News & Commentary

The New Colonialism of the Sexual Revolution: ‘An Authentic Catholic Response’

Jennifer Roback Morse

Editor’s note: This is an adaption of her talk at the National Youth Conference, Dec. 12, in Uganda. The full address can be found here.

https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-new-colonialism-of-the-sexual-revolution-an-authentic-catholic-response

Thank you for the kind invitation to address the 2019 National Youth Conference here in the Diocese of Kasana- Luweero. I am delighted to be able to learn more about Uganda, as I only know a few things about your country. I am aware of the Ugandan Martyrs. In union with the worldwide Catholic Church, I observe the liturgical feast of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions every year on June 3.

I also know that Uganda had a successful strategy for combating the spread of HIV-AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. Your country did not blindly follow the lead of the international agencies that were promoting condoms as the one and only solution to the spread of the HIV virus. You developed your own program, encouraging people to reduce the number of sexual partners they had. And you continue to take a wholistic approach, seeing the person in his social and spiritual context.

My topic today is the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution is not native to Africa. Wealthy and powerful people have spent vast sums of their own money to promote the sexual revolution. These same people have captured the use of governments and international agencies to impose this ideology around the world. This is a new form of colonialism. We could call it sexual colonialism or ideological imperialism, to distinguish it from economic colonialism or imperialism.

I want you to know that many, many Americans share your pro-life and pro-family values. Many Americans have come to realize that the sexual revolution is a totalitarian ideology. Those same Americans are deeply ashamed when they realize how our government has historically thrust the values of the sexual revolution on people around the world, including you here in Uganda. I am not talking only about American Catholics. Eastern Orthodox Christians, evangelical Protestants, Latter-day Saints and observant Jews in America also share your family values. On behalf of those Americans, I apologize for our country’s role in spreading the sexual revolution to your country.

I sometimes hear confused reports that Uganda has the death penalty for homosexuality or is considering the death penalty for homosexuality and that American Christians are somehow to blame. So I wish to say something to this all-Catholic gathering.

As Catholics, we stand by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the death penalty, as on all other serious matters. Pope St. John Paul II revised the Catechism to say:

“The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude … recourse to the death penalty. … Today, given the means at the state’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for [the death penalty]… ‘are very rare, if not practically nonexistent’” (2267).

We cannot support the death penalty for homosexuality. We don’t need to belabor the point.

My purpose here today is to convince you that you should exercise all morally acceptable means for keeping the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution out of your country. One step in protecting your country is to refuse to use the terminology of the sexual revolutionaries. They have invested millions, by now, perhaps billions, of dollars to create certain associations of ideas and words. If you use their terminology, you will place yourself at a disadvantage.

For instance, the term “feminist” carries many positive associations for many people. “Feminism” means “freedom” and “equality” and “education for girls” and “women get to have good jobs.”

But “feminism” has other ideas associated with it. “Feminism” means “women don’t really need men,” and “women are too good to waste by staying home and caring for children,” and “children hold women back.” With these associations, “feminism” comes to mean abortion and contraception.

This word “feminism” has ideological assumptions built into it. The interest of men and the interests of women are necessarily distinct from and in conflict with each other. The word “feminism” also assumes that “feminists” and only “feminists” have the right to speak for all women.

That is why I avoid using the word “feminism.” I urge you to avoid it, as well.

Another important term to avoid is the word “gay.” I strongly recommend that you not use the word “gay,” or even “homosexual.” I especially urge you to avoid these words as free-standing nouns, as in “He is a homosexual,” or “I’m gay.”

Speaking in this way has ideology baked into it. It suggests that the person is defined by his sexual desires and behaviors. The term suggests that those desires and behaviors are permanent and can never change.

These associations with the word “gay” come from the United States. Let me tell you the backstory.

As you know, the United States has the terrible history of importing people from Africa to be used as slaves. The trans-Atlantic slave trade persisted for 200 years. We have spent the past 150 years trying to deal with its aftermath. All of this troubled history has left us with many problems of racial discrimination and prejudice. We have tried to solve these problems with laws forbidding discrimination.

The basic idea of anti-discrimination law is simple enough. People who are the same should be treated the same. People who behave differently, can, of course, be treated differently. For instance, employers must treat people who are equally qualified for a job in the same way, regardless of their race.

By now, America has a well-developed body of law defining permissible and impermissible differences in how people are treated in employment, housing, education and so on. Unlawful discrimination is treating people differently on the basis of inborn characteristics over which the individual has no control. People cannot be treated differently on the basis of what the law calls “immutable traits.”

The sexual revolutionaries seized upon this distinction between “immutable traits” and “chosen behavior” in American law. Their strategy was to create the impression that “being gay” is comparable to “being black.” If they could succeed in making this comparison, then the whole body of anti-discrimination law could be used to protect homosexual acts.

Let me pause to assure you that American blacks deeply resent the way that the sexual revolutionaries have used this comparison between race and homosexual acts. Many American blacks are serious Christians who oppose homosexual acts. They are deeply offended by what they consider the hi-jacking of the civil-rights movement for defending a set of behaviors and political commitments.

Despite the protests of American blacks, sexual radicals have made a strong effort to create the belief that people are “born gay.” They say, no one chooses to be gay. Being gay is something a person cannot change, they say. It is an “immutable trait.” The sexual revolutionary elites have spent an enormous amount of money and effort to create the impression that these points are true. But none of them actually are true.

We now know that there is no “gay gene.” People may experience same-sex attraction as a deep part of their personality. They may not remember ever feeling differently. But no one is “born gay.” The scientific and psychological professions must now admit (somewhat reluctantly):

In short, “being gay” is nothing like “being black.”

My advice that you avoid the term “gay” is more than just a rhetorical strategy. It is also part of Church teaching. Homosexual desires do not define a person’s identity. This is why the Church uses the phrase “men with deep-seated homosexual attractions.”

So, instead of saying “gay,” use a phrase that more accurately describes what you are actually talking about.

  • Instead of “gay” say, perhaps, “same-sex attracted” if you mean someone who experiences these feelings. Instead of “gay,” say, perhaps, “men who have sex with men.” This is what medical researchers say, for instance, when they are studying the spread of disease. Instead of “gay” say, perhaps, “self-identified homosexual” if you mean someone who does in fact identify himself with his patterns of attraction.

And if any of you, dear young people, find yourself feeling same-sex attraction, do not label yourself as “gay.” Seek help and counseling. But do not let anyone call you “gay,” or draw you into what they call the “LGBT community.” Be assured that, with prayer and counseling, those feelings can diminish, and you can live a normal life as a husband and father or as a wife and mother. These feelings do not define who you are.

That is conclusion my young friend Hudson Byblow came to. He was not very athletic. He was slightly built. The other boys teased him. He was confused about himself. He doubted his manhood. Then an older man molested him. So Hudson thought to himself, “I must be gay.” It took him a long time to overcome the problems he created for himself by adopting that label and the behaviors that went along with it. But now, as he says, he is doing “something more beautiful.” He has moved from “LGBT to Jesus Christ.”

Conclusion: New Colonialism, New Slavery

As I said at the beginning, the sexual revolutionary ideology is not native to Uganda. It is actually a new form of colonialism. The old economic colonialism attempted to dominate the physical resources of the African continent. The new ideological imperialism attempts to dominate the soul of Africa.

But I will tell you a secret: The sexual revolution is an intellectual house of cards. It is fragile because it is untrue. It opposes the law of nature and nature’s God. Therefore, the sexual revolution needs to be propped up, coddled, protected. The sexual revolution needs conformity. Evidence that contradicts it is a direct threat. People who dissent are a direct threat. Every chaste teenager is a threat. Every person and institution of faith is a threat.

And you are a threat. The ideologues fear your vitality and your fertility and your faith. The new Western colonialists do not want to extract resources or material wealth from you. They want your conformity. They want your hearts and minds.

Chattel slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the old form of Western exploitation of Africa. Today, Western influence has the potential to create an even more serious form of slavery. Jesus told us to have no fear of those who could kill the body. Rather, we should fear those who can kill the soul. And St. Paul warned us long ago about the enslaving power of sin. In Galatians 5, St. Paul told us, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (1).

That is why we must continue to be inspired by the Ugandan Martyrs. These martyrs died for their faith at the hands of the king. Sometimes when the story of the Ugandan Martyrs is recounted, the homosexual element is omitted from the story. But we should not omit the fact that the king was a sexual predator who preyed upon young men. The king believed he was entitled to do whatever he wanted and that everyone was required to submit to his desires. Charles Lwanga and his companions refused the king’s sexual advances. The king was enraged and ordered their execution.

When Western aid agencies come around here pestering you to adopt their ways, tell them you reject sexual colonialism. Do not accept the lies of ideological imperialism. Remember the Ugandan Martyrs! The truth really will set you free.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute.

She is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along

Women taking hormonal contraceptives have reduced perseverance on cognitive tasks, study finds

By 

New research provides more evidence that hormonal birth control pills can negatively impact women’s cognitive performance. The study, published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, found that women taking contraceptive pills tend to have reduced perseverance when completing both simple and complex cognitive tasks.

“My colleagues and I first became interested in this topic after learning that women taking hormonal contraceptives don’t experience a spike in cortisol that is typically found after one encounters a stressor. While people usually talk about cortisol as a bad thing, this cortisol spike allows people to adequately meet challenges in their environment,” explained Hannah K. Bradshaw (@HKBradshaw), a PhD candidate in Experimental Psychology at Texas Christian University and corresponding author of the study.

“After we started looking through the literature, we also found that, compared to non-users, women taking hormonal contraceptives exhibit decrements in brain areas that play an important role in learning, attention, and memory.”

“For instance, compared to non-users, women taking hormonal contraceptives have decreased hippocampal volume. This led us to wonder whether hormonal contraceptive use is associated with differences in perseverance and performance on simple and challenging cognitive tasks that one might encounter in their day-to-day lives.”

In two studies, 324 female undergraduates completed various cognitive tests as the researchers timed them. Roughly half of the participants had been on hormonal birth control for at least two months, while the remainder had not used hormonal birth control for at least three months.

In the first study, participants completed a simple spot-the-difference task in which they were shown two similar images and asked to find 10 subtle differences. In the second study, participants completed more complex mathematical problems and word scramble problems from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test.

The researchers found that women on hormonal birth control tended to spend less time on the problems, which in turn was associated with their relatively worse performance on all of the cognitive tasks.

“Our data suggest that hormonal contraceptive use is associated with decreased perseverance on both simple and challenging cognitive tasks. These differences in perseverance drove decrements in performance. That is, women taking hormonal contraceptives performed worse on these tasks than non-users because they spent less time on the tasks,” Bradshaw told PsyPost.

“The major takeaway here is that hormonal contraceptive use carries a myriad of consequences beyond mere pregnancy prevention; additional research is desperately needed to more fully understand what these consequences may be.”

The study — like all research — includes some limitations.

Randomized experiments are the gold standard in scientific research, but there are obvious problems with trying to randomly assign women to receive hormonal birth control. “We didn’t randomly assign women to the hormonal contraceptives (vs. non-user) group, so it’s possible that our effects may, in part, be due to previously existing differences between women,” Bradshaw explained.

“Secondly, hormonal contraceptives can include different hormones and various ratios of these hormones. We didn’t collect information about this, so it’s impossible to know what specific hormones or hormonal ratios are responsible for our results. Future research is needed to address these limitations.”

The findings may have important implications for women, but the real-world impact of decreased perseverance is unclear. Future research is needed to help “understand how hormonal contraceptive use might influence women’s perseverance in their education, careers, and relationships,” Bradshaw said.

“My colleagues and I don’t have an anti-birth control agenda. By enabling women to take control of their fertility, hormonal contraceptives have helped women meet their educational and career goals,” she added.

“However, it’s important that we understand the unintended consequences associated with hormonal contraceptive use. Millions of women worldwide take hormonal contraceptives. While several women complain about negative emotional and mental side effects, their concerns are largely written off. We need to be less cavalier with women’s health and women’s hormones.”

The study, “Hormonal contraceptive use predicts decreased perseverance and therefore performance on some simple and challenging cognitive tasks“, was authored by Hannah K. Bradshaw, Summer Mengelkoch, and Sarah E. Hill.

Embryo Research To Reduce Need For In Vitro Fertilization Raises Ethical Concerns

Heard on All Things Considered

Rob Stein

Researchers have conducted a controversial study that involved paying dozens of young women at a hospital near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to get artificially inseminated so their embryos could be flushed out of their bodies and analyzed for research purposes.

The study showed that embryos created that way appear to be as healthy genetically as embryos created through standard in vitro fertilization. Physically, the embryos appear to, possibly, even be healthier, the study found.

The research, published online in the journal Human Reproduction, suggests the approach could offer couples a simpler, less expensive way for some couples to have healthy children than is currently available via IVF, the scientists and others say.

“We have now a method that can produce embryos that are of good quality or better than in vitro fertilization,” says Santiago Munne, a reproductive geneticist who led the study when he worked at CooperGenomics in Livingston, N.J. Munne now works at Overture Life, a Madrid-based company that makes infertility treatment equipment.

But others denounce the research as unethical.

“What this essentially does is use a woman’s body as a petri dish,” says Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago. “And there’s something about that that seems so profoundly disturbing.”

The women received hormone injections to stimulate their ovaries to produce eggs, which is a standard way to obtain donor eggs that are to be used for women experiencing infertility problems.

But instead of having eggs extracted via a needle from their ovaries and fertilized in the lab — a standard procedure during IVF — the women in the study were inseminated by sperm. Four to six days later, the women underwent a procedure known as “lavage,” which involved using a specialized device to flush out any resulting embryos from the womb.

The researchers then analyzed the embryos, comparing them to embryos produced by 20 of the women who also underwent standard IVF.

Embryos produced by both methods looked similar genetically, while those created using the lavage method looked slightly healthier physically, the researchers reported.

The women were paid about $1,400, the equivalent of more than two month’s average wages in the area, raising questions about what motivated them to volunteer, Zoloth says.

The women also had to get injections of powerful hormones to stimulate their ovaries, which can pose some risk. In addition, some women underwent surgical or chemical abortions afterward, when tests indicated some of the embryos might not have been successfully removed.

“I think this research was unethical,” Zoloth says.

Munne defends the research, noting that it was reviewed extensively and approved by the Ministry of Health of the State of Nayarit, in Mexico, and the Western Institutional Review Board in the United States. The women were fully informed of any potential risks, Munne says.

“We passed all the ethical committees and all the ethical checks and balances,” he says.

The primary purpose of the study was to try to find a way to help couples who carry the gene for certain inherited diseases, such as beta thalassemia or cystic fibrosis, have healthy babies, Munne says. Currently, the reason such couples create embryos through standard IVF is so the embryos can be tested in the lab, and only those found to be healthy need be implanted, Munne says.

“For couples that have genetic abnormalities and are at risk of transmitting them …. by selecting the embryos that are not affected, they can have a normal baby,” he says.

So Munne and his colleagues decided to see if he could do the same thing without IVF, which requires a painful extraction of eggs, and expensive laboratory procedures. The study involved 81 women who were recruited at Punta Mita Hospital in Punta de Mita, Mexico.

“This is the first time that human embryos conceived naturally have been analyzed genetically to see if they are normal or not,” Munne says.

“The advantage is that these embryos are conceived naturally — so you don’t need in vitro fertilization to do the genetic testing of the embryos. In theory, it should be much cheaper.”

In addition to helping couples avoid transmitting a genetic disease to their children, he says, the approach could offer an alternative way for lesbian couples to share the experience of having a baby.

“You could use this for lesbian couples [when] one wants to conceive the embryos and the other wants to carry the embryos,” Munne says. “So one could have the embryos fertilized and then the embryos are transferred to the other woman to carry them. So they can share the pregnancy.”

Several researchers told NPR the research could be valuable.

“This is a really well done study,” says Catherine Racowsky, an embryologist and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School. She is also president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“We may actually have here a technology that in the future may be very helpful for couples trying to complete their families at a lower cost, which is important,” Racowsky says.

But others agree with Zoloth that the study raises serious ethical issues.

“Yes, it is quite a series of things that do raise your eyebrows,” says C.B. Lambalk, the editor-in-chief of Human Reproduction.

Lambalk says the journal decided to publish the study only after verifying that the research had been thoroughly reviewed, and published it along with an editorial and a commentary exploring the ethical concerns.

“We could have made ourselves a very easy out — by just saying: ‘No, no, we don’t want this,’ ” Lambalk says. “But we decided to go the hard way and publish it.” The findings could be useful, he believes, and the journal wanted to draw attention to the ethical issues the study raises.

Galia Oron, an infertility expert at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel, who wrote the accompanying commentary as an associate editor at the journal, believes the study was ethically questionable.

“Everything was technically kosher,” Oron says. “But, I’m afraid to say, maybe kosher but smelly.”

For his part, Munne says the process the women in the study went through is essentially the same as what women routinely go through in the United States when they donate eggs to help infertile women. Eggs donors in the U.S. are also routinely paid.

“There is no difference between an egg donation cycle and what we did here,” Munne says.

Embryos produced in the study already have been used to create at least five pregnancies and three healthy babies.

The remaining embryos have been frozen for use by other couples experiencing infertility problems, according to John Buster, another member of the research team.

Jan. 22 National Sanctity of Human Life Day

 

President Trump declares Jan. 22 National Sanctity of Human Life Day

In a proclamation signed on Monday, President Donald Trump declared January 22 to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day, signifying the importance of valuing human life from the moment of fertilization until natural death.

“Every person – the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly – has inherent value,” he wrote. “Although each journey is different, no life is without worth or is inconsequential; the rights of all people must be defended.”

Today, January 22, is a date of great significance in the pro-life movement as it was on January 22, 1973, that the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the Roe v. Wade ruling. Trump, following the lead of other presidents, has declared January 22 to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day in 2018 and 2019. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush each did the same.

As noted in the proclamation, there has been a decline in the national number of abortions since 2007, however, abortions at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, rose from 332,757 in 2017 to 345,672 in 2018. Planned Parenthood now commits 40 percent of all U.S. abortions.

“All Americans should celebrate this [national] decline in the number and rate of abortions, which represents lives saved,” wrote President Trump. “Still, there is more to be done, and, as President, I will continue to fight to protect the lives of the unborn.”

Trump wrote that he has asked Congress to work to end abortions on preborn children who can feel pain. Though Trump mentioned that these would be “later-term babies,” new information from a pro-abortion researcher shows that preborn children are likely capable of feeling some form of pain starting around 13 weeks gestation – including when they are dismembered during an abortion. The researcher believes the current “consensus” that preborn children don’t experience pain until 24 weeks is inconsistent with the scientific evidence. Other research has indicated preborn children as young as eight weeks are capable of feeling pain to an even greater extent than adults.

Approximately 60 million preborn human beings have been killed in the years since Roe v. Wade was decided.

“On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we celebrate the wonderful gift of life,” wrote President Trump, “and renew our resolve to build a culture where life is always revered.”

Birth control isn’t answer; not even close

By Roxane B. Salonen

I winced at reading Rob Port’s Jan. 2 column scolding social conservatives for not supporting North Dakota State University’s new “Junk Mail” initiative, which aims to curb unplanned pregnancy through mailing students free “safe-sex” education and prophylactics.

My unrest isn’t so much that Port called out pro-lifers for not backing this program, despite fervently disagreeing with it and him. I’m more troubled that so many can’t see the forest through the trees. As a mother and wife, woman of faith and child of God, I feel wholly discouraged, because this scenario has “we’ve completely failed our youth” all over it.

What grieves me most is Port’s assumption that unmarried couples “need” sexual intimacy. He begins by minimizing the effects of abortion-restriction laws, likening them to certain laws on drugs and alcohol. Illegalization of these substances only leads to black markets, he says, since people “want and need” these drugs and will find a way to obtain them somehow.

The “Junk Mail” program bets on “education” and “safe sex” as the solutions to lowering unplanned pregnancy. Again, going with their and Port’s logic, we must accept as fact that people “want or need” abortion, and, preceding that, to be sexually active outside of marriage.

The initiative will fail, firstly because it sends the wrong message. “People are going to drive fast so let’s increase the speed limit” is an apt parallel. (I can see the accidents already.) And like the drug-abuse crisis, it doesn’t even begin to address the “whys.” Why do people “need” drugs? Why do unmarried couples “need” to be sexually active? We’re starting with the wrong premise.

In truth, we’re dealing with an epidemic of broken relationships, porn addiction and a devastating mindset of use versus love. It is a crisis of men and women engaged in sexual intimacy before making themselves irreplaceable to one another through the bonds of marriage, along with any children who might result.

What if, instead of throwing condoms and pills at young people, we reaffirmed the primary reason for sexual intimacy – to bear children? What if we returned to teaching our youth that the purpose of dating is to find a spouse? What if we didn’t scoff at couples marrying before obtaining their graduate degrees?

Remember this? “Bobby and Janie sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Billy in a baby carriage.” The childhood song might seem elementary, but it contains prudent wisdom. Cultivating a culture with an appreciation for this proper order of love would offer an enduring solution, exponentially more effective and satisfying than a pack of condoms.

Rightly ordered relationships bring comfort and safety to couples, along with children who know they’ve been loved and wanted from the beginning and feel assured their parents are committed to each other and them.

Despite how far away we’ve gotten from this beautiful vision, our youth deserve to know this reality. They’re worth our true, considerate caring, not just careless condoms.

Woman says birth control pills led to ‘massive’ blood clots that nearly killed her: ‘I’m lucky to be alive’

https://www.fox7austin.com/news/woman-says-birth-control-pills-led-to-massive-blood-clots-that-nearly-killed-her-im-lucky-to-be-alive

 

A 33-year-old British woman says she nearly died after birth control pills led her to develop two “massive” blood clots in her lungs.

Lauren Dyer, of Tamworth, England, told Birmingham Live that she suddenly fainted while home in February 2019. Her brother, who was with her at the time, called an ambulance for Dyer, who was later unable to talk or move “without gasping for air,” the outlet reported.

Tests at Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham revealed Dyer was suffering from two pulmonary embolisms in each of her lungs. The clots started in her pelvis but eventually moved to her lungs, doctors told her.

“I’m very lucky to be alive today,” she told Birmingham Live, adding she didn’t have any warning signs before she passed out. “Usually with blood clots, they start in the legs and your legs will swell and give you pain. Treatment can be given before the travel closer to your heart or brain, but mine developed in the pelvic area and when I passed out [the clots were] passing through my heart.”

Dyer was hospitalized for a number of days, during which time she received a drug that would break up the clots.

“It was a really scary time for me, but mostly my family and close friends,” she said, noting she was worried the health care would force her to cancel a May 2019 trip to southeast Asia.

“I was concerned I wasn’t going to be able to go traveling or it is delayed massively, but the treatment worked within 10 minutes of the drugs being administered. My heart rate started to go down, I gradually needed less oxygen and, before I knew it, over the next 24 hours I was in the clear,” she recalled, adding she spent a few more days in the hospital before she was released.

“I was a bit battered and bruised from all the tubes and drips, had to go on medication for the next six months but I was alive, my heart was OK and everything was all good.”

Birth control pills do not cause blood clots, but they do increase a woman’s risk of developing them. That said, the risk is relatively low. “The rate for getting clots is about 0.3 [percent]  to 1 [percent] over 10 years for a woman on the pill,” states one report on the increased risk.

Women who take combination oral contraceptives — birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin — are the most at risk. Increased estrogen levels can cause blood clots to develop more easily, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The troubling terminations you’ve never heard of

Paul Sullins

Does the termination of an unwanted pregnancy harm women’s mental health? No more than giving birth in such circumstances, according to mainstream social scientists and medical associations. Perhaps. But what about women who terminate a wanted pregnancy?

A new study by sociologist Donald Paul Sullins focuses on this neglected minority – about 1 in 7 of reported abortions in the United States – and finds there is no room for complacency about the effects of abortion among them. In the following interview he talks to MercatorNet about this study, the first of its kind, published in November in the Swiss medical journal Medicina.

* * * * *

Golden Globes award winner Michelle Williams more or less shouted her abortion as a good career move that she does not regret. She has a daughter of 14 and is happily pregnant again at age 39. Isn’t Williams living proof of the therapeutic value of abortion?

Ms. Williams’ declaration is very consistent with the results of my study.  The child she aborted clearly was not a wanted pregnancy, and the study found that women who only aborted one or more unwanted pregnancies experienced much lower affective distress (depression, anxiety, suicidality). This is why ignoring wanted pregnancy abortions, acting as if only unwanted pregnancies were ever aborted, tends to understate how much hurt is out there for women after abortion.

There is no question that the chances for advancement in a highly demanding, competitive career often improve by removing inconvenient persons and commitments, whether through divorce, not crediting someone else’s work, character assassination, or– in Michelle Williams’ case — killing an inconveniently conceived child before birth.  Civilized people generally do not boast about exercising such brutal career realpolitik, but Ms. Williams probably (let us hope for her sake) does not comprehend the humanity of the unborn life she took.

She has no way of knowing what the acceptance and love of that terminated life, a close reflection of her own being, may have contributed to her own growth in dignity and humanity.  For all she knows, her career may have been improved, or maybe her career would have suffered but her life and happiness improved. We have no way of knowing what pain and struggle may lie (lay?) behind her defiant public mask.  Why did she feel the need, after announcing her abortion, to reassure her living child of her love for her?  Did she sense that her daughter (and we) may wonder?

In the #MeToo era, it is also appropriate to ask who was the father of the child she felt she needed to abort. Would presenting this man with a child after having sexual relations with him have impeded her career?  Male sexual exploitation does not end just with hurt feelings or degradation for the woman. Perhaps this was not the case for Ms. Williams, but for every actress who found a pregnancy inconvenient to her career there are probably several men in the film industry who have urged or insisted that she obtain an abortion.

The career obstacle for both men and women of having a child at the wrong time is a mirror image of the career and personal obstructions met by women who refuse to have sex with the right men.  Whatever her personal circumstances, Ms. Williams’ statement reflects the typical Hollywood product, in which women’s sexuality exists primarily to service male desire, and women consequently have little agency. As one Hollywood actress (don’t remember who) said of her new boyfriend, voicing a common feeling of young women today, ” I have to give him what he wants, or he will get it somewhere else.”

Even if some women experience mental health problems after an abortion, research seems to show that these are no greater on the whole than those of women who give birth, and that they soon pass away. Have researchers been missing something?

Yes.  Both the idea that mental health problems are not increased by abortion and that they are not reduced by childbearing are myths perpetrated by poor research, in this case studies that follow women for only a very short time, some only a few days and often only a few months. So far, every study that has followed women 10 years or longer post-abortion have reported significant mental health problems, compared to women who give birth.

It is important to note that most of this difference is not due to psychological deficits from an abortion but to psychological benefits from having a child.  In the Add Health data I studied, childbirth reduced mental health risk by 29% following wanted pregnancies and by 12% even with unwanted pregnancies.

The reasons for this defect in the research, I believe, is that most abortion researchers tend to think of an abortion as a detached clinical event, and do not take into account the way that having an abortion, including making the choice and defending it, alters the life course, relationships and outlook of the woman involved.  As I put it in the paper:

“The experience of deciding upon, experiencing, and recovering from the termination of a pregnancy brings many life factors to bear for women, all of which may influence subsequent mental health. For these reasons, it may be more accurate to conceive of an abortion, not as a discrete cause of mental health outcomes (a clinical event), but as one factor in a complex of influences (a life event) that together affect a woman’s level of psychological well-being or distress.”

It seems amazing that yours is the “first study ever” of wanted pregnancy abortions. Surely there is plenty of evidence of them, especially with the increase in terminations for fetal abnormality, and all we hear about #MeToo and domestic violence?

The most influential researchers have simply assumed that only unwanted pregnancies are aborted. Many studies simply define aborted pregnancies as unwanted, even when not preceded by contraception. In 2008 the American Psychological Association (APA) dismissed all wanted pregnancy abortions as due only to fetal abnormality, but (as I show in the study) such abnormalities, even if we could detect them perfectly (we detect only about 60%) and even if all of them were aborted (many are not), could account for only a small proportion of reported wanted pregnancy abortions.  When not forced to check a box on a survey, very few women spontaneously describe their aborted child as “unwanted”. There is almost always a level of ambivalence, regret and resignation, that is expressed in complex feelings about the abortion.

It is difficult for OB/GYNs in other countries to understand the sales-like pressure to have an abortion faced by women in American abortion clinics. The movie “Unplanned” does a good job of illustrating this. The abortion rate in the United States has been much higher than in countries where abortions are performed in public hospitals with no profit incentive. A recent study of Utah clinics found that just a three-day waiting period resulted in 8% of women reversing their initial decision to have an abortion.

There have been one or two studies of fetal abnormality abortions, and studies that have looked at all abortions regardless of pregnancy intention have thereby included wanted pregnancy abortions mixed in with all the others, but mine is the first study of all wanted pregnancy abortions as a distinct category.

In your study, what data and measures did you use and what did they reveal about wanted pregnancy abortions? How serious were the effects compared to giving birth or unwanted pregnancy abortions?

The study examined the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), which followed a representative cohort of 3,935 ever-pregnant U.S. women from age 15 to age 28, gathering data from three successive interviews. I looked at seven psychological disorders which Add Health measured using criteria from the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM): depression, suicide ideation, anxiety, and abuse of or addiction to hard drugs, alcohol, opioids or marijuana.  Mental health was compared both before and after pregnancy, abortion and birth, and was adjusted for 20 covariates that, my previous research had suggested, account for higher mental health problems, apart from an abortion.  These were 1 = childhood physical abuse, 2 = childhood sexual abuse, 3 = childhood verbal abuse, 4 = depression, 5 = anxiety, 6 = suicidal ideation, 7 = alcohol abuse, 8 = drug abuse, 9 = nicotine dependence, 10 = cannabis abuse, 11 = conduct problems in school, 12 = neuroticism, 13 = neighborhood integration, 14 = grade point average (gpa), 15 = ever raped, 16 = relationship satisfaction, 17 = educational attainment, 18 = respondent poverty income, 19 = marital status, and 20 = intimate partner violence.

I found that by age 28, U.S. women who had ever had an abortion of a wanted pregnancy were 84% more likely to experience higher numbers of the seven psychological disorders than were women who had carried all wanted pregnancies to term.  Women who had ever aborted any pregnancy were 74% more likely to experience higher psychological disorders compared to those who had given birth.

Experiencing wanted pregnancy abortion led to higher affective distress (depression, anxiety and suicidality) than abortions of unwanted pregnancies, relative to the corresponding births.  Risk of these psychological difficulties was only 18% higher following abortion of only unwanted pregnancies, but 69% higher following abortion of one or more wanted pregnancies.

What is the significance of your finding about substance abuse?

I was surprised to find that whether an aborted pregnancy had been wanted or unwanted had no effect on post-abortion rates of substance abuse.  Overall, risk of substance abuse (of alcohol, opioids, marijuana, or illegal drugs) was twice as high (elevated 100%) for women following any abortion, but was unaffected by pregnancy intention.  Only a few studies have examined the association of abortion and substance abuse; more study is needed to understand what is going on in this area.

My hunch is that pregnancies that may be subject to abortion and substance abuse reflect risk-taking, self-destructive behavior, and their co-occurrence reflects a system of mutually reinforcing moral hazard.  I hope to explore this idea in a future study.

What is it about the design of your study that gives you confidence in its findings?

By comparison to cross-sectional studies that only take a snapshot of women at a single point in time, my study is more like a series of pictures that can show changes over time. The exact same women were interviewed at three points in time to determine the effect of their prior pregnancy history on their current mental health. Only a handful of abortion studies have used such rigorous longitudinal designs.

In addition, the Add Health data, funded by a consortium of U.S. federal agencies, are widely acknowledged to be among the most comprehensive and accurate in the world. Response rates and follow-up rates are high (over 80%) and the measures are well-designed and independently validated.

Having said that, it is important to acknowledge that no empirical study can offer definitive proof, and this one is subject to several limitations. Most importantly, every study of abortion using population data is limited by the fact that many abortions are not reported, so we can only talk about the abortions we know of. Since a woman who is more troubled by her abortion is less likely to report it, I think my study probably understates the true level of post-abortion distress for U.S. women. Other limitations are discussed in the study.

No doubt the fact that you are a Catholic priest working in a Catholic university will provoke some prejudice against your research, so it is interesting that studies by secular researchers  in Scandinavia and by David Fergusson in New Zealand support your findings. What do their studies show?

Pedersen (studying women in Sweden) and Fergusson found similar problems for women following abortions because they used a similar longitudinal design that followed women for a decade or more after their abortion. Fergusson found that ever-aborting women had 1.4 times higher overall risk (not relative to births) of mental health problems; my study found 1.2 times higher risk.

The similarity has nothing to do with their personal religious or moral convictions about abortion as public policy.  Several recent studies from Finland, by scholars who reflect that culture’s uncontroversial acceptance of abortion as reproductive health care, have found similar persistent problems for post-abortion women, such as a doubled risk of suicide, 25% higher overall mortality, and higher emotional distress among women who wanted to give birth.  This doesn’t reflect an anti-abortion bias, but just the fact that Finland has excellent health registry population data and is able to follow women’s health for a long time to see the outcomes.

Accusing me of anti-abortion bias because I am Catholic reflects a shallow ignorance of the Catholic enterprise.  Many scientists today do not even believe in objective truth, and so cannot imagine someone who does not approach scientific topics with anything more than a narrow ideology to propagate.  It is very true that my faith strongly affects my research, but not in the manner critics think.  The principles of the Catholic faith, out of which modern science developed, call for faithful scientists to be rigorously objective in their research.  Only by looking as hard as I can to find empirical evidence that contradicts the claims of my faith can I then have confidence that any resulting findings which may be consistent with faith-claims have any validity. This process — the logic of the null hypothesis — is not external to the scientific method, but is central to what every scientist should be doing.

There is a great deal of bias in abortion research, but it’s not from the religiously oriented scholars for the most part. The main difference between myself and most scholars who research U.S. abortions is that I am not employed or funded by an abortion provider.  Over 90% of U.S. abortion studies have as one or more co-authors a researcher who works for an abortion provider or a research center funded by an abortion provider. Their assertively benign findings about the experience and effects of abortion are highly self-serving and rarely withstand careful scrutiny.

What, so far, has been the response to your latest study from other researchers?

It is too soon to tell much.  Friendly researchers I know (most, but not all, opposed to abortion) have written words of appreciation and praise, and invited a couple of lectures to explain the findings further.  Pro-life attorneys have been ecstatic. With the study I published a “crosswalk” that addresses some critical responses to a similar earlier study from pro-abortion researchers. I will be interested to see what their eventual responses will be to the measures I took in this study to address those concerns.

Rev. Donald Paul Sullins, MDiv., PhD, is a Research Associate Professor of Sociology at The Catholic University of America and Senior Research Associate at The Ruth Institute. He is also Director of the Leo Institute for Catholic Social Research.

Reference: Sullins DP. Affective and Substance Abuse Disorders Following Abortion by Pregnancy Intention in the United States: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Medicina. 2019 Nov;55(11):741. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1010-660X/55/11/741  The article can be freely accessed and reproduced.

Amazing: Czech Republic celebrates 200 babies saved by baby boxes

 

On the night of January 4, a baby box in the Czech Republic received the 200th child safely surrendered through baby boxes in the country. According to BRNO Daily, the newborn baby boy was safely deposited in a baby box in Blansko.

Ludvík Hess, who spearheaded the effort to bring baby boxes to the Czech Republic in 2005, released a statement that the boy was healthy. After being received in the baby box, the baby was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Boskovice. Hess revealed that the baby had been named Jan in honor of Jan Juchelka, one of the donors to the baby box project. According to BRNO, “A babybox basically works as a newborn incubator; when a baby is placed in the device, the heating and ventilation systems switch on and, with a slight delay, an alarm alerts medical staff that the baby is there.”

The first baby box in the Czech Republic was installed in 2005, and there are now 76 in the nation. The Blansko baby box which received baby Jan was installed in 2018.

For parents in crisis, the baby box can provide a means of surrendering a newborn without question and without revealing their identity. Baby boxes are becoming more common in many parts of the world. One baby box in the United States received its first newborn less than 30 days after going into operation last fall. Raising public awareness about baby boxes and the life-saving alternative they can provide for families in crisis helps to combat potentially fatal newborn abandonment and ensures people have a place to turn.

Because of baby boxes, in less than 15 years, 200 Czech babies were safely transferred to resources and potentially life-saving care. Hess, who launched the baby box system in the Czech Republic, joked after the 200th baby, “So if there are now 111 girls, how many boys are there?” Each of those 111 girls and 89 boys have had a chance at life because a safe alternative was provided to their birth parents who may not have been able to provide for them in a difficult time.

Communion received on the tongue and while kneeling

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/details/ns_lit_doc_20091117_comunione_en.html

OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF

The most ancient practice of distributing Holy Communion was, with all probability, to give Communion to the faithful in the palm of the hand. The history of the liturgy, however, makes clear that rather early on a process took place to change this practice.

From the time of the Fathers of the Church, a tendency was born and consolidated whereby distribution of Holy Communion in the hand became more and more restricted in favor of distributing Holy Communion on the tongue. The motivation for this practice is two-fold: a) first, to avoid, as much as possible, the dropping of Eucharistic particles; b) second, to increase among the faithful devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Saint Thomas Aquinas also refers to the practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. He affirms that touching the Body of the Lord is proper only to the ordained priest.

Therefore, for various reasons, among which the Angelic Doctor cites respect for the Sacrament, he writes: “. . . out of reverence towards this Sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency” (Summa Theologiae, III, 82, 3).

Over the centuries the Church has always characterized the moment of Holy Communion with sacredness and the greatest respect, forcing herself constantly to develop to the best of her ability external signs that would promote understanding of this great sacramental mystery. In her loving and pastoral solicitude the Church has made sure that the faithful receive Holy Communion having the right interior dispositions, among which dispositions stands out the need for the Faithful to comprehend and consider interiorly the Real Presence of Him Whom they are to receive. (See The Catechism of Pope Pius X, nn. 628 & 636). The Western Church has established kneeling as one of the signs of devotion appropriate to communicants. A celebrated saying of Saint Augustine, cited by Pope Benedict XVI in n. 66 of his Encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis, (“Sacrament of Love”), teaches: “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it; we should sin were we not to adore it” (Enarrationes in Psalmos 98, 9). Kneeling indicates and promotes the adoration necessary before receiving the Eucharistic Christ.

From this perspective, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger assured that: “Communion only reaches its true depth when it is supported and surrounded by adoration” [The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2000), p. 90]. For this reason, Cardinal Ratzinger maintained that “the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species” [cited in the Letter “This Congregation” of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 1 July 1, 2002].

John Paul II, in his last Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (“The Church comes from the Eucharist”), wrote in n. 61: “By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. We are urged to do so by an uninterrupted tradition, which from the first centuries on has found the Christian community ever vigilant in guarding this ‘treasure.’ Inspired by love, the Church is anxious to hand on to future generations of Christians, without loss, her faith and teaching with regard to the mystery of the Eucharist. There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for ‘in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation.’”

In continuity with the teaching of his Predecessor, starting with the Solemnity of Corpus Christi in the year 2008, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, began to distribute to the faithful the Body of the Lord, by placing it directly on the tongue of the faithful as they remain kneeling.

ALSO:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/priest-calls-catholics-to-return-to-receiving-holy-communion-kneeling-to-avert-world-war3?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com&utm_

 

Former Planned Parenthood worker: What we did put women’s future pregnancies at risk

 

In a webinar sponsored by And Then There Were None, former Planned Parenthood worker Jayne explained how Planned Parenthood endangered their patients’ future pregnancies. Rh-negative women were not given RhoGAM shots.

If a woman has Rh-negative blood type and aborts a baby who has a positive blood type, a condition called Rh incompatibility can develop in future pregnancies. When fetal red blood cells mix with maternal cells, which can happen during an abortion, miscarriage, or delivery, the woman’s body will develop antibodies. If a future baby also has a positive blood type, these antibodies can attack the child’s red blood cells. This can cause a miscarriage or cause the baby to be born with severe complications leading to jaundice, swelling, brain damage, or death.

To keep the mother from developing these antibodies, she should be given a shot of the drug RhoGAM. The website Medline Plus says that a shot of RhoGAM should be given to every woman with Rh-negative blood type “after a miscarriage or abortion.”

With the way many abortion facilities rush women through their abortions, one can only wonder how many abortion facilities neglect to give these shots.

Jayne describes how women at the Planned Parenthood where she worked weren’t given RhoGAM shots:

[A]t Planned Parenthood, because of the high volume and high-speed, patients were not – you only have 45 minutes to see a patient, and that’s when they come in, as soon as they come off the table it’s one blood pressure. You only take three blood pressures and they’re out the door, even if they’re groggy. [It] doesn’t matter because they have to keep moving. So, if you’re in charge and you have your 10 patients, there’s no way that you’re going to – things are going to get missed. And in this case, many cases, many times these patients were leaving, and not being given that shot – the RhoGAM.

Jayne is now a fertility care nurse practitioner. She sees women come in with frequent miscarriages and infertility and wonders how many of them might have previously had abortions at Planned Parenthood.

 

The problem in Jayne’s abortion facility was exacerbated by the fact that if women went out the door without the shot, Jayne was not allowed to call them and tell them to come back:

As soon as I saw those couple women going out without that shot, I was like, well we need to call them. They need to come back. They have to have that shot. And it was like, we can’t, because everything is kept kind of on the down low so to speak, and so you can’t just call them back…. We can’t call them because, you know, it was a secret kind of thing. So, you don’t call them, and these patients go out.

Because Planned Parenthood wanted to keep the women’s abortions secret, their policy was not to contact any of the women after they left. Their fear was that a family member might discover the abortion and make trouble for the woman or the facility. Because of this, Jayne says, many women never knew they needed a RhoGAM shot. They were set up to have future miscarriages and seriously ill or dying babies, without ever knowing they’d been put at risk.

Jayne gives an example of a patient who nearly left without her RhoGAM shot. In this case, it was because untrained staff made a mistake with her bloodwork:

I had a patient that was [Rh] negative and she had come in, and she was again, you know, zip zip, three blood pressures and you’re out the door.… I said, okay, you’re good, this is your medicine, blah blah blah you’re out the door, and she’s like, well, you know, when I had my son they said that I was supposed to always get a shot, and I was like immediately, oh my gosh, I looked back to make sure, because of course, you’re rushing – am I making a mistake? I went back and I flipped it and and I’m like no – you know what – hold on though, hold on a second, because if you’re saying that you were at the hospital and they said you had a blood type and needed a shot, you’re going to need a shot here. So, let me just get them to redo your bloodwork…. You’re not even getting bloodwork that’s reliable.

If this woman hadn’t spoken up, she would have left without the shot.

This one Planned Parenthood facility put many women at risk for future miscarriages and child loss, just because they had untrained staff who rushed women through the facility. Planned Parenthood wanted to make a profit and didn’t care about women’s future babies, even if those babies were wanted. There is no way to know how common this problem is at Planned Parenthood.

New York Pressures OB-GYNs To Perform Abortions Or Leave Medicine

https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/13/new-york-pressures-ob-gyns-to-perform-abortions-or-leave-medicine/?fbclid=IwAR1bScMy-yGsuNpQcIzbMGHbQ_SpShq4QHz8AEpOPCJOeKeCuSAhzRT5ZpU

I am a doctor and a caregiver, but above all else, I am a woman of faith. It is my faith that drew me to become an OB-GYN, called me to open my own practice to treat women with dignity and compassion, and that helps me navigate the daily challenges of my profession. But two months ago, Planned Parenthood and the state of New York convinced a court to strike down federal regulations that protect medical professionals like me from being forced to perform procedures—like abortions and physician-assisted suicide—that violate our consciences.

Supported by my colleagues at the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and by the federal government, I have asked a federal appellate court to intervene and allow me to continue to provide compassionate medical care without being forced to violate my conscience.

As an OB-GYN, I am present during the most intimate moments in the life of a mother, father, and child. I have the privilege of placing children into the arms of their mothers for the very first time. I also have to deliver the life-altering news of infertility and guide mothers and fathers through the tragedy of a lost pregnancy.

This work cannot be done impersonally. I cannot leave my humanity at the door. I give all my patients the degree of care that I would a close friend or loved one. I provide them the advice that I would want to receive, bringing my best judgment to their situations.

While walking with women through some of their greatest joys and sorrows, I am called to offer more than just my medical expertise. I am called to provide the compassionate guidance of a friend, to be Christ’s outstretched arms for the women who enter my practice. But if Planned Parenthood and New York succeed in blocking conscience protections for medical professionals, I may be forced to either perform procedures that violate my conscience or leave my practice and the profession entirely.

These federal conscience protections, known as the Conscience Rule, merely allow the government to enforce laws that have been on the books with bipartisan support for decades. These laws, like the Weldon Amendment and the Coates-Snow Amendment, simply prevent tax dollars from being used to force pro-life doctors like me from performing abortions.

But Planned Parenthood and New York don’t like that, so they sued to render those long-established and bipartisan laws toothless. Without the Conscience Rule in place, religious doctors and nurses across the country are at greater risk of being forced to perform procedures that violate our core beliefs.

I cannot take the life of a child in one room and guide another child into this world in the next. Nor can I care for one elderly woman while helping another end her life. That would not only undermine my most deeply held religious beliefs and my medical judgment, but also the oath I took as a medical professional.

Medical professionals have the privilege and the honor of serving those in need. For doctors like me, our job is our calling. And we do not take this calling lightly. Each and every day, we make decisions in reliance on our medical judgment and the best interest of our patients. Government bureaucrats should not insert their politics into these critical and deeply personal medical decisions.

My faith is at the heart of who I am. It is what drives me to put the needs of women and their children first every day. It makes me a better doctor. For decades, our country has recognized that a big, diverse nation like ours can deliver high-quality medical care without making taxpayers force people of faith to violate their core beliefs. If we forget that insight, we’ll hurt both doctors and patients.

Dr. Regina Frost is an OB-GYN and a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

When little Adeline, conceived in rape, was born, her grandfather ‘fell in love in one second’

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(Save The 1) “Is Kristi pregnant?” That was never a question I expected my pastor and friend to ever ask me over the phone on a Sunday afternoon after we arrived home from church the morning of April 22nd, 2018. I thought, if my 18 year old daughter was pregnant, he would have heard it from me, or from us, right?

I answered with a slow, “No… Ah… I don’t know… Let me call you back.” It seemed my words sounded as if they were purposely edited as special sound effects for a film. I felt as if my head for the first time completely emptied itself. The only thought or sound left was like a very far off siren that rang “Kristi’s pregnant, Kristi’s pregnant, Kristi’s pregnant.” How could that be? And suddenly, I knew she was.

It was one more crisis to deal with. My mother had just died of cancer a month earlier. A few months before that, my father fell down some icy steps walking outside a restaurant in Munich, breaking up the right side of his body: shoulder, arm, hip, knee and leg. After he got out of the hospital, I went to Munich to help take care of him for a few months.

Prior to that, we’d had a busy year, having just premiered our first full-length feature film in our local town. We produced, wrote, directed and acted in it —  a true story about our personal testimonies surrendering our lives to the Lord. It was 15 years ago that I learned I had a 3-year-old daughter named Kristi and was struck with awesome joy, even though I knew nothing about her, her mother, or even if she really was my daughter until DNA testing was complete. We spent a year non-stop making that film and had a crew of about 40 people using our house as a full-time production office.

The day following our premiere, we were given notice we would have to move from our rented rural Montana house where I’d lived for 19 years. I loved that house — a 4-acre property by the edge of the woods and near the river, 6 miles out of town. As a single parent, I raised Kristi there most of her life. The property was old and going to be torn down to be commercially redeveloped.

Within 12 hours of completing the move into our new house, I lit a fire in the fireplace, and after I fell asleep, the rafters in the attic caught on fire. Everything was ruined and uninhabitable, but thank God Kristi was away at a dance that evening. The Fire Captain told me the smoke detector saved my life.

Whatever we had left was moved into storage and during the next few months, we moved in and out of several motels, various friends’ houses and eventually a small camp trailer with a door which wouldn’t completely shut.

With all of that going on, it’s no wonder I didn’t know Kristi was pregnant. She was very small and didn’t show for the first 6 ½ months, especially through her winter clothes.

After the call from my pastor, I hung up the phone, waited a moment, took a deep breath, looked up at God saying in my heart, “I need you again please” and walked into Kristi’s room. Immediately, I was emotionally struck and began hugging her telling her how much I love her and how proud I am of her. Even though I didn’t mention anything else, nor did I know any of the details, she instantly realized I knew she was pregnant and we both started crying together. For me, it became tears of joy.

We cried and talked for a long while as I learned she was almost 7 months into her pregnancy. I spoke to my grandchild in the womb, introducing myself as Papa. Kristi hadn’t filled me in yet about having been raped, and was vague in talking much about the father. I do remember having felt something wasn’t right about it, but didn’t want to spoil the moment. I happily knew Kristi would keep her baby, no matter what.

I learned later that she wanted to tell me all along about the pregnancy, but with so much tumult going on in our lives, she didn’t want to just blurt it out. Kristi still had high school graduation ahead and couldn’t seem to find the right time to tell me. She was one of the top students in her school, but the only known girl in that small Christian school ever to graduate pregnant. Still, they supported and loved her through it all.

But most significantly, she was pregnant by rape — a young man who was someone we knew, whose family attended our small church. Of course, no one else knew Kristi had been raped or that she was pregnant. Kristi was afraid to share the details out of fear I would do something bad to this young man and get myself in trouble, and perhaps she was right. As you can imagine, there were in fact bad thoughts going on in my head once I learned what he’d done to my daughter.

In time, my daughter explained how at 17, she had been forced to have sex while locked in this 19-year-old’s car. Kristi had been afraid to go to the police due to being young and under peer pressure, which I understood. This young man supposedly was well-liked and popular, and we were living in a very small mountain town community.

I brought the matter up with the pastors of our church. The rapist, both of his parents, two of the pastors, Kristi and myself had a meeting at the church office one evening where the young man willingly admitted what he had done. While I appreciated his truth-telling and hoped I could find it within me to extend forgiveness, there was no true sign of any remorse on his part.

What really surprised me was that one of the pastors (not the one who had called me) recommended that Kristi and her rapist try marriage counseling “just to see if they could become compatible to raise a baby together!” Of course, Kristi said no, and I wholeheartedly agreed, but then we were told that if she wouldn’t follow the recommendations of the church leaders, she was being selfish and would no longer be welcomed in their church.

At first, we were devastated. We had been attending, serving and being served in that church for over 12 years. It was my first church ever. It had been our extended family. We loved everybody and were loved, until that time. We were there every time the doors were open and involved with several of its ministries. I even headed a couple of ministries and had started a prison ministry there.

But now they wanted us to conceal a crime which had been committed — a crime against my daughter which would change her life forever! So, we left.

On July 27th, 2018, I got to witness Adeline Marie Kollar being born early in the morning at 6:31a.m.. I was the first person she opened her eyes to and smiled at having recognized my voice. I fell in love in one second! It was my gift from God having not known about and missed the first three years of Kristi’s life.

The rapist refused to sign Adeline’s birth certificate, so she was thankfully given our last name; however, his parents tried to start a custody case, while I finally convinced Kristi to file for child support. After our attorney listened to Kristi’s story, he strongly recommended she meet with Victim’s Services. The nice young counselor there convinced Kristi that she really should report the crime to the police — even though it had been 10 months — just so the police would have the young man on their radar, against other possible assaults.

At the police station, I too was interviewed by a young female detective who seemed like she wanted to charge the young man after learning about the story, but that would now depend upon the State. Meanwhile, the detective went to interview the pastors of our former church, the young man, and his parents. She later contacted us and said everyone denied that the young man had made that confession back at the church office meeting….

Continue reading story in full at Save The 1.

BIO: Robert Kollar is a single father, grandfather, post-abortive, and pro-life speaker / blogger for Save The 1. He is also a filmmaker, writer, prison minister, and fatherhood speaker. For more info on his film projects, go to mwmcornerstone.com

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Save The 1 and is reprinted in part here with permission.

Virginia bill would allow birth control, vaccines for kids without parental consent

By Claire Chretien

RICHMOND, Virginia, January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Democrat-sponsored bill in Virginia would treat minors as adults for the purpose of consenting to birth control, vaccines, and “medical or health services required in case of … pregnancy or family planning except for the purposes of sexual sterilization.”

The bill, Senate Bill 104, includes the stipulation that the commonwealth’s law requiring parental consent for abortion would remain in effect. It would also allow minors to receive “[m]edical or health services needed to determine the presence of or to treat venereal disease or any infectious or contagious disease that the State Board of Health requires to be reported.”

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Barbara Favola, a Planned Parenthood–endorsed leftist whose website touts her work as a “lifelong pro-choice advocate” and her “LGBTQ Rights” activism. Favola represents parts of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.

For the first time in 26 years, during November’s elections, Democrats seized control of both chambers of the Virginia legislature and the governorship. They have promised to implement a progressive agenda focusing on a variety of liberal issues, including abortion on demand.

Efforts to give minors birth control, HPV shot, PrEP sex drug without parental involvement

One of the most serious side effects of hormonal birth control is blood clots, which can be fatal. In 2016, a 17-year-old Romanian ballerina living in England died from a blood clot caused by hormonal contraception. She is not the only young woman to have died from taking the pill.

“We strongly support the right of loving parents to make informed medical decisions with and for their children,” Michael Ramey, executive director of parentalrights.org, told LifeSiteNews in a previous interview. “Natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their children.”

“Now lawmakers want to steal that role from the parents at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “Unlike lawmakers, parents aren’t getting campaign contributions; their only motivation is the health and well-being of their child.”

For more than a decade, there have been efforts underway in New York to allow teens to receive the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine without parental consent. The New York Department of Health ultimately simply changed regulations after legislative efforts failed.

A May 2019 New Jersey bill would have allowed minors as young as 14 to receive various shots without parental consent. California; Delaware; and Washington, D.C., allow minors to be vaccinated for HPV and hepatitis B without parental involvement.

Meanwhile, “no jurisdiction explicitly prohibits minors’ access to PrEP” — a daily sex drug meant to lower risk of HIV contraction — “without parental/guardian consent,” according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Sixteen jurisdictions have statutes/regulations that explicitly allow minors of a particular age to independently access PrEP; the age for access varies by jurisdiction,” the CDC says. “However, minors might still be legally allowed to access PrEP without parental/guardian consent in some jurisdictions without explicit statutes/regulations.”

PrEP is intended for people who engage in risky sexual activity with partners of unknown or positive HIV status and those who share needles when injecting drugs. It does not guarantee protection from HIV.

Whether kid is competent to ‘consent’ totally up to ‘health care practitioners’  

S.B. 104 comes amid an aggressive push to force more children to receive optional medical interventions — i.e., vaccines — regardless of parental concerns about aborted fetal tissue in most vaccines and the shots’ manufacturer-acknowledged risks, such as seizuresdiabetes, and death. There has been widespread panicked media coverage about vaccine “foes” and diseases like measles, with social media giants censoring or putting warnings above content that questions the safety of vaccines.

If S.B. 104 becomes law, there will be no guarantee parents will know if their children had received vaccines at daycare, at school, or at another location. It seems that under the proposed law, after having been deemed “to the satisfaction of a health care practitioner” to possess “the ability to understand at the same comprehension level as an adult the risks and benefits associated with vaccinations and immunizations,” there is no mechanism in place to notify parents after their children “consented” to a vaccine.

“A minor shall also be deemed an adult for the purpose of accessing or authorizing the disclosure of medical records related to” the subdivisions of the bill that allow minors to consent to vaccines and birth control, the bill says. That language originally did not cover vaccinations — only medical records about birth control, STDs, and some mental health or substance abuse-related matters.

If a child experienced serious side effects from a vaccine or birth control, parents’ lack of knowledge of the shot or drug having been administered could prevent them and emergency room doctors from effectively treating the child. It’s unclear if parents would ever be able to access the medical records indicating that their child had received birth control or a vaccination.

The bill also opens the door for children to, unbeknownst to parents, receive double doses of government-recommended shots. This could happen if at daycare or school a child was deemed by a “health care practitioner” to be mature enough to consent to a vaccine, received that vaccine, did not tell his parents, and then was subsequently administered by a family pediatrician the same vaccine with parental permission.

In Virginia, minors need parental permission to be given Advil in school or have their ears pierced.

Concerned citizens can find contact information for legislators HERE and HERE.

Mom Changed Her Mind During the Middle of the Abortion, Today Zechariah is 6

GAYLE IRWIN

Rebekah Hagan is grateful for the life of her six-year-old son, and she wants to give back by helping other moms facing adversity in pregnancy.

After making a courageous decision in the spring of 2013 to try and save her son’s life through Abortion Pill Reversal, the California mom of three speaks to audiences about her experiences, works to raise awareness about APR (see Editor’s note below), and she helps other young women make their own brave choices.

Nearly seven years ago, Hagan began the Abortion Pill Reversal protocol after she had taken mifepristone, the first pill of the two-pill chemical abortion process, at a Planned Parenthood facility in Sacramento.

“I thought of all the reasons to abort,” she said. “I already had a child and was newly single. I was afraid of losing my home with my parents. I had a fear mind-set, and I didn’t plan to tell anyone.”

She’d had her first son, Eli, when she was 18 and still in high school. The father of this child was also Eli’s father. However, “it was a toxic relationship,” she recalled. She had left the man and returned to her parents’ home.

“I knew Eli and I were not safe (with him),” Hagan said.

Because of these circumstances, she thought abortion was her only option.

“Sometimes abortion looks like hope,” she said.

After taking that first abortion pill, however, she immediately experienced regret.

“I thought to myself, ‘Oh, my gosh, what did I just do?’” she recalled. “You don’t know how to advocate for yourself. I didn’t think to ask questions. You are sent on your way with a little brown bag and are told, ‘There’s no going back.’”

This was March 13, 2013, and Eli had been born on March 14. The coincidence with the dates hit her hard.

“I prayed for forgiveness and then began searching online for how the abortion might be stopped,” she said.

She discovered information about Abortion Pill Reversal, originally spearheaded by Dr. George Delgado. With the help of a doctor in her area, she began the progesterone regimen.

Somehow, the Planned Parenthood facility found out; the staff contacted her and told her the baby would have birth defects if it survived the treatment, Hagan said.

They were proven wrong.

“I have a healthy and active six-year-old boy,” she said.

She named him Zechariah. “I liked the meaning of the name,” Hagan said.

The Hebrew meaning is ‘The Lord has remembered.’

“I see God’s hand in it all,” she said.

Hagan recently had her third child, a girl whom she and husband Kramer named Lydia.

Serving and raising awareness

Hagan was raised in a Christian home, however, like some young people raised in a faith-based family, she made choices that went against her family’s beliefs. After finding hope and redemption with the assistance of Abortion Pill Reversal, she began sharing her experience with others. Public speaking opportunities came, and she responded with enthusiasm.

“I wanted to give back,” she said. “The public speaking has grown. It was a natural progression because of the relationship with people involved.”

Hagan speaks between 15 and 20 times a year, in churches, pregnancy centers and schools. She has also testified before state legislators regarding informed consent bills.

She is also able to personally connect with women who find her on Facebook, and she’s able to provide them encouragement.

For example, 25-year-old “Samantha”* was in an emotionally abusive relationship and though she started a medical abortion, she changed her mind.

“Although she wasn’t with the guy anymore, he still controlled her,” Hagan said. “I’d recite truth to her. She delivered a baby boy at the end of November. Even when you choose life, things don’t just go away. (But) she is grateful she didn’t go through with the abortion.”

Additionally, 17-year-old “Jessica”* who had gotten involved with the “hook-up culture” on the East Coast, according to Hagan, was put in contact with her.

“Her main concern was disabilities,” Hagan said. “There is so little information, truthful information, out there online. Women wonder if they will be okay and if the baby will be okay. I want to help them.”

Hagan said she is grateful to help women like Samantha and Jessica.

“These moms have been spared the trauma of abortion,” she said.

Hagan also serves at a California pregnancy center.

For the past three years, she has worked as the community outreach coordinator for Sierra Pregnancy & Health in Roseville, near Sacramento. This year, the center plans to add Abortion Pill Reversal to their services offered to women.

As a decade dawns, more than 900 babies’ lives have been saved thanks to APR and courageous women like Hagan.

The Abortion Pill Rescue Network is now coordinated by Heartbeat International, with support from Dr. Delgado and many other medical professionals.

Hagan continues to advocate for APR, saving women and babies from the horror of abortion, giving women another choice and a second chance for themselves and their unborn children.

“The reality is the majority of women are conflicted … in this decision. APR gives women another choice and a second chance,” Hagan said. “It’s life-changing and life-saving.”

LifeNews Note: Gayle Irwin writes for PregnancyHelpNews, where this originally appeared.

Model in labor responds to Michelle Williams: ‘Babies do not keep us from our dreams’

By Doug Mainwaring

January 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – After Michelle Williams used her award acceptance speech to promote abortion at the Golden Globes on Sunday, a Catholic model in labor took the time to record an Instagram video challenging Williams’ statement that abortion was integral to her success as an actress.

“I’m here getting ready to deliver my fifth baby,” said Leah Darrow, a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, from her hospital bed. “And I want to let all you women know, all you young ladies who haven’t had babies or are maybe listening to what the culture says about birth, and women, and babies, and choice.”

“Babies don’t keep us from our dreams,” she declared.

“I’m getting ready to deliver a baby that will not keep me from my professional growth, but will make me better because of it,” she continued. “And I’m so honored and excited, and I can’t wait to have this baby.”

Darrow wasn’t the only one who took to social media to push back against Williams’ Golden Globe speech in which she hinted that having an abortion enabled her to succeed professionally.

Eric Sammons@EricRSammons

A little reminder to last night’s Golden Globe winners, especially Michelle Williams.

“How sad it must be to trade an innocent human life for a tiny golden statue. Praying for Michelle Williams,” tweeted Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood director whose conversion to pro-life activism is depicted in the film Unplanned, drawing a comparison that many others did as well.

Abby Johnson@AbbyJohnson

How sad it must be to trade an innocent human life for a tiny golden statue. Praying for Michelle Williams.

1,090 people are talking about this

“Only in Hollywood are you able to announce that you murdered a baby in exchange for a hunk of metal with your name on it and have the crowd cheer for you,” said Elizabeth Fortmeyer in a video she posted on Twitter.

“Abortion is not birth control. Abortion is premeditated murder of an innocent child, depriving them of their right to life,” she continued.

“As a woman, I am sick of this belief that all women should be okay with murdering their children for personal gain,” said Fortmeyer. “Real women are pro-life.”

Elizabeth Fortmeyer 🇺🇸@eafortmeyer

Yesterday, Michelle Williams accredited ABORTION for her Golden Globe, and suggested that all women should be in favor of it.

As a woman, I am sick of this belief that all women should be okay with murdering their children for personal gain.

Real women are pro-life.

“Only in Hollywood can you get [cheers] for telling the crowd that you traded a baby for an award,” said Gonzales. “That a piece of metal is infinitely better than the tiny human life that you created inside you. That the fancy gown and the jewelry that you’re wearing is way more important than your own flesh and blood.”

“Hollywood, you all are messed up,” she added.

Sara Gonzales

@SaraGonzalesTX

Michelle Williams proudly thanked her abortion for her Golden Globe…WHAT is WRONG with these people?!

Embedded video

292 people are talking about this

“Michelle Williams, while visibly pregnant, claims she wouldn’t have won her Golden Globe Award if she didn’t kill her previous child,” tweeted Live Action Founder and President Lila Rose, who gave birth to her first child days ago.

“No trophy is worth more than a child’s life,” said Rose. “Sacrificing our children to pursue our dreams is the total antithesis of women’s empowerment.”

Lila Rose

@LilaGraceRose

Michelle Williams, while visibly pregnant, claims she wouldn’t have won her Award if she didn’t kill her previous child.

No trophy is worth more than a child’s life.

Sacrificing our children to pursue our dreams is the total antithesis of women’s empowerment.

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13K people are talking about this

Chris Stefanick, a well-known speaker, author, and President of Real Life Catholic, pointed out:

Chris Stefanick@ChrisStefanick

This is survival of the fittest:
I’m big-You’re small.
I’m strong-You’re weak, and you’re standing between me and my “success.”
Humans were made for more than this. But when we abandon God, we applaud as we return to acting like animals on a Savannah. https://churchpop.com/2020/01/06/pregnant-actress-michelle-williams-attributes-abortion-to-her-success-at-golden-globes/ 

Pregnant Actress Michelle Williams Attributes Abortion to Her Success at Golden Globes |

Lord have mercy! Please pray for Michelle Williams! 🙏

churchpop.com

166 people are talking about this

Princeton Professor Robert George, former Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, described the Hollywood crowd’s response to Williams as “Pavlovian” and “drearily predictable.”

Robert P. George@McCormickProf

Michelle Williams’ little speech and the crowd’s drearily predictable–nearly Pavlovian–response crystallized the self-focus, shallowness, narrowness of vision, insularity, parochialism, and groupthink of the celebrity culture. There it was, on full display, for all to see. https://twitter.com/xan_desanctis/status/1214208667370823680 

Alexandra DeSanctis

@xan_desanctis

Last night at the Golden Globes, Michelle Williams said she couldn’t have been successful without “employing the right to choose,” telling women everywhere that they need abortion in order to succeed. My latest: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-right-to-choose-what-michelle-williams/ 

144 people are talking about this

“Dear Michelle Williams,” wrote Kristan Mercer Hawkins, President of Students for Life, on Facebook: “Your remarks at the Golden Globes were heartbreaking. Like many post-abortive mothers, you disguised your hurt with a political speech to seek absolution from the world for your past abortion decision(s). It’s so sad that you credit an act of violence, abortion, for your career success. The second wave of Feminism has clearly failed as millions of women like you have been deceived into believing that you must kill another in order to succeed in your career.”

“Abortion is the opposite of female empowerment,” said Hawkins. “An abortion says you thought you weren’t strong enough to achieve your goals and care for the new human you created. It’s the pro-life movement that seeks the full empowerment of women, showing women they are superheroes and can do both.”

Joy Pullman, writing at The Federalist, explained what Williams got wrong in her speech:

Chiefly, it’s the underlying idea that human lives are a worthy trade-off for career achievement. If someone put a gun to a child’s head on the Golden Globes stage and said to Williams, “You can have your award, but the price is this child’s life,” hopefully she would have said “F— that award, save the child.” But here she is on a global stage, not only admitting that she has already done essentially the same thing to an even smaller human, but also encouraging other girls and women to do likewise — to repeated Hollywood applause.

I can think of few stronger expressions of moral corruption than “This child must die so I can live as I please.” Yet this is the tradeoff we are constantly told epitomizes women’s empowerment. Bunk. What does it profit a woman to gain a major industry award if the price is the life of an innocent child? What kind of “success” is it to rise at the cost of other people’s existence? What kind of society encourages people to think and live this way? A sick, self-cannibalizing one.

National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis took Williams to task for couching her message in terms of “a woman’s right to choose” rather than speaking straightforwardly about abortion.

No one disagrees that women have the right to make their own choices. The abortion debate exists not because a large faction believes women should be deprived of the “right to choose” but rather because of the choice in question: to end the life of a distinct human being. Abortion-rights supporters such as Williams aren’t part of the debate at all because they are intentionally deceptive about the heart of the argument. And who can blame them? It’s far easier to issue euphemistic speeches about women’s empowerment to thunderous applause than it is to defend the taking of an innocent human life.”

A man who wishes to remain anonymous remarked to LifeSiteNews:

I wonder if a day will come when Williams will look at this worthless Golden Globe trophy she’s holding and wish she were cradling her missing child instead.

It was a decade of disappearing youth for the United States

Shannon Roberts

https://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/it-was-a-decade-of-population-decline-for-the-united-states/23167

As we enter the 2020s, the world has become increasingly cognisant of the need for more babies after a decade of worryingly low growth.

In the United States the population grew by only 0.48% between 2018 and 2019, according to newly released Census Bureau estimates.  That is the lowest annual growth rate since 1918.

In fact, according to analysis from the Brookings Institute, it “caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year population growth since the first census was taken in 1790.”

The United States birth rate fell to a 32-year low in 2018, and 30 states experienced decade-wide declines in youth population, with California losing as many as 400,000 young people.  The nation as a whole sustained an absolute decline of 1.14 million youth between 2010 and 2019.

The dramatic decline in the youth population comes at a time when there is a large ageing population which will increasingly rely on young people for support, through their friendship, employment and their taxes.

As a result, the Census Bureau projects that from 2030 immigration will account for more than half of the nation’s population growth.  Thus, racial proportions will shift significantly.  By 2030, whites will have dropped to 55.8% of the population, and Hispanics will have grown to 21.1%. The percentage of black and Asian Americans will also grow significantly.

What are the root causes of such an unprecedented situation?  Family life is changing dramatically the world over.  According to Steve Mosher, president of the Virginia-based Population Research Institute, we need to offer more positive encouragement to young couples to get married and have children.  He considers there are three fundamental root causes of low fertility:

  1. Abortion: “The first thing that we as a people must address is abortion on demand, which has led to sex without responsibility, and the wanton destruction of the unborn.”.
  2. The porn epidemic: “The second thing we must address is the porn epidemic, which is devastating young men. It has undermined healthy relationships between the sexes, and led to virtual sex replacing procreative sex.”  This trend haunts many countries and is an increasingly scary factor as porn usage surges.  In an era of celebrated female liberation it is ironic that women have never been more objectified.
  3. Student loans: “The third thing we must deal with are student loans.  These ‘debt traps’ have left millions of young people saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt that will take years, or even decades, to pay back, depressing marriage and birth rates.”  According to the College Board, the total amount borrowed by grad students in particular has been climbing.  Mosher suggests the forgiveness of student debt in proportion to how many children a couple have; a type of family subsidy tied to student loan debt.  Other countries also provide examples of less crippling systems than the United States, such as systems where paying off student loan debt is tied to future income, and effectively paid as an additional payment (collected along with tax payments) on all future income until it is paid off.

Many places continue to fail to address the underlying issues facing young people and families, but as Mosher warns: “Children are the only future a family has. Indeed, they are the only future a nation has.”  The 2020s may mark a turning point as we continue to see people wake up to this.

LA Inserts Planned Parenthood Between Parents and Children

Mary Rose Short

LOS ANGELES — When officials from the County of Los Angeles announced a new program to staff “Well-Being Centers” on 50 high-school campuses with Planned Parenthood employees, they noted that the “full range of sexual services” provided to students at these centers will be completely confidential.

Thanks to Title X, students as young as 12 years old can already legally access Planned Parenthood’s services without their parents’ knowledge. But inserting Planned Parenthood in public-school campuses, and allowing students to leave class to visit these centers, is a dangerous further step toward cutting parents out of their children’s lives, concerned observers warn.

“One of the things that Planned Parenthood always said when I was training them is that parents are a barrier to service,” Monica Leal Cline, the executive director of It Takes a Family, told the Register. “They recognize that a parent will naturally want to protect their child and keep them from an environment that would put them into danger.

“They are aware that when a parent knows that a child is accessing services at a Planned Parenthood, they are going to stop that and then start to educate the child themselves, which means Planned Parenthood loses a customer. So they don’t want the parent to be involved.”

Cline spent 10 years working with Planned Parenthood as a sex educator. She started doing street outreach as an HIV prevention educator after being trained by Planned Parenthood on how to reach teenagers and eventually went on to be a Title X training manager for all of Texas and New Mexico. She worked for a company that provided government-mandated trainings for clinics receiving Title X funding, including Planned Parenthood, and spent a lot of time training Planned Parenthood employees.

Cline had a religious conversion 10 years ago and founded It Takes a Family to “equip and strengthen parents to reclaim parenthood and become their children’s greatest advocates and educators.”

In the Los Angeles Health Department’s press release about the new centers last month, Sue Dunlap, CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, highlighted the secrecy possible when students can get to Planned Parenthood at school and don’t have to explain to anyone, even their parents, where they went. She said that when students leave campus, it “means time away from class, money for transportation, and explaining your whereabouts to others, all hurdles that loom large for teens.”

In contrast, when Planned Parenthood is installed on a campus, parents never need to be informed that their child is accessing sexual services.

 

‘Cycle of Hopelessness’

Another boon for Planned Parenthood, and blow to parents’ rights, is California’s Healthy Youth Act (HYA), which came into effect in 2016 and mandates comprehensive sex education for public middle- and high-schoolers and encourages sex education beginning in kindergarten. In accord with the HYA, the California Department of Education K-12 curriculum guidelines include, for example, suggestions that first-grade students write reports on a book that describes the sexual act and that teachers of fourth- to sixth-grade students use another book that encourages masturbation in order to “initiate dialogue for the group chats.”

“If a child believes and follows everything that they are being taught through graphic sex education in California, then they will naturally have a need for condoms, lubrication, hormonal contraception, STI testing and treatment and abortion,” Cline said about how the HYA benefits Planned Parenthood. “It is the perfect sales tools to have a lifelong customer. That’s the hopelessness that they are selling.”

“The only hope of comprehensive sex education is this: become sexually active,” Cline said. “That is the expectation. Get comfortable with the fact that you will get a disease, but you can lessen the chance of it by using condoms and lubrication. And when that doesn’t work, you can get tested. And then you get treated. And when you have an unplanned pregnancy, you get an abortion. Then you just continue on that cycle your whole life. It’s a cycle of hopelessness for our children that is destroying them emotionally and physically.”

Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, the executive director of Los Angeles Pregnancy Services and a speaker for the VIDA Initiative, has, like Cline, seen how Planned Parenthood encourages sexual activity among students.

“I was a Planned Parenthood volunteer in college when they recruited me for an AIDS-prevention program,” Gutierrez said. “I got to see how they work to break down modesty and the values most parents want to transmit to their children. The topic of sex is treated in an utterly disrespectful way. The message of chastity as an alternative would have no place in the atmosphere they create.”

“It has never been the intention to stop school-age children from having sex,” Cline agreed. “It has always been the intention to just teach them how to do it ‘safer.’ Comprehensive sex education and Planned Parenthood are all about meeting school-age children where they’re at and leaving them there. They believe our children are sexual from birth, which is why we see Planned Parenthood — and anyone who supports comprehensive sex education — hypersexualizing children even in elementary school.”

Cline also noted the health department’s announcement that Planned Parenthood will train students to reach their peers.

“Not only will the children be exposed to graphic sex education that only sets up the expectation for becoming sexually active and normalizing STIs and all of that,” she said, “but they’re also going to train those school-age children to teach graphic sex education to each other.”

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department did not respond to requests for comment about the health-centers initiative.

Student and Parent Concerns

Frida Plata, who attends Gahr High School in southeast Los Angeles, is committed to fighting back against Planned Parenthood’s promotion of contraception and abortion.

“At school I’ve had debates with teachers and students on the topic of abortion,” she said. “The fact that Planned Parenthood is trying to go into high schools is really devastating.”

Plata said she knows multiple girls from her high school who have had abortions. Four years ago, Plata gave information about Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortion healing retreats to a middle-school classmate who had had an abortion and regretted it.

What if Planned Parenthood comes into Plata’s school?

“I’m definitely going to take action and go around handing out flyers and informing students about the truth of what happens behind the doors of Planned Parenthood and what their true evil plans are. I would organize marches. I would do anything that is possible for Planned Parenthood not to be in my school.”

Although parents have a legal right to have their children excused from instruction that “conflicts with the[ir] religious training and beliefs,” the onus is on parents to obtain the instructional materials from their children’s schools, review them and submit a written request to have their children excused from the objectionable classes.

Gutierrez, a Los Angeles native, has worked for almost 20 years with the families being targeted by the new Los Angeles County program and speaks to thousands of parents every year in Los Angeles-area churches.

“Few parents are aware of Planned Parenthood’s agenda to indoctrinate their children into embracing abortion and contraception as a good, and as inevitable, and to break down their innocence at an early age,” Gutierrez said. “They are also unaware of the many ways Planned Parenthood attempts to usurp their role as parents.

“Through the ‘well-being centers,’ Planned Parenthood is attempting to be the primary confidante when it comes to questions about sexuality. In my presentations, I seek to equip parents to assume their God-given role as the primary educators of their children. Parents must send a clear message to Planned Parenthood that they are not welcome in their schools and communities.”

“I’m scared,” said Lucy Koes, whose son will start Alhambra High School in the fall. “My job is to protect my child at any cost, and they are taking that from me. That’s my concern with my son going off to public high school. I’m already trying to talk to him, trying to get the message across: Just be careful what they’re presenting to you.”

“The unfortunate thing is they’re only presenting one side,” Koes said about the HYA curriculum. “I just remember in high school the same thing when they had sex education. It was: You’re going to do it. They never once brought up abstinence and self-control. I remember feeling so disrespected and thinking, ‘Give me all the information so I can make a proper decision.’ But they’re controlling what information you’re given, so they control what you do.”

“I’m sure there are other parents in the same situation who don’t have a choice but to send them to public school,” Koes said. “We’re basically going to lose our children. I have sleepless nights over that and just a lot of prayer: Lord, help me here.”

“It’s pretty scary,” Cline said, regarding Planned Parenthood’s sexualization of children. “And the only way they can make it happen is to keep parents ignorant and to ensure that they have like-minded legislators and decision-makers that will help pass it, regardless of how parents feel about it.”

 

Saving Lives and Souls

Gutierrez believes parents’ influence can save lives.

“Just last night, I saw a young woman who I had counseled some years ago when she found out she was pregnant at the age of 18,” Gutierrez said. “At first she thought about abortion, and she understood how easy it was to get one, due to the pro-choice sex education at her school, but she thought about her parents and the values they had taught her, and she decided instead to speak to her priest about her excruciating dilemma. He referred her and her mom to Los Angeles Pregnancy Services. Last night she was radiant with joy and gratitude, and I got to shake the hand of a beautiful 5-year-old boy who she says is the light of her life.”

“It is more important than ever for parents to pray and fast for their children and to take seriously and actively their role as primary educators — especially in the area of chastity,” Gutierrez said. “And they must remain vigilant regarding Planned Parenthood and their insidious, taxpayer-funded programs to ensnare the lives and souls of their children.”

Register correspondent Mary Rose Short writes from Southern California.

Population expert: I stand accused of causing a ‘progeny calamity’ for being ‘pro-natal

January 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Like all public figures, I get my share of crank letters in the mail.  Most of these go right where they belong—spiraling downward into the circular file that sits on the floor by my desk.

But every so often one comes in that catches my attention, like the “Certificate of Recognition” I recently received from a former Stanford colleague of mine.

In it, he hammers me for my “Pro-Natal Conduct” and my “reprehensible ignorance” of “Climate Change Science.” Don’t I know, he says, that more people means “an Unraveling Social, Economic and Environment, Extreme Weather Events, Massive Midwest Flooding, Rising Oceans, Never-Before-Seen tornado and Hurricane Seasons.”

Image

Running out of room on the “Certificate”–but not out of words–he ranted on for three more pages about how I was “betraying my grandchildren.”  Among other things, he claimed that “the world is adding 87 million people a year,” “a billion people have no access to fresh clean water,” “energy resources are finite,” and “minerals will definitely run out.”

Such is the value of a Stanford education these days that he is completely, absolutely, and fundamentally wrong on every single point.

“Climate Change”

My hysterical colleague (along with every single Democratic candidate for president) apparently believes that global temperatures are reaching the boiling point.  But the best evidence, published recently in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, shows a warming rate of just 0.095C per decade over the last 38 years.  One-tenth of a degree every ten years is about half the rate predicted by the computer models on which the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and various government agencies rely for their predictions of climate doom.

Why is that significant? Because it suggests that someone is tinkering with the models–the only basis for predictions of future temperature—to suggest that the warming will be much more dramatic than it actually is.  This is what happens when scientific questions are heavily politicized–as questions concerning the cause, extent, and threat of global warming have been.

“ … An Unraveling Social, Economic and Environment.” 

My colleague echoes AOC in suggesting that “The end is near.”  But by every available metric, from life spans to caloric consumption, human beings are better off than they have ever been in human history.  Over the past 250 years or so, living standards have improved so dramatically that the average person on the planet now lives longer, eats better and enjoys better housing than European nobility in the Middle Ages. What would King Henry VIII of England have given for a refrigerator, much less for a smartphone or penicillin?

We live in the best of times, not the worst of times.

“ … Extreme Weather Events, Massive Midwest Flooding, Rising Oceans, Never-Before-Seen tornado and Hurricane Seasons.” “

To listen to my hysterical colleague, we are experiencing the last days of the Planet Krypton.  But the evidence simply does not bear this out.  Take the issue of hurricanes, for example.  Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was forced to admit in 2012: “There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration), after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.”

“Low confidence” is science-speak for “there is no evidence.”

“ … The world is adding 87 million people a year,”

Typical exaggeration on the part of the gloom and doom types.  The world actually added 81 million people in 2019.  Global population numbers may be somewhat inflated as well.  There is some evidence that China, for example, has overcounted its population by some 100 million people.

The more important fact is that fertility rates are falling worldwide, including in the United States, which long had the highest birth rates in the developed world.

Many countries are currently literally dying — filling more coffins than cradles — and many more will soon follow. Even populous China has one foot in the grave, demographically speaking, as its aging population begins dying off.  The population of the entire world will start shrinking shortly after mid-century.

“… A billion people have no access to fresh clean water,”

Another gross exaggeration.   According to the World Health Organization, since 1990 some 2.6 billion people have gained access to an “improved” drinking water source, that is to say, one that is designed to protect against contamination.  By 2015 the number of people who still drank water from unprotected sources had been reduced to 663 million, and that number has been reduced in the years since as global poverty is reduced.

At the same time, we are becoming far more efficient where the use of water is concerned, especially in agriculture. This in turn leaves more water available for basic human needs.

Notice what my Stanford colleague isn’t saying.  He’s not talking about famine, because hardly anyone starves to death any more.  He’s not talking about child mortality, because fewer and fewer children die in infancy.  And he’s not talking about disease, because such scourges as malaria, polio, and heart disease are all on the decline.

“… Energy resources are finite,”

Fossil fuels are theoretically finite, although we keep discovering new reserves, and more ways to extract existing ones, with each passing year.

Other sources of energy, however, are clearly not finite.  Environmentalists constantly hector us on the need to use wind and solar.  Leaving aside the difficulties of capturing such diffuse forms of energy, do they think that the wind will stop blowing, or the sun will stop shining?  And what about the virtually infinite amount of energy that can be generated by clean nuclear energy from fission or, one day soon, fusion?

My colleague can’t have it both ways.  Either energy resources are finite or they are not.  And they are not.

“… Minerals will definitely run out.”

This claim has definitely passed its “sell by” date.  It owes its origins to a book called The Limits to Growth published almost 50 years ago which asserted that the world would run out of silver, zinc, copper, mercury and–well, just about everything–by the year 2000.  Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrlich and others argued from this that radical population control programs were the only answer.

My friend Julian Simon disagreed, arguing that if any metal grew scarce human ingenuity would enable us to find substitutes.  After all, he noted, the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone.  He bet Ehrlich that any five metals that he (Ehrlich) picked would cost less—not more–in 1990 than they did in 1980.  Prices fell over the decade, as Simon had expected, and he won the bet hands down.  Ehrlich paid up, but not without taking a parting shot at Simon, saying “The one thing we’ll never run out of is imbeciles.”

I’ll let you judge for yourselves who the imbecile is in this equation, given that, thirty years further down the road, none of the metals Ehrlich picked has run out or even significantly risen in price.

Another happy but unheralded fact comes from MIT scientist Andrew McAfee, whose book More from Less documents how we are using less water, less land, and less metal to produce more food and more goods.  In other words, the future promises to be greener and more abundant without denying people the right to drive their own cars, own and heat their own homes–or have as many children as they want.

In fact, the anti-people crank who wrote me got things exactly backwards.  Our long-term problem is not going to be too many people, but too few people.

That’s the real “Progeny Calamity” and it is occurring right before our very eyes. Steven W.

Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order

Abortion Was the Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2019, Killing 42 Million People

STEVEN ERTELT, MICAIAH BILGER   DEC 31, 2019

More human beings died in abortions than any other cause of death in 2019, a new report indicates.

A heartbreaking reminder about the prevalence of abortion, statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were over 42.3 million abortions world-wide in 2019. The independent site collects data from governments and other reputable organizations and then reports the data, along with estimates and projections, based on those numbers.

When contrasting the abortion numbers to other causes of death, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, traffic accidents and suicide, abortions far outnumbered every other cause.

By contrast, 8.2 million people died from cancer in 2019, 5 million from smoking, 13 million from disease, and 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS. Deaths by malaria and alcohol are also recorded.

Worldometers estimates about 58.6 million deaths world-wide in 2019, but that number does not include unborn babies’ abortion deaths. Unborn babies are not recognized as human beings even though biology indicates that they are unique, living human beings from the moment of conception and they die brutal, violent deaths in abortions.

The abortion number is incomprehensible, but each of those 42 million abortions represents a living human being whose life was violently destroyed in their mother’s womb. Each unborn baby already had their own unique DNA, making them distinct from their mother. That DNA indicated if the child was a boy or girl, their eye and hair color, their height, possible genetic disorders and other disabilities, and much more. In most cases, the unborn babies’ hearts are beating when they are aborted, too.

In America, just under 1 million babies are aborted every year. Though abortion rates have been dropping in the past decade, abortion remains the leading cause of death in the United States as well.

An estimated 61 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade in 1973. In January, pro-life advocates will gather for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. to remember the anniversary of that infamous decision and call for restored protections for the unborn.

The Antidote to A Year of Confusion

By 

“To evangelize means: to show this path – to teach the art of living … This is why we are in need of a new evangelization – if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science – this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life – he who is the Gospel personified.” 

— Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Address to Catechists and Religion
Teachers, Jubilee of Catechists 2000

“Bewilderment” is perhaps the word that best sums up my feelings as I survey the events of the past year. If there is anything that is a constant in this world, it is change. And yet, it seems to me that 2019 was a year characterized by unusually rapid, seismic, and often-confusing change: political, social, and spiritual.

If there is any one issue that I would say sums up this reality of rapid change and pervasive confusion it would be transgenderism and gender ideology. Even though I have paid close attention to the progress of the Culture of Death for many years, I would never have guessed, even as little as two or three years ago, that the most radical forms of gender ideology would sink their teeth into our culture so deeply and as quickly as they have done.

Indeed, one could well argue that 2019 was the year of gender ideology. Every single day, it seemed, we were being asked to accept ever more bizarre and improbable claims: that biological men can become pregnant, for instance, or get a period; or that the right for biological males to compete in women’s sports is a fundamental “human right”; or that we should celebrate when allegedly “transgender” toddlers are trotted out in front the world’s media to show how tolerant and progressive their parents are.

Equally dismaying was the sight of so many ordinary people bowing their heads and accepting every new outrageous demand, regardless of the very real cost on our freedoms, our culture, and the happiness, health, and even lives of our youth.

The confusion of 2019 was hardly confined to the world of social progressivism, however. The world of politics seemed to many to be increasingly characterized by division, chaos, and extremism. It often seemed, for instance, that each of the Democratic presidential candidates was consciously striving to outdo one another in the extremism of their pro-abortion and anti-family positions. And I hardly need mention how the year ended with a vote to impeach our president, and the exposure of deep political divisions even within the Christian community.

Christ, Our Rock

Meanwhile, for many Catholics, 2019 was the year they realized that the confusion and corruption in Holy Mother Church goes deeper, and higher, than they had previously realized. For faithful Catholics this is, without doubt, the most discouraging source of confusion of all. As the culture has descended into moral chaos, we have relied upon the stability of Holy Mother Church as the one and only reliable refuge against the madness of our age. We counted on the Barque of Peter to carry us calmly across the heaving ocean of the Culture of Death, and the moral madness of our age. Now, however, it sometimes feels as if that Barque is taking on a dangerous amount of water.

At the end of 2019, then, this year characterized by such disorienting change, it is a good time to remind ourselves of certain fundamental truths, truths that can provide a stay against the confusion. The first of these is that Christ is and must be our rock, and that – whatever the temporary appearances – it is only in Christ, and in the Church that He founded that we can find the stability, peace and the salvation for which our hearts so yearn.

Recall the despair of the Apostles in the boat, as they crossed the Sea of Galilee in the storm. Christ was right there, in their midst. They could see His peacefully sleeping form. Their Lord, their Christ, the Son of God, the Word made flesh, their Savior, lay but an arm’s length away from them. What more could they have wanted? And yet their courage failed when they saw the storm and the waves. Despairing, they woke Christ, daring even to rebuke Him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”

The evangelist recounts: “And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Then Christ turned toward his apostles sadly, asking, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40)

“Why are you afraid?” Many of us right now might feel like the Apostles in that boat. Like the Apostles, the Church is carrying us amidst the waves and winds of a world gone mad. And yet, like the Apostles, we lose faith, we lose courage. The waves seem so large, the winds blow so fiercely, and the boat itself heaves and spins in the waves. And yet, all the while, Christ Himself is among us, His resting form quietly awaiting us within the tabernacle, ready to impart His peace and grace to our troubled souls, if only we would turn to Him and trust in His promises.

As I have said so often in this column, the answer to the Culture of Death and the confusions of our age does not lie in political or social activism, no matter how brilliant. Yes, we need brilliant and committed activists and political leaders. However, even more than this we need men and women of deep prayer, in whose hearts has been kindled the fire of Divine love. We need men and women who have drunk deeply of Christ’s loving presence, and who yearn to bring His love to all the world, beginning with their family, friends, and neighbors.

My New Year’s Wish

My dearest New Year’s wish is this: to see people, especially within the Christian fold, adopt this motto and to live by it: “Whatever happens to my brother or sister happens to me. Whatever affects my brother or sister affects me.” For, as Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

The greatest act of love that we can do for our neighbors is to bring to them the truth of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and His gift of salvation – to evangelize. If more people lived by this reality, our cultures would be radically different. Our problem is that most have been desensitized to the inalienable dignity of the human person. Therefore, we must first re-teach the inherent and immutable dignity of the human person, a dignity that was revealed to us in its fullness by Christ’s incarnation. If we do not understand our nature and dignity, we will make little to no progress.

The Culture of Death has been very successful in dehumanizing the human person and our concern for each other. By assaulting the family, it has unlinked us from each other and our obligations to each other. The Culture of Death has peddled its wares well in convincing people to reject long-held Judeo-Christian beliefs and moral doctrines. Moral relativism reigns. For most, their conscience is either numb or dead. And, “The supernatural,” says Cardinal Robert Sarah, “is swallowed up in the desert of the natural” (The Day is Now Far Spent).

We need to re-evangelize, starting within the Church. Ultimately, the solution to the current cultural and moral crisis is the pursuit of greater holiness. As our Enemy is sin itself, the easiest sins to do battle against are those festering in our own souls. As St. Francis of Assisi put it, “The soldier of Christ must begin with victory over himself.”

Christ in the House of His Parents – John Everett Millais

Victory over our sins is possible only once we have united our hearts with Christ, the “stone which the builder’s rejected” which “has become the cornerstone” of our whole lives. As Pope Benedict stated in 2010, “[A]t the root of all evangelization lies not a human plan of expansion, but rather the desire to share the inestimable gift that God has wished to give us, making us sharers in His own life” (Ubicumque et Semper, 2010). To build our lives on this rock is to protect ourselves against the winds of confusion and the storms of discouragement: “And the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25)

While many make New Year’s resolutions for superficial things, we should pledge, using all our abilities, to be more active in the pro-life and family movement. We need to stand in unity against the radical assault upon life, marriage, the family, and our children. We need to educate ourselves on the issues, get more involved in the political life of our country, support people in leadership who actively support our causes, and expose and confront those who are in opposition to our values. We need to be more sensitive to what is happening around us – i.e. anti-life and anti-traditional marriage legislation and policies, the indoctrination of perverse sex education programs and gender ideology, legalization and normalization of euthanasia, etc.

I say to you: Make perfect your will.

I say: take no thought of the harvest,

But only of proper sowing.

— T.S. Eliot – Choruses from the Rock

Even more importantly, since we are in a spiritual battle, we need to recommit to deeper spiritual lives. In this time of confusion and change, we need men and women who, as T.S. Eliot put it in the poem above, have made perfect their wills; who never give into the temptation of discouragement, but paying no need to the harvest – which is Christ’s business – put their hands to the plow in the sowing – which is our business. “For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’” (John 4:37)

We must lay all our trust in Christ, our rock. We must recommit ourselves to deep prayer, to frequent confession and reception of the Eucharist, to Eucharistic Adoration, to the family rosary, and to mortification of our passions. These are the weapons that the Church recommends to us, and that have served so many saints so well over the centuries.

As we begin this new year then, let us make concrete, achievable spiritual resolutions, which we can begin to put into practice immediately, and that will – if we adhere to them – carry us through the year ahead with the deep peace that only Christ can impart in our hearts.

 

Medical Textbook Confirms: “Human Development Begins at Fertilization”

PAUL STARK

A recent article by Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri ridicules pro-life advocates’ contention that unborn humans should not be treated like medical waste.

Referring to legislation that requires dignified treatment of the remains of human embryos and fetuses (whom Petri inaccurately calls “fertilized ova”), Petri writes: “Why such concern for these fertilizing spermatozoa, more than others? Those spermatozoa have passed into the beyond after making connections that elude millions of their brethren. Why honor them?”

She goes on to sarcastically suggest that if we have funerals for embryos and fetuses, then we should have funerals for sperm too:

State legislators, if you have such concern for the select few, remember the unfortunate millions! We must, of course, give honor above all to those who went to the halls of glory without glimpsing even a hint of an ovum. This is the least we owe those who lived in hope—and died—in states of single blessedness.

Satire can be powerful, but not when it’s founded on scientific illiteracy. Petri’s mistake is that she confuses human beings with human gametes. They are two very different things.

Pro-life people have no concern for “these fertilizing spermatozoa.” We do not wish to “honor them.” Pro-lifers have concern, rather, for the individuals who come to be upon fertilization. These individuals, as middle- and high-school biology students (hopefully) learn, are neither spermatozoa nor ova (both of which cease to exist when fertilization is successful). They are human organisms—members of the species Homo sapiens.

They are called zygotes at the one-cell stage, and then embryos (through eight weeks), fetuses (eight weeks until birth), infants, toddlers, adolescents, and adults as they develop themselves throughout life.

“Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, a zygote,” explain Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud in their embryology textbook The Developing Human. “This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

Human zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are human organisms. And since pro-life people think all human beings are important—they oppose discrimination on the basis of age, appearance, or ability—they care about the treatment of these unborn children.

Spermatozoa, by contrast, are not human organisms. They are gametes (reproductive cells with only 23 chromosomes), which are parts of the parent. They don’t develop as human beings—because that’s not what they are. Their purpose is to unite with an egg and thereby cease to be. That’s why we would never think to have funerals for them. A sperm isn’t one of us. It’s just a sperm.

Petri is far from alone in conflating living individuals with mere parts of living individuals (either gametes or somatic cells). But sound ethics requires sound science. Before we can know how to treat unborn children, we must know what they really are.

What are human embryos and fetuses? They are human beings. Science tells us so.

LifeNews.com Note: Paul Stark is a member of the staff of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a statewide pro-life group.

Could the Pill Literally Be Shrinking Your Brain?

https://press.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/14_pr_target.cfm?id=2136

 

CHICAGO — Researchers studying the brain found that women taking oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, had significantly smaller hypothalamus volume, compared to women not taking the pill, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., FACR

Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., FACR

Located at the base of the brain above the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus produces hormones and helps regulate essential bodily functions including body temperature, mood, appetite, sex drive, sleep cycles and heart rate.

Structural effects of sex hormones, including oral contraceptive pills, on the human hypothalamus have never been reported, according to the researchers. This may be in part because validated methods to quantitatively analyze MRI exams of the hypothalamus have not been available.

“There is a lack of research on the effects of oral contraceptives on this small but essential part of the living human brain,” said Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., FACR, professor of radiology at the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and medical director of MRI Services at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “We validated methods for assessing the volume of the hypothalamus and confirm, for the first time, that current oral contraceptive pill usage is associated with smaller hypothalamic volume.”

Oral contraceptives are among the most popular forms of birth control and are also used to treat a host of conditions, including irregular menstruation, cramps, acne, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. According to a 2018 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, from 2015 to 2017 approximately 47 million women aged 15–49 in the U.S. reported current use of contraceptives. Of those, 12.6% used the pill.

In his study, Dr. Lipton and colleagues recruited a group of 50 healthy women, including 21 women who were taking oral contraceptives. All 50 women underwent brain MRI, and a validated approach was used to measure hypothalamic volume.

“We found a dramatic difference in the size of the brain structures between women who were taking oral contraceptives and those who were not,” Dr. Lipton said. “This initial study shows a strong association and should motivate further investigation into the effects of oral contraceptives on brain structure and their potential impact on brain function.”

Other findings from the study, which Dr. Lipton described as “preliminary,” were that smaller hypothalamic volume was also associated with greater anger and showed a strong correlation with depressive symptoms. However, the study found no significant correlation between hypothalamic volume and cognitive performance.

Co-authors are Ke Xun Chen, M.D., Sandie Worley, B.S., Henry J. Foster, B.S., David Edasery, M.D., Shima Roknsharifi, M.D., and Chloe Ifrah, B.A. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and by The Dana Foundation.

Note: Copies of RSNA 2019 news releases and electronic images will be available online at RSNA.org/press19 beginning Monday, Nov. 25.

RSNA is an association of over 53,400 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists, promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)

Editor’s note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the published abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA Newsroom at 1-312-791-6610.

For patient-friendly information on brain MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

Out of the blue, a Christmas miracle: A son

By Doug Mainwaring

December 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-six Christmases ago – our ninth together as man and wife – my wife, Valerie, and I experienced an unexpected miracle.

After discovering we were infertile early in our marriage, we had employed the help of doctors to the extent our consciences would allow, and when that proved unfruitful we quickly and happily went to work with an adoption agency. A few years and thousands of dollars later, amid soul-crushing disappointment, we reluctantly gave up our hope of ever having children.

We resigned ourselves to childlessness and tried to find comfort in the possibility of a lifetime of increased disposable income, of travel and other little luxuries. Over the next few years we put the thought of raising a family out of our minds. Or at least, we tried to.

Then something extraordinary happened.

Four days before Christmas, shortly after I had arrived home from work, the phone rang. On the other end of the line was a neighbor who explained that her sister was a foster parent for newborns, and that she was caring for a two-day-old baby boy who might be a difficult placement because he was biracial.

“I understand this might be a door you don’t want to re-open,” she said, “but I thought I should let you know. Are you interested?”

A bit dazed by the call, I thanked her and hung up the phone. My mind raced. Did I really want to risk tearing the scab off this deep wound, knowing that this could be another heartbreaking dead end?

I said a quick prayer, and when my wife walked in the door I suggested we go out for dinner at our favorite restaurant.

Halfway through our second glasses of wine – amid the Christmas decorations and carols softly playing in the background – I told her about the phone call and popped the question.

Over the next few days it was wonderful to witness the pure joy, peace, and hope return to my wife’s soul after having steeled herself against the pain of childlessness. Our celebration of the birth of the Christ Child that year took on new meaning as we at last could enter into the joy and anticipation of Mary and Joseph in a way we that we hadn’t been privy to previously.

Although it took a while to undergo another home study, Michael came to us just before Easter and, in a sense, resurrected our lives. For us, Michael was and always will be a miracle.

Then nearly two years later, another equally extraordinary event occurred.

A few days after submitting the paperwork to the same agency seeking to adopt a second child, the phone again rang. It was the head of the agency. I naturally assumed she was simply calling to acknowledge receipt of our application. I was wrong.

“Mr. Mainwaring, you’re not going to believe this but Michael’s birth mom just contacted us. She is eight months pregnant by the same man and they both want you and Valerie to have the child.”

Goosebumps popped up all over my arms and legs. At that moment I knew I was witnessing – and in the middle of – another miracle, a perfect answer to prayer that went beyond our wildest dreams, something that would never even have occurred to us to ask for.

Just a few weeks later, we brought home Christopher. He, too, is and always will be a miracle.

I’ll never forget that Christmas week a quarter of a century ago, when out of the blue God showed His love toward us after we had given up hope.

When we were completely unable to give each other a child, and every path had been blocked, God displayed his munificence toward us. Not once, but twice.

 

Christmas’ Gift and the Dignity of the Human Person

Among G.K. Chesterton’s many brilliant aphorisms is the following: “There is a law written in the darkest of the Books of Life, and it is this: If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.”

Chesterton was a great lover of Christmas and wrote numerous poems and essays celebrating this most mystical and poetical of Christian feasts. I have no doubt that he would have agreed with me when I say that Christmas tops the list of those things that many of us have seen countless times, and yet have never truly seen.

Let us consider the barest, historical facts of the matter: God, Whose name is “I AM,” Who created all things, Whom heaven and earth cannot contain, lowered Himself by assuming a human body and sharing in the nature of one of His creatures. He was born as a helpless baby to an unknown and uncelebrated peasant woman, amidst the humblest beasts of burden in a stable in a backwater town belonging to a little-known people, who at the time lay crushed under the thumb of foreign conquerors.

And for what? To live 30 years in near-complete anonymity, engaged in the humblest manual labor, after which He spent a mere three years as a poor, itinerant preacher, a career that was brought to an ignoble and abrupt end through the betrayal of one His closest associates, who handed Him over to a brutal death by one of the most painful and humiliating forms of execution ever devised by man.

These are the barebone historical facts. And if we profess the Christian faith, but are not eternally astonished that such things could ever have happened, it is most likely because we have seen these facts 999 times, and yet have not seen them.

But now, let us go beyond the barebone historical facts. Let us turn our attention towards the meaning of these historical facts. We can do no better than to quote John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God loved the world. He loved the human race! He loved us so much, that He saw fit to become one of us, and, by subjecting Himself to scorn, humiliation, and suffering, to offer us the opportunity to partake of His own life in a state of perfect, loving communion with Him for all eternity. He came, that is, to offer us the gift of salvation.

In his Christmas message in 1959, Pope St. John XXIII marveled at what this fact of Divine condescension says about the dignity of the human race, and every individual human being. “He ‘loved me and gave himself up for me.’ Thus spoke St. Paul to the Galatians (Gal. 2:20). And if God has loved man to such a degree, that indicates that man is of interest to Him and that the human person has an absolute right to be respected.

Artist: Gerard van Honthorst – The Childhood of Christ

God’s coming to earth in human flesh was and is the greatest affirmation that, whatever the mysteries, messiness, sufferings, and sins that mar human existence in our fallen state, every single human life is endowed with infinite value and dignity, a dignity beyond telling. There is not one among us who is not infinitely precious in God’s sight.

The Rise of Anti-Human Pessimism

It may seem a very curious thing to reference a rather bleak scene from the movie The Matrix in a column about Christmas. But bear with me, and I think you will understand. The scene comes towards the end of the movie, when the villain – Agent Smith – is interrogating the character Morpheus. Morpheus is a leading figure in the last, desperate resistance against the reign of super-intelligent machines, who are ruthlessly exploiting humans to fuel their dystopian society.

Agent Smith, who is himself a super-intelligent computer program, muses on what he has learned about the human race. Contrary to every other mammal on the planet, he says, human beings seem incapable of developing an “equilibrium” with the environment. “You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area,” he says. “There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.”

Humans are a “plague,” a “virus,” a “disease” and a “cancer”. Where have we heard these sentiments of late? The brilliance of this scene is that it speaks directly to a deep-seated self-loathing that has plagued the human race for as long as humans have pondered the meaning of their existence. It is also a form of radical self-doubt and pessimism that is making a resurgence right now in the form of militant atheism, hedonism, nihilism, and anti-humanism.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the philosophy of a South African philosopher named David Benetar. Benetar preaches “anti-natalism.” He argues that not only is human life intrinsically meaningless, but that it is essentially harmful, since to live is to suffer, and to suffer is to undergo pain for no reason. For this reason, Benetar thinks it is a moral evil to bring other human beings into the world.

In one way it is remarkable that Benetar’s philosophy should have gained such an audience and such a foothold in a time of unprecedented wealth and comfort, where the sufferings that have long beset human existence have been so dramatically reduced by near-miraculous scientific advancements and growth in wealth. On the other hand, it is not remarkable at all: for we live in an age that has turned our backs on the Gospel message, with the inevitable consequence that we have lost sight of the dignity of the human person.

Child rescued from “baby dumping” in Kenya

And, as Chesterton predicted, the moment we lost sight of the dignity of human existence, we lost sight of the need to respect human rights. How else can we explain the bloody revolutions and genocides in the atheistic regimes of the 20th century, and the growing comfort with eugenics, abortion, and euthanasia in the increasingly secular and apathetic West? As Pope St. John XXIII said in the same Christmas message quoted above: “The disturbances which unsettle the internal peace of nations trace their origins chiefly to this source: that man has been treated almost exclusively as a machine, a piece of merchandise, a worthless cog in some great machine or a mere productive unit.”

The Need for Christmas

Compare the anti-natalist philosophy of Benetar, to the gorgeous ruminations of St. Peter Chrysologus, who spoke so eloquently about Christ’s incarnation and human dignity, and whose writings make an appearance in the Roman breviary around this time of year. I strongly encourage you to read this beautiful quotation in full:

…Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? Why render yourself such dishonor when you are honored by him? Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not this entire visible universe made for your dwelling? It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, the moon, and the stars.

The earth was adorned with flowers, groves, and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in his image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth; he has made you his legate, so that the vast empire of the world might have the Lord’s representative. Then in his mercy God assumed what he made in you; he wanted now to be truly manifest in man, just as he had wished to be revealed in man as in an image. Now he would be in reality what he had submitted to be in symbol.

And so Christ is born that by his birth he might restore our nature. He became a child, was fed, and grew that he might inaugurate the one perfect age to remain for ever as he had created it. He supports man that man might no longer fall. And the creature he had formed of earth he now makes heavenly; and what he had endowed with a human soul he now vivifies to become a heavenly spirit. In this way he fully raised man to God, and left in him neither sin, nor death, nor travail, nor pain, nor anything earthly, with the grace of our Lord Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever, for all the ages of eternity.

Christ, by taking on human flesh and a human nature, has permanently elevated human existence. As St. Pope John Paul II did not tire of repeating: “Christ reveals man to himself.” Christ was God, but also man. And as the perfect, sinless man, He has revealed the heights of dignity for which every human being was intended, and to which he is called. As the Second Vatican Council puts it:

Human nature, by the very fact that it was assumed, not absorbed, in [Christ], has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare. For, by his Incarnation, he, the son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin…

This is marvelous truth contained in the familiar story of Christmas. It may well be we have seen it nine-hundred and ninety-nine times. But let us pray for the grace, this Christmas, to see it for the thousandth time. To really see it. And then let us put our hands to the plow and respond to Christ’s call to preach this Good News to the four corners of the globe.

 

Pro-life mom creates children’s book to teach kids to be pro-life

December 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – At pro-life presentations across North America, audience members often ask me how to bring the subject of abortion up with children. After all, when parents are participating in pro-life activism or attending pro-life events, it is perfectly natural for a child to wonder what, exactly, it means to be “pro-life” in the first place. And considering that pro-life is anti-abortion and abortion is an act of violence perpetrated against a child, parents can understandably be unsure of how to approach the subject.

Enter Bethany Bomberger, a mom of four with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Family Studies and a Master’s Degree in Education from Regent University who has taught in both public and private schools. Bomberger is also a pro-life activist, working alongside her husband Ryan (who shared his story on my podcast earlier this year) at The Radiance Foundation, a “life-affirming organization that is rooted in the belief that we are all created in God’s image and have undeniable purpose.”

Drawing from these three wells of experience: Mom, educator, and pro-life activist, Bomberger has written an extraordinary book titled Pro-Life Kids! Paired with engaging and adorable illustrations by Ed Koehler, Bomberger’s book walks gently through the pro-life worldview, introducing a difficult subject in an age-appropriate way reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss book: “Pro-life means for life, We’re cheering for you. Your life is important. There’s only one you.”

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Page of ‘Pro-Life Kids!’

From the facts of life before birth to the reality that many deny these facts (“Sadly, there are those who don’t understand…that life has purpose, whether planned or unplanned”), Bomberger manages to cover virtually everything, from the denial of personhood to what abortion actually is. Her description is simple, sad, and age-appropriate: “Abortion is when, some say it’s okay, to take that baby’s, precious life away.” Pro-life people, on the other hand, fight for all life, no matter what age or size.

To emphasize that the pro-life movement follows in the footsteps of other great social reform movements, Bomberger explains that people have always stood up for those who were denied their rights, comparing the civil rights marchers (there is a very clever illustration of the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge) to the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

The book ends with a call to action, emphasizing that even if you are young, you can be empowered to do something:

We are Pro-Life Kids
so dreams come alive.
We are Pro-Life Kids
so our future survives.

Bomberger ends with a personal note and a list of “Ten Ways You Can Show You’re a Pro-Life Kid,” including options like praying that abortion will end, attending a pro-life event, and going to the March for Life. Following this are stories of “real pro-life kids” to inspire and empower kids who may think they are too young to do something for the pro-life cause.

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Page of ‘Pro-Life Kids!’

The book has been so popular that its first run is already sold out.

“The response to our book has been overwhelming!!! We actually sold out of our first run of books! Thousands more arrive on Monday, Dec 16th!,” Bomberger wrote on the book’s website.

I was thrilled to see this book published because it fills a much-needed void. In today’s culture, parents are searching for age-appropriate ways of educating their children on difficult social issues, and Bomberger has written the book that many of us have wanted for a long time. I’ve already read it to my little daughter, and she loved the story (Ed Koehler’s illustrations certainly helped with that.)

Pro-lifers must also keep in mind that according to data sets from across North America, many young people lose their pro-life convictions once they enter university. In some places, the numbers are staggeringly high. One of the reasons for this is that we are not doing an effective enough job of teaching our children our beliefs and passing on our convictions. One reason for this is that parents do not know how to broach these difficult issues, and thus often hope that their views will be passed on by osmosis. This is wishful thinking, and more often than not, their children embrace a different worldview.

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Page of ‘Pro-Life Kids!’

Bethany Bomberger’s book removes parental excuses, and I heartily recommend Pro-Life Kids! to each and every one of you. It makes the perfect Christmas present.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Gianna Jessen, a well known abortion survivor and pro-life advocate. Ms. Jessen has been mentioned in speeches by President George W Bush. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster have said that her story could impact the abortion debate. Jessen survived a saline abortion and now uses her story to show people what an abortion. “I am alive. Just by the miraculous power of Christ.”

Antinatalism and the Culture of Death

By 

In chapter one of the first book of the Bible, we find a remarkable, even revolutionary statement – indeed, a series of such statements.

At the end of each day, after God has put the finishing touches on one more part of His creation, He pauses to survey His handiwork. And, the Bible says each time, “He saw that it was good.” The water and dry land are “good.” The stars and the sun and the moon are “good.” The birds of the air, and all the animals and fish are “good.”

On the sixth day, God creates human beings. “In the image of God, He created them,” says Genesis. And after God has blessed them, He commands them to “be fruitful and multiply.” And then, with this crown jewel of His creation completed, He steps back and takes in the whole of His cosmos. The first chapter of Genesis concludes: “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

You may be wondering, “What is so remarkable or revolutionary about this? Surely, there is nothing so very groundbreaking in the idea that God is good, and that everything He has made is good. This is Theology 101!”

In reality, however, the idea that everything we see around us – above our fellow human beings – is in some deep, metaphysical, unshakeable sense “good,” is simply not self-evident. Quite the contrary. There have existed and do exist many human beings, and many philosophical and religious systems, that insist that material things are evil through and through, that human beings are a blight upon the earth, and that life itself, far from being “good,” is a curse, and that the one truly “good” thing would be the extinction of our consciousness, or the melting of that consciousness into a state of oblivion.

St. Augustine, for instance, before his conversion to Catholicism, famously believed in Manicheism. Manicheism is but one of countless “dualistic” philosophical systems, a form of Gnosticism, that proclaimed that matter was created by an evil deity whose power rivaled that of God. God Himself, the creator of a “spiritual” world, had no part whatsoever in material creation. The whole point of life was to escape matter and the body.

The Return of Pagan Despair

Certain pagan creeds advocated a worldview far more bleak even than Manicheism. The idea that life itself is evil is captured most famously and pungently in a line in the play Oedipus at Colonus by the Greek tragedian Sophocles. In that line, the chorus declares: “Never to have been born is best. Everyone knows that, and a close second, once you have appeared in this life, is a quick return, as soon as you can, to where you came from.”

This is dark stuff.

But, is also a sentiment that is making a comeback. Indeed, South African philosopher David Benetar turned to Sophocles when searching for the title of his book outlining the case for his philosophy, called “antinatalism.” The subtitle of the book is, “The Harm of Coming into Existence.”

Antinatalism is not a subtle theory. It is precisely what it proclaims itself to be: a philosophical theory that argues that human existence is essentially and irredeemably an evil thing. Benetar does not hesitate to draw out the logical consequences of this theory. If life is evil, then it is immoral to give life to another human being – that is, to have children.

The Guardian pithily summarizes Benetar’s ideas in a recent article about the growth of antinatalism, writing:

The basic tenet of antinatalism is simple but, for most of us, profoundly counterintuitive: that life, even under the best of circumstances, is not a gift or a miracle, but rather a harm and an imposition. According to this logic, the question of whether to have a child is not just a personal choice but an ethical one – and the correct answer is always no.

Though we might be inclined to dismiss Benetar as a fringe lunatic, the first thing to note is that he is currently the head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town. More importantly, his ideas are gaining traction.

A sub-forum on the social media site Reddit dedicated to antinatalism currently has some 45,000 followers. Earlier this year, antinatalism got a big publicity boost after Raphael Samuel, an Indian man, sued his parents for giving him life. Though the lawsuit was in some respects merely symbolic – he was asking for a tiny sum of money – Samuel was deadly serious. “It was not our decision to be born,” he told the BBC. “Human existence is totally pointless.”

Forms of antinatalism have also embedded themselves deeply in contemporary environmentalism. More and more we are hearing A-list celebrities declare that there is a moral duty not to bring any more human beings into the world. Their views may not be as bleak as Benetar’s. They may not, for instance, believe that human life is intrinsically evil, as such, but only evil insofar as it harms the planet. But clearly, the ideas are closely related. And many philosophical antinatalists are also (unsurprisingly) environmental extremists.

Christian Hope and the Meaning of Life

It’s quite natural for many of us to recoil in horror from Benetar’s theories. And yet, the first thing I want to point out is that there is a perverse logic to his worldview. Benetar is quite right to point to the fact that human life, even in the best of cases, is suffused with suffering. Further, in the end, all of us will have to face the dark and terrifying mystery of death. In the face of these hard facts, there is cause for our courage to fail.

Even in the Judeo-Christian worldview, we find this bleak strain of thought. Psalm 84 refers to this world as a “vale of tears,” and that phrase has been picked up by countless saints and spiritual writers. At the end of every rosary we pray the Salve Regina, which describes Christians as crying out to the Blessed Mother, “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” Christianity and Benetar see eye to eye in acknowledging this: life can be difficult and full of suffering.

But where the antinatalists and Benetar radically depart from Christians is on the place and the meaning they give to suffering.

For Benetar and the antinatalists, suffering is the final word. Life is suffering and death. Full stop. For Christians, suffering and death are but one part of life, and by far the least important part. For Christians, human beings are not destined for death. Quite the contrary: God intended for every human being to spend all of eternity with Himenjoying the greatest happiness conceivable. Perfect happiness. Happiness without even the hint of suffering. And though suffering and death entered the world through sin, human beings still have the option to attain to the high dignity for which God intended them. Death, therefore, far from being the final word, is merely a footnote. It is but one step on the path to the fullness of life.

The noble purpose of human existence is summarized by Pope St. John Paul II at the very beginning of his encyclical Evangelium Vitae. There he writes:

Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. Life in time, in fact, is the fundamental condition, the initial stage and an integral part of the entire unified process of human existence. It is a process which, unexpectedly and undeservedly, is enlightened by the promise and renewed by the gift of divine life, which will reach its full realization in eternity (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2).

It is this supernatural calling, says the saintly pope, “which highlights the relative character of each individual’s earthly life. After all, life on earth is not an ‘ultimate’ but a ‘penultimate’ reality.”

“The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering…” ~JP II

Remove a human being’s supernatural destiny from the picture, and “antinatalism” may well be the most logical conclusion. But place all of the suffering and pain of our earthly existence against the background of our eternal supernatural destiny, and suffering and death fade from view. Indeed, not only are suffering and death no longer the final word, but they become integrated into our great destiny. Seen with the supernatural eyes of Christian revelation, suffering and death take on a whole new meaning, and can be seen as one of the means by which we attain eternal life. Suffering embraced can be the means by which we are purged of our selfishness and sinfulness and rendered fit for eternal life with God.

Antinatalism feeds upon the despair that comes when human life is flattened. If this life is all there is, then the prevalence of suffering leads inevitably to despair. And this despair is what the Culture of Death is built upon. Viewed at with the eyes of faith, however, it is the deep joys present even in this life that are seen to be the only truly real things. Viewed this way, life is indeed seen as the great and wonderful gift that it is, and the bringing of new life into this world as an astonishing miracle.

Over two decades ago, journalist Andrew Coyne, responding to the case of Robert Latimer, who murdered his daughter Traci because she had cerebral palsy, wrote the following prophetic words: “A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.”

Prophetic, I say, because since Coyne wrote these words, the perverse mentality that he described has only grown in prevalence. More and more jurisdictions have legalized so-called “mercy killing.” Increasingly, even those suffering from mental illnesses are being deemed candidates for euthanasia and assisted suicide. No longer are we to find the meaning in suffering, or to peer through the façade of suffering to discover the inherent dignity of human life.

The Culture of Death feeds upon the despair that gives rise to the philosophy of antinatalism. Without God, antinatalism is the logical outcome. This is why I continuously hammer home the reality that it is not sufficient to fight the Culture of Death through political or social activism. The Culture of Death has a spiritual origin. And if we are to fight back and win, then we must fight with spiritual weapons.

We must return to the first chapter of Genesis. God created all things and all things are good. The antinatalists are fatally wrong. Life, indeed, is a great gift and a miracle. This is the good news of the Gospel of Life. In our efforts to fight abortion, euthanasia, and all the self-destructive tendencies of our Culture of Death, we must continuously strive to preach this Good News.

 

 

Studies Show Abortion Pill is Dangerous for Women: 24 Women Have Died, Thousands Injured

MICAIAH BILGER

Abortion activists are pushing to de-regulate abortion drugs at the expense of women’s safety and unborn babies’ lives.

Research published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons this winter indicates that drug-induced abortions have a complication rate four times higher than surgical abortions.

“Physicians who seek to advocate for their female patients’ best interests should become aware that medical abortion results in complications far more often than its proponents acknowledge,” wrote Dr. Ingrid Skop, M.D., a San Antonio obstetrician.

Skop said abortion providers are encouraging women to choose drug-induced abortions, which involve a combination of the drugs mifepristone (Mifeprex or RU486) and misoprostol (Cytotec). They are used to abort unborn babies up to 10 weeks of pregnancy in America.

Currently, about 39 percent of abortions in the U.S. are drug-induced, according to Skop’s research.

Though safety regulations require that a doctor prescribe the drugs, the abortion industry sometimes skirts the requirement by using webcams to remotely dispense them. The method is cheaper for the abortion industry, but women never actually see a doctor in person before taking the drugs.

According to the research, risks include ruptured ectopic pregnancies, hemorrhage, infection and retained pregnancy tissue, which require surgery in as many as one in 20 women. The FDA reports at least 24 women have died along with their unborn babies from the drugs, and thousands more have been injured. In total, the number of adverse events from 2000 to 2018 is now 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections), with a total of 4,195 adverse events reported, according to the FDA.

Abortion activists claim the drugs are very safe, but Skop said the little research on their safety is “heavily biased.” She said only 28 states require abortion facilities to report complications.

“Vocal abortion advocates are aggressively using the court systems and pro-choice media sources to advocate for removal of safety restrictions on abortions,” Skop wrote. “They have also begun to advocate for illegal use of mifepristone and misoprostol when restrictions are in place, despite the demonstrated increase in adverse events that occur when these medications are used without close medical supervision.”

This includes lobbying for mail-order abortion drugs, telemedicine and abortions performed by non-physicians. California recently mandated that the abortion drugs be provided on all public college campuses, and the New York legislature is considering a similar proposal.

Meanwhile, Democrat presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg recently said they would allow the abortion drugs to be sold over the counter.

The ACLU also is suing the FDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a case that could force every pharmacy in America to dispense abortion drugs.

De-regulating abortion drugs also would make women and their unborn babies more vulnerable to abuse. Already, LifeNews has reported on several cases of forced abortions or abortion attempts by men who did not want their partners to have the baby.

Last week, police arrested a California man for allegedly forcing his girlfriend at gunpoint to take abortion drugs to kill their unborn child.

In 2018, a Virginia doctor was convicted of spiking his pregnant girlfriend’s drink with an abortion drug, killing their unborn baby.

In the fall, the pro-abortion news site Mother Jones reported on a similar incident. According to the report, federal authorities caught a New York City woman selling abortion drugs online after a Wisconsin man allegedly bought drugs from her and then secretly slipped them into a pregnant woman’s drink. Both the man and the seller are facing charges.

Skop concluded her report by urging doctors to be aware of the biased information coming out of the abortion industry and to consider their patients’ safety.

The deadly dance of perfectionism: how the rhetoric of family planning hurts children

Susan Martin

As a child, I never knew exactly what my dad did, but I knew that his office was the first place where I had ever seen anatomical pink and magenta models of the uterus and the embryo. I remember sitting with my mother in our family station wagon and looking up into the exotic jungle of scarlet bougainvillea that pressed against the glass of his beautiful corner office, displaying its deeply ridged flowers, just like the pink plastic model.

My father and I used to race each other up the stairs of the Population Center, and I remember the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest as I reached the last step before he did. I would triumphantly turn around and wait for his brown shoes and white cotton socks to appear on the top step before jumping out so that he could pretend to be surprised.

Beating my father up the stairs confirmed my feeling that someone wanted me. I was strong and fast, and thus worthy of my father’s love. (Later, this would develop into a mania for long-distance running and endurance training.)

“Wantedness” was originally a term coined to describe a mother’s attitude toward the birth of a child. Sociologists decided that the degree to which a birth was wanted could be measured by accounting for less than perfect timing, less than perfect finances, or simply emotional hesitancy on the part of the mother.

Yet its wider applications had more to do with phenomenology than with science. It could describe a person’s value in the social economy and the environmental factors limiting that value.

As I grew older, moved out, went to college, and began a career, my father would return periodically to the question of wantedness. He would ask me if I was content with my life’s circumstances, my partner or boyfriend, and so forth. It was his way of measuring my happiness.

He taught me that there was nothing more important than arranging your life in such a way as to create a balance between your “wantedness” and the events of your life. It was essential to make careful choices in order to achieve the outcomes you wanted. Yet, to me, it seemed even more important to make the right choices to ensure that I would continue to be wanted by others. At any of life’s crossroads, I might slip into a state of “unwantedness” simply by making the wrong decision.

Where family planning stated that educated reproductive choices resulted in better families, the unspoken assumption was that educated sexual choices would help separate sex from reproduction. As a child, I concluded that the “right” behaviors were those that resulted in being continually wanted by my parents, and then by friends and peers. Surprisingly enough, the result of being exposed to wantedness was not conformism, but a rigid perfectionism based on achievement.

My conclusions were shared by a whole generation of women and men who could only prove self-worth through professional achievement. As adults, we switched academic institutions and professional specializations frequently, and did not let ourselves be taken in by marriage or even by long-term professional commitments. Being depressed or heartbroken was just the price of having a career.

The unspoken promise that was embedded in perfectionism was that the political system would eventually reward high-achieving people by having our sexuality set free from the conditions of biology through advances in contraceptive technology—a promise especially aimed at women academics: do everything right, and the political system will make sure that sex stayed far away from sexual reproduction.

The Gospel of public health

I grew up within the emerging culture of population studies and maternal and child health. My father, J. Richard Udry, and his colleagues sought to bring the new science of fertility measurement to third-world countries, thereby preventing an imagined population explosion of unwanted births. Behind the new science of population studies, however, lay the old science of eugenics.

North Carolina, like many other southern states, still had sterilization programs in place until the mid-nineteen-seventies. Politically and culturally liberal social scientists reframed eugenics in updated language, emphasizing the need to give women control over their fertility and then rewarding them if they made decisions to have fewer children.

In the fairy tale world of public health, no mother would ever again have a baby and then suffer with feelings of guilt or regret, and no child or teenager would ever again feel pressured into gender roles that didn’t suit his or her deepest inclinations. Potential fathers would voluntarily register for sterilization rather than produce children in less than ideal environments or prevent their wives from pursuing educational and financial opportunities. All this would come about by discipling communities in the new science of family planning.

The gospel of public health said that women’s desire to have children and nurture the young could be modified through education. Educating the mother of the household about contraceptives would result automatically in smaller families, because that’s what “everyone wanted.” Public health continuously projected the image of reproductive progress: a perfectible male and a perfectible female to go along with a perfectible human family, shorn of excesses to fit into a modern world.

One of the target geographical areas for the new science of fertility control was southeast Asia, and Thailand in particular. As the Population Center’s funding grew, it began to attract large numbers of students from Thailand and India. On Friday nights, graduate students from Thailand would gather at our house to play table tennis and talk shop in the basement. Part of the idea of these get-togethers was to introduce the graduate students to American academic culture and to model the benefits of family planning and fertility control.

The family was presented not just as a procreative and biological unit, but as an aesthetic and social one. The symmetrical ideal was a family of four, and this “family planning pyramid” began to appear everywhere on posters and flyers related to family health. As one part of a two-child family, my sister and I were supposed to model this ideal—the lower the number of children, the more likely it is that the individual child will be intelligent, gifted, and nurtured. I felt this pressure keenly. To be loved and wanted, and to do my part to spread the gospel, I knew that I had to play my part perfectly.

A dangerous dance

In his work, my dad made numerous trips to Bangkok. Once, he brought me a little dancing golden prince from Thailand, with crescent shoes and a hat shaped like a little, upside-down golden cup. He danced with one arm up and one arm down, standing on the end of one of his long, pointed shoes.

In spite of his placid expression, the prince’s dance looked very difficult. If he moved too quickly to one side or the other, the pagoda hat might slide off. If he did not stand correctly, his shoes would surely bend, and he would stumble to the ground. To me, negotiating friendships felt like the dance of the Thai prince: my ankles ached and my arms throbbed, but I didn’t dare stop proving that I was worthy of being wanted.

One day, in the fourth grade, we learned a polka in which we had to change partners. I was so upset at the thought of my best friend dancing with someone else that I walked up to the new girl and kicked her sharply in the shins. Any time I was rejected in a friendship, I interpreted it as a final judgment on my worth as a human being. Any time I attempted a new undertaking, it had to be perfect. I already knew that I had to continually win my parents’ approval and attention to continue to be “wanted.” It was only natural that the same should apply to my other relationships.

When I was ten years old, my father’s sister died after an overdose of sleeping pills. My parents told me it was because “she could not control her own fertility.” I did not know if they meant that she had suffered through an unplanned pregnancy and abortion, or if my four cousins were just too much for her. In any case, I concluded that motherhood had gotten in the way of what my aunt really wanted: fewer children.

Clearly, “being in control” was very important. I must learn to do it very well, for if I failed, I might pay with my life. The prospect that losing control over fertility could so quickly lead to lethal “unwantedness” made the idea of having a family very dangerous. Since I was female and soon to enter puberty, it seemed to make me dangerous, too.

The gospel of family planning was not only preached in Southeast Asia. It was also taught to us at school. “Health class” now meant “sex” class, and sexual experimentation seemed to be the only acceptable way to become a healthy person. I was taught to apply the new philosophy of sexual freedom to constructing myself.

Any conclusions based on biological clues as to my sex were to be ignored on the grounds that they were too conservative and would constrain me to follow traditional gender roles. All conclusions based on my individual gifts, inclinations, and predispositions were to be evaluated according to the social standard of progress, and I was rewarded for making decisions that went counter to my own biological sex.

Well into college and graduate school, my perfectionistic quest to be wanted corroded my soul, mind, and body. There were now so many conditions being placed on what could make me desirable—as a student, as a potential mate, or as an employee—that I couldn’t win. I could no longer reliably know how to make myself desirable in the eyes of the world. It was better, I decided, to work on fulfilling my own wants and desires.

The fear I had developed about friendships in grade school turned into a tendency to verbally tear down other women who dared to challenge my fragile ego. Sarcasm had been the daily catechism in our house—a form of verbal warfare in which science always won. Contempt was heaped on those of differing political, cultural, or intellectual views. Even as an adult, these lessons lingered. I had a pathological need to prove that I was smart by putting others down—a practice that has sadly become a standard feature of social science.

The language of “wantedness” hurts children—and adults

Today, we are living in a society where the ideals of family planning that were envisioned in the seventies have largely been realized. The way couples talk about family size and fertility in casual settings has been so touched by “the magic wand of family planning” that we imagine there is one-hundred-percent correspondence between an imagined number of births and the shape of the families we have.

Not only family size, but the sex and genetic makeup of a birth are subject to the rubric of “wantedness.”

Even when people talk about their personal fertility, no one questions the logic of “wanted vs. unwanted births.” Yet when this kind of rhetoric permeates a society, the first thing to go is the capacity to form and sustain long-term relationships of the kind that hold the family together, like marriage. The decision to have children ceases to be something that people plan for by becoming married. Instead, it is viewed as extraneous to marriage as an institution.

The effects of the family planning rhetoric of the 1970s changed a generation. One can hear the echoes in the way we talk about the family today. Classifying human beings as “wanted” and “unwanted” has insidious and enduring effects. Instead of family bonds, it creates groups of human beings who have to prove they are worthy of life before receiving it.

For my generation of late baby-boomers, we were not so much career-driven as driven to achieve in any area. We delayed child-rearing, and opted for long-distance relationships that lasted only until the next academic opportunity arose. Instead of being resilient, we were unable to endure conflict and were crushed under criticism, a disease that ruined collegial cooperation and stifled academic discourse. Our assumptions could not be criticized, and any challenge had to be met with total resistance.

The ideology behind the perfect family was not nearly as pretty as the sterile plastic models of the womb looked. The beautiful pink and magenta models of the womb in the big, sunny office never became what they should have become: life. The ideology said that families would be improved when sex was kept far from birth, and that when a relationship or a person was no longer wanted, one simply did away with it, setting it aside to die like one of my father’s potted plants.

Over time, anatomical models became frightening to me, because they never changed—the embryos were always suspended, never complete. The plants in the office window continued to fascinate me though, especially the “Crown of Thorns,” a tangled tree that forced scarlet flowers up through wooden thorns. Messy, tangled, and uncontrolled, it was a survivor, a desert tree, that continued to produce life even in old age.

Susan Martin writes about gender, fertility and memory from the perspective of a non-Jewish person walking on the soil where the killing of millions of Jewish people took place. She studies the boundaries between historical record and the recording of memory in the body as it influences current cultural issues of gender identity. This article has been republished, with permission, from Public Discourse.

Doctors Pressured Mom Have Abortion at 38 Weeks Because Hector Has Down Syndrome, She Refused

MICAIAH BILGER

A British mother decided to speak out publicly after watching the medical community discriminate against her unborn son because he has Down syndrome.

Speaking with The Sun, Cheryl Bilsborrow, of Lancashire, England, said prenatal testing is fueling increased discrimination against unborn babies with disabilities.

Parents often feel pressured to consider abortion after a Down syndrome diagnosis. In Bilsborrow’s case, she said she repeatedly was asked if she wanted an abortion, including when she was 38 weeks pregnant.

“Never!” she replied, but they kept asking.

Today, her son Hector is a happy, affectionate 2-year-old. His mother said he loves to sing, and he is beginning to talk.

“He’s got beautiful white hair and blue eyes, and he is always smiling and laughing, blowing kisses and coming for hugs,” Bilsborrow said. “But when I was pregnant I was made to feel like his life would have no value and that I should abort him. Why? Because he has Down’s Syndrome.”

New research from 26 hospitals in England found a 30 percent drop in the number of babies born with Down syndrome since the NIPT prenatal test became widely available. All NHS hospitals are supposed to begin offering the test soon, according to the report.

Bilsborrow described the situation as a “national travesty.”

She said she agreed to have the screening test done “without much thought.” When the results came back, however, they were a huge shock, and the so-called options counseling did not help.

“Each time I went back for my midwife appointments over the pregnancy, they spoke to me about the possibility of abortion,” Bilsborrow said. “There was no offer of counselling, no discussion about how my life might be enhanced by this baby.”

Though she was extremely worried and anxious about her child, she repeatedly refused to abort him.

Yet, “abort and get rid seemed to be the only answer” that she was given.

“What if the midwife had phoned me and said: ‘Please don’t be alarmed. You’re having a baby with Down’s syndrome. We can offer you some counseling and help you meet a family with a child with Down’s syndrome so you can learn more,’” she said. “Instead, they made out it was the worst news in the world.”

Bilsborrow said families deserve better.

“Now, having had Hector, I know there was nothing to be frightened of,” she said. “But the joys of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome aren’t spoken about when the NIPT test results first come back.

“It spoke volumes to me about the perception of children with Down’s syndrome,” she continued.

In England, abortions are legal up to birth for babies with Down syndrome and other prenatal diagnoses. Bilsborrow believes the expansion of prenatal testing would be “disastrous” for babies like her son because there is so much stigma about people with the disability.

“So given babies like my son can live perfectly happy, normal lives, why are millions of pounds are being spent on Down’s Syndrome screening each year – which in turn encourages mothers to abort their unborn children?” she asked.

Down syndrome discrimination is a problem across the world. Several years ago, CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the United Kingdom and 67 percent in the United States between 1995 and 2011, according to CBS.

A number of American states have passed laws to ban discrimination against unborn babies with Down syndrome, but many are blocked by legal challenges from the abortion industry.

The Pill and Stress: How Hormonal Contraception Might Make it Harder for You to Cope

by Grace Stark

The Pill and Stress: How Hormonal Contraception Might Make it Harder for You to Cope

Did you know that the Pill affects how we process stress? Sometimes this is viewed as a positive since research shows women on hormonal contraception do not exhibit the body’s classic response to stress (i.e., elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, courtesy of HPA-axis signaling) in stressful situations. But this aspect of the Pill isn’t all positive; unfortunately, it can lead women to feel out of touch with healthy stressors, and it can also lead to chronic stress.

Hormonal birth control disrupts healthy stress processing

While at first glance it may seem that the Pill’s disruption of stress responses would lead to less stress—which sounds good—the problem is that hormonal contraceptives disrupt our bodies’ normal way of processing stress, even good stress. As a matter of fact, there is such a thing as healthy stress. The stress response is our body’s way of letting us know that something significant is happening and helping us react accordingly. Some stress is normal (in fact, needed) to help us live meaningful, interesting, lives—and to make a quick getaway in dicey situations. That’s why a healthy person will exhibit increased cortisol in dangerous or exciting situations, but will also experience a drop in cortisol once the precipitating event has passed.

But what happens if your body doesn’t experience that drop—if the stress response is always on? This is what is known as chronic stress, and it’s when stress becomes chronic that it causes all sorts of negative effects, such as depression and anxiety, memory and concentration impairment, weight gain, and headaches. Unfortunately, the bulk of the research on stress and hormonal contraception indicates that the bodies of women on hormonal contraception seem to react to stress similarly to bodies under chronic stress.

Women’s bodies on hormonal contraception mimic bodies under chronic stress

In her new book, This is Your Brain on Birth ControlDr. Sarah E. Hill discusses the effects of hormonal contraception on women’s stress response, describing how current research indicates that the HPA-axes of women on the Pill appear to be in “shutdown mode”:

“The Pill-taking women’s pattern of HPA-axis function looks suspiciously similar to that of someone who has experienced chronic stress, suggesting that the Pill might actually cause the HPA axis to go into overdrive, requiring it to take coordinated action to blunt itself.”

It is perhaps this self-shutdown of the HPA-axis that negatively affects a woman’s body on birth control from being able to effectively cope with stress, paving the way for all sorts of other issues associated with hormonal contraception, like depression and anxiety.

Further, Hill points out, “despite the fact that too-much cortisol signaling can increase women’s risk of brain-volume loss, serious depression, and certain health problems, no one really knows why this happens, how it unfolds, or whether it is reversible.”

No one knows the full effects of birth control on the brain

I think Hill’s finding above is so disturbing I had to put it in bold. Certainly, more research and awareness in this area is needed. But, for now, we can keep sharing articles like these, so women can grow in the knowledge of how their birth control may be affecting their health.

So, what does this mean for you if you’re on the Pill, or thinking about going on it? It’s hard to say, as the research into the relationship between hormonal contraception and its effects on the stress response is fairly preliminary, and because the Pill (and different formulations of hormonal contraception) seem to affect different women in different ways. But if potentially throwing your body’s response to stress way out of whack sounds like a gamble you’d rather not take, then rest assured that there are other options available that will keep your brain and body intact while still allowing you to effectively postpone pregnancy. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) are science-backed, effective, natural forms of family planning that rival and sometimes exceed the effectiveness of the Pill.

To benefit from the high, research-backed effectiveness rates of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, begin by connecting with a trained FABM instructor. You can expect to find life-changing knowledge in a judgment-free zone, and begin a journey toward greater wellness and better-informed health decisions. And best of all, you can say goodbye to days of chronic stress.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pro-life Movement

Fr. Frank Pavone

https://www.priestsforlife.org/articles/2791-our-lady-of-guadalupe-and-the-pro-life-movement

A Surprising Image

If you are involved in the pro-life movement for any length of time, you will encounter the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are many connections between this particular image of Our Lady and the pro-life cause.

On December 12, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian named Juan Diego and requested that a shrine be built and dedicated to her on the Hill of Tepeyac. Juan Diego, upon reporting this event to the bishop, was disappointed because the bishop didn’t seem to believe him. Juan returned to the place of the apparition where Our Lady again appeared. She told him to return the next morning when she would give him a sign that would convince the bishop of the truth of her appearance and her request.

The following morning Our Lady told Juan to go to the top of the hill and gather Castilian roses that he would find there. Although he knew that only cactus grew there, he obeyed, and his simple faith was rewarded by the sight of beautiful roses growing where she had told him they would be. He gathered them and showed them to Our Lady who rearranged them for him. Juan returned to the bishop. As he opened his tilma (a type of pancho), the roses fell to the floor. All who were present were startled to see an image of Our Lady on the tilma. Today this image is still preserved on Juan Diego’s tilma, which hangs over the main altar in the basilica at the foot of Tepeyac Hill just outside of Mexico City. In the image, Our Lady is pregnant, carrying the Son of God in her womb. Her head is bowed in homage, indicating that she is not the Goddess, but rather the one who bears and at the same time worships the one true God. Many articles have been written on dozens of other theological lessons drawn from the details of the image.

When asked who the lady was, Juan replied in his Aztec dialect, “Te Coatlaxopeuh,” which means “she who crush the stone serpent.” His answer recalls Gen. 3:15 and the depictions of Mary as the Immaculate Conception, her heel on the serpent’s head. The devil exalts himself above God and above God’s law (see Isaiah 14:12-15), whereas Mary submits to God (see Luke 1:38). Some promote abortion as a “choice.” Self-will is exalted. We reject abortion because we, like Mary, submit all our choices to God. That spirit of obedience crushes evil and sin. Our Lady’s image reminds us to live in that obedience each day.

Human Sacrifice Then and Now

Some nine million Aztecs were converted to Christ by the power of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At that time, the Aztec peoples were practicing human sacrifice. As a result of the image’s presence among the people, their hearts were converted to the true God and the practice of human sacrifice was abolished. A key theological dynamic operating here is that Our Lady turned the Aztecs from a worldview of despair to one of hope, from a conviction that the gods were against them to a conviction that God was so much for them that He became one of them.

We can listen to stories of Aztecs cutting out their victims’ hearts or placing their heads on poles and say, “Oh, how terrible that was!” But America is not doing any better, as the hearts and heads of innocent babies are destroyed by abortion! The image is therefore being used again to change the hearts of our people.

A Theology of Despair

The Aztects had a complicated mythology-theology. The universe for them was essentially unstable, and in that universe humans played a very small role. This view led to pessimism, and a fear that they needed to always appease the deities. Their view was that the present world was the “Fifth world,” made by the “Feathered Serpent.” The previous four worlds had been destroyed by gods who turned people into monkeys or dogs. The present world, they thought, would be destroyed by an earthquake, as a result of which skeleton creatures would come out of the ground to destroy the surviving inhabitants of earth.

This is a theology of despair. Whatever moral aversion they may have had to human sacrifice, their despair made them feel they had no choice but to practice it.

The dynamics behind abortion are essentially the same. While there may not be a mythology of feathered serpents and skeletons, there is real despair. People do not get abortions because of “freedom of choice”; they get them because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. They feel trapped, abandoned, desperate, and afraid. The thousands of case-studies that Priests for Life has collected from post-abortive women are permeated by the theme expressed by the woman who said, “My friends told me I had no other option. The clinic did not offer me any alternative, and I was almost crying out for one.” As author Frederica Mathewes-Green has said, a woman does not choose an abortion like she chooses a Porsche or an ice-cream — rather, she chooses it like an animal caught in a trap chooses to gnaw off its own leg. Her experience is that she either chooses to end the life of this baby, or her own life will end. “I cannot handle it, I can’t do it, nobody will support me, it’s impossible.”

The rationalizations offered for abortion are also full of despair for the child. “Why bring a child into this world, into these circumstances, where he/she will have to suffer so much?”

From Despair to Hope

How does the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe answer the theology of despair, both for the Aztecs and for the Americas?

Our Lady is carrying God within her womb. The God of the Universe has now become a human being. No longer is there any question as to whether God is on our side. He is not a God who will destroy us; He is a God who has become our brother. He is not a God far away who waits to be appeased by blood. He is a God who shares our own flesh and blood, and is as close to the human family as an unborn child to his mother.

In this framework, human beings no longer play a small part in the universe. On the contrary, as the Second Vatican Council proclaimed, “By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22). The result of that is the promise of Revelation 3:21, “I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne.”

The universe into which Our Lady of Guadalupe invites us is no longer an unstable universe. God clearly reveals Himself as the only God, who is and shares both love and life. This truth brings hope. There is no longer need for human sacrifice, whether on pagan altars or in abortion clinics, because both the present and the future are in the hands of a God who is “God with us.”

The Image and the Pro-life Movement

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which converted the Aztecs has been replicated and travels the United States on an explicit mission to end abortion. It is carried into Churches and it is brought in front of abortion clinics nationwide. I have been with the image many times in these settings. In one instance in Florida, a Catholic girl who was already in the clinic’s waiting room looked outside and saw us praying, and decided to cancel her abortion. She came out to talk to us. We arranged for all the assistance she needed, and later that year I had the joy of baptizing her baby, whom she named “Guadalupe.”

The image speaks to these girls a message of hope. It also speaks to the pro-life people a message about the task before us. We who fight abortion do not see abortion walking down the street. Instead, we see a girl, frightened and in the grip of despair. We, the Church, are to reach out to her in what is the most critical pastoral mission of our day.

That mission is illustrated by the Annunciation and the Visitation. When Mary is told she will be the Mother of Christ, she does not get wrapped up in herself, thinking about what has just been said and isolating herself from others in order to absorb some unique spiritual experience. Rather, she seems to pay more attention to what Gabriel said about Elisabeth, Mary’s cousin, that about Mary! She runs in haste into the hill country and tends to Elisabeth’s needs during her pregnancy. The message for us is that authentic religious experience and true worship never turn us in on ourselves. Rather, the more real our encounter is with God, the more attentive and responsive we are to the needs of our brothers and sisters.

Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the “Patroness of the Unborn.” They will be saved by the message of hope she brings, and by the message of concrete charity with which she challenges the Church. Among the many and varied groups that carry out this pro-life mission, one of special note in this context is “Indians for Life.” The outreach department of the National Right to Life Committee, as well as Priests for Life, have fostered and encouraged the growth of this yet small organization, coordinated by Clementine “Little Hawk” Hernandez. Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., has been among the strong supporters of this effort, which gives concrete expression to the reverence of Native Americans for the gift of life.

Conclusion: For the little ones, for us

When Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, she addressed him as “Juanito” (signifying the weakest or smallest member of the family), and as “Son”, and spoke of herself as both his “Mother” and the “Mother of the One, True living God.” All of this indicates another reason why Our Lady of Guadalupe should be entrusted with the unborn.

Today she addresses to us who defend life the same words she addressed to Juan Diego:

“Hear and let it penetrate your hearts, my dear little ones. Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you; let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Do not fear vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?”

 

Halfway Through the Abortion, Jessica Changed Her Mind and Saved This Adorable Baby

LISA BOURNE

After falling into despair following the start of a chemical abortion last year, Jessica pursued abortion pill reversal, and she is now the mother to five-month-old-baby Arya, who brings joy to her life.

“I’m really happy that I was able to reverse the abortion and that she is part of my life,” she said of her baby girl. “I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

Mindful of those who didn’t have this same chance, she is speaking up about her experience in hopes that others can learn about Abortion Pill Reversal.

“There are other women who didn’t have that option,” Jessica told Pregnancy Help News.

She had just begun her first year of nursing school when found out she was pregnant with her second child. Jessica’s three-year-old son had just been diagnosed with autism, and she’d also left her spouse, citing problems with drug and alcohol, and his mental and emotional abuse.

Jessica recalled discovering that she was pregnant, finding herself out of breath walking up the hill to her car after class, which was strange.

After running to the store, purchasing and taking three pregnancy tests, which all turned positive, she was then on her bathroom floor sobbing.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Jessica said. “I went back and forth from wanting to keep my baby, to trying to focus on the life I already struggled with at times.”

She thought about being a single mother, now with two children, her son’s diagnosis and her trying to finish school, all without support from her children’s father.

“It was really hard on me,” Jessica recalled.

After an ultrasound in October of last year confirmed she was six weeks pregnant, she continued to mull over her situation while discussing options with her doctor.

“I really was unsure of my decision; part of me wanted to focus on my new goals in life and another part of me wanted to keep this precious baby,” she said. “It was later on that day that I decided I would take the first abortion pill.”

Jessica said she immediately began to cry after she took the abortion pill.

“I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot staring, not knowing what I had just done,” she said.

It was Thanksgiving weekend in Ontario, and she was driving to her mother’s house the following day, crying through the entire drive.

“I felt horrible,” Jessica stated. “How could I want to abort my beautiful baby? … The life that was growing inside of me…”

“I was so upset with my decision that I didn’t want to live anymore,” she told Pregnancy Help News. “Then I thought about my three-year-old son, and that I can’t not want to live because I have another child.”

Jessica continued to sob with regret after arriving at her mother’s home and talking with mom.

Her mother suggested that there might be some way to reverse the chemical abortion process, and Jessica began searching on the internet, coming across the website abortionpillreversal.com.

She spoke with a helpline consultant, who told her that a nurse would call her back.

The consultant was very supportive, Jessica said, reassuring her that she would do everything she could to help her.

The few minutes waiting for word on the next steps were the longest of her life, said Jessica, “I just kept thinking, “Please, I hope someone can help me, can help my beautiful baby.”

When the Abortion Pill Rescue Network nurse called her back, Jessica said she was so polite and helped reassure her that she was not alone in this situation.

“She gave me all the information that I needed and called local hospitals,” said Jessica, to determine whether they knew the APR protocol.

She estimates that it was about 30 hours after taking the abortion pill that she started her progesterone treatment.

The chemical abortion process consists of two pills; the first, mifepristone blocks the effects of progesterone, the natural hormone in a pregnant mother’s body necessary for her pregnancy to thrive. The abortion drug causes the uterine lining to break down and the placenta to begin to fail, thus starving the baby of oxygen and nutrients.

The second chemical, misoprostol, taken one to two days later, completes the chemical abortion, by causing the mother to deliver her deceased baby.

The Abortion Pill Reversal protocol works by giving the mother extra progesterone up to 72 hours after she takes the first chemical abortion drug. The treatment has the best chance for success when begun within 24 hours.

Jessica was followed closely by doctors throughout her pregnancy and had numerous ultrasounds. She continued to worry about her daughter even after completing the progesterone treatment at 18 weeks, but carried her baby to full term, delivering her one day after her due date.

“My daughter Arya Alexandria is the most amazing gift,” Jessica beamed. “I call her my miracle baby.”

Arya was born perfectly healthy, she said, and is very happy, sleeping a lot, and getting along well with her son.

“I’m just really happy that this worked out,” Jessica told Pregnancy Help News. “She brings a lot of joy to my life and also to my son’s life.”

She said she’ll be forever grateful to have found the APR website and receive treatment as soon as she could.

Jessica hopes for more women to find help and support in these situations. And she believes everyone should be educated on the Abortion Pill Reversal process “because it truly is an amazing thing.”

“So many babies have been saved by this process, and by saving babies you could also be saving a mom,” she said.

“There are other options if you do take the abortion pill,” said Jessica. “That one option (APR) really changed my outlook on things. It gave me hope.”

Pregnancy Help News is a project of Heartbeat International, which manages the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a 24/7-365 provider network of more than 800 clinicians that provide the APR protocol.

LifeNews Note: Lisa Bourne is Managing Editor of Pregnancy Help News and Content Writer for Heartbeat International. This originally appeared at Pregnancy Help News.

Tragic: 21-year-old woman dies from side effects of NuvaRing birth control

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Another young woman has died as a result of hormonal birth control.

Alexzandria “Ally” Givens died in July, two days before her 21st birthday, after collapsing when she got out of bed to use the bathroom, according to Fox 17. Her boyfriend, Eli Richards, called 911. Then he called Ally’s parents.

Carla Givens, Ally’s mother, told Fox 17 that Ally hadn’t been feeling well the night before. While she was unable to describe exactly what was wrong, Ally had complained of pain in her neck and shoulder as well as her leg during her time using the NuvaRing. No one realized it was connected to the birth control. When her parents received the call that she had collapsed, they rushed to her side.

“It was a worst nightmare phone call you’d ever get in your life,” Carla Givens explained. “We got it and we rushed out of bed and went to his house and when we got there, the door was open and she was laying there and they were trying to revive her and they couldn’t.”

The medical examiner determined that Ally had died of pulmonary embolisms caused by blood clots that had formed as a result of the NuvaRing, listing “History of Exogenous Hormone Use” in the official report.

Carla Givens told Fox 17 that while she believes Ally’s doctor told her what risks are involved in taking hormonal birth control like the NuvaRing, she doesn’t think the doctor explained how those side effects present themselves. So while Ally may have been made aware that blood clots could develop when using NuvaRing, she wasn’t told what the actual signs and symptoms would be.

Many women aren’t made aware of the full list of side effects that accompany hormonal birth control and even if they are warned about them, these serious side effects are often played down by medical professionals as being rare and unimportant. However, when a woman dies, it shines a light on just how vital it is for women to know exactly what they’re getting into when they choose to use hormonal birth control.

The Givens family won’t be suing Merck, the manufacturer of the NuvaRing, for Ally’s death, but they are asking that they stop selling the product altogether.

“I just want it off the shelf,” said Carla Givens. “I don’t want another girl to die from it and have those parents feel like I do.”

But it isn’t just the NuvaRing that can kill women. All hormonal birth control comes with major concerns for women’s health including an increased risk of depression and suicide, heart attack and stroke, breast cancer and cervical cancer, infertility, blood clots, and death. In fact, research shows that up to 400 women a year die as a result of taking hormonal birth control. Pulmonary embolisms and strokes have always been rare in young adults; however, as reported by The Federalist, once birth control hit the market, the number of young people experiencing cardiovascular problems such as these increased.

College student Hope Johnson died in 2014 from a pulmonary embolism linked to birth control, and her family was recently awarded $9 million in a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against Auburn Urgent Care in Alabama. After a blood test found that Hope was at a high risk of developing blood clots, the results weren’t properly filed and she was given birth control known to cause blood clots anyway. Despite a few trips to the ER for help, her condition was not properly diagnosed, and she died about a month after she began taking birth control.

Twenty-year-old Alexandra Williams died in 2018 after collapsing in her parents’ driveway. She had been suffering from back pain that doctors failed to recognize as a sign of blood clots in her lungs. She had been on hormonal birth control pills for nine months, which Planned Parenthood had prescribed. According to The Federalist, Alex was not made completely aware of the side effects and health risks that come with hormonal birth control, and her doctors failed to properly diagnose her once symptoms began.

Women are suffering from the effects of birth control, yet major media outlets and doctors are ignoring the facts. Birth control is failing women and girls, yet the school systems bring Planned Parenthood into their buildings to dole it out to children. How many women are going to be sacrificed at the altar of the sexual revolution?

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Pro-Life Mission

By Fr Paul Schenck

I offer an analogy for the pro-life mission. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary did for the understanding of Christian doctrine what the pro-life movement does for the understanding of human dignity. The Immaculate Conception endows Mary with Redemption, salvation and holiness, her eternal worth, rights and personhood “from the first moment of… conception.”

HARRISBURG, PA. (Catholic online) – The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the Feast we celebrate on December 8th in this way: “To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

 “Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” “The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.

The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”. (Eph. 1:3,4) “The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”. By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.” (CCC #490-493) 

What comes to mind as I reflect on this beautiful Feast is a vital analogy I offer to the Pro-Life movement to help in the mission. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary did for the understanding of Christian doctrine what the pro-life movement does for the understanding of human dignity.

The Immaculate Conception endows Mary with Redemption, salvation and holiness, her eternal worth, rights and personhood ” from the first moment of conception.” Let me explain the analogy.  By withholding the recognition of personhood from the unborn child, the Supreme Court in Roe V Wade, made the human child in the womb a worthless blob waiting for value and meaning to be conferred upon her at some later time. That judgment would be made by others, all of whom would be less noble, certainly more sinful than she.

The personhood of the unborn child is the most compelling moral issue of our time. It is so precisely because it defines who is a human being – and who a human being is. We all know that we must treat each and every human being with the ultimate respect and never deem any person “disposable.”

Genocide, homicide, and murder must never be condoned because it unjustifiably destroys a human being. The reason the unborn child is at the very essence of the question of human dignity, human rights and protection is that, if it is unknown who is a human being, then how can human rights be defined and protected? If any human being can be deprived of the right to life, then all human beings can be deprived of life. It is no longer possible to avoid the question of when a human begins – too much is at stake. We must end the debate and resolve that each and every human being is a person – and that person begins in their first moment of conception.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception teaches that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her Conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.” The Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary lists three Scripture passages that imply the Immaculate Conception: Genesis 3:15, Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42. The Genesis passage points to Mary as the Mother of the Redeemer who bears and brings to birth the one who will reverse the curse of Adam and Eve.

In this respect, she was the New Eve. The first Eve’s disobedience brought death, the Second Eve’s fiat brought life. Luke tells us that Mary was full of Grace. For the Church throughout the ages this meant that she possesses every aspect of God’s Grace, all the moral and theological virtues, all the extraordinary gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. And Luke says that she was blessed among women. The Church embraces Mary as unique and unrepeatable. Among women she is singular. As daughter, virgin, wife and mother, she is the supreme example of woman and the fulfillment of every woman’s aspirations.

The Immaculate Conception teaches us that everything that Mary would become she already was in the first moment of her conception.” Mary was not less than Mary before her birth. She possessed, albeit in a hidden way, all the Grace and spiritual attributes granted her by the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer, from the first moment of her conception. What does this teach us about ourselves? That we possess our full potential – our full personhood – from the first moment of our conception. There is no one reading this article today who was not who you are now ever since the very first moment of your conception.

Let me try that again: Everyone of you has always been who you are today. You have grown in knowledge, experience, and even faith – but you have never been anyone but yourself, you have never been anyone other than you, you have never, ever been anything less than a unique, unrepeatable, human person. The Immaculate Conception demonstrates that God created each one of us with a unique purpose and plan for our lives, and that plan began the first moment of our conception.

+ Hail Mary, full of Grace.  —– Fr. Paul Schenck, a Priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA., is the founding Director of the National Pro-Life Center (NPLC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Center gives the Justices of the Supreme Court, their high-level staff, members of the federal judiciary, members of the US Senate and other public policymakers the information, education, and inspiration they need to better form their consciences so they will make better decisions. He is a Champion of the Pro-Life movement.

 

Birth control pill shrinks part of brain that controls sex drive: research

Top scientists found that women taking the contraceptive pill have a significantly smaller hypothalamus – a brain region responsible for regulating hormones.

Damage to the hypothalamus can wreak havoc with a women’s sex drive, mood,  appetite, heart rate and sleep cycles.

The shocking revelation comes following a study, presented at the annual meeting of Radiological Society of North America, that examined 50 women – 21 of whom were using the Pill.

All 50 women underwent a brain scan, and doctors measured the size of the hypothalamus of each participant.

And doctors were stunned to discover the difference in brain structures in women taking the Pill compared to those who weren’t.

Impact on brain function

Dr Michael Lipton, professor of radiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said: “We found a dramatic difference in the size of the brain structures between women who were taking oral contraceptives and those who were not.

“This initial study shows a strong association and should motivate further investigation into the effects of oral contraceptives on brain structure and their potential impact on brain function.”

Dr Lipton also found a strong correlation between smaller hypothalamic volume and greater anger and depressive symptoms.

Despite this, he said that this finding was currently “preliminary”.

This is the first time structural effects of sex hormones, including oral contraceptive pills, on the human hypothalamus have been reported, according to the researchers.

It comes after it was revealed the Pill can dictate who you fall in love with and significantly lower your sex drive.

Top psychologist Dr Sarah Hill revealed that it affects “sex, attraction, stress, hunger, eating patterns, emotion regulation, friendships, aggression, mood, learning, and so many other things”.

She said women on the Pill are attracted to less masculine men and are less interested in sex.

That’s because the hormone progesterone, which sends a message to the body that ovulation is not required, is dominant throughout your cycle.

She said: “Rather than experiencing an increased preference for sexy men at high fertility like naturally cycling women do, Pill-taking women exhibit an unwavering preference for men with less masculine faces and voices.

“This is the sort preferred by naturally cycling women during the second half of their cycles, when progesterone is high.”

Other side effects…

Earlier this year, experts warned that one million women could be taking the wrong contraceptive pill – and could be suffering nasty side effects in silence.

Common side effects of the contraceptive pill include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of libido
  • Missed periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Breast tenderness
  • Spotting between periods

Doctors estimate three million women are plagued by nasty side effects of their contraception.

Pro-life mom beats world record for fastest half-marathon while pushing baby stroller

Martin M. Barillas

TULSA, Oklahoma, December 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life mother accomplished a world record for fastest half-marathon while pushing her baby daughter in a stroller. This happened despite race officials’ objections to the pro-life messaging she and her teammates put forth during the race.

Julia Webb (36) won the Route 66 women’s half marathon in Tulsa on Sunday, setting a world record while she pushed her 10-month-old daughter, Gabriella, in a stroller. Wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed, “Remember the unborn,” she came in at 1:21:24, according to race organizers. The official results are pending ratification from the Guinness Book of Records.

Fox News reported that Julia said, “I have just felt called to run my whole life.” She added, “This is what I was made for. Especially as a mom of three kids, I need some me-time…everything that it entails, I just absolutely love it.” Saying that she enjoys competition, Julia said that decided to combine running and motherhood by running with her children in a stroller.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, she said that in 2016, she clocked a similar time, pushing her daughter Jonni is stroller, but did not have video evidence to prove it as required by Guinness.

Both Julia and her husband Alan Webb are active with LIFE Runners, the largest pro-life running group in the world. LIFE Runners has over 13,000 Christian runners in 39 countries all over the world who raise money and draw attention to the pro-life cause. During the summer, Julia trained with fellow LIFE Runners for the race on Sunday. “They were a big reason I was able to break the record this season,” she said. LIFE Runners founder Dr. Patrick Castle said in an interview with LifeSiteNews that running for the pro-life cause gave Julia the extra push she needed to accomplish her record run.

A pro-life advocate, Julia wore her blue LIFE Runners t-shirt bearing the words “Remember the unborn” as she ran to victory. She is currently preparing to run marathon trials this February in Atlanta in order to qualify for the next Olympic Games. LIFE Runner and husband Alan is an athlete,too, and famed for having set the unbeaten American record in the mile (3:46.91). Both Julia and Alan are devout Catholics.

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

In a Facebook post, Julia wrote:

The decision to join Life Runners was not easy. For most of my life I never wanted to stand up for anything. I wanted to be agreeable with everyone and everything, offending as little people as possible … 2016 my husband had a conversion and has challenged me on every level ever since.

I realized I was most of the time ashamed of Christ and His Church. I was embarrassed to be ‘out there’. Also I have always been Pro Life but I was terrified to take a public stand against abortion. I just wanted to be accepted and having approval feels good.

Respect to all beliefs but I feel called to be a witness to Christ. There are days I am dragging and want to hide behind a Nike logo but it’s time for me to be uncomfortable. Standing up for the littlest in society matters. Anyone else brave enough to join?

In a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews, Julia credited LIFE Runners at the Tulsa race for helping her achieve her record. “There was so much charity and love and support for families,” she said, on the part of LIFE Runners at the race. She said she arrived fatigued and somewhat dispirited to the race. But the enthusiasm and warmth of her teammates buoyed her energy level. Before the race, she felt that the Holy Spirit was at work in her, lending the confidence she needed to make the win.

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

Having joined LIFE Runners earlier this year has not been without a cost, she said in the interview. Pro-abortion acquaintances and fellow runners have criticized her for wearing the LIFE Runner t-shirt and have questioned her motivations.

Julia told Fox News that she wants to see LIFE Runners movement continue to grow, adding, “… if it can save one woman from getting an abortion it will be worth it.” In a separate statement, she wrote: “When I am competing for LIFE Runners it is for a cause much greater than myself and this is the extra I need to achieve big goals.”

In a statement, LIFE Runners founder Dr. Castle, a nano-analytical chemist and pro-life advocate, declared, “Julia set that world record in a LIFE Runners jersey supported by her 13,857 teammates in 39 nations.” He added that more than 100 fellow Christian LIFE Runners were on hand to cheer her on at Route 66 Marathon events.

In an email, Castle wrote that 35% of LIFE Runners in 50 chapters are age 22 and younger. For example, Baby Gabriella Webb wore a LIFE Runner onesie under her parka during the race.

Race officials squelch free speech

In an extensive interview with LifeSiteNews, Dr. Castle said some race officials objected to LIFE Runners’ use of pro-life messaging on t-shirts, their team booth, and banners. He said Route 66 Marathon executive director Destiny Green told him on the sidelines of the race, “Stay in the confines of your booth.” Dr. Castle said Green gestured to a line in front of the team’s table as the boundary that should not be crossed. When he pointed out that the booths of other teams exceeded their assigned space, Green responded: “But you have an agenda.” He pointed out to her that other teams also had an agenda, which included pushing handicapped people in jogging carts to make them feel part of the race.

In another instance of apparent prejudice, Dr. Castle said a race official called on the LIFE Runners, “Lose the jackets!” in reference to the blue jackets that bear the team logo and messaging.

Other race officials also expressed objections to the LIFE Runners’ pro-life messaging. For example, a race director told Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois to remove the LIFE Runners’ “political banner from the start area.” Paprocki refused, telling the official: “We have a First Amendment right to be here with this message.” The race official retorted, “I don’t care if you are a bishop!” Dr. Castle, who was also on hand, responded that they would move only if asked by the local police. No police subsequently asked for the removal of the messaging.

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

Bishop Paprocki ran a half-marathon on Sunday. Forthrightly pro-life, Paprocki issued a statement earlier this year telling Catholic politicians who have affirmed pro-abortion legislation that they should not present themselves for Holy Communion.

Undaunted by opposition, LIFE Runners are planning to participate in the November 6–7, 2020 marathon and half-marathon in Indianapolis, in addition to their annual relay run that crisscrosses the country.

Another Reason to Oppose Abortion: Marriage and Pregnancy Reduce Crime

STAR PARKER

There’s a general assumption in public policy discourse that economic policy and social policy are separate universes.

When economic policy is the topic, we think about taxes, government spending, business, jobs, etc. When social policy is the topic, we think about marriage, family, children, abortion, etc.

But, in reality, the line between economic policy and social policy is ambiguous, if it exists at all.

In recent years, for instance, family structure has gotten increasing attention as an important factor to consider in policy discussions about poverty.

Now we have a new academic paper by economists—Maxim Massenkoff and Evan Rose, both doctoral candidates in economics at the University of California, Berkeley—that makes it even clearer that what we generally think of as social policy can fall into the realm of economic analysis.

The paper—”Family Formation and Crime”—examines the connection between the incidence of pregnancy, childbirth, and marriage, and the incidence of crime.

The conclusion, in the words of the authors: “Our event-study analysis indicates that pregnancy triggers sharp declines in crime rivaling any known intervention. For mothers, criminal offending drops precipitously in the first few months of pregnancy, stabilizing at half of pre-pregnancy levels three years after the birth. Men show a smaller, but still important 25 percent decline beginning at the onset of pregnancy, although domestic violence arrests spike for fathers immediately after birth.”

Marriage, according to the authors, “is a stopping point, marking the completion of a roughly 50 percent decline in offending for both men and women.”

The analysis, again per the authors, is “by far the largest such study ever conducted in the United States.” They tapped information on over a million births and, using data in the state of Washington, matched records on “criminal offenses, births, marriages, and divorces.”

George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok discusses the work on his enormously popular blog Marginal Revolution.

Tabarrok notes his own research on crime deterrence, which shows that in the case of three-strikes laws, the prospect of an additional 20 years to life imprisonment reduced criminal recidivism by 17%. Compared with this, notes Tabarrok, “the effect of pregnancy is astoundingly large.”

Of course, demonstrating statistical correlation and explaining why the occurrences correlate are different things. Why is incidence of pregnancy followed by significant drops in criminal activity in both women and men?

What is it about birth and marriage that contributes significantly to reducing crime?

Tabarrok conjectures it’s about “socializing and civilizing both men and women.”

I would speculate that it is similar to why, when a pregnant woman sees an ultrasound image of the child developing within her, she is less likely to abort that child.

It’s a wake-up call to the awe and mystery of life, which produces a sense of meaning and personal responsibility.

It follows that we ought to be concerned about the decline in Americans’ sense of importance of marriage and children.

In a newly published survey from Pew Research Center, 57% of men and 46% of women said “having a job or career they enjoy” is “essential for a … fulfilling life.”

Compared with this, only 16% of men and 17% of women said marriage is “essential for a … fulfilling life.”

And only 16% of men and 22% of women said children are “essential for a … fulfilling life.”

I love my work and agree that satisfying and meaningful work is rewarding. But I think something is wrong when Americans are saying work is three times more important for a fulfilling life than marriage and children.

The public policy implications of this research showing a drop in crime after pregnancy are not clear. But what is clear is we should be thinking more about how our culture can do a better job conveying the importance of marriage and children.

LifeNews.com Note: Star Parker is the founder and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) and is a leading pro-life advocate within the African-American community.

Male Sex Hormones Are a Big Deal, Too

https://naturalwomanhood.org/mens-hormones-testosterone-are-a-big-deal-too/

by Grace Stark

This is Your Brain on Birth Control, a new book by Dr. Sara E. Hill takes a remarkably deep dive into the myriad ways that hormonal contraception alters women’s bodies, demonstrating that our sex hormones have an enormous impact on how our brains and bodies function. As we learn more about the consequences of altering women’s hormonal balance with contraception, we’ve come to find that those consequences can be very serious, indeed—in some cases, even fatal.  Although the book is about the consequences of meddling with the hormones of women of reproductive age, it should also serve as a cautionary tale against male contraception and the risks of fiddling with men’s hormones.

While women’s sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) tend to get more attention because of their relationship to the monthly cycle and to pregnancy, men’s sex hormones (primarily testosterone), are often something of an afterthought (unless a man is experiencing some form of sexual dysfunction or infertility), mostly because they don’t cycle on a monthly basis as women’s do. But interesting research about men’s changing testosterone levels in response to fatherhood shows that men’s hormones drive their brains and bodies as much as women’s. Testosterone appears to have an impact on who men are the same way that estrogen and progesterone do on women.

For instance, a 2011 study came to the following conclusions:

“Single nonfathers with higher T [testosterone] at baseline were more likely to be partnered fathers 4.5 [years] later. After becoming partnered fathers, these men experienced dramatic reductions in both waking and evening T, which were substantially greater than the age-related declines observed in single nonfathers. Our finding that caregiving fathers had lower than fathers who did not invest in care supports the hypothesis that father-child interaction likely contributes to suppressed paternal T among fathers.”

You read that right: becoming a father is associated with a large drop in a man’s testosterone levels, which from an evolutionary perspective, is thought to promote more caregiving behavior in men, and better long-term family stability.

One has to wonder if continued research will uncover the further impact testosterone has on other behaviors and functions. Testosterone has physical and emotional effects beyond a man’s fertility, much like female sex hormones do in women. The preliminary signs seem to point in that direction, and furthermore, while the results are mixed, some studies have found a correlation between testosterone replacement therapy and increased risk of cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack, and possibly heightened the risk of prostate cancer, too, as for women using hormonal contraceptives.

While men’s testosterone levels may not fluctuate on a monthly cycle, they do fluctuate on a daily basis, and in response to different situations (even to activities like interacting with guns). Thankfully, precisely because of the potential for cardiovascular events, the FDA has cautioned against using testosterone replacement for off-label purposes, which was a booming industry from 2001 to 2011—an action which has seemed to slow the trend in off label “low-T” prescriptions. (Now, we hope that the FDA will begin to take such concerns about hormonal contraception as seriously.)

If one thing is clear from all of our experimentation with sex hormone tinkering thus far, it’s that it’s difficult—if not impossible—to use them for a single, precise, desired outcome (like pregnancy prevention) and that unintended consequences and side effects will typically abound. That’s why calls for a “male birth control pill” as an answer to women’s woes with the Pill (and other forms of hormonal contraception) thoroughly miss the mark. There should be no doubt that anything that would pump men full of synthetic hormones—as female hormonal contraception does—would just be shifting the same burden over to men, affecting them in ways that we can’t even know about yet. And frankly, in an era with highly effective, side-effect-free Fertility awareness-based Methods (FABMs), it’s simply a burden that’s unnecessary for anyone to bear.

So let’s not make the mistake of believing that men’s sex hormones—and tinkering with them—are any less complicated than are women’s. There’s still so much we don’t know about how our sex hormones work within our bodies, but the preliminary research indicates that they do quite a bit and that messing around with synthetic versions can lead to some pretty serious effects in our brain and bodies. That’s precisely why FABMs have so much to offer men and women: safe, effective family planning, the natural way.

Media praises contraception for reduced abortion rates

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(National Review) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released abortion data for 2016, indicating that the U.S. abortion rate has continued to decline, a trend that began in 1980. Between 2015 and 2016, both the number of abortions and the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 U.S. women of childbearing age) decreased by about 2 percent. The decline was fairly consistent, as 33 of the 46 states that reported abortion data saw their numbers decline. This is good news for pro-lifers, and for anyone who wants to see the incidence of abortion decrease.

While much of the analysis of new abortion data typically focus on short-term trends, the long-term decline in the U.S. abortion rate is even more impressive. According to the CDC, the abortion rate has fallen by more than 25 percent between 2007 and 2016 among the 47 states that reported abortion data consistently during that timespan (excluding California, Maryland, and New Hampshire, which did not report abortion numbers). The data also indicate that the abortion rate has fallen by approximately 50 percent since 1980. The abortion trends reported by the CDC are similar to those shown by estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, which in September released its estimates for U.S. abortion data for 2017.

Most of the media coverage of declining abortion numbers typically credits increased contraception use. But commentators often overlook a key factor in the long-term abortion-rate decline: the fact that a higher percentage of women with unintended pregnancies carry them to term. Data from Guttmacher show that between 1981 and 2011, the percentage of unintended pregnancies that resulted in abortion fell from approximately 54 percent to 42 percent.

Since the early 1990s, pro-lifers have made gains in public opinion, enacted a higher number of pro-life laws, and established more pregnancy-help centers. The declining abortion numbers and the fact that more unintended pregnancies are being carried to term is nice evidence that these pro-life efforts have been effective. Hopefully, the new CDC data will encourage pro-lifers and inspire them to continue their lifesaving efforts.

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

Activists launch ‘HIV-positive sperm bank’ to reduce ‘stigma’ around AIDS virus

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A couple of years ago, some of you might remember, California state Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco sparked outrage by putting forward legislation that would reduce knowingly exposing others to HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor. In other words, withholding the information that you are HIV-positive from the partner you are sleeping with has become no longer a felony in California. The same legislation also applied to those who give blood to a blood bank without disclosing that they are HIV-positive. Wiener himself, unsurprisingly, is HIV-positive, and trumpeted the legislation as a way of “reducing stigma” around those who have this condition.

I’m not precisely sure how hiding this very important information from a sexual partner who might contract that condition as a result of this omission does anything to “reduce stigma”—it seems to me that it might do precisely the opposite. But Wiener’s crude little crusade is nothing compared to how ludicrous New Zealand’s attempt to reduce the stigma round HIV is. According to The Telegraph, the Kiwis have “launched the world’s first HIV positive sperm bank in an effort to reduce the stigma round the virus.”

The description of this bizarre new endeavour is — irony alert — sure to have ladies lining up for blocks to take this totally unnecessary risk that does absolutely no good to anybody whatsoever: “Online sperm bank ‘Sperm Positive’ has begun with three HIV positive male donors, who all have an undetectable viral load, meaning the virus cannot be passed on even through unprotected sex. While the amount of the virus in their blood is so low it cannot be detected by standard methods, it does not mean the HIV has been completely cured by the treatment.”

I’m sure you’ll agree  — irony alert — that the above description sounds very reassuring.

The cold and brutal reproductive technology industry has already spawned the strange scenario of women poring over profiles as they attempt to select which sperm donor they want to use to conceive their (generally) fatherless children, determined to pick the perfect genetic specimen as their stud. But some activists apparently feel that those same women would be perfectly willing to select sperm from HIV-positive donors just to help “reduce the stigma” of—what, exactly? A condition that can, potentially, lead to the dreaded and fatal AIDS?

Unsurprisingly, Sperm Positive donor Damien Rule-Neal told The Telegraph that he was pleased to participate as “there is a lack of education and understanding in New Zealand about what an undetectable status meant, and that he had experienced stigma about living with HIV in his personal life and his professional life.” In fact, he says, he knows many people with HIV who went on to have children, and The Telegraph noted that “HIV-positive men can father children with minimal risk of transmission to their partner or their baby as long as they have up-to-date advice, support, and HIV medications, even if their virus is detectable.”

And so now there are apparently some people who genuinely thought it was a good idea to start a sperm bank where women who are on the hunt for the seed of HIV-positive men can finally have all their dreams come true.

Most people, I suspect, will read the news of this new endeavour and roll their eyes or shake their heads. Willingly placing other people at risk of becoming HIV-positive in order to “reduce stigma,” even where there is “minimal risk,” is immoral and unconscionable.

But if you listen to Wiener and Rule-Neal, other people—be it partners or in this case, children—must be willing to run a potentially deadly risk in order to “reduce stigma” for others.

The very suggestion of it will probably do precisely the opposite.

US fertility rate hits record low after fourth consecutive annual decline

Calvin Freiburger

November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Fertility rates in the United States have been declining for years, and reached a record low in 2018, according to government statistics released Wednesday.

The National Center for Health Statistics announced that 2018 saw 59.1 births for every 1,000 American women of childbearing age, the New York Times reports, a drop of approximately 15% since 2007.

Birth rates are tied to a number of economic factors, including a country’s ability to replace retiring or dying workers and the size of a future tax base to fund government programs. Rates tend to drop with economic downturns and rise with growth, but the latter hasn’t been the case for the latest U.S. numbers.

That suggests that shifting cultural values play a bigger role than fiscal circumstances, fueled in part by the ubiquity of contraception and the idea that population reduction is necessary to combat climate change.

“It’s clear that the traditional age-fertility pattern that held for Baby Boomers and Gen X women is shifting,” Brookings Institution senior demographer William Frey told the Times, pointing to evidence that millennial women are waiting until later in life to marry and have children, particularly after obtaining college degrees and finding career success.

“Is it a permanent shift? We just don’t know yet,” said Johns Hopkins University demographer Professor Alison Gemmill. If so, there “might be implications for society at large, say for funding Social Security — but I don’t think we are there yet.”

Others argue the evidence already shows America is in a precarious situation.

The annual rate of births per woman, which for 2018 was 59.1/1000, is known as the general fertility rate. A different metric, the total fertility rate, measures the likely number of children the average woman will have during her lifetime, if current fertility patterns hold.

“For 2018 the [total fertility rate, the number of children an average woman will have] stood at 1.73, according to a Pew study released in May,” Zachary Evans writes at National Review. “This means that women are having fewer than two children on average, below replacement level for the general population.”

“If birth rates continue to decline, and immigration drops off, the impact on the U.S. economy could be significant,” the Population Research Institute warns. “Economists estimate that as much as one third of economic growth is attributable to workers being added to the labor force every year. Low birth rates correspond to aging population. The U.S. is facing a substantial increase in its dependency ratio as the Baby Boomers retire, and working-age adults must replace the productivity thus lost and pay for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.”

67% of Babies With Down Syndrome Die in Abortions. This Must End

SARA HART WEIR

While countries like Iceland have grossly celebrated the eradication of individuals with Down syndrome from their society (eugenics as its worst) – we are teaming up to send a new message to our country’s leaders, employers, educators, healthcare providers, future parents and most importantly, individuals with Down syndrome – life for people with Down syndrome matters.

Our life’s passion and work, in different corners of our great country, brought us together with this common moral – “pro-life for all of life.” For the two of us, a future that doesn’t include people with Down syndrome is very personal (Chloe is a self-advocate from Pennsylvania who is one of the fiercest advocates on the planet and Weir is the former President & C.E.O. of the National Down Syndrome Society and a candidate for U.S. Congress).

Today, we are calling on all Members of Congress, regardless of party, to put your differences aside and help us ensure that our society embraces diversity, embraces differing abilities and, most importantly, stands for life, from the very beginning to natural death, by supporting a new bill, the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, which places a federal ban on the performance of an abortion because an unborn child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

There continues to be a widespread increase in the Down syndrome prenatal screening tests in the United States (and across the world) which is leading to a decrease in the number of babies with Down syndrome. And while these screening tests (called noninvasive prenatal screening tests (NIPT)) are intended to only screen for Down syndrome (not diagnose), the pressure to not seek further testing, and terminate a pregnancy is real. For instance, the most recent stats available to the public estimate that 67% of babies with Down syndrome are terminated in the Unites States, 77% in France, 98% in Denmark and 100% in Iceland.

Chloe Kondrich, who happens to have Down syndrome, is from Pennsylvania and has fought to pass her own bill “Chloe’s Law” which requires support and educational materials to be provided for families after a diagnosis of Down syndrome – a model law that is working itself through state legislatures around the country. Chloe has met the President and Vice President and appeared twice at the United Nations in NYC.

Chloe and her father Kurt speak at events and venues across the country to end this prenatal eugenic movement against Down syndrome, and Weir is setting her sights, with Chloe’s support, on taking their collective message to the United States Congress by representing her home district in Kansas to continue to give a voice to the voiceless. Kansas also happens to be a battle ground state for the pro-life movement, as we seek to advance an amendment next year to reverse the State of Kansas’ recent court decision that found the right to an abortion in the Kansas Constitution. Weir and the Constitutional amendment will find themselves on the same ballot in 2020.

For the two of us, as women, this possibility that our society won’t include people with Down syndrome is unacceptable. We are speaking up and speaking out to help influence generations of women and families that people with Down syndrome matter – and will continue to advocate at the federal and state levels to “Embrace, and not erase” our community. We hope you join us!

LifeNews Note: Sara Hart Weir, (38) a pro-life Republican US Congressional Candidate in Kansas’ Third District, most recently served as the President & C.E.O. of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, inspired by her best friend, Kasey, of over 20 years who happens to have Down syndrome, is hoping to continue her life’s work by giving a voice to the voiceless in Congress.

Planned Parenthood sued by unattended woman who fell off table, broke neck after IUD insertion

CHICAGO, Illinois, November 20, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — According to documents and a 911 recording obtained by the Pro-Life Action League, a previously unknown medical emergency at the Near North Planned Parenthood in Chicago, Illinois, has resulted in a medical malpractice case filed by a woman who fell and broke her neck after a medical procedure.

On May 2, 2019, Morgan Castro sued Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, abortionist Amy Whitaker, and other clinic employees for damages in excess of $50,000 due to serious injuries she suffered during an appointment for insertion of intrauterine contraception (IUC).

Castro reported to the Near North Planned Parenthood on May 24, 2018, for the IUC procedure. Castro’s complaint stated that she was informed by Planned Parenthood workers that after the procedure, she might become dizzy or experience cramping. Castro did in fact become dizzy and informed a Planned Parenthood worker.

Castro was alone and unmonitored when she lost consciousness and fell off a table. A Planned Parenthood employee later discovered her on the floor and called for an ambulance.

Once at Presence St. Joseph’s Hospital, an MRI revealed fractures to two vertebrae in Castro’s neck. Due to her severe injuries, she was transferred to Presence Resurrection Hospital where she was fitted with a Halo brace to stabilize her neck.

Planned Parenthood has been accused of negligence for failing to monitor Castro, failing to recognize and treat her dizziness, and failing to prevent her from falling off the table.

Operation Rescue has documented 19 medical emergencies at the Near North Planned Parenthood, with the help of the Pro-Life Action League.

“Planned Parenthood loves to tell everyone what great healthcare they provide and how caring they are — ‘no matter what.’ But that is just public relations spin. In truth, they should change their motto to ‘Negligence — no matter what,'” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “If the general public knew all we have learned about Planned Parenthood through our research monitoring life-threatening abortion facility medical emergencies, failed inspection reports, and heartbreaking malpractice/wrongful death suits, Planned Parenthood would have no customers left!”

Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD

by Cheyenne Walters

Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD

Editor’s note: More than once at Natural Womanhood, we have received emails from parents whose daughters have tragically died as a result of her birth control. A few months ago, we received a different kind of note—one from a woman who had a close call and was able to share her story with us. Cheyenne, whose name has been changed, found Natural Womanhood in a search for help when experiencing birth control side effects; it’s that Google search that led to a Natural Womanhood article on copper IUDs, which she credits with saving her life.Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, copper Iud side efects, copper IUD toxicity, copper toxicity, birth control side effects, IUD side effects, copper IUD side effects, birth control side effects, birth control answers, natural birth control, birth control education, learn about birth control side effects, “Thank you so much for your article. I had a close encounter with death just this afternoon.” Cheyenne then shared her story. She ended her note with these words: “Thank you for your website, which saved my life. I’m forever grateful.”

Here is Cheyenne’s story.

All I can say in a nutshell about life: You do not know what life is until death comes knocking at your door.

Back in my home country of Malaysia, I used to work in the TV and advertising industry. But now living in South Africa I cannot work because of my Visa, even though I am married to a South African. I travel to Malaysia every two years to renew my Visa.

I have been married for three years. Because of our financial situation, it’s not the right time for us to have kids. So I am a full-time homemaker. I manage my vegetable garden and I am a mommy to my fur-baby, my dog.

When it comes to family planning, I cannot use the Pill; I can’t use the implant; nothing works. The Pill gives me spotting every day, and that’s terrible. I’ve tried everything. Once a doctor recommended a hysterectomy to me due to my endometriosis. Everything here is “Can’t deal with it? Remove it.”

I decided to get the IUD on my next trip to Malaysia because it is more affordable there.

I thought this would be like any other procedure because I had used the IUD before. Due to my endometriosis, my threshold of pain is extremely high so the initial pain is nothing to me. It was about 4:30 p.m. and I was walking to a mall 20-30 minutes away. While walking I noticed that I was experiencing something that was not quite right—light-headed, nauseous, and imbalanced. Of course, I had cramps, and that could be from the procedure, but other symptoms were not quite right.

I thought I probably was just tired and needed to rest, so I went into town and dinner with a friend. I left the restaurant with a huge migraine, which I have never had in my life. It was mostly on the right side of my face, around my eyes, but my whole face was painful. I didn’t know what was going on. The cramping pain was elevated. Back home after dinner, I vomited. Then I came down with a fever.

Still, I thought I could sleep it off. I told my husband by phone, took two panadol (Acetaminophen), and dozed off.

Dizziness and the IUD

When I woke up in the morning, within a half-hour all the symptoms had come back in double force. I was extremely imbalanced, and now dizzy, light-headed, and breathless.

I went to eat breakfast with my friend, and I told her I wasn’t feeling well. I needed to run an errand in town but was really, really feeling off. The symptoms started to escalate. I started having palpitations, shortness of breath, brain fogginess, extreme hunger, nauseousness, and slight weakness in my legs.

While waiting for my friend in the car, I did a quick research on copper toxicity and it was only Natural Womanhood’s website that described my symptoms.

My friend took me straight to the gynecologist. She was busy with patients, so the nurses said the doctor would call me back.

My friend took me back home, and that’s when things got scarier. When I was going up the stairs, I almost blacked out; I grabbed hold of the railing and my body felt intoxicated. I had to use all my strength to hold onto the railing and get up the stairs to my water bottle.

That’s when I knew something wasn’t right, and it was the IUD. The doctor called me back, and my friend rushed me there. I struggled to walk because my legs were extremely weak. I noted that I had lost my balance. And while I was explaining the symptoms to the doctor, I noted that I started slurring and was leaning to one side.

My doctor agreed with my assessment that we should remove the IUD. By the time she removed it and I went back home, my symptoms were reduced by 80 percent. By the next morning, I was 100 percent better.

Dangerous but hidden birth control symptoms

If I had never made it—if I collapsed in the house, no one would have known the cause, what had happened, even if an ambulance came. Who would ever figure out it would be an IUD?

When I Googled “copper toxicity,” I found a generalized article that did not actually state my symptoms. It suggested that what I was experiencing can’t happen, or that it always differs for individuals. But after I did more research on it, I came across the same symptoms I was experiencing, in a Natural Womanhood article.

I believe it was God who sent me to the Natural Womanhood article. When I Googled copper toxicity, it came up on the first page, in the third spot. In the article, I read further and it made a lot of sense on how the biochemistry, and the IUD, and your body all work together. I really respect the author for writing it because I really want to know the details of why I’m experiencing what I’m experiencing. It was written with a lot of heart and patience and understanding and time.

I want to pass my thanks to the author for writing it and to Natural Womanhood for publishing it. I am happy to share my story in hopes it will save someone else’s life.

Use and Abuse: The Exploitative Reality of Surrogacy and Egg Donation

Over the last two years, I noticed my Facebook and Instagram feeds filling with ads urging me to donate my eggs or to become a surrogate. At first I laughed it off. But the more ads I saw, the more concerned and uncomfortable I felt. So, I started a small experiment. Every time I saw an ad from a fertility company, I took a screenshot.

Here are just some of the results, from over thirty unique ads replayed numerous times:

 

Egg 2

Egg 3

Egg 4

Egg 5

It troubled me that women were portrayed as Easter Bunnies; that their ovaries were compared to egg cartons; and that the donors, especially Asian women, were fetishized as exotic, smart, sexy finds, ideal for making a baby. These fertility companies ask young women like me to make a choice―somehow simultaneously altruistic and lucrative―either to sell their eggs for up to $10,000 per ovulatory cycle, or to serve as a surrogate for a couple who just wants a child of their own (for upwards of $75,000). For a college student on a tight budget, or a low-income mother trying to make ends meet, that’s a tempting offer. And I fear that the monetary compensation obfuscates the fact that this system inherently exploits women’s and children’s bodies.

It troubled me that women were portrayed as Easter Bunnies; that their ovaries were compared to egg cartons; and that the donors, especially Asian women, were fetishized as exotic, smart, sexy finds, ideal for making a baby.

A Dangerous Industry

The fertility industry targets and exploits low-income populations: wealthy companies and the powerful elite offer to pay for eggs and wombs from poor women. India, Nepal, and Thailand have recently banned commercial surrogacy because of its predatory nature. Prior to the bans, many women signed contracts with foreigners without knowing the consequences―like facing dangerous Caesarean sections—and with no guarantee of receiving postpartum care.

The fertility industry targets and exploits low-income populations: wealthy companies and the powerful elite offer to pay for eggs and wombs from poor women.

In Jennifer Lahl’s documentary Eggsploitation, women recount the devastating medical problems that they experienced as a result of donating their eggs, including Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome; puncture, torsion, or loss of their ovaries; infertility; strokes; and reproductive cancers.

Surrogacy can have even worse consequences. Some surrogates have died in childbirth or suffered severe complications from pregnancy. Women that participated in both egg donation and surrogacy told Jennifer how no one informed them of the risks. When many women faced catastrophic health issues, their doctors ignored them, and fertility agencies did nothing to cover the costs of their massive medical bills. Because of their desire to help others, many of these women lost the ability to have their own children, and paid far more than they had bargained.

The European Union has also banned commercial surrogacy, declaring the practice “reproductive exploitation,” which “undermines the human dignity of the woman, since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity.” However, in the United States, the practice continues, because there the desires of wealthy and privileged adults currently trump the rights of poor women and vulnerable children.

The truth is that no one has the right to a child, and that the bodies of women and children should never be treated as commodities.

Who’s the Parent?

In even the most routine of surrogate pregnancies or donor conceptions, a child can have as many as six parents: the genetic father, the genetic mother, the surrogate mother, her spouse, and the intended parents.

Unfortunately, the state views parents as legally interchangeable. In California, a new law went into effect last year that requires birth certificates to list only the intended parents as the “natural parents.” Biological and surrogate parents will no longer be listed. The stamp of parentage is now arbitrarily decided by a contract that names each individual as parent, partner, surrogate, or donor.

Consider the case of Melissa Cook, a surrogate mother of triplets from Orange County. The intended father, Shannon Moore, a deaf single man living in his parents’ basement, urged Melissa to abort one of the triplets since he couldn’t pay the extra cost of another baby. Melissa refused and did not charge Shannon any money after the births of the children. She only wanted these babies to have a good, loving home.

Months after the triplets’ placement with Shannon, Melissa was horrified to learn that the intended father had a history of killing pets, lives with unstable family members, left the infants alone for hours, forced them to eat off the dirty floor of the basement, and changed their diapers so infrequently that the baby boys suffered severe rashes and had to be taken to the hospital. Shannon’s sister even contacted social workers begging them to take the triplets, saying that her brother was “unable to care for the children.” Heartbroken, Melissa sued for custody to protect the boys from abuse and neglect. Because surrogates are considered legal strangers to the children they carry, her request was denied. To this day, Shannon retains exclusive custody of the triplets as both their legal and “natural” parent.

The Rights of the Child

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child has the right “to know and be cared for by his or her parents,” to “preserve his or her identity,” including “family relations,” and not to be separated from parents against his will. In case a separation becomes necessary, the child has the right to “maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.”

Americans are generally very aware that adopted children suffer from being separated from their natural parents. For proper psychosocial development, children need to form attachments with their biological parents, siblings, and extended family. They need to know their heritage and identity. Adoptive families and agencies show immense sensitivity to adopted children’s needs and work hard to remedy the trauma of adoption. Many of them practice open adoption, preserve records, identify the child’s cultural roots, and incorporate traditions from the child’s birth culture into family life. And yet, at the same time, our society sanctions the creation of children for the express purpose of separating them from their biological family. The desire to create a family and to love a child is good and noble. But it is neither noble nor loving to create a child so that it can suffer separation and loss.

Gestational surrogates also bond with the children whom they carry throughout the nine months of pregnancy, as they feed, shelter, nurture, love, and protect them. But the attachment is severed at birth. Research shows that children who are carried by gestational surrogates are more likely than the general population to experience depression. The surrogate mothers also face severe emotional experiences. This correlation suggests that, even though the child and mother lack biological ties to each other, they still feel a loss when they are separated. Thus society creates these children in order to make them suffer twice over: from being separated not only from their genetic parents but also from the women who carry them.

Lost Identity

The first generations of children who were conceived by donors and borne by surrogates are now adults, and many are searching for themselves. Message boards like the Donor Sibling Registry allow young people to find half-siblings and relatives whom they never knew to exist. The community that these platforms help to create is growing, but not all the members’ stories end happily. One young woman, Kathleen LaBounty from Texas, discovered that she had been conceived by a sperm donor who was a Texas A&M medical student. She contacted every man who had attended the school during the years prior to her conception. Although she heard from hundreds of men, she still did not discover her father. In an open letter, Kathleen describes feeling “empty and extremely cheated out of important aspects of life.” She desperately wants to find out if her “interests, appearance, life views, and personality” match those of her biological father.

Scores more children have written on the site Them Before Us to share their stories of longing and loss. One daughter reflected soberly about her traditional surrogate mother (that is, who conceived the child by her own ovum and artificial insemination): “When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after [the payment is received] you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself.” Just as surrogates are treated as wombs for rent, surrogacy turns children into a commodity to be bought and sold.

Women and Children Should Not Be for Sale

Surrogacy and donor-conception are frequently in the news as more and more celebrities pay for these services. Missing from the Instagram posts and tabloids are the stories of the other family members that are affected by these actions. What do donor-conceived and surrogate-born children think of their conception and family history? What about the surrogate mothers and donor parents? Lost in the legal and financial drama are the rights of children to know their biological parents and the rights of women to receive full information about the risks of these procedures.

The truth is that no one has the right to a child and that the bodies of women and children should never be treated as commodities. Just because we can do something does not make it right. And in the case of reproductive technology, the least society can do is to protect the right of children to know who they are and to protect the right of women not to be exploited.

Making Babies: A Very Different Look at Natural Family Planning

H. W. CROCKER III

Natural family planning (NFP) needs a slogan, because as a “product” — if I might adopt business-speak — it’s not selling too well. According to some surveys, about 90 percent of professed Catholics reject the Church’s teaching on birth control. Even among priests, fewer than one in three considers artificial contraception to be “always” sinful.

So let me propose a new rallying cry: “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!”
You think I jest.
The case for NFP should, by rights, be the case for more babies. To have them is good. Not to have them is to be deprived. Every wife deserves to be a mother, and every mother’s son deserves a brother and a sister. And since a cat-o’-nine-tails has nine tails, surely having nine children is the proper way to scourge selfishness right out of one’s family.
As a slogan, “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” has many strong arguments in its favor. First, it is true. NFP proponents tout its 99 percent effectiveness rate, but they neglect to mention that this is true only if the husband is in the Navy and assigned to extended, uninterrupted sea duty of three-year tours or longer. Otherwise, for most Catholics I know, NFP means a baby every two years or so, though the rate can slow with age, as the couples learn a proper respect — that is, fear — for each other and are too tired in any event for what Catholics call “the conjugal act.”
Now I know there will be inevitable protests and testimonials by those who swear by NFP. And who am I to say that my own experience is not colored by the fact that I am excessively virile? Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that this is the case.
But another reason for NFP’s allegedly high success rate is that couples who use it are prepared to welcome children and so don’t blame NFP for unexpected pregnancies. Four of my own five children came the NFP way — that is, totally unexpectedly — and that’s a good thing, because without them bouncing in as surprises, excuses to delay (the sort of excuses one might hear from a recruit in parachute training) might have gone on for a very long time. As it is, in a mere matter of ten years, my wife and I assembled a complete basketball team. And if menopause doesn’t strike my wife soon, who knows what sort of team we might assemble.
Rather than bite one’s nails to the quick at the prospect of baby number ten — which, if one marries in one’s early 20s and practices NFP, is a definite possibility — we should encourage the attitude of the more the merrier, which is a far more attractive case to make than all the goo-goo language about how NFP helps couples “communicate” and about the joy of charting temperatures and discharges and plotting one’s conjugal acts as a captain might chart a course for his ship.
Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, the charts can be thrown away (what’s so “natural” about them?). And to hell with improving “communication” as a dogmatic defense of NFP. For men, the whole point of marriage is to avoid communicating; all that dating conversation stuff can finally be foregone. Married communication, as successful husbands know, is best limited to grunts and hand signals — one upraised finger meaning, “I need a beer”; two upraised fingers meaning, “You need to change the brat’s diapers”; three upraised fingers meaning, “Honey, why don’t you mow the lawn while I watch football?,” and so on. No words are more doom-laden than a wife’s sitting down and saying, “Let’s talk.” Communication is, of course, the first step toward divorce.
Tom Hoopes pointed out in the November 2004 issue of crisis that there are no apparent data to support the widely touted statistic that only 2 percent of NFP couples divorce. If there is any validity to this number, I suspect it lies in the fact that NFP couples have no time to communicate. The husband has to hold down several jobs to pay the family’s bills, and a wife with little ones barely has time to shower, let alone talk to her husband, save to pass a pregnancy test result across the breakfast table through splodges of spilled porridge as she sighs, & 2000 #8220;Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
I grant you, there is one form of communication that NFP certainly does advance — it makes a public statement. Not so very long ago, I was invited to speak at a Confederate Memorial Service. There I was with my Robert E. Lee tie, my wife (a blond California beach babe) wearing a Confederate battle flag scarf, and the five little members of our own Critter Company lined up in a row. A friendly chap meandered over and told us, apropos of nothing, “My daughter’s a Catholic, too. Three kids.”
No need for a secret handshake. Kids tell the story.
As a slogan, “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” puts the focus where it belongs — on babies — and away from a technique, a technique that wrongly strikes most lay Catholics as medieval. If only it were medieval, then it would be effective: a sturdy, padlocked, handsomely designed, pewter chastity belt.
Instead, NFP is shiny, modern, and scientific, as its advocates are always quick to emphasize. In his book The Truth of Catholicism, George Weigel approvingly quotes several paragraphs from a woman in love with NFP. She reminds us that:
Natural Family Planning is not the justly ridiculed rhythm method, which involves vaguely guessing when the woman expects to ovulate and abstaining for a few days around day fourteen of her cycle. The full method involves charting a woman’s waking temperatures, changes in cervical fluid, and the position of the cervix.
Nothing unnatural or artificial about that, is there? Her raptures climax with NFP apparently transformed into “Narcissism For Pleasure”:
But the turning point came for me as I watched, month after month, as my temperature rose and fell and my hormones marched in perfect harmony. I had no idea I was so beautiful. I found myself near tears one day looking at my chart and thinking, “Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” My fertility is not a disease to be treated. It is a wonderful gift. I am a wonderful gift.
Er, if you say so, missy. If my wife talked like this, I’d have her committed. Happily, my wife, bless her heart, takes a more robust line: “Barefoot and pregnant is better than high-heeled and professional!” That’s the spirit!

There is no shortage of people wandering
 around these days thinking they are wonderful gifts. In fact, there are rather too many of them — and they shouldn’t be encouraged. What’s lacking are married couples who think that having a family big enough to fill up a minivan (or for the younger, stronger, and more ambitious, a small bus or modified hearse) is a wonderful gift.
A neighboring priest has noted how many young married women these days are without children but doting over dogs. One suspects that such women are less in need of NFP training than they are of a push into motherhood (and thereby full-fledged adulthood) with a reminder that children are what marriage and life are all about.
So rather than focusing on NFP, premarital preparation should go like this:
Father O’Counselor: “Now I want you two to understand that the primary and fundamental purpose of marriage is not companionship, not romantic love, not moonlit strolls on the beach, or any other balderdash but the begetting and raising of children — lots of ’em, and starting soon. The optimum number is enough so that you can lose a few at the grocery store and not notice. That’s giving without counting the cost, and at that point, you won’t care anyway. As a priest, my sacrifice for the good of the Church is celibacy. As a married couple, yours is to propagate children — who will incidentally annually propagate fierce storms of influenza in your house. If you haven’t already studied up on communicable diseases and basic first aid for children jumping off sofas, I’d do it now. But you will find children and their challenges to be the great tutor of not only the medical but the moral virtues.”
Potential Husband: “You mean, I’m screwed?”
Father O’Counselor: “In a manner of speaking, yes.”
Potential Husband: “Is it too late to enroll in the seminary?”
We can thus improve Catholic marriages and alleviate the priest shortage at the same time.
In fact, we forget how inspiring parents’ confessions are to priests:
Penitent: “Forgive me, Father, but I lost patience when my children used my wedding china as Frisbees, took my necklace and used it as a line and fishhook in the toilet, and took my toothpaste to give the cat a bath.”
Priest (sotto voce): “Thank God I’m celibate.”
Penitent: “What did you say, Father?”
Priest: “I mean to say, why not just laugh about it? These years will pass all too quickly. And when they’re over, you’ll know why you have gray hair and high blood pressure. Now, a Hail Mary and an Act of Contrition, if you please.”
So, let us step out boldly and fly the banner high. Say it proudly — “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” But babies sure as heck do.

Beyond birth control: Natural family planning is a whole lifestyle worth embracing

 

Fertility awareness-based methods of natural family planning (FABMs) have been called “natural methods of birth control.” While modern, evidence-based methods of FABMs can be used to successfully avoid pregnancy, they are not just another form of contraception, albeit one without the increased depression riskblood clots, and other side effects. The use of FABMs involves a lifestyle that fundamentally contradicts two major premises of our contraceptive culture.

Women’s Bodies Aren’t the Problem

In the book, Women, Sex, & the Church, contributing writer Angela Franks observed that “the contraceptive mindset cannot avoid scapegoating women’s bodies as the cause of both personal and societal problems.” Franks cited birth control crusader and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s firm belief that tyranny, war, and famine were ultimately caused by women because of their failure to use birth control.

Franks notes that modern society tells modern women and girls that they “need to turn against their bodies in order to be liberated,” disavowing their fertility with pills, patches, shots, and so on. Anticipating that these cultural attitudes may not seem to impact the average individual woman, Franks queries,” how many women do you know who seem at home in their bodies?”

In contrast to the women’s-bodies-are-the-problem attitude, the “natural” in fertility awareness-based methods of natural family planning refers to what mirrors the dignity of the human person. Rather than reducing women to sex objects, FABMs view women’s fertility as an integral part of their whole persons. Furthermore, a woman’s fertility is a physical reflection of her innate and unique ability to nurture others, whether by physically bearing children or by emotionally nurturing others.

Children Aren’t the Problem

In the contraceptive mindset, an unplanned pregnancy is the ultimate “method failure.” Society seems to have forgotten that conceiving a baby from sex during the fertile part of the cycle is actually a sign of health. But because contraception promises baby-free sex without regard to the woman’s cycle, the logical implication is that babies are a problem to be avoided at all costs.

This mindset leads to an implicit “need” for abortion when contraception fails, as noted in the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey Supreme Court case ruling that the “Roe rule’s limitation on state power could not be repudiated without serious inequity to people who, for two decades of economic and social developments, have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”

On the other hand, FABMs understand children to be human persons with worth and dignity. In fact, children invite their parents in a unique way to a new level of personal growth in selflessness. Women, Sex, and the Church contributor Jennifer Roback Morse wrote about the birth of her first child, “I experienced for the first time the genuine neediness of another person. I had to bend my schedule and my life to her, as did my husband. This newfound ability to give of ourselves, while often painfully won (colic and all), was the most important growth that we experienced in our lives. It was also the single best thing that ever happened to our marriage. We experienced what is true for every human being: self-gift, while difficult, makes us flourish.”

Rather than forcing the woman to bear the responsibility of pregnancy achievement or avoidance alone, FABMs involves a woman and her partner having a monthly conversation about their intention to avoid or achieve pregnancy and then working cooperatively with the woman’s cycle in light of their goal. When couples using FABMs do get pregnant, the understanding that parenthood is a shared responsibility is already in place. In this way, FABMs promote a positive environment for children to enter into.

Hormonal birth control can come at a terrible cost for teenage girls

 

A twist on the old joke, “a ___ walks into a bar” might be “a girl walks into an OB office” followed by the predictable punchline “and walks out with a prescription for birth control.” Hormonal birth control, whether via the Pill, the Patch, or other hormonal medications, is routinely prescribed to teenage girls for everything from acne to heavy bleeding to irregular periods to pregnancy prevention. No matter what’s wrong, birth control seems to be the answer. But is it? What’s the cost of putting young women still going through adolescence on hormones for potentially years on end?

Hormonal birth control is a Band-Aid

Everyone seems to know someone who went on the Pill for heavy bleeding as a teen, typically without much investigation into the cause. A 2015 bulletin by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called “Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign” showed a graphic of no less than 14 different issues, some very serious, that abnormally heavy bleeding could indicate. Birth control represents a band-aid for a symptom without addressing, let alone fixing, what’s wrong. In fact, hormonal birth control represents a band-aid approach in many cases, as it only takes away the symptoms of irregular periods or painful periods, etc.

Box 2

Source: ACOG.org

Lizzy, a 31 year old from Illinois, told Live Action News that she was placed on prescription pain medication as a teen for extremely painful periods, and then the Pill at age 21. Even though her pain persisted despite the medicine and the Pill, she was always told that “everything’s fine.” Only after she was married and unable to conceive did she learn that her infertility was due to Stage III endometriosis, a growth of uterine tissue outside the uterine cavity on other abdominal organs that can cause excruciating pain.

Hormonal Birth Control Creates New Problems

Just last month, CNN.com reported on a new study in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry that found an increase in crying, sleeping, feeling worthless, suicidal thoughts, and other symptoms of depression amongst teens who went on birth control compared with non users. The connection between birth control use and depression is nothing new, and in fact a 2016 study from Denmark found that teen girls placed on hormonal patches, coils, and rings were at even higher risk for depression than those placed on the Pill. This latest research confirms that teenage girls are hardest hit by depressive symptoms amongst new birth control users, even when researchers controlled for other potentially confounding factors like ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Depression isn’t the only problem that the Pill and other methods of hormonal birth control can create. Both birth control pills and the Depo-Provera synthetic progesterone shot have been found to decrease bone density in teen girls and young women, a particularly concerning finding given that bone density growth should be most significant amongst this population. This can translate into higher osteoporosis risk later on in life.

Another major side effect of birth control use in teenagers is the increased risk of blood clots, which can be life-threatening and even fatal. Live Action News recently reported that an Alabama teen’s family was awarded $9 million after their daughter died due to a blood clot caused by her birth control. In that case, taking a thorough family medical history before giving the girl birth control could likely have saved her life, as her own mother had a history of blood clots. Live Action News also recently reported on a Tennessee girl who nearly died due to a blood clot in her lungs caused by her birth control. Yet another story from 2019 is of an Irish girl whose birth control caused a blood clot in her legs that broke off and traveled to her lung. She, too, almost died.

In 2013, Live Action News reprinted a three-part series on the dangers of hormonal birth control use by teenage girls, covering the potential risks of making the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B available in school vending machines, the risk of developing blood clots, increased rates of hard-to-treat triple negative breast cancer in younger and younger womenthe connection between steroid use and heart disease, and much more.

A Better Way

Live Action News has previously reported on the benefits of teaching teen girls to track their menstrual cycles. The 2015 ACOG bulletin mentioned above specifically addressed how the menstrual cycle can be a fifth vital sign in girls and adolescents. According to the bulletin, “Just as abnormal blood pressure, heart rate, or respiratory rate may be key to diagnosing potentially serious health conditions, identification of abnormal menstrual patterns in adolescence may improve early identification of potential health concerns for adulthood.” This is because the menstrual cycle is an indicator of overall health in the young woman’s body. Certain patterns in menstrual cycle charting can prompt trained clinicians to suspect hormonal abnormalities, which can have a whole host of effects on various body systems.

What’s more, as Leslie Carol Botha found out in the late 1980s, teaching girls to chart their cycle can truly be life-changing. Botha worked with young women in restorative care homes, whose typical profile included a history of sexual assault, running away from home while still a minor, drug and/or alcohol use, and jail time. She found, according to the Natural Womanhood article on her work, that “these young women hadn’t been equipped with an understanding of the hormonal shifts in their cycles and how these changes were driving their moods and behaviors.” Astonishingly, she found that of the girls who had gone to jail, some 90% of them had been in the premenstrual phase of their cycle at  the time of their criminal behavior. Within just three months of learning to chart their cycles, she found that they began to take control over their own lives, understanding when to expect the “rabbit hole” of premenstrual symptoms to begin… and when it would end.

In fact, research done on the TeenStar program that incorporates menstrual cycle charting in teaching teens self-awareness and responsible decision making found that “this program is effective in reducing the rate of pregnancy, delaying the onset of sexual activity, decreasing sexual activity in sexually-active youth, and improving attitudes towards abstinence, compared with students in the no-treatment groups.”

With benefits like these, and the risks of hormonal birth control on the other hand, what’s not to love?

Court Stops Hospital From Pulling Plug on 9-Month-Old Baby Against Her Mother’s Will

STEVEN ERTELT

A Texas court has stepped in to stop a Fort Worth hospital from pulling the plug on a 9-month-old baby without her mother’s consent.

Cook Children’s Fort Worth was slated to pull the plug on 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis against her mother’s will on Sunday. But pro-life advocates helped Tinslee’s mother fight for her in court.

Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die on Sunday.

According to Texas Right to Life, the hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments.

Baby Tinslee’s mother was in a race against the clock this weekend to save her daughter. Texas Right to Life provided a lawyer to defend the patient after the family contacted us for help, but the Texas 10-Day Rule legally allows this form of euthanasia.

The 10-Day Rule is a provision in the Texas Advance Directives Act (Chapter 166.046 of the Texas Health & Safety Code) that allows a hospital ethics committee to withdraw basic life-sustaining care, like a ventilator or dialysis, from a patient against his expressed will, his advance directive, or the instruction of his surrogate decision-maker. Ten days after informing the patient or surrogate of the committee’s decision, the hospital can remove basic life-sustaining care from a patient.

Committees can withdraw care for any reason and the patient cannot appeal the decision. Even if the patient is conscious, coherent, and actively requests to stay alive, the 10-Day-Rule allows the hospital to overrule the patient’s will.

Thankfully, a court has stepped in to grant Tinslee and her mother more time.

The controversial 10-day rule essentially allows hospitals to euthanize patients after a 10-day notification. Attorney Wesley Smith, a noted writer and author on end of life issues, testified in favor of the legislation. During his testimony he broke down the problems with the 10-day rule:

In Texas, patient autonomy is essentially a one-way street. Here, if a doctor disagrees with the patient’s decision to maintain life—and the patient or family refuses to permit the life-extending treatment to be withdrawn—the doctor can take the controversy to the hospital bioethics committee for a quasi-judicial hearing and binding ultimate ruling.

If the committee agrees with the doctor, the patient or family has only 10-days within which to find an alternative source of treatment and arrange a transfer. If they can’t, the life-extending treatment can be terminated over the patient or surrogate’s objection—meaning the patient will be forced into a death at a time when life could have been maintained.

To fully comprehend the unjust nature of Texas law in this regard, realize that these “futile care” or “inappropriate care” decisions do not terminate treatment because it won’t work, but because it does. It is keeping the patient alive when the doctor/bioethics committee thinks the patient should die.

This isn’t an objective medical determination, but a subjective value judgment. And given the subjective nature of such decision making—which involves the question of whether the among of suffering the intervention may cause outweighs the desire to maintain life—the law should give the ultimate power to decide such questions to patients, families, and duly appointed surrogates who know the patient most intimately, not to bioethics committee members who are strangers to the patient.

Cardinal Sarah: ‘Contraceptive mentality’ led to LGBT takeover of children’s schools

Martin M. Barillas and Pete Baklinski

MADRID, November 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah strongly criticized LGBT ideology that he said is overrunning governments and education centers while tracing the ideology to the root of the widespread acceptance of contraception about seven decades ago.

“The destructuring of sexual identity, which is often called ‘gender theory,’ against which Pope Francis has harsh words and an attitude of absolute intolerance, can be understood as the anthropological consequence of a practical mutation,” said Cardinal Sarah, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline, at a Nov. 7 conference at Madrid’s San Pablo University in advance of the 21st Congress of Catholics and Public Life of Spain. His talk was titled “The importance of education in the Church’s mission today.”

Gender theory holds that male or female sexual organs do not determine an individual’s “sexual identity” but a person’s inner sense of being a man, a woman, or whatever it is that a person wants to identify as (dozens of ‘gender options’ have been invented to help people identify how they feel about themselves). The theory holds, for instance, that a person born with a male organ of reproduction can choose to identify as “female” and that it’s discriminatory not to support the individual’s choice, including the male’s choice to use female pronouns. The theory also holds that a person’s “gender identity” is fluid and can change over time.

“The first link in the process involved women,” Cardinal Sarah continued: “In fact, the contraceptive mentality that has extended strongly after 1950 has made possible a profound disconnection between the woman and her body, a disconnection that has radically changed the way of understanding human sexuality, marriage, filiation and of course education.”

The Catholic Church reaffirmed its condemnation of contraception in the 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae. Pope Paul VI prophetically warned that widespread acceptance of contraception would lead to the “general lowering of moral standards” among other things.

The Cardinal credited French writer Simone de Beauvoir’s phrase “You are not born a woman, you become a woman” as summarizing the essence of gender theory.

“Let’s add that for de Beauvoir, the family, Marriage and motherhood are the source of female ‘oppression’ and dependence. The pill would have ‘freed’ women by giving them ‘control of their body’ and the possibility of ‘freely disposing’ of it. Under the feminist motto ‘my body belongs to me’ a deep alienation of the incarnated subject is actually hidden. In fact, behind this ‘freedom’ statement lies an instrumentalization of the body itself as a material available to the most indeterminate desires,” he said.

The Cardinal then showed the link between contraception and the distancing of a person from his or her male or female body.

“The contraceptive mentality has engendered a dualism between individual freedom seen as unlimited and almighty, on the one hand, and the body as an instrument of enjoyment, on the other. In that perspective, the sexed body can no longer be lived as a sign and instrument of the gift of self, whose purpose is the communion of the spouses. The intrinsic link between the two meanings of the conjugal act, the procreative dimension and the unitive dimension, is broken. This link becomes optional, and logically, sexuality ends up being considered only in its relational and pleasure-producing dimension. The destabilizing effects of such a mentality have not been long in coming,” he added.

The Cardinal noted that one of the major destabilizing effects of the contraceptive mentality was the “social legitimization of homosexuality.”

“In fact, if sexuality is no longer perceived in the light of the gift of life, how can homosexuality be considered a perversion, an objective and serious disorder?” he said.

Cardinal Sarah said logically accompanying these changes regarding sexuality was a “redefinition of sexual identity, considering it as purely constructed.”

“If the intrinsic link between the two meanings of the conjugal act is denied, the difference between the sexes loses the first foundation of their intelligibility.” From then on, he said, the “sexed body” can more and more be considered as a “material that individual consciousness can model to its liking.”

The Cardinal then explained the mechanism at work as “sexual minorities” publicly demand equality and freedom to live according to their perceived identities.

“In the name of the fight against the ‘discrimination’ of which the ‘sexual minorities’ would be victims, the agents of the anthropological subversion take the public authorities and the legislator hostage in their revindications. In the name of ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’, they demand that all social discourse, especially in schools and the media, be ‘respectful’ with the sexual indeterminacy of individuals and the free choice of their identity,” he said.

“Then, each one can affirm that it is by self-designation and proclaim: ‘I make my own choice. I am proud of it and I affirm myself in that choice. I do not admit that another or society tell me what I am. I do not receive my being and my existence from anyone but myself. I decide for myself who I am. Society must assume my choice and adapt to my orientation changes.’”

For the LGBT movement, the Cardinal pointed out, the battle is no longer about “claiming tolerance” but about “imposing a new conception of the human being” and creating a “new” human being.

“Under the guise of freedom, this deconstruction at the service of a radical constructivism can be compared with the totalitarian attempts to produce a ‘new man,’” he said.

“Its innocent victims are mainly children, whose parents, permeable to libertarian slogans and bewitched by contemporary sirens, do not support [authentic] human growth and the formation of their [genuine] sexual affectivity. All this presupposes an erroneous conception of freedom, understood as the fact of not being prevented from following your immediate desires. How far we are from true freedom, which is the realization of the person when he uses his free will to seek the truth and choose his true good,” he continued.

“The anthropological revolution violently disrupts intellectual and moral education, because it creates mental and social dispositions that separate people from themselves,” he added.

The Cardinal said that Catholics should be aware of the gravity of the crisis, “given the atheist atmosphere or of indifference to religious or moral issues which permeate education and school structures.” What should be understood is that the goal of education is for students to “acquire the virtues that permit them to unfold and structure their humanity and personality in accord with the truth that is intrinsic to them.”

He called for the Church to become more active in defending the truth about man in sectors of civil society where that truth has been abandoned, especially in education.

“As has been the case several times in history, the Church has a duty to assume a substitute role to compensate for the collapse of entire sectors of civil society and public authorities,” he said.

“The Church assumes this function of substitution through all its children who are present in this magnificent educational task,” he added.

‘Dirty and unhealthy’ environment destroys children

Following his presentation, Cardinal Sarah answered questions from participants who are concerned about secular influences upon their children.

Likening schools to aquariums where fish are regularly fed fresh food, he said, “But the water in the aquarium is dirty and unhealthy.” Despite the good food, he said, the fish are slowly poisoned and eventually perish. In the learning environment, “even while there are well-disposed students and dedicated teachers, there are substances in the environment that are toxic to the students mental health,” said the Cardinal.

When he was asked how the water in the aquarium could be made clean, he said, “What poisons the environment are dangerous ideologies,” citing “marxism” and “transhumanism.”

He continued, “If we cannot explain who is man, who it is that God wants him to be, logically the aquarium is contaminated.” The water can be cleansed by rediscovering, he said, “the identity of human beings created in the image and likeness of God.”

“Identity is not something we give,” he said, “God gives it to us.” The West, he said, arrogantly “refuses to accept” that identity.” “The great issue are the economic and media leaders who contaminate the environment concerning the identity of the human person.” This is, he said, “the rejection of God.”

Asked what the Church should do in an environment where God is excluded, the Cardinal said, “The Church should be the first to combat toxic ideologies.”

The Church, he said, should focus on “the unprecedented anthropological and moral crisis of our time which demands that the Church should assume a greater responsibility and commitment to propose its doctrinal and moral teachings in a clear, precise and firm manner.”

Doctor accused of sterilizing women, performing hysterectomies without their consent

 

Javaid Perwaiz, an OB/GYN in Virginia, has been arrested and charged with health care fraud after being accused of sterilizing women without their consent. The FBI had been investigating Perwaiz for over a year after a hospital employee gave them a tip about his unethical actions.

According to the Virginian Pilot, women were sent to the hospital by Perwaiz for what they thought were “annual cleanouts,” without actually knowing what kind of procedure they would be undergoing. He would then be performing hysterectomies, D&Cs, or tubal ligations without their knowledge or consent.

One patient was given a D&C each year by Perwaiz because she believed she had endometriosis; at least once, the procedure was done without Perwaiz seeing her for an office visit beforehand. Another patient, a breast cancer survivor, was told that she had pre-cancerous ovarian cells present; she agreed to have her ovaries removed. But when she woke up, she found out that Perwaiz had done a complete hysterectomy, and perforated her bladder. She ended up with sepsis, and her medical records later showed that no pre-cancerous cells were present. Still another patient had tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child, only for a fertility specialist to eventually tell her that her fallopian tubes had been completely removed, burned down to nubs.

Many of the women Perwaiz victimized were Medicaid patients. Doctors often need to use hysteroscopes to be reimbursed by insurance for a hysterectomy, and a Medicaid analysis showed that Perwaiz claimed to have used his hysteroscope over 80 times in both 2016 and 2017. Yet in 2010, an inspection found that his hysteroscope was broken; it was repaired but hadn’t been serviced since then. He also didn’t use anesthesia when using the instrument on his patients, though it can cause pain, and he only used the scope for around 10 seconds at a time — not long enough to properly view the uterus.

Perwaiz’ medical license had previously been revoked in 1996, after he pled guilty to tax evasion, but was reinstated in 1998. He also has faced numerous malpractice lawsuits.

Many women have been sterilized without their consent; this is often due to ethnicity, disability, or income status. Medicaid patients are likely to be either minorities or low-income. While it’s not known why Pervaiz did this, this kind of behavior is one of the worst injustices that can be visited on someone. And it has, understandably, left many of his patients scared and speaking out.

Every patient he sees he orders surgery on them,” one woman wrote on Facebook, the Virginian Pilot reported. Another woman said she wanted to get an ultrasound to make sure nothing had been removed. “I’ve been a patient of his since 2008 and to read about this today is very disturbing,” a third patient said on Facebook. “I’ve had several procedures performed by him to include major surgeries in which I was scheduled to have an appt at the end of this month. My concerns are what he’s done to me thus far. There is no amount of money to compensate many of us for the things and procedures that he’s performed as some aren’t reversible.”

US paid to tie down, blindfold, sterilize indigenous Peruvian women. Now they’re suing

LIMA, Peru, November 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – After more than 20 years, women who were forcibly sterilized will have their day in court as prosecutors in Peru intend to charge a former president and government officials with serious human rights abuses.

Former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru (1990-2000) and other former high-ranking government officials will face a court in December for their involvement in forced sterilizations of women, which caused the death of at least one woman in the Andean republic. Fujimori, 81, promoted his Voluntary Chemical Contraception Program in the 1990s to supposedly level the playing field and provide to poor women contraception that they would not be able to afford without government assistance. Contraception services in Peru were subsidized by U.S. taxpayers through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This was despite a 1978 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 that prohibits the use of U.S. dollars “to pay for the performance of involuntary sterilizations as a method of family planning or to coerce or provide any financial incentive to any person to undergo sterilizations.”

The Congressional Research Service reports that as a result of the forced sterilizations in Peru, “In October 1998, Congress enacted an amendment introduced by Representative Todd Tiahrt as part of the FY1999 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act that directs voluntary family planning projects supported by the United States to comply with five specific requirements.”

Those requirements lay out stricter guidelines that are supposed to prevent funding from going to coerced sterilizations.

This amendment, “which became known as the Tiahrt amendment, has been included in foreign operations appropriations in each subsequent fiscal year,” the Congressional Research Service reports.

‘They cut me up like a hog’

According to Spanish website LaRazon, Gloria Basilio, 46, recalled that government nurses came to her home in the 1990s, telling her that because she already had three children, she should not bear any more.

“They explained to me ‘in the future, we will privatize schools and hospitals and there won’t be any money.’ My children wouldn’t have an education, so it was obligatory to tie my [Fallopian] tubes. They didn’t pay me anything, so I told them, ‘I’ll think about it.’” Two days later, she said, the nurses returned and told her that she should take advantage of the government program because sterilization would soon become expensive.

She says they told her, “Women in the countryside multiply like guinea pigs, like rabbits.”

When the nurses returned for a third visit while Basilio’s husband was travelling, Basilio agreed to the procedure.

“They came for us at five in the afternoon, then they tied down our arms, blindfolded us, and without any machines. Through the blindfold, I could see the surgical saws and how the blood sprayed on the doctors from my abdomen. But I couldn’t move because I was anesthetized. They cut me up like a hog.”

Basilio and thousands of other poverty-stricken Peruvian women are demanding justice and a hearing of their concerns.

Another of the victims of the contraceptive program was María Mamérita Mestanza Chávez, a woman from an indigenous community in the mountainous Cajamarca region of Peru. According to various media reports, she agreed to demands for sterilization after 10 threatening visits from government medical personnel. On March 27, 1998, personnel of the Peruvian Ministry of Health operated on and sterilized her without a doctor present. The officials did not offer any information about the risks and consequences of the operation or any further medical assistance. In less than two weeks, on April 4 of that year, Mestanza Chávez died as a result of an infection.

Besides Mestanza Chávez, Peruvian prosecutors have identified four other women who died as a result of forced or involuntary sterilizations: Alejandra Aguirre Auccapina, Reynalda Betallaluz Aguilar, Marían Espinola Otiniano, and Celia Ramos Durand. The number of victims of Fujimori’s sterilization campaign range as high as 300,000. Of these, 272,000 were female and 22,000 were male. Of these, 2,166 have presented complaints before prosecutors. Approximately 1,316 victims of sterilization have been added to the case so far. There are 5,758 women whose names appear on the National Victims Registry that is maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Some women were sterilized unknowingly when government medical personnel performed caesarean deliveries for them. Many of the victims are illiterate and are non-native speakers of Spanish. The indigenous people of Peru speak the pre-Columbian Aymara or Quechua languages. According to Adolfo Castañeda of Human Life International, many of these women agreed to be sterilized only after being offered food for themselves and their hungry children.

Peruvian feminist Giulia Tamayo told the Peruvian website LaMadre that she observed in the poorest districts of her country that government agencies had quotas to fulfill for sterilizations among women. Many of these districts are heavily populated by indigenous people. Some of these districts were targeted, she said, because the government judged them to be under the control of narcotraffickers and armed leftist insurgents.

USAID was funding Peru’s health system during the period that sterilizations were widespread. Other organizations involved in the campaign were the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the nonprofit Japanese NIPPON Foundation.

According to the pro-life Population Research Institute (PRI), USAID files show that Project 2000, an accord reached by the U.S. with Peru in 1993, put the agency at the forefront of Peru’s health ministry during the years that the abuses took place. UNFPA donated $10 million for the forced-sterilization campaign, bolstering the millions spent by American taxpayers.

Concerning the Peruvian victims, in an email to LifeSiteNews, PRI President Steven Mosher wrote: “These women not only deserve compensation, the government needs to apologize to them for violating their human rights.”

In his book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits, Mosher wrote:

“President Alberto Fujimori, elected to a second term in mid-1995, had wasted no time in legalizing sterilization as a method of birth control. He ordered the country’s Ministry of Health, headed by Dr. Eduardo Yong Motta, to focus its efforts on family planning, specifically, on tubal ligations. To train Peruvian doctors and officials in how to structure and run a sterilization campaign, Dr. Motta brought in Chinese, Indian and Colombian doctors who had carried out such campaigns in their own countries. To monitor the success of the campaign, Fujimori himself set national targets for the numbers of sterilizations to be performed—100,000 in 1997 alone—and demanded weekly progress reports.

Mobile sterilization teams, a fixture of such campaigns, were soon being assembled in the capital city of Lima. These teams of doctors and nurses, who often had no prior training in obstetrics or gynecology, were hurriedly taught how to do tubal ligations, and then sent to the countryside to conduct a series of one- or two-week ‘ligation festivals.’ Prior to a team’s arrival in an area local Ministry of Health employees would hang banners announcing the forthcoming ‘Ligation Festival,’ and fan out across the countryside to captar [ ‘bring in’ or ‘capture’ in English] women for tubal ligations. The effort was focused on the poorer provinces, home to a high percentage of Peruvians of Indian descent.”

In 1974, during the Nixon administration, bearing the title “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests, National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM-200 or so-called Kissinger Memorandum, which bore the name of erstwhile Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) set out the American foreign policy goals for demographic collapse of Latin America and other regions of the world. The secret document was declassified in 1989.

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International analyzed the document, noting, “In order to protect U.S. commercial interests, NSSM-200 cited a number of factors that could interrupt the smooth flow of materials from lesser-developed countries…to the United States, including a large population of anti-imperialist youth, who must…be limited by population control.”

As for former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, he remains in prison after the country’s supreme court overturned a presidential pardon in 2018. He was sentenced in 2005 to a 25-year sentence for human rights violations involved in using death squads to fight leftist insurgents in his country.

14-Week-Old Baby Wakes From Coma and Smiles at His Dad

TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE   NOV 8, 2019

The early morning hours of March 15 were filled with terror for the Labuschagne family.  14-week-old baby Michael unexpectedly suffered cardiac arrest. His mother, Emma Labuschagne, described the moment in a video shared on Facebook, writing, “We watched our baby breathless, gasping for air while his heart stopped and paramedics worked to save his life.  In that moment I did not think Michael would make it through.”

Remarkably, Michael did survive and was rushed to the hospital, where he was placed in a medically induced coma.  In her video, Michael’s mother writes that the family was told their son was not likely to survive the ordeal, and if he did, he “would not be the same baby.”  Michael had been without oxygen for 9 minutes during the medical emergency, leading his medical team to believe that he would be severely brain-injured.  Families of patients in such situations are often not given any reason to hope.

Five days later, when doctors removed some of the sedatives and Michael began to wake up, he gave his family an unmistakable sign of hope.  His mother wrote, “The first thing he did when he opened his beautiful brown eyes was smile at his daddy.”

“It’s a moment I will cherish with every inch of my heart,” Labuschagne told CNN. “To be really honest, it’s got to be the happiest moment of my life.  He is a living miracle, and we have never felt prouder of him.”

Michael’s medical problems, however, were far from over.  Doctors discovered that the infant had a 5 cm cardiac fibroma, a tumor in the left chamber of his heart.  The condition is so rare that doctors in the United Kingdom, where the Labuschagnes live, have no experience operating to remove the tumor.  They placed a pacemaker and defibrillator but are unable to offer any hope of improvement beyond waiting for a heart transplant.

Through research, the Labuschagnes found an alternative: traveling to the United States for potentially life-saving surgery.  Boston Children’s Hospital, the premiere hospital in the world for these types of conditions, has experience with the surgery Michael needs.  His mother told CNN, “We researched the hospital and specifically the cardiac surgeons, Dr. (Pedro) del Nido and Dr. (Tal) Geva.”  The surgeons have a 100% success rate, so the family had no doubt that they would do whatever is necessary to make the journey.

Michael’s mother said, “When we received a response from Boston confirming that he would be a good candidate for surgery, it did not matter what the cost was.  We would pay any amount of money to save our child’s life.”

Since the family began fundraising for the trip and cost of the surgery, they have received tremendous support.  Emma Labuschagne said, “We have had well-wishers and donations from all over the world!  We are unbelievably thankful!”

For now, Michael, who is now 10-months-old, lives a surprisingly ordinary life, despite his significant medical challenges.  His mother says, “Looking at him, he is like any other baby.”

She told CNN, “He is always smiling and grinning widely.  His older brothers dote on him and he is a strong little character in our family.  We are just so grateful for him, even with his medical troubles.”

Michael’s story, which seems likely to have a happy ending, recalls other stories from the United Kingdom of families seeking medical care in other countries.  The world watched in horror as first Charlie Gard and then Alfie Evans were held captive in UK hospitals with the courts ruling in favor of anti-Life bureaucracy.  In those cases, the medically vulnerable boys were not able to leave the hospital and that meant their families were unable to move their sons for potentially life-saving treatment.

Every family has the right to advocate for the care of their loved ones.  Anti-Life laws that give hospitals power over life-and-death decisions must be repealed.  Every child, like Michael, deserves the care his family thinks is best.

 

What They Don’t Tell Women About the Dangerous Abortion Pill Mifeprex May Kill Them

BRAD MATTES   NOV 7, 2019

The chemical abortion pill, marketed as Mifeprex and referred to as a medication abortion, is the future of the abortion industry. The number of chemical abortions in America has increased dramatically while the overall tally of abortions has declined.

Those who advocate for and provide this abortion drug almost always downplay the excruciating process that awaits unsuspecting women, doing a grave disservice to them.

Tammi Morris was no stranger to abortion. She had previously had seven of them, so when an abortion provider told her the chemical abortion process would be “safe, near painless, and private,” she agreed to use it. Shortly after taking the second dose of pills, however, Tammi realized it wouldn’t be anything like what the abortion center staff had described.

“They didn’t prepare me for this,” Tammi said. Instead, what she endured was an experience she described as “savage” and “horrific.” She found herself alone, “feeling like I was going to give birth to death.” Profuse bleeding forced Tammi to seek medical intervention.

Elizabeth Gillette’s experience with the abortion drug was similarly traumatizing. In her case, the falsehoods exceeded the abortion staff’s mischaracterization of the drug’s effects. Elizabeth told them she was undecided about the abortion and wanted to view the ultrasound. At first, she was rebuffed, but Elizabeth persisted.

A staff member finally showed her a still shot of the monitor, saying, “Do you see? There’s no heartbeat. There’s no movement. Your pregnancy’s not viable.” Elizabeth said the facility had lied to her in an attempt to tip the scale of her uncertainty about the abortion.

“No one counseled me. No one told me what the options were.” As for the abortion process, Elizabeth says she was told, “You’ll experience some light cramping. It’ll be like a heavy period. Shouldn’t hurt.”

Elizabeth confessed, “I had no idea what was coming. No idea.” The cramping was “deep and very painful. I’ve had three children since then, and it felt like labor.”

The physical ordeals of these women were just the beginning of more horrors to come. Common to Tammi and Elizabeth’s experience during their chemical abortions, facilities send women home to abort alone, with no one to shield them from what they will see and feel.

Numerous medical experts understand the added physical and emotional trauma inflicted by chemical abortion. OB-GYN Donna Harrison likened the process, which is four times more likely to require medical intervention afterward than a surgical abortion, to “almost patient abandonment.” She sees the irony in feminists demanding safe, legal abortion while “pushing a chemical coat hanger on women.”

During her chemical abortion — really an induced miscarriage — Tammi felt the urge to push and then looked down. What she saw left her devastated. “There was my baby, in a toilet. This wasn’t fetal tissue. This was a formed, recognizable, undeniable baby. My baby.”

Through tears, Elizabeth also described coming face to face with her unborn son. “I held him. The doctor promised me that I would feel relieved.” But what Elizabeth described wasn’t relief. Instead she felt an “overwhelming guilt, a sickness inside that I couldn’t put away. Nightmares started shortly after. I stopped eating. I became anorexic. I was later diagnosed with acute post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Tammi and Elizabeth then faced the struggle of daily emotional turmoil enveloping their lives as a result of what they had done and seen.

“How does a mother who killed her own child in the womb intentionally, how does she grieve outwardly?” Tammi questioned.

Elizabeth felt a burning passion to warn other women. When facing a second unexpected pregnancy, she made a video that quickly became popular, encouraging other women to persevere. “Hiding in the silence is just your own personal death sentence. But when you stand up and say enough is enough. This hurt me and it’s hurting women everywhere, it set me free.”

“Our society is breeding fear,” Elizabeth said. “We tell our women to go out and get a job and be everything you can be, except being a mom. And that’s a lie.” To her, abortion is “a regret you can’t reconcile. It’s forever.”

Grassroots organizations and people who have seen or experienced these devastating effects are making an effort to give a voice to women who have been physically or emotionally harmed by chemical abortion. They’ve created a safe, confidential place women can go to tell their stories about their experience. Sharing can often be therapeutic.

The landscape of the abortion debate was altered during the 1980s when women who had experienced abortion and its aftermath came forward to tell their stories. By speaking out, the victims of chemical abortion can spare countless other women and their babies from enduring a similar tragedy.

Hear Tammi and Elizabeth’s stories and learn more about chemical abortion below, or watch the full documentary here.

LifeNews.com Note: Bradley Mattes is the President of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group.

All Methods of “Family Production” are Not Created Equal

Victimization is a prominent leitmotif in contemporary culture, and our morally relativistic, “non-judgmental” times tend to take self-claims of injury at face value. But, as contemporary Polish philosopher Zbigniew Stawrowski has observed, today’s “sleek barbarians”—those who, employing traditional terms like “rights” and “justice” empty them of their received meanings, pressing them into service of what had once been deemed wrongs and injustice—often employ the victim card to parry what once would have been called “chutzpah.” Case-in-point: Bryce Cleary.

Bryce Cleary is a physician who, as a student at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) 30 years ago, apparently liberally donated his sperm. He claimed his motivation was to help the infertile and to foster research. He caveated his gifts: the sperm should be used by five couples on the U.S. East Coast, while the rest should go for research. He’s now suing OHSU for $5.25 million, claiming fraud.

See, thanks to modern technology, the internet and Ancestry.com, Cleary discovered that he had fathered at least 17 children (in addition to the four he publicly acknowledged as a father within marriage), most of whom lived nearby in Oregon. And that’s what’s got him peeved: his acknowledged and unacknowledged offspring can intermix (and apparently have) without their even knowing it.

A narrow, autonomy-centered paradigm might say, “Well, that’s what he was concerned about, and that’s what OHSU failed to prevent. He’s been lied to.”

Perhaps, however, we ought to expand the concept of “lie.”

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave//when first we practice to deceive,” goes the old axiom. Cleary thinks he was deceived. But so were his children.

Bryce Cleary is responsible for 17 lives with which he clearly never intended to have any contact. Sperm donation has long been shrouded in secrecy, and Cleary had no problem with being at least partially a liar. After all, “’I can’t emotionally be invested in all these people’” he says.

Well, then, you shouldn’t have become their father.

This case is tragic, but not the way Bryce Cleary sees it. It is tragic because real people—real kids—do not know whom their real father is, have probably been lied to all their lives, and do not know whom their brothers and sisters are (or even how many they have).

Letting Cleary define the parameters of this case would be wrong. The situation shows that parenthood is not just a matter of “personal autonomy” but has social implications in which society as a whole has vital rights and interests, in no small part “in the best interests of the children.” Yes, we’ve forgotten that test of social policy.

A person’s right to know his true parentage and relations and the prevention of incest are not just Cleary’s private concerns. They are all our concerns. Cleary’s lawsuit suggests that, because he donated his sperm, he is the policymaker for whether and how to achieve these ends.

So does that mean he could decide a child has no right to know his true genetic parentage? Even as we recognize that orphans have a right eventually to know who there is true parents are, we would give genetic fathers a veto over another person’s rights to their very identity? This would guarantee making that person an orphan, not just physically but spiritually and intellectually? Afflicting the orphan, like maltreating the widow, is among the Bible’s worst crimes.

The artificial insemination industry has, of course, long been shrouded in secrecy. Artificial insemination by donor (AID) has been cloaked by its own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, where one’s real father excludes himself from his child’s life, while an often infertile man pretends to be the “father” of this child – until the ugly truth comes out (usually not voluntarily). (For the perspective of lied-to children, see “Anonymous Father’s Day,” a great documentary film, here).

When this “gentlemen’s agreement” of secrecy was confined to AID, its impact was circumscribed: the number of people resorting to artificial insemination, especially using the gametes of a third party, was in the past limited.

But the fertility industry today is an enormous (and enormously profitable) business, which depends on AID, ovum donation and surrogacy. It is also a largely unregulated business: America at large is, as Jennifer Lahl puts it, “the Wild West” of surrogacy, and some states (e.g., California) are wilder than others.

Trends in delayed marriage, subordination of parenthood to career milestones, and growing infertility fuel that fertility industry. So, too, does “same-sex marriage.”

The fallacy behind Obergefell’s establishment of “same-sex marriage” was the Supreme Court’s claim that sexual differentiation was irrelevant to marriage because marriage had no inherent nexus to procreation. But the Court is inconsistent in its own logic, because homosexual activists increasingly argue that, unless they have a “right to parenthood” (notwithstanding their own natural sterility), then Obergefell’s promise of “same-sex marriage” is empty.

Lest this proposition end on some maudlin slogan about “the right to choose whom you love,” understand what it implies. If there is a “right to parenthood” notwithstanding the natural incapacity of two people of the same sex to conceive children, it means that parenthood as it has been understood in every culture throughout history (and as it biologically exists) has no right to be privileged or given priority in law. Parenthood as the natural outcome of the union of a man and woman is just “one alternative” parenthood, and the state must support any method of conceiving children so long as it fulfills the problem of overcoming the “discrimination” apparently established by “nature and nature’s God.” Natural law itself would become practically unconstitutional.

If one has any doubt that legal preference of parenthood as it has existed as long as there have been men and women would be undermined, consider already what has been going on with birth certificates. A number of states have been complicit in the “gentlemen’s agreement” of AID by establishing presumptions about paternity when it comes to issuing birth certificates: if a child is conceived in wedlock, the law presumed that the husband of the wife is the child’s father. If a couple agreed to use AID, neither spouse had an interest in disclosing true paternity, and the birth certificate simply covered up that fact.

With the advent of “marriage” without sexual differentiation, however, there also arose the question of whom to list as “parent one” and “parent two” on the birth certificate. (Note the disappearance of “father” and “mother,” presumably as “discriminatory” sexual residue. A child may now be entitled to two parents, but he is not entitled to a father and a mother). Several states balked at applying the “paternal presumption” in the case of two lesbians, since clearly (a) there was no male “married” to these two persons and (b) the female “spouse” clearly could not have exercised the genetic paternal role. But the federal courts, applying Obergefell, have insisted that—biology notwithstanding—the “parental presumption” requires listing the same-sex “spouses” as “parents” on the birth certificate, regardless of their natural incapacity to give life.

What this clearly means is that birth certificates need not have any necessary relationship to truth, i.e., need not necessarily tell us about who is father and mother of this child. What it means is that the law increasingly ratifies and countenances the parcelization of parenthood, sliced and diced into genetic, gestational and social components, with the implicit presumption that the social component – those who chose to raise the child –is the “parenthood” that matters.

The poor kid: who gets the Father’s and Mother’s Day cards? The anonymous gamete donor? The gestational “womb for rent?” The woman or man that signed the check for the braces?

Sperm is not just “another bodily fluid,” whose “donation” is as anonymous as blood or plasma or bone marrow. It’s time we stopped pretending it is. Newsweek featured a story in 2011 about the new “paternity,” of a man hired by two women for his semen, who went into a Starbucks bathroom, ejaculated into a cup, handed his free will donation to the woman, who then employed it, after which they all shared a Venti Dolce Latte.

Is society to affirm “fatherhood” as an ejaculate handed over in a coffee shop? Cahal Daly once observed that the way one treats sperm is the way one would treat a human being. I didn’t grasp his existential meaning when I read that line 45 years ago, but I get it now.

It’s also time to stop pretending that a child born from his real mother’s womb is no different from one from another’s womb or commissioned as a product from a hatchery. All methods of “family production” are not created equal.

These are profound and radical changes with enormous social implications, but they are advancing with little, if any, social debate. And the real victims, because they are deceived about their origins, are the children. Instead, pseudo-“victims” sue in the name of their violated autonomy.

We need to refocus on those who are the real victims: the kids.

All views contained herein are exclusively those of the author.

Teen girls on birth control pills report crying more, sleeping too much and eating issues, study says

A new study found that the use of birth control pills was associated with more depressive symptoms in teenage girls, including crying, excessive sleeping and eating issues, compared to their peers who don’t take oral contraceptives.

The study, published recently in JAMA Psychiatry, included more than 1,000 participants in the Netherlands between the ages of 16 to 25 over a period of nine years. On average, researchers found that the 16-year-old participants who were using oral contraceptives reported more crying, sleeping and eating problems than those who weren’t on the pill.

Previous studies have found an association between adolescents who take oral contraceptives and the risk of depression into adulthood. This study, led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen and Leiden University Medical Center, aimed to examine the more subtle depressive symptoms.

“Depressive symptoms are more prevalent than clinical depression and can have a profound impact on quality of life,” said co-author Hadine Joffe with Brigham’s Department of Psychiatry. “Ours is the first study of this scale to dive deep into the more subtle mood symptoms that occur much more commonly than a depression episode but impact quality of life and are worrying to girls, women and their families.”

Researchers analyzed data from a cohort study, called Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey, and assessed the participants’ birth control usage at ages 16, 19, 22 and 25.

Each participant filled out a survey with questions about depressive symptoms, such as crying, eating, sleeping, suicidal ideation, self-harm, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, energy, sadness and lack of pleasure. Their responses were used to generate a depressive symptom severity score.

Among the 1,010 participants between ages 16 and 25, the team found no association between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptoms overall. But they did find that the 16-year-old participants who were using oral contraceptives had depressive symptom severity scores that were 21 percent higher on average than those who were not taking the pill.

The study authors noted the findings don’t prove that birth control pills cause depressive symptoms. While birth control pills might contribute to these symptoms in girls — it also could be that more severe symptoms may prompt teen girls to start taking them, researchers said.

“Because of the study design, we can’t say that the pills cause mood changes, but we do have evidence suggesting that sometimes the mood changes preceded the use of the pill and sometimes the pill was started before the mood changes occurred,” said author Anouk de Wit, a trainee in the Department of Psychiatry at University Medical Center Groningen.

The authors also pointed out that the study only included females in the Netherlands, a relatively homogenous population, and a more diverse group may have produced different results.

“One of the most common concerns women have when starting the pill, and teens and their parents have when an adolescent is considering taking the pill, is about immediate depressive risks,” said de Wit. “Most women first take an oral contraceptive pill as a teen. Teens have lots of challenging emotional issues to deal with so it’s especially important to monitor how they are doing.”

Did Kanye West imply that Plan B can cause an abortion? If so, he’s right.

 

Kanye West recently came out against abortion during an interview for his new album Jesus is King. During that bold statement, he mentioned Plan B, the “emergency contraception” product that claims to prevent pregnancy in the event of contraception failure. Many people, including the manufacturers of Plan B, concluded that West was likening Plan B to abortion, and it caused a stir.

“Democrats had us voting Democrat for food stamps for years, bro,” said West, speaking about the Black community. “What you talking about? Guns in the 80s, taking the fathers out of the home, Plan B, lowering our votes, making us abort our children. Thou shall not kill… I can’t tell y’all how to feel. But what I can tell you honestly is how I feel.”

Foundation Consumer Healthcare, the pharmaceutical company that makes the Plan B One-Step pill, seems to believe that West was labeling their product as an abortion. They were so concerned about what West had to say that they told TMZ, “Plan B helps prevent pregnancy before it starts by delaying ovulation. Plan B is not an abortion pill – it will not harm an existing pregnancy and it will not be effective if a woman is already pregnant.” But that’s not the whole truth.

READ: Kanye West rails against abortion in ‘Jesus Is King’ interview

plan b

Back of the Plan B box.

A Planned Parenthood rep also spoke to TMZ saying, “As Black women, we make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available. Misinformation like this is meant to shame us and keep us from making our own health care decisions. Black women want and deserve support and access to the full range of reproductive health care, but this persistent lie is threatening our ability to obtain it.” But if West was calling Plan B an abortion-causing product (though it isn’t clear that he was; after all, Plan B and “abort our children” were not mentioned contiguously), he wasn’t lying.

plan b

Close-up of the back of a Plan B box.

While Plan B states on the box that it “will not harm an existing pregnancy” it also states that it will “prevent […] attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus.” And that is the unnatural ending of the life of a new human being, and therefore, Plan B can function as an abortifacient.

Science is clear – life begins at fertilization. Ending that life on purpose is an act of abortion and, therefore, by potentially preventing implantation, Plan B can cause an abortion. Plan B sticks to the term “fertilized egg” instead of zygote to try and distract people from the reality of the fact that a new human being is present the moment an egg is fertilized.

As President of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins pointed out during an event at Villanova University, The American College of OBGYNs altered the definition of pregnancy in 1965 after birth control was introduced. They decided to start considering pregnancy to begin at implantation rather than fertilization, despite the scientific proof that says a human being is present days prior to implantation.

“So that allows the makers of Plan B to say, ‘Woah, woah, woah, we’re not killing anybody. We’re just not letting anything implant,” said Hawkins. “What aren’t you letting implant? ‘Oh, it’s just a fertilized egg.’ Why do we use the word fertilized egg? Because fertilized egg doesn’t sound like human being. […] So what the Plan B manufacturers said today was disingenuous and they’ve been lying all along.”

But don’t take Kanye West’s word for it. All anyone has to do to realize that Plan B actually can cause an abortion is read the Plan B box.

Cardinal Dolan on Biden communion denial: ‘I wouldn’t do it’

By Mary Farrow

.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to questions about the denial of Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday.

On an Oct. 31 interview with Fox News, Dolan said that he thought the incident was a good teaching moment about the Eucharist and the seriousness of denying Church teaching, but that he would not himself deny anyone reception of the Eucharist.

“So whether that prudential judgment was wise, I don’t want to judge him either,” Dolan said of Fr. Robert Morey, who denied Holy Communion to Biden. “I wouldn’t do it.”

“Sometimes a public figure will come and talk to me about it. And I would advise them, and I think that priest (Morey) had a good point, you are publicly at odds with an issue of substance, critical substance, we’re talking about life and death and the Church,” Dolan said.

Receiving the Eucharist “implies that you’re in union with all the Church believes and stands for. If you know you’re not, well, integrity would say, ‘uh oh, I better not approach Holy Communion.’ That’s always preferable than to make a split-second decision and denying somebody,” Dolan added.

Last Sunday, Morey denied Eucharistic communion to 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden at Mass at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, because of the politician’s public support of abortion.

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey, who is the pastor of St. Anthony’s, explained in a statement sent to CNA.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” Morey added. “Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

In denying Biden communion, Morey was following a diocesan policy set forth in a 2004 decree signed jointly by the bishops of Atlanta, Charleston, and Charlotte. The decree states that supporting pro-abortion legislation is “gravely sinful” and that public figures who do so must be denied communion until they repent.

Joseph Zwilling, director of communications in the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA that the archdiocese does not have such a policy.

Dolan told Fox & Friends he agreed with what Morey said, though he would not personally deny a public figure the Eucharist.

“I think what he said was very to the point, I thought that was a good teaching moment,” Dolan said.

The cardinal said the issue has never come up for him personally – he has never seen a public figure in his Communion line who he knew was publicly advocating for policies that violate Church teaching.

“I’ve never had what you might call the opportunity, or I’ve never said ‘Uh oh, should I give him or her Holy Communion’, it’s never come up. Sure could,” Dolan said.

Dolan faced heavy criticism in January from Catholics who felt that he should have explicitly barred from communion New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had signed into law an expansive abortion bill.

On his radio show Jan. 29, Dolan said that sacramental disciplinary measures against the governor “would be completely counterproductive, right?”

“Especially if you have a governor who enjoys this and wants to represent himself as a kind of martyr to the cause, doing what is right. He is proud to dissent from the essentials of the faith. He’s proud with these positions.”

“For me to punish him for it? He would just say, ‘Look at the suffering this prophet has to undergo,’ the cardinal added.

Dolan said Oct. 31 that he frequently sees public figures at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and that he “admires” them when they do not approach the Eucharist out of their own awareness of their sin and separation from the Church.

“They seem to know – ‘I shouldn’t do that. That could be hypocritical at this moment,’” Dolan said.

“On the other hand, we also remember Pope Francis. We…I personally can never judge the state of a person’s soul. So it’s difficult, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not up there as a tribunal, as a judge, distributing Holy Communion, I’m there as a pastor, as a doctor of souls,” Dolan said.

“So it’s difficult to make a judgment on the state of a person’s soul. My job is to help people make, with clear Church teaching, make a decision on the state of their soul and the repercussions of that.”

When asked if priests could refusing other people communion because of their sins, Dolan said that communion is intended for sinners.

“If only saints could receive Holy Communion, we wouldn’t have anybody at Mass, including myself, alright?” Dolan said.

“So sinners are who Holy Communion is for, it’s medicine for the soul, it’s an act of mercy, so it’s intended for sinners…but sinners who want to, who are sorry and want to repent. Then anybody’s welcome, come on up,” he added.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Edward Peters, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit wrote in The Hill this week that “however the decision to withhold holy communion from Biden made headlines, it was unquestionably the pastor’s decision to make and he made it, in my view, correctly.”

“While there are relatively few examples of pastors withholding holy communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion, the refusal that Biden experienced should not have come as a surprise. He had been warned about approaching for holy communion in 2008 by Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, who told Biden that, because of his support for abortion, he would be refused holy communion if he approached that prelate, and by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (then of Denver, now of Philadelphia), who implied likewise,” Peters wrote.

While not addressing Dolan’s remarks Peters addressed a point Dolan made during his interview, which Peters called the “reddest herring” in defense of Biden.

Specifically, he criticized the argument “which implies that withholding holy communion requires a minister to peer into the soul of a would-be recipient and judge it unworthy. Nonsense. To confuse the private examination of one’s conscience as envisioned by Canon 916 with the recognition that some public acts warrant public consequences under Canon 915 is to show either ignorance of or indifference to well-established Catholic pastoral and sacramental practice.”

In a memorandum to the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2004, explaining the application of Canon Law 915, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said “the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin.”

The case of a “Catholic politician” who is “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” would constitute “formal cooperation” in grave sin that is “manifest,” the letter added.

Biden has declined to comment on the communion incident telling reporters that it was “just my personal life.”

“I’m a practicing Catholic. I practice my faith, but I’ve never let my religious beliefs…to impose that view on other people,” Biden said this week.

While Biden served in the Senate, he largely supported the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that found a legal right to abortion, Roe v. Wade. He called his position “middle-of-the-road,” in that he supported Roe but opposed late-term abortions and federal funding of abortions.

Since then, he has supported taxpayer funding of abortions via the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City Policy in his 2020 platform and has called for the codification of Roe v. Wade as federal law. Biden also favors reinstating taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

12,000+ Successful Tubal Reversal Surgeries

RALEIGH, N.C. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 25, 2019

A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center is a center where couples can regain their natural fertility through tubal ligation reversal surgery and vasectomy reversal surgery. Dr. Charles W. Monteith, MD is the Medical Director of this unique specialty center a surgical center located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Monteith exclusively specializes in fertility surgery and using his unique surgical skills he is able to offer couples affordable outpatient reversal surgery to couples who travel from across the world to have surgery at his specialty center.

Tubal ligation, more commonly known as ‘getting one’s tubes tied’, is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Unfortunately, research has shown that up to 30% of women will regret their tubal ligation procedure. Most women regret tubal ligation because they would like to have more children. Some regret their tubal ligation because they have developed troublesome symptoms after tubal ligation.

Tubal ligation regret is a common problem that can cause immeasurable guilt and anxiety in women. If you suffer from tubal ligation regret and would like to have more children then you only have three choices; tubal reversal surgery, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or adoption. Most people are unaware that tubal reversal surgery can be more successful and far more affordable than in-vitro fertilization. Tubal reversal provides a woman a chance to become pregnant every month and more than one time. In-vitro fertilization is an expensive and lengthy medical process that may not be as successful as tubal reversal. On average about 2 out of every 3 women who have tubal reversal will become pregnant. In comparison, 1 out of every 3 women who have IVF will become pregnant.

The cost of tubal reversal surgery with Dr. Monteith is approximately $6,900. The cost of IVF is approximately $14,000 for each cycle attempted. You can easily see how Dr. Monteith offers patients a better option for having more children with outpatient tubal reversal surgery at A Personal Choice.

Some women will develop abnormal tubal ligation symptoms after having their tubes tied. These women will often complain of irregular periods, heavier periods, pelvic pain, hair loss, joint pain, and memory issues. Although tubal ligation side effects are rare, Dr. Monteith specializes in helping these women. Tubal reversal allows these women a surgical evaluation of their tubes and the chance at improving their symptoms. Often during these surgeries Dr. Monteith will discover undiagnosed endometriosis or pelvic scar tissue. Many times these women will have completely normal findings. Dr. Monteith has observed over 80% of his patients who have reversal for abnormal symptoms report improvement after reversal surgery.

Patients travel from across the United States and around the world to have reversal surgery with Dr. Monteith. Many patients will find it easier and more affordable to travel to Raleigh NC to have surgery with Dr. Monteith than with a less experienced surgeon in their hometown. Scheduling surgery at A Personal Choice is easy. Patients can determine if they are a candidate for surgery by faxing or emailing Dr. Monteith a copy of their tubal ligation records for a free review. Scheduling surgery occurs over the phone and by email. Patients then travel to Raleigh for surgery and spend two nights and three days. The consultation is on the first day, the surgery is on the second day, and the postoperative visit is on the third day. After the postoperative visit, patients are free to return home. Surgery at A Personal Choice is extremely safe with a very low surgical complication rate. Patients are encouraged to start trying to become pregnant as soon s they feel comfortable. Most will report pregnancy within the first 12 months. Those who have abnormal symptoms often report improvement within the first week!

Dr. Monteith’s success is illustrated by the many testimonials shared on his website and Facebook page. A new mom who traveled to Dr. Monteith from North Haledon, New Jersey to have reversal of burned tubal ligation submitted a testimonial saying, “Our second tubal reversal son was born August 8th 2019. His older brother is 4 years old. These are true miracles from God through the guided hands of Dr. Monteith and his staff. We are so blessed and thankful for these two boys! We can’t thank you enough!”

In another testimonial, a happy mother, writes, “Fifteen years of suffering from tubal ligation symptoms brought my husband and me to Dr. Monteith. He did a great job and I felt the symptoms vanish soon after my reversal. Our baby (born on the one year anniversary of my reversal) is an amazing blessing!”

Those looking to learn more about A Personal Choice to have more children after their tubes have been tied or to evaluate abnormal symptoms after tubal ligation can find extensive information and statistics on the website of A Personal Choice. In addition, A Personal Choice also maintains an active company Tubal Reversal Facebook page and Facebook Tubal Reversal Group, where they share updates with those desiring more information about tubal ligation reversal and vasectomy reversal surgery.

For more information about A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center, call (919) 977-5050 or visit https://www.tubal-reversal.net:

CONTACT INFORMATION:
A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal
Dr. Charles W. Monteith, Jr., M.D.
(919) 977-5050
ContactUs@tubal-reversal.net
3613 Haworth Drive, Raleigh NC 27609

‘The best World Cup gift’

 

Servando Carrasco and Alex Morgan are a match made in soccer heaven. The couple, who married in 2014, are both major soccer stars; Carrasco plays professionally with the L.A. Galaxy, while Morgan is co-captain of the United States national team, which just dominated in the 2019 World Cup, where she won the Silver Boot award for second-most goals scored. But now, they’re celebrating a new achievement: a new baby girl, due next April.

Carrasco and Morgan announced their pregnancy on Morgan’s Instagram account, posing on a beach with a onesie, and a sign that read “Baby Girl April 2020.” In the caption, Morgan wrote, “We are already in love and we haven’t even met her yet.”

Carrasco likewise celebrated the news on Instagram, with a picture of them posing with their two dogs. “Can’t wait to meet my baby girl,” he wrote. They also spoke to PEOPLE about their exciting news. “We are so overjoyed to grow our family,” Morgan said. “She’s the best World Cup gift I could have asked for.”

Their soccer family likewise took the occasion to celebrate with them. “Bringing another powerful woman into the world. Love to see it,” the US Women’s National Team account posted on Instagram. “Congrats [Alex] & Servando! Your #USWNT fam is ecstatic!”

Morgan is the latest elite female athlete to show that motherhood does not get in the way of achieving goals, or that having an amazing career does not keep one from being a mother. Serena Williams, considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, won a Grand Slam tournament while two months pregnant. Kerri Walsh Jennings, a star volleyball player who has won numerous Olympic gold medals, likewise won Olympic gold while pregnant with her daughter Scout, and she credits her children for giving her the drive to succeed.

“She knows she’s golden,” she said of Scout in an interview. “I don’t know if she knows how big of a part she played in that [Olympic win]. My boys certainly do.” Another Olympian, Alysia Montano, is a seven-time United States champion, a two-time American record holder, and she’s won three Olympic medals. She competed in the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships at almost six months pregnant, her baby bump proudly on display; she had previously competed in the USATF’s USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2014 while eight months pregnant.

Allyson Felix is another Olympic runner, and is the most decorated Track and Field Olympian of all time. She became pregnant, and was almost immediately threatened the loss of her sponsorship by Nike. Felix, however, fought back, successfully pressuring Nike to change their policy towards pregnant athletes, and ensuring that women who play sports will not be punished for having children. Her fight marked a huge victory over pregnancy discrimination for athletes everywhere.

U.S. women’s soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Kate Markgraf have shown support for Morgan and her goal of returning to the Olympic team in late July.

“[…] we’re going to do everything in our power, use the resources that the federation is providing, whether it’s high-performance director, staff, anything that we can do on our side to help her get back for the Olympics,” said Andonovski.

These women, together, are making a huge difference for women everywhere. They’re proving that women can do anything — from being Olympic stars to doting mothers — and they don’t have to choose between their children and their dreams.

Study Confirms Half of Women Killing Baby With Abortion Pill Use It as Birth Control

RANDALL O’BANNON PH.D

Data collected by Prof. Abigail Aiken and the team at Project SANA (Self-managed Abortion Needs Assessment) do give us some valuable insight into exactly who is seeking chemical self abortion and why.

Distribution by age of those inquiring about abortifacients online tended to be about what they were for the general population of abortion patients. About 72% were under thirty, 24%-25% were women in their 30s, and between 3% and 4% were women over forty.

Just over half (about 53%) already had given birth to at least one child ; past national figures from the CDC put the number for aborting women who have already given birth at closer to 60%.

More than 7 in 10 (72.3%) reported the age of their unborn baby at less than seven weeks (the FDA’s original cut off for chemical abortions with mifepristone). The remainder said they were between seven and ten weeks pregnant (the FDA’s current cut off).

Though we know from reports that clinics across the U.S. have often attempted to chemically abort women with gestations greater than ten weeks, the Women on Waves (WoW) website currently tells women these pregnancies are too far advanced and will end the consult.

Because this data is based on self reporting, factual confirmation of these details are lacking. Moreover, there are still questions about the representativeness of this sample. Nonetheless, there are interesting claims made by women in the study about the circumstances under which they became pregnant and why they wanted abortions.

Nearly half (48.9%) said that they were not using birth control at the time they became pregnant. Another 45.4% said their contraception “failed.” About one in twenty (4.9%) said that they were pregnant as a result of rape.

Reasons given for seeking to chemically self-abort were largely consistent with those we have heard for all abortions.

More than six in ten (60.7%) reported “lack of money.”

About four in ten (38.7%) said they “want to finish school.”

Three in ten (30.4%) said they were “too young”; one in twenty (4.8%) said they were too old.

More than two-thirds (68.8%) simply said, ”I just cannot have a child at this point in my life.” (What this meant was not further specified in the form; women were able to pick out multiple reasons, so percentages do not add up to 100.)

Less than one in fifty (1.9%) cited unspecified “illness” as the reason for their abortion, while one in five (20%) simply stated that their “family is complete.”

Aiken and her team tried to generate separate statistics for those women contacting WoW from “hostile states” and those from “supportive states.” (The categories depended on how many laws had passed with regard to parental involvement, informed consent, abortion funding, clinic regulation, etc.)

Differences were slight with regards to gestational age, contraceptive use, and reasons for seeking abortion. Women from “hostile states”–those with more pro-life laws–tended to be more likely to have previously given birth (55.7%) than those from “supportive states” (44.6%).

Reasons for online abortion pills not as expected

Abortion advocates have tried to argue that limits on abortion in those “hostile” pro-life states are driving women to seek out abortion pills online. Despite their best spin and efforts, the data here in this study generally doesn’t seem to support that view.

For example, when asked why they were seeking abortion pills online from WoW, less than a fifth cited “state laws.” Just 18.1% cited this as a reason for trying to get the pills in the so-called “hostile” states, and almost as many (14.1%) gave this as a reason in states that the research team deemed “supportive.”

Beyond the low percentage, the minimal difference between perceptions in “hostile” versus “supportive” states shows that the actual presence or absence of such laws in a given state isn’t that big a factor in pushing women into the arms of the online abortion merchants.

What about the distance involved in having to travel to an abortion clinic, often cited by abortion advocates? This was slightly more of an issue for women in “hostile” states (29%) than it was for those in “supportive” states (21%). However this may be a function of geography (e.g., being in a state with a spread out population) or of their generally being a higher concentration of abortion clinics in those abortion sympathetic states.

The other reasons given for seeking abortion pills online are pretty much what might be expected of women looking for an alternative to an abortion at a clinic. About half said being able to abort in the “privacy” (49.3% for “hostile” states, 48.5% for “supportive” states ) or “comfort”(47% for hostile” states ,44.5% for “supportive” states) of their own home environment was factor.

This is something that was a huge early selling point for these abortions, attractive to those unaware of the physical dangers and psychological trauma associated with the chemical abortion process.

The quarter of potential WoW customers that said they sought the pills online because of the “ability to have others present” (25.3% for “hostile” states, 25.8% for “supportive” states) may have included some with a better understanding of the risk involved.

A sizeable number of women appear to have bought into the myth (or at least thought that it sounded like an attractive feature) that at home abortions with pills bought over the internet give them “a feeling of autonomy” (41.9% in “hostile” states, 43.7% in “supportive” states) or a “feeling of empowerment” (10.8% for “hostile” states,12.8% for “supportive” states).

About four in ten (39.6% in “hostile” states, 43.2% in “supportive” states) cited the “need to keep abortion secret” as their reason for turning to online abortifacients. Just over a third (34.4% in “supportive states,” 32.5% in “hostile” states) said that getting the pills online helped them avoid problems involved in getting time off from work or school.

Less than 20% from either “hostile” or “supportive” states mentioned “perceived abortion stigma,” “protester harassment” or “difficulty finding childcare” as reasons they might prefer a method that would enable them to avoid going to the clinic.

By far, the biggest reason women gave for seeking out online abortion pills was the “cost of clinic abortion.” This was cited by 71.1% of women in “hostile” states and 62.9% in “supportive” states, tops in both categories. [1]

This clearly means that interest in online abortifacients is driven, not by those seeking a way around pro-life laws, but by women unhappy with clinic abortion prices looking for a bargain on the internet.

Either way, that’s an industry issue, a marketing issue, not a legal one.

These results presents the industry with a dilemma. Clinics are struggling to get enough clients to stay open, to pay the bills, cover the rent, pay the staff, and give the abortionists their cut. Cut prices and the margin is even lower.

Online abortion pill peddlers don’t have all the overhead of a physical clinic, all the extra employees, thus enabling them to charge lower prices. The more women go online for their abortions, the less business there is for the “brick and mortar” clinics.

This may explain why you see other people and other groups out there promoting these online pills but not abortion giants such as Planned Parenthood.

More a marketing report than a study

Ostensibly a study to show how pro-life laws are driving pregnant women to seek the means to self-abort online, Aiken et al.’s study instead exposes how well the abortion industry’s widely touted and heavily promoted effort to come up with a new and improved abortion method to address problems with clinic abortions like cost, time, travel, etc., is faring.

The answer appears to be “not well.”

There are some women, accustomed in this day and age to shop for bargains on line, who are looking for something cheaper, something better that they can get at home rather than the expensive, inconvenient abortions for which they’d normally have to take the day off work and drive to the abortion clinic.

The pitch of a cheap, easy, safe abortion a woman can do in the privacy of her own home is clearly attractive to some women, even if the reality is something far different. What should be surprising to the Aiken team is how relatively few women seem to have sought the option.

Advocates of “self-managed abortion” are anxious to portray this as an “access issue,” where state laws and FDA drug policies interfere with a woman’s ability to exercise what they think is her “right to abortion.” Creating “evidence” of this supposed interference and demand is a critical part of making their case to the FDA to loosen controls on prescription and distribution of these abortion drugs to overcome these barriers.

Although that was clearly the intention of this study’s authors, their data tell us it really wasn’t the reason most of the women sought the abortion pills online. They simply weren’t satisfied with the product and the prices currently being offered at America’s abortion clinics.

Eventually, in spite of the latest marketing pitch, women will figure out that it is the same product, just with new packaging being delivered in a new and riskier setting. And no matter the price, they will discover that the cost in lost lives and wounded souls is just too high

[1] That about 8% fewer in the “supportive” states mentioned cost in some cases may be because many of those states cover abortions with state funds.

LifeNews.com Note: Randall O’Bannon, Ph.D., is the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee. This column originally appeared at NRL News Today.

Major family planning groups reveal how they use crises to push abortion in poor nations

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2019 (C-Fam) — Several major family planning groups recently revealed how they are working to integrate abortion into their humanitarian work. The groups were quite open about this at an event hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Millions of people around the world are affected by war and natural disasters, with many displaced from their homes. Humanitarian crises can last for years, during which families must continue to raise their children; access health care and education; and protect themselves from violence, often exacerbated in fragile situations.

But such crises are also opportunities to change gender norms, promote contraception and abortion, and campaign for changes to abortion laws, according to speakers at panel. The event was co-sponsored by Save the Children, CARE, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Family Planning 2020. Although the theme was providing family planning in humanitarian settings, the panelists frequently discussed their work in providing abortion.

“Norms have a way of changing in acute settings,” said Seema Manohar of CARE, an organization working to undermine the current U.S. administration’s pro-life policies abroad. CARE opposes the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy blocking U.S. funding to foreign groups that promote or provide abortions.

As an example, Manohar said that in one area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only short-acting contraceptives had been available. After conflict in the region necessitated a humanitarian response, longer-acting methods were being provided.

Manohar said that her organization’s work includes the provision of “safe abortion” and she cited a guidance called the Minimum Initial Services Package, or MISP, which calls for “safe abortion to the full extent of the law” in humanitarian settings. The MISP was created by the Interagency Working Group for Reproductive Health in Emergencies, of which CARE is a steering committee member.

On multiple occasions, the presence of abortion in the MISP has led to its exclusion from negotiated UN documents.

Erin Wheeler, IRC’s Contraception and Abortion Care Advisor, also discussed her organization’s work to promote abortion, focusing on Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. She noted that IRC “strives to be a feminist organization” and provides abortions in eight countries. In Colombia, IRC works with local affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, where they refer patients for abortions after 13 weeks’ gestation. For earlier pregnancies, Wheeler said her organization provides them with abortion pills.

Comparing different sites in Colombia, Wheeler said providing abortions was more difficult in Medellín, both because of local regulations and health workers’ attitudes. “We’re actually finding some providers a bit reluctant to offer this service, we’re seeing conscientious objections, but also they’re requiring hospitalization for even first-trimester abortion, which actually has been dramatically increasing our costs.”

Wheeler said IRC was working with local leaders to find ways to “improve staff attitudes” and document “delays” to accessing abortions.

All panelists stressed the importance of advocacy in addition to providing humanitarian services. Wheeler said that in order to change norms nationally, one key was finding groups already working on those issues and helping them with partnerships and financing. She pointed to the example of a “nexus-wide” effort to liberalize the abortion laws in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In response to an audience question about the impact of PLGHA, Wheeler noted that IRC is U.S.-based, and therefore exempt from the policy, which she referred to as a “benefit” of their structure.

Wheeler echoed the sentiments of the panel regarding the administration’s pro-life policy: “Hopefully we don’t see it in the future.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.

Depo-Provera Betraying Women

Carolyn Moynihan

A dialogue of discomfort in the face of an epidemic:

A. What could be more important to a developing country than highly effective contraception for its women?

B. Preventing HIV-AIDS, perhaps?

A. That is equally important, but not more important.

B. We agree. But what if the most effective method in such a country seems to be increasing the risk of HIV?

A. Well, none of the evidence for that so far is very strong. We must do some research that will give us a definitive answer to this question.

That, very simplistically, is the conversation that has been going on for at least a decade between the international population control establishment (A) and the HIV-AIDS prevention establishment (B) – a conversation that resulted in a World Health Organisation press release in June headlined, “New study finds no link between HIV infection and contraceptive methods”.

The definitive research has been done and the main finding is greatly reassuring to the WHO and the sexual and reproductive health NGOs providing contraceptive services in southern and south-eastern Africa. This is the region of the world where the HIV epidemic is now concentrated, especially among young women – the population which is also deemed to be most in need of highly effective contraception.

For 30 years, as the AIDS epidemic took hold in many countries, evidence has been accumulating that women on hormonal contraceptives, in particular the injection best known as Depo-Provera, were more likely to become infected with HIV than those not using modern contraception. Targeted studies over the last decade showed increased risk levels of 50 and 100 percent.

This was disappointing to the WHO and others because Depo-Provera – a synthetic progesterone shot lasting three months and usually injected into muscle tissue in the upper arm (also named DMPA-IM) — and a similar injectable were regarded as the most effective method for women living far from family planning clinics (or any regular health service) and in traditional communities where birth control was suspect.

Did this highly effective method of preventing too many births in fact pose a special risk? And if so, how much of a risk?

The ECHO trial

To answer these questions a clinical randomised trial was designed with the title, Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO). Its main purpose was to compare HIV infection rates among women using DMPA-IM and two other methods: the Levonorgestrel implant (also known as Jadelle), and a (non-hormonal) copper-bearing IUD.

Sexually active young women (ages 16 to 35) who wanted effective contraception were recruited in 12 community settings (nine sites in South Africa, and one each in Eswatini, Kenya and Zambia) with high HIV prevalence, they had to be HIV negative and not have used any of the methods during the previous six months. After screening, 7829 women were enrolled in the trial and randomly assigned to one of the three methods.

The women were followed for 12 to 18 months and received ongoing health services, including counselling on HIV prevention and care, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. To remain in the trial they had to contribute at least one HIV test. Retention rates were over 90 percent.

When the results were reported in The Lancet Online in June there was good news and bad news.

The good news: “We did not find a substantial difference in HIV risk among the methods evaluated, and all methods were safe and highly effective.”

The bad news: “HIV incidence was high in this population of women seeking pregnancy prevention, emphasising the need for integration of HIV prevention within contraceptive services for African women.”

The take-home message: “These results support continued and increased access to these three contraceptive methods.”

In other words: Shame about all the HIV – we need to do something about that – but it’s nothing, or nothing much to do with the contraceptives we like so much.

‘Reassuring’ – and ‘sobering’ results

In the WHO press release, a member of the ECHO Management Committee said that the results were both “reassuring” and “sobering”:

“After decades of uncertainty, we finally have robust scientific evidence about the potential relationship between hormonal contraception and the risk of HIV from a rigorous, randomised clinical trial,” said Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “The results on this question are reassuring, but our findings are also sobering, because they confirm unacceptably high HIV incidence among young African women.”

At the end of August, WHO issued an updated guidance on the contraceptives in question that means they can be used without restriction.

So, all methods safe? Full steam ahead?

Not everyone in the conversation about contraception and HIV is equally reassured. Those involved in HIV prevention and advocacy, in fact, find it very sobering.

Responding to the WHO’s reclassification of DMPA-IM, the New York based Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention (AVAC) said it was “gravely concerned that this guidance will be used to justify a ‘business as usual’ approach.” The Civil Society Advocacy Working Group on contraception and HIV went further, saying that, “The ECHO results are not ‘good news’.”

Listening carefully to ECHO

To understand why requires listening carefully to ECHO, to three notes in particular.

1. The number of women who became infected with HIV during the trial – despite counselling and treatment – was 397, an annual rate of 3.8 percent (4 percent in South Africa) that the authors of the Lancet report describe as “alarmingly high”. The WHO requires a preventive drug regime known as PReP for rates above 3 percent.

Under these circumstances, as the advocacy groups cited above said, any increased risk associated with method use is unacceptable. However, the trial was geared to detect a 50 percent increased risk (or hazard ratio) and could not reliably detect ratios below 30 percent.

2. ECHO only compared three methods to one another, not the absolute risk of using a method compared to using no hormonal or other “highly effective” form of contraception, as most previous studies have done.

Dr Jokin de Irala, who holds the Chair of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarre in Spain, told MercatorNet that he agrees with the ECHO authors that, given the design of the trial, having a placebo group would have been unethical, but a comparison with HIV rates in the areas from which the women came would have been useful. As it is, “the only valid conclusion from the trial is that the three groups compared have similar rates of HIV.” Given the high rate of infection inthe trial, he adds, the ECHO finding that “all methods are safe misses some criteria of safety.”

3. ECHO did find increased risks in its comparisons; these were (per annum) as follows: 4 percent for DMPA-IM compared with the copper IUD; 23 percent for DMPA-IM compared with the implant LNG; and 18 percent for the copper IUD compared with LNG. (In a secondary analysis the first two figures were 10 percent and 29 percent.) What was “reassuring” was that these figures were “similar” and all below 30 percent – that is, not statistically significant in terms of the study design.

STIs – the other epidemic

In truth, it is hard to see how anyone can feel reassured by these results from a region with what AVAC calls a “soaring epidemic [of HIV] among young women,” (who can also, by the way, infect new partners.) Among those in the ECHO trial there were high rates of other infections as well: at enrolment 18 percent had chlamydia and by the end of the trial, despite treatment, gonorrhoea stood at 5 percent. Some had herpes. It is well known that these other STIs increase the risk of HIV in the long run.

WHO officials quoted by the Kenyan paper, The Nation, said the infection figures in ECHO were “a wake-up call”, that “STIs have been forgotten” and that family planning clinics should be offering testing. Ironically, it’s long-acting contraceptives like DMPA, and even more, the implant and the IUD, that keep women away from clinics and their other services.

At the same time, as Dr de Irala points out, these “very effective” methods might lead young women to take more risks with their sexual behaviour – what is known as risk compensation. The ECHO study authors themselves noted “post-randomisation differences in self-reported HIV risktaking behaviours between groups.”

Biological reasons are also in play for young women. It is thought that hormonal contraception reduces the immunology of the vagina and cervix, which in younger adolescents is immature. A scientific report in Nature in January suggested the mechanisms by which this happens with DMPA-IM.

Anything but behaviour change

Both the population control and HIV-AIDS prevention establishments agree that there is an urgent need for “integration” of their respective services and training of providers. AVAC and others insist that injectables are not suitable for all women and that there must be a greater choice of contraceptives for them, as well as PReP for those most at risk of HIV. How they will achieve all this, and who will continue to fork out the funds required is not clear. Some are pinning their hopes on a magic pill that will prevent babies and HIV at the same time.

The last thing they will consider, apparently, is behaviour change. In the 1990s the Ugandan population living with AIDS fell from 15 percent to 5-6 percent through the presidential-led ABC campaign: abstain, be faithful to one partner, or if you can’t, use condoms. This strategy has been used in other African countries also with some success, where it is more consistent with traditional values.

But Western elites underestimate the peoples of the developing world, and in their continued hurry to bring down birthrates that are already falling – and are just where they should be in Africa – they undermine local cultures and make whatever is faulty in them worse. Much of this is done in the name of “empowering” women, who, in southern Africa at least, are now the population most vulnerable to HIV, and from an early age.

The trouble with rich elites is that when they intervene in other cultures, they only look for echoes of themselves. This is why they cannot really help African women, as the plight of those in the ECHO study demonstrates.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

A ‘new’ normal? Updated fertility trends across the globe

Lyman Stone

By now most readers are aware that U.S. birth rates have fallen to all-time lows. Early data for 2019 suggest that this slide is likely to continue. Those interested in demography more generally may also be aware that birth rates are falling in other countries. Most recently, reports of Finland’s baby bust have made headlines. Why are birth rates plummeting across so many countries?

Before the “why” question can be answered, it’s important to get a handle on the scope and scale of the decline. Where is fertility falling? Is the decline more severe in some places than in others?

To answer that question, I’ve put together the most up-to-date database of fertility statistics available anywhere, covering 61 countries for recent years. Major sources like the World Bank and the United Nations are only updated through 2017; I have updated through 2018 where data is available, and where year-to-date 2019 data is available, I’ve estimated what 2019 fertility rates are likely to be.

The data shows that very low fertility rates are becoming increasingly normal across the globe. Current declines are probably not just cyclical, but likely reflect a “new normal” with most countries having birth rates between 1.4 and 1.9 children per woman.

Presenting 61 countries’ fertility rates in a single graph is not feasible. Instead, below I show the average annual change in each country’s birth rate from 2007 to the latest data (2017, 2018, or 2019) for a variety of countries, grouped by various regional or historic ties. The groups are arranged from left to right, with the highest fertility region as of 2007 (the Middle East and North Africa) at the left, and the lowest-fertility region as of 2007 (East Asia) at the right.

As the figure shows, fertility fell the most in the highest-fertility regions, and it rose somewhat in lower-fertility regions. Put in statistical terms, the amount of variation among these 61 countries declined by half between 2007 and 2019. This was not only because of fertility declines among very-high-fertility countries, what demographers call “demographic transition,” but also because of modest fertility increases in low-fertility countries, and declines in medium-fertility countries.

The graph below illustrates this even more clearly, with the change in fertility rates since 2007 compared to actual fertility in 2007.

Basically, countries with birth rates above 1.6 or 1.7 children per woman experienced fertility declines. Countries with birth rates below that saw more stability or even increases. What we appear to be seeing is a global convergence around fertility rates of 1.6 or 1.7 children.

This is not just a rich-world phenomenon. Birth rates in Mexico are around 1.9 to 2 kids per woman, so below the rate needed to sustain Mexico’s current population levels. Brazil’s birth rate is even lower, at 1.75, similar to Colombia’s at 1.77. Costa Rica is even lower, at 1.66. El Salvador, Argentina, and Venezuela are all just barely “breaking even” demographically. Other countries like Guatemala are higher but falling fast.

Across the Pacific, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India are all around 2 or 2.2 kids per woman, while Malaysia has fallen to about 1.8. Thailand is even lower, at 1.5 kids per woman. Even Muslim countries like Turkey (2), Iran (1.8), and Tunisia (2.1) have near-replacement fertility, with speedy declines still ongoing.

Data for Africa is not sufficiently recent or high-quality to speak to very recent declines, but the trend there is also one of extremely rapid fertility decline, as I’ve written previously for IFS.

Thus, while recent fertility declines are not globally shared, they nonetheless point to an emerging norm of below-replacement fertility. We should not expect that the future will be one of growing populations, but rather one where most countries face serious demographic challenges.

Why is this happening? A few specific country examples may help point the way to an explanation.

Asian Tigers? Asian Pandas.

Many commentators use “Japan” as a by-word for demographic decline. But while Japan does face demographic challenges, it appears to be rising to meet them. Today, Japan actually has the highest fertility rate in East Asia, once we exclude the hermit kingdom of North Korea and the post-Soviet nomads of Mongolia.

Japan’s birth rates have been rising for some time. But beyond this rise, Japan has been getting creative to encourage births at all levels of society and is also successfully opening its doors to immigration. The perception of Japan as an ultra-low fertility, unfriendly-to-families, closed-to-immigration country is increasingly outdated.

On the other hand, Korea’s birth rate has plummeted to astonishingly low levels. If current trends hold, 2019 will report birth rates of around 0.92 expected children per woman, one of the lowest numbers ever reported by any country. Korea is trying to boost fertility rates, but their efforts are misguided and failing. Without serious labor reforms aimed at de-prioritizing “workist” career-competitiveness, Korea’s birth rate will continue to fall.

Korea’s case is unique, but the forces driving it, especially the unchecked power of the labor market over peoples’ lives, are shared with many countries.

The Mongol Horde

The universality of the forces reducing fertility is sometimes obscured by impressive-looking short-term fluctuations. And indeed, elsewhere in Asia, there’s a baby boom.

Mongolians averaged 7.3 kids per woman in 1974: a figure that fell to 2.5 by 1993, and below 2 by 2005. But then, something happened. Since 2005, Mongolian birth rates have rocketed upwards and now stand at around three children per woman. The consequences of this baby boom on school crowding, the challenges it poses for children’s health in Mongolia’s highly polluted capital, and the role played by improving rural maternal health services, have all been featured in international media. More generally, Mongolia’s economic boom driven by growing global, and especially Chinese, investment almost certainly had a role to play. Meanwhile, this fertility gain has not come at the expense of gender equality, as Mongolian women remain better educated than Mongolian men, and are making more and more inroads into traditionally male-dominated fields.

But while Mongolia’s case appearunique for Asia, offering some cause for hope, that optimism would be misplaced. Mongolia’s true peers are not other Asian countries, but other post-Soviet countries.

Many former Soviet countries had a “baby bust” just like Mongolia did during the 1990s due to the chaos and disruption of the fall of communism. And many of those countries are now enjoying a recovery to fertility rates nearer their 1980s levels, just as Mongolia is. These recoveries probably will not last forever, and indeed may already be fizzling out. In time, despite its currently-impressive fertility trends, it is most likely that Mongolia’s “Soviet recovery boom” will fade, and the gradual forces of economic modernization will push its birth rates down to similar levels seen in other countries.

Modern Greenland

Economic modernization is a funny thing. Sometimes it comes naturally, sometimes, it’s forced. One of the most striking cases of “engineered modernity” comes not from the Soviet Union, but from Greenland, a constituent part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Denmark had owned and colonized Greenland for a long time when, starting in 1950, the government embarked on an ambitious project to modernize the people of Greenland: economically of course, but also, perhaps especially, culturally. Notably, this was despite a 1946 decision by Greenland’s native leaders to reject modernization.

The first step of modernity was to introduce the sale of alcohol into Greenland, with predictably deleterious effects. Then, from 1952 to 1968, the Danish government embarked on a massive campaign of housing and infrastructure expansion designed to encourage Greenlanders to move out of small, traditional villages, into a few urban centers, where public services could be more easily delivered. The most infamous of these new housing developments was Blok P, an enormous and notorious public housing project that eventually housed nearly 1% of the total population of Greenland, but few of them happily. During the modernization period, education was also switched to Danish. Political modernity arrived as well, with the usual democratic, socialist, liberal, and rightist parties forming during the 1970s.

Overall, Denmark’s aggressive modernization campaign provoked anti-colonial resistance and helped lead to the movement for Greenlandic home rule in 1979, self-government in 2009, and perhaps someday independence.

But that wasn’t all. Fatefully, in 1967, the Danish government began a major campaign to promote IUDs. The results of aggressive modernization, intentional cultural disruption, and aggressive contraceptive campaigns were as might be expected.

In the span of just eight years from 1966 to 1974, fertility rates fell abruptly from 7 children per woman to 2.3. This is the fastest fertility transition in human history.

Of course, Greenland’s fertility did not fall to extremely low levels and remains near replacement rate today, although it is gradually declining. But the country is an example of the striking influence that can be exerted by a determined government. A full-court-press of political reform, urbanization, healthcare, education, and industrial transformation radically altered Greenlandic fertility. Not even China’s one-child policy was so dramatically successful at reaching its goals and, certainly, no pro-natal initiative has ever been so successful.

People of the Promise

So, if a government can engineer a cultural change to reduce fertility, can it do the opposite?

In any discussion of fertility, one country comes up a lot: Israel. Virtually alone among rich countries, Israel has a fertility rate of around 3 children per woman. And this is not just thanks to a minority group within Israel, like Muslims. The majority-population of Israeli Jews have birth rates around 3 kids per woman. While the ultra-Orthodox Jews have the most children, even secular Jews have above-replacement-rate fertility in Israel.

This also cannot be solely attributed to the general policy environment. While Israel does encourage births, many previously very-high-fertility groups in Israel, like the Druze, now have near-replacement-rate fertility. Rather, Israel’s high birth rates appear to be in some sense a product of cultural norms within the Israeli Jewish community.

However, if early data for 2019 is to be believed, Israeli Jewish fertility is now falling as well. If even Israel’s pro-family culture and aggressively pro-natal policies can’t stave off fertility declines, what can?

Looking Forward

Birth rates are falling. Around the world, it seems like fertility rates are likely to reach stability between 1.4 and 1.9 kids per woman, and most plausibly around 1.6 to 1.7. This is considerably below the assumptions of most population forecasting bodies like the United Nations, which typically assumes stable fertility rates of between 1.8 and 2.1. In other words, the ongoing global fertility slump suggests that the future human population will be smaller than expected.

Lyman Stone is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and an Adjunct Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Republished from the Institute for Family Studies blog, with permission.

 

Oral contraceptives making women fatter, new study finds

Martin M. Barillas

PAMPLONA, Spain, October 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The use of oral contraceptives among women increases the risk of obesity, according to new research.

Researchers at Spain’s University of Navarre analyzed the results of a longitudinal study of nearly 5,000 women over the course of eight years. Lead researcher Alfredo Gea and colleagues at the university’s Center for Research on Obesity and Nutrition (Ciberobn) published their findings in the International Journal of Obesity. The study is titled “Oral contraceptives use and development of obesity in a Mediterranean cohort: the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project” and was published in August.

According to the study, the use of oral contraceptives by women over the course of two or more years is related to an increase of 78% in the probability of obesity in the following eight years. The abstract of the study stated, “The use of oral contraceptives (OC) has been suggested to represent a potential risk factor for the development of obesity.”

Regarding methodology, the authors noted that the study population consisted of 4,920 female university graduates who were identified as “initially nonobese” with a mean age of 28.2 years. The use of oral contraceptives was self-reported, while the body mass index of the subjects was assessed at the onset and every two years thereafter. For the purposes of the study, the female subjects were divided into two groups. The women of one group were regular users of oral contraceptives, while those of the other group were not.

The results of the study showed that obesity becomes especially prevalent among women who consistently use oral contraceptives over time. Researcher Álvaro San Juan Rodríguez of the University of Pittsburgh told Spanish newspaper ABC that the study proved that “the risk of developing obesity in the following years practically doubles among the women who regularly used oral contraceptives and almost tripled among those who used it continuously for more than two years.”

Gea urged caution in the use of oral contraceptives, which are more and more commonly used.

The study noted that obesity has become a global public health issue that has reached “epidemic proportions” and presents a major challenge to human health. According to the authors, “obesity increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer, among other diseases.”

The authors wrote that available evidence is highly inconsistent as to how oral hormonal contraceptive may cause weight gain. “Weight gain may be a result of fluid retention, fat deposition, muscle mass gain, or any combination of the aforementioned elements,” the study said.

No previous large prospective studies have assessed the long-term risk of oral contraceptive use, wrote the authors.

Previous studies have indicated links between oral contraceptive use and debilitating or deadly blood clots. Oral contraceptive pills can cause elevated levels of cholesterol, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, various forms of cardiovascular disease, and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, women who have used oral contraceptives are at a slightly higher risk for breast cancer. The government agency noted that women who have used oral contraceptives are also at a higher risk of endometrial and cervical cancer.

$9 million awarded to family of student who died from birth control complications

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The family of a college student who died in 2014 from a pulmonary embolism linked to birth control has been awarded $9 million in a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against Auburn Urgent Care in Alabama.

Hope Johnson was prescribed hormonal birth control by her gynecologist even after a blood test determined that she was at a high risk of developing blood clots. The doctor’s office, however, failed to properly file the lab results and Johnson was prescribed birth control that was a risk to her health and life. According to AL.com, her mother had a history of blood clots and had a pulmonary embolism while pregnant.

About a month after being prescribed the hormonal birth control, Johnson was struggling with shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and a sore throat. On December 2, 2014, she went to Auburn Urgent Care for help. She was diagnosed with bronchitis and was prescribed an antibiotic. She was directed to come back if her condition worsened.

The next day, she had “severe shortness of breath” and her chest pain had gotten worse. However, the doctor at Auburn Urgent Care did not give her a physical exam, according to AL.com, but diagnosed her with a high white blood cell count and shortness of breath. She was given an inhaler. It was the first day on the job for a new doctor at the clinic and he had been directed by the medical director to treat patients without having any access to their current or past medical records. The lawsuit stated that Johnson’s condition was critical and she should have been taken by ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center.

The following day, on December 4, Johnson died of a “massive pulmonary emboli” according to the lawsuit, which was filed against Auburn Urgent Care, Dr. Zenon Bednarski – the clinic’s senior partner, owner, and supervising physician – and Dr. David Willis, the doctor who saw her at the urgent care. The lawsuit states that Bednarski did not give Willis login credentials that would have enabled him to view patient histories. It was Willis’s first day on the job. The verdict is the largest ever in a Lee County medical-malpractice suit.

“We are very pleased with the jury decision in the wrongful death case of our precious daughter Hope,” the Johnson family said in a statement. “We continue to feel her absence every day and pray this decision brings about much-needed change. Our chief desire is that this case will set a precedent that will prevent this from happening to another family or college student, not just in Lee County, but in Alabama as a whole.”

Hormonal birth control carries numerous risks to women’s health, which are frequently downplayed by doctors and the media. Women are often not fully informed about the potential risks to their health when they are prescribed birth control. These dangers include an increased risk of depression and suicide, heart attack and stroke, breast cancer and cervical cancer, infertility, and blood clots — as was the case with Johnson.

“Hope’s death is tragic because it was entirely preventable,” said Brett Turnbull of Turnbull Law Firm, representing the Johnson family. “We don’t know the exact number of patients seen that day, but it was too many. Patient well-being, not profits, should be the primary goal of healthcare.”

Calling All Catholics: We Need You Praying the Rosary to End Abortion

FATHER FRANK PAVONE

The pro-life movement is marked by many prayers. For people of faith, prayer unites us to the Lord of Life, and calls Him to make present the Victory of Life. We pray for our own conversion and for the conversion of the mothers, the fathers, the abortionists, and the general public.

Among Catholics, few are more popular than the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

The Rosary has been constantly recommended by Popes and saints. In its prayers can be found all of salvation history. It immerses us in Scripture. It has gained great victories for Christianity through the ages.

And it is particularly well suited to our movement to end abortion. There are a number of reasons.

The Rosary honors a Mother, and calls “blessed” the fruit of her womb. This counteracts the abortion mentality, which sees motherhood as more of a burden than a blessing and sees the fruit of the womb as disposable.

In the Rosary, we proclaim that we are sinners. “Pray for us sinners.” “Forgive us our trespasses.” It proves false the accusation of abortion supporters who tell us we are “self-righteous.”  Rather, we are the ones who need to repent of our negligence and inactivity regarding abortion.

Often the Rosary is used at the prayer vigils at abortion facilities, where we confront the killing, lies, and exploitation that go on inside.

The Rosary has a calming effect as our fingers handle the beads, our lips repeat the Hail Marys, and our mind calmly reviews the Mysteries. An abortion mill can be a place of great tension, especially if there are counter-demonstrators. The Rosary helps diffuse the tension.

The format of the Rosary allows everyone to participate, whether at an abortion mill or during a march. It can be prayed while walking and can be adjusted to any time frame. A practical suggestion is to have half the group say the first part of the Hail Mary and the other half respond. If there is only one person leading the prayer, most people cannot hear it, especially with the noise of traffic.

Because of the popularity of the Rosary among pro-life activists, various forms of “pro-life Rosaries” have been developed. Some of these have different colored beads associated with each decade, each representing a specific intention (the babies, the mothers, the abortionists, etc.). Some rosaries bear the image of the unborn child on each bead.

A large number of pro-life rosary meditations have also been composed, based on Scripture, doctrine, and the experience of the pro-life movement.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet grew out of a series of visions experienced by St. Faustina, who was a religious sister in Poland in 1935.

In the revelations of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina, abortion was the primary sin for which God asked us to cry out for his mercy. Moreover, God allowed St. Faustina to experience severe abdominal pains, to signify the pain of mothers aborting their children. The devotion to Divine Mercy deserves particular emphasis for those who have had abortions and for abortionists and clinic workers.

Because of all this, we at Priests for Life have just begun a daily broadcast of the Rosary at 3 p.m. ET on EndAbortion.TV and about twenty social media video platforms simultaneously.

The Joyful Mysteries will be recited on Mondays and Saturdays; the Sorrowful Mysteries, on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Glorious Mysteries, on Wednesdays and Sundays, and the Luminous Mysteries, on Thursdays.

Following the rosary each day, I will also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet of St. Faustina. Each broadcast lasts about 28 minutes.

Please join us, and let’s continue to bring the power of prayer to the most important, urgent and fundamental human rights struggle of our day: restoring protection to the children in the womb!

Who is footing the bill for ‘free’ abortion pills on California college campuses?

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A measure to force public universities to offer dangerous abortion pills on college campus, recently signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, will initially be set up using funds from pro-abortion groups. However, pro-life student group Students for Life of America (SFLA) notes that student fees will also be used to fund on-campus abortions, since those fees underwrite the costs of campus healthcare centers. SFLA also pointed out how the conscience rights of students and healthcare workers will be violated if forced to participate with abortions. “This law includes funds that can go to Planned Parenthood for ‘consulting’ and new funds for ‘security’, allowing the nation’s number one abortion vendor to sit back and cash checks, enjoying the chaos of abortions taking place at schools without any of the risk,” said SFLA president Kristin Hawkins.

 

The bill requires student health care services centers at the state’s 34 University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses to offer medication abortion on and after January 1, 2023. According to a Department of Financial Bill Analysis, SB 24 “establishes the College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund under the administration of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.” It requires the Commission, whose current chair Alisha Wilkins previously worked for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in Riverside, “to provide grants of $200,000 to each student health center, and a grant of $200,000 to both the UC and CSU system to become prepared to offer abortion by medication techniques and develop associated back-up medical supports.”

 

The abortion pill was brought into the U.S. by the Population Council, a eugenics organization which sought out investors to set up a highly secretive company — DANCO Laboratories — to manufacture the drug.

Investors included:

  • The Packard Foundation, which originally invested in 1996 to help keep DANCO afloat when it “ran short on funds”
  • The Buffett Foundation, identified by the Washington Post in 2000, writing, “The Buffett Foundation… made at least $2 million in interest-free loans to the Population Council… according to tax documents filed in 1995. That money was in turn used to conduct clinical trials of RU-486 [the abortion pill].”
  • George Soros (Open Society Foundations)
  • A number of other abortion pill investors chose to remain unnamed, according to internal documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal

Image: Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

To update campus student health center procedures, provide training, and purchase equipment at UC, the Department’s analysis estimated:

  • One-time system wide readiness General Fund costs between $4.6 million to $7.8 million…
  • Ongoing General Fund costs of $2.2 million to $3.3 million commencing in 2023 to provide abortion by medication services in each campus student health center and provide access to 24-hour telehealth services.

At CSU, the initial costs were “unknown” but raised concerns it could likely range in the millions to low tens of millions of dollars.

Image: CSU on costs of law mandating abortion pills on California campuses (Image: CBS Sacramento)

CSU on costs of law mandating abortion pills on California campuses (Image: CBS Sacramento)

“While this bill and its sponsors indicate that private financing would cover all the costs associated with this bill, Finance notes this bill could create future General Fund cost pressures to the extent sufficient private funding cannot be raised to support readiness grants, the costs to comply with this bill’s requirements exceed the proposed grant funding, or to the extent the UC and CSU incur ongoing costs after January 1, 2023,” the analysis said.

zImage: Lila Rose on law mandating abortion pills on California campus (Image: Twitter)

Lila Rose on law mandating abortion pills on California campus (Image: Twitter)

According to a statement by the ACLU, a “[C]onsortium of funders, including the Women’s Foundation of California and Tara Health Foundation,” has raised the initial funds.

Tara Health Foundation (THF):

Image: TARA Health Foundation promotes abortion

TARA Health Foundation promotes abortion

The Women’s Foundation of California:

According to the Guttmacher Institute there were 132,680 abortions committed in California in 2017. A previous analysis by Live Action News revealed that taxpayers in the state paid over half a billion dollars (nearly $700 million) for abortions from 1989 to 2014. In 2017, the pro-abortion Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) — a research group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, which trains abortion providers — estimated, “Approximately 23% of CSU students and 12% of UC students are enrolled in Medi-Cal.”

Image: Medi-Cal FFS abortion expenditures in California 1989 to 2014

Medi-Cal FFS abortion expenditures in California 1989 to 2014

“Students across UC and CSU campuses obtain 1,038 abortions each month,” ANSIRH wrote adding, “[W]e estimate there would be between 322-519 medication abortions occurring across UC and CSU campuses every month.”

SFLA claims there was no need for the law because abortion facilities are less than 6 miles from every California public university and college campus. The group also claims there are no safeguards are in place to protect women who may be dosed with the drugs without their consent. Live Action News previously documented how many of those behind the push for these dangerous pills to be readily available on campus are also pushing for FDA safety requirements to be lifted. To date, at least 24 women have died from the abortion pill and literally thousands have been hospitalized with serious complications.

 

How Hormonal Contraception Messes With Your Sleep

by Margaret Brady

The Pill vs.The Sandman: How Hormonal Contraception Messes With Your Sleep

Are you feeling tired? You’re not alone. Roughly 25% of women have trouble sleeping at any given time. As our female bodies go through seemingly endless hormonal changes, it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. But researchers have found there may be an unexpected factor contributing to the modern epidemic of exhaustion: the birth control pill.

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To understand how hormonal contraception can affect a woman’s sleep, it’s important to first know how human sleep is structured. Shut-eye actually happens in phases. In stage 1, which only lasts a few minutes, we experience brain waves called alpha and theta waves. This is very light sleep where we can still be easily awoken. In stage 2, the brain causes a sudden increase in wave activity. Stages 3 and 4 are where the deep, restorative rest we all long for happens. This is slow wave sleep, in which the brain is producing delta waves. We get our energy for the next morning, consolidate what we learned during the day for our long-term memory bank, and repair our bodies during this time. Finally, there’s Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. This stage is when most of our dreaming occurs.

Ladies actually have a special sleep advantage: We are naturally capable of getting more of that deep, stage 3 sleep, compared to men. But researchers have discovered that women taking the artificial hormones found in the Pill don’t get the same benefit. Their body temperatures were elevated, and they experienced less stage 3 sleep compared to women who were experiencing their natural menstrual cycles without the synthetic hormones found in contraceptives. I asked Dr. Lynn Keenan about this phenomenon. She is Program Director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship, and a NaProTECHNOLOGY expert, at the University of California, San Francisco – Fresno.

What natural hormones have to do with good sleep

“This was also found in women after menopause taking the synthetic progestin,” Dr. Keenan told me. “They have worse sleep quality than those taking bio-identical progesterone.” Bio-identical hormones are the same, at a molecular level, as those naturally produced in the human body.

Women who are paying close attention to their bodies through Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), or modern methods of natural family planning (NFP), may find their fertility charting to be a helpful tool for understanding the intersection of their reproductive cycle and their sleep.

“Charts can give you hints that there may be a coexisting sleep disorder that is impacting the woman’s quality of life,” Dr. Keenan said. “I have had women who only had sleep walking or sleep talking in their luteal phase, and when taught to chart, we found lower than normal progesterone, and the timed administration of bio-identical progesterone controlled their [sleep walking].

“Some women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, have very heavy menses, and I find that group in particular have a high chance of sleep apnea,” she noted. “The oxygen drops associated with sleep apnea can really affect the ovaries and endometrium, and when the sleep apnea is controlled, I have seen significant improvements in menstrual flow. Both PCOS and sleep apnea have lower than normal progesterone,” she said.

Dr. Keenan has even observed a connection between women’s health and sleep conditions like narcolepsy and Restless Legs Syndrome, also known as RLS.

Given all the multi-tasking, care-giving and problem-juggling women have to cope with, it’s fair to say we have enough to keep us up at night, without disrupting the most restful stage of the sleep we do get. It’s just one more reason it’s wise for women to make the switch from birth control to Fertility Awareness-Based Methods; they work with our bodies—and our sleep goals—instead of against them.

Calling on Cardinal Newman: Mother’s Miracle Paves Way for Canonization

K.V. Turley

Melissa Villalobos woke up on May 15, 2013, to find herself in a pool of blood.

That morning she was alone with her four children. Her husband, David, had left the family home in Chicago earlier that morning and was just then boarding a flight to Atlanta for a business meeting.

Bleeding had been noticed some weeks earlier during the first trimester of this, her sixth pregnancy. An ultrasound had shown that the placenta had become partially detached from the uterine wall, “so there was a hole in the placenta and that hole was allowing blood to escape,” Melissa explained to the Register July 22. To make matters worse, she had developed a subchorionic hematoma, a blood clot two and a half times the size of her unborn baby. This had lodged in the fetal membrane.

Her doctor ordered immediate bed rest for Villalobos.

But this was easier said than done. Melissa had four small children, aged 6, 5, 3 and 1. Although the 36-year-old mother had formerly practiced as a lawyer, her husband was the family breadwinner now. He had a high-pressure job that regularly took him away from home. No family members were close at hand to help: Melissa had been brought up in St. Louis, and David was raised in Texas. Apart from a few neighbors and friends, they were alone: Six months’ bed rest until the birth of their new child was nearly impossible.

In any event, the bleeding continued, and was getting worse since Melissa was admitted to a hospital emergency room on May 10, 2013. At that time, the medics warned the couple about a possible miscarriage. If the baby survived the pregnancy, they said, she would probably be born prematurely with attendant complications. The medical prognosis was heartbreaking, and now, less than five days later, the worst seemed to be happening.

Seeking Heavenly Aid

Sadly, David and Melissa had been here before. In February 2013, Melissa’s fifth pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, and Blessed John Henry Newman had been a part of that story, too. In that earlier pregnancy, the doctors, after detecting no heartbeat for weeks, had offered the mother a procedure to remove the unborn baby. Melissa refused. She was determined to carry the child to delivery, even if she knew the child could not live.

Perhaps no one, other than David, understood the grief that Melissa carried in her heart during those weeks before that first miscarriage. As she put it, at that time, she feared “the grief of that miscarriage would kill me of a broken heart.” So she prayed. The person to whom she prayed was a 19th-century English Catholic convert whom she had seen discussed on an EWTN television show and then whose prayer card had been brought home unexpectedly by her husband and now stood on a mantelpiece in the family home: “Please, Cardinal Newman, help me with this.”

Melissa Villalobos prayed as never before. She prayed for the child she carried; she prayed that, if her baby died, she could still believe, still trust, still love the God who had sent her this cross. But, most of all, she prayed that God’s will be done.

Her prayer was heard. As the dead child was buried, Melissa Villalobos remained faithful to the God of love. She knew that her prayer had been heard: that her faith, hope and love were intact, and that Newman’s intercession had been instrumental in this. Today, of that time, she simply says: “I lost the baby. But I had kept my faith — thanks to Cardinal Newman, my rock.”

 

Desperate Prayer

With the experience of her miscarriage still fresh in her heart and mind and concern for who would tend for her four young children, this young mother lay in bed, helpless, in a pool of her own blood on the morning of May 15, 2013.

Terrified thoughts ran through her consciousness: “I was afraid … of losing the baby and what would become of the four children downstairs if I were to bleed to death. How would they be raised? These things were crashing through my mind.”

Although she continued to bleed, she delayed calling 911, worried about her children should she be admitted to the hospital. Finally, she knew she had to call an ambulance, but she then realized she didn’t have her cellphone near her. She also knew that in trying to find it and make a call she would cause even more damage to her body.

Eventually she struggled to her feet. She began to make her way downstairs. Somehow she managed to get the children all in the kitchen and watched as they helped fix breakfast. Then, firmly, mustering all the strength she had, she ordered them: “Don’t get out of your seats no matter what!” They fell silent as their mother left the room. Melissa ascended the stairs.

At last she reached the bathroom. She locked the door behind her, fearing the children would see the blood on the floor. The next thing she remembers was opening her eyes after having collapsed. Now a feeling even more debilitating overtook her physical weakness: desperation.

Was it on this bathroom floor that she was to die, Melissa asked herself, while downstairs her four children sat silently waiting for her?

She prayed: “Please, Cardinal Newman, make the bleeding stop!”

It did.

Immediately.

“‘Please, Cardinal Newman, make the bleeding stop.’ Those were my exact words. Just then, as soon as I finished the sentence, the bleeding stopped.”

She knew instantly that something physical had changed. As she checked, something else occurred. “Just then the scent of roses filled the bathroom,” Melissa recalls, “the strongest scent of roses I’ve ever smelled.” In hindsight, she says: “The injury was unseen so the roses gave me the confidence to go downstairs to see the children.”

She made her way downstairs again. This time she was praying a different prayer than that uttered only minutes previously: “Thank you, Cardinal Newman. Thank you.” During all this time she heard no sound in the house. This had unnerved her. She felt panicked, thinking that the children had gone outside. She rushed to the kitchen only to find four silent faces looking at her. As they told her later, she had asked them to remain there, and that is exactly what they had done, simply and quietly waiting for their mother to come back to them.

The children may not have registered the fact that their mother’s mood had changed from one of utter anguish and dereliction to euphoric elation. “I thought to myself in that moment, ‘Oh my goodness! My baby is okay. I’m okay. My four children are okay. We’re all okay.’ And I said, ‘Thank you, Cardinal Newman.’”

Then her cellphone rang. It was David. He had arrived in Atlanta. There was a problem with his hotel. But all he wanted to know was how his wife was doing. His wife’s reaction was as unexpected as it was welcome: “Everything is going to be fine. … Everything is going to be great! … I’ll explain later. …Take care of your hotel and call me back.”

As it happened, that afternoon Melissa had a scan prearranged at the hospital, as the doctors were understandably still worried about the health of their patient. So, later that day, her complete recovery was confirmed. The doctors told her everything was now “perfect.” There was no longer a hole in the placenta.

Seven months later, on Dec. 27, 2013, a baby girl, Gemma, was born. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. The child has had no medical problems then or since, nor has her mother.

 

Canonization Cause

Villalobos waited until after Gemma was born to report the healing to the promoters of Cardinal Newman’s canonization. Officials from the Archdiocese of Chicago conducted the initial inquiry. A report was then forwarded to the Vatican for another series of investigations. This process officially concluded on Feb. 13, when Pope Francis announced the miracle was accepted: Cardinal Newman would be canonized. At no stage in this process was Melissa in any doubt: “I knew it was a miracle.”

 

Saintly Expression of Love

Melissa loves the family life she shares with David and her now seven children. When she was ill, it was the disruption to the family’s ordinary life that she found hardest to bear. She could not cook and clean and was unable to lift anything; she could not play with her children, for fear that if they bumped her it would set off more bleeding. She feared she would never return to normal family life. That changed instantaneously — and for good: “I was able to resume my full, active life as a mom,” she said. “I was cured through Newman’s intercession so that I could continue an ordinary life, but at the same time be completely devoted to him and to God and his Church.”

That devotion will open a new chapter this October when Melissa makes her first trip to Europe. She will travel with her family to Rome to witness the Pope proclaim a saint that same 19th-century English Catholic convert priest whom she feels now she knows well.

Melissa’s devotion to Newman started with an EWTN television discussion and a prayer card dedicated to him. It was his face upon the card that drew her interest. Newman’s eyes and expression seemed to understand her mood, her preoccupations when, from time to time, she passed by the card on the mantle. The more she read about Newman’s life and witness, the more she felt he understood her. Above all, she says, she learned of how Newman was a true shepherd to all. She wondered if, spiritually, she, too, could become part of his flock, “one of his spiritual children.”

That prayer is now answered — definitively. Now, John Henry Newman is linked to Melissa Villalobos. “To be in the same sentence as Cardinal Newman is a blessing beyond words,” she said, “a display of God’s mercy and Newman’s humility.”

Melissa says that Gemma, now age 5, is not aware of what took place, not yet, although the other day she asked her mother: “What does ‘cured’ mean?”

Today, as Melissa watches her children play and as she plays with them, Newman’s spiritual child reflects: “Several times a day I think of what has happened and try to show my gratitude, just to be as loving as I can be.”

STD rate at an all-time high due to promiscuity and drug use: CDC report

October 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2018, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were at an all-time high in America, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The three most common sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) rose to more than 115,000 cases of syphilis, more than 580,000 cases of gonorrhea, and more than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia, the CDC said in a press release. While all three are treatable by antibiotics, without treatment they can be spread to other people and lead to heightened risks of HIV, infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

The most alarming detail in the new report is a 40 percent spike in the number of infants born with syphilis to 1,300.

“There are tools available to prevent every case of congenital syphilis,” Gail Bolan of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention said. “Testing is simple and can help women to protect their babies from syphilis – a preventable disease that can have irreversible consequences.”

The CDC report attributes the increases partly to drug use and decreased condom usage, as well as “poverty, stigma, and unstable housing” reducing “access to STD prevention and care,” as well as “cuts to STD programs at the state and local level.”

Social conservatives argue that something more fundamental is at work.

On Thursday, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins interviewed Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians and FRC’s own David Closson, who attributed the numbers to “liv(ing) in such a sexually saturated culture” and to venturing “outside of God’s design and the boundaries that he’s given us,” respectively.

Cretella faulted the CDC’s statement for emphasizing secondary prevention (treatment after the fact) over primary prevention (discouraging risky behavior). She noted that government and society have no hesitation about telling young people to abstain from smoking (often employing frightening and judgmental language and imagery in the process), but tends to treat sexual promiscuity differently.

Pro-lifers have long argued that so-called “comprehensive” sex education, particularly as operated by Planned Parenthood, actually encourages underage sexual activity, partly out of far-left ideology and partly in order to generate more demand for Planned Parenthood’s services.

2016 report from the Obama-era U.S. Office of Adolescent Health found that, across six different Planned Parenthood affiliate partners, more than 3,500 students, and 87 schools, a Planned Parenthood-backed sex-ed program left students “significantly more likely than controls to have ever been pregnant or to have caused a pregnancy.”

Abortion activists expand their ‘ideological colonization’ to Latin America

 

Activists with green handkerchiefs, which symbolizes the abortion rights movement, demonstrate to mark the revival of their campaign to legalize abortion, in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires, on May 28, 2019. – Activists and lawmakers in Argentina relaunched a bid to legalize abortion on Tuesday with a new bill before Congress and a major demonstration, resuming a battle that has divided the homeland of Pope Francis ahead of October’s general election. (Photo by Emiliano Lasalvia / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMILIANO LASALVIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Obianuju Ekeocha, pro-life founder of Culture of Life Africa, has coined the phrase “ideological colonization” to describe how well-funded abortion activists in the West push for the killing of preborn babies in developing countries, many of which have strong pro-life cultures. Although abortion activists are most overt in their ideological colonization in Africa, Latin America is also an important, if oft-overlooked, battleground in the struggle for life. A recent AP overview of the current hotspots in Latin America reminds us that abortion activists’ ideological colonization efforts are alive and well in the region.

Argentina

Argentina has long been a strong protector of the rights of the preborn, with abortion illegal with limited exceptions since the 1880s, making it a prime target of ideological colonization in Latin America by abortion activists.

Last year, Argentina came close to legalizing abortion after abortion activists’ well-organized and internationally backed campaign. As Live Action News reported, influential abortion colonizers like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Amnesty International were directly involved with pressuring the Argentine government into taking up the bill. Many other groups supported the effort, including Human Rights Watch, which in 2018 called Argentina’s pending pro-abortion legislation a “landmark opportunity to end [the] harmful policy.”

Green scarves worn by protesters are well-recognized symbols of the pro-abortion movement in Argentina  green scarves. The origin of these scarves is deeply, painfully ironic; the inspiration was drawn from the legacy of Argentine mothers of the desaparecidos, or disappeared, who wore white scarves in remembrance of their children who went missing under the military dictatorship. But instead of speaking up for their missing children, the green scarf-clad abortion supporters are wearing those symbols instead to advocate for their right to disappear their own children, through the violence of abortion.

Last year the effort to legalize abortion failed by a 38 to 31 margin in the Senate after widespread civic action by pro-lifers. However, this has not deterred the pro-abortion groups. As PRI reported, abortion activists reintroduced an abortion legalization bill on the symbolic date of May 28th, which abortion activists have termed the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. The day is an initiative of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, whose members include leading ‘abortion colonizers’ like Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the International Centre for Reproductive Health, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Pathfinder International.

Mexico

Like most of Latin America, Mexico has long afforded preborn babies legal protections, but those seeking to expand abortion  have been chipping away at its protections for decades. Planned Parenthood Global claims that its work in Mexico is “growing” and has as its primary goal to “reduce abortion stigma.” The predominantly Catholic country has traditionally been opposed to abortion with the exception of Mexico City, which legalized abortion in 2007. Last month, the state of Oaxaca became the first state outside the capital to legalize abortion when the state’s lawmakers approved a bill allowing abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Although Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not publicly taken a position on abortion, the fact that his party dominates Oaxaca’s legislature does not bode well. In another ominous sign, according to The Guardian, the federal government tweeted a note of support for Oaxaca’s abortion legalization: “Our democracy is strengthened with the extension of rights and the recognition of the autonomy of women to make decisions over their own bodies.”

Planned Parenthood Global celebrated with a tweet rife with undertones of ideological colonization; the abortion giant claimed that Mexico is finally emerging from its so-called backwardness and now “takes a crucial step in the protection of women’s rights.”

El Salvador

The small Central American republic of El Salvador has one of the most staunchly pro-life laws in the world. The country has come to the forefront in the news recently for controversies surrounding its abortion law and the case of a woman who was charged with inducing an abortion. International groups have been using this woman’s case, as well as the country’s controversial practice of prosecuting women who procure abortions in general, as a wedge and an opening to advance their ideological colonization.

Despite the flurry of recent press coverage, abortion supporters have targeted the country for years. In 2013, they tried to use the case of a 22-year-old named Beatriz (who requested an abortion because she had lupus and her baby had anencephaly) as their rallying cry, and they falsely claimed she needed a “life-saving abortion” when she was offered an emergency c-section (not the same as an abortion). The Supreme Court denied her request and upheld the abortion ban in 2013. In 2016, Amnesty International railed against El Salvador’s abortion restrictions as “tantamount to torture,” as Live Action News reported. Abortion groups like IPPF have even been caught covertly funding abortion advocacy organizations in El Salvador, as the Population Research Institute has reported. And in 2017, 21 pro-abortion Congressmen from the U.S. threw their weight behind the abortion colonizers by formally calling for El Salvador to decriminalize abortion, as reported in a Center for Reproductive Rights press release.

Despite losing U.S. federal funding, the abortion colonizers have retained significant influence around the world pushing their agenda, including Latin America. As Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom International Neydy Casillas said in an interview last year with Live Action News, Central and South America “have been targets for the abortion movement” for a long time. Some Latin America watchers are even trying to paint recent pro-abortion developments in Latin America as part of a “green tide,” an allusion to the green scarves of Argentina’s abortion activists.

Yet pro-life laws in many Latin American countries remain deeply rooted in pro-life cultural values that draw from the traditional influence of the Catholic Church and, more recently, the growing presence of evangelical Protestant groups. As Casillas has pointed out, despite the efforts of wealthy international abortion colonizers, “In Latin America, it has not been easy for them because most of the constitutions throughout the region protect life, but furthermore the value of life lives in people’s hearts.”

Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

Issues In Law & Medicine published a new meta-analysis done by the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute 20 retrospective case-control studies from January 1, 2000 through June 30,2017 were analyzed. Overall, the 20 studies resulted in a 151% increase in breast cancer with induced abortion. These results were statistically significant. There was a 291% increase in the 5 studies that differentiated induced from spontaneous abortions as well as a dose response i.e. there was greater risk with more abortions. You can see a copy of this  study here

An Epidemic of Child Porn

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Can the Onslaught Be Stopped?

Children, including infants, are being sexually abused, and then suffering the further degradation of having their abuse filmed and shared amongst an army of online perverts, on a scale that beggars belief.

“The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse,” states the title of a New York Times investigative article, published last week, exposing the epidemic of child porn. According to the Times, in 1998 there were some 3000 reports of images depicting child sex abuse. A decade later, that number grew to over 100,000. By 2014, the number of reports broke one million, before ballooning to over 18.4 million by last year. Those reports, says the Times, “included over 45 million images and videos flagged as child sexual abuse.”

The scale of the problem is so vast that it is beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to respond. Officials interviewed for the article lamented that they are continually being forced to make impossible decisions about how to prioritize their resources – focusing, for instance, on identifying and rescuing the youngest and most vulnerable victims, knowing that by doing so they are abandoning countless other children to ongoing abuse. Furthermore, once the images are in circulation, they are almost impossible to delete: their existence haunting the lives of their victims indefinitely.

According to one law official, less than two percent of cases in which a computer in the U.S. has shared child porn will be investigated. “We are overwhelmed, we are underfunded, and we are drowning in the tidal wave of tragedy,” said Special Agent Flint Waters.

Some of the increase in the number of reports over the years can, no doubt, be explained by the implementation of better technology, such as artificial intelligence, to detect child porn. However, the experts interviewed by the Times leave no room for doubt – the underlying problem is an exponential increase in the number of individuals producing and sharing child porn.

It is tempting to envision the perpetrators of this horrific crime as being a tiny sliver of sub-human scum lurking somewhere “out there.” But the numbers defy this interpretation. One online forum on the “Dark Web” dedicated to sharing child porn reportedly had some one million members. Another such forum had over 30,000 members. The creator of that site – an Ohio man – had over three million images of child sex abuse on his computer when authorities caught up with him.

The members of these forums not only share child abuse images, but they also encourage one another to produce new images (i.e. to find children to abuse, and to film it), and exchange tips on how to evade the authorities. One of the creators of one such site, a daycare worker, admitting to abusing over a dozen children, as young as three months old. I cannot bear to type even the briefest description of what he did to the children.

Equally Deviant, “Legal” Porn Must End

As grateful as I am that the Times has drawn attention this epidemic, I was also troubled by a bizarre companion piece that they ran alongside their investigative article. This article strongly endorsed the hypothesis that the origin of pedophilic sexual attraction is “largely biological.” As James Cantor, director of the Toronto Sexuality Center, says in the article: “The biological clues attached to pedophilia demonstrate that its roots are prenatal.” In other words, people who are sexually attracted to children are “born that way.”

Now, I will not dismiss the possibility that early biological development may play a role in predisposing some people to experiencing unwanted sexual attraction to children. And if that is the case, such people bear a heavy cross. However, if – as the article itself acknowledges – scientific research on the topic is in its infancy, then why do other possible causes of pedophilic attraction receive scarcely a passing mention? In fact, the article avoids any mention at all of the elephant in the living room: the explosion in so-called “legal” porn use, and its connection to the growth of deviant forms of porn, including child porn.

Indeed, many people who work fighting child porn have argued that there is a clear link between legal porn use, and the rise in child porn. As Margaret Healey, a former adjunct professor at Fordham School of Law, put it in a report prepared for the 1996 World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children:

[W]ith the emergence of the use of computers to traffic in child pornography, a new and growing segment of producers and consumers is being identified. They are individuals who may not have a sexual preference for children, but who have seen the gamut of adult pornography and who are searching for more bizarre material.

Muireann O’Brian, who leads the Bangkok office of the organization “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism,” made the same point. “[A]rrests have shown men with perfectly normal sexual proclivities become seduced, then involved and finally addicted to child pornography,” she said. “Their addiction may manifest itself by them just keeping and looking at the images … But it has been found that the addiction leads many men into seeking out children to abuse.”

Certainly, there is no doubt about the existence of the phenomenon of “escalation” among regular porn users. Many users of legal porn will admit that the kinds of material that once excited them no longer excite them. In order to achieve the same sexual “high” they used to experience, they have instead found themselves searching out more and more deviant forms of pornography. A habit that at first seemed innocent and “normal” gradually led them down a rabbit hole into a cesspool of the grotesque and the violent.

The world-renowned psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself, has argued that routine porn use can alter the brain itself, creating new reward pathways that can only be stimulated by more and more extreme material. Doidge objects to the simplistic claim that the only problem with porn use is that some people may use too much of it. The problem with porn addictions is even more sinister, he says. Porn addictions have the power to “change sexual taste.”

It’s a simple matter of science, he notes: “One key driver of plastic change [in the brain] is the reward centre, which normally fires as we accomplish a goal.” He further explains:

A brain chemical, dopamine, is released, giving us the thrill that goes with accomplishment. It also consolidates the connections between neurons in the brain that helped us accomplish that goal. As well, dopamine is secreted at moments of sexual excitement and novelty. Porn scenes, filled with novel sexual ‘partners’, fire the reward centre. The images get reinforced, altering the user’s sexual tastes.

Not all regular porn users will become child porn users. However, many porn users will find themselves becoming gradually desensitized – or even attracted – to forms of porn that once disgusted them. Studies have found that people who view such material are also far more likely to want – and attempt – to act out what they have seen. Some will end up in the very darkest corners of the Internet. Indeed, it is madness to discount the possibility that some child porn users began as “regular” porn users, and that the normalization of pornography has not in some way contributed to some of the worst crimes imaginable.

What to Do: The Porn Stops Now

In the face of such horrific evil, it is easy to feel powerless. However, there are several concrete steps we can do to respond to this epidemic:

  • Pressure lawmakers to put more resources into fighting child porn – The New York Times article gets this part right. Law enforcement agencies need more resources to fight this filth. Demand that your local, state or federal legislator prioritize this issue.
  • Pressure lawmakers to prosecute “normal” porn – As Patrick Trueman has pointed out, hardcore pornography breaks obscenity laws already on the books. Despite this, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have allowed our society to be immersed in a sea of filth. We should be prosecuting the big porn platforms and porn creators, and passing tighter restrictions on porn sites, so that children can never “accidentally” encounter pornography. This may not end child porn, but it will do yeoman’s labor in making it harder for people who are disposed to addiction to obscene materials from going down that dark road. Stop the problem at the source.
  • Quit porn – If you’re a regular porn user, you’re part of the problem. No, you may not be viewing illegal material involving children. But chances are you’ve already become comfortable with seeing forms of porn that once caused you discomfort. Furthermore, the porn industry in general is predicated on exploitation. The big porn sites are full of hardcore material involving young women who, in a moment of vulnerability, agreed to do something that they will regret for the rest of their lives. You are training your brain to be ok with violence and exploitation. Don’t feed the porn industry. Quit.
  • Talk to your children – In this day and age, parents simply cannot afford to be complacent about the harsh realities of our pornified society. Child sex abusers will often show their victims legal pornography in order to lower their inhibitions. The average age of exposure to pornography is now around 11 years old. When children are exposed to porn, they are more likely to become addicted, to be potential victims of abuse, and in some cases, to abuse others themselves. Talking about sex and porn with your kids is hard. But it’s your job. There are lots of helpful materials out there. One book lots of people I trust recommend is called “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.” Buy a copy, or look for other books, and then approach the topic with your children in a frank, non-threatening and prayerful fashion. Arm them with the tools they need to protect themselves from abusers, and to protect their souls and their minds from the scourge of porn addiction.

Rep. Sean Duffy’s family welcomes baby girl with Down syndrome: ‘The most perfect angel’

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Earlier this year, Rep. Sean Duffy resigned from his position in the United States House of Representatives to focus on his family. He and his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy — both alums of the MTV reality show “The Real World” — were expecting their ninth child together, and had discovered the baby had a heart defect. This week, their baby girl was born, and that baby has a little something extra to love: an extra chromosome! Daughter Valentina StellaMaris has Down syndrome.

In August, Duffy took to Facebook to announce his resignation and explain why he was stepping down. “Recently, we’ve learned that our baby, due in late October, will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition,” he wrote. “With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now.”

The baby ended up being born a month early, and Duffy explained that their daughter would not only need open heart surgery within a few months, but also would have developmental delays, leading some to speculate that the little girl has Down syndrome. Yesterday, that news was confirmed, when Campos-Duffy made the announcement on her Facebook page.

Campos-Duffy said that Valentina remains in the NICU, and is the “sweetest, most perfect angel we’ve ever seen.” She also said that she does, in fact, have Down syndrome. “Valentina was born with a heart defect (2 holes in the heart and valves that need to be fixed). She will need surgery in 3-4 months,” Campos-Duffy wrote. “As we suspected, Valentina was also born with an extra chromosome, which means she also has Downs Syndrome. That extra chromosome certainly made her EXTRA cute. Life is wonderful!!” Both parents report that the family is already very much in love with their beautiful little girl.

Duffy is an outspoken pro-life advocate, including fighting for minority children to be protected while in the womb.

Congratulations to the Duffy family!

Exposing Abortion: “The Silent Scream” and “Unplanned”

 

In 1985, I was asked to show the new film “The Silent Scream” (still online) at a local community college for the students. I was anxious to show this amazing 30 minute film showing an actual abortion on ultrasound and narrated by the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist who was the co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) in 1969.

Dr. Nathanson later deeply regretted his actions, and earned the enmity of the abortion movement by exposing the “deceptions, dirty tricks, and other tactics that helped make abortion legal and socially acceptable in the United States”.

His “The Silent Scream” film was his effort to get the truth about abortion to the nation and it caused a lot of controversies.

When I showed the film at the community college, I was seven months pregnant and had a bumper sticker that said: “Every child deserves a birthday”. My mother supported my pro-life work but was worried about my speaking publicly. “Someone may try to shoot you!” she warned.

I just laughed at the time but when I got to the college I saw an armed guard also attending. He said he was there because there were death threats about showing this film. Although nothing happened and the students were very receptive to the film’s message, I was a bit shaken but hopeful that this film would help end the abortion nightmare.

34 years later, the battle to end abortion continues.

I thought of Dr. Nathanson’s film when I was finally able to see the 2019 movie “Unplanned” that, like “The Silent Scream”, also caused tremendous controversy. Some theaters refused to show it and many film critics panned it but the movie was a surprising success at the box office.

“Unplanned” is a great sequel to “The Silent Scream” because it depicts the true story of Abby Johnson, an ambitious young woman who became the director of an abortion clinic and thought she was helping women.

Abby slowly and painfully finally learns the truth about both medical and surgical abortions and the real effects on women-including herself. The effect is both eye-opening and heartbreaking. Abby Johnson now helps other abortion clinic workers like herself as well as the public to see the truth about the enormous damage abortion causes.

Although “Unplanned” is no longer in theaters, it is available for purchase or online streaming on TV and well worth seeing and sharing with others.

Thank you, Abby Johnson and Dr. Nathanson, for your courage in sharing your stories. We will never know how many born and unborn lives you have saved!

America’s Underpopulation Crisis

JONATHAN ABBAMONTE

It’s been ten years since the Great Recession ended. Yet, despite robust economic growth and low employment over the past two years, births in the United States have continued to plummet.

Before the Great Recession, the fertility rate—the number of children women have on average during their lifetimes—had been on the rise. But once the recession hit and unemployment rose to 10%, many couples put off having children and birth rates declined.

Demographers and economists had long anticipated the birth rate would rebound when the economy recovered. After all, birth rates in the U.S. have historically fallen during economic downturns and risen during times of economic recovery. But despite a fifty-year low in the unemployment rate, rising earnings and wages, and a robust 2-3% growth in GDP almost every quarter since the start of 2017, birth rates are still falling

Earlier this year, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the birth rate in 2018 had fallen to 59 births per 1,000 women 15-44 years of age—the lowest birth rate ever recorded in U.S. history. But before 2018, the 2017 birth rate had been the lowest birth rate ever recorded. And the year before that, the 2016 birth rate had been the lowest. In fact, of the 10 lowest birth rates on record, 9 of them have occurred in the past 9 years.

America’s total fertility rate is also at an all-time low with women on average giving birth to 1.73 children over their lifetimes. This is far below the replacement fertility rate, which is about 2.1 and is the minimum fertility rate needed for the current generation to replace itself without having to be propped up by immigration.

Despite low birth rates, however, preferences for childbearing in the U.S. have not declined.

According to Gallup, Americans on average think 2.7 children is the ideal number of children to have. This is virtually unchanged from the number of children Americans considered ideal back in the 1970s. In fact, Americans’ ideal family size today is larger than it was before the recession started in 2007—and in 2007, the fertility rate had peaked to the highest level on record since 1971.

So if childbearing preferences are not declining, why have birth rates continued to decline in spite of robust economic growth and low unemployment rates? As it turns out, there is no single driving reason why birth rates have fallen. The decline in the birth rate is the result of a variety of factors—including economic factors, postponement of marriage, demographic changes in the marriage market, and changing ideas on marriage—all of which happen to be converging right about now.

This week’s article will discuss the economic reasons behind the falling birth rate while next week’s article will discuss the cultural and demographic reasons behind this trend.

Lost Millennial Wealth 

Perhaps the most potent reason driving the falling birth rate is that many adults, particularly young adults in their prime marrying-age years, are finding it difficult to afford having children or are finding it difficult to get their finances in order so that they can have a family. Nowhere has this effect had more impact than on Millennials who now make up the bulk of women in their childbearing years.

Financial concerns have weighed particularly heavily on Millennials as they were the generation hardest hit by the Great Recession. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Millennials born in the 1980s accumulated 34% less wealth than they would have had the recession not occurred. By comparison, adults born in the 1970s lost 17% of their wealth and those born during the 1960s lost only 11%.

Many Millennials, who faced high employment and underemployment early in their careers, were not able to accumulate as much income or savings as prior generations had when they were entering the workforce. For some young adults, this has made it more difficult for them to achieve enough financial stability to start a family. As adults aged 20-34 years of age make up the bulk of childbearing in the U.S., lower birth rates among the Millennial generation has directly translated into falling birth rates overall.

For one, wages and earnings for young adults in their prime marrying years are less than they were a generation ago. Inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings for adults 25-34 years old today are lower than what they were in 1979 and during the early 2000s. Meanwhile, wages for the workforce overall has increased—an indication that while older adults are still seeing their real wages rise, adults in their prime marrying years are being left behind.

 

 

Today’s young adults are not only making less than they used to, they are also making less compared to the workforce overall. During the early 1980s, adults aged 25-34 years on average made more than the overall workforce and made close to what most adults over the age of 25 made. But during the late 1980s, median earnings for adults 25-34 years of age dropped below the workforce average. And since 2002, the wage gap has been steadily widening. Today, median usual weekly earnings for adults 25-34 years of age are almost 9% lower than the workforce average.

Due to high unemployment and slow wealth accumulation early on in their careers, Millennials are at risk for becoming a “lost generation” in terms of wealth, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This has likely forced Millennials to put off milestones like getting married, buying a house, and having children.

The loss of wealth accumulation has affected low-income, lower socioeconomic, and minority young adults in particular. The little savings men and women in these demographic groups were able to accumulate were often spent on supporting aging parents or paying for basic living expenses rather than on things like education, transportation, and job training which could have helped to advance their careers.

Additionally, when it comes to getting a college education, young adults today (and their parents) have faced skyrocketing tuition costs. According to tuition statistics tracked by College Board, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition at four-year private colleges has risen by 134% since the 1986-1987 academic year. At public colleges, the rise in tuition has been even steeper, increasing by 215% since the 1986-1987 academic year.

Meanwhile, wages have not kept pace. Since 1986, real median household income has only increased by 15.7%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The steep and rising cost of college education has forced young adults to take on unprecedented amounts of student debt. The amount of outstanding student debt nationwide is now $1.48 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is now greater than the amount of debt Americans owe through either credit card debt or auto loan debt. And since 2011, student debt has been rising at a faster rate than either credit card debt or auto loan debt.

 

 

The rapidly rising cost of student debt is likely part of the reason why birth rates have been declining in the U.S. According to a study from Ohio State University, every $1,000 in student debt a college graduate is historically linked to a 1.2% drop in the birth rate.

Due to mounting student debt and slow wealth accumulation, young adults have put off owning a home more than previous generations. While 43.3% of adults under the age of 35 owned their own home in 2005, in 2015, only 34.6% of young adults did.

Birth rates for women in their late 20s have plummeted since the recession (before the recession, they had been rising). A slight rise in birth rates among women in their early 30s (30-34 years) has not made up for the difference either. And while birth rates among women in their early 30s had been on the rise since 2011, in 2017, the birth rate for this age group also fell for the first time since the end of the recession.

 

The Rising Cost of Child Care

But there are many other reasons for the declining birth rate in the U.S. and it would be incorrect to fully attribute falling fertility to lost Millennial wealth due to the Great Recession.

A recent New York Times/Morning Consult survey found that the number one reason men and women today cite for having fewer children than their ideal number is that child care is too expensive.

Indeed, the cost of child care is quite steep. According to Child Care Aware of America, the cost of daycare for infants averages between $5,000 – $23,000 per year, depending on the state of residence. For most low-income parents, these costs can be prohibitive.

After child care, concerns related to finances, the economy, and the cost of raising a child were among the foremost reasons adults in the New York Times/Morning Consult survey cited for expecting to have fewer children than they wanted. Nearly 40% also cited not having paid leave through their employer or not having enough paid leave as reasons for not having as many children as they wanted. Presumably, if these couples had the financial security to take time off from work to have another child, they would. A full 36% of adults also said they struggled with striking a work-life balance, in part perhaps due to the fact that many adults do not feel secure enough in their careers or savings to devote sufficient time to family.

Some adults have even chosen to forgo childbearing altogether due to financial reasons. Those who say they do not want to have children most often say they want more leisure time or say that they haven’t found a suitable partner yet. But 31% say they do not want children because they cannot afford child care.

The cost of raising a child has skyrocketed in recent years. Since 2000, the cost of raising a child has risen by 41%. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), middle-income married households with two children making up to 107K per year spent on average $233,610 per child through age 17. And that does not even include costs associated with putting a child through college. A middle-income couple today with two children can expect to spend about $12,680 per year on a child until the child turns 3.

Even for married couples making less than $59K per year, the cost of raising a child is not much different. Parents making less than $59K shell out on average $174,690 per child in a two-child family.

According to the USDA, the biggest expenditure associated with the cost of raising a child is the cost of housing. In recent years, home prices have soared. In the past five years alone, the cost of housing has jumped by 33% nationally, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

After the cost of housing, the cost of food is the second largest expenditure for parents when raising children, according to the USDA. The cost of child care and education is a close third and the cost of transportation a close fourth. But for parents with children under the age of five, the cost of child care is often a larger expense than either food or transportation.

 

Lack of access to paid leave in the U.S. is also a significant hurdle for many couples. According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor, 46% of Americans in 2012 who qualified under federal law to take unpaid leave for medical reasons, military deployment, or for the birth of a new child did not take it because they could not afford to do so.

Very few Americans have access to paid leave. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17% of Americans as of 2018 had access to paid leave through their employer.

Other Economic Reasons

Studies have also hinted at other possible economic reasons for why the birth rate in the U.S. continues to tank.

High unemployment during the Great Recession, for instance, may have a significantly negative hindering effect on how many children Millennials have in the long term. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, women who live through high unemployment rates while in their early 20s may have significantly fewer births over their lifetimes. The study found that every 1% point increase in the unemployment rate experienced by women in the early 20s correlates with a 14-point drop in the birth rate by age 40.

But perhaps even more impactful on the birth rate than high employment has been the permanent loss of manufacturing jobs that were wiped out during the recession. According to one study, the loss of manufacturing jobs since the recession accounts for anywhere from 25%-50% of the drop in the birth rate, depending on race. The study found that the loss of manufacturing jobs during the recession had a stronger effect on the declining birth rate than even the unemployment rate. The loss of manufacturing jobs has driven down the birth rate for all major racial and ethnic groups, but the effect has fallen particularly hard on Hispanic women.

LifeNews Note: Jonathan Abbamonte writes for the Population Research Institute.

Why understanding the body’s cycles empowers women and girls

 

basal thermometer and graphs

In a society obsessed with chemical-free everything, interest is growing in fertility awareness methods, which respect a woman’s physical “ecosystem” rather than disabling her fertility with chemical toxins. On September 30th, Fertility Care practitioner Melissa Buchan hosted a webinar titled, “How to Manage your Menstrual Cycle without the Pill.” Buchan was a co-host of the first ever Cycle Power Summit held in May of this year. During the webinar, she shared 3 Secrets to Tapping into Body Literacy for Self-Awareness and Health Advocacy.

Understanding your unique cycle is the foundation to confidently using natural birth control

Buchan spoke about how knowledge is power when it comes to fertility awareness. Each woman’s body speaks a “language” through the signs and symptoms of her fertility. Charting observable signs like cervical mucus and/or basal body temperature allows a woman to learn that language over time by identifying her unique body’s predictable patterns. Buchan stressed that confidence in using fertility awareness methods comes most importantly from learning an evidence-based method of natural family planning from a certified teacher. “Drive-by” self-teaching of natural family planning from a mishmash of online articles is insufficient and could potentially put a woman at risk of an unintended pregnancy. Furthermore, ongoing contact with a certified teacher is necessary, both for accountability and to answer questions that the woman may have as she navigates various situations like illness, the postpartum period, etc.

Charting your cycle is the first step to identifying reasons behind unexplained infertility

Buchan emphasized that infertility is a symptom of an underlying issue, not the primary problem, as a prominent infertility expert concurs. Infertility is a sign that something is wrong in the woman’s body that needs to be explored, and hopefully managed successfully or even cured.

In September, Live Action News shared several stories of women who conceived after infertility related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) through Natural Procreative (NaPro) Technology. NaProTechnology is a reproductive health science that utilizes charting from the standardized CREIGHTON Model FertilityCare System. This charting serves as a starting point for exploring the root causes of abnormal bleeding, irregular periods, unexplained infertility, and more by helping guide fertility care clinicians in their choice of diagnostic tools. Multiple days of brown bleeding at the end of a woman’s period, for example, would generally indicate that a clinician should run a blood test to check for low progesterone levels. Low progesterone is one of a number of causes of infertility, as well as recurrent miscarriage.

Living a charting lifestyle is a powerful tool for self-advocacy

Buchan referenced a 2015 bulletin from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called “Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign.” So often, a teenage girl with abnormally heavy periods is simply counseled to go on the Pill, which can have a whole host of dangerous and even life-threatening side effects. However, the graphic below shows a list of conditions that abnormal bleeding patterns in a teenage girl can indicate, which could be masked by the “band-aid” approach of going on the Pill to stop the bleeding.

Box 2

Source: ACOG.org

Imagine the possibilities if a girl starts charting her cycle in her teens, learning her body’s unique patterns long before she needs to use them to navigate family planning. By the time she gets married and is ready to have babies, she is confident of how her body works (does she experience double-peaks? does she have little to no mucus on one hand, or continuous mucus on the other?) and if needed, has proactively sought medical help if she saw deviation from her norm, or if her charting instructor noticed abnormalities in her charting. She has already addressed any personal risk factors she has for miscarriage or preterm labor. This woman truly embodies every feminist catchphrase — she is empowered by knowledge, and free to make choices about her body that will benefit her and her whole family.

30,000 Doctors Say: Killing an Unborn Child Not Necessary to Save a Mother’s Life

STEVEN ERTELT

Medical leaders representing more than 30,000 doctors said intentionally killing a baby in an abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life.

The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), representing over 30,000 medical professionals, issued a correction of the recently released joint statement on abortion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Society for Family Planning (SFP).

Today, Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of AAPLOG, emphatically stated that “there is a difference between elective abortion – a procedure done to ensure that a baby is born dead – and the separation of the mother and the baby in order to save the life of the mother. ACOG leadership is deceptively hiding behind the confusion about the definition of ‘abortion’ to imply that such treatments to save the life of the mother are the same as elective abortions.”   
 
Dr. Cretella, executive director of ACPeds explained, “a separation procedure to treat maternal pathology INTENDS to save the lives of both the mother and her baby if possible.  In contrast, an abortion, which the general public understands to mean ‘elective abortion’, INTENDS to deliver a dead baby every single time. That is why a baby born ALIVE after an elective abortion is called a ‘Failed Abortion’.  The separation of the baby from the mother did not fail.  What failed to occur is that her baby ‘failed’ to be killed.”

Finally, Dr. Michael Chupp, chief executive officer of CMDA pointed out that “ACOG leadership’s advocacy of elective abortion is out of step with the 85% of OB/GYN’s who do not perform abortions.   Their extreme advocacy for elective abortion through birth does not represent the majority opinion of either ACOG membership or the majority opinion of all the rest of the obstetricians and gynecologists in this country.”

The full statement follows:

As organizations representing over 25,000 medical professionals, we would like to correct the errors and assumptions of the recently released joint statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRH).

We state unequivocally that there is a difference between elective abortion – a procedure done to ensure that a baby is born dead -and the separation of the mother and the baby in order to save the life of the mother. ACOG leadership is deceptively hiding behind the confusion about the meaning of the word “abortion” to imply that such treatments to save the life of the mother are the same as elective abortions.

A separation procedure to treat maternal pathology INTENDS to save the lives of both the mother and her baby if possible. In contrast, an abortion, which the general public understands to mean “elective abortion”, INTENDS to deliver a dead baby. That is why a baby born ALIVE after an elective abortion is called a “Failed Abortion”. The separation of the baby from the mother did not fail. What failed to occur is that her baby “failed” to be killed.

We are glad that ACOG and PRH leadership recognize what all pro-life obstetricians know – that sometimes treatments which result in the separation of the mother and the baby are necessary to save the mother’s life. However, ACOG and PRH leadership disingenuously imply in their statement that these life saving procedures are the same as elective abortions.

The ACOG leaders’ advocacy of elective abortion is out of step with the 85% of OB/GYN’s who do not perform abortions. Their extreme advocacy for elective abortion through birth does not represent the majority opinion of either ACOG membership, or the majority opinion of all the rest of the obstetricians and gynecologists in this country.

Respectfully,

Donna J. Harrison M.D. dip. ABOG
Executive Director
American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Mike Chupp MD, FACS, FCS(ECSA) CEO
Christian Medical Dental Association

Michelle Cretella, M.D.
Executive Director
American College of Pediatricians

Mom solves daughter’s mystery illness: School nurse secretly inserted birth control implant

BALTIMORE, Maryland, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A mother is furious after discovering that her 16-year-old daughter’s headaches and soreness were caused by a birth control implant inserted by a school nurse without her consent.

Nicole Lambert was shocked to learn from her daughter’s pediatrician that the pain her daughter was experiencing had been caused by a tiny tube containing the contraceptive  “Nexplanon,” which had been improperly inserted in her daughter’s upper arm.

Not only did the doctor recommend that the tube be removed to alleviate the child’s discomfort, but he further warned that the contraceptive could cause far worse side-effects, such as blood clots.

“I actually started crying because just to hear that your child, anything could happen to your child and you don’t even know what’s going on,” Lambert told WMAR-2 News. “It’s a scary feeling.”

“I actually went to the school. I was furious. I was mad, so I went to the school and the nurse told me, ‘I don’t have to talk to you about absolutely nothing,’” said Lambert. “I’m like that is my child, I take care of this child, you can talk to me about my child.”

“And they put me out of the school,” said Lambert.

“They call me for Tylenol, but they don’t call me about birth control,” continued the concerned mom. “You gave my daughter this insertion so she might be suffering from that, but do they even look at that?”

“Other kids out here could be going through the same thing and their parents don’t know about it. And I just think these kids, if they have it incorrectly or whatever it is, they should be checked because anything could happen to these kids,” she added.

Disturbed that her daughter — and others — could, without parental notification, undergo such an invasive medical treatment that comes with potentially serious side-effects, Lambert has hired attorney David Ledyard to investigate.

“Ms. Lambert wasn’t given the choice to pick the medical provider where her daughter would feel comfortable going and receiving these services, who she knew did a comprehensive medical exam, who she knew her medical history,” Ledyard explained.

“There’s no transparency in the training or certification of the school health centers,” Ledyard told PJ Media.

“Are they looking at the medical history of the students and doing a full workup before implanting these devices?” asked Ledyard. “What is the certification process and training of the nurses?”

Lambert’s daughter attends Digital Harbor High School, which is home to one of Baltimore City’s 17 School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), several of which offer birth control to students.

According to the Baltimore City Health Department, 164 students were using birth control provided at school during the 2017–2018 school year, including oral contraceptive pills, Plan B, Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, and Nexplanon.

Maryland’s health code states, “A minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to treatment for or advice about contraception other than sterilization.” Minors are also able to consent to treatment for or advice about drug abuse, alcoholism, venereal disease, and pregnancy, as well as to consent to physical examination and treatment of injuries from — or to obtain evidence from — an alleged rape or sexual offense.

According to PJ Media’s report, the surgery to remove the Nexplanon implant from Lambert’s daughter also entailed removing skin and tissue damaged by the device.

Although the Nexplanon implant was inserted into her daughter’s body without Lambert’s knowledge, a doctor could not remove it without Lambert’s consent.

The Pill ‘dictates who you fall in love with’ – and lowers your sex drive

Twins Who Had Surgery in the Womb to Fix Life-Threatening Condition are Born Healthy

TARA SANDER LEE, KATHRYN NIX

Earlier this year, parents in North Carolina faced heartbreaking news in the second trimester of pregnancy—their twin girls had developed a disease called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a life-threatening condition for both babies, caused by connections in the blood flow between identical twins who share one placenta.

That leads the smaller (donor) twin to pump blood to the other, larger (recipient) twin. If left untreated, advanced forms of the disease are fatal between 80% and 100% of the time.

The news was devastating, and the potential outcome for both babies was grim. But the medical team at the Charlotte Fetal Care Center offered a glimmer of hope.

They could perform laser surgery on the placenta to correct the defect, while the twins remained in their mother’s womb. If performed promptly (the next day), the surgery could significantly increase the odds that one or both of the baby girls would survive.

The North Carolina couple decided courageously to embrace this lifesaving treatment. Dr. Courtney Stephenson performed the in-utero surgery on the babies at 21 weeks, and even with some unexpected turns during the procedure, both girls survived with no lingering health issues. A news account can be found here.

Fetal surgery, in which babies receive lifesaving treatment while in the womb, is one of the next frontiers of medicine.

The first procedure used to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was pioneered and performed in 1988 by Dr. Julian E. De Lia in the United States. Opportunities for intervention have markedly improved since then, but the underlying goal has remained the same; namely, stop progression of the disease and optimize outcomes for both babies.

Fast-forward 30 years, and this minimally invasive surgery—formally called fetoscopic laser ablation—is now the preferred treatment, particularly when the disease is identified in its early stages, for patients between 16 and 26 weeks’ gestation.

High-volume fetal therapy centers, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, report a higher than 90% survival rate of at least one baby and a higher than 80% survival rate of both babies after laser ablation. The Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Center reports similar data of higher than 80% overall survival of at least one or both twins.

The advanced technology uses endoscopes (small fiber-optic guided instruments) and one small incision to seal off the blood connection between the twins. Mom and both babies are under anesthesia, and the entire operation lasts less than two hours and requires only a one- to three-day hospital stay.

It is routine that women with twin pregnancies at increased risk of developing twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome receive increased surveillance to catch the disease in its early stages, should it develop. Women should be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for this close monitoring and for review of the options for treatment, including fetoscopic laser ablation.

Yet women still report instances where this procedure was not offered to them. In a recent study, one woman reports, “My [maternal-fetal medicine specialist] told me to abort babies and that laser was not an option for me … . I had surgery after I found a clinic … on my own, and both babies survived and are healthy.”

A 2017 Vice article describes a pregnancy with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome to argue in favor of abortion beyond 20 weeks, with no mention of the latest treatment modalities in fetoscopic laser surgery.

Termination of one baby, called selective fetal reduction (or selective feticide), regrettably remains an option for babies with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, despite the fact that laser surgery has a proven record of saving both babies at all stages of the disease.

Selective reduction is rare and typically offered as a last resort in the presence of severe problems affecting one of the babies. In this procedure, cord blood flow to one twin is surgically blocked, causing death to that twin with the purpose of trying to improve the outcome for the other twin.

Studies have shown that selective fetal reduction offers no better outcome, with maximum survival of 50% for one twin, a rate much lower than laser surgery with a higher than 80% survival of one or both babies. And this termination procedure will guarantee 0% survival for at least one twin.

Furthermore, it can be hard to define which fetus has the worse prognosis.

A study in the Netherlands reported intentional fetal and neonatal demise in almost 10% of all twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome pregnancy cases, due to abortion, fetal reduction, and withdrawal of neonatal intensive care. A study in India reported performing fetal reduction up to 27 weeks of pregnancy, with survival rates still no greater than laser ablation procedures.

A 2019 U.S. study reported that the majority of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome patients referred to a single surgery center in California for fetal therapy underwent fetoscopic laser ablation (96.4%), but a small percentage still opted for selective feticide (0.8%). Of those patients that did not undergo any form of fetal therapy, 42.6% terminated both twins.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is a particularly challenging and dynamic disease, with progression that is often unpredictable. Some cases remain stable throughout pregnancy, or even regress, while others develop quickly with rapid deterioration of twins within days.

The aforementioned U.S. study also highlights the critical role of time and suggests that the rapid progression of twin-to-twin syndrome, along with delays between diagnosis and treatment, contributed to a subset of women becoming ineligible for fetal surgery and resulted in fetal demise.

Clearly, there is a real need for immediate consultation in these women to determine eligibility for laser ablation surgery to give them the greatest chance of survival for their babies.

Resources such as the TTTS Foundation and Be Not Afraid can offer help to women in crisis who need immediate attention.

The story out of North Carolina is a beautiful reminder that amid the pain and despair in receiving a diagnosis of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, there is real hope of survival with fetal surgery.

It just takes a courageous medical team to do everything it can to give both babies the chance at life they so desperately deserve.

Physicians who remain diligent in following advances in this and other types of lifesaving fetoscopic surgery to treat a previously incurable disease can drastically improve outcomes for families and contribute to the advancement of medical science in the 21st century.

LifeNews Note: Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., is an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. She is a scientist with almost 20 years’ experience in academic and clinical medicine. Kathryn Nix Carnahan, M.D. is an obstetrics and gynecology resident in Wisconsin and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Carnahan was a health policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

One Year After Alexandra Williams’ Death By Birth Control, Little Has Changed

By 

On September 27, 2018, a 20-year-old woman named Alexandra Williams died at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. The days prior had been normal for Alexandra, until she spontaneously collapsed in her driveway on September 26. In the months prior, she had experienced some back pains, which doctors did not understand were the setup of what ultimately became fatal blood clots in her lungs.

What no major media covered in the year since her death is that Alexandra Williams lost her life due to her birth control.

Just nine months before her death, Alex received a birth-control prescription from a local Planned Parenthood clinic. The generic combination pill, Levora, is marketed as one of the “safer” birth control pills available. Like many women, Alex was not fully aware of the health risks associated with her birth control, as she and doctors struggled to identify health complications that resulted just months later.

Alex’s father Anthony Williams shared with Natural Womanhood that Alex’s visit to an Urgent Care center resulted in a muscle-strain diagnosis, and an ER visit later resulted in a diagnosis of a lung infection and prescribed antibiotics. “However, at various times up until her death,” Williams said, “Alex still mentioned occasional discomfort in her back and her overall energy level fluctuated more than normal.”

No medical professional identified the real problem—not even the Duke Medical Center doctors who tried to revive her on September 26. Then, on September 27, 2018, a brain scan revealed no brain activity, and Anthony and Lisa Williams let their daughter go.

The Least-Discussed Killer of Women Today

Pulmonary embolisms, strokes, and such cardiovascular events used to be rare in people Alex’s age. But those numbers have increased since birth control has become the most mass-prescribed drug on the market. A systematic review published this year found 300 to 400 U.S. women die yearly of birth-control related health complications like those Alex faced.

Researcher Lynn Keenan, MD, and Natural Womanhood CEO Gerard Migeon cowrote an article expounding that, “comparing users of HC [hormonal contraception] to nonusers, and including more than seventeen million woman-years of observation, we found that using HC increases a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with VTE by three to nine times. For women under thirty, the risk is increased thirteen-fold during the first year of use, when the risk for clot formation is highest.”

While we might not hear much about this in news headlines, pharmaceutical companies are highly aware. After a major lawsuit, Bayer settled more than 10,000 claims between 2009 and 2016 from patients who took the drug Yaz and suffered venous thromboembolism. The Yaz label suggested a risk of “cardiovascular events” with “cigarette smoking,” misleading many women into believing they were safe if they weren’t smokers.

In one such comment, Laura Bonnet shares, “2 years ago, my daughter died from a blood clot in her brain caused by the birth control, Yasmin. It was prescribed to her for acne and she believed it was safe. She had no risk factors, no clotting disorders. In the hospital, the doctors told us they see 3-5 patients EVERY WEEK with blood clots from birth control. That’s one hospital in a small metropolitan area in Wisconsin. I can’t imagine what other hospitals are experiencing…”

In another comment, Carol Pepin explains, “My 19 year old daughter Shelby Pepin had 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 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…”

Deaths Like Alex’s Can Be Prevented

One other comment in the recent FDA Citizen’s Petition on birth control health risks is from a woman whose symptoms sounded remarkably like those of Alex Williams.

Scans revealed “a clot the size of a ten cent gum ball was stuck in the valve between my left lung and heart. If it moved to my heart I would die… I had a stroke right in the ER and my life was forever changed. When I arrived to the ER my O2 level was below 40% and I should have been dead. . . . I was the one out of five who got to walk away…”

What bothers Amanda the most is knowing that the health risks she experienced were “100% preventable.” She says, “If I had never used the Nuvaring none of this would have happened to me. My pulmonary embolism with infarction and stroke were a direct result of my Nuvaring usage.”

Just like Amanda, Alex’s doctors at one point thought her symptoms indicated a lung infection. Tragically, no one made the connection between her birth control and blood clot possibility until it was too late.

It’s time that birth control side effects and health risks receive greater attention both in the medical community and the media at large. It’s time birth control receives the same treatment as every other drug with adverse health effects—with accurate black-box warnings, product recalls, and even the discontinuation of particularly dangerous drugs from the market.

Today, Alex would have just celebrated her 21st birthday. We owe it to her to do better.

Mary Rose Somarriba, who completed a 2012 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship on the connections between pornography and sex trafficking, is editor of Natural Womanhood and associate editor of Verily Magazine. Follow her at maryrosesomarriba.com.

Essure’s Hidden Harms

We recently shared the results of our months-long investigation into the Hidden Harms of various drugs and medical devices. In doing so, we hoped to shed light on the many ways in which patients can be misled by confusing or incomplete drug and medical device labels. Today, we continue those efforts by kicking off our Hidden Harms blog series. Each post in the series will focus on one drug or device from our investigation, exposing the contrast between marketing messages and reality—as experienced by actual patients.

We begin our series with Essure, the non-surgical implant once touted as an ideal alternative to tubal ligation. The silicone and metal Essure inserts were supposed to provide a convenient, safe form of permanent sterilization, but many implant recipients experienced life-altering side effects. More than 30,000 of the women harmed by Essure have filed lawsuits claiming Bayer and Conceptus—the original manufacturer—failed to warn them of risks associated with the device.

Keep reading to understand how Essure marketing and labeling materials failed to communicate possible risks, leading many women to unexpected and serious consequences.

2 out of 50 Essure recipients develop chronic pelvic pain.

The Human Face of Essure’s Hidden Harms

Keisha Carney and her husband had eight children between them. “God has blessed us abundantly,” she told the Washington Post, “We knew we were done.” After speaking with her OB-GYN, Keisha underwent permanent sterilization through Essure implantation.

At first blush, the procedure seemed to be a success. But then strange symptoms appeared. Keisha suddenly developed recurrent, serious tooth infections, eventually losing five teeth. Her hair started falling out. She lived with constant brain fog and fatigue, whether she slept or not, and she gained weight.

Then she missed a period. She wanted to believe she couldn’t be pregnant, because her doctor had assured her that Essure was “the most effective method of permanent birth control available.” But Keisha wanted reassurance, so she bought a drugstore pregnancy test.

She was pregnant.

Keisha went online where she learned that other Essure recipients were experiencing symptoms similar to her own, including unplanned pregnancy. She wanted the implants out but couldn’t do anything about it until she delivered the child she was carrying.

Keisha’s pregnancy was plagued with problems: widespread pain, lower back pain that sometimes paralyzed her, and depression. Doctors attempted to remove her Essure devices during Cesarean section delivery, but they couldn’t retrieve a fragment that had migrated near her colon.

A hysterectomy finally removed the last known Essure fragment from Keisha’s abdomen, a hysterectomy she never intended to have. She says her symptoms changed immediately. The stabbing pains in her back stopped, her hair started to grow back, and the recurrent tooth infections disappeared. Keisha says she still struggles with brain fog and a few aches and pains, but overall, things have improved since ridding her body of the Essure devices.

Nothing about Keisha Carney’s Essure experience conformed to the information she received from her doctor. Similarly, Keisha’s Essure saga contrasts sharply with expectations set by the patient brochure and label information.

Essure Patient Brochure and Label Messaging

Though patients should have access to the official device label and instructions for use, many only ever examine the patient information booklets for implants. In the case of Essure, patients were given a 19-page document replete with smiling, middle-aged women extolling the virtues of the Essure implants.

The first page of the 2007 brochure proclaimed Essure a “Simple Option for Permanent Birth Control” in large, bold, blue lettering. Turning the page, potential users learned the benefits of Essure:

  • Effective
  • Covered by Most Insurance Plans
  • No Cutting Into the Body
  • Rapid Recovery
  • Can Be Done in An Office Setting
  • Confirmation of Placement
  • High Patient Satisfaction
  • Hormone-free
  • No General Anesthesia Required

Readers learned of Essure’s 99.8% success rate in preventing pregnancy in addition to the user comfort ratings ranging from good to excellent within 1 week of implantation.

The brochure informed women that a simple test could confirm proper placement of the inserts and give them peace of mind about their sterilization status. Buried deep in the later portions of the brochure, women who continued reading learned that they would have to use alternative birth control for 3 months prior to confirming placement and function of the inserts.

The brochure did not inform women that they absolutely could not rely on the Essure inserts until and unless they underwent the confirmation test with positive results. Keisha Carney never had the test done, because her insurance would not cover it.

Nickel Allergies

The original patient brochure instructed women with confirmed nickel allergies not to go forward with Essure, but the FDA later approved a label change downgrading this contraindication to a warning. “The data did not meet the threshold of a known hazard,” according to an FDA spokesperson. Some women asked their doctors about potential nickel allergies only to have their concerns dismissed, possibly as a result of this labeling change.

Essure’s Hidden Harms

During our Hidden Harms investigation, we analyzed over 40,000 Essure adverse event reports hoping to distill the true incidence of adverse events mentioned and unmentioned in the Essure patient and physician materials. Ultimately, such reports could not provide reliable estimates of side effect incidence, but scientific studies could.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

clinical study in Canada found that 4.2% of Essure users developed chronic pelvic pain after device implantation. Neither the term “chronic pelvic pain” nor any of its derivatives appear anywhere in the Essure Instructions for Use or the Patient Information Brochure.

Unintended Pregnancy

Many studies have attempted to estimate the rate of unintended pregnancy after Essure sterilization, but few have succeeded. A 2014 study used a mathematical model combined with published Essure placement success rates and short-term unintended pregnancy rates to predict the expected long-term unintended pregnancy rate. The model indicated that 1 in 10 Essure recipients would have an unintended pregnancy over a ten year period.

According to Essure materials, almost every other form of birth control has a  lower failure rate than the one found for Essure. Keisha Carney said she felt betrayed by the contrast between the rosy message presented in Essure materials and the stark reality of the device’s relatively frequent failure to prevent pregnancy.

Informed Women Stopped Choosing Essure

After years of public outcry from Essure users, the FDA finally took additional steps to ensure transparent risk communication with potential patients. Once the FDA began requiring physicians to complete a mandatory communication checklist prior to Essure implantation, sales plummeted. Bayer announced Essure’s removal from the market just months later.

The original Essure marketing materials did not communicate risks transparently. Some were buried in text-heavy pages, and others were entirely absent. Women did not fully understand the implications of Essure implantation, and many were then surprised by the health consequences of the device.

When patients truly understood the risks, they did not choose Essure. Based upon the success of the Essure patient communication checklist, we hope to see similar communication requirements for drugs and medical devices of the future. You can find additional examples of transparent risk communication in our Hidden Harms Risk Explorer.

UK announces plan to spend millions promoting abortion, contraception abroad

September 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom announced Monday that it will spend £600 million on “family planning supplies” for third-world nations, including abortion and contraception.

UK International Development Secretary Alok Sharma made the announcement at the United Nations, claiming that “universal sexual and reproductive health and rights” were essential to achieving “universal health coverage.”

The plan is to spend £600 million over the next five years for various “family planning supplies” in the world’s poorest countries, such as Bangladesh, Syria, and Yemen. That sum will cover some legitimate health services such as medicines to prevent death in childbirth, and the UK government’s press release speaks only in euphemisms such as “reproductive health care,” but the supplies will include “condoms, the contraceptive pill[,] and safe abortions,” according to the Telegraph.

“The UK has been at the forefront of global efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls living in the world’s poorest countries,” Sharma declared. “This UK aid will help give millions of women and girls control over their bodies, so they can choose if, when[,] and how many children they want. That is a basic right that every woman and girl deserves.”

Hailing the announcement, the International Women’s Health Coalition claimed access to abortion and contraception was “at the core of your freedom as a human being,” and called the UK’s move a “stark contrast to the policies of the United States,” which under President Donald Trump has blocked foreign aid to entities that commit or promote abortions, leading the UK-based abortion organization Marie Stopes International to close hundreds of locations across Africa.

Pro-lifers had the opposite reaction. “There is no internationally recognised right to abortion, and the British Government, along with the UN, should not be acting as if there is,” Right To Life UK spokeswoman Catherine Robinson responded. “The British public does not want its taxes being used in this way. 65 [percent] have stated they are opposed to their taxes being used to fund overseas abortions.”

“This is nothing short of neo-colonialism, where the British Government is using its resources to fund abortions in foreign nations,” she declared.

U.S. officials took the opposite approach to abortion at the UN this week, from the president rebuking the international body for pressuring pro-life countries to accept abortion, to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declaring there is no so-called right to abortion and condemning the use of euphemistic language such as “reproductive health” that can be used to assert one.

Parents Stand Up to Planned Parenthood Sex Ed Program Pushing Abortion and Sex on Pre-Teens

MICAIAH BILGER

Concerned parents in Austin, Texas rallied Monday against a new sex education curriculum that they say would “sexualize” young children in the city public schools.

Texas Scorecard reports the abortion chain Planned Parenthood is involved in the developing the curriculum that the Austin Independent School District is considering.

The program would teach children in third through eighth grades about gender identity, sexual orientation and other controversial issues, according to the Austin Statesman.

On Monday, local parents held a rally before the school board meeting to discuss the issue. Several parents also spoke during the crowded meeting, urging the school board not to adopt the curriculum.

“These types of lessons are sexualizing our children,” Lorie Meynig said. “Please focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

Caryl Ayala, co-founder of the local group Concerned Parents of Texas, said she is concerned that the curriculum will pit students against each other and violate “students’ rights to hold a different opinion regarding boundaries of sexual behavior according to their family’s values.”

She said Hispanics like her and her family also feel that the teachings violate their cultural values, according to the Scorecard.

“I am offended that this school district is grooming 46,000 Hispanic children to accept these behaviors,” Ayala said. “I consider this a direct assault on Hispanic family culture.”

Here’s more from the report:

“Many of us are concerned that the national sexuality education standards that have been adopted by the AISD board are not in compliance with the laws of the state of Texas,” said grandparent and district taxpayer Don Dores, who brought up the age of consent laws in the Texas Education Code. One example of questionable age-appropriateness is an incident in 2017 where AISD Covington Middle School sent children home with a Planned Parenthood information sheet that included YouTube links to the abortion business’ consent video series, videos that feature gay and lesbian couples undressing each other and preparing for sex.

“It’s time for us to stand up to the board, tell them to go back to the drawing board, and give parents another opportunity to give their input in what their children should be taught,” said Mary Elizabeth Castle with Texas Values, who spoke at the pre-meeting rally.

The school board is slated to vote on the issue later this fall.

Parents often are shocked to find out that Planned Parenthood teaches sex education in many public schools. In November, upset parents flooded a Florida school district with complaints after one of Planned Parenthood’s graphic sex education videos was shown to students without their knowledge or consent.

Among some of its worst teaching points, the abortion chain tells children that promiscuity is not unhealthy. “There’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners,” Planned Parenthood tells students on its Tumbler page. Planned Parenthood’s booklet for HIV-positive youth, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” also tells young people that it is their “human right” to not tell their partner that they have HIV.

Many fear it is pushing a pro-abortion agenda on students as well. Monica Cline, a former sex educator who worked closely with Planned Parenthood, said the abortion chain uses its programs to “groom” children for promiscuity, which often leads to abortion.

Numerous communities across the United States have rejected Planned Parenthood as a sex education teacher. The whole Massachusetts legislature recently rejected a bill that recommended Planned Parenthood’s middle school sex education curriculum. The program teaches children as young as 12 “how to perform oral and anal sex.”

Concerned parents in PennsylvaniaMichiganCaliforniaWashington stateNew YorkNorth Carolina and other parts of the country also have protested Planned Parenthood’s involvement in their students’ education in the past year.

Planned Parenthood teaches sex education to at least 221,000 students in 31 states, according to CBS News. It also aborts about 330,000 unborn babies every year.

Pregnant woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer: ‘How blessed are we that I got pregnant?’

 

If she hadn’t become pregnant, Courtney Greer wouldn’t have learned so quickly that she had ovarian cancer. It was during her first pregnancy ultrasound, usually performed around eight to ten weeks, that the doctor noticed the tumor on her ovary. When that doctor said she suspected it wasn’t cancerous, but they wouldn’t be able to biopsy it until after the baby was born in nine months, Greer decided to get a second opinion.

“My mind was racing, I had a million questions,” she wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “[…] after talking to a few friends and family members, they suggested a second opinion. I noticed one doctor’s name kept coming up. I did not find this to be by chance, (it’s a God thing) so I called and made an appointment. I wanted a second opinion and I wanted it to be from a well-respected physician who knew what he was talking about.”

After meeting with this doctor, Greer knew he was the one who would take the best care of her and her growing baby. They came up with a plan that made her comfortable and moved forward taking measurements of the tumor to monitor its growth. Unfortunately, it kept growing. But Greer, though originally upset at the prospect of having surgery to remove the tumor while she was 15 weeks pregnant, soon found it to be a blessing.

“I was a big ball of nerves with ‘what ifs’ and ‘is my baby going to be okay?’ A million things go through your mind as a Mom. However, I trusted my doctor and believed in him,” she wrote.

The surgery went well but just days later, the doctor told Greer and her husband Micah that unfortunately, it was cancer.

“I’m so excited to see this doctor and tell him how I’m recovering, thank him for everything, and find out is this baby a boy or a girl?!” she wrote. “When he walks in, I can see his demeanor isn’t quite what it usually is. He tells us we need to talk. What we removed wasn’t a fibroma. It’s cancer…”

Greer barely reacted to the news. She didn’t cry. She didn’t worry. But she was in shock. She was healthy. She wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. How was it possible that she had cancer? And then she came to a realization.

“Finally, I look at Micah and say, ‘How blessed are we that I got pregnant?! I would’ve never even know I had a tumor if it weren’t for the baby,” she explained. “I had no symptoms. I felt fine. I couldn’t see or feel it.”

“My doctor tears up and says, ‘Wow. I didn’t even think of that.’ Then he tells me that divine intervention brought me to him. He grabs a tissue and points at a photograph on the wall. He can’t get the words out. I just knew, through the tears I ask him, ‘Is that your daughter?’ … after a few moments he speaks. ‘Yes. In all my years practicing, she is the only case of this cancer that I’ve seen.’ We all break into tears,” she said.

After meeting with an OB oncologist, Greer learned that it appears they got all of the tumor during surgery. There is a 25 percent chance of the cancer coming back, so she will wait to do chemo until after her baby is born. In the meantime, she will be closely monitored and may end up not needing chemo at all.

“This little miracle inside me saved me from letting cancer go further,” said Greer. “I would’ve never known I had it if I didn’t go in for my first ultrasound. Who knows how long this would’ve gone on for? I thank you God for listening to me and making me listen to You. I feel beyond blessed for every single thing in my life and I felt compelled to share this message.”

According to the American Pregnancy Association, only up to 5.7 percent of pregnant women will have a mass on their ovary. Only about 5 percent of those cases turn out to be cancerous. Each case is different and will require a different course of action based on the doctor’s recommendations.

While ovarian cancer itself will not pose risks to the preborn child, treatments for ovarian cancer can. Depending on the severity of the cancer, the risks to the baby will be weighed against the risks to the mother with doctors focused on carrying for both of them.

Betrayed by sexual revolution

CARDIFF, U.K., September 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A restoration of true femininity is essential to restoring Christian civilization, said Maria Madise, International Director of Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, at a U.K. Catholic conference earlier this month.

Madise made the case that the revolutions behind today’s culture of death have specifically targeted women to play an essential role in a worldwide corruption of morality.

“She [women] is a strategic target of the revolution, because of her influence on the family and society,” Madise said.

 

Madise’s talk (read full talk below), titled “Women and the rebuilding of Christian civilisation,” was given at a conference organized by Voice of the Family, an initiative of LifeSiteNews and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. The Sept. 6-8 conference, titled “Handing on the Deposit of the Faith,” was held at Newman Hall, University Catholic Chaplaincy, in Cardiff, UK.

The corruption of morality has been necessary for evil to thrive both in general society and within the ranks of Christian communities, Madise noted.

“The Reformation and the French Revolution tempted the woman to rebel against her position in society. The Communist revolution turned the rebellion against her position in the family. The sexual revolution incited rebellion against her very womanhood. In the current phase of the revolution we see an attempt to introduce these errors into the Church,” she said.

The remedy, Madise puts forward, is a “counter-revolution” of women who discover what it means to be a woman by imitating the example of the person of Mary, Mother of God, who was crucial in overturning the great supernatural revolution against God and His order.

“Mary’s ‘Fiat!’ reconciles the human race with God and forms the troops of the counter-revolution,” she said.

“To fulfil her destiny, to be truly happy, every woman must take Mary as her example. Regardless of her particular role or state in life, if she is to be a joyful counter-revolutionary, she must submit herself wholly to God in everything she does,” she added later.

Drawing throughout her talk on the writings of Alice von Hildebrand and Edith Stein, Madise addresses several key issues Christian women face, including modesty in dress and behavior.

“Vigilance is required to maintain purity of mind and body. By the way we look, speak and act we can give witness that God exists. A fact so well hidden today! We should look and sound Catholic. Our appearance, therefore, should not contradict what we believe. We are in the battle. Soldiers in slippers cannot be taken seriously at wartime. Their uniform, on the other hand, shows their readiness and competence to fight. We should look like Catholic women ‘on duty’ at all times,” she wrote.

“Christian mothers must have special regard to the holiness of their children. ‘All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother,’ observed Cardinal Siri. This is why modesty in dress, comportment and speech is necessary not only in public, but also at home. By guarding the innocence of their children, Christian mothers foster wilful purity in their children in later life,” she added.

Madise concluded by challenging women to embrace their true calling.

“Since Eve, only one woman has had the right attitude of complete surrender, the attitude of Fiat. Let us seek to imitate that woman.  Let us adopt her attitude to the Truth – protect it as a mother would protect her child and submit to it as she submitted to her Child who was the Truth. Let us be part of her army under the command of Her Immaculate Heart, turned always to God, while crushing the devil with her heel. We are her little children called to the battle.”

This talk is printed in full in the current edition of Voice of the Family’s quarterly magazine ‘Calx Mariae’. Copies of the magazine can be ordered here.

***

Women and the rebuilding of Christian civilisation

By Maria Madise

Introduction

“To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood,” noted Archbishop Fulton Sheen. We can only fathom the full dignity and beauty of Christian civilisation when we consider that its level is none other than the Blessed Virgin.

Today’s world looks even more fallen than after the Fall and wholly unworthy of her. However, we should not forget the perseverance of those who lived between Eve and Mary, ceaselessly imploring God to send a saviour to reopen the gates of Heaven. Their prayer was successful. So we should also pray – and work – for the speedy triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

Mary is our surest and shortest way to Christ. The closer we are to her, the closer we are to Christ. They are so intimately united that St Louis de Montfort claimed: “it were easier to separate the light from the sun, the heat from the fire”. “Nay,” he said “it were easier to separate from Thee all the angels and the saints than the divine Mary, because she loves Thee more ardently and glorifies Thee more perfectly than all the other creatures put together.”1

If she is our true help and comfort, our chief commander and sovereign, we need to know where to find her. With her marvellous assistance, she could be present anywhere, but we can surely find her at the foot of the Cross. The Cross is at the heart of Christian civilisation, of which Mary is the mother and crown.

Alice von Hildebrand points to the privileged position that has been granted to women in the economy of redemption from the Annunciation to bringing news of the Resurrection. The holy women, in the company of Our Lady, followed and served Christ as He taught, made their way to Pilate’s courtroom, accompanied Him to Calvary and assembled at the foot of the Cross.2 Amid complete despair, when God Himself was dying, woman received her new mission. The Apostles had fled. St John did come back and it was he that the dying Saviour entrusted to His Mother: “Woman, behold thy son.” Her task was not finished, but extended. And with her, each woman, who wants to fulfil her role, must share in her motherhood wrought at the foot of the Cross.

This article will consider how the revolution against Christian civilisation has sought to instrumentalise women and womanhood – so tightly connected to the Cross – and how, consequently, the counter-revolution is dependent on women.

Order and revolution

The revolution is a perpetual attack on God’s order. Recalling the success of the serpent, revolutionaries often seek to achieve their goals through the woman. She is a strategic target of the revolution, because of her influence on the family and society.

By “revolution” we mean a movement that aims to destroy a legitimate order and replace it with an illegitimate power or state of things (not order). It is the subversion of the moral order and denial of God. This, in fact, is how “revolution” is defined by Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908-1995),3 the Brazilian thinker and author of the book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, essential reading for all counter-revolutionaries.

Dr Plinio explains that all big revolutions in history, whether the Reformation or French or Communist revolution, as well as any of the more localised and limited forms of revolution, are fruits of the same tree – the denial of God and His order. Thus, revolution has a universal character.4 He also argues, that each “episode” of the revolution contains within it all previous stages.5 So the key elements of the Reformation can be seen in the French Revolution, and the key elements of both, the Reformation and French Revolution, in the Communist Revolution and so on. It is no surprise then, that we may identify many Marxist and socialist ideas in the revolution we are witnessing in the Church today.

Given that the aim of revolution is to destroy the Christian order mothered by Mary, logically, the aim of the counter-revolution is to stop the revolution and to restore the authentic Christian civilisation in its beauty, goodness and truth.

In principle, the temptation inciting the woman to co-operate with the revolution derives from God’s command for her. Through the sin of our first parents, the original or natural order, created by God, became fallen. The relationships between man and God, as well as between man and woman, changed dramatically. Man and woman were punished each according to their main domain and privilege in the natural order, which for the woman was giving birth to new life. God said to her: “I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.”6 In each of the following episodes of the revolution, therefore, the woman is especially tempted to protest against the sentence she received for her first sin: against being subject to the man and making sacrifices for her family.

However, tempting her has become more challenging after Mary’s “Fiat!”. For her pride, Eve was humbled, but through the perfect humility of the Blessed Virgin, the authentic dignity of women is restored. Eve’s disobedience echoed the rebelling angels’ “non serviam!”. But Mary’s “Fiat!” reconciles the human race with God and forms the troops of the counter-revolution. The gate of Heaven closed behind Eve, while Mary became the gate of Heaven herself. The Fall and Incarnation frame the loss and restoration of order that kaleidoscopically form countless new patterns in Christian history.

Given what happened in the Garden of Eden, we may consider that it follows that love of sacrifice and perseverance are inherent in the female nature. It was through atoning sacrifice that her disobedience was to be redeemed. Until then she was to be completely powerless in healing the wound that she had inflicted on her relationship with God. All she could do was to persevere in hope for the sacrifice to be offered for her and all her children born in exile. This love of sacrifice, so deep-rooted in women’s nature, is reflected in the words of Edith Stein: “After every encounter in which I realise my inability to influence others directly, I become more intensely conscious of the urgent need for a personal holocaustum.”7

Yet, Mary raised this to a completely new level. Her love of sacrifice was not the love of a sinner hoping for reconciliation, but the love of the mother, completely united with her Son who was the Sacrifice. Eve was sentenced to bring forth her children in sorrow. In her tremendous sorrow under the Cross, Mary became the mother of all and was ordered to love all. Since then every woman is called to take part in the sacrificial motherhood of Mary, be it naturally or spiritually, and raise citizens for Heaven.

Love of sacrifice and perseverance is what the revolution wants to destroy in every single woman and also in a culture. For the revolution, these are intrinsically related, because the woman who can nurture souls, can also nurture the culture.

Woman and revolutions

How has each episode of the revolution sought to appeal to women and deform their mission? The Reformation and the French Revolution tempted the woman to rebel against her position in society. The Communist revolution turned the rebellion against her position in the family. The sexual revolution incited rebellion against her very womanhood. In the current phase of the revolution we see an attempt to introduce these errors into the Church.

We cannot study these attempts fully in the scope of this article. However, we can consider some of the key elements in the main episodes of the revolution in connection with women, while seeking to strengthen our commitment to Our Lady’s counter-revolutionary army today.

Early progress of the revolution against Christian civilisation

Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira identifies some of the essential factors in the Protestant revolution as: loss of the love of sacrifice, loss of true devotion to the Cross; the rise of sensuality and the importance of man’s own merits; the rise of natural above the supernatural.8 These were all changes that deeply affected the woman’s mission. Dr Plinio goes on to explain: “Pride begot the spirit of doubt, free examination and naturalistic interpretation of Scripture, and revolt against superiority which wrought ecclesiastical egalitarianism… On the moral plane, the triumph of sensuality was affirmed by the suppression of priestly celibacy and by the introduction of divorce.”9 This first episode of the revolution in the Christian world laid out the plan for destroying the protective walls of Christian morality – enshrined in the commandments and sanctified by the sacraments.

We could make two observations here in connection to the woman. Firstly, the long term consequence of the growth of pride and sensuality became evident in the later stages of the revolution, especially in the Communist and sexual revolution, when divorce, combined with its allies, contraception and abortion, ensnared women in moral chaos. It took time to reach that point. However, we should not miss the first blow to the sacramental order of marriage, which made all further blows possible.

Secondly, we must consider the inevitable and immediate conflict between these developments and the Blessed Virgin who is a constant reminder of God’s order. From the early episodes of the revolution in the Christian world, statues of Our Lady, her images and devotions had to be violently removed in pursuit of the design that so wholly contradicted her.

Like the Reformation, the French Revolution entered into a direct conflict with the blessed Virgin. A“Goddess of Reason” was enthroned in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. A temple of Philosophy was erected in the nave and decorated with busts of philosophers. At its base was an altar dedicated to Reason, and before it a torch of truth. The true Seat of Wisdom, however, was driven from her own cathedral.

According to Dr Plinio, the French Revolution was “the heir of Renaissance neopaganism and Protestantism, with which it had a profound affinity.”10

“The political work of the French Revolution was but the transposition to the sphere of the State of the ‘reform’ the more radical Protestant sects had adopted in the matter of ecclesiastical organization: the revolt against the King corresponding to the revolt against the Pope; the revolt of the common people against the nobles, to the revolt of the ecclesiastical “common people”; the faithful, against the “aristocracy” of the Church, the clergy.”11

Central to the French Revolution was the emergence of the Freemasonic lodges and the role they played in spreading revolutionary ideas. When the permanent instruction of Alta Vendita (Italian high lodge) came to light, it revealed a strategic plan to subvert the Catholic Church. Both Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII ordered this revolutionary document to be made public. Also, the letters, which have survived from the members of the lodge, leave no room for doubt of their plan:

“Catholicism does not fear a very sharp sword any more than the monarchies feared it. But, these two foundations of Social Order can collapse under corruption; let us never tire to corrupt them… from the blood of martyrs Christians are born; let us not make martyrs; but, let us popularise vice among the multitudes; may they breathe it through their five senses; may they drink it and be saturated. Make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics.

“It is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken… a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave. Lately, I heard one of our friends laughing philosophically at our projects saying: ‘To destroy Catholicism, we should do away with women.’ The idea is good in a certain way, but since we cannot get rid of women, let us corrupt them with the Church. ‘Corruptio optimi, pessima.’ The best dagger to strike the Church is corruption.”12

Notably, in this correspondence, in the universal corruption of Catholicism, women were considered to have an important role. This programme of corruption was determinedly pursued and in association with the feminist movement in the 1960s, these efforts bore ample fruit. Showing remarkable continuity with the Masonic letters of the previous century, the magazine L’Humanisme wrote at that time:

“The first conquest to be done is the conquest of women. Woman must be freed from the chains of the Church and from the law. […] To break down Catholicism, we must begin by suppressing the dignity of women, we must corrupt them together with the Church. We spread the practice of nudity: first the arms, then the legs, then all the rest. In the end, people will go around naked, or almost, without batting an eyelid. And, once modesty has been removed, the sense of the sacred will be extinguished, the morality will be weakened and faith will die of asphyxiation.”13

Until recently, the Church zealously protected the purity of her daughters. In his address to a group of Catholic girls, Pope Pius XII lamented:

“Many women… give in to the tyranny of fashion, be it even immodest, in such a way as to appear not even to suspect what is unbecoming. They have lost the very concept of danger: they have lost the instinct of modesty.”14

Later, he commented on the inherent connection between the morals of an individual and the morals of the culture and the nation, so well-known to the enemies of the Church:

“It is often said almost with passive resignation that fashions reflect the customs of a people. But it would be more exact and much more useful to say that they express the decision and moral direction that a nation intends to take: either to be shipwrecked in licentiousness or maintain itself at the level to which it has been raised by religion and civilization.”15

Our Lady herself issued warnings against the corruption of her daughters. “Certain fashions are to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much,” she said in Fatima. “Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.”

Already much earlier, 1594-1634, in Quito, Ecuador, Our Lady of Good Success had said:

 “Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to ensure general corruption.

“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.”16

Communist Revolution

The Communist Revolution instrumentalised women with enormous profit. In his article “A Great Beginning” (1919), Vladimir Lenin asserted that “we have far more organising talent among the working and peasant women than we are aware of.”17 And the party vowed that it is principally important to employ these talents in state business and social work. With that manoeuvre, the family was left to be mothered by the state.

The influential Communist women Inessa Armand (1874-1920), a member of the executive committee of the Bolshevik party, also Lenin’s lover, and Aleksandra Kollontai (1872-1952), the first Soviet People’s Commissar for Social Welfare, argued that sexual liberation was a necessary premise for the realisation of a socialist society. Kollontai wrote, in 1920, in the journal Kommunistka:

“In place of the individual and egoistic family, a great universal family of workers will develop, in which … men and women, will above all be comrades… These new relations will ensure for humanity all the joys of a love unknown in the commercial society, of a love that is free and based on the true social equality of the partners…The red flag of the social revolution which flies above Russia and is now being hoisted aloft in other countries of the world proclaims the approach of the heaven on earth.”18

In 1921 she explained:

“The economic subjugation of women in marriage and the family is done away with, and responsibility for the care of the children and their physical and spiritual education is assumed by the social collective. The family teaches and instils egoism thus weakening the ties of the collective and hindering the construction of communism.”19

Nothing like the powerful alliance of Communism and feminism has employed women more ferociously in the destruction of the family. To assume their responsibilities as “talented organisers” they were either to abort their children or hand them over to the Communist educational model that in the words of Kollontai, would “take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of a child.”20 Once the family was out of the way, immorality and liberalism would pave the way to “free love”. Incidentally, sex education in our schools today is the fruit of the seeds sown at this stage of the revolution.

Lenin congratulated himself on the progress made with regard to the position of women. He claimed:

“In this field, not a single democratic party in the world, not even in the most advanced bourgeois republic, has done in decades so much as a hundredth part of what we did in our very first year in power. We really razed to the ground the infamous laws placing women in a position of inequality.”21

The speed of the Bolshevik attack on the true mission of women and the family was remarkable indeed. On 17 December 1917, a few weeks after Bolsheviks seized power, divorce was introduced; in 1920 abortion was legalised without restriction (Soviet Russia was the first country in the world to allow this); in 1922 prostitution and homosexuality were decriminalised.22 In 1923 Leon Trotsky wrote: “The first period of family destruction is still far from being achieved. The disintegration process is in full swing.”23

Communist movements grew out of the French Revolution, which was the heir to the Protestant revolution – and nothing could be more logical, as Dr Plinio explains:

“The normal fruit of deism is atheism. Sensuality, revolting against the fragile obstacles of divorce, tends of itself toward free love. Pride, enemy of all superiority, finally had to attack the last inequality, that of wealth. Drunk with dreams of a one-world republic, of the suppression of all ecclesiastical or civil authority, of the abolition of any Church, and of the abolition of the State itself after a transitional dictatorship of the workers, the revolutionary process now brings us the twentieth-century neobarbarian, its most recent and extreme product.”24

On the eve of the Communists’ seizure of power, the Blessed Virgin appeared in Fatima. Her Immaculate Heart desired the Consecration of Russia, to prevent it from spreading its errors throughout the world. But the world had rejected the humble Virgin and enthroned a common woman worker instead.

Sexual revolution

In the realm of the family, the sexual revolution was the refinement and globalisation of the Communist revolution. When considering the territories and populations conquered by Communist regimes, we see that at this stage, the revolution had truly built an empire. Dr Plinio also points out that through its networks and infiltration of every social and professional sphere “the Third Revolution applies with devastating efficacy the tactics of psychological conquest.”25

What the sexual revolution added to the refinement and spread of the revolution was contraception.

In her book Adam and Eve after the Pill, Mary Eberstadt notes, “it may be possible to imagine the Pill being invented without the sexual revolution that followed, but imagining the sexual revolution without the Pill and other modern contraceptives simply cannot be done.”26 The pill redefined the most elemental human relationships. It is perhaps the single greatest change in the relationship between men and women after the Fall. The individual and social consequences of contraception predicted by Humanae Vitae (1968) – including 1) lower moral standards; 2) greater infidelity, 3) less respect for women by men, and 4) coercive use of reproductive technology by governments – are all fully vindicated today.

Nothing has ever done more for woman than Christianity. But nothing has enslaved and harmed women more than “sexual liberation”. There is ample empirical evidence – which Eberstadt presents in her book – that people in faithful married relationships “score better on all kinds of measures of well-being”. Other data “testifies to the propositionthat families headed by a married couple are better off than those headed by a cohabiting couple.”27 Children who grow up with both of their biological parents do better emotionally, financially, educationally, mentally than children who grow up with a single parent.28 Secular research tells us that lifelong, faithful marriage is better for children, better for adults and better for society.

The ideological position that women need to be freed from marriage and their fertility in order to enjoy unrestricted sexual relations, along with its permanent back-up plan, abortion, is a lie that subjects them to a grave injustice. It robs them of their right to be honoured and protected as women.

The sexual revolution suggests that, as a result of continued offences against God, woman “was severely punished in the very domain of her glory – to give life.”29 Only she is no longer suffering in the pain of childbirth, but rather in the fruitless pain of the sacrifice of her children on the altars of the revolution. The moral blindness of our society has grown to the extent that the killing of fifty million unborn children worldwide each year is no longer considered a crime that cries out to heaven. Consequently, millions of women walk the earth wounded to the core – in their femininity, motherhood and ability to love, to say nothing of those who share in these wounds, even if they also share responsibility for inflicting them.

After being tempted to rebel against God, against man, against her family and children, the woman is incited to rebel against her own nature and against womanhood. G.K. Chesterton wrote that the feminist is someone who “dislikes the chief feminine characteristics” and that “feminists want to destroy womanhood”.30 Alice von Hildebrand added, “the new age philosophy of feminism, in waging war on femininity, is in fact waging war on Christianity. For in the divine plan both are intimately linked.”31 Feminism leaves the culture without femininity, without the mother and without the queen.

Revolution in the Church

All phases of the revolution share one main target – the Church. At the heart of the revolution is the subversion of God’s order and a desire to institute disorder without God. The revolution will never be satisfied as long as the Holy Catholic Church, the earthly shrine of God-given order, stands strong. It desires to corrupt the Church, as it has corrupted the world. Let us recall the correspondence of the Alta Vendita:

“…let us popularise vice among the multitudes… make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics… it is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken…a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave.”

Instead of attacking her directly, the revolution allures her children to take everything it has achieved in the world today – secularisation, divorce, contraception, abortion, homosexuality, gender ideology, and bring these things into the Church. And once morality is corrupted, doctrine is corrupted. If she were to accept any of these sins of her children without calling them to repent, all her teachings would wither.

Yet, at this stage of the revolution, even more seems to be under attack than her moral and doctrinal health – namely, the very relationship with her Son which is at the foundation of the salvation of mankind. This brings us to the upcoming Amazon synod.

Concerns about the synod are dominated by proposals to adopt pagan, syncretistic, egalitarian, tribal ideas and practices incompatible with Catholic teaching and the admission of married men to the priesthood. It is the discussion of an official ministry that could be conferred on women that is relevant for us.32

Tradition opposes female ordinations, Sacred Scriptures reject it, canon law forbids it, popes throughout history have ruled against it. Christ came to earth as the Son of Man. He established his priesthood in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. Therefore, all ministers ordained to His ministry must be men.

This is not ordered so as to exclude women. On the contrary, Christ bound Himself on earth intimately to one woman, the Blessed Virgin, who would have been most qualified of all women to share in His ordained ministry, if that were part of the divine plan. But the plan for the woman is different. Edith Stein writes:

“He formed her so closely after His own image as no other human being before or after; He gave her a place in the Church for all eternity such as has been given to no other human being. And just so, He has called women in all times to the most intimate union with Him: they are to be emissaries of His love, proclaimers of His will to kings and popes, and forerunners of His Kingdom in the hearts of men. To be the Spouse of Christ is the most sublime vocation which has been given, and whoever sees this way open before her will yearn for no other way.”33

Marriage is between two parties. One cannot be married to oneself. Women can never carry out a ministry in the person of Christ. Women cannot be ordained deacons either, because all other ranks of ordained ministry are ordered after the ministry of the High Priest. Women’s role is fashioned after that of the Spouse of Christ, the Church, who is the fruitful mother of souls that are borne to Him.

The institution of marriage in this world is under continual attack. Today it is fiercely assaulted by the homosexual and transgender agenda. Proposals to ordain women, however, direct these attacks on the supernatural marriage of Christ and His Church. Words fail to convey the gravity of such a desecration. However, this shows why churchmen who do not recognise this desecration are incapable of resisting the evil of homosexuality and gender ideology.

Once again, a revolutionary proposal seeking the input of women, is founded on the same premise as the ancient Fall. The serpent suggests we will gain something we are denied, while retaining everything we have now. What was the reality? Eve got the apple, but Paradise was lost. There was no gain to speak of.

Thanks to the merits of the Blessed Virgin, instead of human equality, women are offered a dignity and honour in the Catholic Church unparalleled to what they have received in any other institution. This is rooted in humble service of the handmaid of the Lord. Her “Fiat!” is the greatest word ever said after Logos. Her word brought forth the Incarnation of the Word.

Conclusion

A similar examination of the key episodes of the revolution could be taken through the perspective of men, formation of children and youth, religious life or in a number of other ways. However, women have their own particular, and irreplaceable, role in countering the revolution.

The pure image of feminine nature stands before our eyes in the Immaculata, the Virgin, writes Edith Stein.

“The most pure virgin is the only one safeguarded from every stain of sin. Except for her, no one embodies feminine nature in its original purity. Every other woman has something in herself inherited from Eve, and she must search her way from Eve to Mary. There is a bit of defiance in each woman which does not want to humble itself under any sovereignty. In each, there is something of that desire which reaches for forbidden fruit. And she is hindered by both these tendencies in what we clearly recognise as woman’s work.”34

To fulfil her destiny, to be truly happy, every woman must take Mary as her example. Regardless of her particular role or state in life, if she is to be a joyful counter-revolutionary, she must submit herself wholly to God in everything she does. Edith Stein continues:

“Whether she is a mother in the home, or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind quiet cloister walls, she must be a handmaid of the Lord everywhere. So had the Mother of God been in all circumstances of her life, as the Temple virgin enclosed in that hallowed precinct, by her quiet work in Bethlehem and Nazareth, as guide to the apostles and the Christian community after the death of her Son. Were each woman an image of the Mother of God, a Spouse of Christ, an apostle of the divine Heart, then would each fulfil her feminine vocation, no matter what conditions she lived in and what worldly activity absorbed her life.”35

What practical conclusions could we draw?

We should of course share in all the tasks that come with our time to defend and spread the faith, but women today seem to be required specifically to exercise discipline of the senses and focus on the divine. To lead, so to say, a “Eucharistic life” – to love and adore the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as a bride loves her husband. Bridal love of Christ makes His business one’s own, says Edith Stein. And His business is none other than saving souls.

Vigilance is required to maintain purity of mind and body. By the way we look, speak and act we can give witness that God exists. A fact so well hidden today! We should look and sound Catholic. Our appearance, therefore, should not contradict what we believe. We are in the battle. Soldiers in slippers cannot be taken seriously at wartime. Their uniform, on the other hand, shows their readiness and competence to fight. We should look like Catholic women “on duty” at all times. The Catechism of Perseverance speaking of the first century Rome recalls: “The admirable purity of our ancestors appeared in their exterior. Nothing was more striking than the contrast between Christian and pagan women in this respect.”36

Christian mothers must have special regard to the holiness of their children. “All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother,” observed Cardinal Siri. This is why modesty in dress, comportment and speech is necessary not only in public, but also at home. By guarding the innocence of their children, Christian mothers foster wilful purity in their children in later life.

Religious are called to manifest the fidelity of true brides in every detail. These traditions nurture the hidden life in this special and most privileged union. A bride has more perfect opportunities to offer signs of affection and service to her husband compared to any other.

In all of these roles, interiorly, we must unite ourselves with Our Lady – through the Sacraments, through the Rosary, and through consecrating our entire lives to her.

Since Eve, only one woman has had the right attitude of complete surrender, the attitude of Fiat. Let us seek to imitate that woman.

Let us adopt her attitude to the Truth – protect it as a mother would protect her child and submit to it as she submitted to her Child who was the Truth.

Let us be part of her army under the command of Her Immaculate Heart, turned always to God, while crushing the devil with her heel. We are her little children called to the battle in the way described by St Louis de Montfort:

“… the power of Mary over all the devils will especially break out in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel; that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem, and abased before all, like the heel, trodden under-foot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their animated zeal, and leaning so strongly on the divine succour, that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil, and cause Jesus Christ to triumph.”37

Endnotes:

[1] St Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte 2010, p. 30.

[2] Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman, Sapientia Press, Ave Maria 2002, p. 18.

[3] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), Spring Grove 2008, p. 40.

[4] Ibid., p. 11.

[5] Ibid., p. 4.

[6] Genesis 3:16.

[7] Sister Teresia de Spiritu Sancto, O.C.D., Edith Stein, Sheed and Ward 1952, London and New York, p. 77.

[8] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, TFP, Spring Grove 2008, pp. 14-16.

[9] Ibid., p. 16.

[10] Ibid., p. 17.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Letter of Vindice to Nubius [pen-names of two leaders of the Italian ‘Alta Vendita’], dated 9August 1838, International Review of Freemasonry, 1928; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 6.

[13] Quoted by Virginia Coda Nunziante in Countering the Challenges of Today’s Society as Catholic Women, Voice of the Family 2018; http://voiceofthefamily.com/countering-the-challenges-of-todays-society-as-catholic-women/

[14] Pius XII, Address to a group of Catholic Action girls on 6 Oct. 1940, quoted by Robert T. Hart inThose Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 5.

[15] Pope Pius XII, Address to a Congress of the “Latin Union of High Fashion”, 8 Nov. 1957; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 26.

[16] Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times, TFP 2000.

[17] Vladimir Lenin, A Great Beginning, Marxists Internet Archive, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/jun/19.htm

[18] Alexandra Kollontai, Communism and the Family, first published in Komunistka, No. 2, 1920, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1920/communism-family.htm

[19] Alexandra Kollontai, Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations, first published in Kommunistka, No. 12, 1921, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1920/communism-family.htm

[20] Ibid.

[21] Vladimir Lenin, A Great Beginning, Marxists Internet Archive, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/jun/19.htm

[22] Cf. Givanni Cadevilla, Dalla Rivoluzione bolscevica alla Federazione Russa, Froanco Angeli, Rome 1996; quoted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, A History of Revolutions and their Consequences for the Family, Voice of the Family 2017, http://voiceofthefamily.com/roberto-de-mattei-a-history-of-revolutions-and-their-effects-on-the-family/

[23] Leon Trotskij, Problems of everyday life, Monad Press, New York 1986, p. 37, quoted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, A History of Revolutions and their Consequences for the Family, Voice of the Family 2017, http://voiceofthefamily.com/roberto-de-mattei-a-history-of-revolutions-and-their-effects-on-the-family/

[24] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, TFP, Spring Grove 2008, p. 18.

[25] Ibid., p. 130.

[26] Mary Eberstadt, Adam and Eve before the Pill. Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2012, p. 12.

[27] Ibid., p. 25.

[28] Ibid., p. 27-30.

[29] Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman, Sapientia Press, Ave Maria 2002, p. x.

[30] Quoted in ibid., p. 2 and p. 8.

[31] Ibid.p. 32.

[32] Instrumentum Laboris, No. 129, a), 3., http://www.sinodoamazonico.va/content/sinodoamazonico/en/documents/pan-amazon-synod–the-working-document-for-the-synod-of-bishops.html

[33] Edith Stein, Essays on Women, ICS Publications, Washington 2010, p. 84.

[34] Ibid., p. 119.

[35] Ibid., p. 54.

[36] Abbé Gaume, The Catechism of Perseverance, Vol. III, p. 78. Dublin; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 33.

[37] St Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte 2010, p. 24.

Students vow ‘not to have children’ until gov’t stops climate change

TORONTO, September 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A growing number of students from around the world are pledging not to bear children until their governments do something to combat so-called climate change.

Launched by 18-year-old Canadian Emma Lim, the initiative asks students to refrain from having children until their government takes action.

“I pledge not to have children until I am sure my government will ensure a safe future for them,” the initiative’s website states.

“I am not the only young person giving up lifelong dreams because they are unsure of what the future will hold. We’ve read the science, and now we’re pleading with our government. ​Please, keep us safe. Please act while there is still time,” she writes on her website.

Carleton University professor Michael Hart argued in his 2016 book Hubris, however, that climate change advocacy is based on “poor science” and is being used as a Trojan horse for ramming through a social agenda on an unsuspecting population.

“I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives,” he told LifeSiteNews in an August 2016 interview.

“Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs. As John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, sees it, ‘The alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policymakers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort … announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policymakers,’” he said.

On Tuesday, Lim told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak program, “Our government isn’t doing enough.” She said her country’s legislators are “nowhere near the action needed.” On Twitter, supporters can use the “No Future, No Children” hashtag to register their position. Lim has launched a website where they can announce their decision.

As of Thursday, more than 1,000 people had registered at Lim’s website. While Lim herself claims she wants children, she says she wants them only if they can be “safe.”

Lim believes that global climate change will cause mass migration. Comparing it to the Holocaust, she said she fears that her children will have to “again face the very worst of humanity.” On CBC, Lim said, “It’s clear that our leaders aren’t taking this seriously, and this is a serious issue,” referring to the approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline by the Canadian government.

Lim’s website is linked to the Climate Strike Canada website, which is calling on students to leave their classrooms on Friday to demonstrate their support for climate change doctrine. Among student testimonies collected by the website, “Emma” is quoted: “Just 100 companies are responsible for 70% for GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, [yet] convenient rhetoric keeps the blame and responsibility off their shoulders. I strike because I believe change is possible and because there is so much in this world worth protecting.”

According to its website, Climate Strike Canada endorses a Canadian Green New Deal and supports the Global People’s Platform for a Livable Future. Among its proposals is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 75% over 2005 levels by 2030.

Students of all ages are expected to walk out of school, starting on Friday, as part of a global climate strike. In Canada, some school boards are allowing or even encouraging students to skip class. Among the institutions in support are the Toronto District School Board, Dawson College of Montreal, and the University of British Columbia. The Toronto board has asked schools to avoid scheduling tests on September 27 so as to ensure that students are not penalized academically for taking part in the rally outside the Ontario legislature. Students under 18, said the authorities, must obtain parental permission to skip class.

The University of British Columbia told student participants that they should talk to their instructors first, while faculty members were told to inform students in advance should they participate in the strike.

New York City schools declared recently that students participating in the strike will receive excused absences. Students around the world are set to participate.

Media attention has been focused on Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden who has been largely credited with starting the student movement in her country. She testified before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, appearing at a hearing on Wednesday. She offered a copy of the United Nations’ report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which offered findings of scientists to be used by government leaders.

“I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me,” Thunberg said, adding, “I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.”

Baby girl saved by Safe Haven Baby Box the first month it was installed

 

Less than 30 days after installing a Safe Haven Baby Box, Franciscan Health Hospital in Hammond, Indiana, received a healthy newborn baby girl. ABC7 Chicago reported the baby was retrieved by first responders in less than 90 seconds. An alarm sounded when the baby was placed in the box, and the emergency department of the hospital responded.

ABC7 Chicago interviewed Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Kelsey was adopted, and later learned that she was abandoned as a newborn. After seeing a baby box at a church in Cape Town, South Africa, where parents could surrender a newborn without face-to-face interaction, Kelsey started Safe Haven Baby Boxes to create a way for mothers to ensure their child’s care, and educate people about Safe Haven Laws, gwhich allow parents of newborns to surrender a newborn without facing legal consequences.

In regards to the newborn recently placed in the hospital baby box, Kelsey said, “That is my hope and my goal for this little girl, is to grow up knowing she was loved from the beginning. Her mom just felt that this was best for her, and hopefully one day she changes the world and does something amazing.”

 

The story of this newborn safely delivered to authorities is a contrast to many recent stories that could have ended tragically. Over the summer, one newborn baby girl was found abandoned in the woods in a plastic bag in Georgia. Another baby girl, likely just hours old, was found naked in the woods of Silver Spring, Maryland. In both cases, the babies were rescued when passersby heard crying and investigated. Tragically, many cases of abandoned newborns do not end with the child safely rescued.

Indiana Safe Haven Laws allows parents to place a newborn in care at any hospital emergency room, police or fire station without any questions or legal consequences. As the recent story shows, laws like this save lives. For information about Safe Haven Laws in your state, you can visit Baby Safe Haven or call 1-888-510-BABY.

Doctors Suggested Abortion Every Week for Months Because Lillee Was Disabled, Now She’s Healthy

INTERNATIONAL   SPUC

Kiera Meldrum, aged 20, was offered an abortion every single week following her 21-week scan, which discovered that her unborn baby had severe ascites to the bowel.

The young mum from York, bravely defied the doctors’ orders to abort her baby, every week, and describes how constantly being offered an abortion made her feel “horrific.” At 34 weeks, Kiera delivered her baby girl, Lillee-Rose, who had to undergo life saving surgery and spend eight intensive weeks in hospital.

However, Lillee-Rose is now happy and home with her family. Despite having a delicate bowel, doctors are satisfied that she should live a healthy and normal life.

According to The Scotsman, Lillee-Rose’s mum (Kiera) said: “Doctors told me every week to terminate my pregnancy, and hearing that advice over and over again was horrific, but something told me Lillee-Rose would make it through.

“I refused to terminate Lillee-Rose every time they told me to, and I’m so happy I listened to my heart instead of the doctors. There was no way I was terminating my pregnancy – I’d waited so long to become a mum and I was determined to do all I could to protect my baby

“My baby girl never stopped fighting and finally having her home with me is a blessing. I always had a feeling that she’d be ok, and seeing her grow up healthy and strong just goes to show that a mother always knows best. She is my little miracle.”

“Always go with your gut instinct”

Earlier this year, SPUC reported on the case of Scottish mother, Lauren Webster, who was also repeatedly offered an abortion during the course of her pregnancy, as her unborn child was suspected of having a low chance of survival. Ms Webster resisted the medical pressure to abort, and later gave birth to a healthy baby boy as she had a “gut feeling he would survive.”

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Similarly, mother Natalie Halson was advised to abort her baby, Mirabelle, ten times after she was diagnosed with spina bifida, and was told by doctors that the baby would have a ‘poor quality of life.’ Ms Halson resisted the pressure from medical staff to abort and later gave birth to a healthy baby, who after a spinal operation is likely to live a happy and normal life.

Ms Halson said: “I would recommend to any parents who are advised to abort that it isn’t the only option, no matter what the hospitals try to tell them. Always go with your gut instinct; something inside told me that my baby was going to be ok- and look at her now, she’s perfect.”

“Mothers should not be facing such pressure”

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications and Campaigns, Michael Robinson said: “Whilst these stories of survival are heart-warming, they also highlight the immense and unacceptable pressure on mothers from medical staff.”

“These brave mothers chose life for their child and now cannot imagine life without them. It is saddening to reflect on the pressure brought upon them during their pregnancy- what should have been a hopeful and happy time.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.

Exposing the Truth about the Odious Abortion Industry

by 

 

Imagine for a moment that a courageous undercover journalist embedded herself among a group of powerful and wealthy businessmen involved in some horrific crime – sex-trafficking, for instance. Imagine the journalist had surreptitiously recorded conversations in which these powerful men openly haggled over the prices of their victims and spilled the details about how they circumvent the law.

Now, imagine that this journalist publicly released these damning recordings. And then imagine that, instead of investigating the businessmen, congressmen and law enforcement officials instead investigated the journalist – for the “crime” of secretly recording the businessmen!

The scenario is absurd, you might say. The public outrage in the face of such a gross miscarriage of justice would be swift and ferocious. After all, even if the secret recordings were technically illegal, clearly this kind of hard-hitting undercover journalism is an important exception.

However, we don’t really need to “imagine” such a supposed absurd scenario. Right now, two heroic pro-life investigators are fighting for their freedom in a Californian courtroom. Their crime? Exposing the horrific illegal practices of abortion clinics and biomedical companies who traffic in the bodies of aborted babies.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are the two journalists, working for the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), who secretly recorded abortionists and other officials in the abortion industry describing how they harvest the body parts of unborn victims of abortion, and then sell them for a profit to various buyers. The pair publicly released the shocking videos in 2015.

They are now facing 15 felony counts for allegedly “illegally” taping the conversations with the abortion officials. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison!

The horrifying truth

I’ve watched the videos. To say they are nauseating is an understatement. One of the most haunting of them shows a medical worker digging through a petri dish filled with the crushed remains of aborted 20-week twins. At one point, the tweezers seize upon an object, and then proceed to lift the dismembered arm of a baby for the camera to see. Each of the fingers is vividly, searingly visible. This is the arm of a human being…a human being that was fully alive but minutes before, but whose mangled body is now being sorted through for intact parts that can be sold to pad the bottom line of the abortion clinic.

Then there’s the video in which the CEO of Stem Express, a tissue procurement company, described how in order to harvest “insanely fragile” brain tissue, it’s best just to ship the whole head of the fetus to researchers. “Just make sure the eyes are closed,” Daleiden (one of the pro-life investigators) remarks at this point. “Yeah,” the CEO laughs in response, “Tell the lab techs it’s coming…it’s almost like they don’t want to know what it is.”

Just about anybody with an intact conscience who saw these videos knew they were looking at something morally repugnant. In our bizarre legal system, however, the mere fact of harvesting the bodies of unborn babies who have been deliberately murdered is not, in itself, illegal. However, some of the practices that abortionists and other officials in the video explicitly admit to engaging clearly violate the law.

For instance, though it is technically legal to harvest human body parts from abortion and to provide them to biomedical companies or universities for macabre “research,” there are regulations against profiting from the sale of these body parts. Furthermore, there are regulations that forbid abortionists from altering the abortion procedure in order to obtain better or more intact “specimens.” The reason why is obvious: the abortionist could put the baby’s mother at risk if he decides to change his normal practices because he wants “better” body parts to sell.

In the videos released by Daleiden and Merritt, however, it’s clear that the abortionists and biomedical companies are very, very interested in money. In one of the most notorious of these videos, Dr. Mary Gatter, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s for-profit Medical Directors’ Council, haggles over the price of baby body parts. At one point she even jokes, bizarrely, that she “wants a Lamborghini.” In the same conversation, Gatter says she would be willing to ask their abortionist if he would be willing to alter “the protocol” they follow during abortion to procure the body parts. In other words, Gatter appeared to violate the law on both counts in a single conversation.

A politically motivated prosecution…that might backfire

Unsurprisingly, the abortion industry responded to CMP’s videos by doing everything in their power to browbeat the pro-life investigators into silence. Unfortunately for Daleiden and Merrit, the abortion industry has powerful friends in high places.

One of these is former California Attorney General Kamala Harris – now a stridently pro-abortion presidential candidate for the Democratic party – who first initiated the investigation into CMP, partially in response to the urging of four Democratic congressmen (frankly, I’m not sure she needed much urging). And another is Harris’ successor, current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is known as a staunch pro-abortion advocate with ties to Planned Parenthood.

According to Peter Breen, one of the lawyers defending Daleiden and Merritt, the case against CMP is the “first time in California history” that an attorney general has prosecuted anyone under California’s law banning illegal taping. As Breen observed, this is bizarre. “We as a society made a value judgement, we as a society value undercover journalism,” he said. And (it should come as no surprise), “Undercover journalism requires surreptitious taping.” But in the quest to protect legal child-killing, it appears just about any stick is good enough to beat pro-lifers with.

Daleiden was also previously hit with a nearly $200,000 fine after a California judge concluded that Daleiden and his lawyers had violated a gag order he had placed on CMP’s videos.

It’s possible, however, that the abortion industry’s strategy of suing and investigating CMP into oblivion will backfire. As Daleiden pointed out late last month, before the current hearing began, if Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against CMP proceeded, many of the abortionists and abortion officials featured in their videos would have to take the stand and testify under oath about their nefarious activities. Which is precisely what CMP wanted in the first place.

That, in fact, is currently happening. The first week of the preliminary hearing into Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit wrapped up last week, and the case will be ongoing this week. Several key witnesses have already taken the stand and described some the macabre business of harvesting fetal body parts. And while the pro-abortion attorney general requested a gag order that would seriously impede media reporting on the case, the judge overseeing the preliminary hearing last week rejected that request.

Perhaps the most chilling testimony of all, so far, came from Daleiden himself, who last described on the stand how he was motivated to investigate fetal tissue procurement after seeing a 2012 documentary in which a whistleblower who worked in Planned Parenthood clinics described receiving the intact bodies of aborted babies, and “cutting open the chest and seeing the heart was still beating.” Daleiden then explained that Stem Express itself provided researchers at Stanford University with fetal hearts. According to Daleiden, the methods used by those researchers would have required that they receive living human hearts.

The CEO of Stem Express herself admitted in court last week that her company provided fetal hearts and heads, and that in some cases the heads would be attached to the bodies of the baby, or could “be torn away.” As Daleiden’s lawyers pointed out, this raises questions about how Stem Express is obtaining intact bodies of babies, and whether the babies may well have been alive at the time they were born or were victims of illegal partial-birth abortions.

Pray for Daleiden, Merritt and their lawyers

At this point in the preliminary hearing, Daleiden and Merritt’s lawyers feel confident that they are winning. They are arguing that the laws against illegal taping do not cover cases when the conversations being taped can reasonably be expected to be overheard. This would include many of the conversations in CMP’s videos, which were recorded in public restaurants and at trade shows with numerous people milling about in the vicinity. The lawyers are also arguing that the law doesn’t apply to instances when those doing the recording reasonably believe that they are investigating a violent crime – which, clearly, Daleiden and Merritt were doing.

However, as anyone who has worked in the pro-life movement knows, legal proceedings involving the issue of abortion often go in unexpected directions. Lawyers who defend pro-life advocates often must prepare themselves for things that they have never experienced in their entire legal career: e.g.seemingly slam-dunk, routine preliminary motions arbitrarily denied, or judges tortuously interpreting the law in novel ways to arrive at decisions that go against the pro-lifers.

Daleiden and Merritt are courageous pro-life witnesses, who have done immeasurable good for our unborn brothers and sisters. Thanks to their efforts, the sheer, horrific barbarity of abortion has been exposed for countless millions of people to see. Right now, they are fighting for their freedom. They need our support in any way we can give it to them. And they and their lawyers need our prayers – for wisdom, and spiritual protection. I hope you will join me in praying for them throughout this court case.

Study Shows Link Between Teen Birth Control Use and Adult Depression

Gabriella Patti

A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that teenagers who use birth control are “1.7 times to 3 times more likely to be clinically depressed in adulthood, compared to women who started taking birth control pills as adults, and to women who had never taken birth control pills.”

According to UBC News, the researchers collected data on over a thousand women in the United States, which led them to see that use of hormonal birth control during adolescence increases vulnerability to depression in adulthood even if the woman has been off of birth control for years. “Adolescence is an important period for brain development. Previous animal studies have found that manipulating sex hormones, especially during important phases of brain development, can influence later behavior in a way that is irreversible,” said the study’s first author, Christine Anderl, a psychology postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.

While the study’s authors say that this doesn’t prove that birth control causes depression, they hope that dialogue will continue on the topic. Meanwhile, the researchers behind this study are working on a new study to “investigate how hormonal changes during adolescence can affect teenagers’ emotions, social interactions, and mental health.”

Given what we know both about the side effects of hormonal birth control and the ever-fluctuating hormones of teenagers, this correlation comes as no surprise. Depression and anxiety are cited as some of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control, and this is not the first study to make this connection. Another study from 2017 published in The American Journal of Psychiatry looking at nearly a million Danish women and girls found that those on “hormonal contraception were 97% more likely to attempt suicide than those not taking the drugs, and were 200% more likely to succeed in their suicide attempt.”

Safer Alternatives to Birth Control

Menstruation is a normal healthy part of a young woman’s development, and it’s possible to teach teenage girls to appreciate the uniqueness of their fertility health through Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs). Teaching teenage girls fertility charting in lieu of birth control not only protects them from a host of unsavory side effects, but it also introduces them to practical tools to learn more about their health, equips them to pursue treatment for hormonal imbalances naturally, and produces body-positive results.

All this being said, it is important to note that many women will experience anxiety and depression whether or not they have been prescribed hormonal birth control. However, one of the beauties of FABMs is that it can help women regulate stress and mood swings and help with self-care and emotional health. 

One hopes that these recent findings—echoing concerns we’ve had for a while now—will be taken seriously and be considered by healthcare providers when they are caring for teen girls. Women and girls should not have to suffer mental-health side effects in order to prevent anything from pregnancy to acne to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Thank goodness for fertility awareness and the freedom and clarity that it can bring!

Scientists announce method to mass-produce living ‘embryo-like structures’

September 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A group of scientists revealed the opening of another Pandora’s box this week with a new paper detailing a method for quickly producing large quantities of organic structures similar to human embryos, for the purpose of studying human life in its earliest stages.

The paper, published Wednesday in Nature, details the development of “microfluidic devices” capable of mass-producing embryoid bodies, which are “cystic teratoma-like structures consisting of semi-organized tissues representing all three embryonic germ layers.”

These devices, the researchers say, offer a “powerful experimental system to advance knowledge of human embryology and reproduction,” which “could assist in the rational design of differentiation protocols of hPSCs for disease modelling and cell therapy, and in high-throughput drug and toxicity screens to prevent pregnancy failure and birth defects.”

Describing these embryoids as “synthetic embryos,” NPR reports that the research has sparked a conversation about the ethics of creating organic entities so similar to newly conceived human beings.

Rockefeller University embryologist Ali Brivanlou said the development opens “windows to aspects of development that we have never seen before,” the “Holy Grail of human embryology.” But Harvard and Case Western bioethicist Insoo Hyun called on researchers to be “very careful not to model all aspects of the developing human embryo, so that they can avoid the concern that this embryo model could one day become a baby if you put it in the womb.”

Jianping Fu, the lead researcher on the paper, acknowledged he was “pushing the boundary” but insists he made sure these embryoids only “resemble a portion of the human embryo — the core of the early human embryo,” and that his team had “zero intention” of creating a “complete human embryo.”

That approach satisfied some of the researchers who spoke to NPR, but Georgetown bioethicist Daniel Sulmasy sounded concerned.

“That would be sort of a very early sort of Frankenstein model, right? Taking different parts and stitching them together in order to try to create an organism,” he said. “If somebody tried to do it and it were even at the earliest stages of embryonic development, and they tried to then let it develop further, that would be a problem.”

Tackling the question of whether embryoids are, in fact, living human beings, Heather Zeiger of the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity writes that they “seem to have many of the features that define a biological organism. They respond to environmental stimuli, exhibit self-organization, undergo growth and development, and consume energy. The cells within embryoids can be said to reproduce in the same sense that embryonic cells grow and divide. However, the embryoid itself lacks the necessary cells to grow into a human that, in turn, can reproduce. Furthermore, its self-organization is local in contrast to the global and directional organization of embryos.”

Ethical guidelines currently accepted by the scientific establishment dictate that scientists can experiment on an embryo only for up to fourteen days after its creation, a restriction that Fu touts embryoids as circumventing. In 2017, scientists from Harvard argued that the advent of embryoids necessitated replacing the 14-day rule with a more rigorous framework based on the precise nature of the entities being created.

“These and related experiments raise more foundational issues that cannot be fixed by adjusting the 14-day rule, because the framework underlying the rule cannot adequately describe the ways by which synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs) might develop morally concerning features through altered forms of development,” they wrote at the time. “We propose that limits on research with SHEEFs be based as directly as possible on the generation of such features, and recommend that the research and bioethics communities lead a wide-ranging inquiry aimed at mapping out solutions to the ethical problems raised by them.”

Who benefits most from abortion pills on college campuses? Not who you think.

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Abortion pills on state college campuses may soon become a reality, depending on how the California legislature votes tomorrow on SB 24, a bill that would allow California campus health centers to dispense the abortion pill regimen to students.

Live Action News previously detailed how at least 24 women have already died and how literally thousands have been hospitalized with serious complications from the abortion pill, all while the pill regime was monitored under a safety system (REMS) put in place by the FDA. But many of those now pushing for these dangerous pills to be readily available on campus are also pushing for these same safety requirements to be lifted.

 

What does this mean?

According to the pro-abortion Rewire news website:

The California state legislature has until Friday to vote on the College Student Right to Access Act, sponsored by state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino). If it does not move forward this week, the bill will be “carried over” to 2020…. A previous version of the bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) last year, but California’s new governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, has signaled he would sign the bill into law.

Should SB24 be approved, Rewire says, “Starting in 2023, each campus of California State University and the University of California would receive $200,000 to cover the startup costs of offering medication abortion services at their health centers.

Who will benefit most from abortion pill distribution on California college campuses? The pill’s manufacturer, DANCO Laboratories, LLC , a secretly organized company which was put in place by the eugenics-founded Population Council and was seeded with millions from The Packard Foundation, an original investor of Danco.

Who’s funding this?

Rewire fails to point out that, as Live Action News previously documented, the funds for campus abortion pill distribution were promised by Tara Health Foundation (THF) — a radically pro-abortion organization pushing to expand abortion.

Image: TARA Health foundation funds abortion pill on college campus

TARA Health foundation funds abortion pill on college campus

Tara Health Foundation has been planning to expand abortion through philanthropic measures for some time. This is outlined in a strategy supported by THF, commissioned by Reproductive Health Investors Alliance Steering Committee, and published on THF’s website. It includes a push for “home use” abortion, elimination of FDA’s safety requirements known as REMS, and lists DANCO investor the Packard Foundation as a steering committee member.

Image: Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

THF recently funded a study on TelAbortion (telemedicine), claiming abortion pill expansion is safe. This study was published by the Journal Contraception, which has failed to list previous financial conflicts tied to the abortion pill’s manufacturer, DANCO, in past reports. The Journal’s editorial board has been stacked with abortion industry insiders, including a National Abortion Federation board member and members of the Population Council (responsible for bringing the abortion pill into the US and forming DANCO, the manufacturer of the pill).

Who are the people behind the studies claiming that distributing the abortion pill this way is safe?

Abortionist Daniel Grossman, director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), told Rewire that Tara Health’s funding of the abortion pill on California college campuses  “should be ‘more than enough’ to train staff and get student health centers ready to provide abortion care.”

He should know; Grossman is part of UCSF’s abortion training program, is senior adviser at Ibis Reproductive Health, and is behind the push to expand so-called self-managed abortion. Grossman is also behind an abortion pill clinical trial for pharmacy dispensing. Grossman is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal Contraception, where he publishes his abortion studies. That Journal is funded by the Packard Foundation.

Grossman was also recently recruited to issue “fact checks” for Facebook, targeting Live Action. (Live Action News has been exposing Grossman’s ties to big abortion.)

Image: Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

Rewire also quoted Ushma Upadhyay, associate professor at ANSIRH. “In one study,” Rewire writes, “[Upadhyay] and her colleagues found that the average student at a California state school had to wait about a week for an off-campus appointment and pay an average of $600 for medication abortion services.” That study, published by the Journal of Adolescent Health, deliberately hid its funding source, noting it was a “private anonymous donor.”

Image: Ushma Upadhyay abortion study anonymous funding

Ushma Upadhyay abortion study anonymous funding

Hiding funding sources isn’t new among abortion insiders. Live Action News uncovered that the Buffett Foundation — another DANCO abortion pill manufacturer investor — has been an anonymous funding source for at least one abortion pill study. And we have documented several times that Buffett and Packard were original investors in DANCO, as was billionaire George Soros (Open Society Foundations).

In past years, Buffett gave $78 million to the University of California — and according to New York Times, Buffett is the primary financier of the Bixby Center’s Ryan Residency Program at UCSF, where Daniel Grossman works. In 2016, ProPublica revealed that “Buffett’s main academic partner (receiving at least $88 million from 2001 to 2014) has been the University of California, San Francisco…” where Grossman is on staff.

Image: Buffett funds UCSF Bixby Ryan program where Grossman is staff and Family Planning Fellowship

Buffett funds UCSF Bixby Ryan program where Grossman is staff and Family Planning Fellowship

Additional connections:

  • ANSIRH: Founded by abortionist Felicia H. Stewart, previously awarded by Population Council which brought the abortion pill to the US and set up Danco Laboratories.
  • ANSIRH publishes workbooks on abortion training and is part of University of California’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.
  • ANSIRH has for years pushed for abortion expansion in California with funding from DANCO investor, the Packard Foundation.
  • Bixby trains abortionists, as Live Action News previously documented, and receives funding from a number of organizations collaborating to expand abortion, including DANCO’s original investor the Packard Foundation.
  • University of California is heavily funded by DANCO’s investors (Packard and Buffett), and sponsoring clinical trials to expand abortion in U.S.
  • Upadhyay studies have been funded by Danco investor, Packard.
  • Ibis is directly funded by Danco Laboratories, according to their own website where Grossman is senior adviser.
  • ANSIRH recently collaborated with Danco-funded Ibis to publish a report entitled, “A roadmap for research on self-managed abortion in the United States.” 

Image: Daniel Grossman works with Ibid funded by abortion pill mfg Danco

Daniel Grossman works with Ibis funded by abortion pill mfg Danco

As they say… follow the money.

The sexual revolution: a pandora’s box for the problems plaguing society

September 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – This week on The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Mary Eberstadt about the sexual revolution. Eberstadt provides an intellectual and precise commentary on current culture, philosophy, and the fate of the post-modern man. She is the author of the new book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics, and also wrote How the West Really Lost God and Adam and Eve after the Pill.

The sexual revolution is a topic that Van Maren has covered extensively on his LifeSiteNews blog and on The Van Maren Show. The sexual revolution has impacted every corner of society, from the so-called LGBT movement to pornography and sex-education to attacks on freedoms of speech and religion.

Eberstadt dives into the concept of “the loneliness epidemic” and how it relates to the sexual revolution. According to Eberstadt, to say there has been an explosion of loneliness in every single advanced country is not at all an overstatement. It is traceable to the fact that a lot of people simply aren’t having children. She states that children and marriage are nature’s solution to loneliness. However, more and more people are not getting married and are deciding against having children.

“This is, to me, one of the most poignant manifestations of the revolution’s fallout. And it’s something that we’re going to be dealing with for a long time to come,” she explains.

Van Maren and Eberstadt spend some time discussing the #MeToo Movement and third-wave feminism, which are consequences of the sexual revolution. Eberstadt summarizes the rage that we see all the time in the third-wave feminism movement by stating that “the problem is the sexual revolution has unleashed predation and made it harder to find what most women, even now, will say they want most, which is marriage and family.”

Despite the far reaches of the sexual revolution and the massive impact it has had on today’s culture, Eberstadt wraps up this episode with a good bit of hope: “I think there are all kinds of reasons for hope, including that we are rational animals.”

She cites several examples of positive social transformation in history, and argues that young people today being more likely than their Baby Boomer parents to be pro-life is evidence of a rollback of sexual revolution ideology.

Eberstadt’s commentary is simply amazing. This episode of The Van Maren Show is a must-listen. Additionally, be sure to read Eberstadt’s books, available at Amazon or her website.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe via various channels, visit our Pippa webpage here.

Contraception made many promises to women… and it hasn’t kept them

 

The prevailing cultural mindset states that contraception has been a panacea for women. In fact, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute — Planned Parenthood’s former research arm and special affiliate — inseparably links contraception with women’s ability to reach their full potential. The organization’s July 2018 fact sheet, “Contraceptive Use in the United States,” went so far as to claim (emphasis added):

The ability to delay and space childbearing is crucial to women’s social and economic advancement. Women’s ability to obtain and effectively use contraceptives has a positive impact on their education and workforce participation, as well as on subsequent outcomes related to income, family stability, mental health and happiness, and children’s well-being. However, the evidence suggests that the most disadvantaged U.S. women do not fully share in these benefits, which is why unintended pregnancy prevention efforts need to be grounded in broader antipoverty and social justice efforts.

With rave reviews like this, what’s not to love? Plenty, as it turns out.

In the Beginning

Contraception, beginning with the development of the only medication to be so widely known that it’s simply called “the Pill,” marked a major shift in men and women’s understanding of the purpose of sex. Classically understood, sex was for babies and bonding between the partners. Not every act of intercourse led to babies, certainly, but couples understood that the possibility of conceiving existed.

Contraception was originally marketed using a kind of salvation messaging. Promiscuous sex — including with married men — and a career would give a single girl’s life meaning, according to Helen Gurley Brown’s best-selling book “Sex and the Single Girl.” And sex without the possibility of more mouths to feed would make married women happy and free as described in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. In this narrative, birth control was the ticket to making both single and married women’s wildest dreams come true. Unfortunately, the Pill hasn’t made good on all of its glitzy promises.

Reality Check

Separating fact from fiction in the Guttmacher Institute’s claims above, it’s true that 33% of modern-day women will graduate college, versus just 7% in the 1960s, and some 60% of recent college graduates are female. It’s also true that at the time contraception was introduced, women were often fired for becoming pregnant, as described by Sue Ellen Browder in her book, “Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.” Legal policy changes, ultimately, not contraception, were the driver in ending pregnancy discrimination. In fact, contraception plays right along with the misogynistic idea that women have to be just like men (unable to bear children) in order to succeed professionally.

While the Guttmacher Institute also insists that contraception makes women economically better off, data from the United States Census Bureau show that more children, not less, are living with single mothers than in decades past. And, those single mothers, 27% of whom are living in poverty, are significantly more likely to be poor than the far fewer numbers of single fathers raising children. In fact, economist Timothy Reichert found that “the contraceptive revolution has resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men” by setting up “what economists call a ‘prisoner’s-dilemma game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off.”

The Guttmacher Institute also claims that contraception contributes to family stability, yet we know that divorce has skyrocketed since the 1960s. Speakers in the 2018 documentary Unprotected pointed out the logical connection between contraception and divorce, given the basic premise that human beings need deterrents to do the right thing and that contraception removes a historical deterrent to infidelity by dramatically reducing the risk of an unexpected pregnancy. Infidelity is commonly cited as a reason for divorce. Timothy Reichert’s analysis of research from the social sciences bore out this connection as well.

Improved “mental health and happiness” is also credited to contraception in the quote above, and yet directly contradicts a major study finding that women’s happiness “has declined both absolutely and relative to men” when compared to women in the 1970s. This makes sense given that the Unprotected documentary mentioned above noted how young girls face pressure to “sext” nude pictures of themselves to teenage boys. In college, rates of sexual assault on young women are staggering. The trend of disrespect for women continues in the workplace and beyond, as catalogued by the #metoo movement.

READ: You might think contraception is a solution to abortion. It isn’t. Here’s proof.

 

According to the Unprotected documentary, this decline in women’s well-being due to a loss of respect for women was directly predicted by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 papal document “Humanae Vitae,” which reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s traditional prohibition on contraception. Specifically, Pope Paul VI anticipated that if contraception became widespread, “the man” would lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium,” and would go so far as “considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

In fact, Pope Paul VI also predicted an increase in “infidelity and moral decline,” described above, as well as governments using coercive measures to control population size and poverty. China’s regressive One-Child Policy comes to mind, as well as the United Kingdom’s new “Two-Child Limit” on welfare benefits for poor couples.

While the Guttmacher Institute’s claims are factually questionable, contraception has had some undeniably negative effects on women’s health. Contraception has been linked to blood clots — some fatal, and even in young women — as well as depression, especially among younger womenbreast cancerheart attacks, strokecervical cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases.

A Better Way

While contraception has proved far from an unqualified good for women, modern, evidence-based methods of natural family planning (NFP) enable women to work with their bodies to plan family size and monitor their reproductive health. Natural family planning maintains the integral unity of sex, rather than separating babies from bonding. Couples utilize the woman’s fertile window if they are trying to become pregnant, and to abstain from sex during that time (growing their relationship in other ways) if their goal is to avoid pregnancy.

With apps like Daysy and FEMM, and at-home fertility monitors like the Clear Blue Monitor, technology is assisting more and more women in understanding their own bodies and achieving their reproductive goals in ways that respect their fertility rather than viewing it as an obstacle. At the end of Unprotected, presenter Christopher West emphasized that working cooperatively with the woman’s body via NFP is a game-changer for couples. In fact, research suggests that rates of divorce amongst couples using NFP are less than 5%. Respecting the woman’s body, rather than treating her fertility as the enemy, can bring benefits that contraception can’t ever achieve.

European abortionist sues FDA for cracking down on abortion-by-mail scheme

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The European physician behind an organization that circumvents medical regulations by sending abortion pills through the mail has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) over actions it has taken to block their activities.

Created by Dutch abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts, “Aid Access” sends women the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol after just an online consultation with a “doctor,” for the express purpose of getting around the costs and unavailability of abortions in their area, as well as regulations such as waiting periods or parental involvement requirements. The group claims it’s safe to take the pills at home, without medical supervision.

The FDA opened an investigation into Aid Access last October, and in March warned the organization that it was “facilitating the sale of…unapproved and misbranded” products, and to “promptly cease” doing so or face regulatory action potentially “including seizure or injunction, without further notice.”

On Friday, Gomperts filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho against the FDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for seizing up to ten doses of abortion drugs Aid Access had “prescribed” since that letter, NPR reports, as well as allegedly blocking some payments to the group. The suit seeks to stop what Gomperts calls “bullying” and “intimidation” by the FDA.

Gomperts’ attorney Richard Hearn claims that Aid Access merely helps women carry out the so-called “right” to abortion. “Some women in the United States can exercise that right just by going down the street if those women happen to live in New York or San Francisco or other major metropolitan areas on either one of the coasts,” he told NPR. “But women in Idaho and other rural states, especially conservative states…cannot exercise that right.”

“FDA remains very concerned about the sale of unapproved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy on the Internet or via other channels for illegal importation, because this bypasses important safeguards designed to protect women’s health,” the agency responded in a statement to NPR. It didn’t comment on potential future actions against Aid Access, but said it “generally does not take enforcement action against individuals” who receive such unapproved drugs.

Part of the FDA’s March warning to Aid Access was that its business circumvents federal requirements that the approved prescription version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, be only made available via a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program and obtainable only from REMS-certified healthcare providers. This, it said, ensures that providers can “assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or to have made arrangements for others to provide such care”; give women “access to medical facilities for emergency care”; and more.

Pro-lifers also warn that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to preborn children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

“As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA warns, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

“Protecting women from the known dangers of abortion-inducing drugs is good and safe policy,” Students for Life of America spokesperson Kristi Hamrick said in a statement about the lawsuit. “Risking women’s lives so that an international sales team for abortion pills can more easily operate is not in the interests of American women. It’s easy to understand why a profit driven industry for chemical abortion pills wants fewer health and safety standards but protecting women from the known dangers of the pills is the right public policy.”

Abortion pill reversal saved her baby after she regretted taking the first dose

 

Sarah was 26 years old when she got the shock of a poorly-timed, positive pregnancy test. Already a mother of three, she was concerned about the course of her life. Her boyfriend insisted she have an abortion, so she scheduled the appointment, fearing being a single mother of four and feeling she needed to “save face,” succumbing to the father’s pressure to “take care of this.”

Sarah was given two pills to complete the abortion. But after she took the first pill, she dissolved into tears. “It was awful,” she told The Catholic Telegraph. When she looked at her other children she thought, “I love you and we’re making it. Why does this baby not deserve that same chance to love and be loved and be a sibling?”

Soon after, she began combing the internet for a way to undo the effects of the abortion pill, which is when she discovered Abortion Pill Rescue, which offered the process of the abortion pill reversal. She discovered there was a doctor in her area who could see her in just a few hours to begin the process.

Abortion pill reversal works by countering the effects of the first phase of the two-step abortion pill process. In the first step, a woman takes mifepristone in order to block the effects of progesterone, essential cutting off nutrients the baby needs to survive. Mifepristone will eventually lead to the death of the baby. The second pill, misoprostol, causes contractions that expel that baby’s body.

Reversing the process involves administering high dosages of progesterone to counteract the first abortion pill, mifepristone, and its harmful effects. As the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) explains, “[U]sing progesterone to counteract the effect of mifepristone is the logical extension of simple principles of toxicology and poison control.” And while some abortion activists baselessly claim that administering high doses of progesterone is dangerous to women and can cause birth defects, Live Action News has shown that these are lies. On the contrary, administering progesterone has been a standard part of OBGYN care for decades.

READ: These babies were saved by abortion pill reversal. So were hundreds of others.

As Live Action News has reported, Dr. Bill Lile, an obstetrician and gynecologist licensed in Alabama and Florida, has explained that abortion pill reversal is analogous to a patient who has overdosed on narcotics and is given the reversal agent Narcan. “[J]ust like we give Narcan to reverse a bad decision, we can give Prometrium [micronized progesterone] to reverse a bad decision. And we’ve been very successful around the country with reversal protocols.”

After Sarah began the treatment, her baby showed a strong heartbeat, and the doctor who gave her the regimen continued to treat her and Isaiah, who was born healthy. Isaiah’s father left after Sarah told him the “abortion didn’t work.” But despite the roadblocks in her life, she is doing better now than she could have imagined.

“I have a job now that I couldn’t even see myself having when I found out I was pregnant, wondering how I was going to make it work,” she said. “But God sets things in motion, and I’m benefiting from believing in His plan.”

Sarah’s story is being told in an upcoming episode of the Being Pro-Life podcast, airing September 12th.

Editor’s Note: If you have taken the first of the two-dose abortion pill and regret it, visit abortionpillreversal.com or call their 24-hour helpline at 877-558-0333.

Mother Teresa’s 5 Lessons for Pro-Life People

ALITHEA WILLIAMS

Mother Teresa is best known for her work among the poorest of the poor, caring for “all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society” in the slums of Calcutta. By her death in 1997 the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, had grown from a 13-member Calcutta congregation to more than 4,000 sisters who managed orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centres worldwide, caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine.

However, she was also praised (and fiercely criticised) for her staunch opposition to abortion. She spoke up for the unborn on the biggest stages imaginable, including when she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize. She didn’t let famous people off the hook either, keeping up correspondence over many years with Hilary Clinton to try and change her mind on abortion.

So, on this twentieth anniversary of her death, what lessons does Mother Teresa have for pro-lifers today?

1) Dare to speak out

Speaking out about abortion can be hard. It is such a controversial topic, and people’s reactions can be so extreme, that we can all feel the temptation to be quiet about our beliefs, or perhaps stick to more socially acceptable causes. Mother Teresa’s main work was with the poor and hungry, and I’m sure it would have been easier for her to stick to that work and enjoy the praise she received for it. But she didn’t. She used the platform her fame had won her to speak out for the most marginalised, the unborn. When accepting her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she said:

“And I feel one thing I want to share with you all, the greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child in her womb, what is left for you and for me to kill each other?”

She reiterated the sentiment at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C, on February 5, 1994, where guests included the then President Bill Clinton, and his wife Hilary.

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

​Here, she stood in front of the most powerful people in America, if not the world, and dared to call out abortion for what is it – the killing of a child.

2) Reach out in love

However, Mother Teresa also reminds us that we must spread this truth with love. This quote is also taken from the prayer breakfast address:

“How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”

While I’ve yet to encounter the pro-lifer of common stereotypes, who shouts “murderer!” at women seeking abortion, we can never be reminded too often that the only way to reach out to an abortion-minded woman is with love, and by offering support.

3) Recognise the real difficulties

This also means recognising the very real situations that people find themselves in. Mother Teresa knew that keeping a baby often isn’t easy – love means to be willing to give until it hurts. ​Working with people in the most unimaginable circumstances, she knew better than anyone how difficult it can be, and that a baby changes the parents’ lives beyond recognition.”So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.”

4) Do your part

​This recognition requires those of us fighting for the cause to give of ourselves. Mother Teresa told the assembled VIPs in Washington what she and her sisters did to put her pro-life rhetoric into action. “We are fighting abortion by adoption — by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: ‘Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.’ So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.’”

We may not be able to personally care for mothers and babies to this extent, but we should all be willing to translate our beliefs into real action – we too must give until it hurts. This could be by volunteering, or by making it known to those around you that you would help them in any difficulty, or by lobbying your MP, or simply by speaking up for your beliefs. To use another famous quote from Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

5) The greatest destroyer of peace

Perhaps the greatest lesson Mother Teresa can give us is an understanding of just what it is we are fighting. Abortion doesn’t just kill babies and damage mothers, it affects the whole of society. It isn’t just those women and those babies that are affected, but all of us. Abortion certainly affects the fathers: “…that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.” ​It also affects the entire country where abortion is permitted: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

There are many other causes worth fighting for, but we must never let ourselves be convinced that the pro-life fight is a side-issue, or one that affects only a small number of people. It’s not just that we care about babies, and also their mothers – we care about everyone. A final quote from the Washington address:

“Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today — abortion which brings people to such blindness.”

The Surprising Link Between Birth Control and Skin Cancer

Recent numbers released by the American Academy of Dermatology revealed a dramatic spike in the incidence of melanoma cases among young women. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and for women aged 18-39, its rates have increased by 800% from 1970 to 2009. In Caucasian women under 44, the number of cases has increased by just over 6% annually. (1)

Now, in addition to being the most dangerous, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women). More than 7,000 people in the United States are expected to die of melanoma in 2019—about 4,740 men and 2,490 women, (2) and the American Cancer Society estimates that about 96,480 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in 2019. (3)

The introduction of indoor tanning is likely to have played a major role in this spike. However, we should take a hard look at exactly what role highly prescribed drugs like birth control play in the epidemic of skin cancer cases among pre-menopausal women.

Connections between skin cells and estrogen receptors

Anyone who has encountered breast cancer in their family history is probably familiar with a receptor known as HER2. I was, but I really didn’t know much about it beyond its name until I began researching for an article I was writing on breast cancer.

According to the NIH, a cancer that is HER2 positive, “describes cancer cells that have too much of a protein called HER2 on their surface. In normal cells, HER2 helps to control cell growth. When it is made in larger than normal amounts by cancer cells, the cells may grow more quickly and be more likely to spread to other parts of the body.”

HER2 stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Each cell in our body can contain many types of receptors. These receptors are proteins, usually on the surface of the cell, seeking to bond with another very specific molecule. Together, these partners fulfill many different types of functions in the body, especially the immune system. As a receptor, HER2’s primary partner is Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a protein believed to play a role in how cells normally grow.

For me, the first clue that birth control could play a role in skin ailments came when I read that scientists at the University of Colorado recently discovered that the presence of estrogens can stimulate astrocytes in the brain to produce EGF. (3)

With all this “epidermal” terminology and the estrogen connection, I couldn’t help but wonder what effect hormonal birth control might have on the skin.  It didn’t take much digging to learn that hormonal contraceptives are commonly linked to things like acne, hyperpigmentation, and melasma (5), but I was surprised to learn that they have also been linked to skin cancer. Honestly, given that estrogen receptors can be found in nearly every cell of the body, I’m not sure why it surprised me; but this is one birth-control side effect that definitely flew below my radar.

Connections between hormonal contraceptives and skin health

In 1978, the New York Times reported on a ten-year study of nearly 18,000 patients, which found that women who took birth control for more than four years faced almost twice the risk of developing malignant melanoma.

A follow-up study out of the University of Oxford in 1981 showed that the risks weren’t significant in the short term. However, after five years of use, the increased relative risk climbed to nearly 60% (6).

A 1999 study demonstrated that premenopausal women who took hormonal birth control were nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to develop melanoma (7), while a 2018 French study showed that the increased risk for ten-year users was only 33%. (8)

While studies show mixed numbers, they all show a risk increase

Clearly, the results are mixed, and there’s a lot of debate in the scientific community about how significant birth control’s impact is on skin cancer. But, whether the increased risk is 33% or 350%, the studies seemed unified in signifying that a woman’s risk increases the longer she takes birth control.

Another recent health scare that made headlines may offer insight into how birth control could contribute to this increased risk. When scientists recently questioned whether some ingredients in sunscreen could actually be causing cancer, one of their concerns was that most brands contain parabens and phthalates, which, like hormonal birth control, are known endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are estrogenic chemicals that mimic natural hormones (in this case, estrogen) by binding to receptors within cells and thereby blocking the body’s natural estrogens from binding to these same cells.

In his enlightening book, Estrogeneration, Anthony G. Jay, Ph.D. explains how the UV light from the sun can fuse the disruptors to the estrogen receptors. Jay says, “If or when this chemical reaction occurs, the estrogen receptor would be stuck in the ‘on’ position. Biochemists call this a ‘constitutively active receptor.’”

Having this “light switch” stuck in the “on” position leads to longer-term damage, because the receptor switch is turned on for far longer than nature ever intended for our bodies. (9)

A Two-Pronged Attack

Given all this research, I’ve come to view the relationship between hormonal birth control and skin health much like a messy tenant in an apartment building—leaving the lights on for UV damage and piling up its dirty laundry in the form of overproduced Epidermal Growth Factor. This disorderly behavior disturbs two very important receptors in skin cells. Considering the spike in melanoma rates since the introduction of the Pill, it may be time to clean house.

 

References

  1. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer
  2. https://www.curemelanoma.org/about-melanoma/melanoma-statistics-2/
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  4. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/uoca-tsw030119.php
  5. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/color-problems/melasma
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2010646/pdf/brjcancer00442-0055.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374297/
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0398762018308538
  9. Estrogeneration, Anthony G. Jay (p. 32)

Economist: Birth control has devastating financial consequences for women, children

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Despite the popular belief that birth control is necessary to lift women out of poverty, the United States Census Bureau found that more, not fewer, children are being raised by single mothers — and single mothers are more likely to live in poverty.

From 1960 to 2016, the number of U.S. children living with two married parents dropped 19 percent — and the number of children living with just their mother tripled from nine percent to 23 percent of all children under the age of 18. This represents about 17 million children. Numbers from the Pew Research Center report that 27 percent of single mothers live in poverty. Even though there are five times more single mothers raising children than single fathers, single mothers are significantly more likely to be poor than single fathers are.

Living Arrangements of Children Under Age 18

 

In 2010, economist Timothy Reichert argued that contraception actually has devastating economic consequences for women and children. He suggested that “the contraceptive revolution has resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men,” because it “sets up what economists call a ‘prisoner’s-dilemma’ game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off.” Despite being a lose-lose situation for women, and the children that rely on them, he wrote that because of the “prisoner’s dilemma,” contraception would continue to be the law of the land “unless legal restrictions or social mores ‘tax’ men and ‘subsidize’ women and children.”

Contraception creates a Marriage Market and a Sex Market

Reichert argued that birth control separated what has historically been a mating market, inhabited by roughly equal numbers of men and women, into two separate markets. One market, called the sex market, includes men and women seeking sexual relationships without any plan for marriage or a permanent future together. The other market, called the marriage market, is inhabited by people seeking what its name suggests. This split of one mating market into sex and marriage markets becomes a problem when “imbalances exist in these markets (so) that the ‘price’ of either marriage or sex tilts in favor of one or the other gender.”

Reichert explained how at any given time, more men are likely to be in the sex market because they don’t have a “biological clock” necessitating that they move into the marriage market by any certain age. Women in the sex market tend to “have more bargaining power than men” for two reasons: relative scarcity and age. Firstly, they are typically in shorter supply in the sex market. Secondly, women in the sex market tend to be younger, as a typical woman will decide by her early 30s that she is interested in marriage and a family, and thus leave the sex market. Younger women tend to be interested in older men, and vice versa, whereas younger men are not equally likely to be interested in older women.

Using charts, graphs, and research from the social sciences to illustrate his point, Reichert contrasted the sex market with the marriage market. In the marriage market, women face significant challenges in finding marriageable men because there are fewer men in the market than women. Reichert isn’t the only one to have made this observation. Riffs on the topics “Why can’t I find a good man?” and “Why are good men hard to find?” abound online, backing up Reichert’s economic analysis with personal anecdotes. He went on to argue that women become more likely to settle for less in order to get married, and then end up getting divorced later on. A 2017 study by Stanford University found that in 2,500 divorce cases studied, women initiated 69% of them.

Reichert further argued that the creation of separate sex and marriage markets caused by contraception correlated with a higher “cost” of infidelity to women than men, higher rates of divorce (and women heading up single-parent households), a “need” for abortion, and even — surprisingly — a driving up of the cost of real estate.

The “Prisoner’s Dilemma”

Reichert considered contraception a “prisoner’s dilemma,” or a situation in which “all parties have a choice between cooperation and noncooperation, and where all parties would be better off if they choose cooperation. But because people in a prisoner’s dilemma setting cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all parties choose the best individual choice, which is noncooperation. The social result is disastrous, and everyone is made poorer.” He wrote that “women (and, by implication, children) would be better off had there been no separation of the mating market into separate sex and marriage markets,” because of the long-term negative consequences of the imbalance between the two markets on women, children, and society at large. But, they are nonetheless highly motivated to continue using contraception because of the short-term benefits to themselves.

An Overall Lose-Lose

Reichert’s consideration of contraception’s economic fallout adds to the growing sentiment that birth control is bad for women. It doesn’t dramatically reduce abortion rates and it isn’t necessary to prevent overpopulation. It does, however, have serious health implications and it does pit women against their preborn children. Quite frankly, women deserve better.

Abortion Has Killed an Entire Generation. America Can’t Survive if We’re Aborting Our Future

Cal Thomas

There are people in every generation who believe the generation following theirs is either going to the dogs or will ruin the country.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll lends credence to that way of thinking, especially where Generation Z/millennials (those born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s) and Generation X (those born in the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s) are concerned.

The poll of 1,000 adults earlier this month found that “younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children as less important to them than did young people two decades ago.”

The poll contrasts with a similar survey conducted by the Journal 21 years ago. When asked then which values were most important, respondents sounded like their parents and grandparents, saying “hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion and the goal of having children.”

Not only will these current findings likely impact next year’s election (most of those running for president with more than single-digit polling numbers are much older men and women and thus represent a generation gap), they could also have serious implications for the future of the country.

The Founders and subsequent generations — perhaps excepting the Gilded Age and the horrors of slavery — mostly believed in the virtues younger people either now reject or approach with indifference.

How can this be? What has happened between the World War II generation, which gave so much so their children and grandchildren might enjoy the blessings of liberty, and the current generation, which seems cool to what once seemed to matter most?

Generalizations are always problematic, but I have lived long enough and witnessed the general decline to make some.

Prosperity is one explanation. People who make more money than previous generations and possess a lot of stuff seem less inclined to participate in community (how many of us know our neighbors, who are here today and move tomorrow?). Stuff and the personal satisfaction of achievement lead to a decline in one’s need for God — too much money, too little purpose.

Politicians become a god-substitute and politics their religion. Creeping secularism has affected theological truth to the point where people can believe whatever they want — or nothing at all — and escape correction. Heresy, even apostasy, has infiltrated many churches.

Then there is culture. Younger people are exposed to what we collectively call “media” more than any previous generation. Most of what constitutes culture proceeds from a singular worldview that denigrates, or does not promote, patriotism, belief in God and values previous generations not only took for granted, but instilled in their children.

Unrestricted abortion has cheapened how many young people view the value of human life. For growing numbers of the young, marriage has become passe as children witness the pain of their parents’ divorce and decide that living together without a formal, legal, or spiritual commitment is better than risking the cost and pain of ending a marriage. For some, children are viewed as a financial burden and an intrusion on adult lifestyles.

Sociologists and historians will tell us these things are cyclical, like weather. That has been true in the past when spiritual revivals often followed a fallow period of faithlessness and a focus on self. I’m not sure that cycle will repeat with younger people, given what they are taught at public schools and in liberal universities.

The values that shaped and sustained America through economic downturns and wars had to be taught and instilled in the next generation. Today’s younger people, as reflected in the poll, seem intent on making their own rules (if they can be called rules) and creating their own gods.

They will eventually learn the impossibility of it all as their substitutions will fail them. The question is can America survive when our moral, spiritual, and patriotic foundations are destroyed? If you don’t love your country, what’s the point of having one?

LifeNews.com Note: With a twice-weekly column appearing in over 600 newspapers nationwide, Cal Thomas is the most widely read and one of the most highly regarded voices on the American political scene.

Planned Parenthood’s refusal of Title X funds reveals pipeline between birth control and abortion

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Contraceptive pill

(Pregnancy Help News) Despite their public statements to the contrary, Planned Parenthood did not turn down $60M in Title X federal funds because a new “gag rule” is against their freedom of speech (the new federal “Protect Life Rule” prohibits Title X recipients from referring for abortion).

Nor did Planned Parenthood turn down Title X because they are so committed to “women’s reproductive health” — however skewed it is to think that an abortion referral could ever be construed as “health care.”

Nor did Planned Parenthood turn down the money because it would be too onerous to separate their abortion services from their Title X funded services in geographical location and financial recordkeeping as the new federal rule requires (much smaller faith-based groups that receive federal dollars comply willingly with similar requirements that separate their tax-funded services from their faith-based ones).

Planned Parenthood’s refusal to accept the conditions of the Title X grant proves, without a doubt, how closely tied contraception is to abortion in their strategy.

A required service for Title X recipients is comprehensive family planning (not including abortion).  Planned Parenthood’s “cash cow” is abortion. How are the two connected?

The first time I became aware of the connection was years ago when I first heard Carol Everett’s story. She was the owner of several Texas abortion clinics before she became pro-life and authored Blood Money. The sooner she and her staff could get girls and women on the pill (they aimed for middle school), the sooner they would get pregnant (because of contraceptive failure rates), and the sooner Carol’s abortion clinics would provide abortion as the “back up.”

Carol’s business plan was based on their family planning clients having multiple abortions before graduating from high school.

Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director, now a pro-life advocate and author of Unplanned, tells a similar story.

As the clinic director, she thought she was helping women by providing contraceptives. But her Planned Parenthood bosses were really motivated by the “bottom line” — increasing income from abortions.

Bring them in for birth control, develop a relationship, sell them an abortion.  That was Abby’s assignment. 

After all, once a woman commits to the idea that the worst possible outcome of her sexual activity is a pregnancy, she is a prime candidate for abortion when her contraceptive fails.

Planned Parenthood’s “family planning” clinics (funded primarily by Title X) are the pipeline for their abortion clinics. If these family planning clinics don’t refer for abortions, might women whose contraception fails find another abortion provider?

Planned Parenthood has the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics, their annual abortion numbers continue to increase so that they now perform slightly more than half of all reported abortions in the USA [Live Action News Editor’s Note: According to Planned Parenthood’s annual reported abortions compared to the Guttmacher Institute’s latest abortion statistics, Planned Parenthood currently holds approximately 35-36% of the U.S. abortion market share.] But the overall number of abortions is decreasing, the “market” is getting smaller.  All a woman needs to do is google the word “abortion” to find lots of competition for Planned Parenthood.

 

Planned Parenthood is no doubt hoping that a scheduled Court hearing on September 23 will go in their favor, the new federal rule will be overturned, and things will be “back to normal.” If not, they are counting on a different President in 2021 so things will go “back to normal.”

Meanwhile, I can’t see Planned Parenthood ever cutting back their “family planning” services (even though they now whine that “women will have to travel further . . .”).  Birth control accompanied by abortion referral is too crucial to Planned Parenthood’s overall strategy.

Plus, Planned Parenthood can afford to provide low cost or “free” contraceptive services even if they never again receive Title X funds.

After all, $60M (the amount of Title X money they are refusing) is only about 12% of the $500M they receive each year in federal and state tax dollars for their services (not including abortions), much of it from Medicaid. For abortions, in addition to private pay, Planned Parenthood receives millions of state tax dollars in NY, CA, and some other states. (See GAO data in Heritage Foundation report, 2018.)  Planned Parenthood’s balance sheet also shows millions of dollars in assets.

No matter what happens with Title X, Planned Parenthood won’t abandon the contraceptive pipeline to their abortion engine.

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

The Changing Abortion Landscape

by

Planned Parenthood is having a terrible few weeks.

It began with the news that on the same day that the movie Unplanned was released on DVD, it shot up to become the #1 selling DVD on Amazon. Apparently, sales haven’t slowed down much since. Over a week later, Unplanned is still sitting right next to Avengers: Endgame on Amazon’s “Best Sellers” list. In case you don’t know (and you should!), Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic manager who became pro-life. The movie exposes both the truth about abortion (that it kills a living human being) and Planned Parenthood (that it never met an abortion it didn’t like). How inspiring to see this comparatively low budget pro-life film holding its own against blockbuster films that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make. As it turns out, the public doesn’t just want glitzy popcorn entertainment: they are hungry for films that tackle serious topics and promote the pro-life and pro-family worldview. Hollywood, take note.

Then, Planned Parenthood announced that due to new rules promulgated by the Trump administration, they would be foregoing $60 million in taxpayer funding. Under the new rules, clinics receiving Title X funding cannot refer for abortions. However, rather than abiding by this rule, Planned Parenthood announced they would withdraw from Title X altogether. ABC News reports that abortion clinics around the country, including Planned Parenthood clinics, are worried about being able to keep their doors open in the wake of the loss of funding. Good! Killing babies and authentic reproductive health have nothing to do with one another. Planned Parenthood’s PR machine went into overdrive in the wake of the decision, bombarding people with the notion that somehow this new rule will harm poor women, who won’t be able to get the care they need. Nonsense. In reality, there are myriad community health clinics all across the country that perform all the other services that Planned Parenthood does, except for killing babies. Many of them are woefully underfunded, in large part because Planned Parenthood’s well-oiled lobbying and marketing machine sucks up most of the money.

Then came perhaps the biggest blow of all, at least to Planned Parenthood’s public image: a jury in Arizona ordered Planned Parenthood to pay $3 million to a former clinic manager who had exposed all manner of malfeasance going on at Planned Parenthood clinics. Mayra Rodriguez had worked for the organization for 17 years and had run three different clinics. In other words, she knew what was going on behind the walls of Planned Parenthood. She was fired from her job after she raised concerns about the fact that an unusual number of women were experiencing complications after having abortions at the hands of one particular abortionist. She also complained that the doctor was falsifying medical records, that the clinic failed to report a case of statutory rape, and about poor procedures for handling narcotics, among other things. Rodriguez is now working with And Then There Were None, the pro-life organization founded by Abby Johnson to help abortion clinic workers to leave their jobs and to embrace the pro-life position.

Power to Change the Culture

In case it need be said, developments like these don’t just “happen.” Each one of them came about as the result of weeks, or even years of hard work and savvy strategizing on the part of various pro-life groups and individuals. Each one of them is a testament to the growing sophistication, commitment, investment and influence of the pro-life movement.

Planned Parenthood is not alone in having a rough time these days. The whole pro-abortion movement in the United States is on the defensive. I’ve noticed a significant change in tone in a lot of the pro-abortion rhetoric in the past couple of years. The pro-abortion movement has always claimed that reproductive rights are “under attack,” and that people need to donate to them in order to stop the “anti-choice” fanatics from undermining “women’s rights.” Lately, however, I’ve started to notice that this urgency, and even fear, no longer sounds like a fundraising strategy. Pro-abortion activists are legitimately worried that they’re losing.

Pro-life Generation, Walk for Life 2019, San Francisco

As well as they might. As one liberal publication put it recently: “For America, it seems, this is a year of reckoning on the issue of abortion.” The article continues, “In the past few months, a slew of states have passed restrictive abortion laws, with the explicit intent to have them challenged in front of the Supreme Court.” It also does the heart good to read the recent headline in the New York Times, “‘This Is a Wave’: Inside the Network of Anti-Abortion Activists Winning Across the Country.” The article itself begins, “State after state is passing sweeping abortion restrictions this year…”

But it’s not just the growing number of pro-life laws that are changing the landscape on this issue. These laws are coming about as the result of the experience and hard work of a growing body of shrewd pro-life lawyers, legislatively-focused organizations, and pro-life lawmakers. But even as these types of pro-life individuals and groups are grinding away at the often thankless and unseen work of paving the way for pro-life state and federal laws, a huge army of pro-life individuals are chipping away at the Culture of Death in their own ways, both big and little.

Looking at the modern pro-life movement makes me think of St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.” The glut of pro-life laws being put forward is inspiring. But there’s no way we’d be able to pass pro-life laws if it weren’t for the crack troops of the Culture of Life: the volunteers at the thousands of pregnancy help centers across the country providing love and concrete help to women in trouble; the thousands of prayerful protesters outside abortion clinics; the groups working on college campuses to change the minds of the next generation; the pro-life media organizations; the Knights of Columbus councils that fund pro-life initiatives; organizations committed to helping post-abortive women heal; organizations committed to helping abortion workers leave their jobs and repent; parish-level pro-life groups…and on and on.

Walk for Life 2019, San Francisco

Each one of these groups is necessary. And every one of these groups is constituted of individuals who felt God’s call to do something about the massacre of the innocents and responded. There is a need for some form of concrete pro-life witness or activism in every single one of our lives. For the busy stay-at-home mom, it might just be a matter of witnessing to her own children about the sanctity of life by the love she shows them, and the gratitude with which she welcomes new life. For the working father, it might just be a matter of budgeting a portion of his pay to go to the local pregnancy help center, or offering up a weekly holy hour for the end of abortion.

Or it might be more than that. It might be opening your heart to adopt an unwanted child, or to fostering some of the many children who our culture tells us are “unwanted” and probably better off aborted. It might be putting a roof over the head of a pregnant woman desperate for a place to stay while she figures out the next steps in her life. Or it might be starting that pro-life council at your parish, or taking a shot at launching that big pro-life idea that’s been on your heart for years.

What there’s no excuse for, is doing nothing. If you’re grateful about the visible pro-life progress that’s being made these days, don’t give in to the temptation to relax. This progress would never have been possible had it not been for the handful of dedicated pro-life pioneers in the early 1970s who courageously forged the way for us and without the small and unseen sacrifices of pro-life citizens like you. Rather than relaxing, renew your resolution to do more, providing further energy to this great push in favor of the sanctity of life.

Almost Half of Abortionists Say the Abortion Pill is Unsafe, 35% Admit It Has Injured Women

Randall O’Bannon Ph.D

When it comes to chemical abortions (“medication” abortions, in pro-abortion parlance), rhetoric and reality have increasingly been on a collision course.

Advocates have diligently argued that chemical abortions are so simple and safe that women can do them on their own (the rhetoric). But simultaneously many have also insisted that women “denied” access to abortion would be in danger if they tried to self-abort (the reality).

What do abortionists who have encountered such women in their clinics—as opposed to activists and academicians–say?

Safety concerns about chemical self-abortion stand out in a study published April 16, 2019 in the journal Contraception. It is titled “Abortion Providers’ experiences and views on self-managed medication abortion, an exploratory study” (abstract at www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(19)30143-X/pdf)

Between July and September of 2017, researchers from the University of Iowa did an online survey of the memberships of the Society of Family Planning, the Association of Reproductive Health Care Providers and the Abortion Care Network. They inquired about their experiences with and opinions of “self-managed abortion.”

Of the 650 respondents, just over half (359, or 55.1%) were abortionists. Results?

More than two thirds (230) of the abortionists reported having experience with women trying to abort on their own. More than three quarters (153) of those with such experience indicated those women were using mifepristone (RU-486) and/or misoprostol, the abortion drugs currently sold in the U.S., but legally available only through an abortionist who meets certain conditions laid down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). *

Women have been known to pick up misoprostol – which can be used alone to abort, though not as successfully – on the black market at places like border town flea markets [1] and have been able to order packets of foreign manufactured mifepristone and misoprostol from the internet [2].

Certain abortion researchers and advocacy groups (e.g., Aid Access, Women on Web [3] have been promoting the idea of self-managed abortion with pills bought over the internet. One, Gynuity, has been conducting trials in several states where abortion drugs can be mailed to women after an online consult [4]

In the University of Iowa survey, though, barely half (53.3%, or 171 of 321 abortionists**) said they thought the use of misoprostol/mifepristone for the self management of abortion was safe. That means that nearly half of those who did abortions were not satisfied that it was safe for women to use drugs to perform their own abortions.

More than a third (34.9% or 117 of 335 abortionists**) said they had witnessed complications from self-abortion. The most common complication was an incomplete abortion, but also reported were hemorrhage, sepsis (infection), and uterine rupture.

What the study tells us

Several results are very much worth noting.

One obvious thing is that “incomplete abortion” was mentioned so frequently as a complication in the study that failure is clearly a far bigger issue than advocates would have us believe. These results fly in the face of assurances by promoters that these drugs have proven to be “highly effective” (Aid Access at http://aidaccess.org/en/page/427/what-is-a-medical-abortion, accessed 4/25/19).

If official statistics from Danco, the U.S. distributor of mifepristone are accurate (claiming 93-98% effectiveness), this still means that perhaps one of every 20 patients may require surgery to either stop the bleeding or to complete the abortion. This would actually be a lot of cases for a drug we are told is used by hundreds of thousands of American women a year.

Promoters of the abortion pill have tried to soft-pedal complications

The University of California-San Francisco’s ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) compiled an August 2016 Issue Brief on the “Safety and effectiveness of first-trimester medication abortion in the United States.” The Issue Brief claimed that there are serious complications with mifepristone and misoprostol in less than 0.5% [one half of one percent] of patients.

Women on Web, major promoters of online-facilitated abortions, appear willing to concede a greater incidence of complications. They said that between 2-3% of women having a “medical” (chemical) abortion “have to go to a doctor, first aid center or hospital to receive further medical care” (www.womenonweb.org/en/page/485/in-collection/6907/how-do-you-know-if-you-have-complications-and-what-should-you-do , accessed 4/24/19 ).

These admissions seem at odds with the experiences of abortionists who participated in the University of Iowa survey.

From the figures given, we don’t know the percentage of self- aborting patients that had problems. But we do know that they were frequent enough that at least a third of the abortionists in the survey encountered them–and that some were quite serious, serious enough that almost half the abortionists were unwilling to tell researchers they considered it safe.

“Adverse events”

The latest FDA postmarketing report on mifepristone (www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/UCM603000.pdf) indicates that, since approval in 2000, there have been over four thousand cases where there has been a reported a significant “adverse event.”

The FDA reported that 24 patients are known to have died in the U.S. during that time, at least a third from rare bacterial infections. (Some of the 11 mifepristone patients who died in other countries also died of these infections.)

The over 4,000 figure includes over a thousand hospitalizations, more than 500 patients requiring transfusions, and more than 400 “severe infections.”

No matter how many thousands managed to endure the drugs’ grueling, painful process without any obvious immediate or enduring damage, if such a number of women have died or faced serious complications, it is a clear indication that the drugs are potentially quite dangerous.

And note this: most of these deaths and complications are associated with standard clinical use of the drugs, before studies of mail order abortions were launched and before webcam abortions became available in very many states. And there is nothing about the webcam or mail order abortions that would make complications like incomplete abortion, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or deadly infections any less likely. It just might make medically qualified, timely help less likely–something that would concern any good doctor.

Abortionists at odd with Activists and Academicians

Perhaps the most significant finding in the University of Iowa study is that many of the rank-and-file abortionists do not appear to be on the same page as the academics and advocates who are pushing hard for at-home chemical abortions.

Those advocates are doing their own studies. They then tell the public that women can order these abortifacient drugs on line or pick them up at their local pharmacy and “manage” their abortions themselves with little or no supervision.

Daniel Grossman, popular abortion researcher, chemical abortion “expert,” and advocate, raved about self-abortion in an interview with National Public Radio [3/11/15]: “It would really be quite easy for women to actually use this [mifepristone/misoprostol] on their own…. It could almost be eligible for the kind of medication that could be available over the counter.”

In February of 2013, Grossman told Contraception that “Women can use misoprostol on their own and with accurate information; they do not necessarily need a health care provider to use it safely and effectively.”

He told CNN on November 5, 2018 that “When it comes to self-managing abortion, research shows that when people have accurate information and high-quality medication, they can use the abortion pill safely and effectively on their own.” (Emphasis added.)

Beverly Winikoff, of Gynuity, is currently in the middle of the “TelAbortion Study” using telemedicine (webcams) to counsel and screen patients and then mailing them the mifepristone and misoprostol to use at home. Winikoff claims that there had been no problems with the 200 women who had enrolled in the study as of November of 2018. (CNN, 11/18/18.)

Women, she said, were satisfied. “The results are equivalent to what’s happening in the clinics.”

The World Health Organization said “There is no evidence that home-based medical abortion is less effective, safe or acceptable than clinic-based medical abortion” (Vox 10/22/18).

Yet nearly half of the abortionists who answered the University of Iowa survey seem to think otherwise. Many of those who deal with aborting women at their clinics on a regular basis, who have practical, clinical experience versus the detachment of a university researcher or an activist, won’t call it safe. They don’t seem willing to consider self-managed abortion a good idea.

Winikoff and her Gynuity pals are likely to come out soon with a study of their own, claiming to have proven that mail order abortion drugs taken at home after an online consult are “safe” and “effective,” along with an assurance that women found them “satisfactory.” When they do, remember this University of Iowa study and the abortionists with the real life experience that led them to a far different conclusion.

*The FDA approved mifepristone, used in conjunction with misoprostol, for abortion in September of 2000. However it has limited its distribution to “certified healthcare providers” who 1) have the ability to date pregnancy accurately & diagnose ectopic pregnancy; who 2) provide (or have made arrangements for) surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding ; and who 3) indicate they have read and understood the prescribing information (which contains warnings about possible “serious and sometimes fatal infections or bleeding”).

** We did not have full numerical tables when it came time to post. But apparently different numbers of abortionists responded to different survey questions.

[1] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2013/07/off-label-abortion-pills-being-sold-at-flea-markets

[2] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2014/09/the-abortion-pill-known-as-ru-486-by-any-other-name-just-as-deadly.

[3] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2019/03/fda-sends-warning-letters-to-two-entities-selling-mislabeled-and-unapproved-abortion-drugs-over-the-internet

[4] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2016/11/the-next-step-abortion-by-overnight-mail

LifeNews.com Note: Randall O’Bannon, Ph.D., is the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee. This column originally appeared at NRL News Today.

 

Unborn Baby Saved Through Extraordinary In Utero Blood Transfusion

Steven Ertelt

A remarkable, cutting age medical intervention has given joy to a family and life to their baby boy who was threatened by a rare illness in the womb.

Baby Edward, also known as Teddy, developed anaemia whilst inside the womb. In response, Doctor Amarnath Bhide, used an ultrasound sensor to insert a needle through the uterus and into the umbilical cord which injected Teddy with donated blood.

Teddy received five blood transfusions before he was born, these were some of the earliest in-utero interventions to ever be performed.

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications, Michael Robinson, described the interventions as “extraordinary.”

Saving life through in-utero surgery

Whilst the life-saving intervention performed on unborn baby, Teddy, is indeed ‘extraordinary,’ the option of in utero surgery, which can save and improve the life expectancy of unborn children, is becoming a far more positive prospect.

Currently, in utero surgery, can treat a number of foetal health conditions including Spina Bifida, foetal tumours, Cerebral Palsy, foetal cardiac conditions and Hyperthyroidism.

In May of this year, the UK witnessed the astonishing account of doctors who performed key-hole surgery on an unborn baby with Spina Bifida, which was the first operation of its kind in the United Kingdom. Unborn baby, Jaxon, received the operation at just 27 weeks gestation, and as a result had the ability to move his legs after being born six weeks later.

Similarly, unborn child, Ethan Leibbrandt, underwent in utero surgery to remove the benign tumour which consumed 50% of his lung space. The in utero surgery was successful and life saving as without it, Ethan would have died of cardiac failure.

Human beings worth protecting

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications, Michael Robinson, said: “The early interventions that can now be used to treat and save unborn children are truly astonishing. The story of Edward once again proves that science is on the side of the pro-life movement. Indeed, scientific developments and new technology is now instilling a sense of awe that society never really had before, about the beauty and dignity of every unborn child.”

Mr Robinson continued: “This case illustrates the terrible irony that medical teams spend enormous effort, time, and money to deliver babies safely and nurse premature infants back to health. Yet, in the UK we routinely and deliberately end the lives of 600 babies a day. Whilst pro-abortion campaigners insistently refer to unborn children as ‘blobs of cells’ or ‘parasites’, the use of in utero surgery, highlights that unborn children are human and worth saving and protecting.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom. File photo.

Melinda Gates Is Wrong: Birth Control Isn’t Poverty Control

Mary FioRito

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/melinda-gates-is-wrong-birth-control-isnt-poverty-control

There is a very funny scene in the 1980 film Airplane! that speaks to the current assumptions about what the West thinks is best for developing nations.

The movie features a young couple, Ted and Ellen, who visit the fictitious “Malombo” tribe in Africa as Peace Corps volunteers.

Instead of focusing on practical solutions that might best help the tribe to which they are assigned, the couple spends time introducing Western solutions that, while well-meaning, completely overlook the real needs of the people. For example, Ellen hosts a Tupperware party for the women of the village to help them “stretch” their food dollars and to “keep hot dog buns fresh for up to a month.”

The cognitive dissonance in the scene is, of course, part of the humor, but it also draws a bead on the mixture of ignorance and arrogance that has defined much of what passes as Western “aid” to developing countries.

Like this idealistic young couple in Airplane! Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, seems to have her heart in the right place. She has a love for the poor and a genuine desire to relieve the suffering of others. She understands the influence that her position in society brings.

Unfortunately, Gates’ primary solution to the problems plaguing African and other developing countries is no better (and often a great deal worse) than Tupperware: Gates is strident in promoting widespread use of artificial contraceptives, as she argues in her new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

Gates’ argument for contraception is experienced-based. She holds that contraception is the primary path for women to freedom and equality and cites her own success as a career woman “to work and have the time to take care of each” of her and Bill Gates’ three children, who are precisely spaced three years apart.

Moreover, she says that when it comes to contraception, “no woman I knew went without it.” If Western women are healthy, educated and powerful — a packet of adjectives she comes back to frequently — Gates reasons that such benefits are a result of unlimited access to contraception.

But Gates is a puzzle. She is passionate about contraception and yet she also professes to have a great love for her Catholic faith.

As she relates, she received a Catholic education through high school, attending the prestigious Ursuline Academy — a Catholic boarding school in Dallas — before attending Duke University. She also takes pride in noting that her parents attended a Marriage Encounter retreat (at her father’s insistence) and her mother not only “believes in the Church” but also “goes to Mass five times a week … reads, goes to silent retreats and explores spiritual ideas with passion.” Nevertheless, despite the great influence that she says the Church has had in her life, Gates has apparently never encountered a woman who in her married life has followed Church teaching on contraception.

It is telling that The Moment of Lift includes no references to the tremendous advances in non-contraceptive (and Church-approved) methods of achieving and avoiding pregnancy.

For instance, one wonders what Gates would make of technology like the natural fertility app developed by a Swedish nuclear physicist, or how she might consider the potential benefits to the poor provided by “CycleBeads,” a reproductive physiology-based method promoted by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. CycleBeads is well-known as a simple, low-cost, easy-to-teach and natural family planning method that has greatly benefited women in developing nations. The method — which relies on the woman’s natural fertility cycle — does not require women to walk miles and miles every few months to receive contraceptive “shots” or have their IUDs adjusted.

It is equally telling that, in a later chapter, Gates describes natural family planning in general as “the rhythm method,” even though neither teachers nor practitioners in the fertility-awareness-based field have used that term for more than 40 years.

Such misnomers, though, may not indicate Gates’ animus toward fertility-based-awareness methods, so much as her ignorance of such methods — either in how they work or how they can benefit women. Indeed, this can only be the case if she has surrounded herself, intentionally or otherwise, with peers who have only known and used artificial contraception.

Indeed, we might assume that Gates’ ignorance regarding fertility awareness extends even to the Church’s teaching on such matters. But her own words indicate rather a truculence to such teaching.

In her book, Gates points out that it is “hugely reassuring” to her “that a huge majority of Catholic women use contraceptives.” She also claims to have met with “high-ranking officials of the Church” to discuss her disagreements with the Church’s teaching on family-planning methods — although she doesn’t name the officials nor the topics covered. Instead, she simply notes that the Church officials shared “similar concerns” about the plight of the poor.

Gates does provide some horrifying stories about the ravages of poverty and its particular impact on women and girls. These stories include personal anecdotes and experiences shared with her by those who serve the poor in countries in Africa and Asia.

For example, she relates how young girls can be married off as early as age 11. She also points out the prevalence of female genital mutilation and sexual trafficking. In one poignant passage, Gates reports on children as young as 5 “baby-sitting” for tiny infants so that their mothers could go out and scrape together enough food for the day. She also tells about children looking through garbage dumps for food, children dying from diarrhea, mothers dying in childbirth and newborns dying because they don’t receive even basic postpartum care.

Likewise, Gates’ book is valuable for expressing concern — and outrage — at the substandard hospitals the poor must rely on and at the lack of educational opportunities for women. In her book, she also helps raise awareness about the need in these countries for neonatal care, preschool programs, healthy food initiatives and microloans to small family businesses.

However, as Nigerian-born pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha points out in her “