Himmelburg narrated throughout. “Can you see the eyes?” she asked, then pointing out, “Here’s an arm right here… there’s a foot digging into the placenta.”

Focus on the Family has also used ultrasounds to try to change hearts and minds, and even hosted a live ultrasound presentation in Times Square last year. Approximately 20,000 people watched what Paul Batura, vice president of communications for Focus on the Family, described to the Omaha World-Herald as a “game-changer,” explaining that the ultrasounds serve as “a window on the womb.”

Along its ultrasound presentations, Heart of a Child Ministries also gives scientific information about fetal development. The group’s goal is to fully illustrate the indisputable humanity of children in the womb.

Each presentation is tailored to the specific age of the students attending. “My kids loved it. I felt like they did a great job explaining things at their level,” a first grade teacher said in a testimonial on the ministry’s website. A third grade teacher added, “The students were totally entranced with the presentation and the live ultrasound. The ‘props’ (seeds) made it so much easier for the kids to understand. The small groups were phenomenal and explained everything so well. And who doesn’t like gifts?… rosary, baby, brochures. Wow! So awesome! GREAT presentation!!”

The subject of abortion is not brought up until seventh or eighth grade, in specific middle school presentations.

“Seeing the live ultrasound made me want to cry,” said Liv, a seventh-grader, in a testimonial on the website. “It is so undoubtedly amazing how something only 17 weeks old is circulating its own blood, has working organs, and continuously moves around. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat is the most amazing thing. It shows that it is more than just a lump of tissues and cells. It is a baby and it is fully alive.”

 

In addition to school presentations, the group offers presentations for adults as well, often hosted by Nikki Schaefer, who has a master’s degree in social work. Schaefer has also worked for pregnancy resource centers, as well as in art therapy and parenting groups with pregnant and parenting teens. During adult presentations, she focuses on seeing the heart of each child, and what the ministry calls “the three pro-life calls of prayer, action and truth.”

Showing young people the truth of humanity of the preborn is a unique, powerful, and positive way to help create a new generation of pro-life activists.

Could the Pill be sabotaging your success?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health

Hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill could be sabotaging women’s success, a study suggests.

Women were found to give up quicker than those who were not on contraceptives when presented with both simple and difficult problem solving tasks.

This in turn caused them to score worse, and it could have implications for their performance at school, college and work, the researchers at Texas Christian University said.

Previous research has shown a link between hormonal contraception and altered brain function in areas responsible for motivation, emotion and attention.

PhD candidate Hannah Bradshaw and colleagues set out to explore how hormonal contraceptives affect perseverance on tasks using the brain.

Studies show the ability to persevere, even if a task is challenging, can predict a person’s success in many areas of life.

However, evidence is emerging the hormonal contraceptives may negatively affect this trait.

Ms Bradshaw said:  ‘A growing body of research suggests that HC use may be associated with important structural and functional differences in brains areas important for executive function and the cognitive control of behaviour.

‘Research suggests that HC use may also have effects on women’s brain structure and function.’

The team recruited college students from a university in southern US. It compared women who had either been using a HC for two months, or off them for at least three months.

The first study asked 149 women, of which 73 were on HCs, to do a simple ‘spot the difference’ task using an image from the film Frozen.

Naturally cycling women who were not on HCs spent significantly more time on the task than women on HCs, 81 seconds compared with 67 seconds.

Analysis showed that women on HCs performed worse because they gave up quicker, the researchers said.

The second study, consisting of 175 female undergraduates, 89 of whom were on HCs, involved more challenging tasks.

First, women had to solve eight mathematical tasks with the help of a calculator.

Results show naturally-cycling women spent 97 seconds on the task compared with women on HCs who spent 78 seconds on it, who also performed worse.

Next, women unscrambled jumbled letters – an anagram – to make words. Some were ‘fake’ because they were unsolvable.

In both the real and fake anograms, women who did not take HCs spent more time trying to figure them out.

The researchers said timing how long participants took on each task relative to how well they scored was a measure of their perseverance.

Concluding their findings, the authors wrote: ‘These results suggest that HC use may affect women’s perseverance on simple and challenging tasks.’

The study did not attempt to uncover why HCs may alter cognitive performance, but Ms Bradshaw and colleagues suggested some reasons based on previous research.

HC users have been shown to have decreased connectivity in the brain’s executive control network, responsible for paying attention, organising and planning, initiating tasks, regulating emotions and keeping self-control.

Additionally, oestrogen levels, which are generally lower for HC users, are found to play a key role in hippocampal function, also involved in emotion control as well as motivation.

The authors said: ‘While additional research in humans is needed to evaluate these possible mechanisms, the current results provide compelling evidence that differences in perseverance during cognitive tasks exist between women who take HCs and those that are naturally-cycling, which can lead to decrements in performance.

‘It is, however, important to note that HC use can also aid in women’s educational attainment by allowing them to prevent unintended pregnancies, which can be an insurmountable barrier for those who wish to further their education.’

Approximately three million women in the UK take the contraceptive pill, and a further 11million women in the US use hormonal contraceptives.

10 risks of hormonal birth control that every woman should know

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