News & Commentary

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

To date, the report documents nearly 4,200 reported adverse effects, including hospitalization and other serious complications.

On April 11, 2019, the FDA approved GenBioPro, Inc.’s abbreviated new drug application for a generic Mifeprex, which, when used with Misoprostol is approved as an abortion pill regimen. The FDA states (emphasis added), “This approval reflects FDA’s determination that GenBioPro’s product, Mifepristone Tablets, 200 mg, is therapeutically equivalent to Mifeprex and can be safely substituted for Mifeprex. Like Mifeprex, the approved generic product is indicated for the medical termination of intrauterine pregnancy through 70 days gestation….”

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

Image: Generic abortion pill by GenBioPro approved by FDA

Generic abortion pill by GenBioPro approved by FDA

The FDA also states clearly that although they modified the Mifeprex application to include “mifepristone products,” this change in no way removes the FDA’s REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), “a safety strategy to manage a known or potential serious risk associated with a medicine and to enable patients to have continued access to such medicines by managing their safe use.”

Of note, on April 11, 2019, FDA approved a supplemental application for Mifeprex, approving modifications to the existing approved REMS for Mifeprex to establish a single, shared system REMS for mifepristone products (including Mifeprex as well as the approved generic version of Mifeprex) for the medical termination of intrauterine pregnancy through 70 days gestation. In establishing the single, shared system REMS, no changes were made to the substantive elements of the REMS. This single, shared system REMS is known as the Mifepristone REMS Program.

Find approval information for this 2019 supplement here.

The approved generic version of Mifeprex generally has the same labeling as Mifeprex…Under the law, the approved generic version of Mifeprex is required to use a single, shared system REMS with the brand product, Mifeprex. This single, shared system REMS, known as the Mifepristone REMS Program, sets forth the distribution requirements that must be followed for both Mifeprex and the approved generic version of Mifeprex.

Requiring that the generic be subject to FDA’s REMS is good news for now, because, as Live Action News has previously reported, the abortion lobby is attempting to expand access to the abortion pills via mail order or pharmacy by pushing “self-managed abortion,” described by Guttmacher as ending a pregnancy “without direct supervision by a health care provider.” To accomplish this, REMS, must be eliminated.

READ: What you should know about the dangerous ‘self-managed’ abortion pill push

Dr. Donna Harrison, Executive Director American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists(AAPLOG), agreed, telling Live Action News (emphasis added):

Allowing a generic equivalent of Mifeprex basically means that the patent restrictions have run out. So, new drugs have a patent which is time limited… and in the case of Mifeprex, the patent was held by the Population Council. So, now that the patent has run out, generics are allowed. But this does not change the restrictions. REMS are still in place until FDA changes the restrictions. So, just to clarify, this does not mean that Mifeprex is OTC [over-the-counter]. It just changes how much quality control goes in to the pill manufacturing process and how much Danco can charge for the drug.

The move towards a generic drug is being hailed a victory by abortion advocates, specifically Dr. Daniel Grossman, who has deep ties to the “self-managed” abortion pill push.

Image: FDA Approves generic abortion drug (Image Twitter Dr. Daniel Grossman)

FDA Approves generic abortion drug (Image Twitter Dr. Daniel Grossman)

Image: FDA Approves generic abortion drug NWHC (Image: Twitter)

FDA Approves generic abortion drug NWHC (Image: Twitter)

Under the Mifepristone REMS Program, the FDA states, “Mifeprex and the approved generic version of Mifeprex” may:

  • [O]nly be supplied directly to healthcare providers who are certified to prescribe the drug product and who meet certain qualifications.
  • [T]he products are only available to be dispensed in certain healthcare settings, specifically, clinics, medical offices and hospitals, by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber.
  • They are not available in retail pharmacies and are not legally available over the Internet.

The original drug (Mifeprex) was approved in 2000 after being brought to the U.S. by the eugenics-founded Population Council, and was seeded by the Packard Foundation among other pro-abortion philanthropy groups. They then set up a highly secretive company named Danco to manufacturer the drug.

The generic version is produced by GenBioPro, Inc., which also appears to have the financial supportof abortion collaborators. In fact, Packard gave GenBioPro, Inc. $185,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. According to the Nevada Secretary of State, a 2007 filing for the company was permanently revoked. A new filing in 2011 is active and shows a registered agent of CSC Services of Nevada, Inc.and the only officer listed is E. Masingill.

The FDA warns consumers they should not buy Mifeprex or GenBioPro, Inc.’s approved generic version of Mifeprex, Mifepristone Tablets, 200 mg., over the Internet because they will bypass important safeguards designed to protect patient health.

Artist creates sonogram art to express ‘beauty of life’ in the womb

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Artist Caitlin Solan calls herself “passionately pro-life” and expresses that love for life through colorful paintings which capture the lives of her littlest clients during their time living inside their mothers’ wombs.

“I started creating sonogram art about 3 1/2 years ago,” she told Live Action News. “I wanted to use my art talent to glorify God and make a positive difference. I have always felt strongly about fighting for life and being a part of the pro-life movement.”

 

Solan explained that she uses bright, bold colors and “expressive” brushstrokes along with splatter art to portray the beauty of life inside the womb. She enjoys turning what is normally a black and white image into a colorful work of art.

“My goal is to show that these babies are alive and their lives are beautiful,” she said. “My sonogram paintings are one way that I fight for life in a positive way, without bringing attention to any negative aspects of the debate, but just focusing on the beauty of life.”

 

 

Solan is thankful that she is able to create art that is meaningful and personal to her clients. Sonograms are parents’ first pictures of their child, and sometimes, sadly, it’s the only one they get. Solan has created paintings of babies who have been miscarried, as well as rainbow babies, and even one baby who was aborted. The mother had been pressured to abort and deeply regretted it, so a friend gifted her with the painting.

“I hope my paintings of lost babies bring comfort to the families and that the artwork will be a positive remembrance of their child,” Solan explained.

Sonogram artwork has become a popular way to display the first image of a child, rather than the usual placement of the black and white image in a simple frame. Some new parents coordinate the artwork to the nursery they lovingly decorate for their new arrival or use it as a way of announcing their pregnancy. Friends and family can even gift the artwork as a baby shower present. Some moms have even taken to having their children’s sonogram images painted on their fingernails.

How top Catholic leaders betrayed parents and children by promoting sex ed

April 15, 2019 (Calx Mariae) — Sacred Scripture has a great deal to say about education, which starts within the relationship between parent and child, and, in order to be purposeful and true, must also begin with knowledge and fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7–8, Deut. 11:19, 32:46, Eph. 6:4). This principle of the parent as “primary educator”, who has both the God-given role and responsibility to teach a child “in the way he should go” (Prov. 22.6), has consequently been an established and consistent tenet of authentic Catholic teaching. It is the father and mother, through their participation in God’s work of creation, who have conferred life on their children and have the closest natural relationship with them.

The Church affirms that this God-given parental right and duty is, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others”.They have the “right to educate their children in conformity with their religious and moral convictions” and “should also receive from society the necessary aid and assistance to perform their educational role properly”.This is even more so the case with “Relationships and Sex Education” (RSE), as the government now refers to this most intimate area of our children’s learning and development, especially given the potential influence of such learning not only on children’s health, well-being, purpose, and fulfilment in this life, but their vocation in the Spirit and eternal salvation in the next life.Consequently, Pope John Paul II insisted that “sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe.”4 In The truth and meaning of human sexuality, the Pontifical Council for the Family explained: “Other educators can assist in this task [of education for chastity] but they can only take the place of parents for serious reasons of physical or moral incapacity.” (Section 23)

A SHIFT IN THE CHURCH’S POSITION?

Catholic parents worldwide therefore have been severely challenged by the march of the comprehensive sex education agenda, and, in many countries, the growing imposition, if not virtual takeover, by the state in this sacred area of parental responsibility. Equally disconcerting has been the more than just apparent shift of the Holy See in this important area during the pontificate of Pope Francis. His controversial post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia (2016) overlooks the Church’s previously clear teaching on the matter in its section entitled “Yes to Sex Education” (translated in the English version as “The Need for Sex Education”) (Ch.7). This section does not make any reference to the role of parents in educating their children in the area of sexuality, but only refers instead to the role of “educational institutions”. Pope Francis reaffirmed his position in a recent interview on the plane returning from World Youth Day in Panama (28 January 2019). He stated:

I believe that we must provide sex education in schools. […] But we need to offer an objective sexual education, as it is, without ideological colonization. […] Sex as a gift from God must be taught, not with rigidity. […] I don’t say this without putting myself in the political problem of Panama. But they need to have sex education. The ideal is to start from home, with the parents. It is not always possible because there are so many different situations in families, and because they do not know how to do it. And so the school makes up for this, because otherwise it will remain a void that will then be filled by any ideology.5

The Pontifical Council for the Family also no longer abides by the Church’s perennial teaching. After the promulgation of Amoris laetitia, it published its own sex education programme, titled “The Meeting Point,” in 2016. This programme, which is intended to be taught in schools, in mixed classrooms, and not by parents, has been widely criticised by Catholic and pro-life commentators for its failure to adequately convey Catholic moral teachings, for its secularising approach, and use of inappropriate images. Psychiatrist Rick Fitzgibbons MD, who has worked extensively with Catholic youth harmed psychologically by family breakdown, sexual abuse, pornography, and other consequences of the permissive society, has described the programme as being, “in my professional opinion, the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years”; it “reveals an ignorance of the enormous sexual pressure upon youth today and will result in their subsequent confusion in accepting the Church’s teaching”.6

THE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES, AND THE CES

The Bishops of England and Wales, via the Catholic Education Service (CES), have been even more advanced in this agenda. From 1999 until 2008 the Chairman of the CES was Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham (now Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster). Under the chairmanship of Archbishop Nichols the CES developed a policy that resulted in providing children in Catholic schools, including adolescents under the legal age of consent, with access to abortion and contraception services without parental knowledge or consent, through a state-run confidential advice agency, named “Connexions”.

Also under his chairmanship the CES joined the Sex Education Forum and agreed to policies directly contrary to Catholic teaching and the natural law. Membership of the forum required agreement with the Sex and Relationships Education Framework (2003, reissued 2005), which, for instance, “welcomes” the “diversity of society” in the area of “sexuality”, regards sex education as “an entitlement for all boys as well as girls; those who are heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual”, and requires that children should be given “relevant information” which “is accurate and non-judgmental” about “the potential consequences of unprotected sex” including “abortion”.

In April 2010 the CES, now under the chairmanship of Malcolm McMahon (then Bishop of Nottingham, now Archbishop of Liverpool), appointed as deputy director, Greg Pope, a former Labour member of Parliament, who had an extensive anti-life, anti-family voting record. Pope remained in that post until his promotion, in 2017, to be the Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

BETRAYAL OF CATHOLIC PARENTS IN ENGLAND

For Catholic parents in England recent developments are bringing the threatened state takeover of their God-given role to a critical new reality, and the conduct of the Catholic Education Service, which should be at the vanguard of protecting their rights, as well as the God-given rights of all parents, has instead been, in certain specific ways, complicit in their betrayal.

In March 2017, Parliament passed the government’s Children and Social Work Act (2017) which made the new subjects of Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools in England, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all secondary schools in England, including faith and independent schools. It was announced that the required content of these new subjects would be subject to public consultation, although from the outset government spokespersons, including the Prime Minister, stated that Relationships Education would be “LGBT” inclusive.7The government stated that parents would be able to withdraw their children only from the “sex education” parts of RSE at secondary school.

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, chair of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, issued a statement welcoming the government’s announcement that it was acting to change the law:

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) forms part of the mission of Catholic schools to educate the whole person. Our schools have a long track record of educating young people who are prepared for adult life as informed and engaged members of society, and high quality RSE plays an important part of this.

We welcome the government’s commitment to improving Relationship and Sex Education in all schools. Catholic schools already teach age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education in both primary and secondary schools. This is supported by a Catholic model RSE curriculum which covers the RSE curriculum from nursery all the way through to sixth form.

We additionally welcome the government’s commitment to protect parental right of withdrawal and involve parents in all stages of the development and delivery of RSE in all schools. It is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach to these sensitive matters. The experience of Catholic schools is that parental involvement is the basis for providing consistent and high quality RSE at home and at school.

We look forward to working closely with the government to shape any new guidance to enable Catholic schools to continue to deliver outstanding RSE, in accordance with parents’ wishes and Church teaching.

Despite the apparently strong statements with regard to parental involvement, it is telling how much the statement conforms, not to established Catholic teaching on the matter, but to the new secular “orthodoxy” and government policy regarding this area of a child’s learning. It is now the “mission” of the school to “educate the whole person” — rather than this principally being the parents’ mission and responsibility. The parent is simply granted an “involvement” in the process, because “it is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach”. There is no reference to the fact that the “right of withdrawal” at this time was only for the “Sex Education” parts of RSE, and, in any case, the government’s actual distinction between “sex” and “relationships” education is still very much unclear. There are echoes of all the key buzzwords of the sex education lobby in the statement — the changes are all about “improvement” and providing “high quality RSE” (by whose criteria?), which is essential to prepare them “for adult life as informed and engaged members of society”, or as the Department for Education puts it, “to support all young people to stay safe and prepare for life in modern Britain”.After all, who wouldn’t want our children to be “safe” and “prepared for life in “modern Britain”? Except do we serve them best by preparing them to either counter or conform to those aspects of “life in modern Britain” which are opposed to the Gospel? What will keep them the safest: following the true teachings of the Church in the area of sex and relationships, or following instead the new secular moral code of the LGBT and sex education lobbies?

Leaving aside for a moment the assumption that all Catholic schools in England and Wales offer genuine “Catholic teaching” in every respect, what about the 90 per cent of children, including many Catholic children, who do not attend a Catholic school? Should we be concerned at all for their temporal and eternal welfare? Does the Church not have any kind of mission to evangelise the nation, to shine the light of God’s truth into every corner of public policy?

There is a submissive ghetto mentality here reminiscent of the bishops’ role in the issue over adoption by homosexual couples. The bishops of England and Wales appeared to take the line that, of course we accept that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt because that was in the Labour government’s manifesto, but we are just requesting a “bit of diversity in the system”, and requesting an opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies when it comes to same sex adoption — even though Archbishop Nichols admitted that Catholic adoption agencies had been giving up children for adoption by single (but active?) homosexuals and also by unmarried but cohabiting heterosexual couples. Moreover, the bishops had no objections to allowing Catholic adoption agencies to refer homosexual applicants to agencies that would place children with homosexual couples.9

Naturally in both practising and freely admitting this highly compromised position there was no witness whatsoever as to why deliberately denying an adopted child the natural situation of having a father and mother was wrong, or why the homosexual lifestyle was wrong. The government regarded such a weak, compromised, and contradictory stance with absolute contempt, brushing it aside and insisting it would be done regardless. All but one of the twelve diocesan adoption agencies either voluntarily closed themselves down or cut their ties with the Church — exactly what the enemies of the Church wanted in the first place.10 This should also perhaps serve as a forewarning to us of what will happen to Catholic schools when the government wants to drive the LGBT juggernaut over a red line that is too far even for the Bishops of England and Wales.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR CHURCH ACTION

The government announced a public “Call for Evidence” in December 2017, which closed in February 2018, concerning what should be the content of the new compulsory subjects. Seeing as this was a public consultation, where numbers clearly matter, one would have thought it might have been a good idea to encourage Catholics, especially Catholic parents, to participate and make submissions? The message from the CES, however, seemed to be that we can just trust and leave everything to them, that everything is and will be fine with Catholic schools, and that everything the government is doing with regard to RSE is positive and can be perfectly compatible with the Church’s teaching. A number of pro-life and pro-family organisations, including SPUC, did, however, campaign hard to rally parents and their supporters to respond to the “Call for Evidence”. This helped contribute to an impressive 23,000 submissions. The government’s reporting on the results of that consultation, however, has been highly inadequate, and what it had produced showed no evidence whatsoever for any claims of consensus, especially from parents, for the agenda it is pursuing.

In July 2018 the government issued its Draft Guidance and Regulations regarding the proposed content and delivery of the new subjects, and simultaneously launched a second public consultation on their acceptability. There was some evidence of the positive impact of campaigning by the pro-life and pro-family lobby. There was an acknowledgement that parents are the primary educators in certain of the matters covered by the new subjects, and that it would be mandatory for schools to consult with parents on RSE policies and programmes. However, where do the parents stand when, following the consultation, they are still unhappy about what the school proposes to teach? Overall the Draft Regulations and Guidance seriously undermine parental rights, and also present a completely one-sided view of human sexuality, marriage, and the family which is contrary to what the Catholic faith teaches.

The children’s programme of study is required to be “LGBT inclusive” throughout and present homosexual relationships and family structures in a positive manner. In primary school, children must be made to understand and accept that families “sometimes” look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are characterised by “love and care for them”; also that marriage, including same-sex “marriage” and civil partnerships, represents “a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong”.11 In other words, primary school children will have to demonstrate “respect” for the idea and practice of homosexual relationships and not just for the people involved in them, and will be expected to agree that such relationships, including when they have children, are just as valid, positive and beneficial as those based on real marriage.

In RSE at secondary school teenagers will be further encouraged to “explore” their developing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. It presents dangerous and immoral lifestyle choices as equally valid as marriage. Abortion is presented simply as one of the available options during pregnancy and pupils will be signposted to contraceptive and abortion services, without any parental knowledge or consent.

The right of parents to withdraw their children from the “sex education” parts of RSE, which the government had promised to retain, has now been removed and replaced only by a “right to request” withdrawal, with the final decision going to the headteacher. Even this much compromised parental right is withdrawn altogether when the children reaches 15, when they will be allowed to overrule their parents’, as well as their headteachers’, wishes if they choose, as they are being given the right to have sex education provided to them by the school. Moreover, it is a statutory requirement for schools “to have regard” to the final published Guidance when delivering the new subjects, which means they have to deliver the required content unless they have a “good reason” not to. The experience of a number of independent faith schools, particularly independent and Orthodox Jewish schools, who have been failed or severely penalised by OFSTED (England’s schools inspection agency)12 for not teaching LGBT issues in a satisfactory way, shows that the fact that LGBT ideology is against the tenets of the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic faith is not considered a good enough reason.

CES CONTINUES TO BACK THE GOVERNMENT OVER RSE

The CES were one of the favoured selected groups listed who had been involved in the deep consultation process with the Department for Education, though that is not to say that they necessarily agreed with all of the resultant Draft Guidance. However, their public statements so far have expressed only support for the government’s plans.

Following the publication of the Draft Regulations and Guidance in July 2018 the CES issued another press release again stating that the Catholic Church “welcomes” the government’s moves to “improve” Relationships and Sex Education, as well as how “the government had used the Catholic model curriculum as examples of best practice”. It also “welcomes” how “the recommendations are clear that the right for parents right of withdrawal [sic] will be maintained”, even though the Draft Regulations only allow parents the right to request withdrawal, with a right to refuse being given to the headteacher. It also welcomed that “schools with a religious character” will be able to deliver RSE “within the tenants [sic] of their own faith”.13However, the Children and Social Work Act (section 34:3(b)), as well as the Draft Regulations, only stipulate that “the education is appropriate having regard to the age and the religious background of the pupils”, which is open to interpretation and a much weaker requirement than such teaching needing to be in line with the “tenets” of a particular faith. A school may “have regard” for the fact that a pupil comes from a Catholic family, but still deem it necessary to teach the pupil things that do not conform to the tenets of the Catholic faith. The Draft Guidance uses similarly vague language and also adds that “schools must ensure they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act (2010)”. OFSTED inspections have interpreted that to mean a school must clearly teach about active homosexuality and transgenderism in a positive light, so that children who may identify themselves by one of the “protected characteristics” do not feel marginalised or discriminated against, and that children are adequately prepared for “life in modern Britain”. For instance, in May 2017 Vishnitz Girls School, an Orthodox Jewish primary school, failed its third OFSTED inspection in a year specifically because the school acknowledged that it did not teach its young children (aged 3–11) about homosexuality and transgenderism. The original report stated that “the school’s approach means that pupils are shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. […] They acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics [of the Equality Act 2010], particularly those relating to gender re-assignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”14

Christian schools have also been targeted by OFSTED. Pupils at Grindon Hall Christian School and Durham Free School faced intrusive questioning on transsexualism, homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” by OFSTED inspectors, who then claimed that they found evidence of “homophobic behaviour” in both schools — a claim rejected by staff, pupils, and parents. Despite the outcry, The Durham Free School was closed down in April 2015 and Grindon Hall — one of the best performing schools in the North East — was rated “inadequate”, and was forced by the Department for Education to be taken over by a secular trust.15

A further public consultation (July–Nov 2018) was announced regarding the Draft Regulations and Guidance for the new subjects. However, rather than initiating a campaign to encourage Catholics, and others who attend Catholic schools, to participate in this consultation, so that protections for parents could be genuinely safeguarded, the CES had already embarked on a mini-PR campaign in support of government policy, with an article which appeared on the CES website and the Catholic press informing us that the government’s proposals were only to be welcomed, that there was nothing to worry about, that Catholic schools already do a fantastic job teaching RSE (in line with the Church’s teaching), and, falsely, that the government is committed both to allowing faith schools flexibility to teach according to the tenets of their faith, and protecting the parents’ right of withdrawal.16

Given the content of the government’s Draft RSE Guidance it is very hard to conceive of how a Catholic school can deliver the subjects in a way which “has regard to the Statutory Guidance” whilst still in conformity with the tenets of the Catholic faith. The CES’s current “model policy for RSE”, which the CES boasts has been praised by the Department for Education, features an uncomfortable mix of Catholic teaching with elements of the statutory SRE Guidance (2000) and contemporary secular sex education programmes shoehorned into it. So at Key Stage 1 (ages 5–7) children are to be taught to “identify and correctly name their ‘private parts’”; and at KS 2 (ages 7–11) they are taught “that similarities and differences between people arise from several different factors (see protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, part 2, ch. 1, sections 4-12)”. In other words, they are taught about “sexual orientation” and “gender reassignment” (LGBT issues).17

The ambiguity of elements of the policy at the very least allow scope for teaching which is not in accordance with the faith. For example, the RSE secondary school policy stipulates teaching children about “recognising and valuing their own sexual identity and that of others”, or to “ensure RSE is sensitive to the different needs of individual pupils in respect to […] their own sexual orientation”.18 This is especially the case when we have had the scandal of homosexual lobby-group Stonewall being invited into Catholic schools and colleges to train teachers on how to deal with “homophobic bullying”.19

Although the model RSE policy stresses that “teachers will be expected to teach RSE in accordance with the Catholic Ethos of the school”,20 and the CES proclaims its confidence that authentic Catholic RSE is and will continue to be taught in Catholic schools, even after 2020; it is not clear, judging by some of the recent publications of the CES, that the CES has the same idea as many Catholic parents, or the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church, about what exactly the “tenets” of the Catholic faith are when it comes to human sexuality and the teaching of RSE.

BISHOPS AND CES PROMOTE LGBT IDEOLOGY IN SCHOOLS

An RSE guide for Catholic educators published by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in 2017, entitled Learning to Love, declares its admiration for Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, as “an inspirational document, rich with insights and fresh descriptions of the Church’s teaching on this vital subject”.21 On the subject of homosexuality, the Bishops’ Learning to Love offers its own “fresh description” of the Church’s teaching:

Here we would like to emphasise that this exalted form of love exists just as powerfully in relationships between people of the same sex as it does in heterosexual relationships. We applaud the great progress that has been made in countering all forms of discrimination against homosexuality in recent times, and wish to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete. (p.17)

Note that we are now talking about “discrimination against homosexuality” as something that should be countered, as opposed to “unjust discrimination” against homosexual persons as the Catechism states (2358). “Homosexuality” itself has now been transformed from an “inclination, which is objectively disordered” to what can be an “exalted form of love”; and what does it mean “to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete”? To actively promote the LGBT and Pride agenda? To shut down freedom of speech on the issue and persecute Christians and others who try to speak the truth about homosexuality?

An even more pernicious document is Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools, a joint publication by the CES and St Mary’s University, Twickenham — first published in 2017 and which has even been given a second edition, without any major alterations, despite its deep and scandalous conflicts with the Church’s teaching being widely pointed out by commentators.22

Under the guise of “guidance” for the “pastoral care of pupils”, Made in God’s Image is designed to intimidate Catholic schools into introducing a concerted LGBT indoctrination programme for children, in the form of an eight-lesson scheme of work. The sum of the message that children will take away from this is that being “lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender” is part of their God-given purpose and identity, an integral part of being Made in God’s image, something that must be celebrated, and that any true Catholic should act to report and help robustly stamp out any sign or attitudes of disapproval. An example from the introduction illustrates the strategy being taken:

The Church teaches that homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). The School should be mindful that the Church teaches that homosexual inclinations are not sinful. For older pupils who may publicly identify themselves as such, Church schools should be havens of respect and custodians of the true dignity of each human being. They should be as attentive to the possibility of homosexual pupils being marginalized and bullied as they are to discrimination based on religion, gender, race or disability.23

Although the Church does indeed teach that involuntarily experiencing same-sex attraction is not itself a sin, the Catechism also adds that the inclination itself is “objectively disordered” (2358), and that authoritative Catholic teaching has also always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”, “basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity” (2357). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has instructed bishops that “although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”24 There is no mention of this in the document, or indeed any mention whatsoever of Catholic doctrine on marriage, or any attempt to present the true meaning and purpose of human sexuality between man and woman. Indeed the only thing presented as sinful (although it does not directly employ the term “sin”) is the new sin of “homophobia” which “should have no place among Catholics. Catholic teaching on homosexuality is not founded on, and can never be used to justify homophobic attitudes”. In one of the word games that children are encouraged to play “homophobia” is defined as:

A range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, may be based on irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs. (p.16)

Notice again how, as with Learning to Love, it is negative attitudes towards “homosexuality”, and not just “homosexual persons”, that is condemned here. And “homosexuality”, according to the Catechism at least, refers to “relations” between same-sex attracted men or women, including “homosexual acts”. Conveniently, if not outrageously, the actual word of God on the subject of homosexuality is never quoted or referred to.

It is undeniable that a deliberately misleading sleight of hand is in play throughout, with the document’s omissions and selective quotations from both Catholic documents and the Bible. That such a secular and distorted presentation of human sexuality, saturated with LGBT ideology, is being presented to children is hardly surprising when, as has been widely pointed out on Catholic blogs and by at least one English bishop, much of the material has been lifted directly from pre-existing propaganda programmes from Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland.25

Chillingly, Made in God’s Image even offers lesson material which encourages children to judge and challenge their own parents’ and families’ attitudes, based on provided examples of expressions of “homophobia”, including typical comments made whilst watching television programmes. It is ironic that a document purported to be concerned with “anti-bullying” engages in a highly pernicious form of bullying against faithful Catholic children and their parents by labelling them “homophobes” and “bigots”.

The pro-LGBT Made in God’s Image programme is said to have been prompted by a survey conducted by the CES on “homophobic” bullying in Catholic schools. However, the small print reveals that only 12 per cent of Catholic schools responded to this survey — the whole justification of this programme therefore being based on completely unrepresentative data (p. 31). Catholic headteachers would have been rightly reluctant to respond as the survey itself was ideologically loaded and intimidating (employing the un-qualified terms “homophobic” and “transphobic” throughout), with questions posed in a way that would make it very difficult for a faithful Catholic to respond, without compromising Christian truths on issues of sexuality.

WHERE ARE WE HEADING?

So where does this all leave us for the future if this agenda remains unchallenged? Scotland and Wales already show where the direction of travel is going in the immediate future. As a statutory part of Wales’s new curriculum which will be in place from 2022, the Welsh government announced that it is introducing “LGBTQI+ -inclusive Relationships and Sexuality Education” for all learners aged 5–16. Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Secretary, has stated: “The days of traditional sex education are long gone; the world has moved on and our curriculum must move with it. […] Of course, thirty years on from the introduction of Section 28, we will also ensure that RSE is fully inclusive of all genders and sexualities and meets the needs of LGBTQI+ learners.”26

The Welsh government is adopting the recommendations of a specially commissioned report on the future of SRE in Wales produced by an “SRE Expert Panel”, headed by Prof. Emma Renold of Cardiff University, a sociologist whose research on child sexuality, as her university profile informs us, is characterised by “feminist, queer and post-humanist approaches”. Neither the Catholic Church, nor any other faith groups, were represented in the “expert panel” — no doubt they were not invited to be. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued no response to what is an all out assault on the childhoods of all Welsh children, including those of Catholic families.

“Post-humanism”, by the way, is one of the latest pseudo-intellectual fads of western academia. In the same way that “gender” and “sexuality” are regarded as mere social constructs, and therefore open to deconstruction, so now too is the very notion of what it is to be a “human being”. The “natural” distinctions between human, animal and machine are also regarded as arbitrary boundaries to be explored, redefined and transgressed. It should not be too hard to envisage the even more disturbing future of “sexuality” once such last remaining taboos have also been removed.

The Scottish government has so far gone the furthest in Britain along this trajectory, having proudly announced recently that Scotland will become “the first country in the world to have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusive education embedded in the [whole] curriculum” — not just in relationships and sex education.27 Naturally if ideological indoctrination is to be truly effective then thought must be controlled at all times, and not just within the confines of certain lessons. Unbelievably this development was also “welcomed” by Scottish Bishops, who added that they hope the “impact of these recommendations will be positive for all.”

So how should parents respond in the face of this situation? For times like this God tells us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rm. 12:12). We should hold on more strongly than ever to the fact that God Himself has still ordained us to be the primary educators of our children, a right which as Pope John Paul II reminds us “is irreplaceable and inalienable”; that the right of parents to bring up their children to know, love and serve Him is His holy will. Scripture tells us to “be strong and courageous”, to “not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Rm. 5:20), and we are now seeing encouraging signs of a strong and powerful parents’ rights movement rapidly rising up to confront what Church officials have been unwilling to confront.

This is an issue which unites many people of different faiths and none. For instance, a Parliamentary petition concerning the parental right of withdrawal from RSE recently gained in excess of 100,000 signatories, which resulted in a Parliamentary debate on the petition in February 2019. Many Muslim parents, in particular, have provided an example of peaceful, but vocal and resilient parent power, with hundreds of parents witnessing weekly outside Parkfields Primary School, Birmingham, where their children were being subjected to an LGBT propaganda programme called “No Outsiders”.

This is a time for faith, not fear or compromise. In that spirit SPUC Safe at School has recently launched a major campaign in defence of the parental right to withdraw their children from Relationships and Sex Education and it has already gained tremendous support from parents from different backgrounds and communities. To find out how you can become involved visit: www.spuc.org.uk/rsebriefing

Dr Tom Rogers is the SPUC Education Manager. He has been working full-time for the pro-life cause since 2016. An academic and educationalist, he previously lectured in English literature at University, and has also taught in the secondary and further education sectors. He is the author of God of Rescue: John Berryman & Christianity (2011). He is married with two children.

This article was originally published in Calx Mariae, Voice of the Family’s quarterly magazine. To order copies or subscribe, please visit this website.

ENDNOTES:

  1. John Paul II, Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, 22 Nov 1981, 36.
  2. Charter of the Rights of the Family, presented by the Holy See, 22 Oct 1983, Article 5.
  3. Familiaris consortio, 37.
  4. Familiaris consortio, 37; Charter of the Rights of the Family, Article 5, c.
  5. Diane Montagna, “Pope Francis: ‘We must provide sex education in schools’”, LifeSiteNews, January 28 2019; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-we-must-provide-sex-education-in-schools
  6. Rick Fitzgibbons MD, “Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years”, LifeSiteNews, 2 September 2016; https://www. lifesitenews.com/opinion/exclusive-the-new-threat-to-catholic-youth-the-meeting-point
  7. For instance, Nick Gibb MP, stated in response to a Parliamentary question (3 July 2017) that “we expect schools to ensure that all pupils, whatever their developing sexuality or gender identity, feel that relationships and sex education is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. As part of our engagement programme, we will consider ways to ensure that our guidance and regulations are inclusive of LGBT issues. We plan to work closely with organisations such as Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust, amongst others.” Prime Minister Teresa May affirmed her support for ‘LGBT inclusive’ RSE in English schools in her speech at the Pink News LGBT Awards 2017.
  8. Department for Education, “Policy Statement: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education”, March 2017, (p.1).
  9. The then Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, made these comments and admissions over two interviews with Jon Snow (Channel 4 News) and Jeremy Paxman (BBC 2 Newsnight) on the evening of 23 January 2007. See also “Birmingham Archbishop: ‘Oh by the way,’ Britain’s Catholic Adoption Agencies Already Adopt to Gay Singles”, LifeSiteNews, 29 Jan 2007; https://www. lifesitenews.com/news/birmingham-archbishop-oh-by-the-way-britains-catholic-adoption-agencies-alr; “UK Catholic Bishops Compromise on Gay Adoption Leads to Charges of Hypocrisy”, LifesiteNews, 23 March 2007; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-catholic-bishops-compromise-on-gay-adoption-leads-to-charges-of-hypocris
  10. Only Leeds-based Catholic Care in the diocese of Lancaster continued until forced to shut down. See Hilary White, “UK Catholic Church Agency to Cease Adoption Work As government Forces Homosexual Adoption”, LifeSiteNews,July27,2007; https://www.lifesitenews. com/news/uk-catholic-church-agency-to-cease-adoption-work-as-government-forces-homos
  11. See learning outcomes on pp.16-17 in Department for Education, “Draft Statutory Guidance on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education”, July 2018; https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/
  12. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is a non-ministerial department of the UK government, reporting to Parliament.
  13. Catholic Education Service, “Catholic Church welcomes move to improve Relationship and Sex Education in all schools”, Press release, 19 July 2018: http://catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003657-catholic-church-welcomes-move-to-improve-relationship-and-sex-education-in-all-schools
  14. OFSTED, “Vishnitz Girls School: School Progress Monitoring Inspection Report”, 10 May 2017 (ref. 138516). Note, following the justifiably negative publicity on publication of this report, OFSTED subsequently replaced the original report with a redacted version (ref. 138515_5) on its website — one which had removed any direct references to ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender reassignment’, hence attempting to conceal the real reason why the school was failed.
  15. For a summary and further details of these and similar cases, see The Christian Institute, “OFSTED and ‘British Values’”, June 2017; available online at: https://www. christian.org.uk/resource/ofsted-british-values/
  16. Catherine Bryan, “Why Relationship and Sex Education is a must for all Catholic schools” [online article], Catholic Education Service, 20 June 2018; http://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003652-why-relationship-and-sex-education-is-a-must-for-all-catholic-schools. The same article also appeared in “The Catholic Times”, 15 June 2018, (p.28).
  17. See learning outcomes 1.2.4.4 (p.7) and 2.1.3.4 (p.4) in Catholic Education Service, “A model Catholic Primary RSE curriculum”, Autumn 2016; http:/catholiceducation. org.uk/schools/relationship-sex-education
  18. Catholic Education Service, “A model Catholic Secondary RSE curriculum”, Autumn 2016 (pp.3-4); http://catholiceducation.org.uk/schools/relationship-sex-education
  19. For instance, it was reported that St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Wimbledon invited Stonewall to train staff on homophobic bullying “in order to comply with OFSTED requirements”, and subsequently became a Stonewall “Primary School Champion”. “Gay rights group called in to advise primary teachers”, Evening Standard, 15 May 2013; https:/www.standard.co.uk/news/education/gay-rights-group-called-in-to-advise-primary-teachers-8616681. html. It has also been reported that students training to be teachers were subjected to a Stonewall-run session on ‘homophobic bullying’ at the Catholic St Mary University, Twickenham; https://spuc-director.blogspot. com/2013/06/stonewall-scandal-at-catholic.html
  20. CES, “Model Catholic Secondary RSE curriculum”, 2016 (p.7).
  21. Learning to Love: An Introduction to Catholic Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for Catholic Educators” (2017), Department of Catholic Education and Formation and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; https://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/images/ Learning2love.pdf.pdf
  22. Catholic Education Service, “Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools”, 2018 edn; http://catholiceducation.org.uk/ images/CES-Project_Homophobic-Bullying-Booklet_ JUN18_PROOF-9.pdf. For comment see, for instance, Deacon Nick Donnelly, “UK bishops’ group pushing radical LGBT propaganda in Catholic schools”, LifeSiteNews, 18 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/ uk-bishops-group-pushes-radical-lgbt-materials-in-catholic-schools. Also, Bishop Egan of Portsmouth has commented on the ‘ideological colonisation’ at work in our schools, including the influence of Stonewall and LGBT Youth on the CES’s “Made in God’s Image” document. Deacon Nick Donnelly, “Interview: UK bishop questions LGBT involvement in Catholic schools’ sexed program”, LifesiteNews, 22 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews. com/news/interview-english-bishop-questions-lgbt-involvement-in-catholic-schools-sex
  23. CES, “Made in God’s Image” (2018), section 2, (p.5).
  24. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (signed by Cardinal Ratzinger), “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Persons”, 1 October 1986; http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_ cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html
  25. As pointed out, for instance, in three 2017 blog posts by the “Counter Cultural Father”: https://ccfather.blogspot. com/search?q=Made+in+God%27s+Image; See also Bishop Egan’s comments in an interview in LifesiteNews, 22 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/interview-english-bishop-questions-lgbt-involvement-in-catholic-schools-sex
  26. Welsh government, “Kirsty Williams announces focus on healthy relationships in major reforms to ‘Relationships and Sexuality’ education”, Press release, 22 May 2018; https://gov.wales/newsroom/educationandskills/2018/ kirsty-williams-announces-focus-on-healthy-relationships-in-major-reforms-to-relationships-and-sexuality-education/?lang=en
  27. Scottish government, “LGBTI education: Scotland will lead the way in inclusive education”, Press release 8 Nov 2018; https://www.gov.scot/news/lgbti-education/

The Disturbing Connection Between Your Birth Control and Vision Problems

https://naturalwomanhood.org/the-disturbing-connection-between-your-birth-control-and-vision-problems-031319/?fbclid=IwAR2z93daJxeqTHI31bppK9qM6x2PrCXGnP_Bef0-Xr30pwEbuUy4MOBjVP8

Pseudotumor cerebri. Intracranial hypertension. “False brain tumor.”

All of these terms mean the same thing, and each one can lead to the same thing for anyone afflicted with it: progressive, and potentially permanent, blindness.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, birth control causes vision problems, birth control causes blindness, birth control causes intracranial hypertension, intracranial hypertension, mirena causes intracranial hypertension, Mirena side effects, fake brain tumor, Mirena lawsuits

And according to multiple class action lawsuits, and backed up by research, intracranial hypertension (ICH) is also a rare, albeit extremely serious potential risk from intrauterine levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen widely distributed in the Mirena IUD (although other contraceptive formulations containing levonorgestrel, including Plan B—may also carry the same risk to varying degrees).

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) literally translates to “false brain tumor,” and the term is used to describe increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure within the skull precisely because the symptoms it produces are highly similar to those caused by brain tumors—although, in cases of PTCthere is no actual tumor present. Just as someone with a brain tumor might experience changes or loss in vision, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and tinnitus among other symptoms, so too will someone with PTC be affected by these debilitating symptoms. In particular, the increased CSF pressure within the skull causes swelling of the optic nerve, which can cause changes and/or loss in vision, which may be permanent.

For many, the exact cause of PTC is unknown. Women, and particularly obese women, seem to have a higher risk of developing the condition, and pregnancy, thyroid conditions, and chronic kidney failure may all further exacerbate one’s risk. If the cause of PTC cannot be determined, it will be termed “idiopathic.” But for far too many women, the cause may be linked to their choice in contraceptive.

And although researchers have known for more than two decades that other levonorgestrel-releasing contraceptives (like the Norplant) have been linked with PTC, it is a complication that many women have suffered from—and a risk many claim was downplayed or unmentioned by their doctors and the drugs’ pharmaceutical companies alike.

This is sadly unsurprising news, given the conclusion of a recent study reviewing the number of Mirena-associated intracranial hypertension cases reported to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS). Although researchers discovered “a higher than expected number of reports of ICH with Mirena in the FAERS database,” they nevertheless concluded that “the small risk of ICH may outweigh the risk of unintended pregnancies.”

Safer Family-Planning Options for Women

What I wish these researchers would acknowledge—and even more so, what I wish the women whose vision may be permanently damaged because of their choice in contraceptives knew—is that there is a better way for women to plan their families that involves absolutely no risk of PTC or its associated symptoms.

While long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs and implants may be among some of the most effective methods on the market at preventing pregnancy, modern methods of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) and Natural Family Planning (NFP) can be just as effective at preventing pregnancy (depending on the method), and carry none of the debilitating, dangerous, or permanent risks of LARCs. And, although most women with an IUD will never experience PTC, wouldn’t it be better if doctors and pharmaceutical companies were open and honest about the very real risks presented by the various types of birth control, and knowledgeable about the many risk-free alternatives?

Recently, many women have reported that they felt unheard by their healthcare providers when they brought up concerns of birth control side effects. Which is why some OBGYNs have begun offering information on fertility awareness-based methods in their practices to give women a full range of options for them to choose from.

Unfortunately, there is very little money to be made by the medical establishment from FABM and NFP, especially when compared to all of the pharmaceutical options. So until more in the medical community embrace the science and research on fertility charting, women will have to be their own healthcare advocates and learn more about natural options of family planning. We always recommend that, if women are seeking FABM for pregnancy prevention, she should reach out to a certified FABM instructor to benefit from the highest effectiveness rates.

Many women who have made the switch from pharmaceutical birth control to natural family planning report that they couldn’t feel more empowered to know they have more awareness of what is going on in their bodies. They can also have the confidence of knowing they aren’t exposing themselves to drugs that could hurt them.

US bishop: Why we teach couples to reject contraception and embrace natural family planning

April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Marriage and family provide the foundation for Christian society, Bishop Joseph Strickland said in an interview. And there’s so much broken about that foundation, he said, as well as in the Church and the world today, that it’s imperative to help young couples who are seeking marriage with a strong formation in the Catholic faith – including teaching them about why contraception is morally wrong.

The Tyler, Texas bishop spoke with LifeSiteNews (read full interview below or click here) about his call as a bishop to teach the Catholic faith and a bold initiative to do so in his diocese wrapping up its second year. Strickland released the Constitution on Teaching in May 2017 and also established the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, tasked with teaching the Catholic faith in his diocese.

The comprehensive plan to evangelize his flock includes a year of marriage formation that incorporates natural family planning and the Church’s teaching that Catholics are called to be open to life in marriage, embracing Pope St. Paul VI’s document Humanae Vitae. The truth of Church teaching is so profound, he said, that even though it’s not had acceptance in the last 50 years by many Catholics, it’s begun to resonate in and outside the Church.

“And with the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, we’ve focused on in the diocese that this is a truth that the Church has been teaching for those 50 years.”

The Church teaches in the 1968 encyclical that using contraception is always and in every case wrong. “Each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life,” states the document. According to this teaching, contraception blocks the marital act from its God-given procreative purpose, contradicting the husband and wife’s promise to give themselves to each other, totally and unreservedly — where nothing must be held back, including one’s own fertility.

The document has been largely ignored by the faithful, said Strickland,  by priests and even by bishops. Strickland told LifeSiteNews he had to admit, while he’s always believed what the Church said, that as a parish priest for many years, he also didn’t focus on it that much, because it really wasn’t very popular to focus on.

In Humanae Vitae Paul VI foretold various social ills that would befall the culture, such as marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, growing disrespect for women and population control.

“If you read Humanae Vitae,” Strickland said, “Pope St. Pope Paul VI, in #14 of Humanae Vitae, he basically is prophetic and he lays out – This is where we’re headed if we ignore God’s plan for a married couple, open to life and not using contraception.”

“And I think we’ve ended up exactly where his prophetic prediction said we would end up,” continued Strickland. “So with all of that being realized, I felt that we need to start at the very foundation of the Christian community, which is marriage, and then the families that are formed on a solid marriage. “

Natural family planning, which respects the natural rhythms inherent in the human body, is part of this, he said.

Strickland, who has become noted for verbalizing the Church’s teaching on subjects such as sexual morality and abortion, discussed a number of things in the interview, speaking candidly about contraception.

He emphasizes that in speaking out about Church teaching he is doing his job as a bishop, and in most cases he is addressing his local flock in northeast Texas. But because it is relatively uncommon for a bishop to speak out, he’s come to stand out.

He tells LifeSiteNews that the Church’s teaching isn’t his truth; it’s Christ’s truth. And he’ll vocalize it as long as he’s a bishop. The fact it seems remarkable, he said, shows how secular society has become.

“Sadly, after 50 years of Humanae Vitae, it’s somewhat revolutionary to do what we’re doing,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews, “but it’s in line with what the Church has continued to teach for these 50 years. It’s been the official teaching. It’s been not emphasized that much.”

While it may be possible to overemphasize it, he says, he thinks it is very significant, because society’s problems today stem from disobedience to God, and contraception has become entrenched in the culture, including with Catholics.

“I guess the way I would put it is, everything traces back to ills of our society,” said Strickland, “which has been the case since Adam and Eve, it traces back to disobedience to God’s plan and to God’s will.”

“And so the contraceptive mentality that is very much in the Catholic community, and certainly in the non-Catholic, or even just humanity, contraception is accepted as something that is smart to use,” he said. “And it’s like you’re strange or you’re delusional if you’re not using contraception.”

“So it’s kind of a revolutionary idea,” he added, “but it is the teaching of the Church and I think there’s tremendous wisdom there.”

Strickland said there’s a real desire there on the part of many couples to learn NFP, especially after it’s really explained to them what God’s plan is and how natural family planning can be used properly.

This is true even in his area of Texas, he said, where less than 10 percent of the population in the geographical area of the diocese is Catholic.

“We’re finding more and more non-Catholics who are saying, ‘Hey, I think the Catholic Church has something here that we need to pay attention to,’” said Strickland.

“Because really, the Catholic Church — even as eroded as it is as far as Catholic practice — continues to teach that contraception is not morally acceptable,” Strickland said. “And we’re the only church that even attempts to teach that, and many of the non-Catholics individually are saying, we want to learn more about this because we think the Catholic Church is on to the truth of God’s plan.”

Strickland’s Constitution on Teaching can be accessed here.

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BENEDICT AND THE SCANDAL

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Writing nearly half a century ago (1970), the Italian Catholic philosopher Augusto Del Noce noted that

I often find myself envying unbelievers: Does not contemporary history provide abundant evidence that Catholics are a mentally inferior species? Their rush to conform to the opinion about Catholicism held by rationalist secularists is stunning.

Those words from his essay “The Ascendance of Eroticism” open Del Noce’s brilliant reflections—part analysis, part prophecy—on Europe’s then-current sexual revolution. At a time when a young priest named Joseph Ratzinger was predicting a smaller, more hard-pressed, but purer Church of the future in his 1969–70 German and Vatican radio interviews, Del Noce was explaining how it would happen. He foresaw that “the decisive battle against Christianity [can] be fought only at the level of the sexual revolution. And therefore the problem of sexuality and eroticism is today the fundamental problem from the moral point of view.”

History has proven him right, and for obvious reasons. Sex is both a powerful bond and a fierce corrosive, which is why, historically, nearly all human cultures have surrounded it with taboos that order its harmonious integration into daily life. The naive eagerness—“stupidity” would not be too strong a word for Del Noce’s purposes—of many mid-century Church progressives in accepting, or at least accommodating, sexual license as a form of human liberation, spearheaded the intellectual collapse of an entire generation of Catholic moral theology. Since the 1960s, license has morphed into widespread sexual and social dysfunction, conflict, and suffering—also foreseen by Del Noce.

Unfortunately, the lessons of the ’60s are steadfastly ignored today by much of the Church’s own intellectual class: Simply put, sex is tied intimately to anthropology, to human self-understanding and the purpose of the body. Thus, for the Church to remain the Church, there can be no concordat with behaviors fundamentally at odds with the Word of God and the Christian understanding of the human person as imago Dei. All such attempts lead inevitably to what Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI, pope emeritus) once called silent apostasy. The current situation with Germany’s bishops’ conference comes to mind; but the problem is wider than a single local Church.

In his April 10 essay “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse,” a much older Joseph Ratzinger looks at the abuse phenomenon through the lens of his own life experience, dividing his text into three parts: origins of the crisis, initial Church responses, and what now needs to be done to heal Catholic life. The essay lacks some of the rigor of his earlier formal writings, and it will not satisfy those critics who see John Paul II and Benedict as slow in addressing the scale and gravity of the problem, but his words are nonetheless as clear and penetrating as ever.

Like the laypeople they serve and lead, priests are shaped by the culture from which they emerge. They should be held, rightly, to a higher standard because of their calling. But priests and bishops have no miraculous immunity to the abnormality bubbling around them. Ratzinger locates the seed of the current crisis in the deliberate turn toward sexual anarchy that marked much of Europe in the 1960s, and the complete failure of Catholic moral theologians to counter it—a failure that more often resembled fellow-traveling. He also notes, as did Del Noce, the dirty little secret of the sexual revolution: Relaxing sexual norms does not reduce an appetite for violence, including sexual violence. It does exactly the opposite.

Ratzinger acknowledges that “In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.” He also notes a problem that infected leadership: “Above all, a criterion for the appointment of new bishops [became] now their ‘conciliarity,’ which of course could be understood to mean rather different things.”

Ratzinger seeks to explain the initially slow and inadequate Church response to the abuse problem. He correctly saw the abuse issue as a crisis impacting the integrity of the faith and not merely as a legal matter grounded in the rights of accused clergy. Thus he successfully forced the transfer of abuse cases from Congregation of the Clergy jurisdiction to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where dealing with cases could be expedited. But even there, the scope of the problem proved larger than anyone anticipated. He remains silent on what many see as the continuing resistance of Rome to candidly name the core issue of the clergy abuse problem, which is not primarily a matter of clerical privilege but rather a pattern of predatory homosexuality.

Throughout his brief text, Ratzinger has moments of insight and genius that fall like rain in a desert, especially today. As in: “There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is [about] more than physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life.” And: “A world without God can only be a world without meaning.” And: “A paramount task, which must result from the upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto him.

The words of the pope emeritus are especially piercing when he speaks of the many contemporary Catholics who treat the Eucharist—the Real Presence of God in our midst; the source and summit of Christian life—as “a mere ceremonial gesture . . . that destroys the greatness of the Mystery.” Or when he notes that the Church today “is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus,” and even many bishops “formulate their conception of the Church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms.” And finally this:

Today the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing his Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. No, even today, the Church is not just made up of bad fish and weeds. The Church of God also exists today, and today it is the very instrument through which God saves us . . .

Today’s Church is more than ever a Church of the Martyrs, and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.

Amen. Not much more need be said.

Toward the end of his own 1970 essay, Augusto Del Noce noted that “an enormous cultural revision will be necessary in order to really leave behind the philosophical processes that have found expression in today’s sexual revolution.” The bad news is that too many of today’s Catholics seem to lack the will and ability to pursue that task. The good news is that some of our leaders still have the courage to speak the truth.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Philadelphia.

Ohio passes ban on aborting babies with beating hearts, governor to sign

COLUMBUS, April 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Ohio legislation to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected is finally becoming law Thursday, after a lengthy battle last year came up one vote short of overcoming a veto by the state’s previous governor.

Senate Bill 23 would ban aborting any baby once a heartbeat can be detected (around 6-8 weeks), except in cases of a physical threat to the mother. Violating physicians would face up to a year in prison and suspension or revocation of their medical licenses (with medical board fines going to finance foster and adoption services). Women would also be able to sue abortionists for wrongful death.

The legislation passed the state Senate in March, and passed the state House Tuesday on a 56-40 vote, Cleveland.com reports.

“Today is a historic day. The legislature and Governor DeWine have declared that no longer should the beating hearts of humans too young to be born be violently torn apart by abortion,” Mark Harrington, president of the pro-life group Created Equal, said in a statement. “If pro-abortion lobbies present a legal challenge to this Act, we will defend these babies all the way up to the Supreme Court. Changes on the bench signify an even better day for preborn babies may be on the horizon.”

Democrat state Rep. Beth Liston, who is a physician and a professor at Ohio State University, denied that preborn babies are alive by week 12. “Simply put, you need lungs and a brain in order to live,” she claimed. “And there’s no science or technology that we have that can replace that need.” In fact, settled biological criteria and numerous medical textbooks establish (and various abortionists admit) that a living human being is created upon fertilization and is present throughout the entirety of pregnancy.

As protesters loudly gathered outside the chamber, Democrats tried and failed to add multiple amendments to the bill, including rape and incest exceptions and a proposalby state Rep. Janine Boyd to specifically exempt black women from the ban, ensuring black babies would still be legally killable.

The legislature passed a nearly-identical heartbeat ban last year, but came one vote short of overriding a veto by former moderate Republican Gov. John Kasich, who claimed it was “contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion” and therefore wouldn’t be worth the cost of a drawn-out legal battle. This time around, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has vowed to “absolutely” sign it into law.

Numerous states have introduced or enacted heartbeat bills over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills would waste time and money on a doomed legal battle. But supporters argue that most state pro-life measures get sued anyway, and that the heartbeat ban will force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling.

“Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, we’re counting on it,” Republican state Rep. Ron Hood said. “We’re excited about it. Because this will be the law that ultimately reverses Roe v. Wade. Or there is several things they could do. They could hand it down to the states.”

Catholic hospital: We may refer pre-teens for IUDs without parental notice

Students for Life reports that due to the proposal of a school-based health center, public high school and middle school students at Sedro-Woolley High School and nearby middle school in Washington state may have IUDs inserted without their parent’s knowledge.

Initially, the proposal included referring students to Planned Parenthood for abortions. After strong objections from the community, PeaceHealth, a Catholic hospital that would conduct the proposed health center, decided not to refer minors to Planned Parenthood for abortion.

As Students for Life recently reported, a spokesperson for PeaceHealth said, “Our providers are empowered to discuss options with patients, including abortion; however, they can not give referrals.” However, girls as young as 13 could receive a referral for an IUD at PeaceHealth or another medical clinic without their parents finding out. The spokesperson clarified that IUDs would not be inserted in the school health center, but added, “if, within the context of the confidential patient/provider relationship, it is decided that an IUD is medically necessary, a PeaceHealth provider can insert an IUD.”

IUDs can have severe, sometimes life-threatening, complications if they migrate. Women are sharing their stories of complications they experienced with IUDs that are not often discussed. Many women who experienced complications said they were not informed about the severity of the potential issues. Minors receiving an IUD without their parent’s knowledge are taking on risks without guidance from an adult, and if complications do occur, those minors and their parents could face significant costs.

According to local news, Christina Jepperson, Sedro-Wooley High School Board President, insisted, “This isn’t going to be a condom clinic.” Trying to assuage parent’s fears, she said, “This really is primary care services. This isn’t any different than if you would go see your primary care or family doctor for.” However, Washington state law allows minor over the age of 13 to request confidential medical services, including getting IUDs and undergoing abortions. By placing a health center in the school that can give minors access to dangerous and abortifacient contraceptive devices, many parents still have valid concerns about the proposal.

Katie Lodjic, Washington Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America and a Sedro-Woolley High School alumna said, “Healthcare corporations like PeaceHealth should not be allowed to circumvent parents by inserting IUDs into minor girls without their parents’ knowledge. Parents deserve to be involved in the medical decisions of their minor children but the school board plan would undermine parental rights.”

Progressive writers are starting to admit the sexual revolution was a failure

In the Guardian, Yvonne Roberts writes about how grim the sexual revolution was. She was there, and describes the sexual permissiveness not as something liberating but something monstrous dressed up as “peace and love.” It was a dystopia that gave rise to a rape culture. But today she notes the marked decrease in sexual activity among young people. Porn is ubiquitous, and addictive, and exemplifies the Final End of the sexual revolution. Loveless, abusive, soul-destroying. We reached peak sex, and it wasn’t even good. She asks:

“Are we satiated? As a commodity, is junk sex now on the wane, just like shopping on the high street? Are the young beginning to recalibrate sex and also understand its invaluable connection with intimacy, social skills, self-awareness and mutual self-respect?”

Oddly, in a progressive culture which despises priestly celibacy, which is voluntary, some progressive writers are now willing to admit that the sexual revolution was a dystopic failure and that the rise of involuntary celibacy is “a sign of progress.”

That’s quite the admission. I wonder if they might actually arrive at a better view altogether. Sex is sacred. It is an earthly union which cooperates in the divine act of creating immortal beings. It belongs in the the temple of marriage alone, and nowhere else. Sex isn’t for selling, it’s for creating.

Men and women who give up this great good, this urge of our nature, should only do so for a much greater good: the salvation of souls. But most of us should not give up on sex. We should start trying to understand what it really is, and where it belongs.

‘As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West’

An interview with Cardinal Sarah

The Vatican cardinal discusses his hard-hitting new book in this exclusive interview with La Nef

Cardinal Robert Sarah is publishing the third of his book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat: The Day is Far Spent. An unflinching diagnosis, but one full of hope in the midst of the spiritual and moral crisis of the West.

1) In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices. Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself. The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It preferred the kind of riches that it owed only to itself.

Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood. But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.

2) You write that “Christ never promised his faithful that they would be in the majority” (pg. 34), and you go on: “Despite the missionaries’ greatest efforts, the Church has never dominated the world. The Church’s mission is a mission of love, and love does not dominate” (pg. 35). Earlier, you wrote that “it is the ‘small remnant’ that has saved the faith.” If you will pardon a bold question: What is the problem exactly, seeing that this “small remnant” does in fact exist currently and manages to survive even in a world hostile to the faith?

Christians must be missionaries. They cannot keep the treasure of the Faith for themselves. Mission and evangelization remain an urgent spiritual task. And as St. Paul says, every Christian should be able to say “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). Further, “God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). How can we do nothing when so many souls do not know the only truth that sets us free: Jesus Christ? The prevailing relativism considers religious pluralism to be a good in itself. No! The plenitude of revealed truth that the Catholic Church has received must be transmitted, proclaimed, and preached.

The goal of evangelization is not world domination, but the service of God. Don’t forget that Christ’s victory over the world is…the Cross! It is not our intention to take over the power of the world. Evangelization is done through the Cross.

The martyrs are the first missionaries. Before the eyes of men, their life is a failure. The goal of evangelization is not to “keep count” like social media networks that want to “make a buzz.” Our goal is not to be popular in the media. We want that each and every soul be saved by Christ. Evangelization is not a question of success. It is a profoundly interior and supernatural reality.

3) I’d like to go back to one of your points in the previous question. Do you mean to say that European Christendom, where Christianity was able to establish itself throughout the whole of society, was only a sort of interlude in history; that it should not be taken as a model in the sense that in Europe Christianity “dominated” and imposed itself through a kind of social coercion?

A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation. But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls? There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. It must be emphasized, however, that evangelization is not complete when it takes hold of social structures. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state.  A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice. A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

4) Over the course of European history, we have moved from a society in which the group outweighed the person (the holism of the Middle Ages) – a type of society that still exists in Africa and continues to characterize Islam – to a society in which the person is emancipated from the group (individualism). We might also say, broadly speaking, that we have passed from a society dominated by the quest for truth to a society dominated by the quest for freedom. The Church herself has developed her doctrine in the face of this evolution, proclaiming the right to religious liberty at Vatican II. How do you see the position of the Church toward this evolution? Is there a balance to be struck between the two poles of “truth” and “freedom,” whereas so far we have merely gone from one excess to the other?

It is not correct to speak of a “balance” between two poles: truth and freedom. In fact, this manner of speaking presupposes that these realities are external to and in opposition to one another. Freedom is essentially a tending toward what is good and true. The truth is meant to be known and freely embraced. A freedom that is not itself oriented and guided by truth is nonsensical. Error has no rights. Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good.

Revelation is the breaking in of divine truth into our lives. It does not constrain us. In giving and revealing Himself, God respects the freedom that He Himself created. I believe that the opposition between truth and freedom is the fruit of a false conception of human dignity.

Modern man hypostatizes his freedom, making it an absolute to the point of believing that it is threatened when he accepts the truth. However, to accept the truth is the most beautiful act of freedom that man can perform. I believe that your question reveals how deeply the crisis of the Western conscience is really in the end a crisis of faith. Western man is afraid of losing his freedom by accepting the gift of true faith. He prefers to close himself up inside a freedom that is devoid of content. The act of faith is an encounter between freedom and truth. That is why in the first chapter of my book I have insisted on the crisis of faith. Our freedom comes to fulfillment when it says “yes” to revealed truth. If freedom says “no” to God, it denies itself. It asphyxiates.

5) You dwell at length on the crisis of the priesthood and argue for priestly celibacy. What do you see as the primary cause in the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and what do you think of the summit that just took place in Rome on this question?

I think that the crisis of the priesthood is one of the main factors in the crisis of the Church. We have taken away priests’ identity. We have made priests believe that they need to be efficient men. But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself. The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. The roots of this crisis are spiritual. A priest who does not pray or makes a theatre out of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, a priest who only confesses rarely and who does not live concretely like another Christ, is cut off from the source of his own being. The result is death. I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned.

We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I want to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hate! I want to express my affection as a father and brother for the priests  of the whole world.

6) In a book that has caused quite a stir [In the Closet of the Vatican, by Frédéric Martel], the author explains that there are many homosexual prelates in the Vatican. He lends credibility to Mgr Viganò’s denunciation of the influence of a powerful gay network in the heart of the Curia. What do you think of this? Is there a homosexual problem in the heart of the Church and if so, why is it a taboo?

Today the Church is living with Christ through the outrages of the Passion. The sins of her members come back to her like strikes on the face. Some have tried to instrumentalize these sins in order to put pressure on the bishops. Some want them to adopt the judgments and language of the world. Some bishops have caved in to the pressure. We see them calling for the abandonment of priestly celibacy or making unsound statements about homosexual acts. Should we be surprised? The Apostles themselves turned tail in the Garden of Olives. They abandoned Christ in His most difficult hour.

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to doctrinal truth! They disorient the Christian faithful by their confusing and ambiguous language. They adulterate and falsify the Word of God, willing to twist and bend it to gain the world’s approval. They are the Judas Iscariots of our time.

Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity. Let us not perpetuate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us. When the fault is public, the penalties provided for by Church law must be applied. Punishment is merciful, an act of charity and fraternal love. Punishment restores the damage done to the common good and permits the guilty party to redeem himself. Punishment is part of the paternal role of bishops. Finally, we must have the courage to clearly apply the norms regarding the acceptance of seminarians. Men whose psychology is deeply and permanently anchored in homosexuality, or who practice duplicity and lying, cannot be accepted as candidates for the priesthood.

7) One chapter is dedicated to the “crisis of the Church.” When precisely do you place the beginning of this crisis and what does it consist in? In particular, how do you relate the “crisis of faith” to the crisis of “moral theology.” Does one precede the other?

The crisis of the Church is above all a crisis of the faith. Some want the Church to be a human and horizontal society; they want it to speak the language of the media. They want to make it popular. They urge it not to speak about God, but to throw itself body and soul into social problems: migration, ecology, dialogue, the culture of encounter, the struggle against poverty, for justice and peace. These are of course important and vital questions before which the Church cannot shut her eyes. But a Church such as this is of interest to no one. The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus. She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us. When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her. We are tempted to think that our action and our ideas will save the Church. It would be better to begin by letting her save herself.

I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests. Priests must be possessed by the desire for holiness, for perfection in God and fidelity to the doctrine of Him who has chosen and sent them. Their whole being and all their activities must be put to the service of sanctity. The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself. It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her. Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about.

We need saints who dare to see all things through the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God. The crisis of moral theology is the consequence of a voluntary blindness. We have refused to look at life through the light of the Faith.

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

8) The second and third parts of your book are about crisis in western societies. The subject is so vast, and you touch on so many important points–from the expansion of the  “culture of death” to the problems of consumerism tied to global liberalism, passing through questions of identity, transmission, Islamism, etc.–that it is impossible to address them all. Among these problems, which seem to you to be the most important and what are the principal causes for the decline of the West?

First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment. As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples. At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore! I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism?  Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion. Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

9) You end this beautiful book with a section entitled “Rediscovering Hope: The Practice of the Christian Virtues.” What do you mean by this? In what way can practicing these virtues be a remedy for the multifarious crisis we have spoken about in this interview?

We should not imagine a special program that could provide a remedy for the current multi-faceted crisis. We have simply to live our Faith, completely and radically. The Christian virtues are the Faith blossoming in all the human faculties. They mark the way for a happy life in harmony with God. We must create places where they can flourish. I call upon Christians to open oases of freedom in the midst the desert created by rampant profiteering. We must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible. Our communities must put God in the center. Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced. In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way. The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others. Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31). In the disaster, confusion, and darkness of our world, we find “the light that shines in the darkness” (cf. Jn 1:5): He who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

Translated from the French by Zachary Thomas (Original)

Note: the French text published by La Nef edited the text of the interview given by the Cardinal. This is a translation of the integral text supplied by the Cardinal.

Ignatius Press has announced the 2019 publication of an English translation entitled The Day is Far Spent, available for pre-order on their website.

Talking About Pro-Life Progress

by 

Hundreds of Pro-Life Bills

To anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s clear that the pro-life movement is gaining enormous momentum. However, if you still have any doubts about pro-life progress, you need only glance at Planned Parenthood’s latest press release, responding to data just published by the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, since the beginning of this year over 250 pro-life bills have been introduced in over 41 states. Almost 50% of those bills would ban abortion in “some or all circumstances,” says the organization. In fact, according to Planned Parenthood’s analysis, legislators in seven states have proposed bills that would completely ban abortion, while six states are considering or have passed “trigger bans” that would ban abortion if or when Roe v. Wade is repealed.

Elizabeth Nash, the Senior State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, linked the glut of pro-life bills to both the conservative shift on the Supreme Court, and the increasingly open efforts of the pro-life movement to enact total abortion bans. “Energized by a new Supreme Court, anti-abortion activists and politicians have kicked into high gear their decades-long agenda to ban abortion through a series of increasingly radical and dangerous abortion bans,” she stated.

Nash claimed, disingenuously, that the pro-life bills being introduced “are about exerting control and power over pregnant people.” But, for the growing number of Americans who call themselves pro-life, this claim is simply absurd. The goals of the pro-life movement have nothing to do with controlling pregnant women; they have to do with protecting the lives of the unborn children that science and ultrasound technology have revealed beyond any shadow of a doubt to be just as fully alive and human as you or I.

Extremist leftist organizations like Planned Parenthood, which have built their ideology on denying or conscientiously burying basic scientific truths, are struggling to remain relevant now that those scientific truths are so undeniable and publicly accessible, thanks both to technology and the tireless efforts of the pro-life movement.

Indeed, the absurdity of the Guttmacher Institute’s ideological extremism is on display in Nash’s remark about pro-lifers wanting to control “pregnant people.” One of the pro-abortion movement’s latest dogmas is that men can get pregnant – i.e. so-called “transgender men,” which is to say, biological women who now claim that they are men. This claim is at least as absurd as the claim that the unborn child is just a “blob of tissue” that magically becomes a living human person either the moment the “pregnant person” (i.e. mother) decides that she wants the baby, or that the baby emerges from the birth canal.

Planned Parenthood Panicking

Another immensely encouraging piece of news from the Guttmacher Institute’s report is that six states have only a single abortion facility left. In other words, these states are on the verge of eliminating surgical abortions from their borders even without passing legislation banning abortions. In fact, statistics show that the number of abortion clinics across the country has plummeted over the last two decades. According to Operation Rescue, in 2018 the total number of abortion clinics in the U.S. fell to 697. That’s a decrease of 79% since 1991. The Washington Post blames many of these closures on the successful passage of pro-life progress in legislation.

The massive growth in such pro-life legislation, and closure of abortion clinics, coincides with a dramatic decrease in the U.S. abortion rate. According to the CDC, the U.S. abortion rate reached a historical low in 2015. That translates into millions of lives saved.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen sounds panicked, as well she might. “Today, the reality we live in is a terrifying one for women around the country,” she claimed. As is typical of Planned Parenthood, Wen deceptively attempted to link the reduction in abortion clinics to disruptions in access to services like cancer screenings and STD and HIV testing. In reality, pro-lifers have thoroughly debunked Planned Parenthood’s past claims to offer mammograms (Even the pro-abortion Washington Post had to admit that pro-lifers were right). Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood’s own public numbers show that most of their non-abortion-related services have been declining for years, while abortions keep climbing.

Click to read more about the real Planned Parenthood and its genesis.

However, Wen is quite right when she bemoans the fact that “access to abortion care is disappearing in states.” But far from a “terrifying” reality for women, this means that many more young girls will have a chance to be born, rather than being flushed down the drains at Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities before they ever even have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. So, too, many more young women will have the opportunity to pursue a happy, meaningful life without carrying the burden of shame and regret that so often follows after accepting Planned Parenthood’s bleak, self-centered, and murderously-maintained worldview.

Crucially, many of the bills introduced around the country are so-called “heartbeat bills,” which would ban abortion after the point when the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Such bills would not only prevent the overwhelming majority of abortions from taking place but present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. If passed into law, such bills would inevitably be challenged in court, ultimately ending up at the Supreme Court, which would have the opportunity to revisit the notorious case that ushered abortion-on-demand into the United States. Pro-abortion activists clearly believe that they may very well see Roe v. Wade overturned within months or a few years. It’s up to us, with God’s grace, to ensure that their fears are well-founded.

Interestingly, even many of the massive liberal corporations which, in the past, have not hesitated to use their influence to threaten individual states if they should pass legislation that goes against the leftist agenda have declined to publicly oppose the heartbeat bills being introduced in states like Georgia. I think the reason why is obvious: public opinion is trending pro-life. Corporations that threatened Georgia for passing religious liberty legislation a few years ago know that they can’t risk associating their brand with the killing of unborn babies.

The Pro-Abortion Movement’s Worst Year Ever?

Amidst the hundreds of pro-life bills that have been introduced, a more conservative Supreme Court, a president who seems determined to fulfill his pro-life promises in the face of any amount of backlash, and the release of what may well be the most successful pro-life movie ever made – Unplanned, telling the story of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson – the abortion industry in the United States seems set to have what may well turn out to be its worst year since the Supreme Court first passed Roe v. Wade.

Click for more on “Unplanned” and the truth about Planned Parenthood. Footage courtesy EWTN

 

That said, pro-lifers should be wary of growing even a little bit complacent. Pro-abortion forces are terrified, and in response they are rallying their supporters and legislative allies to push back…hard. As Planned Parenthood noted in its release, the pro-life bills “have triggered a counter response from constituents and reproductive health care champions”. This, in part, explains the glut of attempts (some of which have been successful) to pass laws enshrining the most extreme versions of legal abortion in states like New York and Virginia.

We live in chaotic times, and there is much to be worried about in terms of the state and future of our culture. However, if respect for the sanctity of human life is, as Pope St. John Paul II so often proclaimed, the necessary foundation for a healthy society, then it would seem we have great reason for both hope and gratitude: gratitude that so many lives are already being saved thanks to our country’s pro-life direction, and hope that within our lifetimes we may yet see the end of the reign of terror that is legalized abortion-on-demand.

Male and female brains are different, even in the womb: new study

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, April 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A new scientific study has found that pre-born babies’ brains show significant differences between sexes and thus before any parental or societal conditioning.

In the April 2019 edition of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, an article titled “Sex differences in functional connectivity during fetal brain development” details the authors’ study of 118 unborn babies (70 male, 48 female) between 25.9 and 39.6 weeks gestational age. By looking at 16 distinct networks of the brains, they found differences between male and female fetuses in functional connectivity across gestational age. They concluded, “These observations confirm that sexual dimorphism in functional brain systems emerges during human gestation.”

The study concluded, “The differential development of FC over gestation in male and female fetuses likely acts as a precursor to sex-related brain connectivity differences observed across the lifespan. Further, the fetal brain networks observed in the present study likely serve as the building blocks for nascent neonatal, toddler, and adult networks.”

Dr. Leonard Sax, a physician and psychologist, wrote in Psychology Today that the new study is in line with previous studies showing that female infants “have significantly greater brain volume in the prefrontal cortex compared with males.” He wrote that some of the sex differences the researchers found are “truly amazing.” Girls showed differences in the connections in the left cerebellum, for example, as well as other areas of the brain, when compared to boys. The cerebellum lies near the base of the skull and has an important role in motor control. It may also be involved in functions such as attention, language, and the regulation of fear and pleasure responses.

In an interview with CNA, Sax said the importance of the study is that it shows that sexual differences in brain development come before birth. “Exactly what those differences signify is controversial,” he added.

Sax recalled in the Psychology Today article that Professor Judith Butler, a non-scientist, has been celebrated for her idea that “male” and “female” categories are social constructs. He quotes Butler, who says that “because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender creates [sic] the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all.” Butler’s book, Gender Trouble, has been influential for decades among transgenderism advocates, who have argued that sexual differences are conditioned by parents and societal norms. The new study throws the resultant gender theory into doubt, Sax writes, because it focuses on babies before birth and thus before any influence from parents or society.

While transgender advocates attribute gender differences to societal prejudices and norms, for Sax, “girls and boys are different,” according to CNA. Sax believes that “girl” and “boy” are “meaningful categories” that are not a performance or social construct.

Ohio abortion center loses appeal to stay open without hospital transfer agreement

KETTERING, April 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An embattled abortion facility in Ohio has lost the latest round of its legal battle to stay open despite lacking the required hospital transfer agreement, with the next step potentially being the state Supreme Court.

In 2016, state health officials revoked Women’s Med Center of Dayton (WMCD)’s ambulatory surgical facility license, citing alleged rule violations. County court judge Mary Wiseman let WMCD remain open while challenging the decision but went on to rule that the “court lacks the jurisdiction” to intervene in the case.

Women’s Med, which is roughly four miles away from two hospitals, has been unable to secure a written agreement with area hospitals to admit patients in cases of complications. But Jennifer Branch, an attorney representing WMCD, claims the requirement is “medically unnecessary and politically motivated” because hospitals would be required to take emergency patients anyway.

Operation Rescue notes, however, that WMCD has a history of medical emergencies, including a 26-year-old woman hemorrhaging after a surgical abortion last month and an unconscious woman rushed to the hospital the month before after the abortion center’s staff were unable to treat her seizures. WMCD is owned by the infamous late-term abortionist Martin Haskell, who has been credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion procedure.

Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals took up Women’s Med’s appeal on March 12, and on Friday a three-judge panel sided with the state, the Dayton Daily Newsreports.

“It is ridiculous for an abortion facility that cannot comply with licensing standards to stay open for four, five, or six years until the appeals can be exhausted and the clinic finally closed,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said. “In the meantime, women are suffering abortion complications and are being transported away by ambulance. These all could have been avoided had the appeals process allowed for the closure of this dangerous abortion clinic within a reasonable time frame.”

“The state’s law is intended to protect the health of the mother and the unborn child, and clearly the court agreed,” said Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani. “If the clinic decides to appeal to the Supreme Court, I’m confident the state law will continue to be upheld. Otherwise, the clinic should be immediately closed, and countless lives in the Dayton region will be saved.”

Branch confirmed that WMCD intends to appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

“We are one step away from one ending the child-killing career of one of the most notorious full-term abortionists in America,” Newman said. “It’s just unfortunate that it will likely take another year of appeals before we can finally see Haskell’s late-term clinic closed.”

The consequences of a plummeting birth rate

Shannon Roberts | Apr 2 2019

Today I recommend to you some interesting demographic insights from Lyman Stone, speaking on The Federalist Radio Hour.   You can listen here.  Some of the points I found interesting are:

– Are demographers considering what individual people actually want for their lives?  Lyman Stone argues that this is the meaningful question demographers should ask, particularly in relation to developing countries, and it is often a blind spot.

– The United States is at the lowest fertility rate in its history, as are many other countries around the world, so we are in an anomalous period in the world’s history.

– People often think the fewer people there are in the world, the more of the ‘pie’ will be left for them.  This is wrong because, in fact, the ‘pie’ gets a lot smaller when there are fewer people, and there is less for everyone.  The economy will get smaller, and who will be left to buy your assets such as your house and stocks?  How will businesses you invest in stay afloat with no new innovative people?

So, while it might make financial sense at an individual level to have fewer children and have more money left for you, at a societal level there will be less for everyone when you do this.The perspective of individuals does not match what society as a whole needs in this case.

– Climate change is a challenge of creativity and reducing emissions intensity.  The good news is we’re good at this.  In fact, the only meaningful thing we can do about emissions based on the current generally agreed scientific projections (if you take these as fact), is to come up with new innovations and technology at this point – which helps every country in the world lower their emissions too. Reducing population is too delayed based on the arguments and projections driving climate change.

Birth Dearth Reflects Moral Sterility.

By Father George Rutler, 24 March 2019

There is a law that the time required to complete a task matches the time available. The feast of the Annunciation fits conveniently in the Lenten cycle this year, as the season comes unusually late. Our Lady conceived when she said “Yes” to the Creator. Many today are saying “No.” In some parts of our country there is growth in the number of seminarians, but in most places the harvest is sparse, and that is directly related to the dearth of children. The birth rate is the lowest in history: 60.2 births for every 1,000 women. We may be contracting a contagion of barrenness from Europe, which is dying because of a birth rate of 10 per 1,000 women and is desperately trying to survive by radically transforming its culture through massive immigration. It is projected that within ten years, the European Union will experience a 14% decrease in its workforce and a 7% decrease in its consumer populations.

A birth dearth reflects moral sterility. There is one condition shared by the heads of state or government in France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Scotland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg: none of them have any children. Why should they care about future generations? There actually are voices calling for a complete elimination of births, on the claim that anthropogenic “climate change” will destroy the world in twenty years anyway. Many of them, whose mothers were of a different school of thought, may not remember that fifty years ago, a book titled The Population Bomb predicted that within ten years, hundreds of millions would have died of starvation and that most of its readers would have starved to death by now. Practicing what he preached, the author had a vasectomy and now—at the age of 85—still has an adequate food supply. Confident that theory takes precedent over fact, he maintains that his core thesis was correct.

State legislation and cultural pressures are increasingly hostile to families, which in various ways are looked on as threats to government. Governmental and societal forces promote contraception, abortion, easy divorce, and welfare structures that encourage fatherless households. If the Church is true to herself in her teaching and example, she will be the solace of civilization in this new demographic dark age.

Giving thanks in these Lenten days for Our Lady’s “Yes,” we look to the words of Saint John Paul II: “I wish to invoke the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth. … It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families. … St. Joseph was a ‘just man’… May he always guard, protect and enlighten families. May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of ‘the Church of the home.’ . . . May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of Families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity, and strength” (Familiaris Consortio #86).

 

https://fathergeorgerutler.podbean.com

Catholic College Success Stories

By Father George Rutler, 31 March 2019

Thirty-five years ago I admired the neo-Gothic buildings of a Catholic college in Westchester County. But I was surprised to find that the confessional in the beautiful chapel was being used as a broom closet. There had been some misunderstanding about aggiornamento, or bringing the practice of the Faith up to date. That was the College of New Rochelle, begun in 1904 by the Ursuline sisters whose Religious institute was founded by Saint Angela Merici and who have graced the Church since 1535 with hospitals and schools and missionary work. They have not been unique in their numerical decline. In the United States since 1965, when the Second Vatican Council ended with sentiments of a “New Springtime” of the Church, Religious sisters have declined from 181,421 to 47,160, and most of those left are aged. This year the College of New Rochelle will close.

While various factors for all this may be cited, many Religious orders, trained in obedience, accepted bad advice from misguided and misguiding theologians and leaders. Bishops often have been at fault, timorous about correcting error, cheerily giving out diplomas while the spiritual foundations of the schools sank. It took courage usually lacking to point out that serious mistakes were being made, and many Religious dug into their errors, abandoning community life and even Religious habits, and replacing doctrine with secular dogmas about “Peace and Justice” and “climate change”—all witness to the dictum, attributed to various sources, that ”Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”

Such need not be the case, given a dose of humility and sanity. Those who stubbornly will not admit mistakes are easily annoyed when shown new Religious orders, faithful to classical doctrine and religious practice, that are rapidly growing. Something similar is happening in education. Take just two examples: Thomas Aquinas College has emphasized quality over size since its founding in 1971 and has become one of the best regarded colleges in California. This year, it is opening a beautiful additional campus on an historic site in Massachusetts. Its California chapel, built in the Spanish Mission style, is a magnificent witness to Catholic heritage, as is the new chapel planned for Christendom College in Virginia, which was founded just a few years after Thomas Aquinas College. In the few years of their existence, although primarily lay institutions, Thomas Aquinas has produced 60 priests, 44 consecrated Religious women and men, and 26 seminarians; Christendom boasts so far 80 priests, 55 Religious, and 22 seminarians. Those colleges have not turned their confessionals into broom closets.

Any individual or institution that seeks happiness on its own terms will not find it. Chesterton asks, “Do you have joy without a cause…?” On Laetare Sunday, the Church rejoices in the true cause of joy, which is God Himself. The failings evident in practical experience testify to what happens when vanity tries to usurp Him.

 

https://fathergeorgerutler.podbean.com

Is it ethical to give emergency contraception in Catholic hospitals?

Chris Kahlenborn, MD

March 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Each year, over 250,000 women get sexually assaulted in the United States, while the actual number of victims is likely far higher, considering that less than 40% of victims report their assaults. Of the women who do go to an emergency room, almost all will get a pregnancy test, and if the test is negative, almost all will receive emergency contraception, usually Plan B, which consists of a hormone called levonorgestrel, given with the hope that it will prevent pregnancy. The main ethical debate concerns the question of whether this medication works via preventing pregnancy or via ending pregnancy (i.e., an early abortion).

So what is the policy of Catholic hospitals in the United States with regard to the dispensation of emergency contraception? A few Catholic hospitals forbid its use; however, many Catholic hospitals dispense emergency contraception under certain conditions and follow the Peoria Protocol, which was invented in Peoria, Illinois, under then-bishop Myers.

Simply put, this protocol states that it is ethical to dispense emergency contraception such as Plan B to a woman who is sexually assaulted if she is not pregnant and has not yet ovulated. The premise behind the protocol is that Plan B will stop a woman from ovulating if she is about to ovulate and therefore prevent any potential pregnancy.

However, recent research has shown that giving Plan B to women who are about to ovulate does little to stop the upcoming ovulation, as noted by researchers Noe and Croxatto (2011, Contraception), who found that one could easily measure when a woman ovulates by high-tech ultrasound and noted that about 80% of the women ovulated if Plan B was given 2–5 days prior to ovulation.

So if Plan B does not effectively prevent ovulation, then how does it stop pregnancy? The answer is that these women are likely getting pregnant, but the embryo dies prior to ever implanting in the uterus — that is, an early abortion.

In light of the newest data, the Catholic Medical Association, the largest group of Catholic physicians in the United States, has published its official position on its website, concluding that the Peoria Protocol is flawed and that the dispensation of emergency contraception such as Plan B in Catholic emergency rooms is immoral.

The obvious question is, why is Plan B still being given out in Catholic hospitals’ emergency rooms?

One of the problems regarding Plan B and its mechanism of action is that it is a very technical area, so those who favor the dispensation of Plan B often make old claims that are not supported by the most current medical literature. In response, the Polycarp Research Institute has produced a video that goes into more detail and refutes these older arguments while presenting the most current evidence.

It is everyone’s hope that rape victims, whether pregnant or not, receive the most compassionate and effective care available. Unfortunately, using Plan B and continuing to cite the faulty Peoria Protocol, based upon what we now know, is simply an immoral compromise — with the unintended consequence of the loss of human life and the abandonment of truly loving and courageous Christian health care.

Incredible new technology offers hope for babies with heart problems

March 27, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — Scientists have created unprecedented 3D images of a baby’s heart while still inside the womb — a development which could help the treatment of babies with congenital heart disease.

Standard 2D images were taken using an MRI machine, and the images were then put through a powerful computer program developed by experts at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. The technology pieces the images together and adjusts for the speed of the baby’s heartbeat and its movements in the womb to create an unprecedented 3D image of the heart.

This then gives doctors a clear view of any abnormality.

To help babies with heart disease or screen them out? 

Congenital heart diseases affect up to eight in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. According to a Danish study, the rate of abortion for babies with major congenital heart disease (CHD) increased from 0.6% in 1996 to 39.1% in 2013 — a 65 fold increase.

However, Prof Reza Razavi, a consultant paediatric cardiologist, told the BBC that he wanted to improve the diagnosis of the birth defects after his daughter was born with one. “We thought we were going to lose her, that was a strong motivator… we should be able to pick up the problem in the womb,” he said.

He describes the 3D images as “beautiful” and says they let doctors clearly see the problem and improve care. He said: “We can have complete certainty and plan ahead what treatment is needed, what’s the operation we need to do.

“It really helps the parents to have the right support to know what’s going to happen. But it also really helps the babies because they get the right operation at the right time and have the best outcomes.”

The research is part of the iFind project, which also produced this incredible video of a twenty-week-old baby in the womb.

Let’s hope that this incredible technology is used to provide care for babies with heart disease, and is not used as another tool to screen them out.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

More evidence shows Catholic Relief Services still involved in promoting contraception

March 27, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — Catholic Relief Services is currently in the middle of a national fund-raising campaign, and Catholics all around the country have been contacting the Lepanto Institute, asking if CRS is still involved in the promotion of contraception. Sadly, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Last year, we reported that CRS is a dues-paying member ($56,000 per year) of an organization called InterAction, which actively lobbies Congress for the expansion of contraception and the end of the Mexico City Policy. Last week, we reported how CRS Executive Vice-President William O’Keefe testified before Congress to request nearly $9 billion for USAID, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund, which comprise the largest distributors of contraception and condoms throughout the world.

Our latest report on a CRS project (which can be read in full by clicking here) shows that from 2013 to 2018, Catholic Relief Services participated in a project which had the stated objective of spreading contraception to vulnerable women living in poverty in rural areas of Madagascar. CRS’s role in this project was to create a self-sustaining financial mechanism that would provide funding to Community Health Volunteers, whose job (among other things) it was to teach women all about contraception and to sell them various pills and devices.

Background

The USAID Mikolo Project, which ran from August 2013 to July 2018, was a continuation of another project in Madagascar called SanteNet2. At the close of SanteNet2 in March of 2013, USAID noticed that its efforts to spread contraception through Community Health Volunteers was not achieving the level of independent sustainability it had hoped. In January of 2013, USAID conducted an “Assessment of Community Health Volunteer Program Functionality in Madagascar” wherein it sought “how to finance the CHV program to make it sustainable.” The report said:

Recommendations included determining how to finance the CHV program to make it sustainable. One representative called for a line item in the Government budget at decentralized levels to cover CHV services. Another said that some FP services were free at health centers but that CHVs had to ask for a fee to recoup the costs of medicines and supplies, though the service was free. This particularly applied with medications that were purchased through the community. Poverty in remote areas precluded asking for contributions from the communities.

Analamanga’s community representatives were concerned about stimulating and sustaining CHVs’ motivation. They acknowledged the efforts CHV had to make and cited a need for financial incentives. One representative explained that the work interfered with a CHV’s personal (especially marital) life, since many were approached at night, especially for MNCH emergencies. In one case, a CHV’s husband opposed his wife’s CHV activity due to the frequent disruptions. Financial incentives, e.g., compensation for travel expenses, could help retain CHVs. Providing resources to communities to organize incentives was suggested.

The answer to this problem of providing incentives for CHVs to continue their work in the community (and away from their homes and farm work) while making sure the project was self-sustaining (as in, not reliant upon outside funding) came in the form of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC).

An October 2015 USAID document titled “COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER INCENTIVES IN MADAGASCAR: LESSONS LEARNED” explained that:

The most common financial incentives across all interviewed CHWs included per diem for attending trainings and meetings, user fees from the sale of medicines and commodities, performance-based financing (PBF) incentives, and referral payments for FP [family planning] services. Some CHWs were also involved in program-supported savings and internal lending communities (SILCs) and income generating activities, while others received free enrollement [sic] in community health insurance schemes.

The Problem

There are two basic elements to the project which must be understood in order to grasp the problem: Community Health Volunteers (CHV) and their role in promoting contraception; Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and their role in financing CHVs.

Community Health Volunteers and Contraception

The role of the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) is very clear. They are to provide service delivery for various health-related issues in rural communities, including contraception. The Final Performance Evaluation of the Mikolo Project, which was published in Dec. of 2017, gives a concise explanation for the use of CHVs in the project:

Working in eight of Madagascar’s 22 regions, in 43 Districts, 506 communes and 3,557 fokontany (communities) over the past three years, the Project has re-established a strong community based service delivery mechanism through the strengthening of the quality of service delivery by more than 6,500 community health volunteers (CHV). By focusing on communities which are greater than five kilometers from a nearest health facility, the Mikolo Project is ensuring that the most underserved of Madagascar’s population are receiving quality integrated health services for women and children under five years old. CHVs are the community linchpin in ensuring a strong continuum of care by:

  • offering family planning services to women of reproductive age, including youth …

In the very first report for the Mikolo Project (1 August–30 September 2013) it was established that the promotion and distribution of contraception was a priority. The report identifies on page 7 what it referred to as sub-purpose 2 of the project, namely, “increase the number of CHVs, fortify linkages with providers of long-acting and permanent methods (LAPMs) of FP, and improve commodity security.” In other words, CHVs were to be used as mules for contraception throughout the community.

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What is clear from this information is that Catholic Relief Services would have known from the very beginning of this project that the spread of contraception was integral to its success. In fact, in the portion of this report which delineates CRS’s responsibilities regarding the establishment of microfinance institutions is a statement that CRS will not be asked to provide service delivery related to family planning and reproductive health:

CRS will not be asked to provide service delivery related to family planning and reproductive health. Specifically, it is expected that CRS will lead all activities related to microfinance. Drawing from international and Madagascar specific experiences, CRS will facilitate the establishment of commune-level COSAN Savings and Loans Funds (CSLF)/Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs). CRS will establish partnerships with Microfinance Institutions and determine the demand for client centered loan products available through COSANs.

The role of CHVs in the promotion and distribution of contraception is made abundantly clear in dozens of documents, but a USAID report titled “USAID/Madagascar and Community Health Volunteers: Working in Partnership to Achieve Health Goals” explains on page 9, under the heading “CHV Package of Services,” the contraceptive services provided by CVHs in Madagascar:

Volunteers also provide community-based family planning services. These services include counseling, pregnancy screening, method eligibility screening, and provision of short-acting contraceptive methods. CHVs inform and refer clients for long-acting and permanent methods available through mobile outreach and private and public service providers. CHVs socially market many of the products that they distribute; this modest income serves as a motivation for CHVs and sets Madagascar apart from other countries that pay direct stipends. CHVs also provide a link to youth peer educators in the community to reproductive and other health services.

Savings and Internal Lending Communities

As explained earlier, Catholic Relief Services’ role in the Mikolo Project was to “lead all activities related to microfinance.” In June of 2018, MSH (the lead on the Mikolo Project) published an article explaining how the SILCs work and the relationship between the SILCs established by CRS and the Community Health Volunteers. It is important to note that this is the first time that SILCs would be used to finance a health-related project.

In rural Madagascar, people have limited access to savings programs or credit. This impacts community health when people cannot afford to pay for health care. In partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the USAID Mikolo Project promoted the creation of savings and internal lending communities (SILCs) at the Fokontany (village) level to encourage individuals and families to regularly save income and to provide them with access to credit on favorable terms.

CRS first developed the SILC approach for general community development, and USAID Mikolo implemented it for the first time in the field of public health. SILC groups offer easy access to financial services for households and health care providers, especially women, as well as social capital. The main objective of SILCs is to provide funding, borrowing, and savings opportunities for community members.

SILCs are groups of 15-25 community members that meet on a weekly basis. Each member contributes money into the SILC fund. Members can borrow money at a fixed interest rate, e.g. to start up a small business. After a full cycle (9-12 months), the total savings accrued throughout the period are distributed to members based on how much each has saved, as a percentage of the overall savings.

In fact, community health volunteers (CHVs) participate in the SILC groups not only as members, but also as health educators to improve quality of life by considering personal and family health. Life in a rural village is very difficult, and without financial stability simple healthy behaviors may seem out of reach for many families, such as purchasing needed medicines, soap, family planning methods, or healthy food. CHVs encourage these behaviors, and with the SILC program these and other health-promoting activities can become regular habits rather than unattainable conventions.

In short, CRS is responsible for creating local microfinance groups called SILCS, which in turn provide funding to CHVs, whose mission is to spread contraception to women in the village.

To put into perspective the effectiveness of CHVs in promoting and spreading contraception, this chart, which is on page 95 of the final evaluation we cited earlier, illustrates how “new users of family planning” was by far the most popular service provided.

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Further Evidence in Video

Catholic Relief Services knew fully well that it was being used by USAID in order to create a financial engine for the spread of contraception through Community Health Volunteers. The project itself identified CRS as being responsible for all matters pertaining to microfinance, it showed how CHVs were being funded by these microfinance groups, and it showed how one of the primary missions of the CHV was to introduce and spread contraception. The very fact that CRS had a disclaimer indicating that it would not be directly responsible for the delivery of family planning is further indication that CRS knew exactly what this project was about.

But another and more direct piece of evidence comes from CRS itself.

On YouTube, USAID had uploaded a series of videos on the Mikolo Project intended to explain various aspects of the project itself. Several of these videos had closing credits showing that they were written, produced, and owned (copyrighted) by Catholic Relief Services itself.

In one video, titled “Promoting Saving and Lending Communities to Improve Access to Health,” the narrator explains the relationship between CHVs and CSLF, saying:

The primary goal of the project is to increase the use of primary healthcare services to local community and the adoption of health enhancing behavior. The project relies on human capital to achieve this goal. The establishment of CSLF or Cosen Savings and Loans funds, which are savings groups of community health volunteers is one way to achieve this. The CSLF presents an opportunity for community health volunteers to have access to financial opportunities such as credit and savings. This practice also enables them to develop their social capital into the community health volunteer’s professional network.

While the narrator for the video is saying this, the B-roll footage shows a CHV entering a woman’s hut, where he pulls out a box of something from his backpack (image above). Blowing the picture up (left) reveals that the box being taken from the backpack is a box carrying the label “Confiance.”

Image

A few seconds later, the contents of the box are set out on the table while the CHV examines the instructions on the back of the box. The contents included a small vial and a syringe (see the image below). According to a document produced by Family Planning Watch, a project of Population Services International, Confiance is an injectable contraceptive equivalent to Depo-Provera, produced by the Pfizer corporation.

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This video, along with this report, was sent to Catholic Relief Services in September of 2018. After several months, Catholic Relief Services claimed that the video, which bears its closing credits and its copyright, was not its video and that a local production company mistakenly attached CRS’s credits and copyright to the end of the video. Not only is this explanation the same kind of thing CRS said about the government documents indicating that CRS was involved in the promotion of contraception in the SAIDIA Project, and the inventory reports showing that CRS had received and distributed 2.25 million units of contraception in Project AXxess, but since CRS was specifically identified as having been responsible for all of the matters pertaining to microfinances, there simply isn’t any other entity for whom this video would have been made.

After receiving CRS’s explanation that the video isn’t actually theirs, we have discovered that the original now has the ending credits and copyright attributed to CRS blurred out. However, the Lepanto Institute saved the video in case something like this should happen. You can see the original version with the closing credits at the link here.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no way of denying that Catholic Relief Services played a willing role in a project designed to spread contraception to poor people in rural Madagascar. The project identified the spread of contraception by Community Health Volunteers as a priority from the very beginning. The Community Health Volunteers were being funded by the microfinance communities called SILCs, and those communities were being established by Catholic Relief Services.

Another way of looking at this is that the CHVs are legalized drug-dealers (contraception instead of heroin), and CRS created the self-sustaining mechanism that would keep them funded.

CRS may claim that its role in the project was very small, but what it overlooks is that its small part was also one that was vital to the overall “success” of the project. The battery on a car is a very “small part,” but without one, a car won’t go anywhere.

But one more thing CRS has to atone for is the grave scandal it caused to the Malagasy people. On June 26, MSH and USAID Mikolo announced the role of the Mikolo Project in helping to draft Madagascar’s new law that allows universal access to contraception and enables CHVs to provide short-term contraception. While CRS may not have played a direct role in the drafting of this new law, because of its participation in a gravely and intrinsically immoral project, the name of the Church is now attached to this result.

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Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

19 children

https://www.mercatornet.com/video_choice/view/22314

Big families are not unusual in the Ukrainian village of Glynne. While the country’s population is falling, this highly religious community has more than 100 families with seven or more children. But one couple has gone further than most, recently welcoming their 19th child. Can they even remember all of those names? BBC Video by Roman Lebed

Christian Singer Matthew West’s New Pro-Life Song: With God No Baby is Ever “Unplanned”

MICAIAH BILGER   MAR 26, 2019   |   5:04PM    WASHINGTON, DC

Popular Christian recording artist Matthew West released a new song Friday that focuses on the value of the “unplanned” baby in the womb.

His song, “Unplanned,” comes out in coordination with the release of the film by the same name, which follows the story of Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson.

CBN News reports West wrote the song as the title track for the movie. His inspiration came from memories of hearing his own daughter’s heartbeat for the first time.

“I wrote this from the perspective of someone seeing their baby for the first time,” West said. “I tried to capture the feelings I had when I first heard my own daughter’s heartbeat; the overwhelming sense of life that is precious, a life that is a miracle, and a life that is a gift.”

West, whose music video is interspersed with clips from the film, said he hopes the song will move people.

“Oh I don’t believe in accidents/Miracles, they don’t just happen by chance,” West sings. “As long as my God holds the world in his hands/I know that there’s no such thing as unplanned.”

Embedded video

Matthew West

@matthew_west

As long as my God holds the world in His hands, I know there’s no such thing as Unplanned.
Watch the music video for Unplanned from the @UnplannedMovie at the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttXoXMBfZ8Q 

123 people are talking about this

At least 1,000 theaters are slated to screen the film “Unplanned” starting March 29. The film is rated “R” but a group of conservative leaders are contesting the rating.

Visit UnplannedFilm.com for more details.

Celebrate the Annunciation as the Day of the Unborn Child!

March 25, which is nine months before the celebration of the Birth of Christ, is the Annunciation, when Jesus was conceived within the body of the Virgin Mary as she accepted her call to be the Mother of God.

Priests for Life, along with many other pro-life groups, urges believers to celebrate this day as a Day of the Unborn Child, with special observances that highlight the Church’s pro-life teachings.

In 2019 take a journey through pregnancy from March 25th (Day of the Unborn Child) to Christmas Day, 2019 A coalition of national pro-life groups are urging people to observe March 25th as the “Day of the Unborn Child” (already celebrated in various countries), and then to journey through the nine months of pregnancy, until Christmas Day, with prayer, outreach, and education, so that people may learn about the development of the unborn child. For project details see www.BabyChris.org.

Fr. Frank

The Magisterium’s most comprehensive statement on the sanctity of life, the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, was issued on March 25, 1995, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. This feast marks the moment at which the Incarnation took place. At Mary’s “Fiat,” God began existing in a human nature – a human nature at the earliest stages of its development within Mary’s body.

“Mary’s consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity” (Evangelium Vitae, 102).

At a time when our society is beset with the evil of abortion, and when the human embryo is treated as a mere object for scientific research, Priests for Life believes that the celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation is more important than ever. By celebrating this Feast with special solemnity, and by spending more time meditating on its doctrinal and spiritual lessons, the faithful can be even more solidly rooted in their pro-life convictions, and spurred on to effective action in defense of life.

We pray that the pastors of the Church will lead their congregations in special pro-life observances on this Solemnity each year.

A special prayer that can be used as you observe this Feast:

Redeemer in the Womb

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that when Mary, your Mother, said “Yes” at the Annunciation, You took our human nature upon Yourself. You shared our life and death, our childhood and adulthood.

You also shared our time in the womb. While still God, while worshiped and adored by the angels, while Almighty and filling every part of the universe, You dwelt for nine months in the womb of Mary. You were our Redeemer in the womb, our God who was a preborn child.

Lord Jesus, we ask You to bless and protect the children who today are in their mothers’ womb. Save them from the danger of abortion.

Give their mothers the strength, like Mary, to say “Yes” to you. Give them grace to sacrifice themselves, in body and soul, for their children.

Help all people to recognize in the preborn child a brother, a sister, saved by You, our Redeemer in the womb, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

The Critical Role of Down Syndrome in opening the door to Legalized Abortion

By Leticia Velasquez, Co-founder of KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome)

When abortion was unthinkable in the fifties, abortion activists had to find a chink in the armor of society’s love for the unborn child to justify abortion. They had to find the original hard case.

They looked to the children who were less loved than others, the children we abandoned at birth and sent to institutions, those with Down syndrome. After all, a mere 10 years earlier such people had been designated “life unworthy of life.” They were forced into institutions which, under the Nazi’s infamous T4 Program, operated as death camps where they were systematically chosen for death and killed by their doctors and nurses.

No longer executed yet considered ineducable in the sixties, mothers allowed doctors to convince them that it was “for the best” to institutionalize newborns with Down syndrome. Oftentimes a death certificate was issued so that the parents could cut ties with their child. See the film. ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” for an idea of the mentality of that era.

It wasn’t until Geraldo Rivera’s expose documentary of the horrible conditions at Willowbrook that the public began to reconsider inviting individuals with Down syndrome into society. But tragically it was too late: a combination of scientific advances sealed the fate of generations of unborn babies with Down syndrome.

French physician Dr Jerome Lejeune discovered in 1958 that the cause of Down syndrome was an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. As his daughter Clara Lejeune Gaymard wrote in her memoir, Life is a Blessing,

“He might have called it Lejeune’s syndrome, like so many other diseases that bear the name of the one who discovered them. But what was important to him was restoring the dignity of those who are ill and their families. Trisomy 21 is a genetic accident, it is not contagious, and syphilis is not the cause of it. From now on people would not cross the street any more to avoid contaminations their future offspring when the afflicted child passed with its mother. From not on families would know if their child was ill, they were not at fault. The term mongolism called too much attention to the physical imperfection. Trisomy 21 would be from now on the name. . .” p16

Dr. Lejeune made it possible to identify a child with Down syndrome by their genetic karyotype, or unique genetic footprint. Around the same time, Dr. William Alfred Liley perfected the technique for prenatal diagnosis in New Zealand, hoping as Dr Lejeune did, to treat babies in utero. He had become famous for developing a treatment of inter-uterine blood transfusion for Rh-negative babies.

But these Catholic family men found their discoveries led to a reversal of their noble intentions. “Thanks to amniocentesis and karyotyping the technology was in place for eliminating “undesirable specimens” before birth. Their discoveries were diverted from their original objective.” (Life is a Blessing, p. 40)

In a desperate attempt to stop the militant march of abortion legalization, both Drs. Lejeune and Liley became leaders in the burgeoning pro-life movement in the 1960’s but the die had already been cast. Prenatal testing and abortion were possible. Elimination of the “unwanted” baby was possible. The abortion activists had the hard case they would use to pry open the door to unlimited abortion.

For years since the discovery that as women age, the likelihood of bearing a child with Down syndrome increases, doctors had been scaring women with that statistic. Some doctors considered age of the mother as a reason to abort in case they might be carrying a child with Down syndrome. Now, the certainty that a child with Down syndrome could be diagnosed in utero, prenatal testing was hailed as ‘life-saving.’

Its cost to the lives of unborn babies with Down syndrome was disregarded, the only babies worth saving were those deemed perfect. The doors to legal abortion were pried open for such tragic cases.

In the ensuing years the language has changed little. Abortion is touted as lifesaving even though thousands of babies are aborted every year and those with Down syndrome are aborted at a rate close to 90% after prenatal screening and diagnosis. New prenatal screening tests, such as Materni T21. boast of a 99% accuracy rate using only the mother’s blood in the 10th week of pregnancy increasing the “opportunity” to abort babies with Down syndrome.

Drs. Lejeune and Liley collaborated in trying to save babies who were being killed because of the tragic misuse of the discoveries they meant to save lives. Dr. Lejeune dedicated the rest of his career until his death in 1994, to finding a cure for Down syndrome.

He said, “I see only one way left to save them, and that is to cure them. The task is immense—but so is Hope.”

Editor’s note. Leticia Velasquez is the author of “A Special Mother is Born.”

Archbishop Chaput to College Students: Following God’s Will Is Answer to Dark Times

BISMARCK, N.D. — There’s a scene in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, a fantasy series written by Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien, where the quest to destroy an evil, all-powerful ring seems to be utterly hopeless. Darkness and danger have surrounded and hounded Frodo, the little hobbit ultimately given the mission to destroy the ring, ever since he set foot out of the Shire, the idyllic and safe home he left behind for this quest.
This was the scene Archbishop Charles Chaput set for students at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, as he spoke to them about their vocations and the purpose of their lives Wednesday evening.

In a moment of despair, Archbishop Chaput noted, Frodo turns to his most faithful friend, Samwise Gamgee, a hobbit who has refused to leave Frodo’s side, and asks him whether it’s even worth continuing with the seemingly impossible mission.

Sam says yes, “because there’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

The Dakotas, Archbishop Chaput noted earlier in his address, are much like the idyllic Shire from which those hobbits hail: safe, in many ways idyllic, and seldom the center of attention.

“I’ve served as bishop in three different dioceses, and each has been a great blessing of friends and experiences. I’ve loved them all. But my first love is the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota,” he said.

“There’s a beauty and sanity to the Dakotas that you can’t find anywhere else. I also think the devil tends to focus on places like New York and Washington and to see places like Bismarck as less important, which is his mistake. It means a lot of very good things can get done here, right under his nose,” he said.

But just as the Hobbits did not remain in the Shire, he noted, so, too, are Christians eventually called to go out from their homes and places of formation to engage the world and spread the Gospel.

“The day comes when (the Hobbits are) called out of their homes and into a great war between good and evil for the soul of the wider world — a war in which they play the decisive role, precisely because they’re small and so seemingly unimportant,” he said.

But the outside world is in desperate need of remaking, Archbishop Chaput noted, including from within the Catholic Church.

The recent barrage of sex-abuse scandals in the Church can make these seem like very dark times, he said.

“A lot of very good people are angry with their leaders in the Church over the abuse scandal, and justly so. I don’t want to diminish that anger because we need it; it has healthy and righteous roots,” he said.

But the right response to that righteous anger is not a poisonous resentment, but a response of humility and love that purifies the individual as well as the Church, he said, much like St. Catherine of Siena, who, through her holiness and persistence, convinced the Pope to move back to Rome.

“God calls all of us not just to renew the face of the earth with his Spirit, but to renew the heart of the Church with our lives; to make her young and beautiful again and again, so that she shines with his love for the world. That’s our task. That’s our calling. That’s what a vocation is: a calling from God with our name on it.”

There is also much darkness in the world that comes from outside the Church, he noted.

“American life today is troubled by three great questions: What is love? What is truth? And who is Jesus Christ?” he said. “The secular world has answers to each of those great questions. And they’re false.”

The world defines love solely with emotions and sexual compatibility, while it defines truth as something that can only be observed through objective, measurable data, he said. The world also says Jesus Christ was a good man in a long line of good teachers, but is ultimately just a nice superstitious belief rather than a real person who is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

“The key thing about all these secular answers is this: They’re not only false, but dangerous. They reduce our human spirit to our appetites. They lower the human imagination and the search for meaning to what we can consume. And because the human heart hungers for a meaning that secular culture can’t provide, we [as a culture] anesthetize that hunger with noise and drugs and sex and distractions. But the hunger always comes back,” he said.

The secular world offers easy answers, he noted, but it does not offer satisfying answers to some of the most deeply human questions one could ask: “Why am I here? What does my life mean? Why do the people I love grow old and die, and will I ever see them again? The secular world has no satisfying answer to any of these questions. Nor does it even want us to ask such questions because of its self-imposed blindness; it cannot tolerate a higher order than itself — to do so would obligate it to behave in ways it does not want to behave. And so it hates, as Cain did, those who seek to live otherwise.”

The answer to all of these questions, Archbishop Chaput said, is not some theory or equation, but the Person of Jesus Christ.

“He’s the only reliable guide for our journey through the world. Christians follow him, as the apostles did, because, in him and in his example, God speaks directly to us and leads us on the way home to his kingdom. To put it another way, Jesus is not only the embodiment of God, but also the embodiment of who we are meant to be.”

And Jesus’ message is that each life is “unrepeatable and precious [and has] a meaning and a purpose that God intends only for you — only for you,” he said.

For many people, this will mean living out the vocation of marriage and witnessing to Christ among family, friends and places of work, “and you’ll make your mark on the world with an everyday witness of Christian life,” he said.

“Marriage and family are profoundly good things,” he added, and laypeople are called not just to be “helpers” of clergy, but to share an equal responsibility in furthering the mission of the Church.

“Remember that as you consider your future,” he said.

God also calls some to be radical witnesses of holiness in the priesthood or consecrated religious life, he said.

“Religious are a living witness to radical conversion and radical love, a constant proof that the beatitudes are more than just beautiful ideals, but, rather, the path to a new and better kind of life,” he said.

“And priests have the privilege of holding the God of creation in their hands. Without priests, there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Church. And without the Church as a living and organized community, there is no presence of Jesus Christ in the world.”

The keys to finding one’s vocation and purpose in life are silence and prayer, which make room for God’s voice, he said.

“Making time for silence and prayer should be the main Lenten practice for all of us, but especially for anyone seeking God’s will for his or her own life.”

So rather than bemoaning the fact that times are bad, Archbishop Chaput urged the students to remember that they are living at this time for a reason and can, by their holiness and witness of their lives, reshape the times.

“As a bishop, St. Augustine lived at a time when the whole world seemed to be falling apart, and the Church herself was struggling with bitter theological divisions. But whenever his people would complain about the darkness of the times, he’d remind them that the times are made by the choices and actions of the people who inhabit them,” he said.

“In other words, we make the times. We’re the subjects of history, not merely its objects. And unless we consciously work to make the times better with the light of Jesus Christ, then the times will make us worse with their darkness.”

Babies diagnosed with illness in the womb are as valuable as the rest of us

 

(The Daily Signal) The Cut recently ran a piece by Jen Gann, an outspoken, pro-choice mother who details her journey through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and genetic testing as she aims to conceive a healthy child. Her first pregnancy resulted in a son with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease, and what she considers a missed opportunity to abort him.

In 2017, Gann filed a wrongful [birth] lawsuit against her doctors for inadequate genetic testing that she claims would have likely determined her son had cystic fibrosis and would have then provided her the option to abort him.

responded to her lawsuit two years ago, because this story is very personal to me. Not only because I believe life is the most valuable gift generously bestowed upon mankind, but because I also have a child living with cystic fibrosis.

It pained me, again, to see Gann reiterate in print her desire to end her sick child’s life.

Sadly, we see this far too often. The left pushes a false narrative when it comes to human dignity. Masked in the so-called desire to prevent a sick child from suffering, pro-choice activists actually devalue the sickest among us. Their drive to abort unhealthy babies sends the message that those who live with a medical condition are somehow less than or an unwanted burden.

All human beings, regardless of disease, illness, ailments, and deformities, have the right to life. They too are fearfully and wonderfully made. Their value is in no way decreased because of their disease or any subsequent pain and suffering that disease brings.

Inaccurately, Gann’s piece focuses heavily on women’s empowerment and the amount of influence a woman holds in her ability to make a choice to end or continue a pregnancy.

The reality is that women don’t give life—God does. Yes, we have the biological ability to carry a child in the womb, provide it the nutrients needed to grow and the environment to thrive, as well as give birth. But we do not form a child in the womb, knit together its genetic makeup, or will it to live.

Furthermore, despite the feminist movement’s desire to vilify men, male DNA is also needed to produce a child. The fact that women carry a child does not make way for absolute female control.

I fully agree that women should be empowered, just like all humans should be encouraged and free to reach their upmost potential. But ending the life of another human is not empowerment—it is the highest form of oppression.

 

Terminating a child is devaluing its existence and saying it doesn’t share equal status with others who are currently living. No matter what reason is given for the abortion (choice, convenience, compassion, etc.), the act erases a human life and the lasting mark it would most certainly leave on others.

The abortion industry also claims to promote empowerment for women, but such “empowerment” is extremely exclusive, limited only to those women living outside the womb. The women growing in utero, on the other hand, are completely voiceless, powerless, and subjected only to the will of others, unable to defend themselves.

To no surprise, not once in the piece does Gann focus on the actual horrors of abortion, the pain it brings women and families, and the emotional toll it can take on a person. Instead, she glorifies it as a normal health care procedure and a thankful option she has if the “perfect” child isn’t conceived:

I had a child at home; if, when, this didn’t work, I would be fine. Besides, pre-implantation genetic testing isn’t perfect. If this embryo’s results were discovered to be inaccurate later on, I knew I’d terminate.

This rhetoric normalizes murder in an attempt to make others feel as though it’s natural and easy, when in reality that is not the case.

Our society has a major problem if we continue to sit by silently while abortion is used as a tool to erase the sickest and weakest among us. We must not follow the dark path of countries like Iceland and Demark, which have publically bragged about “eradicating” the Down syndrome gene through abortion.

Every single child, regardless of illness or disability, deserves access to the most basic and fundamental right of mankind, the right to life. And we should tirelessly fight to see that they do.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at The Daily Signal and is reprinted here with permission.

‘Brain death’ is a medical fiction invented to harvest organs from living people: expert

ROME, March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Is it morally permissible to harvest the organs of a person in a coma declared “brain dead” by doctors? Why and when did organ transplantation first come about? And what is the Church’s teaching on using organs from a person deemed to be “brain dead”?

These questions and more are answered by Doyen Nguyen during an in-depth interview with the Italian magazine Radici Cristiane (read full interview below), where she blames a “consumerist culture” for causing many to accept the idea of “brain death,” a term she refers to as an incoherent, “medical fiction.”

Nguyen is a lay Dominican and professor at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. She will be presenting on the topic of “brain death” at the A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence conference hosted by the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family in Rome May 20-21.

Professor Josef Seifert, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and Fr. Edmund Waldstein, among others, will present to the gathering as well, which will be held at the Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio. Click here to register. 

In the far-reaching interview, Nguyen says that an Ad Hoc Harvard Committee in 1968 redefined the term “brain death” to mean someone in an irreversible coma. Nguyen says this was done in order to serve the interests of the organ transplantation industry and to avoid public outcry that would have viewed transplant surgeons as organ-stealing killers.

Nguyen refutes the invention of the term “brain death” to describe someone in an “irreversible coma” by arguing that the term “irreversible coma” itself “indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!”

When a doctor declares a comatose patient to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead, she said.

Nguyen criticized John Paul II’s 2000 Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society for its shortsightedness. Nguyen says John Paul’s remarks, which suggest “brain death” in certain cases “does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology,” did not take into consideration all the literature available on the topic at the time. Nguyen says that the address should be “amended, or better yet, retracted.” Nguyen proceeds to explain how the Church should understand “brain death.”

***

Radici Cristiane’s full interview with Doyen Nguyen

Radici Cristiane (RC): There are people who think that “brain death” is a great deception. Do you agree?

Doyen Nguyen (Nguyen): Yes. “Brain death” has been a medical fiction from its very inception. The evidence for this can be found in the manuscript-drafts of the Ad Hoc Harvard Committee report which introduced “brain death” on August 5, 1968. The Committee, headed by its chairman, Dr. Beecher, worked swiftly on this report from March through June 25, 1968. In the first manuscript-draft, Beecher wrote:

The question before this committee cannot be simply to define brain death. This would not advance the cause of organ transplantation since it would not cope with the essential issue of when the surgical team is authorized—legally, morally, and medically—in removing a vital organ.

In the penultimate manuscript-draft on June 3, 1968, Beecher wrote:

With increased experience and knowledge and development in the field of transplantation, there is great need for the tissues and organs of the hopelessly comatose in order to restore to health those who are still salvageable. (1)

The language in the manuscript-drafts of the Harvard report is thus overtly explicit with regard to the connection between organ donation and the “birth” of “brain death.” In other words, the real reason why the Harvard Committee redefined irreversible coma as death (and gave it a new name, “brain death”) is for a two-fold purpose: (i) to have fresh, viable organs more readily available for the transplantation enterprise, and (ii) at the same time, to avoid any public outcry that transplant surgeons were organ-stealing killers.

In the final draft which became the Harvard report, the explicitly utilitarian language in the earlier drafts was toned down by Ebert (then the dean of the Harvard Medical School), in order to make it seem that transplantation was not the primary cause of the “birth” of “brain death.”

So, in a nutshell, “brain death” is a construct to serve the interest of organ transplantation.

RC: What is the scientific/medical evidence showing that “brain death” is not true human death?

Nguyen: Here I will answer you with a long quote taken from a peer-reviewed article written by Kompanje and De Groot. They are supporters of organ transplantation and therefore, of “brain death.” Yet, because of academic honesty, they have to admit that “brain death” is a construct for the purpose of organ transplantation. They wrote:

Suppose one of your loved ones is admitted to an ICU with a subarachnoid hemorrhage and you are sitting next to her bed, overwhelmed by emotions and holding her hand. She is deeply comatose, connected to a ventilator; intravenous vasopressors are needed to keep her blood pressure stable. You are hoping for the best, but fear the worst. And the worst comes. The intensivist tells you her brain is dead. Then he asks you for permission to take out her organs. You, and your loved one, had never thought about this scenario of dying. You had heard about brain death, but you don’t have a picture of it in your head. You ask the doctor: “when will she die”? He answers: “she is already dead.” You don’t believe him because there are so many signs of life. Her skin is warm, her heart is beating. […] Taking out her organs while her heart is still beating seems like a scene from a cheap horror film. […] We are, as most intensivists, greatly in favor of organ donation for transplantation. The whole concept of organ donation is founded on the concept that the potential organ donor is really dead at the moment that brain death is declared. This is pivotal in order to gain even remote public acceptance of organ donation. They have to be ensured that their loved one is dead before the organs are taken out. But, the bare fact that many brain-dead patients can continue to perform a variety of integrative functions over indefinite time periods, including maintaining body temperature, persistent and adequate hypothalamic hormonal function, regulating salt and water homoeostasis, digesting administered food, healing wounds, increase of infection markers and healing infections, stress responses to bodily interventions such as surgery and gestating fetuses in pregnant brain-dead women, makes some wonder whether a brain-dead patient is as ‘dead’ as the doctors say. Or they mistrust the statement that the patient has been pronounced ‘dead.’ For example, it is very difficult to see a ‘brain-dead’ pregnant woman, in whose womb a fetus grows over a time period for 2–3 months after the determination of brain death, as ‘a cadaver.’ There are just too many signs of life. Declaring these patients ‘dead’ solely on the basis of ‘a definition’ seems to contradict our common sense of what it is to be alive. Brain death is, since the first definitions in the scientific literature in 1968, closely related to organ donation. This is why, some scholars considers equating brain death to death as a moral and legal fiction. […] Without the needs of transplantation medicine, ‘brain death as death’ would not exist at all, but would be seen as […] irreversible […] coma (le coma dépassé). (2)

In fact, the above quote should remind us of the opening statement in the Harvard report which states: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.” Note however, the term “irreversible coma” itself indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!

Moreover, both life and death are realities the nature of which is mind-independent. The world is what it is regardless of what anyone says or thinks about it, and that world includes phenomena such as life, death, diseases, and all natural things from inorganic matter to human persons. Such natural entities are not open to revision or stipulation. In other words, death (understood as a biological phenomenon) is not the kind of thing that occurs by fiat like in the case of marriage. When a doctor declares a comatose patient (whose heart is beating, and whose skin is warm and pink) to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead.

RC: A threefold question regarding John Paul II’s 2000 Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, the problem which this Address has caused, and what should the Catholic faithful do?

Nguyen: For a detailed answer to this question please read my article: Doyen Nguyen, “Pope John Paul II and the Neurological Standard for the Determination of Death: A Critical Analysis of His Address to the Transplantation Society,” Linacre Quarterly 84, no. 2 (2017): 155–186. A more expanded treatment of the topic can be found in my book: Doyen Nguyen, The New Definitions of Death for Organ Donation: A Multidisciplinary Analysis from the Perspective of Christian Ethics (Bern: Peter Lang, 2018) on pages 457-483.

In this interview, I can only give you a brief synoptic answer to this very complex question. The bulk of my answer is found in sections 3.2 and 3.3.

3.1 First point: About the hierarchy of the different types of Magisterial teaching

The ordinary teaching of the Church’s Magisterium includes several gradations, from the higher end (e.g., the teaching of an encyclical such as Veritatis Splendor) to the lower end which consist of interventions in the prudential order, in which some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies since they might not have taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a particular issue (see Donum Veritatis, no. 24). In addition, the importance of a particular Church’s teaching can also be inferred from the insistence with which it has been repeated.

In this regard, John Paul II’s address to the Transplantation Society in 2000 belongs to the category of interventions of the prudential order. Moreover, the Pope’s statement (contained in that address) with regard to “brain death” has occurred once and only once in the whole of the teaching of the Magisterium. In particular, John Paul II did not even make a reference to that statement in his 2005 address to the participants of the conference “the Signs of Death” (February 2005) sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

3.2 Second point: John Paul II’s statement in his 2000 address

John Paul II’s statement in his 2000 address is as follows:

Vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death, that is from the body of someone who is certainly dead. […] The death of the person is a single event, consisting in the total disintegration of that unitary and integrated whole that is the personal self. It results from the separation of the life-principle (or soul) from the corporal reality of the person. […] For some time certain scientific approaches to ascertaining death have shifted the emphasis from the traditional cardio-respiratory signs to the so-called ‘neurological’ criterion. Specifically, this consists in establishing, according to clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community, the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity. […] It can be said that the criterion adopted in more recent times for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology.

There are several key points in the Pope’s statement:

(a) Death is the separation of the soul from the body. In other words, the Pope’s teaching on death is grounded in Christian anthropology, according to which: (a) man is the substantial unity of body and soul and, (b) the soul is the life principle of the body. In medical/scientific terms, the separation of the soul from the body manifests itself as the loss of somatic integration, i.e., the process of corruption of the material constituents which once composed the living body.

(b) Vital organs can only be removed after death. In this regard, it is necessary to understand that because human beings belong to the same genus of warm blood mammals, the biological manifestations of the death phenomenon in a human being are no different from that observed in other mammals such as a pet dog or a pet cat – no heartbeat, no respiration, no movements, no responses to any stimulation. The temperature of the dead body quickly drops to the same level as the ambient temperature; and livor mortis and rigor mortis set in within a few hours.

(c) The Pope’s endorsement of the neurological criterion for the determination of death (i.e., “brain death”) is a conditional endorsement, clearly indicated by the conjunction “if” and the verb “does not seem.” According to the Pope’s statement, in order to be acceptable, the “brain death” criterion must fulfill three requirements:

(i) the loss of somatic integration, i.e., the physical evidence that the soul has left the body;

(ii) a consensus of the parameters that constitute the “brain death” criterion (i.e., in the Pope’s words: “clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community”). The parameters here refer to the clinical tests used for determining “brain death;” and

(iii) the rigorous application of these parameters.

3.3 Confronting John Paul II’s 2000 statement and the reality of “brain death”

3.3.1 Without going into details, suffice it to mention that even brain-death advocates have to acknowledge that there is no global consensus on the parameters of the “brain death” paradigm, but rather a confusion of practice. For instance, in a well-known study by Greer and colleagues, within the United States alone, there is wide variability in the practice and determination of “brain death” among the top 50 institutions for neurology and neurosurgery. The most worrisome aspect of this wide variability is the variability in apnea testing, recognized by Greer and colleagues as “an area with the greatest possibility for inaccuracies.” (3)

Moreover, the parameters can only be clearly determined if they have undergone rigorous validation prior to being introduced into clinical practice. Such a validation process was never done prior to the introduction of “brain death” by the Harvard Committee. No validation study has been performed since that time either.

3.3.2 Perhaps the most grievous aspect regarding John Paul II’s 2000 Address is the fact that it did not take into account the wealth of peer-reviewed literature, published prior to 2000, which clearly provided the evidence that “brain death” is not death. Examples of such literature include:

(i) Shewmon’s 1998 report of a series of chronic “brain death” survivors;

(ii) many reports since the 1980s on brain-dead pregnant mothers who, with aggressive life support, were able to carry their pregnancy until the time when their babies could be safely delivered by Cesarean section;

(iii) many critiques of “brain death” authored by scholars who supported organ transplantation, but who, in conformity to academic honesty and scientific realism, publicly acknowledged that “brain death is a social construct created for utilitarian purposes, primarily to permit organ transplantation.” (4)

(iv) The most important publication which the Pope’s 2000 Address should have known about and should have taken into account is the document of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology published in 1995 to provide the guidelines for determining “brain death.” According to the guidelines, the presence of – “spontaneous movements of the limbs and reflexes of the limbs (e.g., rapid flexion in arms, raising of all limbs off the bed, grasping movements, spontaneous jerking of one leg, etc.) as well as responses such as profuse sweating, blushing, tachycardia, and sudden increases in blood pressure” – is compatible with the diagnosis of brain death.” (5)

A review done by Saposnik in 2009 shows that up to 80% of brain-dead patients can manifest such movements. Although movements in any particular brain-dead patient may be very infrequent, they nevertheless occur.

Put simply, according to the guidelines for the determination of “brain death,” the brain-dead patient can be declared dead even though he or she may have movements from the arms and legs. The obvious question that any average person should ask is: how is it that a corpse can move? And the obvious question which every Christian should ask is: if the soul has left the body, then what is the principle which accounts for the spontaneous movements and reflexes of the arms and legs in the brain-dead patient? According to the sound tenets of the Church’s anthropology, the soul is the principle by which the body lives, and the principle of our nourishment, sensation, and local movement; and likewise of our understanding. (6)

There, without the soul, there can be no movements, no sweating, no blood flow, no heartbeat, etc.

In a nutshell, given that the brain death criterion admits the presence of spontaneous movements and reflexes, then in what way can it be claimed that “the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology”? (7)

Such a statement can only reflect a gross oversight of the medical, scientific, and bioethical literature publicly available before 2000. For this very reason, such a statement needs to be seriously amended, or better yet, retracted – for the good of the Church and her children, the faithful.

Truth is the conformity of the mind to reality (veritas est adaequatio rei et intellectus). Given that (i) John Paul II’s 2000 address ranks at the lower end of ordinary Magisterial teaching (the kind which may contain inaccuracies), (ii) the teaching was mentioned once and only once in the entire Magisterial teaching of the Church, (iii) John Paul II himself did not even allude to it in his subsequent address in 2005, and (iv) the statement itself contradicts the medical reality of brain-dead patients, then indeed it cannot be said that the teaching in the 2000 address has any binding force on Catholic believers.

RC: About the interests and pressures on the Church and society in general, such “brain death” is universally accepted?

Nguyen: It should be evident to readers by now that “brain death” is a medico-legal fiction, a social construct for utilitarian purposes. It does not take much imagination to figure out that the transplantation enterprise is a multi-billion dollar (or Euro) business. Even the most staunched defender of “brain death,” Bernat, had to admit (albeit very reluctantly) that the concept of “brain death” is incoherent; but, according to him, in the real world of public law and policy, we must compromise so that death can be declared and organs procured. (8)

It is not correct to say that “brain death” is universally accepted. As Brugger points out, doubt about “brain death” has become an international consensus, in the sense that quite a number scholars in medicine, philosophy, and bioethics from countries worldwide have recognized that the “brain death” paradigm is unsound. (9)

It would be more correct to say that “brain death” has been universally imposed by legislation in different countries. The materialistic, utilitarian mindset of a consumerist culture has led to the so-called worldwide acceptance of “brain death.” It is part and parcel with the culture of death. Surprisingly, somehow this mentality has also penetrated into the Church, probably under the guise of charity and solidarity, especially since in the writings of John Paul II, organ donation has been exalted as a new way for man to make a sincere gift of himself and fulfill his constitutive calling to love and communion and, moreover, the gift of vital organs donated after death gives the donors the possibility to project beyond death their vocation to love. (10)

Certainly, as taught in the Catechism no. 2296, the Church encourages organ donation, because it is a noble act of charity and solidarity. But, it is not morally admissible to bring about the death of a human being, not even in order to delay the death of other persons. In a nutshell, it is not morally permissible to do evil to achieve a good. “Brain death” does exactly that: the deeply comatose patient (usually a young patient who has suffered a traumatic brain injury) is declared dead, so that his or her organs can be removed for transplantation purposes.

Notes:

(1) the drafts of the Harvard report are part of what is known as the “Beecher manuscripts,” preserved at the Francis Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard. They are not accessible to the public, they are made available only to some selected scholars.

(2) the quote is taken from: Erwin J.O. Kompanje and Yorik J. de Groot, Sounding board: is mandatory recovery of organs for transplantation acceptable? Intensive Care Medicine (2015) 41:1836–1837.

(3) data taken from David M. Greer, Panayiotis N. Varelas, Shamael Haque, Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Variability of brain death determination guidelines in leading US neurologic institutions. Neurology 70, no. 4 (2008): 284–89]. Ironically, the apnea test is a cornerstone bedside clinical test for making the declaration of “brain death.”

(4) quoted from Robert Taylor, “Reexamining the Definition and Criteria of Death,” Seminars in Neurology 17, no. 3 (1997): 265.

(5) this quote is derived from Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, “Determining Brain Death in Adults,” Neurology 45, no. 5 (1995): 1007.

(6) see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q.76, a.1.

(7) this is the statement taken from the 2000 Address.

(8) see James L. Bernat, “The Whole-Brain Concept of Death Remains Optimum Public Policy,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 34, no. 1 (2006): 41

(9) see E. Christian Brugger, “Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41, no. 3 (2016): 355

(10) see John Paul II, “To Participants of the First International Congress of the Society for Organ Sharing (20 June 1991) 

Abortion is bad for women’s health. Here’s why.

Sarah Ruiz

March 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Did you know that having an abortion carries serious health risks? I found over the years of following the news on abortion that the health risks of getting an abortion are cast aside. Research shows that getting an abortion carries serious health complications.

You may wonder why the media and many health experts neglect to give this warning. Abortion clinics, which include Planned Parenthood, are in business to make a profit. Therefore, it is not in their best interest to provide information that may make the patient think about alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.

Putting the moral argument aside for now, there is growing evidence that shows that women who have abortions are at much higher risk to develop serious physical and emotional problems in the future.

Abortion breast cancer link

A meta-analysis was conducted of Chinese females between induced abortion (IA) and breast cancer risk. The conclusion?

“IA is significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases. If IA were to be confirmed as a risk factor for breast cancer, high rates of IA in China may contribute to increasing breast cancer rates.”

Emotional/spiritual toll

Many women who have had abortions resort to drugs and alcohol and even try to take their own lives. In one study, 49% of post-abortive women abused drugs and 39% started using or increasing their alcohol intake. About 14% admit that they have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. 60% suffered from suicidal tendencies and 28% in the study attempted suicide. Of those that attempted suicide, half continued attempted suicide two or more times.

Isolation is a side effect that occurs for a number of women who have had abortions. They keep their struggles and demons internal, pretending their life is normal and happy. They also could be completely out of touch with their feelings and only feel numb. The research shows that many women go through a 5 to 10 year period of denial where they will repress their emotions.

Studies have found within weeks following an abortion, 40 to 60% of women report negative outcomes. 2 months after, 55% felt guilty, 44% had nervous disorder reactions, 36% had sleep problems, 31% experienced regret, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Women who have had abortions have a harder time connecting to their already born children or their future children. There is evidence that women can be violent against their own children as a result of having an abortion. One woman beat her 3-year-old to death after her abortion. Another woman jumped off a bridge with her two children, aged 2 and 5, a week after her second abortion, apparently in order to punish herself (the mother and 5-year-old survived). In both cases, experts concluded their behavior was in response to their abortions.

Physical toll

Myth: Abortion is less risky than giving birth.

Fact: Abortion is much riskier than giving birth.

Possible side effects 2-4 weeks after an abortion according to American Pregnancyare abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and spotting and bleeding. More serious complications from an abortion include heavy or persistent bleeding, infection or sepsis, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to other organs, and death – yes even death.

Approximately 3-5% of women who have had abortions suffer from sterility. If a woman has an STI at the time of the abortion, her risk is even greater. If a woman contracts an infection from an abortion, her risk of an ectopic pregnancy is 4 times greater. Cervical damage is another complication of abortion. Due to forced dilation of the cervix, the cervical muscles become microscopically torn nearly every time. Sometimes the dilation results in the uterine wall being severely ripped. Because of the weakening of the cervix, a woman who has had an abortion is more likely to suffer from a miscarriage or premature birth in future pregnancies.

Placenta previa risk

There is an increased chance of having placenta previa in future pregnancies if a woman is post-abortive. Placenta previa is a serious problem during pregnancy where the placenta covers some or all of the opening to the cervix.

Death

Tonya ReavesCree ErwinJennifer Morbelli, and Lakisha Wilson all died from complications of abortion. Here is a partial list of women who have also died from abortion. These women’s lives mattered and so did the lives of their babies. To say that abortion is a “safe” procedure because it is legal is not only incorrect but dangerous. The mainstream media makes women think that abortion is no more serious than going in to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist. Women have died. Some have had irreparable damage to their bodies. Lives have been changed forever.

Childhood leukemia risk

Having abortions could also harm your future children. According to a meta-analysis in 2014, there may be an increased risk for childhood leukemia if the mother had an abortion. The risks for childhood acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia were strongly associated with maternal abortions.

Think twice

There are many grave health risks involved in having an abortion. It is not simply just a medical procedure. It is surgery in many cases with very serious health risks and complications. The mainstream media and abortion organizations are not upfront about this. They try to cover any health risks abortion poses because it would discourage women from seeking abortions if they told the truth.

Abortion also ends the life of the new human person developing inside your body. Abortion has health risks for the woman and is certainly never healthy, but deadly, for the fetus. It is my hope in writing this article that anyone considering an abortion will think twice and reflect on the potential health consequences.

If you have had an abortion or been affected by one, you should also know that there is healing through programs such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More. Countless people have attended retreats by these organizations and participated in their programs and have found true peace.

If you or someone you know are pregnant and need help, I have listed crisis pregnancy resources below.

There is also hope for abortion workers. Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director, runs the organization And Then There Were None to provide financial and emotional support for abortion workers who are feeling trapped and wanting to leave.

Sarah Ruiz is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Weston A. Price chapter leader for High Point, NC and is an active blogger through her website Health By Sarah

Court Lets Ohio Defund Planned Parenthood in Major Pro-Life Victory

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com 

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld an Ohio law that strips Planned Parenthood of state funding, handing pro-lifers in the state a major victory three years after the law was passed.

Former Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the law, which prohibits money from the Department of Health going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, gets roughly $1.5 million from the department each year.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the 11-6 majority, ruled that the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution because it does not prohibit women from obtaining abortions. The ruling overturned a lower court decision.

“Planned Parenthood must show that the Ohio law, if implemented, would impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion,” wrote Sutton, who was nominated by President George W. Bush. “Its vow to keep performing abortions sinks any pre-enforcement action, and any speculation about what would happen if it changed its mind is just that.”

Further, Sutton wrote, Ohio “may choose to subsidize what it wishes – whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t,” as long as “the subsidy program does not otherwise violate a constitutional right of the regulated entity.”

“The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions,” Sutton wrote. “To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing.”

Four of the 11 judges in the majority were nominated by President Trump, according to Politico.

Pro-life and religious liberty groups applauded the decision.

“Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, agreed.

“We celebrate that the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Ohio law that blocks nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” Staver said. “Planned Parenthood does not have a constitutional right to receive taxpayer funds for abortions and the state of Ohio should withhold all public funding. Not one penny of taxpayer dollars should ever go to fund the killing of innocent children.

Aborted babies are still being used in today’s vaccine production: Expert

Diane Montagna

ROME, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The “sordid history” of vaccine production using aborted babies began with eugenicists like Planned Parenthood foundress Margaret Sanger and has become a billion-dollar industry that threatens parents’ rights and fills the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and abortion providers, a leading advocate for ethical vaccines has said.

Speaking to a packed hall in Rome on Wednesday, March 13, Debi Vinnedge of “Children of God for Life” revealed the “horrific history” of vaccine production using aborted fetuses, sought to separate myth from fact using documentation from scientists directly involved in vaccine research, and explained why aborted babies are still being used in vaccine production today.

LifeSite spoke with Debi Vinnedge ahead of her talk at the Rome conference. In our interview, Vinnedge briefly sketches out the “horrific history” of vaccine research using aborted fetuses, including the “barbaric” practice of ensuring babies were aborted alive so that their organs might be harvested without anesthetic.

Speaking to the legality of aborted fetal research, Vinnedge explains that it has been federally funded in the US since 1993, when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry.”

“There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents, sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material,” Vinnedge said.

“Even the medical profession and our Catholic Church” is unaware of the “horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production,” Vinnedge said.

“The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.”

Vinnedge explained further that a “major roadblock” to “making progress to stop this injustice” is “the tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative.”

In fact, as recently as 2017 the Pontifical Academy for Life — under the leadership of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — made a disturbing shift in support of aborted fetal vaccines, on the grounds that “in the past vaccines may have been prepared from cells from aborted human fetuses,” but today “the cell lines used are very distant from the original abortions.”

“Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change,” Vinnedge insists. “In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.”

Here below is LifeSite’s interview with Debi Vinnedge and a video of her presentation at the March 13 conference sponsored by Renovatio 21, under the theme: “Faith, Science and Conscience: using aborted fetuses for pharmaceutical production.”  

LifeSiteNews (LSN): Debi, what personally led you to found ‘Children of God for Life’?

Debi Vinnedge (DB): I have always been pro-life but in 1999 when I read about proposed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research I was deeply disturbed. And I was even more upset to learn that none of my prolife friends had ever heard of this, nor did they even know what a stem cell was.  Back then, there just wasn’t much information available and so, with the help of Richard Doerflinger who was then at the USCCB prolife office, and members of the Catholic Medical Association, I began to educate the public and massive protest campaigns began. When the Clinton administration tabled the idea a couple of months later, I was happy and thought my work was over. But within weeks I learned about the use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines and medicines and I knew God had a plan and my work was cut out for me. Children of God for Life was founded with the sole purpose of educating the public and putting an end to this gross exploitation of our unborn.

LSN: There is considerable debate surrounding vaccines. Some people are completely against vaccines, others are completely for them, while still others are somewhere in the middle. What is your general position on vaccines? 

LSN: In your presentation, you discuss some of the history of experimentation with aborted fetuses, and how this led to using aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines. Can you share with our readers the main points of this history? 

DB: This is probably one of the most shameful eras in the history of our country dating back over 100 years to a time when the eugenics movement became widespread under people like Harry Laughlin and Margaret Sanger. People with any type of handicap and unfortunately, women who were unwed mothers were deemed “feeble-minded” and “unfit to breed.” They force-sterilized these women and in many of these women, they also force-aborted their babies. At the same time, there was a worldwide polio epidemic and scientists began working on producing a polio vaccine. In the 1930s they openly admit to using these aborted fetuses in their polio vaccine research.

In one such science publication the researcher noted that “In many cases the (fetuses’) hearts were still beating at time of receipt in the polio research labs.” This is absolutely unconscionable! What they were trying to do is create what is known as a “cell line” for culturing the polio virus. To explain, viruses grow well on various types of tissues — both human and animal as well as other culture mediums. So in order to produce thousands of doses, scientists established cell lines taken from various tissues in several organs such as heart, thymus, retinal and lung. They culture the cells from the tissue in the labs and once there is a healthy stable growth, this is now a cell line that can be frozen and then reconstituted and used over and over in the future. But, just as all humans have finite lifespans, so do the normal human cells used in vaccines. Most of the vaccines today that use aborted fetal cell lines were derived from the aborted babies’ lung tissue.

LSN: How widespread is research on aborted fetuses today? And how are aborted fetal cell lines being used today? Are there particular vaccines that contain them? How can parents inform themselves about which vaccines are safe and ethical and which are not?

DB: Because of the finite lifespan of these cell lines which Leonard Hayflick discovered in his research on cell senescence, scientists have developed more and more aborted fetal cell lines to replace the current WI-38 (Wistar Institute, specimen number 38) and MRC-5 (Medical Research Council, specimen number 5) which were created over 50 years ago. The newest to be introduced by China is WALVAX 2 – from a 3 month gestation female baby lung tissue, the 9th abortion that was part of their research.  It is intended to replace these two cell lines. In addition, there are several vaccines and medicines using other aborted fetal cell lines such as PER C6, HEK-293, IMR-90, IMR-91, WI-26 and lambda hE.1. But unless one reads the package insert or in some cases, the actual patents, they would have no way of knowing and doctors do not give that information prior to vaccination. Children of God for Life keeps an updated list on our website that can be viewed here— or from the home page click on the “Vaccine” tab, then “Vaccine Chart.”

LSN: Is the US government supporting it? And does US law require that parents be informed of what vaccines contain? 

DB: Aborted fetal research has been federally funded in the US since 1993 when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. And while right now, there is no legal obligation for physicians to advise parents, many prolife doctors do!  In addition, there is legislation pending in at least one state – Illinois, HB0342 that would require vaccine recipients to be fully informed.  See the proposed bill here.

LSN: Who is profiting from the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines and more broadly by aborted fetal research?

DB: Universities, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry and of course, Planned Parenthood who was caught in an undercover sting discussing how they ensure obtaining intact organs for sale. And one university in Washington reported fulfilling over 4,400 fetal material requests in just one year! There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents and sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material.  A quick browse through companies such as Coriell Cell Repository and American Type Cell Culture provides the cell lines, the source, the gestation of the baby and more.

DB: Unfortunately, misinformation is widespread but here are the most common misconceptions and the actual facts:

MYTH: “The abortions were not done with intention of vaccines…”

FACT: Documentation from the researchers themselves clearly show their direct involvement and intent for over 100 years.

MYTH: “Descendant cells are not part of the original aborted fetus…”

FACT: The DNA is intact and identical to first cells harvested. If not, FDA and WHO would require a test each time cells were used. By its very definition, these are human diploid cells that contain the DNA from both parents – they do not morph into anything else over time.

MYTH: “It was only a couple of abortions from the past …”

FACT: Hundreds of abortions were performed before perfecting cell lines.

MYTH: “No further abortions are needed now or in the future…”

FACT: New aborted fetal cell lines — thousands of new abortions

LSN: What is the message you want people to take away from your presentation?

DB: There is a great deal of information in my presentation that even the medical profession and our Catholic Church is not aware of, especially regarding the horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production. It never ceases to amaze me when some of the myths I mentioned before have been taken as fact, especially the number of abortions and direct participation by the pharmaceutical industry in the research. To give you an example, years ago when we wrote to Merck to ask them to produce moral alternatives to the aborted fetal vaccines, they stated they had nothing to do with the original aborted fetal research. Yet in one of Leonard Hayflick’s published science papers in which he was describing his work with the aborted fetuses to produce a cell line, at the end he gives grateful acknowledgment to Dr. Anthony Girardi, Merck Research Institute for his help. The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.

LSN: What advice would you give new parents to help them navigate the issue of vaccines?

DB: Talk to their doctor about their concerns with the vaccines and the possible use of moral alternatives for at least some of the vaccines. For example, one of the first vaccines a baby will get is Pentacel which combines DTaP with Polio and HiB. That vaccine uses aborted fetal cells in the polio portion and there are moral options. Parents should ask their doctor for those alternatives and if he/she refuses to listen, find another doctor! Sometimes parents ask me if they should or should not use the vaccines if there is no moral option, but that is a question they need to take to God in prayer and then do whatever He puts in their heart.

LSN: Is there anything you wish to add?

DB: The tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative is a major roadblock to making any progress to stop this injustice.  Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change.  In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.

Anti-Natalism

Taylor Lewis

March 13, 2019 (American Thinker) — Back in college, I participated in one of those summer-long, Koch-funded libertarian internship programs. During the final week of the program, clusters of us interns, fresh off working in the “real world” for two total months, were tasked with arguing an esoteric philosophical point of our choosing.

One group of impish participants decided to argue against having children. The argument was fiendishly simple: the very act of existing invites pain, so it’s morally questionable to bring young ones into a world guaranteed to harm them. With toothy grins, wrinkled slacks, and tousled hair, these students made their nihilistic argument, finely exercising their ability to, as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

At the time, the arguers didn’t believe their own position. The no-harm logic, while sound on the surface, meant human extinction when taken to its logical conclusion.

A mélange of college students hopped up on Leonard Read essays and overpriced beer understood the implications of eschewing childbirth. But what’s Democrats’ excuse?

It turns out my puckish colleagues may have been prophets for the most visible newcomer in America’s liberal party. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the socialist and de facto Democratic leader, questions the wisdom of having kids. During an Instagram livestream, the 29-year-old congresswoman explains, in her termagant, ditzo manner, that Millennials like her don’t want to bring children into a world where China and India are pushing the global temperature a jot or tittle higher.

“There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” she asked her legions of followers from her kitchen, wearing a beige turtleneck sweater to warm her body against one of the coldest winters in years.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez posits the same ethical challenge my fellow interns did years ago: is it morally kosher to have children if they will, someday, possibly suffer harm?

If you apply Ocasio-Cortez’s thinking to any time in human history absent the short time period of post-World War II to the present, it doesn’t stand up. Until the mid-twentieth century, many children had to contend with high infant mortality rates, slavery, sexual exploitation, hard labor, and a myriad of untreatable diseases like polio and hemophilia. What we think of as the relatively harmless lifestyle fit for children today — mandatory schooling through 18 years of age, widespread immunizations, Sesame Street — is so new to human existence that some grandparents alive today never experienced it.

You wouldn’t be reading this column in the year 2019 had earlier generations become conditioned to Ocasio-Cortez’s paralyzing fear. Yet the longue durée of human survival is increasingly forgotten by liberals who share a skeptical view of the future. A duo of fretting Cassandras recently appeared on a BBC program touting something called “Birthstrike,” a movement to withhold the gift of life in service to apocalyptic prediction.

“The natural world is collapsing around us, and that’s actually happening right now. And I’m so disappointed by the response by authorities to this crisis, and so freaked out by everything I’ve read that I’ve — I’ve basically last year I came to the decision that I couldn’t bring a child into that,” Blythe Pepino, founder of Birthstrike, explained to an audience currently experiencing a record-low birth rate. Her partner in petrification, Alice Brown, concurs, ratcheting up the fear a notch: “We are destroying biodiversity so quickly that it threatens our food … the U.N. have said that can lead to the risk of our own extinction.” Brown explains that her decision not to have children “has come from not wanting to pass that fear on to someone else.”

Petrifying everyone else with world-ending divinations is perfectly fine, apparently.

There’s a name for this swearing off procreation: anti-natalism. The philosophy — if self-imposed genocide can be called a philosophy — is, at its core, a deadening of everything it means to be human. It is both anti-life and misanthropic. “Homo sapiens is the most destructive species, and vast amounts of this destruction are wreaked on other humans,” writes anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar.

How Benatar maintains the will to live with such a bleak view of himself isn’t addressed. Like climate alarmists who pay thousands of dollars to travel around in carbon-emitting machines, Benatar doesn’t seem to take his own philosophy seriously.

The divide between anti-natalist liberals and conservatives is, as Russell Kirk said of all political problems, spiritual at heart. Conservatives view life as intrinsically valuable — that all children are formed in the image of a loving God. Even if a baby will one day grow to harm someone else, he is still not denied his inner worth.

Along with neoliberal types concerned that Africa’s high birth rate puts too much of a strain on economic resources, anti-natalists commit the dangerous fallacy of putting sublunary concerns above higher values. The road to despotism is paved with such intentions.

Then again, maybe that was the point all along.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

In epic letter, grandfather warns Catholic family of threats to their reaching heaven

Paul Fuchs

Editor’s note: The letter below was written by a Catholic father to his three children. He writes: “The letter is a sort of final testament of my witness to the Truth, that there will never exist any confusion among my own children about my actual beliefs and firm steadfastness in our shared Catholic Faith, and the mortal dangers that lurk everywhere in the current secular culture.” It is reprinted by permission of the author. 

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Dear Children:

Well into the final third of this earthly life, I am focused on the ultimate goal, the saving of my soul and the souls of my children and grandchildren. Eyes on the Prize. When I asked Mom if this email was too much, she replied: “If their house was on fire, would we tell them? . . .  and the spiritual threat to them is so much greater.” So here goes. Please forgive the length.

With the combination of aging, life experiences, the love of Mom, the Catholic Faith, and the grace of God, during the past two decades, I have gained wisdom and knowledge. As a parent who prays that you and your children reach heaven, I am compelled to share these insights with you.

Mom and I often reflect on the unbelievable changes in the culture that have occurred in our lifetime and the amazing speed in which these changes have occurred. Unlike the scientific and technological fields, where breakthroughs occur on a frequent basis and at a dizzying pace, during the past fifty years there have been no significant advances in understanding the Truth of the word of God. No Thomas Aquinas or Augustine has emerged to enlighten and elucidate our knowledge of moral law. Neither the Holy Bible nor Natural Law has changed. The Catholic catechism essentially remains the same. Yet the culture has truly undergone a revolution, a revolution fueled by many evil influences. If still alive, Grandma & Grandad and Grandpa & Grandma would have been abhorred by the radical changes in mores.

Compared to the generation in which I was raised, and even the one in which you were raised, these cultural changes have made the task of being a responsible parent an extremely difficult, nearly impossible, undertaking. Surrounded on all sides by this secular and permissive culture and with easy access to the internet, your children face imminent and immense spiritual dangers, literally unimaginable to our generations. Mortal danger lurks as close as their cellphone, or that of their friends’ cellphone or laptop.

In our midst evil hides in plain sight. Everywhere. Pornography, for example, is one of the most immediate and pressing threats to the souls of your children. Eleven is the average age children are exposed to the degrading, visually vivid, lurid, and addictive images of pornography. You must maintain constant vigilance to protect your children. Be proactive. Talk with them about good and evil. Pray daily. Dedicate time to pray the Rosary with your children. Ask the Blessed Mother for her intercession and assistance. Pray to cousin Gloria to beseech God and St. Michael the Archangel to guide and safeguard your family.

My dear children, please slowly read and thoughtfully ponder this letter. It describes changes in the culture, none positive, lies of the culture, and specific consequences of those lies. It includes comments on the orchestrated attack on free speech by the left via fear, shaming, and intimidation, both in the public arena and on the internet/social media, where your children will seek information and learn much about the world. Finally, it concludes with personal reflections on an appropriate response to such changes. Here are the unvarnished truths of our culture.

The Past 50 years: A Frontal Assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture

During the past 50 years, there has been a direct frontal assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture. The Church, the family, and marriage, cherished institutions foundational to our culture, have been viciously attacked by the progressive left, including much of the media and Hollywood. Contraception, abortion, casual sex, divorce, and most recently, gender fluidity, have been actively promoted as cultural advancements that should be heralded.

However, the product of these forces has been a cesspool of moral corruption with striking increases in adultery; homosexuality; premarital sex; out of wedlock pregnancy; abortion; confused, unwanted and unloved children; drug abuse; euthanasia; assisted suicide; and pornography. These cultural myths have been based on lies and deception, repeated so often that, sadly, many now accept them as true. Here are some of the more damaging lies.

The Big Lies of the Modern Secular Culture & Direct Consequences: Is Any of this Good?

  • The Biggest Lie: A baby in the womb is not a real person
  • Murder of 60 million infants by abortion in the United States alone
  • Legalization of the murder of infants born alive after an “unsuccessful” abortion & public celebration of passage of that law
  • The lie that some human beings lack God-given dignity and are no longer worthy of life
  • Promotion of Physician-Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
  • Murder of 5,000 black Americans each year, 90-95% by other black males (of that total, less than 100 unarmed blacks killed by police)
  • The lies that human beings must act on their sexual urges and that the previously esteemed virtue of chastity, as well as many other virtues, are no longer relevant to modern man
  • The lie that sexual intercourse is merely a casual recreational behavior between consenting individuals for selfish pleasure, rather than a sacred and beautiful procreational and unifying act of unselfish, unconditional love between a married man and woman
  • The lie that marriage is not exclusively the union between one man and one woman
  • The lies that marriage is not a permanent moral contract, that no-fault divorce is painless, and that children, irrespective of age, are not significantly and permanently harmed by divorce
  • The lie that children do not need both a mother and a father
  • Rampant STD’s in teenagers and young adults (“steep sustained increases”)
  • “A record 918 neonates in the US infected by their mothers with syphilis in 2017”
  • Increased number of divorces
  • Explosion in single-parent families & the directly related increase in poverty
  • Increased sexual abuse of women
  • Increased sexual abuse of children
  • Increased number of children/teenagers both exposed to and addicted to pornography
  • 650,000 deaths from AIDS in the US alone; about 40,000 new infections of HIV annually
  • The incredibly personally destructive lie that gender is not biologically determined
  • The promotion of transgenderism and resulting confusion in many children & parents
  • The increase in both attempted and completed suicide by teenagers
  • The lie that diversity, rather than greatness or excellence, is an important stand-alone goal
  • Classification of individuals by skin color and/or sexual orientation, rather than by content of character, is a nightmarish version of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
  • The lie that socialism, rather than capitalism, is the better system to create wealth, raise the standard of living for everyone, decrease poverty, and protect and promote individual & religious freedom
  • The lie that past injustices against one’s ancestors, the resulting victimhood, and systemic racism are the major determining factors in one’s individual success or failure, rather than the love and encouragement of parents, personal responsibility, God-given talent, and hard work
  • The lie that work is demeaning and it is merciful and charitable for the government to subsidize individuals unwilling but physically and mentally able to work
  • Legacy of welfare & victimhood passed from one generation to the next
  • Promotion of envy and jealousy between lower and higher economic classes and of racial animosity among minorities directed toward successful white individuals
  • The lie that homosexual activity and the tolerance of that sexual behavior by the hierarchy is not a fundamental factor in the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
  • Failure of the hierarchy to effectively confront the sexual abuse crisis among the clergy
  • Childhood innocence destroyed and lives irreparably damaged and lost

Hate Speech. The Progressive Left’s Orwellian Definition

Differing opinions, previously considered a normal and essential part of civil discourse, now are framed as hate speech. To avoid hurting someone’s feelings, free speech is scorned in favor of the “correct” opinion, increasingly dictated by the progressive left. Opposition is silenced by fear, intimidation, and even violence. Virtue signaling abounds. Noise, rather than logical reasoning, fills the void. Only one side is heard. Knowledge and truth are the casualties.

“Hate Speech” is defined by the progressive left as any opinion that differs from their own. If you disagree and have the courage to voice another opinion, you are targeted by social media and labeled a racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist, prejudiced, hateful and/or just simply stupid or ignorant. Even wearing the wrong hat makes one a target. No one is immune from this type of irrational, personal attack. You or your children could be the next target. The left is unsparing and relentless as it advances a progressive, often non-Christian agenda.

The Frontal Assault on the First Amendment to our Constitution

Examples in which the progressive left, in an attempt to intimidate, responds with name calling and insults rather than engages in an honest and respectful dialogue include:

  • Marriage is the union of one man & one woman = Homophobe
  • Life begins at conception = Misogynist; Sexist
  • Sexual Behavior & Natural Law = Homophobe
  • Immigration & Respect for the Law = Racist; Fearful of Latinos / Hispanics / People of color
  • Man Made Climate Change = Science Denier
  • Right to own guns = Pro Violence
  • Pro Police = Racist; Fascist
  • Pro Capitalism = Hater of the poor / minorities
  • Pro Trump / MAGA Cap = Racist; Misogynist; Homophobe: Hater; Bigot; Fascist; Nazi; Stalinist

What can you do in a “World Gone Wrong”?

Jesus asks each of us: “But who do you say I am?” What is your answer? Study the tenets of your Catholic religion in the catechism, read the Holy Bible, and pray. Fully embrace and practice your Catholic Faith, a precious gift God has bestowed upon you. Pass that precious gift unto your children. But it will not be easy. Pray daily to God for wisdom and courage.

Do not be distracted or discouraged by the moral failures and abominations of far too many priests and leaders in the Church’s hierarchy. They represent human and institutional weaknesses and failures. Their individual sins, no matter how inexcusable and horrific, neither diminish nor alter the Truths of our Catholic Faith. Remain steadfast in that Faith.

You have a unique opportunity to swim against this rising tide of moral corruption and cultural decline and lead a singular life of heroic virtue. One person can and does make a difference. Be that one person. Ignite a counterrevolution in your own family and social circles. Forsake the false idols and myths of our modern secular culture. Be an authentic warrior for Christ.

Speak fearlessly and with moral clarity, in a loving and merciful voice, to your children. Teach your children to love the sinner but hate the sin. Reconsider the values of our traditional cultural and moral norms as you educate and guide your children to heaven in a secular culture that threatens their very salvation. Lies and deceit are everywhere. Confusion reigns. Satan is active. Your children desperately need your active guidance. You are their sole moral compass.

As you already do in your personal and professional lives, strive for greatness in your spiritual lives. Pray the Rosary. Live like a Saint. It is what God is calling you to do. For your own sake, and that of your loving spouse and beautiful children, answer that call with a resounding yes!

You are always in our prayers. I believe in you. I love you, Dad

What about Ventilators and “Pulling the Plug”?

By Nancy Valco

When I first became a registered nurse in 1969, ICUs (intensive care units) were still new. The first one I worked was set up in the former visitors’ lounge and we learned how to read EKGs (heart tracings) by using a book.

By the early 1970s, I worked in a surgical/trauma ICU where we used sophisticated ventilators like the MA-1. We were able to get almost all our patients off ventilators by weaning, the process of gradually lowering ventilator support until the patient can breathe on his or her own.

But in 1976, I was shocked by the Karen Quinlan case that changed everything.

Karen was a 21 year old woman who suffered brain damage after apparently taking drugs at a party. She was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. When she was thought to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, her adoptive parents asked that her ventilator be removed. The doctors disagreed and they case eventually went to the New Jersey Supreme court that allowed the removal of the ventilator on the grounds of an individual’s right to privacy.  Shortly afterward, California passed the first “living will” to refuse “life support” if or when the signer is incapacitated.

Ironically, Karen lived 10 more years because, as some ethicists criticized, she was weaned off the ventilator instead of just abruptly stopping the ventilator.

My experience with ventilators became personal in 1983 when my baby daughter Karen died on a ventilator before she could get open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, one young doctor earlier offered to take her off the ventilator to “get this over with”. I reported him to the chief of cardiology who was furious with the young doctor.

In the 1990s, I returned to working in an ICU and was shocked by the development of the “terminal wean” for some patients on ventilators. Often the families were told that there was no hope of a “meaningful” life. The terminal wean involved abruptly disconnecting the ventilator and “allowing” the patient to die. I brought up at least trying regular, gradual weaning and oxygen as we did for the other patients on ventilators but I was ignored.

After I retired from bedside nursing, I was asked to be with an elderly man on a ventilator who had had a massive stroke and the family was told that he would never have any quality of life and would die soon anyway. I tried to bring up weaning but some members of the family were adamant.

When the ventilator was stopped. I held the man’s hand and prayed while he gasped for air and turned blue. I asked the nurse to at least giving him oxygen for comfort but she ignored me. Instead, she gave frequent doses of morphine intravenously until the man’s heart finally stopped after 20 minutes.

I am still haunted by this man’s death.

INFORMED CONSENT?

The medical definition of informed consent requires understanding “the purpose, benefits, and potential risks of a medical or surgical intervention…”.

But most people seem to have a vague understanding of ventilators when they sign a “living will” or other advance directives and thus have very little information about this often life-saving medical intervention.

As a nurse, I found that most people-especially the elderly-tend to automatically check off ventilators without understanding that a sudden problem with breathing can come from a number of treatable conditions that don’t require long-term use of a ventilator such as  asthma, drug overdoses, pneumonia and some brain injuries.

In some circumstances such as certain spinal cord injuries and late-stage neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the ventilator is  necessary long-term to live. But even then, people like Christopher Reeve and Stephen Hawking have used portable ventilators to continue with their lives. Some people with disabilities use small ventilators only at night.

It is important to know that ventilators move air in and out of the lungs but do not cause respiration-the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that occurs in lungs and body tissues. Respiration can occur only when the body’s respiratory and circulatory systems are otherwise intact. A ventilator cannot keep a corpse alive.

It’s also important to know that not all machines that assist breathing require the insertion of a tube into the windpipe. Non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation like the BiPap successfully used for my elderly friend Melissa allowed her to use a face mask to assist her breathing until antibiotics cured her pneumonia.

WEANING FROM A VENTILATOR

Many patients are easy to wean from a ventilator but some patients are more difficult.

Years ago, I cared for an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who needed a ventilator when she developed pneumonia. She had made her son and daughter her medical decision makers in her advance directive.

However, the doctors found it very difficult to try to wean the ventilator after the woman improved. They spoke to the family about removing the ventilator and letting her die. The daughter agreed but the son was adamantly against this.

The woman was totally awake after the sedation to keep her comfortable on the ventilator was stopped. She was cooperative and made no effort to pull out the tube in her windpipe. She just smiled when asked if she wanted the ventilator stopped.

Having known of some great respiratory therapists in the past who were able to successfully wean difficult patients from ventilators, I suggested that she be transferred. She was transferred and a week later we were told that she was successfully weaned from her ventilator.

About a year later, I encountered the woman again when she was recuperating after a routine surgery. Although her Alzheimer’s disease was unchanged, she was doing well in an assisted living residence.

CONCLUSION

As a student nurse, I was as initially intimidated by ventilators as anyone else. But as I learned how to use them and saw the constant improvements not only in the technology but also in our care of patients on ventilators, I came to see ventilators as a great blessing when needed.

And while we are never required to accept treatment that is medically futile or excessively burdensome to us, sometimes this can be hard to determine-especially in a crisis situation. Most of my patients on ventilators recovered but some could not be saved. We were surprised and humbled when some patients with a poor prognosis recovered while others who seemed to have a better chance died unexpectedly. There are no guarantees in life or death.

That is why my husband and I wrote our advance directives that designate each other as our decision maker with the right to have all current options, risk and benefits of treatment fully explained.

We don’t want an advance directive that could be hazardous to our health!

THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED. PERIOD.

Michael Voris They Can’t be Trusted20190311

I’m Michael Voris coming to you from the annual Bringing America Back to Life Symposium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Each year in the second weekend of March, organizers bring in speakers from all over the country and the world to talk about the growing threat to human life and dignity in areas of culture, science, politics and governments.

We at Church Militant pay special attention, as you know, to the threat to not just temporal human life, but also — most importantly — spiritual life.

It’s why we have and continue to concentrate so many of our resources toward unearthing the rot in the Church, and doing this every day, we can tell you the rot and betrayal of the truth goes a lot deeper than almost anyone realizes and happens in a million different ways.

We often talk about things on a macro level — the big picture — but we sometimes talk about things on a micro level, specific examples, and show how each of them relates, or feeds back into the big picture.

Today, a micro example, from the diocese of Lansing, Michigan and the bishop there Earl Boyea. Back in 2014, a sexual assault victim informed Boyea of an assault perpetrated against him by a priest who had gained some notoriety on Ave Maria Radio out of Ann Arbor.

The priest is Fr. Pat Egan and his show on Ave Maria was entitled Fully Alive. Egan is a priest of the archdiocese of Westminster, London, England. He has been in the U.S. for a number of years now. When the victim reported the assault to Boyea in 2014, Boyea did nothing of relevance.

He told the victim, an adult male, who had also been an adult at the time of the assault, that since Egan was not a Lansing priest, he couldn’t do anything, like remove his faculties. However, four years later in 2018, once word got out about Egan, Boyea did then remove his faculties.

In a very untransparent press release, Boyea kept most of what he knew close to his vest, revealing only the barest minimum he could get away with. The relevant part read that Egan “has had his priestly faculties removed due to a credible allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior with an adult male.”

What it does not say, which is what the point is:

One, the assault happened four years earlier.

Two, Boyea knew about it back then.

And three, it was not just “sexual behavior” — it was an assault, a homopredator clerical assault. Those missing details are important because of the implication attached.

Why would Boyea conceal that it was an actual assault — he kept that hidden. Why? Why did Boyea keep hidden that the assault happened four years earlier? Why would Boyea not acknowledge that he had personal knowledge of this four years earlier?

Reading the press statement, it could be easily interpreted to mean that Boyea just became aware of a consensual homosexual relationship involving a priest, and the moment he discovered it, being the strong bishop he is, he immediately stepped in and fixed the matter.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Boyea concealed — deliberately — the most relevant facts to cover for his own inaction.

Egan had an earlier charge against him that Boyea knew about as well. In that case, the diocesan review board, Boyea says, determined that the earlier accusation was not credible.

Again, in a case of covering up and making misleading statements, Boyea failed to acknowledge that on the diocesan review board was none other than Fr. Egan’s religious superior who went to bat for him and got the charge deemed not credible. But Boyea never revealed that little piece of info, either.

This is a small example of why growing numbers of Catholics — increasing every day — are looking at their bishops and saying they simply cannot be trusted — period.

If they aren’t out-and-out lying — like Cardinals Wuerl and Cupich and Tobin and Farrell — then they are parsing their words and publishing deliberately ambiguous statements with the intent to mislead. All the bowing at the altar of transparency and offering incense to the gods of accountability is pure bunk.

It is no longer a case of the credibility of these men being destroyed, but the truth of the Faith. The Church Herself is being damaged by these scoundrels who treat the Church as their own private company, pretending to care about the faithful all the while holding them in contempt.

Church Militant was given an audio recording made at a public gathering where Boyea was confronted about his wrongdoing, and the sarcasm and contempt in his answers is palpable — no remorse, nothing, just sarcasm and lashing out in almost accusatory tones.

These men live in a surreal world where no one is allowed to question them, and they rarely if ever suffer the consequences of their actions — only in the most heinous of cases.

Brother bishops defend them in a kind of suicide pact mentality, ensuring that if one goes down, many others would follow, so they enjoy a kind of mutually assured destruction, careful to keep as much under wraps as possible.

Well, here’s a thought for the bishop and others to chew on. The original assault happened in 2014 — a sexual assault — that’s a crime. The statute of limitations has not run out on that crime.

Boyea knew about the crime and did not report it, quite possibly making him an accessory after the fact, because he knowingly protected a criminal or someone he should have had reason to believe was a criminal.

Likewise, because the 2014 crime was related to the earlier crime, and Boyea knew that the decision of that diocesan board may have been rigged, his knowledge could very well open that case up again.

This is all stuff, of course, for lawyers to look at, and Church Militant has information that the Michigan state attorney general is indeed looking at this case. A few years ago, a bishop in Kansas City, Bp. Finn, was removed for failing to report a case of sexual assault involving a minor male.

In 2014, Bp. Boyea failed to report a case of sexual assault involving an adult male. The statute of limitations had run out on the Kansas case. It has not run out on the Lansing case.

So the obvious question is: Why is Boyea still bishop of Lansing? And, are criminal charges possibly awaiting him?

Is it not OK to sexually assault a child; but it is apparently acceptable for a priest to sexually assault a male adult. The entire mindset of the U.S. bishops has to change, and it has to change now — no more secrets, no more deflections, no more arrogance.

The Paradigm Shift That Must Happen

Paradigm Shift 20190311

There has been a paradigm shift that has occurred and is occurring in the battle to end abortion.  I would summarize the focus of this shift to be about three primary aspect.   First, we have begun speaking the blunt and hard truths of what abortion is.  Instead of speaking of it as a healthcare issue or with euphemisms, we have begun to expose this murder for what it is in all its graphic and barbaric forms.  We have used graphic images and videos of abortion.  We have called it murder.  We have refused to talk about it as healthcare.

Two, we have refused to compromise with the slaughter of children.  There can be no compromise in any way with the intentional murder of children.  There are no exceptions.   This means that groups that pass bills compromising on the issue are being exposed as compromisers and are called to do what is right.  We do not support exceptions for rape, incest, or health issues.   Abortion is murder, period.  We don’t support measures that regulate abortion or say its ok to murder your baby if the abortion doctor can’t find a heartbeat that they really won’t be looking to find.

Thirdly, we are acknowledge that there is no such thing as neutrality. You will either submit to and obey God or you will rebel against him.  The Supreme Court is not neutral nor are they God.  The paradigm shift is pushing the “prolife” movement to acknowledge that either Christ is our God or the Supreme Court is our God.   These three things, no neutrality, no compromise, and no flinching from the truth, are enabling those who battle this evil to do so with the power of God through faithfulness to him. This is having no small effect.   There are and have been many haters and many difficult battles to make this shift but God is working and will be glorified. We are seeing  because of this shift a change in the conversation nationwide even among those who are still operating under the old paradigm shift.   Even those who are pro-abortion are having to acknowledge that this shift is happening.

This same paradigm shift must occur in the church’s battle with sexual immorality and the protection of the family.  We must realize that there is no such thing as neutrality.  The LGTB alphabet soup mafia does not believe in neutrality on this issue.  They want to eradicate any and all opposition to their views.  They readily acknowledge that they want to indoctrinate children and are doing so in the public library, public schools, and entertainment media.  We in the church must recognize that there is no neutral ground on this issue.  You will either celebrate this evil or you will hate it.  You will either bow to the Supreme Court on this issue or you will obey God.  We cannot give pretense to neutrality.  We must call men to repentance and faith in Christ on this issue.

Secondly, we must recognize that compromise is unfaithfulness to our Lord.  Where we compromise on sexual immorality in our personal lives, families, or churches, we are being unfaithful to God and will find ourselves losing this battle.  Compromise on this issue starts with compromising on the distinction between male and female.  It starts with women usurping authority and men shirking authority. It starts with failing to raise our boys to be boys and our girls to be girls.  We teach our daughters to find their identities in their careers instead of preparing them to be the kind of young women Titus 2 says they should be.  We are compromising by ordaining women in the church or having them be the primary leaders of worship.

Compromise happens when we fail to see how seriously the bible takes sexuality.  In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn that God made male and female.  All throughout scripture, we find that God takes sexual immorality very seriously.  Things like adultery, incest, sodomy, and bestiality are considered crimes in the bible and God destroys nations for tolerating them.  But we compromise by failing to take things like modesty, chaste speech, and what we entertain ourselves with seriously.   We compromise by our pretense to neutrality.  We do this by adopting a live and let live mentality.  We say “what you do in your own bedroom is none of my business.  Who am I to judge?”   But this filth is not staying in the bedroom and those who practice it are all too ready to judge.   We will either judge rightly or be judged.

Thirdly, and perhaps the hardest for us to to today, is that we are going to have to speak about this with the same blunt and forcefulness as we speak about abortion as murder.  Those supporting sexual immorality have spent years working to change the paradigm on the issue.  They have couched it all in terms of relationships and love.   In turn, many in the church have been put on the back foot.  We have started speaking about sodomy as something that just isn’t best for human flourishing.  I guess you could say that when God reigned down fire from the sky on Sodom that humans were not flourishing too well that day.  But we have began to soften the biblical and historical Christian witness against the sins.  We have seen this in terms of relationship instead of abomination.

We have also embraced the terminology of sexual orientation.  Many talk about same-sex attraction as if it is some neutral thing.  This terminology of sexual orientation is a useful tool for those pushing this sexual immorality.  To give one example, it has been used to try and distinguish between men who sleep with men and men who sleep with boys.  That is they have tried to argue that no gay man abuses boys.  The truth is that every time a man sexually abuses a boy, he is committing a same-sex sex act.  That is homosexuality at work.   But we have been taught that we can never make this connection.

The use of orientation language is often used to position those who commit sexual immorality as victims.  They are victims of something they never chose.  It is all God’s fault they are “gay”.   The hard truth is that these men and women who give into to sexual temptation are morally culpable.  They are not perpetual victims.  Even if some of these people have been victims of sexual abuse, they are responsible for how they respond to that abuse.  The “LGBT” movement has been good at painting themselves as victims in order to garner sympathy and support for their position.

The sexually immoral have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the culture and of the church. Our work is going to be the hard and difficult task of pulling that wool off and exposing this evil for what it truly is.  The bible commands us to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness.  We are going to have to get over our addiction to being liked and being nice and speak the blunt truths of sexual immorality.  We are going to have to work to restore the shame to this evil.  We need to speak the hard truths of scripture and call these sins what they are, abomination, perversions, attacks on nature and nature’s God, filthy and disgusting sin worthy of death.  We are going to have to expose the truth about the connection between sodomy and child abuse.   We are going to have expose how sodomy destroys men’s bodies, minds, and souls.

Why must we do this?

1.  We love God. And we want to be faithful to his word and his created order.
2. We love the church.  We don’t want to see the church compromise and be stained with impurity.  We don’t want it to lose its saltiness.  Nor do we want to see future generations of the church facing the consequences of our inaction.
3. We love our children.  We do not want to see them assaulted with lies and sexual perversion.  We don’t want to see them fall into the destructive patterns of these sins.  Nor do we want them to be a part of a nation that experiences the full wrath of God.
4.  We love our country.  God has placed us here and we are to be salt and light to it.  We want to see it fall on its knees before Christ and honor him in the culture and the laws it enacts.  We also don’t want to see it continued to be destroyed.  We don’t want to see God wipe it from the earth as he has done with other nations that have followed this path.
5.  We love those who are caught in these sins.  We love those who practice these sins that destroy their minds, bodies, and souls and therefore we warn them truthfully, without compromise, and without neutrality.  For their sake we cannot pretend there is some neutral ground where God is not to be obeyed, where Christ is not king.  We cannot pretend as if the gospel cannot save them if they will humble themselves.   For their sake we don’t compromise letting them continue in their pride.  For their sake we speak the hard blunt truths that put the shame on what they are doing so that they may be humbled by the demands of God’s law and look to the only hope of forgiveness, Jesus Christ.

It is love that demands we refuse neutrality, refuse compromise, and refuse to speak soft words of peace when there is no peace.   Love demands that we have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  Church its time for a paradigm shift.

#MeStillMe combats the dehumanization of the preborn online

 

A preborn baby in the womb is no different from a baby on the outside; one is just as precious and worthy of love and protection as the other. This is the message conveyed by the by the #MeStillMe hashtag that has recently gained traction on social media.

It all started when Nichole Rowley and her husband Tyler gave birth to their baby, Fulton, in August. They received a congratulatory note from the governor of their home state of Rhode Island, but the well-wishes made Nichole feel uneasy. That’s because Rhode Island is poised to pass an extreme abortion bill on par with, and in fact more extreme than, New York’s. Despite the fact that 74% of Rhode Islanders oppose unrestricted abortion up until birth, Governor Raimondo has promised to sign it into law. “The card expressed the joy of having children, but the sentiment didn’t make sense coming from Governor Raimondo,” said Rowley to NBC 10 News. “If children are such a special gift, as the card claims, why does she offer those children no rights before they are born?”

To combat the dehumanization that helps many like Raimondo feel comfortable with taking away the lives of preborn babies, Nichole combined the powerful tools of social media and ultrasound imaging: “We combat the lie of dehumanization by showing a side-by-side photo of the child in the womb (Me) and outside the womb (…Still Me), clearly presenting the continuum of human life from the womb to the crib.”

CitizensForLifeRI@CitizForLifeRI

We’re voters, and we’re watching! @CharleneLimaRI 74% of Rhode Islanders oppose abortion right until the moment of birth. VOTE NO ON H5125 Sub A.

See CitizensForLifeRI’s other Tweets

Nichole sent the card back to the governor, along with her #MeStillMe images of her oldest son and newest baby. She later created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to spread the hashtag. Pro-lifers from about half a dozen other states have shared the hashtag, and two pro-life Catholic media outlets, EWTN and Relevant Radio, have shared with millions of followers. Many have taken up the hashtag to share photos of their own babies, both born and preborn.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Christie and Benjamin@ctayy

@amyklobuchar No difference.

See Christie and Benjamin’s other Tweets

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Respect Life STL@ProLifeSTL

Part 1: program manager Mary shares the photos of her youngest niece Maezy now five years old both unborn and born!

See Respect Life STL’s other Tweets

Laura 🎶@braavos_mercy

A fetus is not a child and an abortion is a medical procedure. Stop using emotion to try make your point.

Nichole said she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support after creating the hashtag. She told the National Catholic Register, “I have been so moved by the people who have reached out to me personally. Women have told me incredible stories. They tell me I encourage them but it’s really their incredible stories of choosing life in this culture of death that is encouraging. Their kindness and thankfulness gives me the confidence to keep fighting.”

OUR LADY CHOOSES THE U. S. FOR A FINAL PLEA

by Fr. Regis Scanlon

Growing numbers of Americans are looking with horror at what has become of our Church and country. Moral confusion and indifference to human life is common. Legal boundaries continue to be stretched to favor abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography without limits. Finally, the Church seems to be rotting from within from a massive problem of homosexuality among the clergy, including bishops and cardinals, as reports surface of a number of homosexual bishops preying on seminarians.

But we must take heart. Societies have broken down before and caused great human misery — but help did come. In times past, Our Lord sent His Blessed Mother to rescue His people in the midst of similar evil and suffering.

In fact, our times bear similarities to the Mexico of 500 years ago, a time when human life was also vulnerable to the powers of the state. In that case, it was the Aztec rulers who were brutally sacrificing hundreds of thousands of human beings on pagan altars. Then, in 1531, God sent Mary to a humble peasant, Juan Diego, and through this now canonized saint offered to an entire country the Christian message of peace and hope. In just 20 short years, nine million Aztec pagans were converted to Christianity by people’s obedience to the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In that famous and beloved apparition, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Our Lady of the Americas, to signify her motherly care over all the countries of the western hemisphere.

Five centuries later, many people believe that Our Lady appeared again under a similar title, Our Lady of America, to signify her care over our specific country, the United States of America.

This series of apparitions began in 1956 in Indiana and continued over three decades into the 1980s. They earned the approval of the local bishops. However, today, few Americans are aware of these appearances of Mary, who identified herself under a new title Our Lady of America. Perhaps people believe that they can solve today’s problems without extraordinary help from God.

In any case, when Mary began appearing to a quiet nun in Indiana, religious devotion was common in the U.S., and the legal system largely respected faith institutions and their constitutionally protected role under the First Amendment. But a troubled future was rapidly approaching — if we only knew. Today, we appreciate the prophetic quality of her message, as Mary reached out like a good mother with warnings for our country’s future, warnings which clearly fit our confused and troubled 21st century.

Our Lady’s appearances were made to Sister Mildred (Mary Ephrem) Neuzil (1916-2000) while she was living in Rome City, Indiana and later, in Fostoria, Ohio. Our Lady told Sister Mildred that troubling times were ahead, specifically for the United States of America. Yet Mary also held out encouragement and hope — that, yes, America can be reformed and many lives will be saved if people will turn to God and turn away from sin, especially sins of sexual impurity.

You may well be asking: since there have been so many bogus and unconfirmed apparitions — why believe in this one?

Most important of all, this apparition earned the support and approval of Paul F. Leibold auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati, who gave the imprimatur to the messages of Our Lady of America first in 1960 and later in 1971 when he was Archbishop of Cincinnati. As Archbishop of Cincinnati he also commissioned a statue and a devotional medal.  In 2007 Archbishop Leibold’s action received the support and encouragement of Cardinal Raymond Burke, at the time Archbishop of St. Louis. In a letter to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops dated May 31, 2007 he wrote this about devotion to Our Lady of America:

What can be concluded canonically is that the devotion was both approved by Archbishop Leibold and, what is more, actively promoted by him. In addition, over the years, other bishops have approved the devotion and have participated in public devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of America (italics added).

At the United States Bishop’s Conference on Nov.15, 2006 Archbishop Burke publicly  displayed and blessed a new statue of Our Lady of America.

Today, there are those who point out that the apparition of Our Lady of America had not reached the final stages of official Church approval before the death of Archbishop Leibold in 1972. This caution certainly cannot be criticized. No Catholic is forced to believe in apparitions (even those with full approval) and it is fully understandable that many Catholics will not listen to any Marian message until the Pope has given full “canonical approval.”

Still, if one weighs the credibility of these purported apparitions to Sr. Mildred, a number of things stand out. First, Sr. Mildred never sought publicity (hunger for the limelight is a discrediting sign). Second, she submitted Our Lady’s messages to her Episcopal superiors and was obedient to their direction. Third, the message itself was granted an imprimatur of a bishop of the Church and was accepted by other bishops. Finally, there is the fact that the message is so clearly in accordance with Holy Scripture, and that it carries a prophetic warning for our times. For all these reasons, isn’t it more prudent to believe the message, especially when these predictions have already begun to come true?

Why should the messages of Our Lady of America be taken seriously?

Overall, Our Lady of America’s message was twofold. It contained an encouragement of faith but also a warning of terrible times ahead if there was not widespread repentance.

First, Mary revealed to Sister Mildred that this country could be a great source for spreading the true faith across the world. Our Lady said: “I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations.”

At the time, her directive seemed most appropriate, because the United States was experiencing a time of both world tension combined with a deep spiritual devotion to Mary. Yes, the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was intense, but faith was intense also, as Catholics were inspired and directed to bombard Heaven with prayer from their homes and parishes. Every Mass concluded with prayers “for the conversion of Russia.” In 1950 the pope had declared the doctrine of the Assumption, and the acknowledgment of Our Lady’s special role in salvation unleashed a huge wave of devotion in the United States, both among Catholics and secular society. Archbishop Fulton Sheen became one of the country’s first “network TV stars,” and he dedicated much of his ministry to Mary and wrote many books about her. Father Patrick Peyton launched the Family Rosary Crusade and filled stadiums across the U.S. for his Rosary rallies. He was flanked in many of his public appearances by Hollywood stars that were proud to be identified as Catholics. Pastors nationwide encouraged their parishioners to pray the Rosary every night.

Also, during this time, the American bishops reinforced their proclamation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as Patroness of the United States. This was first proclaimed at the Council of Baltimore in 1846. The bishops capped this directive by completing and opening the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

On September 25, 1956, Sr. Mildred recorded this message from Our Lady: “I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give me.”  Then Our Lady promised to reward their love by working “miracles of grace among them.”

But she immediately added: “I do not promise miracles of the body but of the soul.”

In other words, Mary’s mission was not to work physical healings and to make people happy in this life. By promising miracles of the soul —instead of the body — it’s clear that Our Lady’s primary goal is to help people change morally so they will be saved.

As at Guadalupe, she showed herself as a most tender mother and invited each of us to turn to her for help.

And, as at Lourdes, Our Lady of America proclaimed one of the great mysteries of our faith, that she is the Immaculate Conception. In fact, Mary, under the title of Our Lady of America, gave her specific approval of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, telling Sr. Mildred, “This is my shrine, my daughter. Tell my children I thank them.” Our Lady encouraged the shrine as a pilgrimage site and promised, “It will be a place of wonders.”

And, as at Fatima in 1917, she asked Americans to reform their lives, especially in matters of purity and chastity, before it was too late and our nation succumbed to terrible sufferings.

Priests were called to a special role. Mary said American priests should submit to penance and self denial and in this way lead the renewal of the Church in America.

The second part of her message was just as crucial, but more ominous. In subsequent apparitions, Mary’s messages became more somber and urgent. “I come to you, children of America, as a last resort . . . Be my army of chaste soldiers ready to fight to death to preserve the purity of your souls.”

Our Lady added: “Make the Rosary a family prayer …. Those found in the circle of my Rosary will never be lost.”

Our Lady also spoke sternly about the future of the United States and the world. She spoke specifically about “my children in America.”  “Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and reform their lives, God will visit them with ‘punishments as yet unknown.’”

But what could she be talking about?

What Should We Make of the “Punishments”?

Any Christian would be unsettled to hear of “punishments as yet unknown.” But what punishments did Mary come to save America from?

If we stop to think about it, the answer clearly involves major trends we know too well: We live in a time of homes without fathers, and sexual relationships without marriages. Deep moral confusion which has destroyed the peace of families and the justice of many of our nation’s laws. Every day we hear of new acts of violence. Sexual depravity has become “mainstream.” Women and children are the special targets of predators. And though the “Cold War” has ended, we have entered a new era of war waged by terrorists.

So, it isn’t as if we aren’t already experienced the punishments warned of by the Blessed Mother. Besides the historic changes of legal abortion and same sex marriage (two groundbreaking legal precedents which people in the 1950s couldn’t have imagined), we also have the rise of religious persecution in our own country (Remember the government’s legal threat against the Little Sisters of The Poor.)

Today, in both Mexico and the U.S., murder routinely begins in the womb and ends in the street. Are we really surprised? After all, just as love and life are mysteriously related, so is hatred and death. When the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to legal abortions in 1973, in effect, it swung open the door to a world of hatred and death. Recall that, when  Mother Teresa of Calcutta received the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 11, 1979 in Oslo, Norway, she declared:  “if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”

But there is one more type of “punishments as yet unknown” which Our Lady of America says will happen if Americans do not reform their lives: War. Yes, we already experience war in distant countries, but now the reality has come to our own cities. We used to worry about terrorism from the Mideast, and nuclear threats from rogue nations like North Korea. Now we have to worry about bloodbaths in our own hometowns, like San Bernardino, California!

By comparison, the memory of the Cold War arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union almost looks like peacetime. Clearly, our civilization is sinking into depths that, to anyone granted a glimpse of the future in the 1950s, would have seemed like a nightmare.

How Mary’s heart must be breaking for us.

A final plea to the United States                                         

Take these troubling examples all together and it’s no great stretch to realize we face a world that is growing just as dangerous, brutal and unforgiving as the ancient Aztec culture of 500 years ago. But again, Our Lady has stepped forward to help. Like a good mother, she comes not just to warn us, but to show us the way out of our difficulties.

First, however, Mary issued an apparent “final” warning and correction for her children and this country. She told Sr. Mildred: “Unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by Heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering.”

She also added a consoling message: If Americans make a concerted and prayerful effort to reject the secular and evil trends consuming the country, the U.S. can escape the worst of the “incredible suffering” about to fall on the world. Mary also told Sr. Mildred that even if America “fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall.”

This stern, but absolutely crucial, part of Our Lady of America’s message occurred in the 1980s, which has caused some skeptics to discount it (or even shrug off the entire series of apparitions.) By then, Archbishop Leibold had died and so the later messages were not afforded the same Episcopal scrutiny as those 20 years earlier. Let me repeat: The Church never compels anyone to believe in an apparition. But in the case of these credible apparitions of Mary, as Our Lady of America, to Sr. Mildred, and the fact that so many of Mary’s warnings have come true, isn’t it more prudent to believe, than not to believe?

Our Lady, ever the good mother, didn’t conclude her visits on a note of despair. She announced through Sr. Mildred that God was giving America a special gift — one which she herself relied on in this world — the protection of St. Joseph.

Mary said: “My holy spouse has an important part to play in bringing peace to the world.”

That’s right — the apparition of Our Lady of America has a special role for St Joseph. This great saint, mostly silent throughout history, but so powerful, also appeared to Sr. Mildred. On March 18, 1958, St. Joseph told her that “Fatherhood is from God and it must take once again its rightful place among men.” For this to be done fathers must have the moral strength and courage to enter into only holy marriages and accept the responsibility of remaining with their families and training their children especially in Christian doctrine.

If fathers turn to St. Joseph by praying to him and imitating his virtues, like honesty and chastity, they will receive the moral strength and courage to be good fathers. St. Joseph told Sr. Mildred that “Through me the Heavenly Father has blessed all fatherhood, and through me He continues and will continue to do so till the end of time.”

All in all, there are many reasons to have hope. In the years since Our Lady of America’s stern but supportive apparitions, John Paul II issued his prophetic words that a “springtime in the Church” is underway. Today, we have proof that spring is upon us. The number of young practicing Christians in the United States is growing, if still numerically small. But their faith is pure and very courageous — in other words, they are fit for battle.  As it says in 1 Maccabees 3:19: “victory in war does not depend on the size of the army but on the strength that comes from Heaven.”

The role of young people in renewing the Church and society is part of the message given to Sr. Mildred. She stated: “Our Lady made it known to me that she is particularly interested in the youth of our nation. It is they who are to be the leaders of this movement of renewal on the face of the earth. Their ranks will be swelled by youths of other nations whom Our Lady also calls to help in the accomplishment of this great renewal.”

So, while the message of Our Lady of America is pointed and troubling, it is also worthy of a mother who greatly loves her wayward children: To save ourselves from disaster here and in eternity, all we have to do is All we have to do is try.

 

Does Health Insurance Cover Tubal Ligation Reversal?

Does Health Insurance Cover Tubal Ligation Reversal?

How do you get your tubes untied with Medicaid? How do you get your private insurance plan or company to pay for tubal ligation reversal surgery?

Surprisingly, the answer to both of these questions is the same – it will be very hard.

Here is the bottom line. Both Medicaid and private insurance plans may pay when there is a covered medical reason for each possible step: upfront testing, the procedure itself, and any post-operative issues.

In addition, supplemental policies and state-based infertility mandates open the door for alternative approaches. These avenues could be a more affordable way to restore your fertility and have another baby – or two.

Get Your Tubes Untied With Medicaid

How do you get your tubes untied with Medicaid? Medicaid is a public health insurance plan for low-income families, women, and children. The federal government provides much of the funding, and each state administers the programs and set rules for eligibility and coverage.

In general, Medicaid will not pay for tubal reversal surgery in any state unless you can cite a medically necessary reason. Therefore, getting your tubes untied with Medicaid may mean finding alternatives.

Covered Medical Reasons

Medicaid and other private insurance plans may pay for three types of covered medical reasons relating to your pending tubal reversal procedure. Each phase or category must be medically necessary. Medically necessary means that procedure prevents, diagnoses, or treats an injury, disease, or symptoms.

Pre-Surgery Testing

You may be able to get your Medicaid or private insurance plan to cover certain tubal reversal pre-surgery testing steps. Ask your clinic to code the test for a medically necessary reason.

  • Pre-operative bloodwork to spot infections (STD, HIV, or Hepatitis)
  • Ultrasound and exam to visualize the health of reproductive organs

Surgical Procedure

It is unlikely that your Medicaid or private insurance plan will cover the tubal reversal surgery itself as it corrects earlier voluntary sterilization. The purpose is rarely a covered medical reason – unless the procedure corrects an underlying disease or symptom.

  • Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS) is the rapid decline of estrogen/progesterone hormone levels caused by damaged blood supplies to the ovaries
  • Dysmenorrhea is pain and cramping during your menstrual cycle

Also, related services rendered while under the knife might be covered. For example, removal of uterine fibroids and polyps could be medically necessary and needed to restore fertility.

Post-Operative

It is more likely that your Medical or private insurance policy will cover any complications arising from your tubal reversal operation. The surgery is very safe. However, things can go wrong and these complications are often covered medical reasons.

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Reactions to anesthesia

Get Private Insurance To Pay for Tubal Reversal

How do you get your health insurance plan to pay for tubal ligation reversal surgery? Follow the same logic as for Medicaid plans – specify the medically necessary portions of the procedure (upfront testing, PTLS or Dysmenorrhea, post-operative complications).

However, health insurance plans issued in the private marketplace offer two possible opportunities to make having a baby again more affordable.

  1. Supplemental policies cover the expected outcome
  2. Infertility mandates may cover other treatment options

Supplemental Insurance

Supplemental health insurance covers tubal reversal outcomes – not the surgical procedure itself. Remember, the purpose of this procedure is to restore your fertility and have another baby.

Therefore, you may need to take unpaid maternity leave and find yourself with leftover hospital bills after your labor and delivery.

Unborn Baby Removed From Mother’s Womb for Surgery, Then Put Back In

MICAIAH BILGER   MAR 6, 2019

A baby girl in England is doing well inside her mother’s womb after doctors performed an innovative new procedure to fix a hole in her spine.

The baby’s mother, Bethan Simpson, of Burnham, Essex, chose to undergo the surgery in December instead of aborting her unborn baby, as doctors suggested, Yahoo News reports.

“We were offered continuing pregnancy, ending pregnancy or a new option called fetal surgery – fixing her before she is born. We had to do it. Our lives were such a rollercoaster for the next few weeks,” Simpson wrote on Facebook.

She and her husband, Kieron, learned that there was something wrong with their unborn daughter during a 20-week pregnancy scan. Doctors later diagnosed her with spina bifida, according to the report.

Simpson told the BBC that she refused to consider an abortion because she “couldn’t justify terminating a child I could feel kicking.”

In December, they became the fourth mother-child pair to undergo fetal surgery to repair spina bifida in the UK, the report states. Doctors from University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London removed the baby girl from her mother’s womb at 24 weeks of pregnancy and repaired a hole in her spinal cord, according to the report. Then, they placed her back in the womb.

“I came out of surgery at one o’clock and could feel her moving that evening,” Simpson said. “It was reassuring to feel that first kick after the anaesthetic wore off.”

Simpson said the lesion on her daughter’s spine was small, and doctors deemed the surgery a success. While she is sore and fragile, she said the risks were worth it to give her daughter a better life.

Other babies are not so fortunate. About 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted, according to the BBC. Even though fetal surgery is becoming more widely available and more successful, many mothers still choose abortion.

Medical professionals warn parents that the surgery is risky and it does not cure spina bifida. However, fetal surgery can greatly lessen the severity of the disease. In 2003, the National Institute of Health’s Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) found that closing the spinal defect in utero reduced the need for shunts after birth and boosted the child’s chances of walking independently. Doctors think fetal surgery also may reduce the odds of learning disabilities.

Last year, the New York Times profiled a Texas infant who underwent the surgery and was born kicking and screaming. Doctors said baby Royer’s outlook appears extremely good.

With a growing number of success stories to point to, Simpson urged parents to choose life for babies with spina bifida.

“There are unknowns – it’s major surgery, and the biggest decision you’ll make in your life,” she said. “But remember most children born with spina bifida today are walking and reaching normal milestones.

“Yes, there are risks of things going wrong but please think more about spina bifida, it’s not what it used to be,” she continued. “I feel our baby kick me day in and day out, that’s never changed. She’s extra special, she’s part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life.”

‘Experimental’ study to dispense abortion pill to women not yet pregnant, just ‘in case’

 

An abortion pill study which seeks to provide the deadly drugs to women who are not even pregnant yet has begun in California. The “experimental” study, published at the FDA’s Clinical Trials website for participants who are “not currently pregnant and not desiring to be pregnant in the next year,” appears to be in its beginning stages. It will be conducted under the direction of abortionist Daniel Grossman by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and is expected to be completed in April of 2020. Study participants will receive:

  • Drug: Mifeprex® (Mifepristone 200 mg)
  • Drug: Misoprostol 800 mcg
  • Drug: ella® (ulipristal acetate emergency contraception 30 mg)
  • Diagnostic Test: AccuHome® Pregnancy OTC Test

Currently, under the FDA’s REMS system, the pill (Mifeprex) is only permitted to be “dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider,” which have the ability to (1) date pregnancies accurately and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and (2) provide any necessary surgical intervention, or have made arrangements for others to provide for such care.

However, this abortion study’s participants will not be examined for pregnancy, but will receive a mere “over the phone” consultation, with pregnancy to be estimated based on the date of the last recalled menstrual period.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot, actually.

Image: Abortion drug study for non pregnant women Daniel Grossman

Abortion drug study for non pregnant women Daniel Grossman

Image: RU486 abortion pill Mifeprex (Image credit: Danco)

RU486 abortion pill Mifeprex (Image credit: Danco)

The purpose of the study, “Advance Provision of Medication Abortion,” is to”test the model of advance provision of medication abortion (MAB).”

In this model, patients at risk of unintended pregnancy and with a desire to avoid pregnancy will be assessed by a clinician and provided counseling on pregnancy recognition and testing, as well as how to administer MAB at home. For this pilot study, only patients who have previously had a MAB will be included, since this population has reported the highest interest in the model, and they are also already familiar with how to use the medications.

But in this trial, abortion inducing pills will be given to women before becoming pregnant:

The clinician will provide Mifeprex® and misoprostol to the patient at the time of counseling in case the patient becomes pregnant and wants to terminate the pregnancy using the medications up to 10 weeks gestation. Patients will contact a study clinician for an over-the-phone assessment of eligibility for MAB, including assessment of gestational age, before self-administration of Mifeprex® and misoprostol, and then attend a follow-up visit with the clinician.

Despite the potentially risky possibility of miscalculating the pregnancy and then taking the pills past the gestational limit of 10 weeks — or an ectopic pregnancy, which often requires ultrasound to determine — the posted “secondary outcome” states, “Gestational age will be calculated by last menstrual period during the over-the-phone clinical evaluation with a study clinician. Ultrasound data will be analyzed if obtained.”

“Participants will be given clear instructions on study participation and returning unused medicationsin an appropriate time frame,” the study claims.

 

READ: Abortion pill reversal and abortion waiting periods save lives

Who is conducting the study?

Image: Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

If the name ‘Daniel Grossman’ sounds familiar, it might be because he has been leading the push for so-called “self-managed” abortion. He has sponsored another study which involves pharmacy dispensing of the abortion pills.

Grossman has a previous association with manufacturer of the abortion pill, DANCO, and is deeply entrenched in the abortion industry. Grossman:

  • is a NARAL Board member
  • is a Director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health [ANSIRH]”
  • has worked with Mexico City Population Council
  • testified before a U.S. District Court in 2014, stating that he provides abortions as a consultant to Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific.
  • served as a liaison member of the PPFA National Medical Committee.
  • served as consultant in 2016 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America to provide input on medical abortion using telemedicine.

In addition to Grossman, study contacts include Katherine EhrenreichProject Manager at UCSFs’ Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health – ANSIRH (Bixby trains abortion providers), and Rana Barar, Senior Project Director for the Alternative Provision of Medication Abortion Program at ANSIRH.

Barar has written casually about her own abortion, one that she claims she does not regret. “I was 40 years old, my family was complete, and my husband and I made the decision easily and without angst,” she said.

I told my son, who was 13 at the time, that I was having an abortion a few days before the procedure. I explained to him that contraception can fail and even someone who knows a lot about reproduction can get pregnant unexpectedly. I told him that while I was sure I would grow to love a new baby just as much as I loved him and his sister, I also feared I would resent the havoc it would wreak on all our lives, and the attention it would take away from them. He wanted to know if I would be OK, if it would hurt.

I waited to tell my daughter, who was 9 at the time, until my story was going to be on the local radio. Neither of my kids ask about it now, but if they did, I would tell them that the decision I made was the right one for me and our family. I would tell them that mostly, I don’t think about that pregnancy as a baby, but sometimes I do. I would tell them that mostly when I do think of the baby that could have been, I do so with dread. But sometimes I think of the joy it could have brought.

If these abortion extremists have their way, ending the life of a living human baby in the womb will become even more casual and common than it already is. This study to provide abortion pills to women who are not even pregnant yet is another clear indication of how fanatical true abortion supporters have become.

The happiness of our large families

Arlette Yao

https://www.mercatornet.com/harambee/view/the-happiness-of-our-families/22230

Last September, at a Gates Foundation event held during a General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York, French President Emmanuel Macron opined that high fertillty in parts of Africa were “not chosen” but the result of girls not being well educated and marrying too young. Quoting himself he said: “Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children. Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.’”

Macron is not the only politician or expert to spout such views, but this effort brought a spirited response from North of the Equator in the form of #PostcardsToMacron from highly educated mothers of large families in the US and elsewhere. This month, seven couples from Ivory Coast added their voice, the (well educated) wives signing the following superb testimony. published in the newspaper Fraternité Matin on February 15.

* * * * *

A persistent opinion from the North claims that large families are a problem for Africa. And, what is perhaps more serious, some go so far as to say that if African women have seven or more children it is out of ignorance: an educated woman, claim these scholars, doesn’t allow herself to be trapped but knows how to avoid having many children.

Well, we, African women with an advanced degree and practicing a profession, would like to say that we are very happy with our large families, our children around the table, their cries when they welcome us, the joy of sharing a loving union of dad-mother-children — which is priceless. Even if needs that come with the lifestyle make themselves felt, happiness does not depend on it.

Mutual love, devotion to one another, the concern of everyone to make everyone else happy, these are the sources of true happiness. We feel rich as individuals and as couples in acquiring and developing personal and marital skills in the education of our children. That can neither be quantified nor bought and sold.

By the way, in our opinion, it is children who have grasped this aspect of happiness who will eventually become responsible citizens, in solidarity with others.

It is very likely that we have a vision of family and happiness that some of those trying to teach us neither share nor know. This is a shame, and we can only feel a certain compassion for those who confuse purchasing power with happiness.

We know that many of our African sisters have few children, either because they could not have more children, or because they preferred to limit their number, for sometimes serious reasons. We understand them and will not pretend to tell them what to do. We will simply say that we, our husbands and our children are very happy.

In addition, we want to transmit to our children our vision of life, happiness and the beauty of conjugal love. They need to be educated so that they know how to build a happy home in the future, and are able to appreciate and live married fidelity and dedication to the children, who are the source of a truly successful life. And if they (our children) are led to limit the number of children, let them know that the means and methods are not neutral.

We would like to ask the international bodies that seem so concerned about our happiness that they let us educate our children according to our convictions and that they do not come to impose their ideas about contraception or sexual health. And we would also like to ask our authorities to protect us and our children from these foreign ideological currents.

Finally, we kindly ask you to believe us: we are very happy! And, if you do not want to believe it, at least leave us alone and leave our children alone.

Mrs. Tra Lou Gohi Clémence, Senior Administrator of Financial Services, 7 children
Ms. Aminata Toure, Masters in Business Management and Finance, 5 children
Dr. Achi Flavie, medical doctor, pediatric specialist, 8 children
Ms. Soro Fonondia Ella, Master Financial Engineering, 6 children
Ms. Arlette Yao, law degree, certified in Business Administration
Ms. Sandra Essoh, licensed in English and Communication
Mrs Ahekpa N’Guessan Laetitia, Graduate INTEC (National Institute of Economic Techniques and Accountants) of Paris, 7 children

(Translated from the French. Email addresses were supplied with the original article)

Record-Breaking 24-Week-Old Premature Baby Goes Home Healthy

MICAIAH BILGER   FEB 28, 2019

An infant born weighing less than 10 ounces is home from the hospital and doing well after his record-breaking survival.

Doctors at Keio University Hospital in Japan believe the boy is the smallest premature baby ever to survive, CBS News reports. His weight, 268 grams, is about the same as an average onion.

“There is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health even though they are born small,” said Dr. Takeshi Arimitsu, who helped care for the baby boy.

The infant spent five months in the hospital after his emergency delivery in August. Around 24 weeks of pregnancy, doctors realized that the unborn boy had stopped growing, and his life was in danger, The Japan Times reports. They performed a cesarean section in an attempt to save his life.

Initially, neither doctors nor his parents knew if he would survive.

“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the baby’s mother said.

Last week, the baby boy was deemed well enough to go home. He now weighs about 7 pounds, according to the hospital.

The Tiniest Babies Registry, run by the University of Iowa, puts the baby boy as the smallest ever to survive, the Times reports. It lists 23 babies born weighing less than 300 grams who survived.

The previous record-holder was Emilia Grabarczyk, of Germany, who was born in 2015.

Modern medicine is saving premature babies who are smaller and younger than ever before. Lyla Stensrud, a Texas preschooler, is believed to be the youngest premature baby to survive, born after 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. In 2017, the journal Pediatricshighlighted her survival.

A Duke University study published in 2017 reported that babies born at just 23 weeks gestation are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than ever before. Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.

While more micro-premature babies are surviving, some hospitals will not treat them. Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 23 percent of premature infants survive as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy, but some hospitals have policies against treating babies at such an early age.

These troubling policies also came to light with the story of Maddalena Douse in 2012. The British infant was born weighing just 13 ounces at birth. Many British hospitals have policies against trying to save premature infants who weigh less than 1 pound. However, when one of the medical staff weighed the baby girl, they accidentally left a pair of scissors on the scale, bumping her weight up to the minimum. Doctors, who did not realize the mistake until later, treated Maddalena and saved her life.

The Inseparable Unitive and Procreative Purposes of Marriage — and Appropriate NFP Use

BY ANNE CHERNEY

In 1946, theologian Fr. Mathias Scheeben’s The Mysteries of Christianity appeared and therein he wrote of married couples, “They can rightfully unite with each other in matrimony only for the end which Christ pursues in His union with the Church, that is the further extension of the mystical Body of Christ.” (602) Scheeben was stating the singular purpose according to a long Catholic tradition. The great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, following St. Clement of Alexandria, had declared it the purpose of marriage. In his thinking, the sexual union for any other purpose was merely lust, and he believed that intercourse during any time the couple knew to be infertile — known times then were only pregnancy, nursing, and menopause — was even sinful!

But back in the 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI was already speaking of procreation as only the most important of marriage’s ends. Then section 50 of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes taught us that “marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and education of children.” Parents were not to proceed arbitrarily in this field, but were to follow the Church, which is the interpreter of divine law. But it also stated, “Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation, rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen.” Because of this it is a valid union, that is, “marriage persists . . . even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.”

The second purpose of marriage was being officially recognized: the unitive one. God intended value to come from the union even when He did not bless it with children. The unitive end has emotional and spiritual value for the couple themselves and for all others who encounter them. Furthermore, the married couple’s love, fruitful or not, is to be a sign of the love that God has for His people, the Bride of Christ. Now the Church was clearly talking about there being at least two purposes of marriage. This second was not an alternative purpose, could not be a substitute for the first. It was just seen that the two were to both be simultaneously, constantly, pursued.

The world, of course, had for some time seen them as two different ends, and been trying to separate them, trying to make love without making babies. Then, the cataclysmic and tragic advent of the contraceptive pill in 1960 had made it easy. The pill immediately allowed couples to readily unite with no intention of having children, and the sexual revolution it spawned would eventually lead to people deliberately having children without the commitment of marriage. For the world, the unitive and procreative purposes of sexual union had been completely torn asunder.

But could the Church ever see the two purposes as being able to be separated? Could we ever righteously simply pick or choose, pursue one and not the other? Could Catholics rightly think, “We’re going to embrace the unitive purpose of marriage now, the procreative one some other time”?

The truth is, these two purposes are mutually supportive and belong together. Gaudium et Spes §50 states that “the unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner,” and §50 goes on to argue that, “when the intimacy of married life is broken off . . . its quality of fruitfulness is ruined, for the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.” Section 48 says that children contribute to their parents’ holiness, to their parents’ love, even as they themselves derive from it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church §2366 teaches magisterially that “a child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of the mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.”

The two purposes are mutually compatible, not in competition, never at variance with one another, as though we could decide to fulfill one, even temporarily, to the exclusion of the other. The two purposes, one basically spiritual, the unitive, and the other basically physical, the procreative, are as much one and inseparable as the embodied person is one and inseparable, the spiritual and physical together. We might say that the subjective end of the marital union, the one of which we are most conscious, is the unitive one; the objective end, though, is the procreative one.

When Pope John Paul II developed his “theology of the body,” he saw the union of man and woman as a sign of the Trinitarian God. There is a Giver (the Father), a Receiver (the Son), and the Love which flows between them as the fruit of their union (the Holy Spirit). In human beings, the fruit of their union is the child implicit in that union. But if the human child is a sign of the Holy Spirit, Love Himself, then surely the love which flows between the parents is just as much a sign of the Third Person of the Trinity. The unitive and the procreative purposes are conjoined.

Finally, in 1992, the Catechism declared the “inseparability principle” regarding the two ends: “the twofold end of marriage, the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couples’ spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.” (§2363)

And yet, this is exactly what most Catholic couples are trying to do: separate the two ends and set aside the God-ordained procreative purpose of marriage. And most of them are doing it just the way the world does: with the pill. But even many of the faithful minority who would never willfully ignore Church teaching, who would use only NFP to avoid conception, are doing it with the world’s agenda: choosing to fulfill the unitive purpose of marriage and not, at least not right now, fulfill the procreative purpose. They may be furthering their education, pursuing one or two careers, achieving material advantages; or perhaps even concentrating just on knowing and loving each other. These, of course, are not bad things — but they are not the best. “Children,” states Gaudium et Spes §50, “are the supreme gift of marriage.” (Emphasis added.) Besides, such couples are not acting according to Church teaching.

Even if today’s young Catholic couples have been taught in their NFP classes that in Humanae Vitae in 1968 Pope Paul VI stated that there needed to be “serious reason” for using it, they see whatever reason they have as serious. That is, they are serious about it, whatever it is. And they have to be quite serious if they are going to all the bother to use NFP! But they have not been taught the nature of an appropriately serious reason. What is that nature?

Consider: if neither purpose of marriage can ever be set aside, how can it be that the Church, repeatedly since the 1930 discovery of the monthly fertile time, has declared licit, under certain conditions, the exclusive use of the infertile time — “periodic abstinence,” NFP — to avoid the conception of a child?

Simple! It is because of another “inseparability principle.” Bearing a child is not enough, the Council documents point out. There is a second half of procreation: education, raising the child, forming him for life, life in this world, and, more importantly, in the next. Each child we bring into being we are to do our utmost to bring into Heaven. So when Catholics “find themselves,” as Gaudium et Spes §50 put it, “in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased,” the Council is talking about situations which Humanae Vitae §10 says are economic and health concerns such that the parents believe they need to avoid a new conception in order to be able to adequately, in dignity and self-respect, raise all their children.

Casti Connubii, which was first to allow the use of “rhythm” to avoid pregnancy, did so as it spoke of “the sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children,” and Pope Pius XII in his 1951 “Address to Midwives” spoke of its use for “sufficient morally sure motives” and “grave reasons.” These popes were not talking about avoiding a child in order to pursue a career or an education or a vacation, or anything other than facing health and economic concerns which might prevent parents from raising their children appropriately. So, in such cases, the parents would be using periodic abstinence, NFP, to avoid conception — not to avoid procreation, but in order to fulfill the second half of it, the upbringing of the child.

Before Vatican II made “rhythm’s” use completely a matter of the parents’ decision, it was taught — I recall — that the couple needed to first get their confessor’s permission to use it. Clearly, then, it was not just a question of whether or not they felt like having something other than children at the moment. There obviously were objective standards, in the areas of finances and health, that needed to be thoughtfully brought into the judgment. It was about their ability to properly form, educate, raise their children — the ones already born and the ones that might come to be.

In marriage, we can never righteously, deliberately not pursue the purpose for which God intended it. So the only justification for using NFP and avoiding procreation in its first instance, the conception of a child, is to enable parents to fulfill procreation in its second instance: education, properly forming and raising them for the Kingdom.

There is a yet unanswered question with regard to the righteous use of NFP: how can we ignore the scriptural admonition of 1 Cor 7:5, to “separate only for prayer”? Dr. Greg Popcak, Catholic radio’s “Family Man,” has stated that couples using NFP should be separating to pray for the solutions to whatever unfortunate problems they have which lead them to use it — that the day might come when they would no longer feel it was necessary.

It would be appropriate for a couple to “separate for prayer” during the several fertile days, even perhaps adding fasting, to ask the Lord if their minds and hearts are conformed to His in this matter; to ask if they really have, or really still have, adequately serious reasons to avoid conception; to ask Him for healing if health issues are presenting the problem; to ask for wisdom and His intervention if economic difficulties constitute the concern. For any other prayer concern, it would not be appropriate to deliberately choose to separate during the fertile days . . . unless those few days just happened to be part of a longer or randomly chosen period of time. But over this question, it would be appropriate to “separate for prayer” during the fertile days. In such case, making temporary exclusive use of the infertile period would not be separating the unitive purpose of marriage from the procreative purpose — that is, from its second half.

We can end as we began, with Fr. Mathias Scheeben’s thoughts: the purpose of marriage is “the further extension of the mystical Body of Christ.” How can it be otherwise?

Anne Cherney, mother of ten (and grandmother of 38, so far!), went back to school after her children were grown, getting her M.A. in Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute, in Washington D.C., in 2009. One More Soul recently published her book, Supernatural Family Planning.

Silly ParaGard IUD Commercial Angers Women Hurt by Device

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Women who have been hurt by a copper IUD known as ParaGard are calling a silly commercial full of dancing girls “condescending, deceitful garbage.”

The commercial is hard to miss. It features a girl in a bright yellow dress who dances and sings about the virtues of the “hormone free” IUD that has been on the market since 1988. In the most embarrassing moment in the commercial, the woman playfully pinches the IUD between her fingers. As usual, the goofy presentation lays on a thick layer of hype while giving not even a hint about why being “hormone free” doesn’t necessarily mean safer.

ParaGard is a small IUD made of flexible plastic that has been wrapped in a thin layer of copper. Manufactured by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, its only active ingredient is copper which has been clinically proven safe and effective for pregnancy prevention and has been FDA-approved since 1988. It is implanted in the uterus by a healthcare provider during a routine office visit and can be kept in place for up to 10 years.

The method of action in ParaGard comes from the copper which repels sperm. The other way it prevents pregnancy is by irritating the uterine lining which inhibits implantation.

This last action is why ParaGard is often inserted within a few days after unprotected sex because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.

As the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation explains, “The copper IUD begins working immediately after insertion and consequently does not require a woman to use a backup method of contraception after insertion. Because of this, the copper-IUD can also be used as emergency contraception within five days of unprotected intercourse or method failure and is more effective at preventing pregnancy than emergency contraceptive pills. Unlike Plan B emergency contraceptive pills, the effectiveness of IUDs does not vary based on a woman’s weight.”

Judging by the looks of the commercial, which features a group of girls playfully dancing around, women might be inclined to think that having a hormone-free birth control device is something to celebrate. However, the women weighing in on a Facebook page entitled “Paragard Don’t Get One: Women Helping Women To Be Informed” tell a much different story.

One of the more common complaints on the page, which has more than 11,000 followers, is from women who had a toxic response to the copper in the device.

For example, this woman described a host of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, PMS, bloating, dry skin, and mood swings, and said, “I’ve lost so much hair, it just fell out in globs. Also developed pulmonary hypertension, which is rare and can be caused by excess copper in the blood, while having the IUD.” She was forced to have it removed.

Another issue is the dislodging of parts of the device. As this woman explains: “I’m at home recovering from surgery. I just had the broken arm of the Paragard removed from my womb and the muscle layer. Like other women on this site. The IUD broke when it was being removed 3 hard tugs and it came out missing one arm. Scans showed it had embedded into the womb lining and migrated into the muscle layer beyond. I’ve been struggling with sharp stabbing pain and unbearable back aches. They were able to remove the entire 15 mm piece yesterday and the abdominal pain is gone!”

She added: “I wish I could sue these buggers but no one seems to be interested anymore. I am so happy to have this bit of shrapnel gone!”

Although there were many good reviews on Drug.com, there were even more negative ones.

One woman only had the device in for a few days which she described as “the worst time for my health.” From the moment the device was implanted, she had tingling in her left arm. The tingling remains even though it was removed and doctors say it may be with her for the rest of her life. She was in perfect health before ParaGard but experienced “vomiting ,bleeding, dizziness, cramps ,losing weight in a short time, sweating at nights” after it was inserted. To those women who are considering the use of ParaGard she warns, “Please think!”

Another woman was equally blunt. “You are putting your future fertility, and possibly your life, at risk with this version of a Copper T. Ask any older woman about the horror stories from when this device was first introduced. Just think about the shape of your uterus and what the plastic arms of the “T” could do to it! To be clear, I mean it can poke a hole into the uterus when it is implanted or in place for any length of time. I am shocked that the FDA allows this dangerous device to stay on the market.”

She adds: “Further, I am completely disgusted by the current TV commercials with young women dancing in floral dresses. What condescending, deceitful garbage.”

The contraception industry uses the same tactic over and over again to promote potentially dangerous drugs and devices to women. For example, they promoted NuvaRing with a group of women in bathing suits who sit in a circle in a pool. What it didn’t tell women is that hormone delivery from the device causes spikes that make women more susceptible to blood clots. In some cases, the clots were fatal. In 2014, the manufacturer, Merck, settled more than 1,700 lawsuits for a combined $100 million to litigants who claimed the active ingredient in the drug, etonogestrel, was inadequately tested before NuvaRing’s 2002 release.

Then there’s Yaz and Yasmine, birth control pills that were introduced to the public with the same kind of deceptive advertising which made the use of these drugs look hip. There are scores of lawsuits pending against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals for the the drug’s “fourth generation” progestin known as drospirenone which has been linked to blood clots, gall bladder disease, stroke, heart attack and death in young women. As of 2013, Bayer paid out more than $750 million to settle 3,000 cases from women harmed by the drug; however, Bayer has not admitted liability in settling any of these cases.

The reason these deceptive marketing tactics work so often, to the detriment of women’s health, is because too many health care providers are not giving women the information they need to make informed choices. Instead, they are handed packages containing lengthy small-print inserts that no one with a life has time to read.

Thankfully, women are banding together to give one another the kind of full disclosure they deserve. For example, the women who formed the Facebook community known as Essure Problems raised such a ruckus that this deadly “permanent sterilization” product was eventually withdrawn from the market!

The only way we can help each other is to stay informed. Click here for a downloadable pamphlet detailing the many injuries and lawsuits pending against these dangerous drugs and devices.

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

Individualism feeds today’s culture of death

Brendan Malone | Feb 25 2019

Whenever people ask me what I think the biggest challenge we face today in regards to abortion it can be tempting to think in terms that are far too narrow. For example, I could respond by saying that the seemingly continual attempts by our politicians to introduce more extreme abortion laws are a major issue.

I could talk about the fact that the pro-life movement has extremely limited funding, resources, and personal with which to try and carry out one of the most monumentally important works of justice in human history.

Or perhaps I could highlight the unrelenting push to reduce medical professionals to subservient technicians incapable of exercising true clinical judgement by denying them their vitally important right to freedom of conscience.

All of these things are very real and very serious, but at the same time they need to be properly understood as the symptoms of a much bigger crisis. The fact that we are now living in a culture where authentic community has all but been usurped by rampant individualism.

There are many causes of this crisis. One could even say that it is a perfect storm of factors that are coalescing with catastrophic results.

Unparalleled development and widespread embrace of technologies increase our connectivity at the cost of human community. The rise of nihilistic relativism results in the loss of a unifying vision of reality in the West. A culture of self-gratification, with no desire for self-regulation through virtue mstems from the false belief that individual choice is the same thing as freedom Rampant consumerism reduces profoundly important goods and even human persons to mere objects.

And there is an almost obsessive fixation on global “community,” even though forming community on such a scale is beyond any possibility. Just witness the ideologies which reduce and separate us based on individualistic identifying characteristics rather than our shared common humanity.

In a nutshell, we have made the technologically enhanced, individualistic, self-gratifying consumer the most important good in our society.

Sadly, not even Christianity has been immune to this. How often do we come to church now as individual consumers seeking out products (‘I’ll take one satisfying sermon and four rousing worship anthems thanks’) for our personal happiness?

How many people in our church do we know as more than a face at Sunday service? Are we genuinely invested in each other’s lives and wellbeing beyond a mere handshake? Or is community just a buzzword that looks great when it appears in front of our church name in the Sunday notices or on the billboard out front?

Aristotle once declared that the greatest and most important relationship we can form with another person is one where we seek their good and not our own personal happiness or material gain. Through such a relationship of self-giving love, not only does the recipient flourish and become more fully human, but so do we, the giver.

Tragically, in a misguided quest for human fulfilment, much of modern culture has inverted this important truth, and as a result a destructive and deadly anti culture has arisen.

Which brings me back to my original question about abortion.

It is my contention that the biggest challenge we face is about recognising that abortion isn’t simply a political or social issue. It is a symptom of this culture of death that has made the gratification of individuals more important than community, and the wants of the strong more important than the needs of the vulnerable.

In doing so, this culture is not only dehumanising us, but it is also making abortion increasingly more appealing. The more people find themselves living isolated from community, the more they find themselves without the most essential and empowering element to be able to choose life for their unborn children – the concern and care of others.

Worst of all, this culture of death is now actively trying to sell us the lie that abortion, and its inseparable culture of lonely consumerism, is the path to human fulfilment and flourishing that we should be demanding as a human right.

Yes, we must continue to be unflinching and courageous in telling the hard truths about abortion, but it is now more vitally important than ever before that we become people living a culture of life — the culture of intentional community and self-giving love for the other.

Brendan Malone is the founder and Director of LifeNET. He has been working in pro-life, marriage and family ministry in New Zealand and Australia for the last 14 years. He lives in Rangiora with his wife Katie and their 5 rambunctious kids. He can be found online at www.lifenet.org.nzRepublished with permission from The Catholic Weekly, Sydney

Catholics must stand with Blessed Virgin to combat abuse crisis in Church

Editor’s note: An international group of lay Catholics held a public demonstration in Rome yesterday just outside the Vatican, demanding that Pope Francis and the world’s bishops address homosexuality during the upcoming abuse summit as the major cause of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The following statement was given by Arkadiusz Stelmach during a press conference at the event. Read all statements here

February 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – I come from Poland, the country that owes its existence to the Catholic Church. I come from a country which, by virtue of the royal act, declared the Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Poland.

Like the entire Catholic world, we Poles are sad about the condition of the Church and Christian Civilization. Yes, the Church and Christian Civilization are being destroyed for over five centuries by the gnostic and egalitarian Revolution.

Today we see a dramatic struggle between the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution within the Church.

We see how the red dragon in a new form of neo-Communism or neo-Marxism got insidiously into the Church, making in Her previously unknown devastation.

Unfortunately, also my beloved Poland is not free from this scourge. We are living part of the Catholic Church. We are struggling with the crisis of Faith – manifested in the fall of vocations to the priesthood, the decline of religious practices especially among young people, the scourge of immorality, the promotion of homosexuality and gender ideology. Unfortunately, our seminaries and universities are not free from the terrible ideology of progressivism, which effectively undermines doctrine, discipline, and pastoral work of the Church.

A year ago, the Fr. Piotr Skarga Institute, who I represent, conducted a completely unique campaign of Polonia Semper Fidelis in defense of the indissolubility of Catholic marriage and in defense of the Blessed Sacrament. This action was an expression of the concern of Polish Catholics with an unclear and thus dangerous doctrine on the indissolubility of Sacrament of Marriage contained in the papal document Amoris Laetitia. The Polish episcopate received, in effect, over 145,000 letters, the vast majority of them by traditional post. In the letters, the Polish faithful appealed to the Polish Bishops’ Conference to confirm the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, as well as to prevent of receiving Holy Communion by divorced Catholics that are living in the non-sacramental unions.

It’s sad that until now we didn’t receive any answer from the Polish episcopate for the campaign.

Unfortunately, the past months have brought further information about the extent of the crisis and confusion in the Church.

Letters from Archbishop Viganò, unmasking scandals of sexual abuse against children and clerics; attempts to democratize and destroy the hierarchical structure of the Church arouse our greatest concern.

Unfortunately, it also coincides with the increasingly furious attacks on the Church in Poland by external enemies. A sad example of this is the movie “Clergy” that presents a deformed and one-sided picture of the Church as a corrupt organization.

This very tragic situation of the Church calls us to be faithful to the clear traditional Catholic teaching and doctrine. In Poland — my country — the Mother of God, Blessed Virgin Mary, was always venerated and was our hope in most dark hours of our history. That’s why we need to stand with Her and pronounce: “Credo in Unam, Sanctam Catholicam Ecclesiam” (I believe in one, holy, Catholic Church) and that gates of hell will not destroy the Church.

Doctor Told Mom 5 Times to Abort Baby With Missing Brain, She Refused and His Brain Has Grown Back

INTERNATIONAL   MICAIAH BILGER   FEB 20, 2019

Noah Wall’s life is a medical miracle.

While still in his mother’s womb, the British boy was diagnosed with a long list of life-threatening ailments, including hydrocephalus and chromosomal abnormalities.

His mother, Shelly Wall, of Abbeytown, England, recently told Good Morning Britain that doctors suggested they abort their son five separate times. The couple refused.

“We wanted to give Noah the chance of life,” her husband, Rob Wall, said.

Today, Noah is 6 years old and defying doctors’ expectations. His parents said Noah can talk, and he is learning to walk, surf and ski.

His brain, which at birth was just 2 percent of the size it should have been, has grown to 80 percent of its full size – stunning doctors, according to the report.

“It’s a very emotive subject. Some people say you can’t grow a brain,” Rob Wall said. “Other people say it must have always been there. But if it was and squashed up it would have been so severely damaged he would have been very mentally and physically disabled.”

His wife added: “Before he was born they gave me the option of a termination five times. We got taken into a room and they drew a circle saying ‘this brain will only be half a brain.’”

Noah was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, chromosomal abnormalities, spina bifida and other problems just three months into the pregnancy, his mother said.

Even after they chose life, she said they did not know if Noah would be born alive. The parents remembered the hope that they felt when Noah came into the world screaming,

By his 1st birthday, his parents said he could smile, wave and say “mama” and “dada.” By age 3, he was telling his parents, “I love you,” and asking his mom, “You alright?” when he noticed that she looked upset.

The Walls said Noah still has medical problems and will need more surgeries, but he is doing so much better than everyone predicted.

“Every time we see the doctors they just shake their head. They’re just amazed at what he can do,” his mother said.

His story also is one of many reasons why abortions are wrong. There always is a chance that a child may survive, heal, grow and live a happy, fulfilling life.

It’s true that not every child with a serious or fatal disability will have the same miraculous recovery as Noah. But these children are just as valuable, whether they live for a few minutes or days or years outside the womb. Children with disabilities deserve the utmost care and compassion. But that compassion never should include the violent ending of a child’s life in an abortion.

Everyone knows that the world is overpopulated, or soon will be. But what if everyone is wrong?

Steven Mosher

February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Ask anyone if the world is overpopulated, and you know what he will say.

The idea that we humans are breeding ourselves to death — and taking the planet with us — is in the air that we breathe.

It was drummed into us in high school biology, where we were told that the world is like a tiny “lifeboat.” We have to lighten the load, our teachers told us, or the “lifeboat” will sink, and we will all die.

And who can forget Al Gore’s doomsday scenario, in which he warned us that a “black hole” will engulf us if we do not stop having babies? Armageddon, anyone?

But It’s worth thinking about what would happen if everyone actually abandoned childbearing. Because it turns out that a lot of young people are already doing exactly that.

While on the fantasy island of overpopulation, human numbers are always exploding, a close look at the real world reveals an increasingly barren reality. Many nations, especially in Europe, are already in a death spiral, filling more coffins than cradles each year. Listen closely, and you will hear the muffled sound of populations crashing.

The birth dearth that began in post-war Europe has now spread to every corner of the globe. China is dying, and India and Latin America are rapidly growing old, while the Middle East is barely holding its own. Even in once prolific Africa, birth rates are in free fall.

You may be forgiven for not knowing this, because the United Nations continues to beat the overpopulation drum. Human numbers will balloon to 9.5 billion people by 2050, it chants, and reach 11 or even 12 billion by 2100.

This will happen, the U.N. says, because a secret fertility rebound is brewing. Women in largely barren places like Germany, France, and Japan will soon start having more children — in fact, many, many more children. Never mind that there is zeroevidence to back up such a claim, which itself seems like nothing more than a desperate attempt to breathe new life into a dying theory.

Image
From the U.N. Population Division’s latest projections, “World Population Graph.”United Nations

Buried in the U.N. data is another, far more accurate, projection called the “low variant.” But because it doesn’t fit the “overpopulation” narrative, neither the U.N. nor the media gives it much airtime.

The “low variant” assumes that once birth rates go low, they stay low. It accepts that educated, urbanized young women in Paris, London, or Tokyo who today want only one child — or none — are not suddenly going to want a second tomorrow. Women in the rest of the world will follow, and global fertility will fall to European levels, or about 1.3 children per woman.

The bottom line: global numbers will peak at something less than 9 billion around 2050. After that, the human die-off will begin, slowly at first, but faster and faster as the years go by. By the end of the century, we will be back to our present numbers — about 7.5 billion — but we will be, collectively, far older and grayer.

What this means is that our present problem is not too many babies; it’s too few babies.

Many of today’s young adults are too enamored of sex, the city, and the single life to think about marriage, much less about replacing themselves. Education delays marriage and provides other opportunities for women besides marriage and family. A single Swedish woman may eventually bear one child as her biological clock approaches midnight, but she is unlikely to bear a second.

For materially minded couples in countries where the state provides old age benefits and charges high tax rates in consequence, the way to get ahead is to remain perpetually childless. The cradle-to-grave welfare programs that have now spread throughout the world have not merely made children superfluous to wealth; they have made children themselves the enemy of wealth. They are now, as the Chinese say, “goods on which one loses.”

Why give up a second income to bring a child into the world who will never, at least in material terms, repay your investment? Why provide for the future by having children to care for you in your dotage, if the government has pledged to keep you out of the poorhouse anyway?

A young Florida woman, who was commuting 100 miles a day to her well paying job, once complained to me about how little time she had to spend with her only child, a four-year-old son. Perhaps she could get a job locally so she could be home more, I suggested helpfully, even though it would mean selling her expensive SUV. “You don’t understand,” she said, aghast. “My husband and I love this SUV.”

These are the calculations driving the old age tsunami that is about to hit the world, not just in places like New York, but in Rio and Nairobi as well.

For a long time, population growth has been seen as the enemy, particularly by those who did not realize that it was a key driver of economic growth. Now, with young people becoming a scarce resource, the linkage is clear. Absent a nuclear war, global plague, or a collision with a comet, business from now on is primarily going to be a numbers game.

The rapid aging of the population, by reducing the amount of human capital available, will dramatically darken humanity’s prospects in countless ways.

Population growth has been an important escalator of consumer demand. Try selling cars, houses, refrigerators — or anything else, for that matter — in a depopulating country. Try seeking profitable investments in the stock market when millions of elders start slowly liquidating their IRAs and 401(k)s to survive.

Some sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and health care, will still do well, but shrinking demand elsewhere will more than offset these gains.

The ranks of workers will thin with each passing year, while the number of elderly will grow. Countries will be forced to slash pensions or raise the retirement age. Living standards may fall, and economies may well shrink.

Within the next couples of decades, the world will enter a “low-birthrate recession.” Unlike other recessions, this one may never end.

Shrinking birthrates also threaten social isolation as family circles collapse. Those seniors who lack close family ties will be socially isolated and painfully lonely.

As Ben Wattenberg once remarked, “Young DINKs (double income, no kids) may be cute. Old LINKs (low income, no kids) may be tragic.”

So stop telling us that we are having too many children already. Our long-term problem, which is now upon us, is too few children.

This is the real “black hole.” And it threatens to devour us all.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois to offer ‘free’ contraceptives. But what’s the real cost?

 

Planned Parenthood of Illinois has announced that affiliates across the state will offer free birth control for a year to women who cannot afford the cost. The Chicago Tribune reports that the initiative, Access Birth Control (ABC), is being funded by “private philanthropy” and will offer a wide range of contraceptives to low-income and uninsured women.

The program seems altruistic until you take a closer look at the contraceptives on offer to women in the program. The options include IUDs, vaginal rings, injectable birth control, and the pill. These forms of contraceptives carry significant health risks for women, both physical and mental, as hormonal contraception has been strongly linked to depression.

Several of these contraceptives can cause early abortions, a fact that many women prescribed these harmful drugs are not told. What is more, recent studies show that contraception is more likely to lead to abortion.

It’s also important to note that Planned Parenthood is the organization administering the birth control. Planned Parenthood is not a comprehensive health provider — in fact, they have, for example, never provided mammograms. Planned Parenthood is an abortion corporation. Over the past several years, legitimate health services have declined. Meanwhile, as the national abortion rate has continued to decline, Planned Parenthood’s market share of abortions has increased.

While the “free” contraception program is presented as philanthropy by Planned Parenthood and their friends in the media, a more accurate description might be “marketing campaign.” By offering ‘free’ contraceptives to vulnerable women, Planned Parenthood builds brand loyalty, so that women will continue to come to them for other “services” — for instance, when those contraceptives occasionally fail, which is not at all unusual, those women are likely to turn to Planned Parenthood for abortion. With the many health risks of these contraceptives and the increased chance of paying Planned Parenthood for an abortion, the program is not really “free.”

While this may seem alarmist, we should keep in mind that Planned Parenthood is a business that ends the lives of more than 330,000 preborn babies each year. They are unlikely to tell women about ethical and effective alternatives that carry none of the health risks.

Doctors find teen girls using contraception are alarmingly losing bone mass

VANCOUVER, February 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Teen girls who use hormonal contraception like ‘the pill’ showed significant bone loss, increasing their risk of “later life fractures,” a new scientific study has found. The authors of the study say that their findings are “of concern” and present a “potential public health problem.”

According to Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior of the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a meta-analysis of controlled, observational studies found that healthy teenage girls who used combined hormonal contraception (including estrogen and progestin via several delivery methods) showed significant spinal bone loss over two years.

Dr. Prior is a professor of endocrinology and metabolism at UBC, and founder and scientific director at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research in Vancouver. She told Endocrine Today, “Instead of using combined hormonal contraception as the go-to, routine therapy in adolescent girls, we need to use evidence-based and physiological ways to treat cramps, heavy flow, irregular cycles and acne, and nonhormonal methods for contraception.” The study, titled “Adolescent use of combined hormonal contraception and peak bone mineral density accrual: A meta‐analysis of international prospective controlled studies” was published Jan. 7, 2019.

The study indicates “adolescence is a key time in women’s life cycle for bone accrual, for decreasing later life osteoporosis and lifetime fragility fracture risk,” and peak bone mass density (BMD) is “gained in women ages 16 and 19 years and lumbar spine peak BMD is achieved between ages 33 and 40…” Citing the risk of loss of BMD, the study states: “Those who achieve a lower peak BMD are widely believed to be at increased risk of later life fractures, although prospective BMD and incident fragility fracture data are scarce.”

The study was conducted in Brazil, Canada, China, and the United States and showed bone mass density loss over one to two years. Prior and her colleagues analyzed data from nine clinical trials and observational, longitudinal studies that included teen girls who were using hormonal contraception (including estrogen and progestin in oral, patch or ring preparation). Those monitored for 12 months showed bone loss, while bone loss continued to be evident for the girls in the 24-month study.

In summary, the study showed that teen girls on contraception showed significantly less bone growth than those not using contraception, even when they are prescribed lower estrogen doses than in previous years. Because hormonal contraception is increasingly used even for “treatment of mild symptomatic, non‐contraceptive reasons such as acne and cramps,” the authors of the study fear that a “negative public health impact” may result.

Pro-life doctors take on pro-abortion medical org: ‘Abortion is NOT healthcare’

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) — a notoriously pro-abortion organization — has released a so-called “fact sheet” on “later” abortions, titled, “Facts Are Important: Abortion Care Later in Pregnancy is Important to Women’s Health.” In it, they take issue with the use of the phrase “late-term abortion,” claiming it “has no medical definition and is not used in a clinical setting or to describe the delivery of abortion care later in pregnancy.” While the ACOG may make this claim, abortionists who commit abortions late in pregnancy have used the term for years and still do. And before pro-abortion organizations like the ACOG gave the abortion-friendly media their marching orders in the past few weeks, the phrase “late-term abortion” was used frequently by news outlets as well.

The ACOG typically makes claims in lockstep with the abortion industry’s public relations personnel, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) stands firmly in opposition to the death-promoting speech of the ACOG. AAPLOG released a fact sheet of its own about abortions late in pregnancy. Its document, titled, “Facts ARE Important: Abortion, including later in pregnancy, is NOT healthcare,” directly takes on the ACOG’s “fact sheet” claims.

Claim #1: Late abortions are “rare.”

Truth: That’s at least 11,000 human beings every year.

First, the ACOG does what every abortion supporter does when speaking about late-term (or “later”) abortions: it points out the “rarity” of such procedures. “Abortion after 21 weeks accounts for slightly more than 1 percent of all abortions that occur in the United States. Abortion later in the second trimester is very rare, and abortion in the third trimester is rarer still, accounting for less than one percent of abortions.” It’s “rare” only in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of abortions happening earlier in pregnancy… as if that makes the brutality of killing fully developed children so late in pregnancy somehow acceptable.

AAPLOG counters (emphasis added):

A recent release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that policy
related to abortion care “must be based on medical science and facts”. We could not agree more….

Although abortions in the second half of pregnancy only account for 1.3% of all abortions, this still amounts to
over 11,000 fetal pain-capable human beings that are being killed each year.

It is undisputed scientific fact that at the moment of fertilization, a new distinct living human being comes into existence. This human being came from two human parents and therefore can be nothing but human. Even very early in pregnancy, this human being meets all of the scientific criteria for a living organism and is completely distinct from her mother, not a part of her mother’s body. This is scientific fact.

Claim #2: Abortion is medically necessary.

Truth: It’s never necessary to deliberately kill an innocent human being in the womb.

ACOG writes, “The need for an abortion later in pregnancy could arise for a number of reasons, including fetal anomalies or complications that threaten a woman’s health.” (Notice the term “need.”) ACOG goes on (emphasis added): “Women, in consultation with their physicians, must be able to evaluate all appropriate treatments and make informed choices about what’s best for their health and their pregnancies. Depending on the circumstance, this might include abortion care….”

AAPLOG points out that abortion is never actually medically necessary, and that it’s not healthcare. Oh, and about those “physicians”….

Abortion is NOT healthcare, much less an essential part of women’s health care. If it were, more OB/GYN’s
would do them.

Currently, greater than 90% of abortions are done by dedicated abortion providers, not by a woman’s personal physician.

In other words, the woman has likely never seen that doctor before she walked through the doors of that facility (unless she’s had a previous abortion there) — a facility often dedicated solely to the practice of aborting human beings.

 

Claim #3: There could be complications with the baby or mother, making abortion necessary.

Truth: Killing an ill child helps no one, and abortion also puts women at risk — both now and in future pregnancies.

The ACOG’s “fact” sheet goes on to say that sometimes severe fetal anomalies occur. “In these cases, where death is likely before or shortly after birth, patients may decide whether to continue the pregnancy and deliver a nonviable fetus or have an abortion” for “what she feels is best for her health and her family.” The ACOG goes on to say, “Abortion later in pregnancy may also be necessary when complications severely compromise a woman’s health or life, conditions which may also reduce the possibility of fetal survival.”

However, abortion reduces the possibility of fetal survival every time it’s done as intended.

AAPLOG makes this point:

… [T]he intentional killing of a fetal human being (often through barbaric means such as dismemberment), does not treat disease and does not improve a woman’s health. It is 100% lethal for one of our two patients, and has significant health ramifications for our adult patient. For example, there is now substantial evidence for the link between surgical abortions and very preterm birth (prior to 32 weeks) in subsequent pregnancies, and this risk increases exponentially with each abortion a woman has. 

 

And having an abortion at such a late stage typically involves two to three days of dilation. If a woman’s health truly is “severely compromise[d],” dilating the cervix over three days seems unwise. AAPLOG adds that the risk of death from abortion so late in pregnancy is higher than the risk of dying during birth, adding:

There are rare circumstances during pregnancy in which a mother’s life is in jeopardy…. It is extremely rare for this to occur prior to the point of viability (currently 22-23 weeks). In this circumstance, delivery is indicated. Intentional killing of the fetal human being, however, is not necessary. We can save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant and then give both the care that they need….

In cases where the mother’s life is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion, which is typically a two to three day process. Immediate delivery is needed in these situations, and can be done in a medically
appropriate way….

AAPLOG also recommends perinatal hospice for parents facing a diagnosis of a terminal condition for their child, writing that not only does this “improve outcomes for the family” and mother, “but also honors the life of their child and allows them to have an intact child to hold and grieve.”

ACOG claims in its “fact sheet” that “The best health care is provided free from political interference in the patient-physician relationship.” But AAPLOG gives a slam dunk response to this platitude, writing, “when the issue at hand is the killing of innocent human beings as well as the harming of women through deceptive practices, it is the responsibility of the government in any civilized society to protect its innocent citizens from harm.”

 

Manifesto of Faith

By Cardinal Gerhard Müller *

“Let not your heart be troubled!” (John 14:1)

In the face of growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith, many bishops, priests, religious and lay people of the Catholic Church have requested that I make a public testimony about the truth of revelation. It is the shepherds’ very own task to guide those entrusted to them on the path of salvation. This can only succeed if they know this way and follow it themselves. The words of the Apostle here apply: “For above all I have delivered unto you what I have received” (1 Cor. 15:3). Today, many Christians are no longer even aware of the basic teachings of the Faith, so there is a growing danger of missing the path to eternal life. However, it remains the very purpose of the Church to lead humanity to Jesus Christ, the light of the nations (see LG 1). In this situation, the question of orientation arises. According to John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a “safe standard for the doctrine of the faith” (Fidei Depositum IV). It was written with the aim of strengthening the Faith of the brothers and sisters whose belief has been massively questioned by the “dictatorship of relativism.”

1. The one and triune God revealed in Jesus Christ

The epitome of the Faith of all Christians is found in the confession of the Most Holy Trinity. We have become disciples of Jesus, children and friends of God by being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The distinction of the three persons in the divine unity (CCC 254) marks a fundamental difference in the belief in God and the image of man from that of other religions. Religions disagree precisely over this belief in Jesus the Christ. He is true God and true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Word made flesh, the Son of God, is the only Savior of the world (CCC 679) and the only Mediator between God and men (CCC 846). Therefore, the first letter of John refers to one who denies His divinity as an antichrist (1 John 2:22), since Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is from eternity one in being with God, His Father (CCC 663). We are to resist the relapse into ancient heresies with clear resolve, which saw in Jesus Christ only a good person, brother and friend, prophet and moralist. He is first and foremost the Word that was with God and is God, the Son of the Father, Who assumed our human nature to redeem us and Who will come to judge the living and the dead. Him alone, we worship in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Only and True God (CCC 691).

2. The Church

Jesus Christ founded the Church as a visible sign and instrument of salvation realized in the Catholic Church (816). He gave His Church, which “emerged from the side of the Christ who died on the Cross” (766), a sacramental constitution that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved (CCC 765). Christ, the Head, and the faithful as members of the body, are a mystical person (CCC 795), which is why the Church is sacred, for the one Mediator has designed and sustained its visible structure (CCC 771). Through it the redemptive work of Christ becomes present in time and space via the celebration of the Holy Sacraments, especially in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Holy Mass (CCC 1330). The Church conveys with the authority of Christ the divine revelation, which extends to all the elements of doctrine, “including the moral teaching, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, and observed” (CCC 2035).

3. Sacramental Order

The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation in Jesus Christ (CCC 776). She does not reflect herself, but the light of Christ, which shines on her face. But this happens only when the truth revealed in Jesus Christ becomes the point of reference, rather than the views of a majority or the spirit of the times; for Christ Himself has entrusted the fullness of grace and truth to the Catholic Church (CCC 819), and He Himself is present in the sacraments of the Church.

The Church is not a man-made association whose structure its members voted into being at their will. It is of divine origin. “Christ himself is the author of ministry in the Church. He set her up, gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal (CCC 874). The admonition of the Apostle is still valid today, that cursed is anyone who proclaims another gospel, “even if we ourselves were to give it or an angel from heaven” (Gal 1:8). The mediation of faith is inextricably bound up with the human credibility of its messengers, who in some cases have abandoned the people entrusted to them, unsettling them and severely damaging their faith. Here the Word of Scripture describes those who do not listen to the truth and who follow their own wishes, who flatter their ears because they cannot endure sound doctrine (cf. 2 Tim 4:3-4).

The task of the Magisterium of the Church is to “preserve God’s people from deviations and defections” in order to “guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error” (890). This is especially true with regard to all seven sacraments. The Holy Eucharist is “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). The Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which Christ includes us in His Sacrifice of the Cross, is aimed at the most intimate union with Him (CCC 1382). Therefore, the Holy Scripture admonishes with regard to the reception of the Holy Communion: “Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord’s cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion” (CCC 1385). From the internal logic of the sacrament, it is understood that divorced and civilly remarried persons, whose sacramental marriage exists before God, as well as those Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Faith and the Church, just as all those who are not disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457), because it does not bring them to salvation. To point this out corresponds to the spiritual works of mercy.

The confession of sins in Holy Confession at least once a year is one of the Church’s commandments (CCC 2042). When the believers no longer confess their sins and no longer experience the absolution of their sins, salvation becomes impossible; after all, Jesus Christ became Man to redeem us from our sins. The power of forgiveness that the Risen Lord has given to the Apostles and their successors in the ministry of bishops and priests applies also for mortal and venial sins which we commit after Baptism. The current popular practice of confession makes it clear that the conscience of the faithful is not sufficiently formed. God’s mercy is given to us, that we might fulfil His Commandments to become one with His Holy Will, and not so as to avoid the call to repentance (CCC 1458).

“The priest continues the work of redemption on earth” (CCC 1589). The ordination of the priest “gives him a sacred power” (CCC 1592), which is irreplaceable, because through it Jesus becomes sacramentally present in His saving action. Therefore, priests voluntarily opt for celibacy as “a sign of new life” (CCC 1579). It is about the self-giving in the service of Christ and His coming kingdom.

4. Moral Law

Faith and life are inseparable, for Faith apart from works is dead (CCC 1815). The moral law is the work of divine wisdom and leads man to the promised blessedness (CCC 1950). Consequently, the “knowledge of the divine and natural law is necessary” to do good and reach this goal (CCC 1955). Accepting this truth is essential for all people of good will. For he who dies in mortal sin without repentance will be forever separated from God (CCC 1033). This leads to practical consequences in the lives of Christians, which are often ignored today (cf 2270-2283; 2350-2381). The moral law is not a burden, but part of that liberating truth (cf Jn 8:32) through which the Christian walks on the path of salvation and which may not be relativized.

5. Eternal Life

Many wonder today what purpose the Church still has in its existence, when even bishops prefer to be politicians rather than to proclaim the Gospel as teachers of the Faith. The role of the Church must not be watered down by trivialities, but its proper place must be addressed. Every human being has an immortal soul, which in death is separated from the body, hoping for the resurrection of the dead (CCC 366). Death makes man’s decision for or against God definite. Everyone has to face the particular judgement immediately after death (CCC 1021). Either a purification is necessary, or man goes directly into heavenly bliss and is allowed to see God face to face. There is also the dreadful possibility that a person will remain opposed to God to the very end, and by definitely refusing His Love, “condemns himself immediately and forever” (CCC 1022). “God created us without us, but He did not want to save us without us” (CCC 1847). The eternity of the punishment of hell is a terrible reality, which – according to the testimony of Holy Scripture – attracts all who “die in the state of mortal sin” (CCC 1035). The Christian goes through the narrow gate, for “the gate is wide, and the way that leads to ruin is wide, and many are upon it” (Mt 7:13).

To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns. It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, “the price of their apostasy” (CCC 675); it is the fraud of Antichrist. “He will deceive those who are lost by all means of injustice; for they have closed themselves to the love of the truth by which they should be saved” (2 Thess 2:10).

Call

As workers in the vineyard of the Lord, we all have a responsibility to recall these fundamental truths by clinging to what we ourselves have received. We want to give courage to go the way of Jesus Christ with determination, in order to obtain eternal life by following His commandments (CCC 2075).

Let us ask the Lord to let us know how great the gift of the Catholic Faith is, through which opens the door to eternal life. “For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: The Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38). Therefore, we are committed to strengthening the Faith by confessing the truth which is Jesus Christ Himself.

We too, and especially we bishops and priests, are addressed when Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, gives this admonition to his companion and successor, Timothy: “I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober.” (2 Tim 4:1-5).

May Mary, the Mother of God, implore for us the grace to remain faithful without wavering to the confession of the truth about Jesus Christ.

United in faith and prayer,

Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 2012-2017

Editor’s note: After this text was published, the cardinal’s office submitted to CNA three amendments to the text originally submitted to CNA. Two were minor syntactical corrections. The third change replaced the word “to” with “cannot” in the following phrase: “just as all who are not properly disposed, to cannotreceive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457) because it does not bring them to salvation.”

Bishop Conley: Some cardinals have ‘very disturbing’ views on morality

 

The bishop also said that a pope’s words are not necessarily ‘authentic doctrine’

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska has said there is “uncertainty and confusion” within the Church over moral teaching, including “at a very high level” of the hierarchy.

While praising Pope Francis, the bishop also discussed the role of the papacy, saying that even popes “cannot overturn what has been infallibly taught”.

Bishop Conley’s remarks came in an interview with Professor Robert George of Princeton University, which appears as a chapter in a new book, Mind, Heart, and Soul: Intellectuals and the Path to Rome.

The bishop was asked about the divisions within the Church. He replied that “there seem to be some voices within the Church, some at a very high level, that are calling into question some fundamental truths about the human person”. Bishop Conley, who chairs the US bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said he was especially referring to truths about marriage and sexuality.

“These truths have long been taught by the Church,” Bishop Conley told Professor George, “and were strongly reaffirmed by Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict. Questions concerning the nature and function of conscience, sin and the moral act, intrinsic evil, and the natural law.”

Bishop Conley said that “some voices” were “very disturbing. And some of them are very important voices – theologians and even bishops, archbishops, and cardinals”. But despite these “deepening divisions”, the bishop said he was not “shaken”. “I have confidence that the Holy Spirit will eventually sort it all out and not let the Church go off the rails.”

Bishop Conley said he thought Pope Francis upheld the Church’s teachings. The bishop also considered “what the faithful Catholic would be bound by conscience to do if, God forbid, his or her properly formed conscience were to come into conflict with something a pope says. It could be Pope Francis or any pope.”

Under such circumstances, the bishop argued, it would be necessary to “go with the sensus fidelium” – “the belief of the Church through the ages, yesterday, today, and forever”. Bishop Conley distinguished between the sensus fidelium – “the Church’s firm, constant, and true teaching” – and modern dissent about, for instance, contraception.

Bishop Conley said that there were “rare” times in history when a pope has said “something that contradicts or is logically inconsistent with the firm and constant teaching of the Church on a matter of faith or morals”. If this happens, he said, it is important to remember that “the pope cannot overturn what has been infallibly taught, whether by the papal magisterium itself or by an ecumenical council or by the ordinary universal magisterium.” Popes are “not dictators”, he said, and “the faith of the Church does not lie in a pope”.

Bishop Conley said that Blessed John Henry Newman could help Catholics to “understand the office of Peter, especially in the present pontificate”. While Newman “had a very healthy respect, obedience, and admiration for the papacy”, he also “knew that not every utterance that came out of a pope’s mouth is necessarily authentic Christian doctrine.” Bishop Conley said this awareness made Newman unpopular with powerful figures, and may have prevented Newman from being made a bishop.

NFL Star Ben Watson Challenges Men to End Abortion: “Step Up & Lead”

by ChurchPOP Editor – 

Wow! What an interview!

NFL tight end Ben Watson had some powerful pro-life words for men in an interviewwith Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum.

As a husband and father of seven children (two currently in the womb), the NFL star explained that men should “step up and lead,” which could “eradicate” many of the abortions occurring today.

He added that abortion is “the ultimate form of sexism against women.”

Check out the powerful interview below:

Click here if you cannot see the video.

“I look in the mirror and encourage myself as a husband and father…If men stood up…a lot of this would be eradicated.”

Watson explained that “men are in a role of leadership in many areas. Men are protectors—we are providers. Many women would not be seeking abortions if the men involved in their lives were doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

“And that’s a challenge to myself, that’s a challenge to all men who are listening, that’s a challenge to men everywhere to step up and be men.

“A lot of the issues that we face in our country, whether it’s the abortion issue, or education, or whatever it may be, sometimes incarceration, whatever it may be, if men were doing their job, these things would be eradicated.

“My message to men is a lot of times, me looking in the mirror and encouraging myself as a father, as a husband, to do what it takes to stand in the gap, to step out, and to lead, because manhood is really falling by the wayside.

“The crazy thing is that abortion itself is really the ultimate form of sexism against women. And if men were standing up doing what they were supposed to do, much of this would be eradicated.”

Watson also presented a similar message at the 2017 March for Life:

What do you think of Watson’s message?

OBGYN Who Delivered 5,000 Babies: Abortion is “Never” Necessary to Protect a Woman’s Health

GRACE CARR   FEB 12, 2019

Doctor and Kansas Rep. Roger W. Marshall wrote an op-ed saying there aren’t any reasons why a late-term abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s health.

“To this day, I can’t think of a single scenario where I thought a late-term abortion would help to improve a woman’s mental health,” Marshall wrote in a Monday op-ed published by Fox News. “Contrary to the pro-abortion movement, regardless of the mother’s underlying medical health, I never saw the scenario where we had to choose between a mom’s life and a baby,” Marshall wrote.

Marshall is an obstetrician who has delivered more than 5,000 babies in Western Kansas over 25 years. He also served as an OB-GYN at a state mental health hospital and prison.

Pregnant women face much higher risks for uterine perforation and life-threatening hemorrhaging during late-term abortions, according to Marshall. The procedures also pose a high risk of infection, permanent scarring and infertility, according to the doctor.

“Point blank, late-term abortions are unsafe and are more dangerous than naturally occurring childbirth in almost any situation,” Marshall wrote.

A number of states, including Rhode IslandVermont, Virginia, Maine, New Mexico and Maryland, are considering proposals to expand abortion access allowing women to abort in the late stages of pregnancy.

New York passed the Reproductive Health Act on Jan. 22, codifying a woman’s ability to abort under state law and allowing women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation.

Marshall called New York’s law “inhumane” for both mothers and children.

“I urge you to tell all of your elected federal officials to support the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is the first step to immediately protect those babies who have survived botched abortions and mandate that they receive proper medical care,” the doctor and state representative also urged.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would mandate babies born alive after an abortion would receive the “same protection of law as any newborn.”

Seventy-five percent of Americans support significant abortion restrictions and say abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy, according to a January Marist survey.

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

Are government family planning programs enslaving minorities?

 

The most effective prison has no guards with guns, nor cells with bars. The enslavement of the mind in the prison of false narrative is so deceptive we submit to it willingly.@prayingmedic

Thirty-three years after America ended the horrific practice of enslaving Blacks, the Supreme Court restored the habit of treating people differently based on the color of their skin. Eugenicists and segregationists cheered the Plessy v. Ferguson decision as they continued terrorizing former slaves, using skin color to keep them divided from the community they once were forced to embrace.

The segregationist culture began to shift in the mid-1950s, when the Civil Rights movement exposed the horror and terror embedded in the Jim Crow laws. Most of America grew to reject discrimination based on skin color. Realizing the passage of the Civil Rights Acts would impede their agenda of controlling the Black birth rate, eugenicists like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and Alan Guttmacher turned to the federal government to continue their population control maneuvers. With racist allies like President Richard Nixon, a devout population control enthusiast, Sanger and Guttmacher set the stage for abortion on demand. By 1973, their dogma won out when Roe v. Wade established the so-called right to abortion.

Abortion on demand also aided the government’s establishment of an office to administer family planning programs, specifically for the poor. On Christmas Eve 1970, the Democrat-controlled Congress rejoiced that Public Law 91-572, 84 Stat. was passed, ushering in the age of population control in America to be administered through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). This office exists under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Despite the law prohibiting organizations that “use abortion as a family planning method” from receiving Title X funds, the Office of Population Affairs has provided Title X funds to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, almost from the passage of Roe v. Wade.

Today, Planned Parenthood commits more than 30 percent of all abortions carried out in this country and receives more than a half-billion taxpayer dollars while doing so. Camouflaging their eugenic intent in the rhetoric of providing “access to health care,” they have long targeted the Black population while collecting taxpayer dollars through Title X and Medicaid.

Every administration since 1970, whether Democrat or Republican, has ignored the violation of Title X and other federal laws that ban using federal dollars for abortion. Planned Parenthood has committed Medicaid fraud, has ignored laws regarding child sexual abuse, has enabled sex traffickers to maintain their “trade,” and has sold the body parts of babies they aborted, among other crimes. Despite all these egregious acts, they continue to freely dip into the taxpayer coffers because the United States Department of Health and Human Services refuses to enforce the laws related to family planning.

More than 60 million babies later, 20 million of whom are Black, it may be time to shift America’s culture yet again. President Trump’s HHS has not fulfilled its self-proclaimed mission of protecting the weakest among us. Instead it is choosing to follow the business as usual model that has allowed a genocide on America’s most vulnerable.

The time has come to end the genocide and to hold those committing the genocide accountable. It is time to strip away the false narrative that abortion is akin to a civil right. It is time to open the prison bars and liberate those who are enslaved to the false narrative that abortion is safe and rare. The time has come to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (Proverbs 31:8) by dismantling the Office of Population affairs and pursue all avenues of prosecution against Planned Parenthood for its decades of atrocities.

Read more about the author, Catherine Davis,  founder and president of The Restoration Project, here.

Pro-life law firm asks Supreme Court: Are embryonic humans people or property?

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Supreme Court is being asked to weigh in on whether embryonic children are persons or property. Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, J.D. has filed a petition with the high court for a writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks, a controversial Colorado embryo custody case.

Messall, acting on behalf of Colorado mother Mandy Rooks, is requesting that the United States Supreme Court reverse an earlier ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court and affirm the fact that embryos are human persons, as “recognized in law hundreds of years ago.”

Mandy Rooks is the mother of six cryopreserved babies. The embryos are those remaining in cryogenic storage after in-vitro fertilization procedures. Those procedures allowed Ms. Rooks to deliver a son, and later twins, while married to Drake Rooks, the children’s father. Despite the couple’s divorce, Ms. Rooks wants to keep the babies for future implantation. Her now ex-husband has asked the court to deliver the six embryos to him for destruction.

Both a district court and the Colorado Court of Appeals awarded custody to Mr. Rooks, but the Colorado Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution for the embryos because the lower courts considered what it labeled “inappropriate factors” in attempting to balance the divorced couples’ interests. The case was remanded to the trial court.

The Petition for review by the United States Supreme Court enumerates multiple reasons for the highest court in the land to rule on the most basic question: Is a human embryo a person or property?

  • Classifying human life as property conflicts with a plethora of federal and state laws, as well as high court precedent.
  • The express language of the United States Constitution’s preamble conflicts with a “property” designation.
  • Human embryos are entitled to substantive due process as persons under the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Science is firm on when a person comes into being.
  • Family rights are more precious than property rights.
  • The Colorado Supreme Court has violated Ms. Rooks’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • The lower courts are in conflict.

Messall states in the appeal to the high court, “Granting human embryos the status of persons cannot be left up to fifty states, any more than the Kansas-Nebraska Act could leave the status of slaves to each state. The test of who is a ‘person’ must be decided for the entire nation in order to uphold the principles of ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’”

She holds that the arguments for the personhood of Dred Scott and his family, which the courts got wrong, denying the enslaved citizens their personhood, remain as true today as they were in the infamous 1857 trial.

The petition also points out that scientific reality confirms the terms “reproduction” and “procreation” as referring to a new human person, not property, and not to an in-between classification.

Attorney Rita Gitchell, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained some of the issues at stake in Rooks v. Rooks: “These cryogenically preserved children are already developing human beings, before implantation. Colorado courts are relying on their state law that does not protect unborn children from third party liability for harm done to the unborn and case law extracted from old, out-of-date science that had not yet understood that embryo body cells, along with the placental and other cells, are present before implantation of the embryo in the womb.”

Parental constitutional rights to bear and raise offspring were not considered even though the trial court found the embryos to be human life.

“While it is a simple fact that those who provide an egg and a sperm which unite to become an embryo become genetic parents,” continued Gitchell, “It is not fact that while the embryos are developing, that the parents are ‘becoming genetic parents.’ That is comparable to suggesting that a woman who is seven months pregnant is ‘becoming pregnant.’ Until the courts or legislatures grasp the facts of created life, the Constitutional rights of parents to protect their created offspring are not being considered, nor are the human rights of the embryo considered. This results in human embryos being treated like chattel or property, not unlike the treatment of African slaves in the pre-abolition era.”

She added, “Mr. and Ms. Rooks are forever genetic parents of these created embryos. A court can terminate his or her legal parental rights, but can never terminate the genetic fact that these tiny embryos are their biological children.”

A response from the United States Supreme Court on whether they will consider the issue is expected by February 25, 2019.

Read the Petition for A Writ of Certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court, submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, on behalf of Mandy Rooks, on January 22, 2019 here.

Read the amicus curiae submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooksby Thomas More Society attorneys on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists here.

‘Severely disabled’ child healed after mother refused to abort him

Dorothy Cummings McLean

GEORGE WEST, Texas, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A mother who refused to abort her unborn son despite being told he had a fatal abnormality prayed for a miracle — and got one.

Last summer, Kate Bledsoe McKinney, the mother of three daughters, was told that her unborn son had a cystic hygroma, a malformation of the lymphatic system, and that it was so big he could not survive.

“I was encouraged to go ahead and terminate,” McKinney recounted Sunday on her Facebook page.

“In fact, they could even do it that same day,” she continued.  “It was nothing to them.”

When she began to cry, the doctor left the room and McKinney recalled that she had been advised 10 years before to abort her twin daughters.

“We were told they only had a 32.8 percent chance for both to be born alive,” she said. “I was encouraged to terminate them, also. I couldn’t believe I was here again.”

McKinney told the doctor that she wouldn’t abort her child and stuck to her guns despite his advice.

“He then told me about the risks of continuing the pregnancy and what would happen during a stillbirth,” she reported. “He was still trying to persuade me to abort.”

Fortunately, McKinney then met someone with a different philosophy of medical care. When a nurse came in to draw blood from the tear-stained mother, she shyly asked her how her appointment was. When McKinney said it could have gone better, the nurse took a risk.

“She gently placed her hand on my arm and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Just have faith. Nothing is too big for God,’” McKinney recalled.

“In a doctor’s office, where it seemed like they were handing out lollipops with abortions, this woman was an angel,” she continued.

“I know God put her there to tell me that. I needed to hear it.”

After weeks of being offered — and refusing — an abortion multiple times at each medical appointment, McKinney prayed for a miracle. The next day, she noticed that the sonogram technician didn’t measure the cystic hygroma as usual, and asked what was going on. The sonogram technician said the doctor would explain.

Here’s what happened next:

“The doctor walked in. A new one. I had never seen her before during my visits. She was sweet and soft spoken. She had bedside manner. If anyone was going to give me bad news, I wanted it to be her. Immediately, I asked about the cystic hygroma not being measured. She gave me this sweet smile and told me that there was nothing there to measure. It was gone. I’m not sure who seemed more shocked. I had her repeat the news several times because I could not believe what was coming out of her mouth. There are cases out there (believe me, I read them day and night) where these things have resolved on their own. I knew there was a possibility. It was a very small chance, but it was there.”

McKinney’s baby boy was born November 4. The proud mother describes him as “perfect.” Although the doctors were shocked and ran test after test to find something seriously wrong with him, all they found was a small heart murmur that would resolve itself.

McKinney shared her testimony of grief, faith and hope over social media on February 5. She had always meant to share the story but indicated she was doing so now because of the radically pro-abortion, pro-infanticide law that passed in New York state.

Reflecting on the reality that she could have aborted her baby up to the day he was born, the happy mother said she could not believe it.

“I cannot fathom the idea that I could have changed my mind on November 4th. Just said, ‘To heck with it,’ because I changed my mind about having this baby,” she wrote.

“I firmly believe my faith was tested during this pregnancy. God wanted to see if I would do the unthinkable and terminate His plan. He wanted to see if I would believe in Him to heal our baby. Boy, am I glad I did,” she continued.

“I choose life. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will pray for New York and the leaders that made that decision. As I know all too well, nothing is too big for God.”

McKinney concluded by saying she made her story public so it could be shared.

“I hope it helps someone that may be going through something of their own,” she wrote.

Her Facebook post is going viral.

The Birth Control Pill: Unintended Consequences

One of the most prominent features of the Culture of Death is its short-sightedness.  It puts grand plans into action and makes sweeping promises about how many lives will be saved or improved by its initiatives.  And then its architects are invariably shocked and surprised when a galaxy of negative unintended consequences quickly emerge, usually making the situation much worse than it was before.  To put it simply, the Culture of Death is entirely ignorant of sinful human nature.

The classic example of this absolute lack of foresight is the birth control pill.

From the very first day it was introduced, “family planning” experts hailed the Pill as the conclusive solution to “unwanted pregnancies.”  But continued promises of high efficiency, combined with the easy availability of abortion as a “backup,” inevitably led to widespread careless use and abuse of the Pill.  When the Pill failed to prevent pregnancy, many women felt entitled to an abortion because they believed that medical technology had failed them and that another type of medical technology was the “answer” to their problem.

Use of the Pill requires care and consistent attention.  Each cycle of pills must be taken in the proper order every day at about the same time.  So women often forget to take pills, take them at the wrong time, or lose them.  This is the major contributor to an incredible number of unintended pregnancies, especially among younger women.  U.S. women who are on the Pill experience nearly a million unintended pregnancies annually, and more than 40 percent of these occur among girls and women 15 to 24 years old.[i]

The method effectiveness of the Pill is 99.7 percent per year.  This percentage is extremely high, but it refers to the efficiency of the Pill when a woman is in excellent health and uses the Pill without error.  When user error and illness are factored in, the result is the actual, or “real world” user effectiveness rate.  In the case of the Pill, this is only 91 percent per year.[ii]  This means that nine percent of women on the Pill will become pregnant in any given year of use.  In other words, the Pill itself is responsible for only about three percent of all failures, and the users are responsible for the remainder.

The 91 percent “real world” effectiveness rate for the Pill still sounds high until we calculate the probability of a woman becoming pregnant over an extended period of time when using it.

She has a nine percent probability of becoming pregnant in the first year, a one in four (25%) probability in three years; 38% in five years; and 61% in ten years.[iii]

In summary, if a sexually active girl of 15 starts using the Pill continuously, there is a nearly 50 percent chance that she will become pregnant by the time she is 22!

This statistic is verified by pro‑abortionists, including Dr. Christopher Tietze, who said that “within 10 years, 20 to 50 percent of Pill users and a substantial majority of users of other methods may be expected to experience at least one repeat abortion.”[iv]  Note that Tietze is speaking about repeat (second or more) abortions here.  These statistics are significant when one considers that one of the primary goals of school‑based clinics (SBCs) is to distribute contraceptives and abortifacients to teenagers without parental consent or knowledge.

These rates are in line with Alan Guttmacher Institute figures that show that half of all abortion patients thirty years ago were practicing contraception during the month in which they conceived.  Additionally, the majority of abortion patients who had stopped using a method prior to becoming pregnant said they had most recently used the Pill.[v]

The situation has not improved, despite decades of saturation propaganda campaigns by everyone from big pharma to Neofeminist groups.  A 2007 Marie Stopes International study found that 43 percent of aborting women were using the Pill when they got pregnant, and another 27 percent were using condoms.[vi]  And in 2014, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the largest chain of abortion mills in the United Kingdom, found that 27 percent of women obtaining abortions were on the Pill when they got pregnant, while 35 percent were using condoms.[vii]  BPAS Executive Director Ann Furedi confirmed what pro-lifers have always claimed when she acknowledged that “Ultimately women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, and need accessible abortion services as a back-up for when their contraception lets them down.” [viii]

The Pill:  Unsafe At Any Speed

Even after the shift from high-dose to low-dose pills, United States Federal courts classified the birth control as “unavoidably unsafe.”[ix]  This means that, implicit in a woman’s consent to use the Pill is an acknowledgement of physical risk ― even if she is not entirely informed of all (or any) of its dangers.

This legal classification means that women injured by the Pill have a much harder time recovering damages.  Dr. John Hildebrand, an expert in the field of human reproduction, estimated that more than 500 women die every year because of pill‑induced effects.  This startling number is confirmed by figures provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the world’s foremost abortions statistics analyzer) and one of the foremost abortionists in the United States, Warren Hern.  His textbook Abortion Practice contains figures that lead to the conclusion that more than 30,000 American women have died due to direct side effects of the Pill since it was adopted in the United States ― with a current average of 600 to 700 deaths per year.[x]

It is ironic indeed that the same pill that the radical feminists pushed so hard as part of their solution to illegal abortion deaths now kills five to seven times as many women per year as illegal abortions themselves did before Roe v. Wade.  And, with a few minor exceptions, these feminists do not breathe a word about it.

In 2010, major magazines, newspapers and pro‑abortion organizations celebrated fifty years of “The Pill,” and trumpeted how it has freed women from “unwanted childbearing” and drudgery.  Perhaps they should tell that to the loved ones of the more than thirty thousand women who have died from the fatal side effects of the Pill.

The manufacturers of each of the more than 125 brands of birth control pill issue patient information pamphlets (PIPs) which give detailed information on each one.  These standardized forms each have sections entitled “Warnings and Precautions” and “Adverse Reactions,” which list anywhere from 50 to 67 side effects of the Pill.  The most serious of these include cardiovascular and breast problems.

The most dangerous and well‑documented side effects commonly associated with the Pill are heart attacks and strokes.  The eight‑year Nurse’s Health Study at Harvard Medical School found that Pill users are 250 percent as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don’t use the Pill, probably because the Pill greatly increases blood clotting ability.  One of the major findings of the study was that women who get off the Pill have rates of cardiovascular disease equal to that of the general population after a period of one year.[xi]  All of the patient information pamphlets produced by the manufacturers of the Pill confirm that the drug increases these risks.

Soon after the high-dose pills were phased out in favor of the low-dose regimen, the Pill came under intense scrutiny by researchers.  In 1988, scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York’s Memorial Sloan‑Kettering Cancer Center showed that the longer women took the Pill, the greater were their chances of contracting breast cancer.  The risk of developing breast cancer was found to be twice as great by age 45 for women who had used the Pill for less than ten years and four times as great for women who had used the Pill for greater than ten years.

After a decade of accumulating evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified combined oral contraceptives as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1).  In 2005, the IARC confirmed this classification and has not changed it since.[xii]

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic followed up this classification with the most comprehensive review of studies on the Pill-breast cancer link ever performed.  They found that 21 of 23 large well-conducted studies found that there was an average of a 44 percent increased risk of breast cancer in women who were taking the Pill prior to their first pregnancy.[xiii]

Indirect Impacts of the Pill

We have seen that the birth control pill is so ineffective that it fails hundreds of thousands of times annually in the United States, leading to hundreds of thousands of surgical abortions.  We have also covered some of the more serious physical side effects inflicted upon women by the Pill, including more than 30,000 deaths and tens of thousands seriously injured since its introduction.

The indirect impacts of the Pill are much more diffuse, but are terribly damaging to society in general.  The Pill impacts not only women, but men and children.

Since its introduction, the Pill has contributed heavily towards sexual promiscuity, the increase of illegitimate births, the explosion of venereal diseases, and the degradation of marriage and the family.

Increased Promiscuity

Immediately after the Pill was introduced in the mid‑1960s, pre‑marital sex and cohabitation both almost doubled in only five years.  Currently, 48 percent of all couples living together are not married.[xiv]  People of all ages (but especially teenagers) are having premarital sex more than ever before.  Wife‑swapping clubs, organized orgies, membership in sex addiction treatment organizations like Sexaholics Anonymous, hard‑core pornography, and ‘fantasy [sex] tours’ to Far East nations have increased tremendously.

After witnessing two decades of this social carnage, the developers of the Pill admitted that its wide availability appeals strongly to those persons with little regard for sexual ethics.  Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School said, “About ten years ago, I declared that the Pill would not lead to promiscuity.  Well, I was wrong.  The birth control pill has been a major causal factor in the rapid increase in both V.D. and cervical cancer among adolescents by stimulating higher levels of promiscuity.”[xv]  And Dr. Min‑Chueh Chang acknowledged, “[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity … I personally feel the Pill has rather spoiled young people.  It’s made them more permissive.”[xvi]

Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, also drew a clear picture of the link between abortion and contraception within the context of increased promiscuity nearly fifty years ago; “When an abortion is easily obtainable, contraception is neither actively nor diligently used.  If we had abortion on demand, there would be no reward for the woman who practiced effective contraception.  Abortion on demand relieves the husband of all possible responsibility; he simply becomes a coital animal.”[xvii]

Finally, psychologists Eugene Sandburg and Ralph Jacobs noted the obvious connection between contraception and abortion as birth control; “As legal abortion has become increasingly available, it has become evident that some women are now intentionally using abortion as a substitute for contraception.”[xviii]

Drs. Kirstner and Min‑Chueh were certainly correct in their assessment of the situation.  In 1970, only 4.6 percent of all 15‑year‑old girls had experienced premarital sex.  By 2000, this rate had increased more than eightfold to 40 percent.  Of all unmarried girls in the 15 to 19 age bracket, 28.6 percent had had premarital sex in 1970.  This rate had more than doubled to 61.4 percent by 1990[xix] and about 80 percent by 2000.[xx]

Illegitimate Births

The inevitable result of the combination of increases in premarital sex and of ‘unwanted pregnancy’ is an increase in illegitimate births and abortion.  This principle is so obvious that leading “family planners” recognized it in the early 1970s.

Professor Kingsley Davis of the United States Commission on Population Growth and the American Future stated that

The current belief that illegitimacy will be reduced if teenage girls are given an effective contraceptive is an extension of the same reasoning that created the problem in the first place.  It reflects an unwillingness to face problems of social control and social discipline, while trusting some technological device to extricate society from its difficulties.  The irony is that the illegitimacy rise occurred precisely while contraceptive use was becoming more, rather than less, widespread and respectable.[xxi]

The illegitimacy rate for births among teenaged girls hovered around five to seven percent for decades until about 1960.  Between 1960 and 1970, it doubled as the birth control pill ushered in the “Sexual Revolution.”  After 1970, the teenage illegitimacy rate exploded with the introduction of comprehensive sex education programs and school‑based clinics.

The overall illegitimacy rate for all children born in the United States was 5 percent in 1960.  This rate had increased 700 percent to 40.7% by 2008.[xxii]

This phenomenon is not just an ethical or religious concern, it is a profoundly practical one.  Social workers know that children born into one‑parent families are much more likely to be abused and abusive, to be undereducated, to be under‑ or unemployed, to have illegitimate children themselves, and to be far more likely to become involved in criminal activity.

Degradation of Marriage and Family

In 1965, before the Pill became widely available, about 15 percent of all couples lived together before marriage.  The major reason for the relatively low incidence of this arrangement was simple:  Living together meant more sex, and more sex meant a greater chance of a pregnancy in a nation where abortion was still illegal.

Today, many young unmarried women are on the Pill and abortion is readily available as a backup.  They feel that they have no reason not to be sexually active and “shack up” before marriage.

As a result, nearly half of all couples in the United States now live together before marriage.[xxiii]  This in turn causes great problems because more than 75 percent of all couples who lived together before marriage eventually divorce.[xxiv]  The Pill has also contributed greatly to our country’s exploding divorce rate, which was about 18 percent in 1965 and now stands at about 50 percent.[xxv]

Predictably, the innocent children of divorced couples are always those who suffer the most.  But the gender feminists and sexologists simply write them off as a sort of necessary “collateral damage,” inevitable victims of the Sexual Revolution and the war against one’s own sexuality.

Implications for Pro‑Lifers

Millions of women in the USA and all over the world use the Pill.  Many women who would never consider a surgical abortion now use low‑dose pills that cause them to abort a new life an average of once or twice every year.  A large number of women who claim to be pro‑life use these pills, many at the urging of their husbands.  These are usually women who are ignorant of the Pill’s abortifacient mode of action, those who think that their way of life requires that they use the Pill, or those who cannot mentally make the connection between contraception and abortion.

Pro-abortionists play upon this theme constantly.  For example, `Catholic’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed that “98 percent of Catholic women use birth control to determine the size and timing of their families.”[xxvi]  The reality is that 83 percent of Catholic women use artificial birth control (32% have been sterilized), and only 31 percent of Catholic women use the Pill.[xxvii]

Researchers have calculated that the birth control pill directly causes between 1.53 and 4.15 million chemical abortions per year in the United States ― up to four times the total number of surgical and medical abortions committed every year!  We can calculate that about 750 million “silent abortions” have occurred in the United States since the birth control pill began to come into wide use in 1965.[xxviii]

To put this into perspective, for every surgical and RU-486 abortion that has been performed in this country, a dozen “silent abortions” have taken place.

This means that otherwise pro‑life women who are using the Pill or some other means of abortifacient birth control are committing abortions themselves on a frequent basis.  These abortions are “silent” and unseen, but they are no less abortions than are gruesome third‑trimester D&X abortions.  There are many pro‑lifers who are using these pills and who are involved in their promotion and distribution.  These people must consider whether they can, in good conscience, criticize women whose action differs from their own only in that they have to drive to an abortion mill to commit it.

Conclusion

When Pope Paul VI overrode the recommendations of his Birth Control Commission and wrote Humanae Vitae in 1968, he was exposed to widespread criticism, dissent and ridicule.  But the four predictions he made in his great encyclical have undeniably come true.  These are; (1) infidelity and moral decline; (2) loss of respect for women; (3) abuse of power by public authorities; and (4) a false sense of unlimited dominion over one’s body.[xxix]  Today, most women (and men) see contraception as essential to their lives, and what was once mortal sin has “evolved” in the minds of most Catholics into an absolute necessity of life, something they simply cannot do without.

The great irony in all of this is that those who follow Church teachings regarding sexual morality are not only happier, they find their lives less difficult and complicated in the long run.

This is how Our Lord planned it, and this is the way we should live.

 

Endnotes

[i] See Chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” for calculations and documentation.

[ii]  Robert A. Hatcher, et. al.  Contraceptive Technology (20th Revised Edition) [New York:  Ardent Media, Inc.], 2011.  Table 26‑1, “Percentage of Women Experiencing an Unintended Pregnancy During the First Year of Typical Use and the First Year of Perfect Use of Contraception and the Percentage Continuing Use at the End of the First Year.  United States,” page 791.

[iii] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-05.XLS, “Probability of Pregnancy over Time for Fertile Women Who Use Various Methods of Birth Regulation, Ranked by User Effectiveness Rates.”

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

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

[vi] Steven Ertelt.  “British Abortion Business Admits Birth Control Doesn’t Prevent Pregnancy.”  LifeNews.com, January 29, 2008.

[vii] Peter Baklinski.  “Two-Thirds of Women Seeking Abortions were Using Contraception:  Britain’s Largest Abortion Provider.”  LifeSite Daily News, February 5, 2014.

[viii] Peter Baklinski.  “Two-Thirds of Women Seeking Abortions were Using Contraception:  Britain’s Largest Abortion Provider.”  LifeSite Daily News, February 5, 2014.

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

[x] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-06.XLS, “Estimate of Annual Deaths Attributable to Use of the Birth Control Pill in the USA, 1960-2014.”

[xi] Dr. Meir J. Stampfer.  New England Journal of Medicine, November 24, 1988.  This study was based on an eight‑year follow-up of 119,061 female nurses, ranging in age from 30 to 55 in 1980.  7,074 were current pill users and 49,269 were previous users.  Overall, there were 380 heart attacks, 205 strokes, and 230 cardiovascular deaths among pill users.

[xii] UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Program of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP).  “Carcinogenicity of Combined Hormonal Contraceptives and Combined Menopausal Treatment,” September 2005, page 1.

[xiii] Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., Francesmary Modugno, Ph.D., MPH, Douglas M. Potter, Ph.D., and Walter B. Severs, Ph.D.  “Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Pre-Menopausal Breast Cancer:  A Meta-Analysis.”  Journal of the Mayo Clinic, October 2006, http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61152-X/fulltext and http://www.polycarp.org/statement_mayo_clinic_article.htm, November 5, 2014.

[xiv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs), Division of Vital Statistics.  Casey E. Copen, Ph.D., Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D. and William D. Mosher, Ph.D..  “First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States:  2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth.”  National Health Statistics Reports, Number 64 [April 4, 2013], http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf.

[xv] Dr. Robert Kirstner, Harvard Medical School, one of the original developers of the birth control pill.  Quoted in Barret L. Mosbacker.  Special Report:  Teenage Pregnancy and School‑Based Clinics [Washington, D.C.:  Family Research Council], 1986, and in ALL About Issues, June 1981, page 5 [emphasis in the original].

[xvi] Dr. Min‑Chueh Chang, one of the inventors of the birth control pill.  Quoted by Charles E. Rice.  “Nature’s Intolerance of Abuse.”  ALL About Issues, August 1981, page 6.

[xvii] Dr. Alan Guttmacher in a discussion at the Law, Morality and Abortion Symposium, held at Rutgers University Law School, March 27, 1968.  Rutgers Law Review, 1968(22):415‑443.

[xviii] Eugene C. Sandburg, M.D. and Ralph I. Jacobs, M.D.  “Psychology of the Misuse and Rejection of Contraception.”  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 15, 1971, pages 227 to 237.

[xix] “The US Family Staggers into the Sexy Secular Future.”  Family Research Newsletter, January‑March 1991, page 1, Table 1, “Percentage of Women Aged 15‑19 Who Reported Having Had Premarital Sexual Intercourse, By Race and Age ― United States, 1970‑1988.”  Numbers from 1988 to 1992 are linearly extrapolated using 1985‑1988 rates.

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

[xxi] Professor Kingsley Davis.  “The American Family, Relation to Demographic Change.”  Research Reports, United States Commission on Population Growth and the American Future.  Volume I, Demographic and Social Aspects of Population Growth, edited by Robert Parke, Jr., and Charles F. Westoff [Washington, D.C.:  United States Government Printing Office], 1972, page 253.

[xxii] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.  Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States [Washington, DC:  United States Government Printing Office], 2012 (132nd Edition).  Table 78, “Live Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces:  1960 to 2008,” shows 4,248,000 total births for the year 2008, and Table 85, “Births to Unmarried Women by Race, Hispanic Origin, and Age of Mother:  1990 to 2008” shows 1,727,000 births to unmarried mothers in 2008, for a percentage rate of 40.7%.  The entire Statistical Abstract for the current year in PDF format is available on the Census Bureau Web site.

[xxiii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs), Division of Vital Statistics.  Casey E. Copen, Ph.D., Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D. and William D. Mosher, Ph.D..  “First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States:  2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth.”  National Health Statistics Reports, Number 64 [April 4, 2013], http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf.

[xxiv] In 1989, James Bumpass, James Sweet, and Andrew Cherlin of the University of Wisconsin completed a long‑term study to determine the effect of prenuptial cohabitation on marriage.  Described in Dale Vree.  “Hey, it Sounds Plausible.”  National Catholic Register, May 7, 1989, page 5.

[xxv] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.  Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States [Washington, DC:  United States Government Printing Office], 2010 (130th Edition).  Table 78, “Live Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces:  1960 to 2007.”  The entire Statistical Abstract for the current year in PDF format is available on the Census Bureau Web site.

[xxvi] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), February 16, 2012.  Glenn Kessler.  “The Claim that 98 Percent of Catholic Women Use Contraception:  A Media Foul.”  The Washington Post, February 17, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html.

[xxvii] Rachel K. Jones and J. Dreweke.  “Countering Conventional Wisdom:  New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use.”  Guttmacher Institute, 2011, and unpublished tabulations of the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth.  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/resources/Religion-FP-tables.html.

[xxviii] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-A.XLS, “Birth Control Methods Used by United States Women, and Overall Estimated Number of “Silent Abortions,” 1965-2013.”

[xxix] For a short but excellent summary and exposition on the four prophecies of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, see Janet Smith.  “Pope Paul VI as Prophet:  Have Humanae Vitae’s Bold Predictions Come True?” at http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/264/ popepaul.htm.

New doctor practice in Delaware: ‘Would you like a contraceptive with that?’

February 4, 2019 (C-Fam) – If a woman visits a doctor in Delaware for a sore throat or a sprained ankle, she may be asked a surprising question: “Do you want to become pregnant in the next year?” If she says no, she could leave the clinic that same day with a long-acting contraceptive implant or intrauterine device.

Promoting contraception as a way to reduce poverty is the result of a partnership between the state of Delaware and an organization called Upstream. The approach has received national attention and is being considered for a national expansion. Although this approach may seem innovative in the United States, it looks very familiar in an international context.

For decades, women in developing countries have surveyed about whether they would like to become pregnant in the near future. Those who answer no are described as having a “demand” for family planning, even if they say they have no intention of using a method.

The global contraceptive market has become increasingly saturated, and knowledge of methods is near universal. Meanwhile, family planning organizations have redoubled their efforts to increase demand among women on the ground through mass marketing campaigns, including radio and TV dramas. To donors and governments, they offer contraceptives as a solution to poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation.

Like all marketing experts, family planning organizations have done extensive research on how to increase “sales.” Recent years have seen a broad international push to integrate family planning into all areas of health care. In practice this means any woman of reproductive age may be offered contraceptives when she visits a health clinic, regardless of the reason for her visit.

As retailers know, most impulse buying occurs when people are already in stores, and may be followed by buyer’s remorse. But unlike food or an item of clothing, the insertion of a long-acting reversible contraceptive (or LARC) is a major medical decision that carries risks and side effects. Researchers found that four in ten women who stopped using long-acting contraceptives did so because of health concerns. Nevertheless, Upstream focuses on promoting such contraception over other methods due to their low failure rates. A spokeswoman for the pro-abortion National Institute for Reproductive Health expressed concern to the New York Times that the Upstream approach may be “tipping the scale” in favor of these methods.

Some women currently seeking to avoid pregnancy may want to return to fertility in the near future. As Lyman Stone notes in The Federalist, women accepting long-acting contraception may not realize that the effects can last up to a year after removal.

Whether in Delaware or sub-Saharan Africa, decisions around procreation are best made within the context of the family. The campaign for same-visit delivery of long-acting contraceptives eliminates the opportunity for women to consult their partners – or parents, in the case of adolescents – before making a decision.

Delaware’s former governor Jack Markell started the partnership with Upstream in 2014. He now sits on the organization’s board of directors, alongside an Upstream co-founder who worked as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations.

As for the hope of reducing poverty, the data is mixed. Brookings Institution fellow Isabel Sawhill told the New York Times, “It’s very expensive and very hard to reduce poverty. Reducing unplanned births is easy by comparison.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.

U.S. bishop: pro-abortion politicians ‘should not’ receive Communion in my diocese

SPOKANE, Washington, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic bishop has warned pro-abortion politicians who call themselves “Catholic” and who reside in his diocese that they “should not” present themselves to receive Holy Communion.

“Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church,” wrote Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, citing Canon 915 of church law (read full letter below).

In a tweet, the bishop said that “willful murder of unborn children is a grave evil,” and called on Catholics to read his Feb. 1 letter.

Bishop Thomas Daly@Bishop_Daly

Friends, please read my letter on the abortion legislation that has been passed in New York and considered in other states. The willful murder of unborn children is a grave evil. Let us pray for life to be protected from conception until natural death. http://ow.ly/VNxa30ny1mw 

300 people are talking about this

According to Canon 915 of Church law: Those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

A spokesperson for the Spokane diocese said that Bishop Daly’s letter is not commenting directly on any politician in his diocese, but seeks to clarify that the “Catholic faith and public abortion advocacy are incompatible.” Those who publicly support access to abortion, the spokesperson said, “should refrain from receiving Holy Communion,” according to CNA.

The issue of pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion has been stirred of late ever since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, signed one of the most liberal pro-abortion laws in the country on Jan. 21. Various bishops have shown support for excommunication of Cuomo, but Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has called such a move “not an appropriate response.”

Bishop Daly mentioned Cuomo in his letter, stating that it is “unacceptable” to call oneself Catholic and champion abortion.

“The champion of this abortion legislation is Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic and governor of New York. Governor Cuomo frequently cites his Catholic faith in support of legislation he favors. His public witness as a Catholic politician, coupled with his stalwart support of abortion, is unacceptable,” the bishop wrote.

“Efforts to expand access to abortion, allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil. Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm,” he stated.

Bishop Daly concluded his letter by calling on Christians “to turn to Our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church.” Finally, he wrote: “Let us also keep the unborn, as well as all pregnant mothers, in our prayers.”

The issue of withholding Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians has been contentious in the U.S. church. At a 2004 meeting of U.S. bishops, the now-disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick withheld a letter addressed to the bishops by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) on this issue. Titled “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles, the letter provided guidance to the bishops about Catholics in political life.

The future pope wrote that pro-abortion politicians must be admonished not to present themselves for Holy Communion. When “precautionary measures” have been to no avail, and the person continues to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, Ratzinger wrote, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

***

Bishop Daly’s Feb 1, 2019 letter:

February 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

Each January as the nation commemorates the sad anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, marches are held, and vigils are prayed. Those committed to the cause of human rights of the unborn make their voices heard. This year, pro-abortion politicians fearing increased restrictions on abortion have advocated for and passed laws expanding access to abortion in the state of New York. Similar attempts have been made in Virginia.

Efforts to expand access to abortion, allowing murder of children up to the moment of birth is evil. Children are a gift from God, no matter the circumstances of their conception. They not only have a right to life, but we as a society have a moral obligation to protect them from harm.

The champion of this abortion legislation is Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic and governor of New York. Governor Cuomo frequently cites his Catholic faith in support of legislation he favors. His public witness as a Catholic politician, coupled with his stalwart support of abortion, is unacceptable.

Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church (cf. Canon 915; “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion. General Principles.” Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2004).

The Church’s commitment to the life of every human person from conception until death is firm. God alone is the author of life and for the civil government to sanction the willful murder of children is unacceptable. For a Catholic political leader to do so is scandalous.

I encourage the faithful to turn to our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and thI encourage the faithful to turn to our Lord in prayer for our political leaders, entrusting them especially to the intercession of St. Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church. Let us also keep the unborn, as well as all pregnant mothers, in our prayers.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts forever.

In Christ,

Most Reverend Thomas A. Daly

Bishop of Spokane

University puts Plan B in vending machines, stands to make profit

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George Mason University, starting in late October of 2018, rolled out a new initiative that was approved by university officials which was being lobbied for by the pro-abortion student group, Patriots for Choice. The newly approved initiative gave the green light to a third party to supply the Plan B pill, to be sold in one of the on-campus vending machines to students. The vending machine is located in the building on campus referred to as “SUB 1,” which is the equivalent to a common hub or union on a college campus where students eat and study. And the university stands to make a commission from the sales.

According to an October 15th article in The Fourth Estate, the Patriots for Choice organization’s leadership claimed on a flyer that the pill being sold “helps prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or birth control failure.” The pro-abortion student group also made the claim that the contraceptive “is not an abortion pill,” and “will not work if [the user] is already pregnant.” The Wall Street Journal also previously reported on the growing trend across the country for higher education institutions to offer Plan B in vending machines.

 

In light of George Mason University approving the Plan B pill and placing it into the vending machines, Live Action News launched an investigation into determining why this occurrence happened at the public institution by means of filing a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. The findings suggested that there was not only little push back against the student organizations request, but also that “the Pill will be sold in the Vengo Vending Machines for $30 and the University will receive its previously negotiated commission of 9%.”

Additionally, emails between the Executive Director of GMU Student Health Services, Dr. Lisa L. Park, and GMU’s Administrative Director of Student Health Services, Dr. Carol J. Filak, responded to the request by offering times to meet in person, and later approving the ladder steps for the permanent placement of the pill on campus.

According to other FOIA documents requested by Live Action News, Patriots for Choice requested and was approved to spend $749 on November 15th, 2018 for an event billed as “Feminist Open Mic Night.” Students fees and outside tax dollars go to funding these activities through the office of the GMU Student Government. Live Action News has reached out to GMU’s pro-abortion student group, Patriots for Choice, for comment on the story multiple times but the group has not responded. University spokesman Michael Sandler did comment to Live Action News with a statement that the “9 percent commission is the standard flat rate that applies to all products sold from the Vengo Vending Machines.”

 

Further, a representative for Canteen, the Vending Machine company, wrote in an email to a GMU administrator, David Atkins, that “in the event we receive any negative feedback that we believe impacts our ability to continue to offer the product, we will remove them from the campus.”

Rose Pascarell, Vice President for University Life, told Live Action News, “The product was requested by students, and the university was able to accommodate. The product is sold over the counter at most local drug stores with no restrictions. Our students now have access and are able to purchase the same product on campus.”

 

HC George Mason@HCGeorgeMason

*Chris Traeger voice* This is LITERALLY one of the best things to ever happen!

Patriots for Choice@gmu4choice

We are so excited to announce that SUB 1 now has emergency contraception in a vending machine! Students can now access emergency contraception every day from 7:30am-10pm.

View image on Twitter
See HC George Mason’s other Tweets

“Although the product is medically safe for people to self-administer and does not require a prescription, we would always prefer that students talk with medical or counseling practitioners about preventing unwanted pregnancy before using,” Pascarell continued. “However, some students who may not want to or don’t feel comfortable entering a health care agency are also able to access and our goal is to be responsive to student needs.”

The Patriots for Choice student page states that their purpose on campus is to “support and protect, as a fundamental right and value, a woman’s freedom to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices…”

 

Currently, the student group is seeking positive feedback to report back to university officials. “We need your experience to help demonstrate the need for EC on campus and how it helps student well being,” the pro-abortion organization wrote in a November 14th Facebook post.

The group is currently seeking to expand the placement of the pills to be placed in more Vengo vending machines on the Fairfax campus along with a push to drown out opposition to their agenda.

Zachary Petrizzo is a sophomore at George Mason University. His previous work has appeared in The Daily Caller, Townhall, Campus Reform, and The College Fix, among others.

Trailer released for ‘Unplanned’ movie about Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion

January 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The movie about Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion has found a distributor and will be coming to 800 screens in March. The film’s backers released a two-and-a-half-minute trailer of the much-anticipated film today.

Pure Flix, the distributor for God’s Not Dead, is releasing “Unplanned” on 800 movie screens March 29, the Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports.

Unplanned is a dramatic film adaption of Johnson’s best-selling 2010 autobiographical book of the same name. It tells the story of Johnson’s journey from Planned Parenthood facility manager to pro-life activist.

“I thought I was helping women,” said Abby Johnson, founder and director of And Then There Were None, an organization that helps abortion workers exit the industry and find new jobs.

“But I was doing more harm than good. It wasn’t until I saw a child fight for its life that my world came crashing down and I understood the enormity of my actions. I had to leave. No one will be able to walk away after seeing this movie and say ‘I didn’t know,’” she added.

In the trailer, Johnson’s character is warned by Planned Parenthood that by crossing to the pro-life side she’s made an enemy of “one of the most powerful organizations on the planet.”

Unplanned was written and directed by Cary Soloman and Chuck Konzelman, the writers and co-producers for God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2 and Do You Believe. Daryl Lefever (I Can Only Imagine) is also a producer.

Pure Flix distributed the two God’s Not Dead films and Do You Believe theatrically as well.

“We had other offers but felt they would be our strongest partner because of the great success we’ve had together in the past,” Konzelman said of Unplanned.

Unplanned was filmed in secret and under a different name due to its content, and the filmmakers had to pull back from using some mainstream pop songs in the movie, because major record labels refused to license the music to them for the film.

Blake Kanicka, music supervisor for Unplanned, told THR that nine out of the 10 initial requests he’d made for licensing were denied. Among those turning the request down were Disney, Sony/ATV and Universal Music.

Some faith-based bands also denied the filmmakers use of their songs, telling Kanicka that they could not risk the possible controversy.

Actress Ashley Bratcher (War Room, 90 Minutes in Heaven) who plays Johnson, told the Fox & Friends program in December that she had been warned that she would probably be blacklisted for acting in the movie.

The $6 million cost for making Unplanned was financed in part by Mike Lindell, the multimillionaire founder of My Pillow, who invested $1 million in the film. Lindell, a pro-life Christian, told THR he plans to continue supporting films that represent his values.

Bratcher has been candid about her moving experience of learning that her mother had planned to abort her soon after she began filming Unplanned, giving interviews to Fox & FriendsThe Story with Martha MacCallum and LifeSiteNews.

The film has the endorsement of Kansas City Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann.

Naumann, also chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, said during his homily for the March for Life Vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., “If you see one film this year, see Unplanned… I warn you, Unplanned is graphic, it’s painful, but at the same time, inspiring…”

In addition to Bratcher, the movie stars Brooks Ryan as Johnson’s husband, Doug; Robia Scott (CSI, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Johnson’s superior at Planned Parenthood; Emma Elle Roberts (Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, I Am Not Ashamed, ) as Marilisa Carney, Kaiser Johnson (Little Boy, Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hollow); and Jared Lotz (Of Little Convenience, Thanksgiving) as 40 Days for Life President Shawn Carney.

St. John Paul II’s Letter to Families Still Conveys ‘Civilization of Love’

Mary Rezac/CNA

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Wojtyla, a man from a small town in Poland who lost all of his immediate family — mother, older brother, an infant sister and father — by the time he was 20 years old. Shortly thereafter, he vowed a life of celibacy as a Catholic priest. And yet Wojtyla would go on to be remembered as the “Pope of the Family.”

Twenty-five years ago next week, on Feb. 2, 1994, Pope John Paul II penned his “Letter to Families,” the subject of which was spurred by the United Nations’ declaration that 1994 would be the “Year of the Family.”

At the time, U.S. divorce rates were higher — about 4.6 per 1,000 people, compared with 2.9 in 2017. But marriage rates were also higher: 9.1 compared with 6.9 for those same years. Legalized same-sex “marriage” was still considered a taboo political idea and would remain so for more than a decade. And Bruce Jenner still went by Bruce Jenner.

But even though it was written 25 years ago, many Catholics in family-life ministries believe that the Church is only beginning to see the fruits of John Paul II’s message to families.

Although he was a celibate priest, Father Wojtyla became very close to a circle of young people whom he pastored while serving as chaplain to university students in Krakow. As they married and had children, Father Wojtyla offered spiritual and pastoral guidance to their families that would inform his work well into his years as Pope John Paul II.

“He was able to support these young families, to help them live the faith at a time when communist society was really trying to undermine the family,” said Jared Staudt, who is the director of formation for the Archdiocese of Denver, where he also leads “Building Family Culture” retreats for families.

When the Communist Party ruled Poland, family work and school schedules were arranged in such a way that they spent as little time together as possible. The state, and not the family, was, according to the government, the ultimate good and end of society.

“So he was in this battle for family life very directly in Communist Poland,” he said of Father Wojtyla.

Much of what Father Wojtyla came to know about the sanctity and importance of marriage and family life can be found in his 1994 “Letter to Families.”

 

Man, Woman and Child: The Family as Vocation

John Paul II wrote prolifically on the family, but this letter is one of his more personal and concise works, detailing much of his thought on marriage and family.

He was known for elevating the idea of the vocation of marriage and family life to a level that had not yet been articulated in the Catholic Church.

“John Paul literally started a revolution when it comes to the Catholic Church and family,” said Steve Bollman, founder of family ministry Paradisus Dei.

“What John Paul did is he truly identified the family as the pathway to holiness,” Bollman said. “In this letter, it’s the family that’s placed at the heart of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that’s opposed to love.”

In his letter, John Paul II wrote that men and women, particularly in their roles as fathers and mothers in the family, are key to building up a “civilization of love,” in which families are able to give and receive love at individual and societal levels.

“If the first ‘way of the Church’ is the family, it should also be said that the civilization of love is also the ‘way of the Church,’ which journeys through the world and summons families to this way; it summons also other social, national and international institutions, because of families and through families. The family, in fact, depends for several reasons on the civilization of love, and finds therein the reasons for its existence as family. And at the same time the family is the center and the heart of the civilization of love,” John Paul II wrote (13).

Bollman said that by telling families that they were at the heart of the Church, it called them to holiness in a way that hadn’t yet been articulated.

“The vast majority of people become holy as a husband and father and wife and mother, not in spite of that,” Bollman said. John Paul II’s teachings on the family are at the foundation of Bollman’s work at Paradisus Dei, which includes a couple’s ministry and “That Man Is You,” a ministry for men that particularly focuses on their roles as husbands and fathers.

“Our tagline is ‘Helping families discover the superabundance of God.’ That’s what we are: We’re all about family and finding God within the family,” he said.

 

Cultural Attacks on the Family

Staudt called John Paul II’s letter “prophetic” because it addresses not only the crucial importance of the family’s place in society, but some of the key ways it is under attack.

And if attacks on the family were urgent in 1994, they are all the more so today, Staudt said.

“John Paul’s famous line from the letter — ‘The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family’ — is actually chilling, at this point,” Staudt noted, “because what we’re seeing is that we don’t have hope for the future [as a society]; we’re not investing for the future of society or for the Church. We’re just living for the present moment for our own selfish desires. So I think John Paul was already recognizing that the foundation of society itself is already in jeopardy, if people are not getting married, if they’re not having kids, they’re saying No to the future.”

According to Pew Research Center, the marriage rate in the United States is currently hovering at around 50%, meaning half of U.S. adults aged 18 and older are married, a steep decline compared to the peak rate of 72% in 1960. The fertility rate is also at a 30-year low in the United States and sits below replacement levels. As of 2014, less than half of children were living in a traditional nuclear home with their married mother and father.

By many measures, marriage and family life today are in crisis, in ways that are perhaps even more pronounced than when John Paul II wrote this letter.

“I think the ‘crisis of concepts’ that John Paul II speaks of is an enormous challenge for the family today,” Sister John Mary, of the Sisters of Life, told CNA.

“Who can deny that our age is one marked by a great crisis, which appears above all as a profound ‘crisis of truth?’” John Paul II wrote. “A crisis of truth means, in the first place, a crisis of concepts. Do the words ‘love,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘sincere gift’ and even ‘person’ and ‘rights of the person’ really convey their essential meaning?” This crisis now seems to be even more profound than when the Pope first wrote these words, Sister John Mary said.

“Even more so today than when the ‘Letter to Families’ was written, modern culture does not recognize the truth of who the human person is, what we are made for, what constitutes a family, what freedom and human rights are,” she said. “So to truly live Christian family life becomes more and more radically countercultural. John Paul II addresses this in the letter by proposing the anthropology that corrects this crisis of concepts and allows for a civilization of love to grow by way of marriage and family,” she noted.

Another major challenge faced by families is the “radical individualism” present in current culture, Sister John Mary said, which is something else John Paul II addressed in the letter.

According to John Paul II, radical individualism is “based on a faulty notion of freedom and proposes personalism as the antidote,” Sister John Mary said. “The family is the first place where love is given and received. But if parents do not model authentic, self-giving love to their children, families become groups of persons pursuing their own selfish ends.”

 

Papal Cure for a Sick Society

Though John Paul II’s descriptions of these crises and the current state of affairs of marriage and family in the world paint a dark picture, John Paul also provides families and the Church a way out.

Bill Donaghy is a senior lecturer and content specialist with the Theology of the Body Institute. The mission of the institute is to educate and train men and women to understand, live and promote John Paul II’s teachings in his theology of the body catechesis.

Donaghy told CNA that not only does he consider John Paul II’s “Letter to Families” the blueprint on how to live a holy life personally as a husband and father, he also considers it the “antidote” to everything that goes against a “civilization of love.”

“Without a doubt in my mind, in the providence of God, who could foresee today’s crisis in marriage and the family, the attempt to redefine marriage and the explosion of gender ideologies that detach our identity from our humanity, St. John Paul II’s thought is the antidote, the cure, the clear truth of who we are and how we are to live as human persons made by Love,” he said.

“I think the vision presented in this letter is actually more relevant now than it was 25 years ago,” he said. “It contains the secret for our joy, the mystical meaning of marriage, the way home for the prodigal sons and daughters who’ve tried everything else to bring joy and failed to find it.”

For himself, Donaghy said building the “civilization of love” starts in his own home — by treating his wife with love and respect, by spending time with and listening to his children and by modeling sacrificial love. At the parish level, he said the Church must help families by creating space for “real human interaction, conversation and formation.”

“Again, the ‘Letter to Families’ is a goldmine of a teaching, a school of love for humanity. But we’ve got to make time and space for it to enter into the everyday dynamics of our own family,” he said.

Staudt also told CNA that the words and teachings of Pope John Paul II on the family have deeply inspired his work in family ministry.

“It really is through John Paul’s teachings, the letter and his other teachings … that I’ve discerned that the way to build Christian culture is through family life,” Staudt, the father of six children, told CNA.

For the “Building Family Culture” retreats that he leads, Staudt said that he focuses on teaching families how to pray, the importance of which is heavily emphasized by John Paul II in his letter.

“Prayer must become the dominant element of the ‘Year of the Family’ in the Church: prayer by the family, prayer for the family and prayer with the family,” John Paul II wrote. “Prayer increases the strength and spiritual unity of the family, helping the family to partake of God’s own ‘strength.’”

“I think we take that for granted, that families know how to pray, and I don’t think they do. So I think that’s the foundation, that’s the core, and John Paul does talk a lot about that,” Staudt said. After prayer, he also focuses on how to build a family culture, which includes doing things that form children’s imagination in positive and beautiful ways.

Staudt said he hopes that more in family ministry “wake up” to the urgency of helping families become what John Paul II has called them to be.

“I don’t think enough people have woken up to the urgency in supporting family life and really making that a priority in their parishes, their dioceses, in catechesis, in evangelization,” he said.

“John Paul, I think, is truly prophetic in pointing us to the fundamental realities of man, woman, human love, family life as crucial for the Church and society at this time — that these are the key issues that we need to face.”

Sister John Mary and her fellow Sisters of Life say they help build a “civilization of love” through the women they help in crisis pregnancies, the women they counsel after abortions, or the young people who are early on in their journeys of faith.

Sister John May said that because John Paul II was speaking about universal truths of the human person, his words will continue to be relevant for families and the Church throughout time. “John Paul’s ‘Letter to Families’ explores universal truths: the goodness of the human person, the dignity of marriage and the very real challenges facing families today,” she said. “Marriage and family are God’s plan to satisfy the universal longings of the human heart, so speaking of them is always timely.”

“We are all called to do something great with our life and our love,” she added. “We are made for love and communion with God and others. John Paul II reminds us of this lofty call and encourages us that true love is possible.”

Planned Parenthood pushes radical sex ed on 13-year-olds with new chatbot app

Calvin Freiburger

January 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s top abortion chain is rolling out a new product meant to cut out any middleman between themselves and children searching for information and guidance about sex, contraception, and abortion: a new automated chat program to directly answer whatever questions they may have.

Roo is a “chatbot” operated by artificial intelligence and accessible via smartphones. Intended for kids between the ages of 13 and 17, it is meant to compensate for children who “don’t have access to sex education or only have access to programs that teach abstinence,” the Wall Street Journal paraphrases Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen as explaining.

“Roo answers all your awkward questions about sexual health, relationships, growing up, and more. Chatting with Roo is free and private, so go ahead and ask the things you don’t want to ask out loud,” Planned Parenthood says on its “Ask Roo” web page. Its “answers are backed by professional health educators from Planned Parenthood,” and the chatbot “gets a little bit smarter every time you ask a question.”

Young people will flock to the service because “they’re concerned about privacy, and skeptical about anything that seems to lecture or talk down to them or sounds like parents,” added Gene Liebel, a founding partner at the tech company Work & Co. that helped develop Roo.

Users can type in their own questions or choose from a selection of frequently-asked questions. Asking “What is an abortion” results in “Abortion is a legal and safe way to end a pregnancy […] there’s many reasons why someone may decide to have an abortion and only you can decide what is best for you.”

“What’s the right age to have sex for the first time” yields “it’s all about picking the right age for you, which might be totally different than the right age for other people. It may seem like everybody you know is having sex, but that’s definitely not true. The average age when people have sex for the first time is around 17.” It then displays an animated graphic of the phrase “you do you.”

Roo answers “When are you no longer a virgin” by claiming that while most people consider it “after the first time they have sex,” sex also “means different things to different people, so it’s up to you to decide what virginity means to you.”

Readiness to have sex is simply defined as a “big decision” that should be discussed “with a non-robot person you trust.” In response to “How do you have sex without getting pregnant,” Roo suggests various forms of birth control, but leaves out the fact that none are 100% effective.

In response to “how do I get birth control without my parents knowing,” Roo says parental permission is usually unnecessary except in certain states, and that Planned Parenthood can help teens “get started on birth control.” It accepts as a given that kids should bypass their parents, and makes no effort to suggest that teens at least consider discussing the matter with them.

Notably, when LifeSiteNews manually typed the following queries – “when does life begin,” “does human life begin at conception,” “are fetuses alive,” and “I heard abortion kills babies” – Roo was unable to process any of them and suggested either rephrasing the question or speaking to a live Planned Parenthood worker.

The Daily Caller notes that the last collaboration between Planned Parenthood and Work & Co. was TrackingTrump.org, a timeline documenting decisions by the Trump administration related to contraception, sex education, and “anti-LGBT” appointees.


The global decline in fertility is “simply astonishing”

Shannon Roberts | Jan 29 2019

Will the world’s population really reach 11.2 billion in 2100?  This week The Guardian provides a good summary of alternate world population projections which challenge this United Nations figure, and casts doubt on whether the world’s population will really continue to grow until the end of this century.

The United Nations bases its population projections on a range of uncertain assumptions about fertility and mortality.  Its most likely current estimate is that world population will reach 11.2 billion by 2100, and then stabilise and slightly decline.

The UN is not the only international body to project world population, and the various demographers are certainly not in agreement.  A key question is whether Africa’s fertility will remain at current rates, or will drop to follow Western low fertility trends.  The Guardian discusses some of the alternate projections:

Jørgen Randers, a Norwegian academic who decades ago warned of a potential global catastrophe caused by overpopulation, has changed his mind. “The world population will never reach nine billion people,” he now believes. “It will peak at 8 billion in 2040, and then decline.”

Similarly, Prof Wolfgang Lutz and his fellow demographers at Vienna’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis predict the human population will stabilise by mid-century and then start to go down.   [Marcus discussed these predictions here, back in 2014.]

A Deutsche Bank report has the planetary population peaking at 8.7 billion in 2055 and then declining to 8 billion by century’s end.

 

Since 1970, a sharp global decline in fertility has occurred. In the United States, all of Europe, and much of the rest of the West, fertility is now actually below the replacement level of 2.1 children and will eventually lead to population decline, unless those countries can attract enough immigrants to sustain current population levels.   In fact, many European countries may almost cease to exist by 2300 if low fertility persists and migration does not intervene, according to the most recent United Nations long-term population projections.

According to The Guardian:

Already, almost two dozen countries are getting smaller every year, from Poland to Cuba to Japan, which lost almost 450,000 people in 2018. In these countries, women have fewer than the 2.1 babies that they must produce, on average, for a population to remain stable. The population decline would be even steeper were it not for steadily increasing life expectancy.

The fertility rate in the UK is 1.7. Most population growth in the UK today is the result of international immigration, according to the Office of National Statistics. Without immigrants, Great Britain would eventually enter an era of population decline.

More old people and fewer young people place an increased strain on society’s ability to generate the wealth and taxes needed to fund, among other things, healthcare for the old.

The really big news, however, is found in the large countries of the developing world, where the great majority of people live. There, declines in birth rates have been simply astonishing. China, the world’s largest country, has a fertility rate of 1.5, lower than Britain’s. India, soon to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, is at the replacement rate of 2.1 and falling. Brazil, the fifth most populous country, has a fertility rate of 1.8.

 

One cause of the accelerating decline in fertility is urbanisation. In 2007, for the first time in human history, the majority of people in the world lived in cities. Today it is 55% and, in three decades, it is expected to reach 66%.

Currently, Africa has the highest fertility rates in the world and the majority of the world’s population growth is coming from that continent.  Yet, sub-Saharan Africa is also the fastest urbanising part of the world, with annual urban population increases of 4%, twice the global average.  This is a factor in the expectation by many demographers that African fertility rates will continue to decline.

According to The Guardian, “Population decline is not a good thing or a bad thing. But it is a big thing. It’s time to look it in the eye.”

Over the past few decades world leaders have compelled people to have fewer children, often in the euphemistic name of reproductive and sexual health.  The United Nations itself gave its first population award to both the Chinese minister for population and the Prime Minister of India for their work initiating family planning and sterilisation programmes, forced abortions and sterilisations and all.  Vincenzina Santoro points out that the Guttmacher Institute jointly accepted the most recent annual Population Prize of the United Nations last June.

As more people seemingly begin to realise that the world does not have a population spiralling out of control, but instead a soon to be declining one, let’s look the forced taking of lifethe abuse of women, and the thousands of dollars of aid and public “health” money spent in the name of population control in the eye too.

Man with Down syndrome at Paris March for Life: ‘Protect the weakest’

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While 700,000 marchers flocked to Washington, D.C. to stand up for the rights of the preborn, a record number were also marching for in Paris. The March for Life in Paris, a non-denominational and non-partisan event, is the largest annual pro-life gathering in Europe, and the number of attendees continues to grow. In 2009, a reported 20,000 people came to march. This year’s 13th annual event saw an estimated 50,000 people, a massive increase, attend the January 20th protest, many of whom were between 18 and 35 years old.

One powerful witness came from one of these young people. Francois, a 20-year-old man with Down Syndrome, addressed the crowd. “I have a heart like you,” he said. “I am like you. I love life! My life is beautiful, even with Trisomy 21. I ask you always to protect the weakest.”

People with Down syndrome are routinely targeted for eugenic abortion, especially in Europe. In France in 2015, the abortion rate after a diagnosis of Down Syndrome was reported as 77%. In many parts of the European Union, it’s much closer to 90%. In Iceland, it is almost 100%, with just one or two children born with the condition each year.

The March for Life in Paris began in 2005, as French pro-life organizations came together to protest 30 years of legalized abortion. It is held on or around the January 18th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in France. This year’s Paris March for Life had as a theme the issues of conscience protections for health care workers, among others.

Life offers no guarantee, but abortion gives no chance.

Life offers no guarantee, but abortion gives no chance.

Also forefront among the issues in this year’s march was the recommendation of France’s highest bioethics body that IVF should be available to all, and an “expansion of eugenic policies.” Nicolas Sévillia of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, which helps organize the Paris march, has put this march in the context of the “yellow vest protests.” The protests are a populist movement, whose social and political influence points to the possibility for popular manifestation to change the national discourseon various issues. Hitherto, bioethical and social issues have been excluded from what has been called “the great national debate.” The March hopes to change that, as yellow vest protesters joined the pro-life march.

This year, Argentina figured prominently in the March, as senator Mario Fiad, president of the Health Commission, attended and addressed the March. In August, the Argentinian senate voted against the legalization of abortion, despite international pressure. A strong showing of Argentinians traveled for the gathering, wearing handkerchiefs in the color of the Argentinian flag, festooned with pro-life slogans.

lf a native of Argentina, addressed the March through the Papal Nuncio, saying, “All the evil done in the world can be summed up in contempt for life.” He encouraged the participants to “bear witness to the inalienable values of human dignity and human life.”

France has around 220,000 abortions per year. It is estimated that one in three French women have abortions in their lifetimes.

What the Bible Says About Contraception

JP NUNEZ

When we Catholics defend our Church’s teaching about contraception, we almost always use philosophical arguments that appeal to the natural law without relying on God or revelation. These kinds of arguments are great, as they can appeal to people of any faith (or even no faith), but there is another approach we can take as well, one that is particularly helpful when discussing the issue with other Christians: we can look to the teaching of Scripture on the subject. The Bible does not explicitly address the morality of contraception, but there is a passage that very strongly implies that it’s wrong.

The Story of Onan

In the book of Genesis, we find the story of a man named Onan, the most famous and (to my knowledge) only user of a contraceptive method in all of Scripture. Granted, modern contraceptive methods were not around in biblical times, but the ancients did have ways of making their sex non-procreative, and Scripture tells us that Onan used one such method:

“Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.’ But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.” (Genesis 38:8-10)

This passage can be a bit confusing for us 21st century Americans, so let me give a bit of background. In ancient Israel, when a married man died childless, it was his brother’s duty to marry his widowed sister-in-law and have a child with her, and that child would legally be considered the dead man’s heir.

Once we understand the cultural context, the story becomes easy to follow. Onan’s brother died without any kids, so it was Onan’s responsibility to have a child with his sister-in-law. However, he knew the child would not be his, so when they had sex, he used an ancient method of birth control (pulling out before ejaculating) to render their sex non-procreative. This angered God, so he punished Onan by killing him.

The Big Question

The story raises an obvious question for us: what exactly was wrong with Onan’s action? Unfortunately, the text doesn’t give us an answer, so we have to figure it out for ourselves. Essentially, there are three possible reasons for God’s anger with Onan:

  • 1) Onan’s sin was refusing to perform “the duty of a brother-in-law.”
  • 2) Onan’s sin was failing to continue the line of the patriarch Judah (his father), the line from which Jesus would eventually come.
  • 3) Onan’s sin was using an ancient method of contraception.

So which is it? Which of these three is the reason God killed Onan? To figure that out, we need to read the story in the larger context of Scripture as a whole, and when we do that, we’ll find that the answer becomes pretty clear.

The Wrong Answers

Let’s begin by considering the first possible answer.  Did God kill Onan simply because he failed in his duty to his sister-in-law? Probably not. If we look at the rest of the Old Testament, the punishment in ancient Israel for this kind of sin was not death (Deuteronomy 25:7-11). Granted, Onan lived before the Jewish Law was given, but if God did not think that failing to raise up children for one’s dead brother was a sin worthy of death for the Israelites after the Law was given, he probably did not think that way before it was given either. As a result, it’s unlikely that this was the reason why he killed Onan.

Next, let’s look at the second possibility. Did God punish Onan because he failed to continue the line of Judah? Again, not likely. While we know from the rest of Scripture how important that family tree would become, at this point in the story, there is not even a hint of it. The first indication in the Bible of Judah’s future importance comes later on, towards the end of Genesis (Genesis 49:8-12), so it would not be fair for God to expect Onan to understand that at this point. As a result, it is unlikely that this was the reason why Onan was put to death.

The Right Answer

At this point, we might be tempted to say that the third answer (that Onan’s sin was using an ancient method of contraception) has to be right simply by process of elimination, but let’s dig a bit deeper. Let’s see if there is any evidence supporting this option other than the failure of the other two alternatives. Specifically, take a look at these passages from the book of Leviticus:

“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (Leviticus 20:13)

“If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal. If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (Leviticus 20:15-16)

At first, it might be tough to see just what these passages have to do with the story of Onan, but let’s ponder them a bit. In these texts, God is prescribing death as the penalty for homosexual activity and bestiality, two acts that share something in common with contraception: all three of them are non-procreative forms of sexual activity. Sex with an animal or with someone of the same gender is intrinsically incapable of producing a child, and contraception artificially removes the procreative potential of the act.

Once we recognize that similarity, we can see that the third possible explanation for Onan’s punishment is most likely the right one. God didn’t think that failing to raise up children for one’s dead brother merited death for his ancient people, but he apparently thought that non-procreative forms of sex did, so Onan’s fate makes perfect sense. God killed him because he spilled his seed on the ground, thereby removing the procreative potential of his sex with his sister-in-law and making it similar in that key respect (but, we should note, not necessarily in any others) to homosexuality and bestiality, two sins that merited death in the Old Testament era.

Scriptural Support

Like I said before, this approach to the issue of contraception is particularly helpful when talking to other Christians. The story of Onan complements the philosophical arguments we normally use by confirming that our philosophy is in fact correct.  It shows us that the Church’s teaching on the matter is supported by both reason and revelation, so if a fellow Christian is having a tough time understanding or accepting the philosophy behind it, the fact that Onan was punished for rendering his sex non-procreative can help them see that the teaching is true even if they cannot fully see why it is true.

America isn’t having enough babies…but there’s an easy way to fix that

Steven Mosher

January 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As a people of life, we pro-lifers are naturally pro-natal. We not only abhor abortion, we offer positive encouragement to young couples to get married and have little blessings—lots of them.

Yet we live in a wider culture that teaches young people that babies are burdens and not blessings. Add to this government policies that discourage marriage and childbearing, and it is not surprising that U.S. birthrates continue to fall. In fact, our birth rate, which first dropped below replacement way back in 1971, is now the lowest it has ever been in American history.

Indeed, they are the only future a nation has. And we are simply not having enough.

Consider that the total fertility rate needed for a population to sustain itself over time is 2,100 births per 1,000. But America is not even close to that.  We are currently averaging, according to the U.S. National Center for health Statistics, an anemic 1,765.5 births per 1,000 women.  This is a recipe for demographic decline.

So, what can we as a country do about these dismal numbers?

The first thing we ought to do is overturn Roe v. Wade, the infamous Supreme Court ruling that has led to the deaths of 60 million unborn children over the past 45 years.  In 2016 alone, the lives of 884,524 Americans were snuffed out before they saw the light of day.

This number is roughly equal to the shortfall in births. In other words, absent abortion, the American fertility rate would be just about at replacement.

At the same time, we also have to address the “push factors” that propel young women into abortion clinics. Often it is not a matter of “her choice” at all, but rather pressure from a husband, a boyfriend, or a parent or grandparent that forces her hand.

How many of these women would have chosen life if just one friend or family member had stood by her side?  Most of them, reported one study.  So it is incumbent upon pro-lifers to be there for young women in need.

The second thing we have to do is help young people avoid the “debt trap” of student loans. Far too many millennials find themselves graduating from college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt that will take years, or even decades, to pay back.  Others don’t graduate at all, which makes their student loans even more difficult to pay back.

Over the last two years, the rapidly improving economy should have sent birth rates higher. After all, factories are now moving back to the U.S., and unemployment rates are at historic lows. But a trillion-and-a-half dollars in outstanding student loans stand in the way of a fertility rebound. In a sense, student loans may be the most effective contraceptive ever invented.

Who would risk marriage with someone who is heavily in debt, or undertake the decades-long project of raising a family together?  Instead they simply live together, an arrangement that is far less likely to produce children than tying the marriage knot.

Encouraging millennials to marry and have children requires giving them a way out of the debt trap they find themselves in. One way would be to forgive the student loans of those who are willing to marry and have children. The first child would result in one-third of your debt being forgiven, the second two-thirds, and with the third your entire debt might be forgiven.

The slogan of the new policy might be “With three you study free.”

We at Population Research Institute (PRI) have long argued that couples who are willing to raise three or more children should be sheltered from all federal taxes. After all, such couples are providing for the future of their country in the most fundamental way, by providing the future generation, often at great personal sacrifice.

Such a policy would obviously encourage couples to be more generous in having children, since each additional child would, in a sense, pay for itself.

There are many benefits to a higher birthrate, including a natural and gradual easing of the entitlement crisis.  More younger taxpayers improves America’s worker/dependency ratio, making it easier for us to honor our social security promises to the elderly.  For every one-tenth of an increase in the total fertility rate, for example, Social Security will remain solvent for an additional three years.

Raising the birthrate and strengthening families is a good in itself, of course. But the American people have been a great force for good in the world as well, and ensuring their survival is a worthy goal in itself.

Editor’s note: 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.”

Parents’ Nightmare: Daughters Come Home from College Identifying as Men

In a recent piece for The Wall Street Journal called “When Your Daughter Defies Biology,”author Abigail Shrier described the plight of mothers whose daughters have come home from college with newly-grown mustaches and recently removed breasts.

Shrier had been contacted by a mother whose daughter had some anxiety issues during her first semester at college. Along with some friends, her daughter “decided their angst had a fashionable cause: ‘gender dysphoria.’” Over the course of a year, she began a course of testosterone, shaved her head, and began to wear boys’ clothes.

Shrier went on to interview 18 parents in the same situation, desperate to save their daughters, but unable to find allies. “Nearly every force in society is aligned against these parents: Churches scramble to rewrite their liturgies for greater ‘inclusiveness.’ Therapists and psychiatrists undermine parental authority with immediate affirmation of teens’ self-diagnoses,” Shrier writes. “Campus counselors happily refer students to clinics that dispense hormones on the first visit.”

In fact, health plans at 86 colleges around the country, including most of the Ivy League schools, cover cross-sex hormones and surgery.

Gender dysphoria is believing yourself to be the opposite gender from your biological sex. What these young women suffer from is rapid onset gender dysphoria, i.e., when such feelings manifest themselves suddenly — within days or weeks — without having been present in early youth. Shrier refers to sudden onset gender dysphoria as a social contagion — one that, like anorexia and bulimia, overwhelmingly affects girls.

In an earlier piece for National Catholic Register called “Is Transgenderism in Teens Contagious?” I asked Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians whether ROGD in teens is contagious:

Yes. Regarding transgender identification, social contagion is unleashed on teens via the internet, mainstream and social media, messaging in schools, peer pressure, and sadly, from the medical elites who propagandize gender ideology as science.

For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on the issue declares that all children, regardless of age, should be immediately affirmed in accordance with their self-proclaimed gender identity.

As I write in my forthcoming book, Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids, the influence of social media on young people — when it comes to gender ideology and so many other issues — can’t be underestimated. Shrier lists Reddit, Tumbler, Instagram, and YouTube as places where young women can find affirmation that “transitioning” is the answer to all their problems.

At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher writes about a mother who went to speak to her seventh grade daughter’s guidance counselor when she started claiming to be a boy. The counselor advised her to “accept your son as he is.”

The College Fix website wrote about this issue and received several emails from moms who described their ordeals.

Here’s one mother’s tragic story:

Our daughter went off to the college of her dreams. She seemed to do well her first year away. During her second year at college, she experienced a mental health breakdown. We received sketchy details of her struggles from her and a couple of her friends. There was no outreach from her college – due to privacy concerns. Following much pleading on our part, she came home for a visit. We were met with a very different visage upon picking her up at the airport. Her face was covered in acne, she sprouted an obvious mustache, her entire appearance was disheveled…Her voice was somewhat deeper, I might note here. She seemed very disturbed – not at all her old self. What was she like before this? No, not a tomboy as a child. She was an ambitious student, an animal lover, she loved to spend time in the kitchen baking. As for gender, she was typical (whatever that means). For her high school prom, she had her hair and makeup professionally styled…When our daughter was visiting, we asked her what was wrong. I inquired about the acne and mustache – that is not natural, I said. She insisted that she had always had a mustache. Not true. Before we knew what had hit us, she returned to her college. We discovered that she had obtained testosterone in the student clinic. And, she refused all contact with her family. Her college was complicit in all of this.

Another mother tells her daughter’s story:

She left for college in the fall of 2016 as a National Merit Scholar, all AP classes, involved in countless activities including bands, orchestra, theater, dance, literary magazine editor, starting women’s studies club, part time job… She honestly was on top of the world with so much potential. She also happened to be gender conforming. She had a significant merit scholarship at a well-respected east coast university in a large city. Sometime the second semester sophomore year things went horribly wrong… She called us in a deep voice stating she was transgender and had changed her name. She was unable to even think clearly around this issue and was obviously horribly confused. Within a week she completely severed ties in an email to us. No one in her immediate or extended family can believe what has happened. Within a year she had a double mastectomy. Our family is absolutely devastated by all of this.

Another mother, responding to Dreher’s piece, asks for our prayers:

You can’t imagine what it’s like to have the entire educational/med/psych/media world fighting against your parental values and common sense… If you’re not having to deal with such a thing, thank your God for that blessing. Be aware of what’s being taught in your schools. And say a prayer for the rest of us.

Governor of New York nixes nearly all protections for preborn babies

 

The New York Senate and Assembly each passed an expansive pro-abortion bill on Tuesday, within 90 minutes of each other. Governor Andrew Cuomo immediately signed the Reproductive Health Act into law and then celebrated by lighting the state up pink. Sitting with Cuomo as he signed the bill was Sarah Ragle Weddington, the lawyer who represented Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade and the woman whom Roe would later say manipulated her and lied about her in order to convince the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. Roe, whose real name was Norma McCorvey, said Weddington lied about McCorvey having been raped. McCorvey said that Weddington simply needed a vulnerable pregnant woman to help open a court case. McCorvey, who was homeless, fit that bill. Still, Cuomo thanked Weddington for her work in ensuring legalized abortion.

READ: Andrew Cuomo says pro-lifers are not welcome in the State of New York

Third-trimester abortion will be allowed under the new law when a preborn child is diagnosed with a condition that will cause him or her to die at or shortly after birth. In addition, the new law removes protections for babies born alive after an abortion — meaning they could be left to die after birth — by rescinding a portion of NY’s public health law, seen below.

New York

NY public health law nixed by Reproductive Health Act

The law also allows for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy when the mother’s life or health is at risk – which is completely unnecessary, as delivering a live baby via C-section is faster and safer than killing the baby in a two-day late-term abortion. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains in the video below:

 

The new law also allows non-physicians to commit non-surgical abortions and moves the abortion law from the state’s penal code to its health code – which removes any threat of the prosecution of abortionists. Senate Republicans, however, said that change could make it impossible for a woman who loses her preborn child because of an assault to have her assailant prosecuted. In addition, according to the New York Law Journal, “Lawmakers also codified into state law on Tuesday regulations promulgated by the state Department of Financial Services that require health insurance companies to provide coverage for contraceptives in New York. Both bills take effect immediately.”

Embedded video

Live Action

@LiveAction

This is the sound from the NY Senate chamber after the 38-24 vote to:

– Add abortion to the NY Constitution

– Allow non-physicians to commit abortions

– Allow abortion through third trimester

– Repeal protections for surviving babies

Pure evil.

8,989 people are talking about this

New York has an abortion rate of 23.1 per 1,000 women, twice the national average of 11.8 per 1,000 women. 25 to 27 percent of pregnancies in New York State end in abortion. In New York City, 78 percent of abortions are on African American babies. More black babies being killed through abortion than being born in the city. Cuomo’s new abortion law will likely increase those numbers.

Joseph Spector

@GannettAlbany

Cuomo says One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany will be lit in pink tonight to celebrate passage of Reproductive Health Act https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2019/01/22/abortion-laws-new-york-how-they-change-immediately/2643065002/ 

83 people are talking about this

The Senate passed the bill first by a vote of 33-24. The Assembly then voted 92-47 in favor of the bill. It is the first change to New York’s abortion laws since 1970, and while the federal law set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 trumps New York’s law, Cuomo pushed the abortion expansion out of fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Live Action president Lila Rose issued a statement on the bill, saying, “Convicted criminals aren’t subjected to the death penalty in New York state, but now children up until the ninth month of pregnancy can be given lethal injections and poisoned to death. This is no different than infanticide…. New York’s law is barbaric and inhumane and rejects modern science and medical advancements that reveal the development and humanity of life in the womb…. A recent Marist poll showed 75 percent of Americans believe abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy.”

Editor’s Note, 1/23/19: Added graphic of NY public health law protecting abortion survivors, which was eliminated by the Reproductive Health Act and statement on contraceptive coverage (HT: Carole Novielli). Also added statement by LA president Lila Rose.

The Humanity of the Unborn Child

by 

Every day in our country, thousands of pregnant women enter so-called medical “clinics.” When they emerge hours later, they are no longer pregnant. Their babies, so recently living and growing within the warmth and safety of their mothers’ wombs, have been suctioned out with a vacuum, or injected with poison or scalded to death with saline fluid and then pulled apart limb by limb with forceps.

The gruesome reality of what happens to those babies is disguised by a veneer of medical respectability, by the white gowns worn by profiteers who play at being “doctors” and “nurses.” And it is hidden by the plethora of carefully crafted euphemisms designed to cast a pall of confusion over the abortion debate: “products of conception,” “blob of tissue,” “reproductive rights,” “freedom of choice,” etc.

But no number of white gowns, and no number of euphemisms coined by clever propagandists can ever change the cold reality of what happens in every abortion mill every day of the week – the deliberate, calculated killing of living human beings.

The first part of the mission of the pro-life movement, then, is to peel back these layers of obfuscation and deception and to show to the world what – or rather who – is at the center of the abortion debate: the unborn child. And the second part of our mission is to speak for that unborn child, who has no voice of his own.

The March for Life: A Voice for the Voiceless

In my books, the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. is one of the most effective tools devised by the pro-life movement to accomplish both of these goals.

Though the mainstream media works mightily to ignore the March for Life – actually, any pro-life and family march – the growing phenomenon of social media and independent conservative media has ensured that the witness of the hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans willing to stand in frigid and often inclement weather in D.C. to support the right to life of all human beings is broadcast around the world.

Furthermore, even the mainstream media can’t entirely ignore the March, especially these past few years when both the President and Vice-President have addressed those participating. As a consequence, millions of people have been exposed to pro-life information, arguments and witness.

They have seen, first-hand, how much the actual pro-life movement differs from the media caricatures. Far from being a fringe minority, pro-lifers have created the largest annual human rights march in U.S. history. And far from being hateful zealots, pro-lifers are decent, ordinary people motivated by an extraordinary love.

“This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life,” said President Trump in his address to the March this year. “When we look into the eyes of a newborn child, we see the beauty and the human soul and the majesty of God’s creation. We know that every life has meaning and that every life is worth protecting.”

As one popular pro-life blogger noted on Twitter on the day of the March, what makes the March for Life so unique, is that “nobody in attendance is marching for themselves. Nobody is demanding rights or privileges for themselves. Everyone is marching on behalf of those who cannot march.”

What a witness!

Pro-Life = Pro-Science

Pro-abortion advocates want everyone to believe that abortion is a highly “complex” matter rife with shades of grey. But it’s not. Ultimately it comes down to one, simple, scientifically-answerable question: is the unborn child human or not?

At this year’s March for Life, Ben Shapiro, a wildly popular young, Jewish conservative media star, answered that question with his trademark clarity during an hour-long broadcast from the main stage – a broadcast likely watched by hundreds of thousands of people.

Shapiro systematically dismantled ten of the most popular pro-abortion arguments, noting that the core pro-life arguments, far from being politically partisan or faith-based, are politically agnostic and purely empirical. As he put it, the pro-life cause is based upon the “sheer, unadulterated science of human life.”

Furthermore, he noted, victory is inevitable since the “science is moving in the direction of our movement.”

St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) once succinctly summarized this unassailable and scientifically-backed pro-life argument. “If the right [to] life is an inherent and inalienable right, it must surely obtain wherever human life exists,” she said. “No one can deny that the unborn child is a distinct human being, that it is human, and that it is alive. It is unjust, therefore, to deprive the unborn child of its fundamental right to life on the basis of its age, size, or condition of dependency.”

Even more succinct still is this statement by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the world-famous scientist who discovered the cause of Down Syndrome: “Life has a very long history, but each of us has a very neat beginning, the moment of conception.”

A couple of years ago, Bill Nye and a bunch of other pro-abortion and liberal activists organized a so-called “March for Science.” As it turns out, however, the March for Life is the original March for Science – a march supporting the unassailable “scientific consensus” on when human life begins, against the hopelessly outdated, faith-based arguments of pro-abortion “human-life deniers.”

The Sacred Value of Human Life

But though the pro-life position is entirely defensible using science and reason alone, faith has a way of cutting through the rhetoric and personal prejudices and opening hearts to receive the arguments from reason.

Pro-abortion activists like to point out that a huge number of the participants at the March for Life are religious. Every year, for instance, hundreds of priests, seminarians, bishops and cardinals participate in the Vigil Mass for Life at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, while tens of thousands of Catholic youth attend various youth masses on the morning of the March.

Abortion activists seem to think that this somehow amounts to “proof” that the pro-life cause is simply fueled by religious “bigotry.” I wonder, however, if they would say the same thing about the historical fact that huge numbers of those involved in the effort to abolish the slave trade were also religious, and explicitly motivated by religious arguments? Were their efforts, too, just religious bigotry?

In Scripture, children are always viewed as gifts from God, and divine image-bearers. Thus Psalm 127 depicts the man whose quiver is filled with children as being blessed. Psalm 128 depicts that same man as doubly-blessed if he exercises great care and faith in the raising of his children to walk in the fear of the Lord.

And then there is Psalm 139, which reads: “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.” (Psalm 139: 13-16).

The mass participation of Christians at the March for Life, and the central place given to prayer, is not a cause for shame, but rather a badge of honour. It shows that the profound respect for human life found in the Scriptures has seeped into our bones and imbued us with the spiritual energy needed to take risks and make sacrifices to defend the right to life of all human beings. It also emphasizes the truth that the flourishing of a Culture of Life can only come about as a consequence of widespread conversion of heart.

The only shame about the presence of Christians at the March for Life is that there are not so many hundreds of thousands more – that every Christian pastor in the country is not there and has not exhorted his flock to attend.

We Must Act

Our culture desperately needs to be reminded that all humans are made in the image of God – Imago Dei – and that human life has inherent and inalienable dignity and value.

As Pope St. John Paul II lamented at World Youth Day in Denver: “In our own century, as at no other time in history, the ‘Culture of Death’ has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, ‘final solutions’, ‘ethnic cleansings’, and the massive ‘taking of lives of human beings even before they are born, or before they reach the natural point of death’.”

The “father of lies,” said the pope, “relentlessly tries to eradicate from human hearts the sense of gratitude and respect for the original, extraordinary and fundamental gift of God: human life itself.

Given the stakes at play, there is not one of us who is not responsible in some way for stemming the tide of this Culture of Death. “Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life,” the pope warned the youth in Denver. “The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love.”

One of the simplest, most effective ways to declare your support for the Gospel of Life is to attend a March for Life. As Pope St. John Paul II stated, “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages.”

Though the March for Life in Washington D.C. is the largest march in the U.S., it has fostered hundreds of imitation marches around the world. Even if you cannot attend the Washington March, I urge you to look up the march closest to you, and to attend – to join the “Great Campaign in support of Life” (Evangelium Vitae, ¶95).

Our country, and the world, are thirsting for Christians who eschew the lure of comfort, and proactively swim against the tide of the Culture of Death. Stand-up, therefore, and make your voice be heard, for your voice is the only voice that the unborn have. Silence is not an option.

Roe v. Wade’s Disastrous Impact on Medical Ethics

nancyvalko

This was published in the National Right to Life News January 2019 issue “The Consequences of Roe v Wade” on page 8.

Most people volunteer for the pro-life movement. I consider myself a draftee.

I was a young intensive care unit nurse when the Roe v. Wade decision came down in 1973. Like most people I knew, I was shocked when abortion was legalized. As a medical professional, I couldn’t imagine good doctors and nurses condoning — much less participating in — such a brutal act. However, my medical colleagues were split on the issue with those supporting what was then said to be “only” early abortions the most vocal and insistent. Our formerly cohesive unit began to fray.

However, I was professionally offended by the pro-life argument that legalizing abortion would lead to the legalization of infanticide and euthanasia. It was one thing to deny the truth with an early and unobserved unborn baby but it was quite another to imagine any doctor or nurse looking a born human being in the eye and killing him or her.

How wrong I was!

INFANTICIDE AND MEDICAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

My eyes were opened with the 1982 Baby Doe case in Indiana. Baby Doe was a newborn baby boy with an easily correctable hole between his esophagus (food pipe) and trachea (windpipe) who was denied this lifesaving surgery by his parents and a judge because he also had Down Syndrome. Six days later, Baby Doe starved and dehydrated to death while his case was being appealed to the Supreme Court.

My husband and I wanted to adopt Baby Doe when we read the story but all offers of adoption were refused. I did not know at the time that my expected third child also had Down Syndrome and a life-threatening problem.

When Karen was born a few months after Baby Doe, we were stunned that she had both Down Syndrome and a severe heart defect but I was determined that she would not become another Baby Doe.

But even when the cardiologist told us that Karen had an 80-90% chance of survival with one open-heart surgery by age 6 months, he also gave us the “choice” to let Karen die. I was outraged that he could even consider not treating my daughter like any other baby with the same heart defect.

Even worse, when my daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia at 4 months, I was tipped off that my trusted pediatrician had made her a “do not resuscitate” without my knowledge or consent because “Nancy is too emotionally involved with that retarded baby”. I then realized that “choice” was just an empty slogan that had infected medical ethics.

Although Karen survived that incident, she unfortunately died at age 51/2 months just before her scheduled surgery.  I finally joined the disability rights and the pro-life movements.

THE “RIGHT TO DIE” MOVEMENT

A few years after Karen, I was shocked by the so-called “right to die” movement that pushed “living wills” to refuse even food and water by tube if or when a person became incapacitated. I became involved in both the Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo cases involving seriously brain-injured, non-dying young women declared “vegetative”, a term invented in 1972. I wrote an op-ed for my local paper predicting that the potential pool of victims would expand if death by starvation and dehydration was allowed. I was thinking about my own mother who had Alzheimer’s and cancer and indeed I was asked at one point if our family was going to feed her. I replied that my mother would die naturally from her condition, not starvation and dehydration.

Now,  prominent doctors and the American Nurses Association are promoting what Compassion and Choices calls voluntary stopping of eating and drinking by mouth (VSED) as a legal option to  “speed up dying” for competent people with serious illnesses. “Living wills” to prevent even spoon feeding for people with dementia are also being developed.

PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE

The “right to die” movement ultimately did expand into the Compassion and Choices organization, the well-funded former Hemlock Society that promotes physician-assisted suicide by lethal overdose. In the late 1990s, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide. Now a handful of states and the District of Columbia have followed Oregon but the relentless effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide continues in the other US states.

Over the years, I had cared for many suicidal people and I saw the seductive effect of people like Jack Kevorkian, the infamous “Dr. Death”on them. As a nurse, I knew how dangerous it was to portray suicide as a “solution” to many at-risk people.

But it became personal when my 30-year-old daughter Marie killed herself using an assisted suicide technique that she learned reading the pro-assisted suicide book “Final Exit”. My Marie had struggled with drug addiction for 16 years and despite our best efforts and those of her therapists, she finally succumbed to despair. She was the only suicidal person I ever lost.

I was not surprised when two people close to Marie became suicidal after her death. Fortunately, they were saved.

Suicide contagion is a real phenomenon and it doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that the US suicide rate has skyrocketed since Oregon first legalized physician-assisted suicide.

EUTHANASIA

I also discovered that it’s only a short step from “I wouldn’t want to live like that” for assisted suicide to “No one should have to live like that” for euthanasia.

In 2003Dr. Lloyd Thompson, then head of the Vermont Medical Society, escaped prosecution for intentionally giving a paralyzing, “life ending drug” to an elderly woman with terminal cancer whose breathing machine had been removed. The family had opposed prosecuting the doctor.

 Ironically and around the same time, I was threatened with termination after I refused to increase a morphine drip “until he stops breathing” on an older man who did not stop breathing as expected after his ventilator was removed. The patient was presumed to have had a stroke when he did not wake up from sedation after 24 hours. I reported the situation up the chain of command at my hospital but no one supported me. I escaped termination that time but I refused to back down.

An autopsy later showed that the man had no lethal condition or brain injury.

CONCLUSION

As the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wisely said  ” I believe in the slippery slope the same way I believe in the Hudson River. It’s there.”

But until and unless we are ready to recognize what we unlock when we legalize “just a little bit” of medical killing, we may find that the slippery slope has no bottom and that no one is safe.

And I saw it all start with the Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion.

1980 Approved Marian Apparition Echoes Fatima

The year is 1980. The town is Cuapa, near the middle of Nicaragua — 59 straight miles northeast of the capital of Managua and 96 miles via highways and roads.

The date is April 15. While carrying out his work as a simple church sacristan in what was called the “old chapel,” Bernardo Martinez sees a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary producing a supernatural light — heaven’s way to announce he would soon see the Blessed Mother.

He would later recount for his bishop this beginning and everything to follow. There was no natural explanation because “the light came from her,” he would write. “That was a great mystery for me, with the light that came from her one could walk without tripping. And it was nighttime.”

Our Lady Appears

In May — the same month as Our Lady first appeared at Fatima — she appeared to Bernardo. Like at Fatima, she would appear other times, the last visit being in October.

Bernardo described how after a lightening flash, there appeared a pure white cloud on which stood Our Lady. “The dress was long and white.  She had a celestial cord around the waist. Long sleeves. Covering her was a veil of a pale cream color with gold embroidery along the edge. Her hands were held together over her breast. It looked like the statue of the Virgin of Fatima. I was immobile. I had no inclination to run to yell. I felt no fear. I was surprised.”

He described how “she extended her arms — like the Miraculous Medal which I never had seen, but which later was shown to me. She extended her arms and from her hands emanated rays of light stronger than the sun.”

Similarly, in Our Lady’s first apparition in May at Fatima, Lucia described how Our Lady opened her hands and the children “were bathed in a heavenly light that appeared to come directly from her hands. The light’s reality cut into our hearts and our souls, and we knew somehow that this light was God, and we could see ourselves embraced in it.”

At Cuapa, it seemed Our Lady was echoing Fatima in the same way. Bernardo asked her name. “She answered me with the sweetest voice I have ever heard in any woman, not even in persons who speak softly. She answered me and said that her name is Mary…She told me with the same sweetness:

I come from heaven. I am the Mother of Jesus.

He asked what she wanted and, like at Fatima, she told him:

I want the Rosary to be prayed every day…I want it to be prayed permanently, within the family…including the children old enough to understand…to be prayed at a set hour when there are no problems with the work in the home.

Bernardo later explained: “She told me that the Lord does not like prayers we make in a rush or mechanically. Because of that she recommended praying of the Rosary with the reading of biblical citations and that we put into practice the Word of God.” He asked where are biblical citations? “She told me to look for them in the Bible.”

Our Lady continued:

Love each other. Comply with your obligations. Make peace. Don’t ask Our Lord for peace because if you do not make it there will be no peace.

Remember, during her first visit at Fatima on May 13 she told the children, Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war. In July, Our Lady told the Fatima children, Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war, because only she can obtain it. She also said in July, If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.

And the obligations? Might they be daily duties (more later)?

In Cuapa there then came another Fatima connection. Our Blessed Mother told Bernardo:

Renew the five first Saturdays. You received many graces when all of you did this.

Bernardo admitted people had previously gone to Confession and Communion every first Saturday but no longer did so.

Our Lady then said:

Nicaragua has suffered much since the earthquake. She is threatened with even more suffering. She will continue to suffer if you don’t change.

Pray, pray, my son, the Rosary for all the world. Tell believers and non-believers that the world is threatened by grave dangers. I ask the Lord to appease His justice, but, it you don’t change, you will hasten the arrival of the Third World War.

Remember at Fatima during her July apparition Our Lady warned, This war [World War I] will end, but if men do not refrain from offending God, another and more terrible war will begin during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night that is lit by a strange and unknown light, you will know it is the sign God gives you that He is about to punish the world with war [World War II] and with hunger, and by the persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.

 

Next Visits

On June 8, the Blessed Mother gave Bernardo “the same message as she had done the first time,” he wrote, then he gave her many requests from the people. “She answered me by sayingSome will be fulfilled, others will not. The petitions and answer echoed those of Lucia and Our Lady at Fatima.

As the Fatima seers saw in the sky the October vision of Our Lady and the Holy Family, here Our Lady directed Bernardo, Look at the sky.

He did, and Our Lady “presented something like a movie” during which he felt “transported” and saw different groups of people including those from the early Christian communities now in celestial joy, to the first to receive the Rosary from her, to a present day countless multitude carrying rosaries.

She said:

I have shown you the Glory of Our Lord, and you people will acquire this if you are obedient to Our Lord, to the Lord’s Word; if you persevere in praying the Holy Rosary and put into practice the Lord’s Word.

On July 8 Our Lady appeared in a dream. Bernardo wrote she told him to “pray for Nicaragua and for the whole world because serious dangers threaten it.” Again, echoes of Fatima because of the lack of peace when her directives are ignored.

On Sept. 8, at the place of the apparitions, Our Lady directed Bernardo,

Restore the sacred temple of the Lord [meaning ourselves]. In you is the gratification for the Lord. She added: Love each other. Love one another. Forgive each other. Make peace. Don’t first ask for it. Make peace!

“Peace” was mentioned more than once at Fatima, too.

Before leaving, Our Lady told Bernardo she was going to return. On Oct. 13. Again, the Fatima connection. Oct. 13 would be the date of her last appearance in Cuapa as it was at Fatima.

October 13 Apparition

As Bernardo joined by others was praying at the site of the apparitions, Our Lady appeared and “extended her hands and rays of light reached all of us.”

He continued, “She raised her hands to her breast in a similar position to the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows…her face turned pale, her mantle changed to a gray color, her face became sad, and she cried. I cried too. I trembled to see her like that.”

Recall on Oct. 13 at Fatima, Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and also Our Lady of Sorrows.

When Bernardo asked why she was crying, she answered,

It saddens me to see the hardness of those persons’ hearts. But you will have to pray for them so that they will change.

At Fatima on Oct. 13, Our Lady told the children, People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins. They must not offend our Lord any more, for He is already too much offended!

Earlier at Fatima, on July 13, Our Lady similarly directed, Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In August she told the children, Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice.

Returning to Cuapa, in that Oct. 13 visit Our Lady continued, repeating in a different way what she had said before and also echoed Fatima:

Pray the Rosary, meditate on the mysteries.

Listen to the Word of God spoken in them.

Love one another. Love each other.

Forgive each other. Make peace. Don’t ask for peace without making peace; because if you don’t make it, it does no good to ask for it.

Fulfill your obligations. (Fatima’s Lucia revealed this meant doing your daily duties as the sacrifice required.)

Put into practice the Word of God.

Seek ways to please God.

Serve your neighbor as that way you will please Him.”

 

After Our Lady said this, to answer Bernardo’s petitions for people’s requests, she said, in part,

Ask for faith in order to have the strength so that each can carry his own cross. The sufferings of this world cannot be removed. Sufferings are the cross which you must carry. That is the way life is. There are problems with the husband, with the wife, with the children, with the brothers. Talk, converse so that problems will be resolved in peace. Do not turn to violence. Never turn to violence. Pray for faith in order that you will have patience.

 

Before leaving she repeated, again in ways echoing her message at Fatima:

Do not be grieved. I am with all of you even though you do not see me.

I am the Mother of all of you, sinners. Love one another. Forgive each other.

Make peace, because if you don’t make it there will be no peace.

Do not turn to violence. Never turn to violence.

Nicaragua has suffered a great deal since the earthquake and will continue to suffer if all of you don’t change.

If you don’t change you will hasten the coming of the Third World War. Pray, pray, my son, for all the world.

A mother never forgets her children. And I have not forgotten what you suffer. I am the Mother of all of you, sinners.

Related to that, Our Lady requested that she be beseeched this way: Holy Virgin, you are my Mother, the Mother to all of us sinners…

Our Lady also gave Bernardo this prayer: St. Mary of Victory, Favorite Daughter of God the Father, give me your faith; Mother of God the Son, give me your hope; Sacred Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, give me your charity and cover us with your mantle.

That title was originally the name of the feast St. Pius V declared after the victory at Lepanto and which was soon changed to the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary — the title with which Mary identified herself at Fatima.

Approval of the Apparitions

In 1982, Auxiliary Bishop Bosco M. Vivas Robelo of the Archdiocese of Managua, authorized the publication of the narration of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cuapa. Bishop Pablo Antonio Vega Mantilla, of Juigalpa, (the diocese of the apparitions) was studying the authenticity of the events “in order to be able to assist in discerning the true value of the alluded to message.” In 1994 Bishop Robelo who then led the Diocese of Leon stated, “I hereby authorize the publication of the story of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cuapa and the messages given to Bernardo Martinez…May this publication help those who read it to have an encounter with Jesus Christ in the Church through the mediation of the Mother of Our Lord.” Bernardo Martinez was ordained a priest.

Fatima resounded.

Ben Shapiro: Society has ‘unjustly omitted’ rights of preborn human beings

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At the 2019 March for Life on Friday, conservative author, speaker, and attorney Ben Shapiro reminded pro-lifers that what’s right is not always popular and what’s popular is not always right. As he took on U.S. and Canadian political leaders’ criticisms of pro-lifers, Shapiro aimed to motivate pro-lifers to keep going against adversity.

“So perhaps we are out of line with the rest of society – to which I say good,” he said. “So were the abolitionists. So were the civil rights marchers. So were the martyrs in Rome and the Jews in Egypt. Righteousness doesn’t have to be popular. It just has to be righteous.”

 

Shapiro’s comments are in reference to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks that pro-lifers are “not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly as a society.” Shapiro also pointed to New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo as an example of someone who has “excised those who stood for life.” In 2014, Cuomo said during a radio interview that pro-lifers “have no place in the state of New York.”

These examples of prejudice from government leaders show how frightening it can be to proclaim one’s pro-life position. It opens a person up to criticism and even discrimination. Shapiro points out that pro-choicers have reversed good and evil when it comes to abortion, and preborn children and pro-lifers bear the brunt of that confusion. Abortion is based on lies, he said, and pro-choicers have blinded themselves to the truth. It’s up to pro-lifers to expose the truth despite the tribulations that may arise.

Shapiro reminded the crowd at the March for Life that “America was founded on the promise of God-given rights, chief among them the rights to life and liberty.” Some people, however, were “unjustly omitted” from receiving those rights. As America grew, hard-fought battles were won for people to receive their God-given rights, but one group was left behind, he explained.

“That group had once been the most prized possession of a great and moral people,” said Shapiro. “Its children. The souls entrusted to us by the Creator – given to us with care and love. We built this country for our children. We built our lives for our children. And then something happened. We, as a country, decided to erase them.”

This is why pro-lifers march, said Shapiro. Not for any attention or recognition, because major media outlets will continue to ignore the tens of thousands who march in favor of life and speak out against abortion. Pro-lifers march for the children who have been aborted and to hopefully save the lives of children at risk of abortion.

“Our children, slaughtered over the decades, remember. They look at us from above and they know that they meant something,” said Shapiro. “That they do mean something so long as we keep them in our minds and in our hearts.”

As the “guardians” of God’s precious children, Shapiro believes the children of pro-lifers will take up that job as they grow into adults and that all pro-lifers will “stand between America and the darkness, and we will march until that darkness is banished forever, and all of our children can stand together in the sunlight.”

Shapiro delivered a one-hour long podcast earlier in the day from the March for Life stage during which he addressed pro-choice arguments, interviewed Vice President Mike Pence, and said that the pro-life movement will prevail.

Nuns can be forced to pay for potentially abortion-inducing birth control, says judge

 

For years, the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns, have been fighting an Obamacare mandate that would require them to fund birth control that could potentially cause an abortion, like the morning-after pill. As this is a direct contradiction of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the Little Sisters are opposed and have been fighting the mandate on the basis of religious liberty. In 2017, it appeared that they finally had found a reprieve when the Trump administration expanded religious exemptions for the mandate… only for pro-abortion attorneys in 13 states to file lawsuits to overturn the new religious exemption. And today, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration and the Little Sisters in another ruling that is sure to be a disappointment to pro-lifers and defenders of religious liberty alike.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr. ruled that the administration’s expanded religious exemptions would harm the 13 states that sued, which were mostly Democratic states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington). Washington, D.C. also joined in the lawsuit, and Gilliam’s ruling blocks the religious exemption from affecting the 13 states and Washington, D.C., which now means that the Little Sisters of the Poor, along with other religious employers, will be forced to fund birth control methods that could potentially cause abortions. Another court in Pennsylvania is also considering a request, and if the court rules against the administration there, it could potentially have national implications.

The Department of Health and Human Services responded by slamming Gilliam’s decision in a statement. “No American should be forced to violate his or her own conscience in order to abide by the laws and regulations governing our health care system,” Caitlin Oakley, spokeswoman for Health and Human Services, said. “The final rules affirm the Trump Administration’s commitment to upholding the freedoms afforded all Americans under our Constitution.”

Mark Rienzi is the president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been representing the Little Sisters of the Poor. In a statement provided to Live Action News, he promised to keep fighting. “Yesterday’s decision will allow politicians to threaten the rights of religious women  like the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Rienzi said. “Now the Little Sisters have no choice but to keep fighting this unnecessary fight so they can protect their right to focus on caring for the poor. We are confident this decision will be overturned.”

In a previous statement, Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters said they simply want to focus on their mission, and cannot because of this legal battle. “We just want to be able to continue our religious mission of caring for the elderly poor as we have over 175 years,” she said. “We pray that these state governments will leave us alone and let us do our work in peace.”

American birth rate plummets to 30-year low

HYATTSVILLE, Maryland, January 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics has announced that the national fertility rate is the lowest it has been in 30 years.

The American birth rate has been insufficient to sustain the population since 1971, but the 2017 numbers indicate a 30-year low. According to CNN, the federal agency reported that the total fertility rate for the U.S. overall that year was 1,765.5 per 1,000 women, 16 percent below the level needed for a population to replace itself: 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

The total number of births in the U.S. in 2017 was 3,853,472, a drop of two percent from 2016.

Women of all age groups except the over 40-set had fewer babies in 2017. According to the National Center of Birth Statistics:

“The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 3% from 2016 and another record low for the United States. Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women under 40, but rose for women in their early 40s. The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 was down 7% in 2017 to 18.8 births per 1,000 women; rates declined for both younger (aged 15–17) and older (aged 18–19) teenagers.”

There were some interesting differences between birth rates for states.

South Dakota and Utah were the only states to reach “replacement rate.” South Dakota was the biggest winner overall, with a rate of 2,227.5 live births per 1,000 women, and Utah came in second with 2,120.5. North Dakota nearly made it with a rate of 2,065 live births per 1,000 women. The same can be said for Nebraska, which had a rate of 2,062. In contrast, the birth rate in Washington, D.C. was 1,421 per 1000 women.

CNN published remarks by Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who said that fertility rates have been dropping consistently.

“We’ve been seeing fertility rates go down, and I think it has a lot to do with women and men, couples in particular, having much more control over their reproductive lives,” he said.

Benjamin did acknowledge that a low fertility rate isn’t necessary good for society.

“I think the concern is – and there is a concern – having a fertility rate that doesn’t allow us in effect to perpetuate our society,” he said. “But we may very well over time start seeing this reversed or flattened out, but that remains to be seen.”

CNN noted that “between 2007 and 2017, total fertility rates in the United States fell 12% in rural counties, 16% in suburban counties and 18% in large metro counties, according to a separate CDC data brief released in October.”

In 2016, approximately 884,524 Americans were killed before birth in legal abortions.

Woman in vegetative state for decade gives birth to baby boy

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The shocking abuse against a disabled woman has outraged the nation. The woman, a patient at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix, Arizona, is described by CNN as having been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, gave birth to a baby boy on December 29. The media are not releasing her name, because she is a victim of sexual abuse.

Many people are surprised that a patient who appears to be unconscious could give birth. Dr. Deborah Feldman, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group director of maternal fetal medicine, told CNN that it is very rare but does happen. Dr. Feldman stated that the case “speaks to the fact that the patient actually had largely normally functioning organs.” Recent research has shown that patients in a vegetative state can also have awareness and mental functioning far beyond what most people realize. A neuroscientist found that at least 20 percent of people in a vegetative state are completely aware of their surroundings and experience but unable to move or respond.

John Micheaels, an attorney for the victim’s family, told CNN, “The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for,” adding, “The family obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare.” Detectives are gathering DNA samples from men at the facility as part of an ongoing investigation of the crime.

Terry Rambler, chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe of which the victim is a member, called for justice. He told CNN, “When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers.” He added, “Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.”

This abuse, committed against a vulnerable disabled woman, is dehumanizing and horrific. Her family’s loving care for her baby boy born last month shows that the crime in no way diminished the humanity of her child, conceived in such difficult circumstances. All vulnerable lives — including disabled persons and the preborn conceived in rape — deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Dozens of Catholic Members of Congress are Abortion Activists, Here’s a List

BILL DONOHUE   JAN 8, 2019   |   11:18AM    WASHINGTON, DC

The 163 Catholics in the new Congress are split on abortion: almost all Republicans are pro-life and almost all Democrats are abortion-rights advocates.

For incumbents, we checked their voting record as scored by NARAL and National Right to Life. Typically, those who received a 100% NARAL score garnered a 0% rating from National Right to Life (which would be most Democrats), and vice versa (which would be most Republicans).

For Freshmen, we checked their stated positions on abortion, and the endorsements they received from pro-life and abortion-rights groups.

There were a few notable exceptions. Among them are Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a Democrat from Illinois: he received a 51% rating from NARAL and a 75% score from National Right to Life.

More Republicans than Democrats differed with the majority in their own party.

For example, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska agreed with NARAL 42% of the time, and with National Right to Life 28% of the time. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine received a 45% score from NARAL and a 42% score from National Right to Life. Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina garnered a score of 51% from NARAL and a rating of 85% from National Right to Life.

It is obvious that religion is not a reliable predictor of the way a Catholic member of the Congress will vote on abortion. Party matters—not religion.

To see the entire list, click here.

German man who survived abortion dies aged 21

Derek Scally

Tim was not supposed to be born, and certainly not to live. Now the man who survived a failed late-term abortion in 1997 has died aged 21.

Tim – known in the media as the “Oldenburg baby” – was diagnosed with Down syndrome in the 20th week of gestation. German abortion rules limit terminations to the first 13 weeks, except in cases when the mother feels – for health or psychological reasons – unable to carry the baby to term.

As the mother in this case threatened to take her own life, the late-term abortion – legal up to 22 weeks – was scheduled. But things didn’t go according to plan.

In Tim’s case the doctor did not use potassium chloride to stop the heart, assuming he would not survive labour.

Born weighing just 690g (1½lbs), nurses wrapped him in a towel, where he spent the first nine hours of his life alone. After that, realising he was still alive, doctors and nurses began to provide him with medical care.

Doctors gave him one, maximum two, years to live because of various health difficulties, including underdeveloped lungs, which made him susceptible to infections.

After his mother and father declined to keep him he was raised by Bernhard and Simone Guido. They had applied to be foster parents but were offered a very different baby than they expected.

“It was supposed to be a healthy girl,” wrote Simone Guido later in a book about her life with Tim.

But seeing him in the hospital in 1997, she said, was like love at first sight: “We immediately thought: he belongs with us.”

As a result of adopting Tim, their life took on a very different direction. Through a book and website, the Guidos became campaigners against late-term abortions in Germany – and the use of pre-natal tests to allow abortions. In Germany an estimated nine out of 10 Down syndrome diagnoses lead to an abortion.

Later, a German MP sued the doctor who performed the failed abortion, but the case was dismissed.

As a result of his condition, as well as lack of after-birth care, Tim suffered from other medical conditions. He was autistic, could barely speak and underwent many operations during his life.

As well as Tim and their two own children, the Guidos fostered two further children with Down syndrome

In a statement on their website, they said Tim had died without warning after a “wonderful Christmas” at home with his family, days after contracting a lung infection.

They said: “We are very sad and don’t yet know how we should come to terms with the loss of our son who was unique, full of life and spread joy.”

Woman sues doctor, pharmacy for accidentally prescribing abortion pill that killed baby

ATASCADERO, California, January 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A California woman is taking her doctor and pharmacy to court for allegedly writing and filling an accidental prescription for the abortion pill, which she unwittingly took without knowing it would kill her preborn baby.

According to a lawsuit filed Monday in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, Lorena Anderson went to see Dr. Maria Rasul at Bishop’s Peak Women’s Health on March 20, 2018, to confirm she was pregnant. Rasul then allegedly “carelessly and negligently” ordered a prescription for misoprostol – one half of a chemical abortion – without informing her of its “nature and effects.”

The suit says Rasul realized her mistake and contacted the pharmacy to cancel the prescription, but did not contact Anderson to warn her not to take the prescription if she picked it up – which she did the same day at Rite Aid Pharmacy’s Atascadero location. Rite Aid staff “carelessly and negligently” filled it anyway, according to the suit, and subsequently failed to inquire whether Anderson was pregnant or explain what it would do.

Anderson took the pill on March 20 and suffered a miscarriage, she says. Her suit, which names Rasul, Bishop’s Peak, Rite Aid, and Bishop’s Peak parent Dignity Health, is seeking damages for “fright, horror, anger, disappointment, emotional distress, mental suffering,” and “physical injury.”

“As a direct and proximate result” of the defendants’ actions, the suit continues, Anderson “was compelled to and did fall and sustain serious injuries,” including “shock and injury to her nervous system” that has incurred ongoing medical expenses and loss of earnings, and may result in “some permanent disability.”

“She was very excited to learn she was pregnant, and she was looking forward to being a mother,” Anderson’s attorney, Garrett May, told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The first hearing in the case is slated for May 13; Anderson’s legal team is seeking a jury trial. Dignity Health has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

For chemical abortions, abortionists give women mifepristone, or RU-486, in an office and then have them take misoprostol at home. Pro-lifers have long argued that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lists 2,207 adverse health events in women who used mifepristone between 2000 and 2011, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 339 hemorrhages requiring transfusion, and 256 infections.

Mifepristone can be reversed by the practice of abortion pill reversal, if extra progesterone (the natural hormone mifepristone functions by blocking) is taken quickly enough. Its pioneers credit it with saving more than 400 babies since 2007, yet “pro-choice” advocates fiercely oppose promoting the option.

Perverse pact between homosexual priests and contracepting laity lies at heart of Catholic crisis

December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church continues to be rocked by highly credible allegations, most powerfully voiced by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, of homosexual corruption in the highest echelons of the hierarchy. The rot appears to run from the top down to the level of dioceses and seminaries, where countless adolescents and seminarians have suffered sexual predation at the hands of men who should have been their spiritual fathers. The problem appears to be virtually universal in Europe, Latin America, and the Anglophone world. The Church now finds itself in what may be the most wretched state of moral decadence that it has ever suffered in its long history.

It might seem that the Catholic Church is simply suffering from a particularly virulent infiltration of the clergy by a powerful and extensive fifth column, one that only must be detected and rooted out to eliminate the problem. Indeed such exposure is crucial to winning this battle of Catholic restoration, and that is a work to which LifeSite and many other Catholic journalists and activists are dedicated. However, I would argue that it isn’t remotely enough. The reality is that the crisis is a far more general one, and largely stems from a perverse pact made between a degenerate clergy and a deeply corrupt laity. Until both the laity and the clergy are reformed, we will never extricate ourselves from this terrible crisis.

Most of the Catholic laity are addicted to their own version of sodomy

Any casual observer of the ecclesiastical scene can find countless examples of parishes that are served by a weak and effeminate “Fr. Feelgood” (perhaps accompanied by his assistant, the ever-dissenting “Sister Angrynun”), whom we can easily blame for the compromised moral and spiritual state of the parish. “Fr. Feelgood” tends to create in his parish a watered-down version of the Catholic faith in which notions of sin, sacrifice, and salvation are deemphasized or eliminated in favor of a low-content sentimentalism that tends to affirm the carnal mentality and worldly tendencies of the congregation. “Fr. Feelgood” may be an outright homosexual or merely a “tame” beta male who exhibits a similar mentality, but the effects of his leadership (or lack thereof) will tend to be the same.

However, what is often overlooked is the more silent and passive but equally essential element in this perverse partnership, and that is the laity of the parish who seem untroubled and even grateful for Fr. Feelgood’s weak character and pandering ministry. Underlying this attitude is a troubling fact that is passed over in silence, and that is that virtually all of the sexually-active members of the parish are themselves involved in the sin of sodomy.

Yes, that’s right: sodomy. That’s the term used historically in the Church for a sin that is currently rampant among sexually-active Catholics, even those who attend Mass every Sunday. It’s the use of contraception, which poll after poll since the 1970s have indicated is used by the majority of sexually-active Catholics, even those who attend mass regularly.

Contraception has always been understood in the Catholic Church as a grave sin against nature, a perversion that is similar to other abuses of the sexual act that deny its natural unitive and procreative purposes. Couples that use artificial birth control are seeking the pleasure of sexual intercourse in a way that denies its ultimate end, which is to bring forth life and simultaneously to reinforce their marriage union for the purpose of cooperating in the education of their children. Instead, they are seeking the pleasure of the act as an end in itself, and treating the body of their companion as an object of lust.

A recent Pew Research poll (p. 26) reinforced what previous research has demonstrated repeatedly about the attitudes of Catholic laity regarding contraception. It found that of those Catholics who attend mass weekly only 13% regard contraception as “morally wrong.” Of the rest, 45% say it is morally acceptable, and 42% say it’s “not a moral issue,” in the words of the poll. This is reflective of so many other studies that have found a similar acceptance of contraception. There can be no doubt that the vast majority of sexually-active Catholic couples are engaging in this destructive vice.

The contraceptive mentality, which separates the sexual act from reproduction and reflects a hedonistic and narcissistic ethos, leads easily to other sins. If the ultimate purpose of the sexual act isn’t reproduction, but just selfish pleasure, then why should couples marry at all? Extra-marital sexual activity and cohabitation easily follow from this conclusion, as well as abortion when the “unwanted” unborn child inconveniently enters into the picture – after all, if people have a right to their selfish pleasure without consequences, an unborn baby is seen easily as an intruder in their relationships.

Divorce is also closely associated with the sin of contraception. Various studies comparing married couples who don’t use birth control with those who do have found that the divorce rates of the latter are much higher. A study of users of Natural Family Planning (which is used often by those who reject contraception) found that those who have used NFP have a divorce rate half of that of those who have never used NFP.

At the end of this continuum of perversion are the worst abuses of the sexual act, which themselves follow from the logic of contraception. Among them is the vice of homosexual sodomy, which differs from heterosexual contraception not so much in kind, as in degree.

That’s why St. Peter Damian, the Catholic Church’s greatest defender of sexual morality among all of its canonized saints, regarded the contraceptive sin of Onan in the Old Testament as a type of sodomy. Onan engaged in the most simple and easiest form of contraception, withdrawing from his brother’s wife and “spill[ing] his seed upon the ground” (Gen. 38:6-10). God struck Onan dead for this evil act – even though the penalty for not bringing up offspring for one’s dead brother was not death, but public humiliation – because Onan had perverted the sexual act.

“Certainly, this disgrace (sodomy) is not unworthily believed to be the worst of all offenses,” writes Damian in his Book of Gomorrah, which he wrote to denounce a crisis of sodomy among the clergy and monks of his day. He soon adds: “[God] struck Onan, the son of Jude, with an untimely death because of this nefarious offense, according to the Scripture, which says, ‘Onan … knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, he spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing.”

Click here to learn about St. Peter Damian’s struggle against an epidemic of sodomy and corruption among the clergy of the eleventh century, a story with great relevance for the Catholic Church today.

A perverse pact between clergy and laity

The resulting situation is a Catholic laity that has a mentality similar to that of practicing homosexuals. In their own relationships, the vast majority of lay Catholics are using artificial birth control. In general, they do this because they have a hedonistic and consumeristic notion of marriage, and indeed of life itself, one that is characteristic of modern neoliberal secularist democracies, where happiness is absurdly sought in the transient pleasures and perishable goods of this world.

Those involved in this heterosexual form of sodomy, will naturally tend to have a deep and implicit sympathy for homosexual sodomites, whose only major difference is the preference of a same-sex partner in their unnatural sin of lust. This is why the vast majority of Catholics seem to be unperturbed by the effeminate and worldly attitudes of their pastors – they resonate with the contraceptive mentality of the laity. If Fr. Feelgood rarely mentions the doctrines of hell, or sin, or repentance and amendment of life, and seems uninterested in prayer or sacrifice, he is little more than a reflection of his own hedonist and consumerist congregation, which would rather not hear about such unpleasantries. Of course, such priests never trouble their parishioners with the Church’s doctrine condemning contraception, despite their obviously small family sizes.

As a result, less than a third of Catholics told the Pew Research Center that homosexual behavior is “morally wrong,” and even among those who attend Mass every Sunday, only 50% held that view (again, p. 26). The Catholic Church’s clear doctrine condemning sodomy, expressed repeatedly in Sacred Scripture, the writings of the Church Fathers, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and in the official pronouncements of the popes, is either ignored or rejected outright in most parishes. This attitude is a natural consequence of the embrace of contraception by the laity; although their version of sodomy and hedonism is more bourgeois and conventional than that of homosexuals, their own addiction to sexual lust and perversion entails the same essential reality.

Contraceptive parishes, contraceptive liturgies

The contraceptive mentality that runs through most Catholic parishes is not only facilitated by the false doctrines of wayward priests, but also by the generally degraded state of the Roman Rite liturgy.  It should be unsurprising that the decline of the liturgy occurred at the same time as explosion of contraceptive practice among Catholics.

Although the formal intention of the liturgical reform was to encourage participation by the faithful, the effect has been to facilitate a style of worship that dovetails with the self-centered, narcissistic mentality that underlies contraceptive unions. The priest who faces the people from behind the altar encourages the notion of the “community celebrating itself” in the words of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI. The childish liturgical translations, which were somewhat corrected by Pope Benedict but now appear on their way to being restored by Pope Francis, the trite and breezy hymns, the reception of communion in the hand by the laity, the worldly architecture, all are alien to the traditions of the Church, and all tend to undermine the sense of reverence in the liturgy.

In light of the results of liturgical reform, which the same Cardinal Ratzinger regarded as gravely botched, it hardly seems coincidental that the massive liturgical changes that came about in 1969-1970 followed on the heels of the equally massive rejection of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter Humanae vitae in 1968. After years of speculation that the Church might reverse its condemnation of artificial birth control, Paul VI in Humanae vitae reaffirmed the ancient doctrine that contraception is “intrinsically evil” and a mortal sin. However, the vast majority of Catholics rejected the doctrine, and their pastors appeased them by ignoring it and ignoring their own parishioners’ immersion in this sin. Soon after, the liturgy was altered in ways that facilitated the new mentality, and numerous priests departed from the priesthood, which appeared to many to have been deprived of its sacramental meaning. They left behind a largely weak and effeminate clergy that sought to pander to modern sensibilities rather than to exercise manly leadership on behalf of Christ.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the absolute condemnation of contraception reaffirmed by Humanae Vitae is a major focus of the current attack carried out by homosexualist theologians against Catholic sexual morality. The acceptance of contraception is the foundation of the entire sexual revolution, including the acceptance of cohabitation, abortion, and same-sex sodomy. The lavender mafia that currently holds power in the Church depends deeply on this evil pact with contracepting laity, who support them morally and financially.

Catholic pastors are called to a particular sort of courage in the face of pressure from their confused congregations, who are accustomed to regarding the priest as a facilitator of their lifestyles rather than as a prophet who calls upon them to repent. The duty of the priest is to speak the truth to the laity, even at the risk of persecution, as St. Paul notes in his second letter to Timothy, whom he had personally ordained to the priesthood:

I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry.

Contact the author at mhoffman@lifesitenews.com.

Pressured to abort, a second opinion caused these parents to choose life

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Amanda Schuster and husband Robert wanted to give their son Baron a sibling, but months went by and they weren’t conceiving. They underwent testing and discussed measures that might help, but before they could take any steps, they got a “beautiful positive test.” Then, after weeks of pregnancy bliss, the couple was devastated after a 20-week scan revealed a condition that would cause doctors to advise them to abort their baby girl immediately.

“At 20 weeks, we went in for the routine anatomy scan with no concerns whatsoever,” Schuster wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “We held hands and laughed when we saw her on the screen. We couldn’t wait for pictures to show her grandparents.”

That joy quickly turned to fear as the ultrasound technician became quiet and continually scanned the baby’s head. Then she excused herself to speak to the radiologist. Schuster knew that something was wrong.

The doctor informed the couple that there was an “anomaly” with the baby’s skull and they needed to go to maternal fetal medicine the next day for a better scan with more advanced machines. It was there that the doctor diagnosed their baby girl, named Emmy, with a type of dwarfism that she said would be fatal. She advised them to abort — and fast.

READ: Powerful documentary shows doctors’ push to abort babies with Down syndrome

“This was taken after they had rushed her to the other OR to evaluate her breathing and we had been just waiting to hear ANYTHING. Seeing her and knowing that she’s breathing and doing okay was just so overwhelming.” – Amanda Schuster, Facebook

“She told us we had to hurry because our time for legal abortion was coming to an end and I would have to fly out of state if I waited too long,” said Schuster.

Despite the pressure to make a decision, Schuster refused to make a decision so abruptly. She wanted a second opinion. The doctor referred them to another doctor in the craniofacial department who determined the original diagnosis to be wrong.

“He took one look at her scans and said that the initial diagnosis was completely incorrect and that he was 98% sure she’d have Pfeiffer Syndrome,” wrote Schuster. “He told us the good and the bad but assured us that she could live and have a very good life. She would need surgeries – probably many – but she could be a happy child with a fairly normal life.”

“She’s a very happy girl. She smiles all the time. She loves being held and cuddled and talked to and sung to.” – Amanda Schuster,Facebook

People with Pfeiffer Syndrome have premature fusion of the skull during development. Because of this, the head and face don’t grow normally, eye sockets will be shallow and the face will be small, leaving the airway too narrow.

“Even though we had prepared ourselves the best as we could, it was still a shock to see Emmy in the flesh,” wrote her mother. “Her eyes were huge, her skull was misshapen, and they intubated her immediately before I even got to look at her. She also has the most beautiful blue eyes and dark hair.”

Schuster recalls that the delivery room was silent which carried an eerie feeling. Emmy was immediately whisked away to get checked out by the doctors. She had surgery to place shunt to drain the fluid, and would spend four months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit undergoing more surgeries and surprising everyone with her continued progress.

Now 18 months old, Emmy is doing well. She has had no less than 20 surgeries, including repairing intestinal malrotation, receiving a g-tube to help nourish her, a tracheostomy, and three skull surgeries to help her brain develop. She struggles with sleep apnea and will need more surgeries in the future, but she is a happy, well-loved girl who adores her big brother.

“[Her brother is] really going to be such a champion for her. He loves her just so unconditionally and it takes my breath away to just see how much love and adoration flow between them. They needed each other and they both lucked out in the sibling lottery.” – Amanda Schuster, Facebook

“She’s doing remarkably well these days… probably more so than anyone ever expected,” said Schuster. “We’ve had hospital stays and emergencies, we’ve had PICC lines and long nights of worry, but she smiles through it all. She continues to grow and develop, albeit at a slower pace than other kids her age, but she shows a determination that is unbelievable. She’s got parents that love her, a brother that thinks she hangs the moon, grandparents that encourage her, and a team of doctors, nurses, and therapists that give her every tool possible to thrive.”

Her family knows that life won’t always be easy for Emmy and they worry about bullies in her future, but they hope that by sharing her story, other families will see that she’s a fun-loving child like any other and would love to play.

Doctors are often quick to advise abortion, especially if the state they work in has abortion restrictions. That pressure to abort can cause families to choose abortion without having the time to think it over. Families who are faced with this can learn something from the Schusters: always seek a second opinion. An obstetrician is a specialist in pregnancy and delivery, not in every health condition on earth. The Schusters followed their instincts, got a second opinion, and chose life for their beautiful girl who has become the light of their lives.

The Schuster Family

“Life is Worth Living, Even if It is Painful and Short”

nancyvalko

I was greatly moved by a December 21, 2018 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Gayle Somers titled “Life Is Worth Living, Even if It Is Painful and Short” with the subtitle “My son’s addiction caused great suffering and ended with a fatal overdose. I’ve never regretted his birth”

In this op-ed, Ms. Somers told the story of her son’s birth and eventual death 33 years later from an accidental overdose after a 14 year battle with drug addiction. That resonated with me since I lost my 30 year old daughter Marie to suicide using an assisted suicide technique after a 16 year battle with addiction.

But it was Ms. Somers’ wonderful statement “I’ve never regretted his birth” that caused me to write a letter to the editor that was published today:

“As someone who has lost a daughter to suicide and has also lost another daughter and a grandson to medical conditions, I really appreciate and agree with Gayle Somers’ op-ed “Life is Worth Living, Even if it is Painful and Short” (Dec. 22). My first daughter died at 30 after struggling with substance abuse for 16 years.

As a nurse and friend of bereaved parents, I also have never met a parent or grandparent who regretted the birth of his or her lost child.

I once was asked for advice by a bereaved mother after her 2-year-old son with Down Syndrome died unexpectedly. She wanted to know what might help her accept her son’s death with a hopeful outlook. From my own personal experience, I told her that solace comes when a lost child’s life rather than his death becomes the most important fact about him. The love itself never dies.

Nancy Valko

St. Louis

CELEBRATING LIFE

Ms. Somers also wrote in her op-ed that:

“These days pregnant women can take prenatal tests to learn about genetic defects their babies may have. Sometimes I’m grateful that no test allows you to see how a child’s life will unfold. All parents instinctively shrink from the excruciating expectation of a child’s suffering and, inevitably, their own suffering.

Some parents are so frightened at the prospect of raising a child with a genetic abnormality that they end the child’s life in the womb. While I understand this temptation—to spare the child the struggle, to spare yourself the pain—reflecting on the time I spent with my son convinced me that life is worth it despite the suffering.”

This also resonated with me since I lost my 5 1/2 month old daughter Karen who had Down Syndrome and a severe heart defect just before her scheduled surgery in 1983.

Two years later, I was pregnant again and the doctor strongly urged me to have an amniocentesis to test for Down Syndrome. I refused not only because of the unnecessary risk to the baby but also because I knew I would love this baby regardless of any condition or lifespan. Because of Karen, I was not afraid to welcome this baby.

Happily, my daughter Joy was born healthy and now has a baby daughter of her own to share with us.

CONCLUSION

Over the years, I’ve been inspired by many parents who have lost children of all ages. Some of these children died of natural causes and some from medical malpractice, tragic accidents, suicide and even murder.

The pain of losing a child is naturally devastating, especially at first. However, I have seen those same parents also rise up and honor those children’s lives by helping others or fighting injustices.

I consider Ms. Somers one of those inspiring parents, especially how she ended her op-ed by writing:

“Even knowing what we know now about how our children’s lives would end, all of us would choose life, no matter how short, no matter how painful. We welcomed our children into our families. We gave them names, and then, one day, we began to learn how to do what all parents must do—love without limits, comfort during the pain, not shrink from the suffering, give thanks for the gifts our children are to us.”

Did you know that the pill can cause depression and anxiety?

Did you know that the pill can cause depression and anxiety?

As a non-Catholic teenager, I didn’t know this — in fact, I was told the opposite was true. It wasn’t.

When I was 19, in the summer after my freshman year of college, I was prescribed birth control after experiencing two cycles of more painful than usual menstrual cycles.

At the time, I wasn’t Catholic. I had no awareness of the negative effects of the pill, and was in fact assured that there were no negative effects, only positive ones. It would stop my cramps, reduce my acne, and, the doctor assured me, “control mood swings.”

Mood swings were not something I was prone to at the time. I loved college, loved my friends, loved my classes, and was in fact deliriously happy with life. But that changed after I started taking birth control. It wasn’t dramatic — it was more of a slow decline, a gradual loss of interest in classes that led to sleeping in, skipping class, and my grades dropping ever so slightly. As promised, my cramping subsided and my acne got marginally better, but I began gaining weight. It was the weight gain more than anything that prompted to me to stop taking the pill six months after I started. At the time, I didn’t connect the boost in my mood and improvement in my grades during the second semester of my sophomore year, but looking back, it’s clear that the pill had altered my mental state during the brief period of time when I took it.

I was lucky. The mental side effects from the pill were in my case so subtle as to go nearly unnoticed except in retrospect — but many other women are not so lucky. A new BBC Two documentary examines the pill’s widespread negative effects on mental health, focusing particularly on the problematic ethics of prescribing a medication with known negative side effects that neither treats nor prevents illness.

A survey conducted by the team behind the documentary, titled The Contraceptive Pill: How Safe Is It?, found that one in four women taking the pill said it had negatively affected their mental health.

Dr. Zoe Williams, who presents the documentary, explains that all medicines have potential side effects, but the pill is different to most because it is taken by women who are well, rather than to prevent or treat illness or disease. “Therefore side effects that significantly impact on quality of life, in a negative way, are not acceptable,” she tells The Independent.

One of the biggest problems with the pill is that depression and anxiety, well-known side effects of progesterone, are not named in the literature distributed with it. Instead, the first potential side effect listed is “mood changes,” which could mean anything. It’s almost as if the manufacturers of the pill are attempting to hide the pill’s serious side effects.

This is a real problem, particularly with something as widely and cavalierly prescribed as birth control. Growing up, I knew girls taking birth control for everything from acne to endometriosis. Like me, they were assured by their doctors that the medication was virtually risk-free, and in fact came with a host of positive benefits.

But altering a woman’s natural hormonal balance is not a panacea, particularly when it’s being done for frivolous reasons. I’m glad to see this research making its way to the public, because countless young women deserve to know that birth control is not harmless, nor is it consistently beneficial. Regardless of their beliefs on ethics and morality, young women deserve to know that the pills they’re being given could cause more harm than good.

My 1968 journey on California’s abortion underground railroad

Susan Swander

January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Unable to sleep the other night, I began to think back over my life. I reflected on my turbulent youth as a child of the 60s: the men, the drugs and drinking. I came of age in a tumultuous time; everything was in a state of change and upheaval.

I got to thinking about an old college friend and his family. I decided to Google my friend’s father who had an unusual name and was sadly influential in my life.  I found an obituary for the father, Garrett Hardin.

As I read it, I was in shock.

At 18, I was a freshman at the University of California, Santa Cruz, facing an unplanned pregnancy. I could have shared the pregnancy with my parents, who were against abortion and would have helped me parent my child. I turned instead to this college friend and his family.

As I struggled to accept the reality that I was pregnant, the Hardins persuaded me that I could get rid of the pregnancy and then after the procedure I could return to my pre-pregnancy life. That’s exactly what I wanted.

But in 1968 abortion was still illegal. Not to worry. Garrett Hardin had another option that would make my problem go away.

One particular paragraph of Hardin’s obituary hit me especially hard. I was not the only woman he helped get rid of the problem:

“Mr. Hardin and his wife were longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood, and … helped operate an ‘underground railroad’ in which 200 local women went to Mexico seeking abortions.”

I am one of those 200 local women who went to Mexico on that Hardin Underground Railroad of Abortion.

Garrett Hardin was tragically wrong. That abortion did not magically return me to my pre-pregnancy life. Pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing events. But abortion is also a life-changing event.

At 18, I really had no idea what I was doing on that journey to Mexico. One of the Hardin family women went with me. We drank the whole two days. I’m surprised they were able to do anything medical given my blood-alcohol level. I’m sure it was through the roof.

For a short time after that trip, life seemed sort of OK. The only problem was that my drinking, drugging and promiscuity all got worse. After two more unplanned pregnancies and two more abortions, I was a mess.

I finally had a child and then got sober. After a number of years floundering around, I returned to my childhood Catholicism. I then found an abortion healing program called Rachel’s Vineyard that began my journey back to peace and serenity.

In Garrett Hardin’s obituary, a friend of his shared:

“Mr. Hardin’s research and writing on reproductive rights ‘were fundamental in getting the state Legislature (California) to pass therapeutic abortion bills in the 1960s.’”

I also learned something else about Hardin. His aggressive advocacy for abortion rights led him inexorably to the promotion of euthanasia.

The first parents of our human family faced the temptation to “become like gods,” and rebel against the providence of their Creator. In their anguish and shame, they learned the painful lesson that some choices do not lead to liberation and freedom but to spiritual and physical death.

This temptation to rebel against God’s absolute providence over our lives, and the lives of the unborn, remains a powerful and deadly temptation that still rages in the hearts of women and men.

The obituary revealed the final chapter in the life of Garrett Hardin. He was a member of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society. Faced with illness and disability, Hardin and his wife died in a double suicide.

Susan Swander lives in Oregon and is a member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign

There is No Constitutional Right to Kill Babies in Abortions

KRISTAN HAWKINS   JAN 3, 2019   |   10:21AM    WASHINGTON, DC

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe V. Bolton approaches, marking the beginning of the debate over whether abortion is truly a Constitutional right and what that looks like in daily life.

Abortion advocates argue for access to their product along with federal funding and accommodation, justifying their demands because they say they have a legal product found in the Constitution. And since 1973, they have the court documents to prove it despite the uneasy legal foundation even in the eyes of six Supreme Court justices.

Though a right to abortion is never mentioned by the authors of our nation’s birth certificate, abortion has been hung on the concept of privacy (also not mentioned in the Constitution) and defended for more than 45 years.

But given the blanket assertion that constitutionality equals governmental facilitation, let’s consider how that might apply to something actually found in the constitution at our founding … the right to bear arms … actual guns that are sold with considerable scrutiny.

Planned Parenthood has taken numerous states to court and won when legislators decided that healthcare dollars would go to full service healthcare providers and not simply abortion vendors. Through numerous federal and state programs, Planned Parenthood has brought in more than half-a-billion in taxpayer funds annually, and they argue for more.

Ending preborn life should be an absolute right especially for the poor, according to Planned Parenthood’s new President, Dr. Leana Wen, who is direct that ending preborn life is necessary to avoid class struggle.

“Our narrative on choice is incomplete without recognizing choice is predicated on privilege and it’s all of our responsibilities to fight against systemic injustices that have gotten us to where we are,” she told ThinkProgress.

But why stop at abortion when it comes to issues of life, death and justice for the poor?

Those in poverty also endure an increased crime rate. In fact a recent study found that “the poorest Americans are 12 times as likely to be sexually assaulted as the wealthiest.” Does that mean government subsidized guns should be made available for their protection, to save their lives or their bodies from harm? Wouldn’t that also be a pro-woman policy — federally funded guns and gun safety classes in the name of access to a constitutional right that should not be unavailable because of financial resources?

Access is an important word for the abortion lobby today that could be defined as a commute. A 2017 story at CNN noted a study showing that women traveled 11 miles to get an abortion for the most part. The abortion lobby finds this a bridge too far, and in fact any travel for abortion is a problem.

Recently, the former governor of California, Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have forced California publicly-funded colleges and universities to dispense chemical abortion drugs on campus, pointing out that studies showed abortion facilities were 4-6 miles from every campus, and therefore reconfiguring school health centers into abortion vendors was “not necessary.”

Abortion advocates were outraged. “There are so many campuses where the pill is not close by and even within a mile or two or three, women don’t always have transportation,” Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) told reporters.

Writing in the LA Times, columnist Robin Abcarian observed: “It takes a particularly privileged, out-of-touch person to tell California college students that it’s no big inconvenience for them to travel up to seven miles to obtain an abortion pill.”

Imagine the outrage when people find out that the average commute to a job is 16 miles each way or that gun stores are not easily accessible by all Americans and require background checks and other time consuming screens.

But in the name of access, abortion vendors have also fought against health and safety standards like an emergency plan if a woman was dying or requiring that an abortionist operating an abortion facility follow the safety laws that govern other types of outpatient medical centers. Case in point, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt in which Texas officials had to fight for such protections.

Sadly abortion “access” won the day as Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for a five-justice majority finding, “We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”

Abortion advocates are practically libertarians in their free market view of their product as any regulation that slows down an abortion from taking place is too horrifying to imagine. Imagine burdening abortion vendors with women’s safety.

With the logic of the abortion lobby, a short commute, a federal subsidy, and an unregulated process are hallmarks of a constitutional right. It’s a less-is-more philosophy until it comes time for taxpayer support.

Some may call this an apples and oranges comparison, between abortion and gun ownership, as guns can carry a risk to others, can end life and therefore need some scrutiny. But the same can be said of abortion, which always ends one life and leaves another harmed by the experience.

Most of the time, that fact that something is constitutional opens the door for a discussion on how to proceed, rather than ends the argument. It’s hypocritical to push regulations of one constitutional right while arguing that something not even mentioned in the Constitution must be singled out as deserving of governmental facilitation and billions of tax payer dollars. Even if one believes abortion is a constitutional right (and I don’t), that still does not mean it should be forced on Americans nationwide and paid for with precious taxpayer resources.

Abortion Was the Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2018, Killing 42 Million People

MICAIAH BILGER   DEC 31, 2018

More human beings died in abortions than any other cause of death in 2018, a new report indicates.

A heartbreaking reminder about the prevalence of abortion, statistics compiled by Worldometers indicate that there were nearly 42 million abortions world-wide in 2018. 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.

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

Here’s more from the report:

As of December 31, 2018, there have been some 41.9 million abortions performed in the course of the year, Worldometers revealed. By contrast, 8.2 million people died from cancer in 2018, 5 million from smoking, and 1.7 million died of HIV/AIDS. …

It also records the total number of abortions in the world, based on the latest statistics on abortions published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Globally, just under a quarter of all pregnancies (23 percent) were ended by abortion in 2018, and for every 33 live births, ten infants were aborted.

Worldometers estimates about 59 million deaths world-wide in 2018, 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 60 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.

Our Call in the New Year: Live in Christ!

Duc in altum! These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm and to look forward to the future with confidence: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb 13:8).

–Pope St. John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte

Duc in altum! “Put out into the deep!”

These are the words of Christ to Simon Peter, commanding him to lower his nets into the sea. Peter did as the Lord told him, but not before expressing doubts, for he and his companions had been fishing all that night, without success. But, when Peter and his companions hauled up their nets, the nets began to break, so great was the catch of fish. Astonished at the miracle, St. Peter cast himself at the feet of the Lord: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

These are also the words that Pope St. John Paul II chose to begin and end his apostolic letter Novo Millenio Ineunte, in which he celebrated the dawn of the third millennium by urging Christians to renew their commitment to the Gospel and Christ’s evangelical mandate: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

The Great Catch of Fish mosaic in the St. Peter’s Basilica

Though the pope wrote this letter to greet a new millennium, its message is perennial. Indeed, the whole of the pope’s letter is intended to emphasize that no matter the year or the century or the millennium, no matter the time or the season, every Christian is called to commit him or herself to the self-same mission: to live in Christ (“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” – Gal. 2:20), and to preach Christ to all the world.

Many of you reading this column are formulating your New Year’s resolutions. But the pope’s letter reminds us that there is only one New Year’s resolution that truly matters: to become saints.

The Perennial Christian Program 

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

—  St. Augustine’s Confessions

In June of 1979, Pope St. John Paul II visited Poland. During one speech in Warsaw, the Holy Father spoke of the urgent need for spiritual and cultural renewal. Within the vast throng of some one-million people gathered there, a great cry spontaneously rose up: “We want God! We want God!”

In a Poland oppressed by the atheistic and totalitarian communists, the worship of God had been made difficult by the oppressive crackdown on the Catholic Church, and the pervasive propaganda in the schools and media. But the Polish people knew that the materialistic utopianism of the communists could not give them that for which they yearned.

The same desire for God is just as operative (if not more so!) in our own increasingly materialistic and atheistic culture, so weighed down by the burden of sin: That neighbor crushed by a recent painful divorce is crying out, “I want God!” That friend at school who has threatened to commit suicide is crying it, “I want God!” The nephew who has fallen into a life of drug use and sexual immorality is crying out: “I want God!” The niece whose life fell apart after she aborted her child is crying out: “I want God!” And if we would only cease our frenetic activity long enough to listen, we would find that our own hearts, too, are crying out: “I want God!”

We have all encountered misguided pastors who are obsessed with “change,” with devising or implementing clever new programs to help the Church “get with the times” and to “speak to the current generation.” Unsurprisingly these programs rarely work, for the world is not thirsting for the trendy and up-to-date. Indeed, our world is drowning in the trendy and up-to-date, which can be found in super-abundance at the nearest mall or movie theater.

The world is thirsting for the transcendent; and the transcendent is not a thing that changes with the times or that needs to be updated for one generation over the next. The desire – and the remedy – will be the same in 2019 as it was in 2018, as 1018 for that matter.

“It is not therefore a matter of inventing a ‘new programme,’” said Pope St. John Paul II in Novo Millenio Ineunte.

The programme already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its center in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in him we may live the life of the Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a programme which does not change with shifts of times and cultures, even though it takes account of time and culture for the sake of true dialogue and effective communication. This program for all times is our program for the Third Millennium.

‘What Must We Do?’: A Christian’s New Year’s Resolution

In this time of bewilderingly rapid and misguided social change, we may feel a sense of helplessness, anxiety and even fear: How do we respond when our efforts seem so small in the face of the Culture of Death? What is our path to achieving the radical transformation of culture and people? At a time when the media, politics, and popular culture are so virulently hostile to religious belief, and Christianity in particular, how are we possibly to catch the great catch that our world and Church so desperately need?

As Pope St. John Paul II emphasized and re-emphasized, the answer is always and everywhere the same: Christ.

Jesus calls the Apostles St. Andrew and St. John by Francesco Gessi (1588 – 1649).

Conscious of the Risen Lord’s presence among us, we ask ourselves today the same question put to Peter in Jerusalem immediately after his Pentecost speech: “What must we do?” (Acts 2:37). We put the question with trusting optimism, but without underestimating the problems we face. We are certainly not seduced by the naive expectation that, faced with the great challenges of our time, we shall find some magic formula. No, we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person, and the assurance which he gives us: I am with you! It is not therefore a matter of inventing a “new program”. The program already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition, it is the same as ever.  — Novo Millennio Ineunte, ¶29

However, our hearts are fatally fickle and our resolutions in continual need of renewal. In this New Year, let us resolve to pay heed to the universal cry for God, beginning with the cry of our own hearts. Let us resolve to reflect the life Jesus calls us to live, to open our hearts to God’s transforming activity, to submit our lives to His will, to follow the Gospel, to put on Christ (Rom. 13:14).

In this New Year let us resolve to become saints!

To the extent that Christians are living as Christians, they are also heralds of the Gospel – for they will continuously preach Christ in their every word and deed: in their peaceful demeanor, in their charitable speech even about those who hate them, in their generosity to the poor and the downtrodden, in their rejection of shallow consumerism and the depraved dominant morality, etc. This will in turn become the hinge upon which a Culture of Life will be constructed – defending life from conception to its natural end and upholding the dignity and the inalienable rights of every man, woman and child.

We must remember the miracle of the great catch of fish. Before and after Christ arrived, Peter and his companions were doing the exact same thing: working hard to catch fish using the best methods and equipment at their disposal. Their efforts did not change; only the results changed. Without Christ, there was no catch; with Christ, the catch surpassed their wildest hopes.

We will only succeed in building a Culture of Life and Civilization of Love when we live authentic, transparent lives in Christ: holiness is the universal call which will infuse our ability to transform cultures and peoples. It is not enough that truth and grace are offered through the proclamation of the Gospel of Life. It needs to be accepted and experienced in every practical situation, in the way Christians lead their lives.

I will conclude with one more quotation, filled with hope, from Pope St. John Paul II’s letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, adapted for the beginning of a new year:

A new [year] is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work. … Now, the Christ whom we have contemplated and loved bids us to set out once more on our journey: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the [new year] and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope “which does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5).

Coerced sterilisation in Jamaica

Published: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/letters/20181222/letter-day-dont-coerce-women-living-hiv-tie

Saturday | December 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir,

Patrice (not her real name) is a woman living with HIV. In a consultation with her doctor, she explained that she and her partner were planning to have a child. The doctor is said to have told her that she was wicked to want to get pregnant and pass the virus on to her child.

While our allies in the healthcare system are far greater than in previous years, Patrice’s story is one example of the discrimination that people living with HIV face from some healthcare workers.

With the widespread availability of antiretroviral treatments, people living with HIV have been living long and productive lives for years now. This includes healthy sexual and reproductive lives. Proper adherence to treatment and medical supervision significantly reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to one’s partner and virtually eliminates the chance that a woman will transmit HIV to a foetus. Despite these advances, there is significant evidence to suggest that some healthcare workers in Jamaica regularly coerce HIV-positive women to undergo tubal ligation (tie-off).

Women must never be denied the opportunity to give full and informed consent for sterilisation or other long-term contraceptive procedures because they are HIV-positive. Coerced sterilisation is a grave violation of the human rights of HIV-positive women, even classified by the OHCHR as an act of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. It manifests itself in ways that include offering financial incentives, deliberately providing misinformation, or using intimidation practices such as denying healthcare serves in an attempt to compel positive women to undergo the procedure.

This discriminatory practice is linked to the false belief that HIV-positive women are somehow not fit to be mothers or that HIV-positive women who become pregnant are irresponsible and incapable of managing their own healthcare needs and those of their families.

This practice also prevails because of weak or non-existent informed consent policies and procedures to protect patients’ rights or where medical personnel who violate such policies are generally not held accountable.

 

FORCED CONTRACEPTIVES

 

Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that HIV-positive women are also unwittingly placed on long-term contraceptives without consent or consultation. In a recent PLHIV training workshop, three different women shared their experiences of being told to go to ‘X’ clinic on ‘Y’ date to get a contraceptive method. The requisite consultation regarding their preferences and the details (side effects, etc) of type of method being issued were not provided in these cases.

In support of our members across the island and also the approximately 30,000 Jamaicans living with HIV, we encourage a joint approach from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice to bring the practice of coerced tubal ligation to an end and make amends to the affected persons. Our first line of defence must be to provide continuous and comprehensive education and sensitivity training for our healthcare workers. This is a must if we are to make healthcare in Jamaica more effective, improve the lives of people living with HIV, and eradicate HIV altogether in Jamaica.

We must also be prepared to take action against violators of human rights and establish accountability, a process that includes introducing mechanisms so that violations are not permitted in the future.

In offering redress to persons affected by coerced sterilisation, JN+ advocates that we offer free sterilisation-reversal procedures. Law enforcement, including the judiciary, must also be trained to appropriately investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate allegations of violations of reproductive rights, especially as they relate to HIV-positive women.

More women now rely on female sterilization than the pill — experts unpack why

Korin Miller
Writer
Yahoo Lifestyle 

In discussing female contraception, the general assumption is that you’re talking about the Pill. But new findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that another method has surpassed oral contraceptives in popularity: female sterilization.

According to the data, which was released Wednesday and gathered between 2015 and 2017, nearly 65 percent of the 5,500 women aged 15 to 49 who participated in the survey said they had used some form of contraception in the month before they were interviewed. The most common methods used were female sterilization (18.6 percent), oral contraceptives (12.6 percent), long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as intrauterine contraceptives (10.3 percent), and male condoms (8.7 percent).

The last time the survey was conducted (between 2011 and 2015), only 14 percent of women reported they were relying on female sterilization, i.e. tubal ligation, a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are closed to prevent future pregnancies. Today, more women are opting for this method, the older they get. About 4 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 29 choose this method, compared to nearly 22 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds, and 39 percent of 40- to 49-year-olds. The researchers also found that rates of female sterilization declined and the use of the Pill increased with higher education.

Tubal ligation is a big choice. It’s a permanent form of birth control and requires surgery, the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists points out. During a tubal ligation, a woman’s fallopian tubes are cut, tied or blocked to prevent future pregnancy, by keeping an egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes or a partner’s sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg, the Mayo Clinic says. It generally doesn’t affect a woman’s natural menstrual cycle.

“Tubal ligation permanently prevents pregnancy, so women no longer need to use birth control,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s convenient and a popular option among women who are done having family or know they don’t want children.”

Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally invasive gynecologist in Texas, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the numbers are “shocking, given that this is a permanent procedure.”

The procedure comes with some risks. One is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus develops outside the uterus), which can be life-threatening for a woman, Wider says. “Other side effects include cramping and bleeding,” she adds. Given that this also involves surgery, there are risks of complications, including chronic pain and even death, Christine Greves, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Some people also complain that their periods aren’t as nicely controlled after a tubal ligation, but they often were using a hormonal method of birth control beforehand, which makes your periods a lot better,” Greves says.

Clearly, this isn’t a hugely popular choice among younger women, but it’s an important one for some. Life coach and hypnotherapist Bri Seeley tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she’s “known pretty much my entire life that I don’t want to be a mom. I feel like it’s just part of who I am.” After being on birth control for years, Seeley asked her doctor about getting a tubal ligation when she was 24, and her request was denied. Even though she repeatedly asked, her doctor wouldn’t even give her a referral to have someone perform the procedure on her until she was 30, which Seeley says was hard to take.

 “It was frustrating because I know myself. To have someone tell me that I don’t know myself well enough to make this decision was super-frustrating,” Seeley tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Seeley ended up finding a doctor herself and had the procedure done six years ago. “I went from being worried about getting pregnant all the time to now it’s something that hasn’t crossed my mind over the last six years other than ‘Thank God,’” she says. “I’ve seen female friends have to fight to get birth control, and I always think, ‘Thank God I don’t.’”

“I’ve seen this quite a bit for women in their 20s who have had children earlier in life — after their third or fourth child, they may ask for a tubal ligation,” Greves says. But Greves says she’s also seen women like Seeley who know they don’t want to have children and request a tubal ligation. Shepherd has too. “Some people will say, ‘I do not want kids ever,’ but we always go back to the LARC when they say that, because we want to give them the option to change their mind,” she says. Research has shown that there is a high percentage of women who regret having had the procedure done if they decided to do it before they were 30, she says, and doctors are well aware of that. “You’ll have people who say, ‘I’m so sure that I don’t want kids anymore,’ and later get into a relationship or get married and regret their decision,” Shepherd says.

Towards a sexual counter-revolution

Carolyn Moynihan | Dec 14 2018

Producing a film that argues for the moral and practical superiority of natural family planning over modern contraceptive technology when practically “everyone” takes the latter approach for granted must be either an act of madness or an act of faith. “Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae”, is both.

But it is more: the documentary, inspired by the prophetic encyclical of Pope St Paul VI, is also a testament to reason and to truth; philosophical reason, scientific truth.

The film tilts towards a Catholic audience (funding issues alone made this necessary) and it’s Catholics who are in most need of hearing its message. As popular writer Peter Kreeft says at the beginning, there is no Catholic teaching more “despised, hated and disobeyed” – by Catholics themselves –than that contained in Humanae Vitae.

Yet the number of true believers is not small and their intellectual leaders are impressive. Witnesses assembled by the film’s director Daniel diSilva include some of the biggest Catholic names in American scholarship: Robert P. George, Janet Smith, Helen Alvare, Brad Wilcox, Mary Eberstadt… Theological writers and apologists such as Dr Kreeft and Chris West appear in a line-up that includes Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Anthony Fisher O.P. of Sydney.

Not least in this gallery are the scientists dead or alive, who gave a large part of their lives to setting natural family planning on a sophisticated, scientific footing: Australian neuroscientist John Billings and his paediatrician wife Evelyn; New Zealand chemist, James Brown; Swedish physicist and gynaecologist Eric Oderblad…

Mother Theresa, whose nuns introduced NFP to India, makes an appearance.

And the narrator is a young woman who knows one of the downstream effects of the Pill from personal experience: Alana Newman, long-haired, strumming a guitar and singing of love, evokes the era of Woodstock and “free love” even as she speaks about of the wound of not knowing her father, not even who he is. The child of an anonymous donor, she created an organisation for such victims of the reproductive anarchy unleashed by the Pill: Anonymous Us.

For all the weight of authority in its cast, however, the project is up against a massive wall of prejudice.

The vast majority of people cannot see anything wrong with the Pill and other modern forms of contraception. Though some have practical problems with it, moral and philosophical objections don’t wash with the general run of humanity. How could you question the value of something that has shaped society as we know it, liberating women from constant childbearing, allowing them to use their brains and earn their own money, slowing population growth and thus protecting the planet we live on?

As the various experts in the film demonstrate, however, these grand claims wilfully ignore the damage that contraception, with its promise of “free” and “no consequences” sex, has done to individuals and society: the explosion of single motherhood and fatherless children; the decline of marriage, delayed parenthood, disease, infertility and the boost it has given to embryo experimentation, anonymous donor dads and poor women exploited as surrogate mothers; and, of course, countless millions of abortions of “unwanted pregnancies” – to name only the most obvious harms.

Women themselves have been kept in ignorance about the physical risks of hormonal contraception: its contribution to breast and cervical cancer, blood clots and strokes, and harm to the reproductive organs themselves, such as premature ageing of the cervix — a cause of infertility.

Indeed, there is a general unwillingness to teach women to understand their reproductive system and thus give them the choice to work with its natural symptoms and rhythms to achieve, with spouses or partners, their own family goals. Public and private interests alike would prefer to see healthy women medicating themselves daily for years on end rather than taking control of their own bodies, though the latter was always supposed to be the goal of “women’s liberation”.

The decades-long effort to make out that NFP is unscientific and very unreliable – even to persistence in referring to it as the “rhythm method”, which was based solely on charting the menstrual cycle – hides the truth of the painstaking research that has gone into identifying changes in cervical mucus as the key indicator of ovulation and the monthly fertility window.

(The focus in this film is squarely on Billings Ovulation Method of NFP, which relies on mucus symptoms only. Some NFP organisations insist on the necessity of charting temperature as well.)

The history of this research is probably the most important aspect of the film for younger adults, most of whom will have no idea that there were two paths to choose between back in the 1960s. No idea of the eugenic inspiration for mass contraception (ask Black America), of its unethical testing, and the way it prepared the ground for population control programmes in China, India and elsewhere, involving massive abuse of human rights.

And no idea, either, of how to read their own bodies and respond with appreciation and respect. This is particularly hard for a generation who have learned that the body is something you can change to suit your own idea of sex and sexuality. But the seeds of this idea were already present 60 years ago when the Pill told us that the body is just something to use, not something with its own laws, which we disregard at the risk of disease and unhappiness.

Commercially, it was a “very clever idea to get every woman on earth to take a pill [nearly]every day of her fertile life,” says Archbishop Fisher in the film. “Now we know how this technology messes up the body and relationships.” And again, “Are we any happier? Better at maintaining our marriages? Demonstrably not.”

At the close of the film he looks forward to a natural family planning counter-revolution that will sustain what John Paul II called “a civilisation of life” and love, and sees forces in Western culture at the moment that “point exactly in that direction.”

I think he is right. After all, everyone wants to be healthy and happy – two things that are eluding many of us today.

For more information about this filmhttps://www.sexualrevolutionmovie.com/

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

March for Life president hints at strategic expansion in recent interview

  |  , 10:33am

Since 2012, Jeanne Mancini has been president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, the organization behind the March for Life. During an interview with Catholic News Agency’s CNA Newsroom podcast (Episode 5), Mancini shared her thoughts on the state of the pro-life movement and hinted at plans to continue expanding the reach and impact of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., which is the annual capstone event of the pro-life movement. With echoes of the great Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, tens of thousands of citizens from across the United States brave the freezing weather in our nation’s capital each year to demand an end to legalized abortion.

Jeanne Mancini took the mantle of the March for Life from famous pro-life activist Nellie Gray. Gray organized the first March for Life in 1974, the year following Roe v. Wade, and continued to do so each year until her death in 2012. Mancini has brought fresh energy and dynamism to the March for Life. “The founder of the March for Life was 88 when she passed away, and so she wasn’t that engaged in social media,” Mancini explained.

During her tenure thus far, Mancini has been able to capitalize on the vigor and enthusiasm of a young pro-life movement including spreading the message using all forms of mass communication. “We’ve also worked to grow our social media presence quite a bit,” Mancini said. “And so it’s been fun to work with young people and to grow that presence.” In spite of the media continuously downplaying the event’s significance, the March for Life is thriving and growing through the organization’s dynamic outreach. In fact, some sources estimated the March for Life in 2018 drew a crowd of 100,000.

March for Life

Theme of 2019 March for Life

Over the decades, attendance at the March for Life has become the way for pro-life leaders to take a public and powerful stand in defense of the preborn. In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the first sitting VP to address the March for Life. In 2018, President Trump became the first sitting president to address the march via live video. Previous pro-life presidents, including George W. Bushand Ronald Reagan, also regularly delivered remarks via telephone.

Despite the preponderance of Republican politicians at the event, Mancini reiterated her commitment to keeping the March for Life a nonpartisan event. “We always try to have both sides of the political aisle represented at the March for Life, and sadly that’s become harder and harder,” she acknowledged. The case of pro-life Democrat Dan Lipinski, who cancelled his appearance in 2018 after President Trump’s address to the march, made this increasing polarization all too palpable. “But we also seek to get legislators from around the country and state houses, for example, because there are many pro-life Democrats at the state level, so that is something that we’re hoping to see at this year’s March for Life.”

Mancini revealed that the March for Life Education and Defense Fund has been working for over a year to develop an action plan to expand the March for Life throughout the country. “We’re starting to embark upon state marches, and that’s something that I’m hoping to explain a little bit more to people in January,” she said.

Mancini hinted at broader initiatives to inspire year-round activism. “We also just want to make sure that marchers that get so excited the day of the march, and it’s almost a life-changing experience in terms of motivation and enthusiasm and all of that, that they take that energy home and make a difference in their local communities. And so we’re trying to do what we can to really tool up the grassroots,” Mancini explained.

With the 45th annual March for Life coming up in January, Mancini is shaping the march into a prominent expression of the pro-life movement in a rapidly changing social and political landscape. Around the world, inspired by the example of the annual U.S. March for Life, international Marches for Life have sprung up in a variety of countries. From Lisbon, to Ottawa, to Rome, to Lima and beyond, pro-life activists worldwide have taken to the streets to demand a recognition of the rights of the preborn.

The upcoming March for Life in Washington, D.C., will take place on January 18, 2019. This year’s theme will be “Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science.” Ben Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire and host of The Ben Shapiro Show, a prominent and passionate voice for the rights of the preborn, will be a headline speaker.

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ a reminder life is rarely perfect, but it’s worth living

  |   , 11:37am

Director Frank Capra‘s 1946 family classic It’s A Wonderful Life is a poignant tale which reminds us that even in turmoil, it is a mistake to presume we can choose what makes life worth living. It may not have been originally intended to be confined to the Christmas genre, but the hot-cocoa-and-popcorn comfort flick was destined to be a life-affirming masterpiece from its conception.

The story, which begins on a Christmas Eve night with a suicidal father, came to historian and author Philip Van Doren Stern in a dream in 1938. Originally titled The Greatest Gift, Van Doren Stern’s short story was rejected by publishers, so he sent the story as a Christmas letter to friends in 1943. It was eventually printed in several magazines, with the character names nearly identical to those in the film that was produced after Capra bought the story rights.

The movie wasn’t a hit when it was first released, but it earned five Oscar nominations and one win (Technical Achievement Award for its innovative faux snow!). It became a popular holiday rerun on television during the 1980s, and is now ranked among the greatest films of all time.

What makes It’s A Wonderful Life such a compelling classic?

George Bailey (James Stewart) is somewhat a small town American embodiment of Job: a devoted, selfless member of his family and community who comes under misfortune due to no fault of his own, and then makes a fatal, even hubristic error – deciding that his sorrows make his life unfit and disposable. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) intervenes to show George that from his finite perspective he has no idea what he’s throwing away.

It's a Wonderful Life

Screenshot from It’s a Wonderful Life

This life-affirming theme isn’t only at the crux of the story, however, but is manifested throughout the plot. From his youth, George wrestles with envisioning career success as the benchmark for making life meaningful, even while he repeatedly denies himself his dreams of leaving Bedford Falls to do the right thing instead. Mary Hatch (Donna Reed), who becomes his wife, challenges this dynamic by being a college-educated woman who isn’t ashamed to give up a glamorous honeymoon for a fixer-upper house and lifestyle as a homemaker and mother to four children. At a time when the word “pregnant” was still rather taboo for the screen, George and Mary’s first baby is featured in the story while pre-born (“George Bailey lassos stork” and “on the nest” were the charming euphemisms).

Together, the Baileys work to improve the lives of the threatened and impoverished in their town, from stumbling society girl Violet Bic (Gloria Grahame) to Italian immigrant family the Martinis. George’s little brother Harry (Todd Karns) becomes a Medal of Honor hero for saving lives in the war, ultimately grateful to George risking his own life to save him during a childhood accident. Everything the Baileys do seems to affirm the truth that every human being’s life matters.

Meanwhile, antagonist Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) values life only according to a monetary and convenience basis. It is Mr. Potter who kicks George when he’s down, scolding him with the fateful words, you’re worth more dead than alive, which George internalizes and surrenders to against better judgment.

It is in that vulnerability, made so perfectly relatable by Jimmy Stewart’s performance, that George goes to the brink of defying the entire theme the story has constructed. But in the end, George realizes that life, with its unique miseries, is still better than death. Finally, for arguably the first time in the story, he is actually rewarded for making the right decision, when his family and town shower him with support in the tear-jerking final scene.

The film’s unspoken theme — that life, even though it may have terribly dark times, is worth living — seems to resonate year after year with viewers, making the film a celebrated holiday classic that’s definitely worth watching.

Father George William Rutler Homilies

The darkening that comes with the year’s shortest hours of daylight is like the lowering of the lights in a theater as the play is about to begin. But in the “Drama of Salvation” by which the human race is offered the promise of restoration to its original glory, “all the world’s a stage,” and the acts and actors are real. The creation of the world was not a mere myth, otherwise we would not be here. Nor are good and evil abstractions, for they always have had real consequences.

One of the most dramatic events in the progress of man, to which Saint Jude would later allude (Jude 1:7), was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah about 1,700 years before the birth of Christ. He knew that the story of that destruction was not the sheer theatrics of fiction. Until recently, it was convenient for some scholars to pass it off as an instructive legend. Archeologists in a symposium this past month concluded that those cities north of the Dead Sea were utterly destroyed, and their land became uninhabitable for the next six hundred years. The substantial theory is that upwards of 60,000 inhabitants were wiped out by a meteor exploding at low altitude with the force of a ten-megaton bomb, dropping platinum and molten lava on the larger area called Middle Ghor, and unleashing a temperature the same as the sun.

Wise ones interpreted this as punishment for the corruption of that culture. There is a symbiosis between matter and morality. When souls are disordered, there are consequences in all creation. So it was, that at the climax of the Drama of Salvation, when Christ died on the cross, the sky grew black.

It has been quipped that if God does not punish our culture for its decadence and contempt for natural law, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. It was to save us from total destruction that the Word, whose utterance brought all things into being, became flesh and then appeared on a day now called Christmas.

Twice did our Lord speak of Sodom, saying that its fate was less severe than that of anyone who by an act of willful pride, rejects Him and all that He requires in the way of obedience to His truth (Matthew 10:15; 11:24). Such severity is the outcry of the Christ who wants that none be lost and that all be saved. This is a reminder never to infantilize the Babe of Bethlehem for, while He may whimper in the manger, this is the Voice that made all things and judges all at the end of time. And in His humility by making Himself frail and fragile in a stable, He reveals a mercy more powerful even than an exploding meteor.

“For their sake He remembered His covenant and showed compassion according to the abundance of His steadfast love” (Psalm 106:45).

11-Year-Old With Inoperable Brain Tumor is Cured

ALEX SCHADENBERG   DEC 20, 2018   |   4:51PM    WASHINGTON, DC

Doctors can’t explain how an 11-year-old girl from Hays County, Texas was cured from an inoperable brain tumor.

According to Fox News:

In June, doctors told Roxli Doss she had an inoperable brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, KVUE [Fox News] reports.

According to doctors, the disease is “very rare” and causes a “decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk, eventually difficulty with breathing,” said Dr. Virginia Harrod with Dell Children’s Medical Center.

The little girl went through weeks of radiation and all her parents, Gena and Scott Doss, could do is pray for a miracle.

And they got it.

“When I first saw Roxli’s MRI scan, it was actually unbelievable,” said Dr. Harrod. “The tumor is undetectable on the MRI scan, which is really unusual.”

“[Doctors] at Dell Children’s, Texas Children’s, at Dana-Farber, at John Hopkins, and MD Anderson, all agreed it was DIPG,” said Scott Doss.

And now with no trace of the tumor, the family is thanking God.

The family tells KVUE they will continue to watch her closely and continue to undergo treatments as a precaution.

Most people ask for assisted suicide because they have given up hope or they fear for their future.

Roxli’s story helps us continue having hope.

LifeNews.com Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.

What science tells us about baby Jesus’ 9-month development inside Mary’s womb

December 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A few years ago I was helping a friend and her family re-organize their personal library and came across a book titled “A Child is Born.” I asked innocently if it belonged in the Christmas section. The answer was an emphatic no, as I was informed that the photograph-driven bestseller about a baby’s development in the womb was not, in fact, a retelling of Christ’s Nativity.

Even so, I realized that Christ’s development in Mary’s womb was something that could be better understood by our more detailed knowledge of the natural world. After all, if it is sensible to say with generations of logic students that, “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal,” then it seems rational to apply newfound knowledge about embryology to the infant Jesus.

Beginning at the beginning, then, we can confidently say that Jesus became “incarnate,” literally “took on flesh,” about nine months before that distressing night outside the Bethlehem inn. (None of the gospels specifies that it was an exactly nine-month pregnancy, though there is no particular reason to believe that it deviated from that human norm.)

Dr. Keith L. Moore’s 2011 textbook Human Embryology states: “Human development is a continuous process that begins when an oocyte (ovum) from a female is fertilized by a sperm (spermatozoon) from a male.” The Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on pregnancy puts it this way: “A new individual is created when the elements of a potent sperm merge with those of a fertile ovum, or egg.” That fertilized oocyte, called at that earliest stage of development a zygote, is how Jesus began his life on earth, what Christians call the mystery of the “Incarnation,” when the “Word became flesh.”

Now, here are two ways of interpreting “The Holy Spirit will come over you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35 ESV). One possibility is that after Mary’s “Yes,” God the Father could have implanted a spermatozoon into her fertile ovum, having formed the spermatozoon literally out of nothing, so that the now fertilized ovum (zygote) could implant in her womb. Another possibility is that he could have placed in Mary’s womb a miraculously fashioned zygote to grow and develop in safety there. Either one would be at the same time a profound mystery as well as a short order for the one who began the world by creating everything from nothing, and for whom “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 ESV).

So then, what can we confidently say about Jesus at those earliest moments of his earthly existence? At that first moment of conception, Jesus, like everyone at the dawn of his or her existence, had the information encoded in his DNA “sufficient to control the individual’s growth and development for an entire lifetime.

Jesus’ bodily development would have continued apace from then on. Eighteen days in and his heart would have been forming; around three weeks in and that heart would have begun pumping blood through his body—blood separate from Mary’s circulatory system and of whatever blood type he would have throughout his whole life on earth, a blood type that for all we know would have been different from his mother’s as son’s blood types often are.

More body parts’ formations are noted by Randy Alcorn in his Pro-Life Answer to Pro-Choice Arguments: “By thirty-five days, mouth, ears, and nose are taking shape. At forty days the preborn child’s brain waves can be recorded . . . By forty-two days the skeleton is formed . . . By eight weeks hands and feet are almost perfectly formed, and fingerprints are developing . . . By twelve weeks the child is kicking, turning his feet, curling and fanning his toes, making a fist, moving thumbs, bending wrists, and opening his mouth.”

Albeit tangentially, it is worth remembering that when Mary announced her own pregnancy to her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant at the time with John the Baptist, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44 ESV). Note that we have zero a priori scientific basis for disbelieving a word of this: babies have been found to respond to emotional stimuli from their mothers in ways that suggest they are feeling those emotions themselves, including joy.

Meanwhile, every component of the baby Jesus’ body is presently formed. “In the remaining six months in the womb nothing new develops or begins functioning. The child only grows and matures,” says Alcorn (emphasis original). And at the same time the baby is busy developing rationally.

An article in Newsweek (coincidentally titled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”) stated, “With no hype at all, the fetus can rightly be called a marvel of cognition, consciousness and sentience.” The same article goes on to note that, “After 32 weeks, the fetus spends half its time in REM sleep, the brain state associated with dreaming.” What the infant Jesus could have been dreaming about is anyone’s guess. But that he was dreaming seems relatively clear.

Similarly, even before birth, Jesus would have been listening and even responding to Mary’s speech (which was probably Aramaic). The above Newsweek column breaks down a study that tracked mothers reading stories to their children before birth and afterward and was, in the words of the researcher, “the first direct demonstration that human speech has a discernible effect on the fetus.”

The specifics of Jesus’ growth inside Mary’s virgin womb could be continued, of course, from the double helix structure of his twenty-three chromosomes’ DNA to the contours of his brain waves (which, consistent with our earliest measurements, would have appeared by six weeks).

These findings of modern science give us a more vivid window into what happened some two thousand years ago in Bethlehem and a greater appreciation for the miracle that is every pregnancy and every new human life.

People tweet horror stories of hormonal birth control gone wrong

 

When Culture of Life Africa founder Obianuju Ekeocha tweeted about dangerous birth control devices, like IUDs, on November 28, 2018, she asked her followers to share their stories of using natural fertility awareness methods. They not only responded to what she asked, but they also shared their birth control “gone wrong” stories.

Referring to birth control devices as “shackles & chains”, Ekeocha said she “can’t believe women are convinced to put these devices into their bodies.” The truth is that most women and their partners don’t know the true risks of these birth control methods, because no one tells them. In a lot of cases, they find out the hard way.

Embedded video

Obianuju Ekeocha

@obianuju

I can’t believe women are convinced to put these devices into their bodies (some of which could harm them)…shackles & chains.

I want to hear from friends here who use fertility awareness methods or those who would like to learn this healthier option

83 people are talking about this

Jennifer@jennibu

My best friend developed cancer at the spot her IUD perforated her uterus. She is ok now but how horrifying to get that diagnosis as a single working mother of four.

See Jennifer’s other Tweets

RenéMiette@MieteRene

I would never put a foreign object into my body that could potentially harm me, no matter how it’s sold to me. My sister in law had to have her uterus removed due to a device that made her very sick. It was sold to her as a method that was safe.

See RenéMiette’s other Tweets

Dolan McScrooge ⭐⭐⭐@Mjonesy16

My sister had the IUD. Just last week she had to have emergency surgery because it failed and she had an ectopic pregnancy.

See Dolan McScrooge ⭐⭐⭐‘s other Tweets

Sarah C@coffeecup6891

Same – a colleague became very sick and her hair started falling out, and they finally realised it was the IUD

See Sarah C’s other Tweets

Birth control, whether it’s the pill or a device such as an IUD, is touted as safe, despite the risks of blood clots, infertility, and even death. Like most people do when given a prescription or a medical device, women taking birth control listen to what their doctor tells them, and often don’t bother to read through the paperwork filled with fine print about the side effects and risks associated with it. So if their doctors aren’t telling them the full story, they don’t know.

Women also seem to be kept out of the loop when it comes to understanding their own bodies and menstrual cycles. Natural Family Planning is an accurate way to know when to skip sex if you are trying to avoid pregnancy and what days during the month are your most fertile when trying to get pregnant. It is not the rhythm method, as so many doctors still believe. There are multiple methods, including the Marquette method, which allows women to use the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor to track their cycles. When used properly, NFP is as effective as birth control. In the case of the Marquette Method, it is 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. But just like with birth control, you can’t skip a day if you want it to work. Ekeocha’s followers shared their stories about NFP:

 

Cheeky Jesterton@CheekyJesterton

NFP has worked for my wife and me our entire marriage. Neither of us want her taking a known carcinogen every day.

See Cheeky Jesterton’s other Tweets

Louis Gambetta@LouisGambetta

NFP worked great for my wife and me.

See Louis Gambetta’s other Tweets

Katelyn Lynch@KatelynTweeter

I’ve practicing the Fertility Awareness Method for almost two years, and I feel a sense of power with all this information I have about my body now.

See Katelyn Lynch’s other Tweets

Does hormonal birth control equate to “shackles & chains” as Ekeocha states? Here are the facts: it comes with a 70 percent increased risk of depression, an increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer (after 10 years of use that jumps to 38 percent), and an increased risk of cervical cancer. Some hormonal birth controls can decrease bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis. Others can cause benign liver tumors. In addition, hormonal birth control can lead to infertility and unintended abortion.

NFP carries none of those risks, and all of the benefits of understanding your body and your cycle. That’s empowerment.

Room at the inn: Catholic hospital serves all moms and babies in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Thousands of babies are safely born in Bethlehem thanks to a Catholic hospital named for the Holy Family.

Holy Family Hospital is a Catholic teaching hospital with a state-of-the-art maternity and neonatal critical care center. It serves poor women, children, and babies throughout the West Bank of Palestine. It has been likened to a “modern day manger,” not only because it is located just 1,500 steps from where Jesus was born, but because it offers shelter to families and babies in need. Over 4,300 babies are born there annually.

The hospital is a work of the Order of Malta, the oldest Catholic charity. Every family who walks through the doors is immediately given a 50 percent subsidy, thanks to the hospital’s donors. No one is ever turned away. Meanwhile, the hospital provides work for 170 Palestinians in the impoverished region: it is Bethlehem’s second largest employer.

The president of the Holy Family Hospital Foundation is Michele Burke Bowe, who travels to the hospital often from her home in the United States. Bowe is also the Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Palestine.

Ambassador Bowe told LifeSiteNews that the French order of the Daughters of Charity founded a general hospital in Bethlehem in the 1880s, but after 100 years they couldn’t run it any more.

“Not enough money, not enough Daughters,” Bowe explained.

Deeply distressed that the people of Bethlehem would no longer have a hospital, the Daughters of Charity called John Paul II for help. He told them that the Order of Malta would take over. When the pontiff consulted the Order of Malta they agreed, but on their terms.

“They said, ‘Let’s be orderly about it,’” said Bowe.

Looking at the needs of the area, the Order decided that the hospital would specialize in neonatal and infant care.

“It took a little time to do some reconfiguring to get it repurposed to be an infant and maternity hospital,” Bowe explained.

The first baby was born in the refurbished hospital in 1990.

Ambassador Bowe grew up in Amman, Jordan and returned often to the Middle East during her studies at Georgetown University. She worked in the field of development until her duties as a mother intervened. Eventually she became a member of the Knights of Malta and then a board member of the Holy Family Hospital Foundation. Now the foundation’s president, the ambassador speaks Arabic, French, Spanish, and Italian. She has five children, too.

“I love babies,” said Bowe. “I have a soft spot for babies.”

The ambassador told LifeSiteNews that one of her most powerful experiences of the Holy Family Hospital happened during the Gaza War, when Bethlehem was a “ghost town.” During her visit, Bowe became friendly with the father of twins born after just 26 weeks’ gestation. One was born weighing 1,500 grams; the other weighed only 700 grams.

Despite the war, the difficulties of travelling from his home in Hebron, and the privations of the Muslim fasting season of Ramadan, the twins’ father, a construction worker, came to visit them every day. Because of the dangers, their mother stayed at home.

“It was the most powerful witness of fatherhood,” Bowe recalls.

She remembers vividly when the father finally dared to touch his tiny daughters. A nurse put the larger girl, finally five pounds, on his lap.

Bowe told the quiet man that although the girls would not remember his daily visits, “their hearts are so touched.”

“Holy Family Hospital taught me to be a good father,” the man replied. Apparently he had been afraid of pain of the girls dying, but the care the hospital showed them inspired him to care for them too.

After three months in the neonatal intensive care unit, the babies were able to go home.

The man’s quiet fidelity reminded Bowe of St. Joseph.

“It made me think about what a wonderful father Joseph was and what a wonderful husband he was to Mary,” she said.

When asked what she would like readers to know about Holy Family Hospital, Bowe’s reply was swift: “That the doors are always open, no matter what the patient’s creed or need.”

She also stressed that the Catholic teaching hospital has raised the level of education and health awareness throughout the region. In addition to its services for mothers and babies, it now has a clinic for older women, who often have not received any medical advice or attention since they last gave birth.

In a region where Christians now comprise only two percent of the population, the hospital is also important because it provides a place where Muslims and Christians can work together, Bowe said.

Meanwhile, it is always Christmas in Bethlehem – and not just because of all the babies. Katie DeMoss of TAN Books told LifeSiteNews via email that it’s a “little known fact” that the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem celebrates the Christmas Vigil Mass every day of the year.

For more information about Holy Family Hospital, please click here.

Victims of domestic violence twice as likely to use emergency contraception

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According to a new study in the British Journal of Medicine, women who are victims of domestic violence are twice as likely as other women to use emergency contraception.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and Queen Mary University of London analyzed the medical records of over 200,000 women of reproductive age. “Our findings are in line with evidence from studies in other countries suggesting that women experiencing domestic violence and abuse (DVA) use more emergency contraception than other women,” said Joni Jackson, an author of the study.

Jackson said that community pharmacists and sexual health practitioners are “at the frontline responding to these requests” and have the opportunity to help women who are being abused. Fellow author of the study, Dr. Natalia Lewis, added that this “means that healthcare services are an important point of contact for DVA victims and survivors.”

Homicide is the second leading cause of death among pregnant women, behind car accidents. When men who are actively abusive (or have the potential to be abusive) learn that their partners are unexpectedly pregnant, the lives of women and their preborn children are in danger.

Women who are victims of domestic violence and fear becoming pregnant may be so afraid of their partners abusing a child that they feel that emergency contraception (which may either prevent pregnancy or, if that fails, make the uterus inhospitable to the newly-created human life) is the first way they have of preventing this. They also may desire to escape the abuse, and fear that having a baby would forever tie them to their abuser (which is not the case if they receive proper help to flee). Even if an abused woman doesn’t want an abortion, she may feel it is her only option. And despite what the media claims, emergency contraception is capable of causing an abortion.

According to Veronica Gillispie, an obstetrician and gynecologist in New Orleans, “reproductive coercion” occurs when an abusive partner gets a woman pregnant against her will through rape or by “birth control sabotage” as was reported by 25 percent of teen girls with abusive partners and 15 percent of women with abusive partners. Abusive men may use pregnancy or birth control and emergency contraception as means to exert power and control over their victims.

When a doctor or pharmacists comes into contact with a woman requesting emergency contraception, they can refer her to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. This latest study’s researchers are asking that their findings be included in the existing domestic violence awareness programs for doctors.

Editor’s Note, 12/16/18: The words “and become pregnant” in paragraph five have been changed to “and fear becoming pregnant” for clarity.

Mom of baby born 10 weeks premature: ‘He’s my miracle baby’

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Miracle baby Royce Cannon was born premature at just 30 weeks gestation after his mother, Felice Renfroe, was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Royce was delivered via emergency c-section at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“I had protein in my urine and they were scheduling me to take steroid shots,” Renfroe told Fox 8. “The first day I was fine, then the second day I went to take another steroid shot and they ended up admitting me because of my high blood pressure.”

 

Baby Royce weighed just three pounds, two ounces at birth, and since his lungs weren’t fully developed, he required oxygen. “I thanked the nurse and I thanked the doctor,” said Renfroe. “And he was like, ‘Don’t thank me. It was only by the grace of God.”

Royce is now a month old, and excluding the first hour after his birth, his mother, who is a nurse’s aide, has never left his side in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“I think that makes such a huge difference in babies’ development and how well they do in the NICU when their parents are there all the time,” said Stephanie Sykes, a neonatal nurse practitioner.

Little Royce is gaining weight and doing well, but he must be able to eat by mouth eight times a day, continue to gain weight, and maintain a certain temperature before he is able to go home. It will likely be weeks. “He’s just soaring, he’s just doing what he’s supposed to do and I’m just blessed I got a chance and I do have a chance to be here every day,” said Renfroe. “… I think he’s my miracle baby because he, just like I said, he’s striving every day.”

Babies the same gestational age as Royce have an amazing chance of survival, thanks to advances in modern medicine. According to current research, after 28 weeks, babies have a 96 percent rate of survival. If they weigh less than three pounds, four ounces like Royce, they can face a tougher fight and are more at risk for disabilities than babies who weight more. Despite the fact that these babies are capable of surviving outside of the womb, it is still legal in the United States to kill a child this age through abortion.

Yale to install vending machine that will sell abortion pills, condoms

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, December 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Students at Yale University’s Silliman College will soon be able to obtain condoms, lubricant, and even abortifacient “emergency contraception” as easily as putting some money in a vending machine.

A so-called “wellness to-go” vending machine will be installed in the campus’s Good Life Center before winter break, the school newspaper Yale Daily News reported. Accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the machine will offer the Plan B morning-after pill, condoms, lube, and other over-the-counter medications.

Plan B is already available for free to students with Yale’s Hospitalization/Specialty Care Coverage plan, and Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart says “emergency contraception” can be obtained for free at Yale Health Pharmacy or at Acute Care regardless of what insurance plan someone has.

But student Grace Cheung, who first proposed the machine, argued that Plan B isn’t covered by the school’s basic insurance plan, and that students seeking it shouldn’t have to go through the “humiliating process” of purchasing it.

“The point of this is to make Plan B more accessible and to make medications in general more accessible,” said student Ileana Valdez ’21, a Yale College Council (YCC) representative who pushed for the machine. “Hopefully, this will set a precedent for more machines to show up around campus that contain other things so Yale students don’t have to go out of their way to go to CVS, especially students from the new colleges.”

Melanie Boyd, the college’s Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, told the paper she was “glad that the YCC is working to publicize awareness of the easy availability of Plan B at Yale Health.”

The “wellness” machine will charge a price “comparable to or lower than” that of pharmacies for Plan B, according to the Daily News. CVS and Walgreens list $50 for a single pill; both companies offer a variety of other contraceptive products for significantly cheaper.

More significantly, however, Plan B doesn’t simply prevent fertilization; it can function by killing an already-conceived embryonic human depending on when it’s taken.

“If Plan B is taken five to two days before egg release is due to happen, the interference with the LH signal prevents a woman from releasing an egg, no fertilization happens, and no embryo is formed,” explains Dr. Donna Harrison of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Many Plan B defenders point to this mechanism to paint it as an alternative to abortion, but Harrison notes that if Plan B is taken during the “two-day window in which embryos can form but positive pregnancy tests don’t occur,” studies indicate it “has a likely embryocidal effect in stopping pregnancy.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s online guide to birth control methods admits that Plan B “may also work (…) by preventing attachment (implantation) to the womb,” resulting in the death of an embryonic human being.

Other methods are similarly fraught with controversy. More and more women have begun speaking out over the past few years about negative physical and mental reactions to birth control pills. Oral contraceptives have been linked to an 80 percent increased likelihood of depression and as much as a sixfold rise in the risk of thrombosis, as well as heightened risks of blood clots, hair loss, Crohn’s disease, brain shrinkage, breast cancer, hardening of the arteries, glaucoma, and cervical cancer.

Responding to the news, the Family Institute of Connecticut faulted the college for framing the machine as offering “emergency contraception” without informing women the pills may cause abortions rather than prevent them.

“Do parents send their high-achieving children off to this top Ivy League school to read the classics, engage in challenging intellectual debate, rub elbows with some of the nation’s top academics and lay the path for a successful and bright career, or to be indoctrinated with godless SJW ideology and engage in casual sex?” asked Elizabeth Johnston of the Activist Mommy blog.

At Breitbart, Dr. Susan Berry observed that data indicate the “safe sex” trend is leaving America’s children far less safe. “As recently as August, CDC released data revealing the number of cases of STDs had skyrocketed for the fourth consecutive year,” she wrote. “Of the 20 million new STDs reported each year, about half occur among young people between the ages of 15 to 24.”

Over the past several years, similar Plan B vending machines have been installed at several institutions of higher education across the country, including Stanford UniversityBrandeis University, and the University of California-Davis.

Men are a crucial part of ending abortion

November 5, 2018 (40 Days for Life) – Men’s role in abortion often starts by not respecting women enough to practice abstinence before marriage.

Once a pregnancy occurs, many men are stunned to learn that a father has no legal right to protect his own child from abortion. But even if a dad can’t rely on the law, he can use his voice. Sometimes, all it takes is a loving word and a promise of support.

An abortion-bound father named Chuck told Cathy in Atlanta that he didn’t really want the abortion…but he and his fiancée, Jenny, have a seven-month-old baby. They worried that a second baby so soon would be a financial burden.

“He said it was bad timing, and they thought they would abort this baby and try again in a year,” Cathy reported.

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Cathy described the devastating toll abortion takes on a woman – and on a couple’s relationship. She also encouraged Chuck to tell Jenny he doesn’t want the abortion, that he will stand by her, and that they can take care of a second child together.

Showing him a fetal model, she continued, This is about the size of your baby now. Can you please go protect that baby? That baby is precious and needs protecting. Now go get her out of there and let me treat you to breakfast!”

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When Chuck and Jenny left the abortion center a short time later, applause broke out on the sidewalk.

“Jenny put her hand over her mouth and was crying,” Cathy said. “They gave me a big hug! They were BEAMING!”

At breakfast, Jenny repeatedly said how happy she was to have walked out on her abortion appointment.

“Praise God that this man was a warrior for his child,” Cathy said. “Jenny was so relieved.”

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New York

During her shift on the sidewalk, Colette spoke to a man whose girlfriend was in Planned Parenthood, about to have an abortion. She showed him a video on fetal development and a non-graphic video of the abortion procedure.

After more than 20 minutes of discussion, the man said he couldn’t stand by while his girlfriend had the abortion and texted her asking her to leave the abortion facility. She immediately wrote back saying she didn’t want the abortion either.

“I’m glad I’m not standing here crying,” the relieved dad said. “Now I’m happy!”

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Fargo, North Dakota

The son of a 40 Days for Life volunteer in North Dakota found out an acquaintance was bringing his girlfriend to Fargo for an abortion. He took the opportunity to talk with the father about the way abortion hurts babies…and also their parents.

This man-to-man discussion had a tremendous impact on the father,” said Fargo leader Colleen. “Consequently, the father decided against abortion, and their appointment was cancelled.”

This child is the 82nd saved baby since Fargo’s first 40 Days for Life campaign in 2007!

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Boston, Massachusetts

“Will you pray with me?” the man asked Boston 40 Days for Life leader Rita.

He had previously ignored Rita’s attempts to engage him but now he admitted he had been involved in a previous abortion and “could not do that again.”

Rita sent him back into Planned Parenthood to tell the mother of his child that he loved her, that he would be there for her, and that he wanted both mom and baby.

“It worked!” he exclaimed when he re-emerged from the abortion facility. “She rescheduled her appointment, and I have more time to convince her.”

For one day, at least, the baby has been spared. “Please pray for this couple,” Rita said. “The woman seemed very much at risk for an abortion.”

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

— Revelation 21:4-5

Father, you are the God of hope. Your word fills us with the vision of the world to come, when every tear will be wiped away, and death will be no more. Father, how we need that hope, how we are strengthened by that vision! Keep our hearts focused on heaven, and diligent in the labors of earth. As we struggle against the culture of death, root our souls in the assurance of victory.

Published with permission from 40 Days for Life.

Abortionist Loses Medical License

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Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

61508340 – stop abortion sign with sunny background

The “safe and legal abortion” myth suffered yet another blow on Friday when the Florida Board of Medicine revoked the medical license of late-term abortionist James Scott Pendergraft, IV who was arrested for operating an illegal home abortion and drug distribution business out of the back of his van. As usual, the so-called “pro-woman” mainstream media utterly ignored the story.

According to Operation Rescue, the revocation occurred on December 7 when the Florida Board of Medicine voted to revoke Pendergraft’s license after discovering that he was practicing medicine out of the back of a van in South Carolina where he holds no license to practice medicine.

Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President of Operation Rescue, the grass-roots pro-life organization that filed the initial complaint, attended the Board meeting when the disciplinary action was announced.

Sullenger reports: “Pendergraft was arrested on October 5, 2015, in Spartanburg County by Sheriff’s Deputies who were conducting a routine traffic stop. Deputies found illegal drugs, including Fentanyl, LSD, and marijuana in his vehicle along with bloody abortion instruments with tissue still attached used in illicit home abortions.”

This led to Pendergraft’s conviction of ten drug offenses. He is currently serving a five-year term of probation.

What should alarm all women, whether they are pro-life or pro-abortion, is that at the time of this arrest, Pendergraft was serving his fifth license suspension in Florida where he operated a chain of abortion facilities, some of which have permanently closed.

“Ownership his other clinics have been transferred to his former wife, while yet others have been converted into medicinal marijuana clinics,” Sullenger reports.

Despite the transfer of business ownership on paper, pro-life activists tell Operation Rescue that Pendergraft is still seen regularly entering his so-called “former” abortion facilities during business hours and holds an interest in the medicinal marijuana businesses.

“This license revocation was years in the making and was the result of the work and prayers of countless pro-life activists on the ground outside Pendergraft’s abortion facilities and in our office,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “This is a victory for all of us, especially women and babies who will no longer be placed at risk by James Pendergraft’s dangerous practices.”

Despite how relevant this information is to the overall picture of abortion in America, there was not a single report published by the mainstream media about this man who lost his license for operating an abortion business out of his van.

Looking out for the “reproductive health care” of women in America means reporting all the facts, not just those that support the pro-abortion view. All women, regardless of where they stand on the abortion issue, deserve to know that seedy abortionists like Pendergraff are very much a part of the “safe and legal” abortion establishment in the U.S.

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

Medical Miracle: Woman Considered Brain Dead Recovers After Her Life Support is Removed

BRAD WILMOUTH   DEC 10, 2018   |   10:22AM    WASHINGTON, DC

On Friday, the NBC Nightly News took the time to devote an entire story to the case of a Michigan woman who survived a near-death experience which illustrates that doctors can sometimes make the wrong diagnosis and give up on comatose patients too soon.

Anchor Lester Holt recalled description of the surprise recovery as a “miracle” as he set up the report: “We’re back now with what a family is calling a medical miracle — a woman considered almost brain dead who recovers after the gut-wrenching decision to remove her life support.”

In a pre-recorded piece, correspondent Kristen Dahlgren then recounted for viewers that Michele De Leeuw was hospitalized after having a heart attack and, at one point, was diagnosed as nearly brain dead with only five percent brain function.

Her husband, Karl, was seen explaining how difficult it was for him to decide to have her life support removed by doctors who advised that she would never recover, but then she woke up and began talking a few days after life support was disconnected, and has improved substantially since then.

LifeNews.com Note: Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst for the Media Research Center and a graduate of the University of Virginia. This column originally appeared on the NewsBusters web site and is reprinted with permission.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Help Us “Be Not Afraid”

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“The victory, if it comes, will come through Mary.” These were the dying words of Cardinal August Hlond, as recounted by Pope St. John Paul II in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Reflecting on the Cardinal’s prophesy, the pope wrote:

During my pastoral ministry in Poland, I saw for myself how those words [of Cardinal Hlond] were coming true. After my election as Pope, as I became more involved in the problems of the universal Church, I came to have a similar conviction: On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church’s victories now and, in the future, to be linked to her.

Human Life International founder, Father Paul Marx, shared the Holy Father’s conviction. That is why he chose Our Lady of Guadalupe – whose feast day we celebrate in just a few days – as HLI’s patroness.

Fr. Marx, who tirelessly devoted his life to the defense of Life and Family, personally understood the hardships of the great battle between the forces of Life and Death and encouraged all, in every age, to turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe as the solution against fear and hopelessness. “In contemplating her simplicity, we find the strength to emulate her faith,” he said, “and proceed with confidence in the knowledge that God will overcome the seemingly insurmountable barriers looming over the world today.”

“Be Not Afraid”Bless

Fear and hopelessness are a risk whenever we forthrightly confront the evils in our culture. In the past few decades, while there have been many victories, there have also been many – and catastrophic – losses. Despite the tireless efforts of so many committed pro-life and pro-family activists, abortion is still legal and untold millions of babies have been slaughtered; euthanasia activists are gradually gaining ground; same-sex ‘marriage’ is the law of the land; contraception, divorce, and immoral “reproductive technologies” have been normalized; pornography is epidemic; and gender ideology is sweeping our cultural institutions.

In the face of a lost culture wandering ever further from the truth about God, man, and morality, one risks becoming discouraged. But in moments of such discouragement, I often recall the booming voice of Pope St. John Paul II, thundering above the massive crowds who flocked to see him: Be not afraid!

Pope St. John Paul II first issued that memorable exhortation on October 22, 1978, after which he adopted it as a recurrent theme of his papacy. In Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Holy Father explained the meaning behind this unofficial motto and linked the fearlessness that he was calling for to Mary’s example. “Be not afraid!’ Christ said to the apostles and to the women after the Resurrection,” he wrote. “According to the Gospels, these words were not addressed to Mary. Strong in her faith, she had no fear.” Mary’s fearlessness arose from her unshakeable conviction in the power of Christ’s redemption, and in the goodness of God.

We too should have no fear, said the saintly pope, because “man has been redeemed by God,” and because “the power of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection is greater than any evil which man could or should fear.” Our own fearlessness in the face of evil will arise in proportion to our dependence upon Mary, and the extent to which we emulate her example.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Hope for a Culture of Life

Perhaps no Marian apparition provides such cause for hope as does Our Lady of Guadalupe. Before she appeared to the humble peasant Juan Diego, Aztec culture was still in throes of bloody-thirsty paganism. The conquistadors reported that, before they managed to partially curtail the practice of human sacrifice, the Aztecs had routinely sacrificed 10,000 human victims each year, tearing the still-beating hearts out of their victims’ chests. Many of those victims were children.

16th century image, showing Aztec sacrifice

Mere human calculations would have said that demonic paganism was so deep-seated in Aztec culture that it would take hundreds of years of missionary toil to succeed in ripping it up by the roots. That is the human way: the best we can hope is to change the world by changing one mind and one heart at a time through slow, toilsome work. Instead, within just a few years after Mary’s apparition, paganism had been swept aside, and millions of Aztecs had been converted and baptized as Catholics. Human sacrifice came to an abrupt end. Mary claimed Mexico as her own.

In 1910 Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared Patroness of Latin America by Pope St. Pius X, and in 1945 Pope Pius XII declared her to be the Empress of all the Americas. On January 22, 1999 Pope Saint John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe patroness of the Americas and raised December 12 to the rank of Feast for all the countries of the Americas.

Our own culture’s bloodthirsty paganism is sanitized and hidden behind a veneer of clinical efficiency. But, as Fr. Marx never tired of observing, in substance it is no different from the horrors witnessed in the most degenerate pagan civilizations, such as the Aztecs. “In ever greater numbers, society sacrifices our young and aged at demonic altars, hurrying them to destruction through abortion, sex education, prostitution, pornography, infanticide and euthanasia,” said Fr. Marx, “foolishly believing that just a little more contraception, just one additional population control program, and we will be blessed with the happiness and peace that we so desire.”

In the face of the systemic, deep-seated, industrial-scale anti-life juggernaut that takes the lives of untold unborn children every year, we may feel a sense of helplessness and even powerless in the face of such evil.

But Mary is not powerless. There is no fear in her.

In the apparition at Guadalupe, Mary appeared as a young, pregnant native mother. She is carrying the Christ-child in her womb. What a potent symbol! God is present among us, but in a position of utmost dependence: an unborn child in his mother’s womb! Our Lady of Guadalupe is an icon of tender maternity and maternal strength, and of the utmost value and dignity of human life from its earliest stages. If Christ was with us from the first moment of His conception, then each unborn child, made in His image, shares in that dignity. And if Mary could change the course of human history by saying “yes” to God, and serving humbly as His mother, then we too can bring about the end of evil by our own daily “yes” to God, and through our daily work and sacrifices.

As the moral decline of the Americas [and the world] intensifies and spreads across the globe, we are in desperate need of renewal, conversion, and amendment of life. We need heavenly guidance and intervention. Sadly, most have accepted and embraced the “wide” path that leads to destruction of which our Lord warns. (Matt. 7:13-14) We are witnessing firsthand a “dramatic” confrontation between two diametrically opposing views, the “Culture of Death” and the “Culture of Life.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe brought the “Culture of Life” to pagan Aztec civilization with a speed that defied all human expectations. We need recourse to Mary to win the battle. We must pray the daily Rosary. By meditating on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we obtain the graces to live for Christ alone! We must consecrate ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. We must pray novenas to Our Lady of Guadalupe, begging for the conversion of our culture.

Pope St. John Paul II promulgated the following prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, entrusting Life and Family to the Holy Virgin’s intercession. Please join me in praying this prayer, making it part of your daily devotion. The way to heal our country and the Americas, indeed all the world, is through Our Lady’s motherly guidance that leads us to her Son instructing us to “do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

Prayer of Pope St. John Paul II to Our Lady of Guadalupe

O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the true God and Mother of the Church, who from this place reveal your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy, Teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you, who come to meet us sinners, we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities and our sorrows. Grant peace, justice and prosperity to our peoples; for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother. We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ in His Church; hold us always with your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the Bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Contemplate this immense harvest, and intercede with the Lord that He may instill a hunger for holiness in the whole people of God, and grant abundant vocations of priests and religious, strong in the faith and zealous dispensers of God’s mysteries.

Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God. Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with compassion, teach us to go continually to Jesus and, if we fall, help us to rise again, to return to Him, by means of the confession of our faults and sins in the Sacrament of Penance, which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love for all the holy Sacraments, which are, as it were, the signs that your Son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

Adoption surprise: Family welcomes two babies within months of each other

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Heather Crockett Oram was just 13 years old when she discovered she would never be able to have biological children. At a baby, her ovaries had been removed because they had not formed properly — and almost immediately, knew she would