News & Commentary

The strange truth about the pill

By Zaria Gorvett

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180822-the-birth-control-pill-can-have-male-side-effects

It all started with a Mexican yam.

It was 1942 and a chemistry professor from Pennsylvania was looking for a cheap source of progesterone. The hormone had many uses at the time, including preventing miscarriages and treating women going through menopause.

In fact, Russell Marker already had invented a way to make progesterone from a chemical in certain plants. One option was the tubers of wild Japanese yams. But these were thin and weedy – they just didn’t contain enough of the hormone.

Marker scoured the land for alternatives, examining more than 400 species, but to no avail. Then he stumbled upon a drawing in an obscure botany book. This yam had fat, knobbly roots that reportedly weighed up to 100 kg (220lbs). He travelled to its native Mexico and smuggled one out of the country.

With an affordable source of progesterone found, researchers turned to its uses as a contraceptive. The birth control pill hit the market less than a decade later. Marker, on the other hand, mysteriously disappeared from public life and became obsessed with collecting silver.

The economic and social side effects of the pill were as profound as they are well-documented. Sex could be enjoyed without fear of pregnancy. Suddenly women could devote their 20s and 30s to furthering their education and careers, rather than housework and nappies.

But right from the beginning, the pill has had a secret.

In recent years, scientists have started to realise that the brains of women on the pill look fundamentally different. Compared to women who aren’t taking hormones, some regions of their brains seem to be more typically ‘male’.

There are behavioral changes, too. Women on certain types of pill aren’t as good at coming up with words – something our gender are usually highly skilled at. On the other hand, they’re better at mentally rotating objects, as is often the case in men. Finally, women on a different type of pill are better at recognising faces – something women are usually good at.

Confused? So are scientists. What’s going on?

We’re often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone

We’re often told that the pill contains oestrogen and progesterone. But no pill contains either hormone.

That is because, when taken orally, oestrogen and progesterone break down too quickly to be practical. Instead, the pill contains synthetic versions, which are built from more stable hormones that have been altered to mimic the hormones.

Every brand of combined pill on the market contains the same type of synthetic oestrogen, ethinyl estradiol, and one of eight synthetic progesterones, called progestins. Ethinyl estradiol prevents the body from releasing an egg every month, while progestins thicken the mucus at the entrance to the cervix and conspire to make the womb inhospitable. Even if an egg slips out and becomes fertilised, it won’t be able to settle down and start growing.

So far, so good. But though the hormones are effective at preventing pregnancy, they aren’t perfect matches for our natural hormones. The end result is that these synthetic versions also have effects that you would never get from raw progesterone.

The internet is awash with anecdotal reports of acne, sweating and unwanted hair growth after going on the pill. One women described sprouting hairs all over her cheeks, while another came down with “pizza face” after starting a new brand. These ‘masculine’ effects have been well-studied by scientists, and they are real: certain kinds of pill really do make them worse, especially in susceptible women.

But the reason is surprising. According to a study from 2012, 83% of US women who are on the pill are taking a version that contains progestins made from male hormones. This includes the popular brands Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Loestrin FE 1/20 and Tri-Sprintec®, among many others.

The male hormone that these pills use is a close relative of testosterone called nandrolone. A potent androgen (a hormone that influences the development of the male reproductive system), it can lead to the development of typically male characteristics.

It’s actually used for doping in men sometimes — Belinda Pletzer

“It’s actually used for doping in men sometimes,” says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so it’s popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015 (he claimed it entered his system after eating the meat of an uncastrated wild boar.)

We’ve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.

Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.

The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.

Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.

But there are some side effects.

“These progestins, which were decreased in dose over the years, are still related to the chemical structure of testosterone. All the derivatives came out to levonorgestrel, which is the most used or known of the progestins,” says Regine Sitruk-Ware, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Population Council, New York. “It is still androgenic by itself, by the fact that it can bind to the androgen receptors.”

Over the years, there have been several generations of progestins. Though the earlier ones are nearly all androgenic, more recently scientists have developed versions made from synthetic progesterone, instead. These have the opposite effects – they are often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth because they are ‘feminising’ (though they, too, can have undesireable side effects resulting from a hormonal imbalance). Some examples include Yasmin® and Ocella™.

Generally speaking, the older, cheaper brands of pill tend to contain androgenic hormones, while newer, more expensive ones tend to contain anti-androgens. This may be one reason that just 17% of women on the combined pill in the US take the anti-androgenic versions.

There are androgen receptors all over the body, particularly in the sweat glands and hair follicles, which explains why androgenic progestins can make some women sweatier, hairier and spottier. But these powerful, gender-bending steroids also affect the brain.

In men, the androgens released at puberty are known to remodel the brain. This is also true in women, where relatively small quantities of testosterone can cause certain areas to shrink and others to grow.

Given what we know about the power of these hormones, it’s perhaps surprising that until recently, no one had checked if progestins made from male hormones might have an impact.

“There has been a lot of research on their physical side effects,” says Pletzer. “There’s also been research on the emotional side effects, because that’s something that women keep complaining about. But very few studies have looked at the brain and cognition.”

One of the first such studies was conducted only eight years ago – after the pill had already been in use for 50 years. At the time Pletzer was interested in how women’s brains change throughout the menstrual cycle. (Read more about how the menstrual cycle changes women’s brains and abilities over the course of the month).

But when she realised she was excluding those on the pill, she asked herself why. “We know that the steroids our own body produces, such as progesterone and testosterone, affect the brain. So of course I would expect any synthetic hormones to have an effect as well,” she says.

Pletzer abandoned her original idea and set out to test the effects of the pill instead. She recruited a mixture of men and women on and off hormonal contraception, then scanned their brains.

What she found was striking. The scans revealed that several brain areas were larger in the women on the pill, compared to those of women who weren’t. These areas just so happened to be larger in men than women, too.

The study involved a relatively small sample and didn’t separate androgenic and anti-androgenic contraception, so Pletzer cautions against reading too much into the results. But other research has hinted that both types of hormones actually may be changing our behavior.

It turns out that women taking pills with androgenic progestins have lower verbal fluency (the ability to think of new words). They were also better at rotating objects. This makes sense, since men are thought to be slightly less articulate than women in certain situations and have better spatial awareness.

Other studies have found that women on oral contraception remember emotional stories more like men

Other studies have found that women on oral contraception remember emotional stories more like men – recalling the gist more than the details. They’re also not as good at recognising emotions in others, such as anger, sadness, or disgust – just like men. It looks suspiciously like certain types of pill are “masculinising” women’s brains.

Perhaps the most striking evidence, however, comes from a paper published in 2015. This time, Pletzer compared the brains of women on the two types of pill with women who were not. Several brain areas were larger in the women whose pills contained the newer, anti-androgenic progestins.

Crucially, these changes seemed to be affecting their behaviour.

Two brain areas were particularly engorged: the fusiform face area, a region about the size of a pea that processes facial information (from photographs of friends to cartoons), and the parahippocampal place area, which important for recognising places (such as cityscapes). These women were also better at recognising faces.

Facial recognition is something women are usually highly skilled at – even as babies – so this fits with the picture of oral contraceptives subtly influencing our brains. In this case, the anti-androgenic pills may be having a “feminising” effect.

Just as before, several brain areas were also larger in women on androgenic pills, including many which are typically so in men. The longer the women had been on the pill, the larger these areas were.

To complicate matters further, all combined pills contain synthetic oestrogen, which is feminising. This means that the same women may be experiencing both ‘feminising’ and ‘masculinising’ effects on their brains at the same time.

No one could have predicted that an ugly yam would give rise to a feminist revolution. The pill has repeatedly been called the greatest invention of the 20th Century and is said to be responsible for a third of the increase in women’s wages since the 1960s.

But contraceptive pills may have a darker side. As Pletzer wrote in 2014, when athletes take steroids we call it ‘doping’ – it’s considered abuse and strongly condemned by society. But we’re happy for millions of women to take these hormones every day, sometimes right through from puberty to menopause.

Scientists don’t yet know if any of the pill’s effects on the brain have much of an impact on our behaviour. But perhaps it is time we put it to the test.

Correction: An earlier version of this story implied that the ‘feminising’ effects of pills like Yasmin could lead to hair loss; while some women do experience hair loss while taking birth control pills, this tends to be for broader reasons such as a resulting hormonal balance. This has been changed.

Abortion is Never a Human Right

By 

One of the great achievements of Christian civilization has been the development of a thorough and robust account of the dignity of the human person – a dignity that outstrips that of any other being in physical creation, to the extent that the human person is viewed as an image of God Himself.

“The divine image is present in every man,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves.” (no. 1702)

Those of us living in a historical time and part of the world so thoroughly indebted to the Judeo-Christian worldview often simply take for granted this view of the human person, failing to appreciate how unique and monumental it is in the history of the human race. Nowadays, even many (although not all) of the most hard-boiled atheists will profess to believe in the “dignity of the human person,” not pausing to appreciate that it is, in large measure, thanks to Christianity that this truth is so widely acknowledged.

It is true that in an increasing number of cases, certain ideologues are openly promoting a utilitarian or eugenic philosophy that measures the worth of human beings based upon various criteria (i.e., health, intelligence, productivity, degree of personal happiness, etc.). However, for the most part people still begin with the basic assumption of the Judeo-Christian worldview – that even those people who seem “useless,” or who have done great harm to others, are owed a basic respect, and certain rights, that they can never lose. We see this instinct manifested, for instance, in the movement against the use of the death penalty, even in the cases of the worst criminals – murderers.

Unfortunately, however, human beings are often inconsistent, and are blinded by their prejudices and selfish desires. In the past century, most of the world, including much of the Christian West, has carved out certain systemic “exceptions” to the dignity of the human person – escaping the duty of respect owed to other persons, often by simply denying that the other is a person to begin with. The primary victim of this movement has been the unborn child, although it is increasingly extending to the disabled, sick, and elderly.

Never before has there been more evidence in support of the humanity (and, therefore, the personhood) of the unborn child. And yet, never since ancient pagan times has the unborn child been so unprotected. This “de-personing” of the unborn child is simply the latest manifestation of the same tendency that led swathes of the world to deny the personhood and worth of black people and other enslaved races. It is the old, pagan view of the human being, escaping from the protective umbrella of Judeo-Christian civilization.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae, “If such great care must be taken to respect every life, even that of criminals and unjust aggressors, the commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenseless human beings, who find their ultimate defense against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God’s commandment.” (no. 57)

More Gaslighting: Abortion as a ‘Human Right’

Last week I wrote about the “gaslighting” of the gender ideologues, who deny the most self-evident truths – e.g., that a man cannot become a woman simply by wanting to – and then accuse those who disagree with them of being delusional or evil.

The same tendency toward gaslighting is present within the pro-abortion movement. Pro-abortion activists will call the baby in the womb – which we can now see on the ultrasound screen with our own eyes – a “blob of tissue,” and then turn around and accuse pro-lifers, who protest that this simply isn’t true, of being “anti-science” or not supporting “women’s rights.”

The pro-abortion position is filled with such flagrant absurdities and contradictions. Consider this recent document from Antony Blinken, President Biden’s new Secretary of State, which suggests that access to abortion and contraception is a “human right.”

As Live Action reports, during the Trump administration the human rights report prepared by the State Department did not mention women not having access to abortion or contraception as being a human rights violation. Blinken, however, indicated that a Biden administration will be reversing course.

“For many years, our human rights reports contained a section on reproductive health, including information about…discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care, and government policies about access to contraception,” Blinken said in a statement. “And we are restoring the practice of documenting these rights in 2021 and future years.”

It is important to note that the phrase “sexual and reproductive health” is widely recognized as being a euphemism that includes access to abortion and contraception. In a statement to reporters, Blinken affirmed, “women’s rights – including sexual and reproductive rights – are human rights.”

Unpack the euphemism, and what Blinken is saying is: “The right to kill other innocent human beings is a ‘human right.’” Absurd. Especially when viewed from the perspective of the unborn child, who is stripped of that most fundamental of all human rights – the right to life – in the name of “human rights.”

Unfortunately, this is only one of several extremist attacks on the dignity of the unborn from the Biden administration in recent days. In a move that comes as no surprise, Biden has instructed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review President Trump’s Protect Life rule. That rule had forbidden Title X funding from going to health care providers who provide or refer for abortion. Because of the rule, Planned Parenthood had been withdrawn from Title X, losing tens of millions in taxpayer funding. That will now be reversed.

Recently, the Senate confirmed President Biden’s pick for the secretary of the HHS. Xavier Becerra has been described as a pro-abortion “extremist.” A letter signed by 60 pro-life leaders (HLI being one) called Becerra “an enemy to every pro-life policy and law” who has “demonstrated complete disregard for the religious and moral convictions of those opposed to the brutal act of abortion.”

Becerra previously served for 24 years in Congress. He infamously voted against the Hyde Amendment, which bans government funding for abortion. He also voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003 and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. He also twice voted against a law that would ban abortions at five months in pregnancy. In other words, he’s never met an abortion he didn’t support.

And yet, this is the man that Biden has chosen to promote “health”! Certainly not the health of hundreds of thousands of unborn children who are murdered every year in our country.

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Cardinal Burke: Pro-Abortion ‘Catholic’ Politicians Automatically Excommunicated

Unfortunately, Becerra, like Biden, is a lifelong “Catholic.”

In an astonishing statement, Sister Carol Keehan, the well-known Catholic religious sister who headed up the Catholic Health Association for a decade and a half, said she was “relieved and thrilled” at Becerra’s nomination. Sister Keehan called Becerra “a leader whose character is rooted in his Catholic upbringing and values.”

With Catholic leaders like this, who needs enemies!

The simple fact is that abortion is certainly the gravest, and most pervasive violation of human rights and the dignity of the human person being perpetrated in our world today. No one who actively promotes this enormous evil, conducted on an industrial scale, can possibly lay claim to being a “devout” Catholic.

“The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end,” said Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae. “It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity.” (no. 57)

Fortunately, there are some Church leaders left who are willing to call a spade a spade. In a recent statement, Cardinal Raymond Burke once again reiterated the long-established teaching that Catholics who publicly support and promote abortion and other grave intrinsic evils automatically excommunicate themselves.

Cardinal Burke also clarified that “those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

To those who argue that the Church is using the Eucharist as a “political weapon” when it denies Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Cardinal Burke countered: “It is rather the Catholic politician, who publicly and obstinately promotes what is contrary to the moral law and yet dares to receive sacrilegiously Holy Communion, who uses the Holy Eucharist for political purposes. In other words, the politician presents himself or herself as a devout Catholic, while the truth is completely otherwise.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix added his voice to this debate in his Apostolic ExhortationVeneremur Cernui, published on April 1. “Holy Communion is reserved,” says Bishop Olmsted, “for those, who with God’s grace make a sincere effort to live this union with Christ and His Church by adhering to all that the Catholic Church believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.” This is, he emphasizes, why the “Church requires Catholic leaders who have publicly supported gravely immoral laws such as abortion and euthanasia to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they publicly repent and receive the Sacrament of Penance.”

Moreover, states the bishop, “not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is an intrinsically grave sin and that there is a grave and clear obligation for all Catholics to oppose them by conscientious objection.” Quoting Evangelium Vitae, he adds that, “in the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it.’”

If the Judeo-Christian teaching on the dignity of the human person is one of the most precious gifts of Christ and His Church to the human race, it must also be protected by Christians with enormous fervor, lest it be lost and forgotten. In these troubled times amongst rampant confusion and the torrential assault against truth, bereft of sound doctrinal teaching, the leadership of Cardinal Burke and Bishop Olmsted is a welcomed breath of fresh air. Their statements are simply an acknowledgement that no Catholic can support the systematic assault on the dignity of a whole category of persons, and still claim to be a faithful Catholic. The contradiction is simply too extreme, too deep.

In the face of the Biden administration’s assault on human dignity, we must, all of us, respond to Pope St. John Paul II’s “pressing appeal” in Evangelium Vitae: to “respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!” (no.5)

FDA to allow abortion pill distribution by mail during COVID-19 pandemic

 

letter sent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the pro-abortion American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) indicates that the agency plans to “exercise enforcement discretion” in the dispensing of the abortion pill by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, the FDA intends to continue to allow the distribution of these dangerous abortion drugs by mail for the duration of the pandemic.

The decision follows ongoing litigation filed by ACOG against the FDA asserting that requiring mifepristone (the abortion pill) to be dispensed to abortion clients in person during the COVID-19 pandemic is an undue burden. Under FDA’s REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), the abortion pill mifepristone (used in a regimen with misoprostol) must be dispensed by a certified prescriber at an approved hospital or clinic and is prohibited from being sold online or in a pharmacy.

Live Action News has previously documented how the abortion industry used the COVID-19 pandemic to lift the REMS and expand access to the abortion pill. In fact, well before the pandemic, the industry expanded its abortion pill clinical trials and then rolled out a “no test” abortion pill protocol, which some medical professionals have said endangers women. Around the same time frame, the ACOG also changed its recommendations to line up exactly with the abortion industry’s attempts to expand access to the abortion pill.

The ACOG is not an impartial medical organization; it is radically pro-abortion. It has been funded by organizations that directly received funds from U.S. abortion pill manufacturer Danco Laboratories. ACOG is also funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a Danco investor. In 2018, the ACOG received $1.4 million from the Buffett Foundation — a known abortion philanthropist —and has received hundreds of thousands from the foundation every year for the past several years. Buffett was also one of the first investors in Danco.

The letter was sent by Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of the FDA under the Biden administration who previously served as Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) when the Agency approved the abortion pill.

Image: FDA letter to ACOG allows dispensing of abortion pill by mail outside Rems during COVID-19Image Twitter

FDA letter to ACOG allows dispensing of abortion pill by mail outside Rems during COVID-19 Image Twitter

In the letter, Woodcock claims that CDER reviewed “postmarketing adverse events that reportedly occurred from January 27, 2020 – January 12, 2021” and found the “small number of adverse events reported to FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) provided no indication that any program deviation or noncompliance with the Mifepristone REMS contributed to the reported adverse events.”

What Woodcock failed to note is that changes made to the REMS by the FDA in 2016 no longer required the manufacturer of the abortion pill, Danco Laboratories or its generic GenBioPro to report non-fatal adverse effects

The letter also indicates that CDER reviewed at least four studies published around the dispensing of the abortion pill via telemedicine. One of those “studies” was based on a TelAbortion Project sponsored by Gynuity Health Projects. Live Action News has previously documented the funding streams and conflicts of interest surrounding multiple abortion pill studies like this one.

The letter made clear that the FDA planned to “exercise enforcement discretion” with respect to in-person requirements as well as the dispensing of the abortion pill through the mail.

Provided the other requirements of the Mifepristone REMS are met and given that the in-person dispensing of mifepristone… may present additional COVID-related risks to patients and healthcare personnel… CDER intends to exercise enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 PHE with respect to the in-person dispensing requirement… [and] with respect to the dispensing of mifepristone through the mail either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber or through a mail order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber.

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser called the FDA’s decision “pure politics,” adding, “The Biden-Harris FDA is acting in the financial interest of the big abortion lobby. This is flagrant and dangerous disregard for the health and safety of American women and girls.”

In a press release, Live Action founder and president Lila Rose said:

Because of today’s decision, women will be home alone delivering a dead child, unsure whether the volume of blood loss they see is ‘normal’ for the abortion procedure or them hemorrhaging and bleeding out. Unsure if the pain they feel is the ‘normal’ pain of the abortion procedure or pain from their ectopic pregnancy going undiagnosed and now threatening their life. Now, due to the utter carelessness of the FDA, the door has been opened for sexual predators to have the abortion pill delivered by mail so they can administer it to their victims and destroy the evidence of their sexual crimes.

The FDA is out of line and the American people should respond en masse calling for them to pull the pill. In a move showing blatant disdain for the intellect of the American people, today’s letter from the FDA claims that the ‘small number of adverse events reported to the FDA during the COVID-19 public health emergency’ led to their decision.

In reality, there is no requirement for the manufacturer of the pill, Danco Laboratories, or its generic, GenBioPro, to report any adverse reactions except death under REMS since 2016. In addition, there are no federal laws in place to require or track abortion complications across all states. 

In October of 2020, the first U.S. online pharmacy announced plans to ship abortion pills to patients across the country during COVID-19. Shortly thereafter, virtual abortion pill dispensaries began to flood the internet.

While the latest changes to FDA’s REMS are only in effect during the pandemic, the Biden-Harris administration is expected to pressure the FDA to permanently remove the REMS from the abortion pill. If this occurs, it will likely result in a surge of abortion pill sales far beyond the previously estimated $200 million annually.

Editor’s Note: Visit AbortionPillReversal.com for information on how to potentially stop the abortion pill process after it has begun.

Contraception blood-clot risk

By the end of March, 79 cases of rare blood clots had been reported in those who’d received the AstraZeneca vaccine the UK, with cases occurring more frequently in younger women. Because of this, comparisons have been drawn with the contraceptive pill, which carries a greater relative risk of clots. In the UK, blood clots have occurred in people taking the AstraZeneca vaccine at a rate of roughly one in every 250,000, whereas blood clots caused by the pill are estimated to affect one in every 1,000 women each year.

But this isn’t the only difference between the two. Although evidence is still emerging, the mechanisms behind the type of clotting linked to the vaccine and that linked to the pill appear to be quite different. It’s a reminder of how complex the blood and clotting is, with multiple parts of the process that can be disrupted.

The cause of vaccine-induced clots

With the AstraZeneca vaccine, a small number of clots have been reported, with individuals presenting with low levels of platelets in their blood, likely resulting from these clots forming.

Platelets are the smallest of our blood cells. Produced in our bone marrow, they travel to anywhere there is damage to blood vessels to help clotting (to prevent blood from escaping) and start the repair process. A normal number of platelets is anywhere between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microlitre of blood (there are 1,000 microlitres in one millilitre). If you have too few platelets, less than 150,000 per microlitre, then you have a deficiency – known as thrombocytopenia.

Thrombocytopenia can be inheritedacquired through lifestyle factors over time (such as poor diet combined with alcohol) or brought on by medicines or infections. And although yet to be confirmed, it seems the AstraZeneca vaccine, by causing blood clots, may be leading to low platelet levels in an extremely small number of people too. This potential new condition has been called vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT).

If blood clots occur when they shouldn’t, this can be fatal. In some people who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, unwanted clotting is being reported in the brain, known as cerebral venous sinus thromboembolism (CVST).

As blood leaves the brain, it drains into a dedicated space that exists around it – the cerebral venous sinuses – prior to it being channelled into the major veins that drain out of the head and into the neck, back to the heart.

A diagram showing the sinuses that drain blood out of the brain
Blood leaves the brain by moving into the venous sinuses (blue) and draining into the jugular vein. OpenStax/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY

But for some who’ve taken the vaccine, platelets appear to stick together in the venous sinuses of the brain, which causes a blockage that prevents blood draining out of the brain tissues. This creates back pressure in the small vessels of the brain and blood leaks into the brain itself, causing damage in the same way a haemorrhagic stroke would.

Accompanying symptoms include headache, tiny red spots under the skin, blurred vision, fainting or loss of consciousness, loss of movement in parts of the body, or coma. These typically appear between four and 20 days after vaccination.

These symptoms, as well as the mechanism underlying the formation of these clots, are similar to those from a different type of thrombosis, heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), where specific antibodies bind to a molecule in the blood called heparin, causing platelets to become super sticky and clot. It’s been suggested some form of immune activation, similar to that seen in HIT, might be the cause of what is happening in some vaccinated people.

Clotting and contraception

Despite the combined oral contraceptive pill also increasing the risk of blood clots in those who take it, these clots are likely formed by a different mechanism to those seen in CVSTs.

Clotting is a complex system. It involves more than just platelets. There are also many proteins dissolved in the plasma of blood, which when damage to tissues or blood vessels occurs, launch a series of steps to produce fibrin, an insoluble protein that then combines with platelets and red blood cells to form a clot. These dissolved proteins are called clotting factors, and some of the ingredients in contraceptives increase the levels of certain clotting factors in the blood, which raises the odds of clots forming in veins.

Genetic factors can also work to increase the likelihood of abnormal clots forming in women taking the pill. For instance, having a genetic mutation that affects a specific clotting factor called factor V Leiden is associated with a three-fold increase in risk. About 5% of people categorised as white have this mutation, though it is much less common in other ethnic groups.

It’s plausible that there may be genetic factors that increase the risk of the AstraZeneca vaccine in some people in a similar way, but at this stage, we don’t know. And due to not knowing what the risk factors are for CVST, it is also not possible to say what the risk of taking the combined oral contraceptive pill and having the AstraZeneca vaccine might be. There are a lot of things that still need to be explored.

A woman holding two blister packs of oral contraceptive pills
Oral contraceptives increase the risk of blood clots by raising the amounts of clotting factors in the blood. PATCHARIN SIMALHEK/Shutterstock

Finally, it’s important to note that COVID-19 itself has been reported to lead to thrombocytopenia in up to 41% of positive patients, with the figure rising to up to 95% in those with severe disease. There are many reports of small blood clots in multiple organs in COVID-19 patients causing organ damage, failure and death.

The mechanism behind this is also unclear, but the COVID-19 infection likely causes these clots either by destroying the bone marrow and preventing platelets from being made, by causing the immune system to destroy platelets, or by increasing the use of platelets to repair damage to lungs and other tissues as a result of the infection (or a combination of all these things).

With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that while there is a small risk of clotting in some individuals who take the AstraZeneca vaccine, this clotting risk is much less than with many other things, including contraceptive pills – and significantly less than the risk of clotting after a COVID-19 infection.

This article was amended on April 12 to correct the suggestion that thromobocytopenia causes blood clots. The likely mechanism is the other way round, with abnormal clotting leading to low platelet levels.

UN Urges Further Reliance Upon Contraceptives, While Pandemic Highlights their Unsustainability

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UN Urges Further Reliance Upon Contraceptives, While Pandemic Highlights their Unsustainability

“Contraceptive cost of COVID: a million unplanned pregnancies” read headlines across many major media outlets on March 11. The viral headline was in response to a March 11 United Nations (UN) announcement that the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies, due to the estimated 12 million women in poorer countries who lost access to contraception because of various pandemic-related disruptions.

Those statistics come from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency, which recently released a report titled “Impact of COVID-19 on Family Planning: What we know one year into the pandemic” [1].

In its report, UNFPA lists the various pandemic-induced disruptions to contraceptive access, including hits to global manufacturing and supply chains, emptied out shelves, lockdowns and social distancing measures, fears of visiting health clinics, or the inability to visit clinics because of the overwhelm caused by the pandemic. Together, UNFPA believes that these disruptive factors, which they estimate lasted for an average of about 3.6 months in 2020, are responsible for at least 500,000 and as many as 2.7 million unplanned pregnancies (with 1.4 million being their medium estimate) across 115 low- and middle-income countries.

The UNFPA report actually highlights the reasons why pharmaceutical birth control is unsustainable in the face of a disaster (as many of these factors are not unique to a pandemic). Yet, the organization insists that further dependence on these methods of family planning is necessary, stating that contraceptive access must be prioritized for women and girls across the globe. In fact, the UN goes so far as to place contraceptives on a list of items which they consider “life-saving commodities.” But in essence, the UN is just placing more emphasis on the same unsustainable strategy, encouraging women and couples to rely on the same methods of pharmaceutical birth control that left them in a lurch this pandemic.

A new strategy for sustainable family planning

What the UN misunderstands is that the COVID-19 pandemic actually highlighted a dire need for family planning that is sustainable, independent of supply chains, and accessible beyond the clinic.

Thanks to scientifically-backed fertility awareness methods (FAM) (also known as Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, FABMs, or methods of Natural Family Planning, NFP), there are alternatives to pharmaceutical contraceptives that can better serve women and couples in meeting their family planning needs. FAMs are non-pharmaceutical, most require no or little equipment, and they provide sorely needed education and knowledge for women about their bodies and reproductive abilities—knowledge that won’t simply vanish as soon as disaster strikes.

The CDC has acknowledged that some fertility awareness methods have as low as a 2% typical use failure rate; while the CDC currently cites a range of 2-23% failure rate for FAMs, this reflects the range of fertility awareness methods with different efficacy rates. For example, FAMs that measure biological signs of fertility such as cervical fluid, basal body temperature, or hormone levels provide higher efficacy rates, while methods that use calendar estimates instead of biomarkers, are far less effective. Still, the efficacy of modern FAMs is often misrepresented, which leaves women with less quality information to make informed choices about the full scope of their family planning options.

The global applicability of FAMs

In truth, women all over the world have been successfully taught to use fertility awareness methods—and to use them with a relatively high degree of effectiveness. The Billings Ovulation Method (a cervical fluid-only method of natural family planning), in particular, has been taught to people in countries all over the world, in populations with every level of literacy (including no literacy).

For example, a 1996 field trial in India followed over 2,000 women who had been taught to use the Billings Ovulation Method; despite many of the women being illiterate, after 21 months, the method failure rate (for perfect use) was less than 2% per 100 users, and the user failure rate (typical use) was less than 17% per 100 users [2]. In a 1996 12-month multi-center study in China, the results were even more impressive, with a perfect use failure rate of 0, and a typical use failure rate of 0.5% [3]. Particularly noteworthy is the following conclusion from a World Health Organization-conducted, multi-continent study, published in 1981 in the journal Fertility and Sterility:

“The most striking finding was the demonstration that 94% of women representing a wide range of cultural, educational, and socioeconomic characteristics were able to recognize and record the cervical mucus symptom which allows self recognition of the fertile period” [4].

These studies indicate that the Billings method, a widespread and evidence-based method of fertility awareness, can be used by women across cultures and education levels to effectively prevent pregnancy. Even factoring in the initial instruction that women need to use these methods, they are still less expensive than any other form of birth control. Further, using a FAM does not require a prescription or a visit to a clinic or pharmacy to obtain, which makes them a form of uniquely sustainable family planning, especially in the face of a disaster (like a pandemic).

Diminished access to care for birth control side effects

While the UN report emphasizes increasing access to contraceptives, it does not address the increased access to healthcare women may need for side effects they could experience while on contraception (especially in the event of more serious side effects like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes). Unmentioned in the UN report is how women in developing countries (or even women in developed countries during a disaster) may lack access to the care needed to change their birth control method, if health risks or serious side effects arise. Even more troubling in this regard are the long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or the Nexplanon implant, which can produce uncomfortable and adverse effects for users, but which require a clinic visit for removal. Likewise, the Depo Provera shot, which despite its link to increased HIV transmission is one of the preferred methods of contraception in poorer countries, is not reversible at all. Biomedical scientist and author of Target Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha wrote in her 2012 Open Letter to Melinda Gates: “Where Europe and America have their well-oiled health care system, a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot does not have access to 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic. No, she dies.”

Environmentally friendly methods of family planning

In addition to being effective, sustainable methods of natural family planning, FAMs are the most environmentally friendly form of effective family planning. Most fertility awareness methods are zero waste, require no manufacturing, no shipping, and cause no endocrine-disrupting hormones to end up in our waterways.

With the UN’s continued focus on combating climate change, there is a large oversight when it comes to its dependence on pharmaceutical contraceptive drugs and devices, and its ignorance of more sustainable, “green,” and zero-waste forms of family planning. In 2019 alone, UNFPA boasts that it provided 1.3 billion male condoms, 16 million female condoms, 66.6 million oral contraceptives (28-day packs), 2.2 million IUDs, 47 million injectables, 9.9 million implants, and 2.9 million emergency contraceptives, with no mention of any provision of fertility awareness method education.

The UN is not alone in its near single-minded push of contraceptives. The World Health Organization also continues to push contraceptives, especially in poor countries, even though the organization recently acknowledged that breast cancer is now the world’s most-diagnosed form of cancer; the organization appears unconcerned about hormonal birth control’s established link to higher risk of breast cancer.

Accessible natural family planning

At the outset of the pandemic, Natural Womanhood realized that couples would need sustainable family planning more than ever. That is why we immediately published numerous articles to encourage women and couples to learn FAM when they might not have access to other forms of family planning. We have also been offering scholarships for women and couples to learn a FAM of their choice—for free. To date, we have awarded ten couples with a FAM scholarship. Some of these couples have admitted to us that without the scholarship, they might have resorted to hormonal contraception against their health preference or moral values, as their economic situation was too tenuous to allow for another child.

Although UNFPA stated in its report that “the situation could have been far worse,” and that “quick action,” “ingenuity,” and “creative efforts” “helped many health systems maintain or restore access to essential health services, including contraceptives,” those efforts were clearly not enough to help the estimated 1.4 million women avoid unplanned pregnancies [5].

 

Excuse me, Ms. We need babies

by Louis T. March

Excuse me, Ms. We need babies

Ms. magazine is the unabashed holy grail of feminism. Right on the masthead it says “More than a Magazine, a Movement.” But just what is feminism? Like many buzz words in our pestilential popular culture, the term is used like a sledgehammer to set the parameters of permissible public discourse. It is a set piece of the PC lexicon that you will fail to understand at your peril.

The Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English Language”, defines feminism as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.”

Over here in the New World, Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” (Interestingly, the American definition holds the prospective feminist to a higher more specific standard, requiring “belief in” as well as “advocacy” and even encouraging activism to boot.) Gloria Steinem, the doyenne of modern feminism, describes a feminist as “anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

Though I may be woefully unwoke otherwise, I have no problem with any of these basic ideas about feminism. It is when feminism spills over into misandrist grousings about “toxic masculinity” and hoked-up narratives of “oppression” that I part company. That is where feminism morphs into something else and is weaponized for political purposes.

But back to Ms. An interesting article just appeared in its pages, headlined: “Stop Panicking—There Are a Lot of Positives to the Baby Bust.” The article was subtitled: “We should celebrate that increased empowerment and equality are leading this trend of slowing growth and reducing pressure on the climate and environment.”

As an avid reader of headlines, I was struck by that one. Its message seemed to be “Relax, the baby bust is a good thing. Having empowerment and equality and not having children are things to be celebrated.”

Shocker: Is Ms. Magazine actually encouraging its readership of young women not to have children? To put it bluntly, oh yes.

Reading the piece, I hear Ms. saying, “The inability of people, particularly people of color, to access basic health care is a crisis. The climate emergency is a crisis. A million wildlife species going extinct in the coming decades is a crisis. People choosing to delay pregnancy or have fewer children is not.”

While a million species of wildlife going extinct soon would certainly be a crisis, the extinction of our own non-wildlife species, Homo sapiens, certainly is a crisis – and it is already underway. This is not mere alarmist rhetoric – it’s a fact. Believe the science! The global total fertility rate has declined a stunning 50% in the last 60 years. In pre-Covid 2020, the rapidly declining total global fertility rate was slightly above 2.4 and falling (2.1 being replacement level). And that was before the Covid baby bust. While I don’t mean to spoil the empowerment party, I’ll just say that today’s fast-falling fertility rate is nothing to celebrate.

The 2020 Lancet world fertility study projects global population peaking at approximately 9.73 billion in 2064 and declining to 8.79 billion by 2100 – a decline of more than 9% decline in just 31 years. And the rate of decline beyond that is projected to accelerate. While most demographic groups (with the exception of White American males) are living longer and thus slowing population decline, as fertility declines, each succeeding generation will shrink and will bear fewer children and have more elderly to support. The crisis is like a snowball rolling downhill, growing larger and picking up speed as it goes. Already China, Hungary, Russia and other countries are desperately promoting social and financial incentives to halt the decline. Their results thus far are mixed.

Demographers tell us that fertility tends to dip in times of war or pandemic, but the sustained decline in fertility we are now experiencing – over the past six decades – is unprecedented. Yet Ms. says, “Even as our population growth slows, our outsized consumption patterns and reckless industrial growth in the Global North continue to destroy the planet.”

I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Global North” of late. Those who toss the term about are usually talking about exploitative Whites and workaholic East Asians. These are said to be the populations that “continue to destroy the planet.” (Isn’t that racist?) At the risk of being sent to the Unwoke Gulag, I would say that it is folks in the Global North that drive the world economy, and in so doing, much improve the lives of folks in the Global South. The birth dearth is the worst in the Global North, where every major country has been saddled with below-replacement-level fertility for decades.

Ms. wraps the discussion, saying: “By focusing on the positive outcomes like sustainable fertility rates and empowering women, we can shift our perspective to embrace slowing population growth as a good thing and a way to create lasting change. The baby bust is not a signal of societal collapse but a positive indicator that we are getting closer to a sustainable, equitable world.”

This is so shortsighted.

To credibly assess any trend, considering the long-term consequences is essential. First, we do not have sustainable fertility rates, and we won’t see them anytime soon, if ever. The decades-long, unprecedented decline in fertility means unstoppable population decline. Our future could consist of a quasi-dystopia where there are fewer empowered women (and compliant men), so the burden of doing the jobs society needs will fall on fewer people. Elder care will be a big one. Artificial intelligence cannot fill the gap. And if countries resort to mass immigration to do the work, they risk the rise of a diversity dictatorship, and social cohesion will become a thing of the past, as in the United States today.

Personal finances, lack of religious faith and no confidence in the future are often cited as reasons for not having children. But not reproducing for purposes of individual comfort or convenience or ideological commitment pits personal preference against the survival of the species. It is that simple, and a choice must be made.

But what young magazine reader thinks of that, especially when she’s told she has a shot at Empowerment?

Shouldn’t Women Be Able to Control Their Own Bodies?

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The battle over “my body, my choice” is not new; it has been raging over a century. A cartoon in the May 1919 issue of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review shows a woman being crushed by a giant roll of paper labeled “Laws Controlling Women’s Bodies.” Another offensive but equally common slogans pro-abortionists use are variations are the indignant demand “What makes you religious fanatics think you can tell me what to do with my uterus?,” and the tiresome chant “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

 

Interestingly, the first person to make the “woman’s body, woman’s choice” argument for abortion was the libertine and reprobate Marquis de Sade. His sexual writings actually inspired the word “sadism,” and he was, not surprisingly, guilty of blasphemy against the Catholic Church. In 1797, he wrote:

The penalty against child-murdering mothers is an unexampled atrocity. Who then has a greater right to dispose of the fruit than she who carries it in her womb? … To interfere with the usage a woman chooses to make of it is stupidity carried beyond any conceivable extreme.1

Let’s examine the science that disproves these claims.

What Should Be Our Pro-Life Response?

To begin with, it is impossible to reply directly to this slogan unless we have the user clarify what he or she means by it. We need to do is ask, “Why do you consider the unborn child to be a part of the woman’s body?”

The usual response is momentary hesitation, followed by one of three possible answers;

  1. The fetus (unborn child) relies on the mother completely for its existence;
  2. The fetus is inside her body, therefore it is part of her body; or
  3. The fetus is a parasite.

You can give concise and effective answers to each of these.

(1)  The unborn child relies on the mother

When asked to clarify, most pro-abortionists will argue that the unborn baby is totally dependent upon the mother. They are implying that this allows the mother the “right” to dispose of her baby.

These are separate arguments and should be treated as such. Certainly a newborn baby is just as dependent upon its parents for all of its needs as one not yet born, and will quickly die if not cared for. Does this mean that the newborn baby can be neglected or killed outright? As we see today in the infanticide debate regarding failed abortions where the child is born alive, the inevitable conclusion to draw if one is pro-abortion is affirmative. Some “intellectuals” have been arguing for decades that it is perfectly permissible to allow handicapped children to die, calling this “fourth-trimester abortion” or “post-natal abortion.” Moving the goal post means more and more killing is inevitable.

For example, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of DNA, actually claimed that “no newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment, and that if it fails these tests, it forfeits the right to live.”2 Hastings Center ethicist Joseph Fletcher has said, “It is ridiculous to give ethical approval to the positive ending of sub‑human life in utero, as we do in therapeutic abortions, but refuse to approve of positively ending a sub‑human life in extremis [after birth].”3

baby sleeping black and white

The pro-life answer is simple rebuttal. Every child who is born healthy is already entitled to care under the pain of prosecution for murder. And that baby, too, is completely dependent, so the argument is a non sequitur.

(2)  The unborn child is inside the mother

The second assertion is that the unborn child is inside his or her mother, and is therefore part of her body.

Sometimes a pro-abortionist will also claim that the unborn child is inside the mother, depends on her completely, and is therefore part of her body. We can reply by describing an analogous situation involving astronauts in space.  They are totally dependent upon their vessel for everything — their air, water, food, and all other needs. If they should exit the vehicle unprotected, they would be nonviable, and would die in minutes. This also holds true for a nonviable unborn baby. Yet no thinking person would argue that the astronauts are part of a space station!

Even the staff of Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history, recognized the unborn child as a separate human being. Pregnant women entering the White House must formally register their unborn children as separate visitors, with “Baby” as the first name, expected birth date, sex if known, and even “000-00-0000” as a Social Security number!

This silly policy demonstrates the totally illogical and schizophrenic nature of pro-abortion “thinking.”

(3)  The unborn child as parasite

Pro-abortionists have a pressing need to dehumanize the unborn child in order to salve the guilt they feel when they support the practice of abortion or actually have one. Sometimes they will resort to the “fetus as parasite” argument, going beyond dehumanization to paint the unborn child as some sort of disgusting wormlike abomination draining the blood and life force from its “host.”

Third-trimester abortionist Warren Hern insists in his book Abortion Practice, “The relationship between the gravid female and the feto-placental unit can be understood best as one of host and parasite.”4

When pro-abortionists insist that the unborn child is a parasite, they are acknowledging its separate nature, because parasites are never part of their host’s body. They are biologically separate and distinct organisms. Anyone denying this fact is simply being anti-scientific.

 

One way to clarify your point is to ask the pro-abortionist a question.  If they went to some underdeveloped part of the world and picked up a tapeworm because they ate some insufficiently cooked food, would they consider that parasite to be a part of their body?

Woman and Child: Separate Bodies, Separate People

If an unborn baby were part of its mother’s body, it would share all of her biological characteristics. Yet the baby even has its own distinct DNA.

In order to highlight the fact that the baby is a separate being, consider these facts, which not even the most ignorant pro-abortionist can deny:

  • All mothers are obviously female. About half of their children are male. How can a human being be both male and female?
  • The mother and baby frequently have different blood types.
  • The baby can be a different race from the mother.
  • Every cell in the mother’s body has a set of chromosomal characteristics that is entirely distinct from every cell in the baby’s body.
  • When the unborn child anchors to the uterine wall, there is a concerted attack by white blood cells to defeat him, and he must defend himself. The mother’s immune system recognizes it as “non-self.”  Therefore, it is not part of her body.
  • The baby can die without the mother dying. The mother can die without the baby dying (the baby can be rescued if he is viable).
  • The unborn baby initiates a process that culminates in its leaving the mother’s body. Challenge a pro-abortionist to name any other body organ that does this.

Conclusion

Pro-lifers agree that a woman does indeed have the right to manage her own health.  However, maintaining that right does not allow the mother to destroy her child’s body. When she conceived, she had already passed the right to life on to that new life.

Endnotes

  1. The Marquis de Sade, quoted in “Yet another Effort, Frenchmen.” Juliette [New York City: Grove Paperbacks, Inc., 1968], pages 336, 782 and 783.  It is interesting to note that de Sade’s novels were replete with several recurring themes, one of the strongest of which was the pleasure which certain disturbed individuals derive from killing both pregnant women and unborn children. In one of his grisly and deranged novels, he describes with great relish the skewering of a pregnant woman with a red hot iron rod driven through both her and her unborn baby, as described in Dr. Kenneth M. Mitzner. “The Abortion Culture.” Triumph, March 1973, pages 20 to 24.
  2. Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick. Pacific News Service, January 1978.
  3. Hastings Center ethicist Joseph Fletcher. “Four Indicators of Humanhood?:  The Enquiry Matures.”  Hastings Center Report, December 1974.
  4. Abortionist Warren Hern. Abortion Practice.  B. Lippincott Company, 1984.

Experts condemn gestational surrogacy as harmful to children, exploitative to women

 

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C., C-Fam) The state of New York quietly adopted a measure to make commercial surrogacy legal, raising objections by women’s rights and anti-trafficking groups.  Meanwhile, Russia’s parliament is moving to restrict its own booming surrogacy industry.  In a recent webinar hosted by C-Fam, experts in international surrogacy raised concerns about its harms to women and children and positioned the ongoing debate in the context of international human rights standards.

Surrogacy is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry, and while only a handful of countries explicitly allow commercial surrogacy, its legal status in other countries is ambiguous or exists in a legal vacuum.

According to scholar and Marie Curie Fellow Daniela Bandelli, surrogacy couples and individuals who want children, and are willing to pay a considerable cost to have them, and women who need money.  “It is quite a risky activity,” said Bandelli, both for the mother, who is at higher risks of pregnancy and birth complications than those who conceive naturally, and for the child, who is deprived of physical contact, including breastfeeding, “with this person we usually call the mother.”  The key question, says Bandelli, is “are women aware of all the risks they face in participating in the surrogacy industry?”

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, is an advocate for surrogacy abolition and creator of several documentary films highlighting the abuses that occur in the fertility industry.  She contrasted the positions of those who, like her, believe there is no way that surrogacy can be practiced safely and ethically, and those who believe that it is better that surrogacy be legalized and regulated.

Lahl spoke about the harms experienced by surrogate mothers in the United States, including three who died from complications of the process.  “We never want to forget that there are real human beings behind what can seem like a philosophical conversation about helping people build families.”

If such tragedies are occurring in the comparatively wealthy U.S. the plight of surrogates in the developing world is even more troubling.  Emmanuele di Leo, president of the Steadfast Foundation, has documented the growing “reproduction-for-hire” industry in Nigeria, where young women and girls are recruited—by the same methods used to recruit women into prostitution—in poor villages and housed in “baby-factories.”

In all of these cases, the demand for surrogates often originates abroad, and arrangements are conducted through private surrogacy agencies.  While few international organizations have taken a stand against the practice, including the European Parliament, most have either remained silent or, in the case of a growing number of UN experts, appeared to favor taking a more liberal approach.

joint paper presented by C-Fam, Steadfast, and Bandelli’s project WoMoGeS points out that any defense of surrogacy would require watering down the right of the child to know and be cared for by his or own parents, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  C-Fam’s Director of Legal Studies, Stefano Gennarini, argued that this violates established standards for interpreting human rights obligations.

“As any human rights lawyer knows, human rights must be read as broadly as possible, and they must be restricted as little as possible.”

Editor’s Note: Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (https://c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.

Parents receiving a fetal disability diagnosis deserve hope and support

 

A recent Reuters article told the story of an anonymous 29-year-old Polish woman impacted by Poland’s recent ban on abortions for cases of fetal abnormality. The woman, referred to as Paulina, learned at an unspecified point in her pregnancy that her preborn child did not have kidneys and would be unlikely to survive after birth. The distraught mother was quoted as saying, “Everyone says that the reward after the pain of birth is holding your child in your hands. I would have nothing. I would give birth to a dead child, and that pain would be a thousand times worse.”

Eventually, Paulina found several healthcare professionals who, instead of equipping her with counseling and resources and support, were willing to assert that the fetal diagnosis was causing such a deterioration in her mental health as to qualify her for the “life of the mother” exception to Poland’s abortion ban. Sadly, she went through with the abortion.

Abortion is not a ‘treatment’

While abortion might seem to “stop the bleeding” by ending a pregnancy and seemingly also ending the emotional pain associated with the loss of a child before or shortly after birth, abortion is not a “treatment” for fetal abnormality.

Research suggests that women who choose to abort in such cases have worse mental health outcomes than those who carry their pregnancies to term. This makes sense, as abortions for cases of fetal diagnosis are inherently discriminatory and eugenicist, penalizing the weak and the sick. These discriminatory abortions strike at the heart of the natural bond of love and protection that grows between a mother and her preborn child, severing that connection.

The false dichotomy

The Reuters article mistakenly posited that Paulina had only two options after receiving a poor prenatal diagnosis: either choose to carry the pregnancy, soldiering on alone and emotionally broken, or have an abortion and presumably stop the emotional pain.

But this dichotomy is false, because abortion does not magically resolve the emotional pain of receiving an adverse fetal diagnosis, and in fact compounds that pain with the memory of permitting an act of violence against the defenseless preborn person. From a physical health and safety perspective, women often do not learn of fetal abnormalities until their second-trimester, when morbidity and mortality rates from abortion increase dramatically.

Furthermore, women like Paulina need not soldier on alone through a challenging pregnancy.

As Live Action News has previously reported, many life-affirming options such as perinatal hospices exist in Poland to help women bond with their preborn children, walking alongside them every step of the way, ensuring that they feel supported, not alone. Women who bear the heavy emotional burden of receiving such challenging news deserve to have full information about their baby’s diagnosis, treatment options, and resources for emotional, material, and financial support. Often, they are given little or incomplete information and instead are encouraged or even pressured to abort their sick children.

Instead, parents deserve to be surrounded with love and buoyed by hope.

Why the Church Protects Human Sexuality and Marriage

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A few days ago the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) somehow captured global headlines for doing something that is not particularly noteworthy, and certainly not surprising.

In a brief statement – called a Responsum – the CDF responded to a question about whether or not the Church can offer “blessings” to same-sex unions. The carefully-worded answer was, in brief, “no.” “[T]he Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” concludes the statement.

In other words, the CDF reiterated, once again, what the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught for the past 2,000-plus years: Marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. Since the Church cannot bless sin, neither can it bless unions that are predicated upon sinful behavior.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. The Church’s teaching on marriage and the sexual act has been consistent throughout its history and is well-known to most people. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, quite unambiguously: “The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion.” (CCC 2390)

However, to read the many media reports on the Vatican’s statement, you would think that the CDF had done something very shocking indeed. Many spoke of a “ban” on blessing same-sex unions, as if the Church had come up with some harsh new rule specifically targeting individuals with homosexual inclinations.

To read the statement, however, is to wonder what the fuss is about. The CDF merely notes, with gentle wording, that the only moral use of the sexual act is within a marriage between a man and a woman open to life, and that blessings, as sacramentals, cannot be conferred on sinful sexual relationships. It reminds pastors that “men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Because of the Church’s great care and respect for human dignity and each individual person, the CDF adds that it “does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”

Furthermore, this “ban” does not exclusively target homosexual couples. The same approach would also apply to heterosexual couples in adulterous, fornicating, or polygamous relationships. Regardless of how much the people in such relationships love one another, their misuse of the gift of the sexual act means that the Church cannot endorse their relationship with a blessing.

As the CDF statement explains:

[W]hen a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.

For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.

Rebellion Within the Church

On the one hand, I am quite encouraged by the CDF statement, which, while pastorally sensitive, is also unambiguous in its teaching.

In recent years powerful lobby groups, both within and without the Church, have been pushing for the Church to change its teachings on sexuality and marriage. At times, Pope Francis has seemed to indicate sympathy towards some of these efforts, something that I have found quite troubling. In a documentary released last year, for instance, the Holy Father appeared to endorse the idea of legalized “civil unions” for homosexual couples – something that the CDF under Cardinal Ratzinger had clearly said could not be supported (“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” the CDF said in that 2003 statement). Whether justified or not, many people expected the Pope, or the Vatican, to soon go one step further, offering a formal endorsement of same-sex unions.

The fact that the CDF published such a clear statement, and that it was approved for publication by Pope Francis, is proof that whatever the forces pressuring the Church, the Holy Spirit is still guarding Her, and ensuring the preservation of true doctrine.

On the other hand, the reaction to the statement is deeply concerning, portending troubling times ahead. Unfortunately, it is not only the usual suspects outside the Church who are openly criticizing the statement – i.e., the secularist media and left-wing pressure groups. Many within the Church, including priests and bishops, are also openly criticizing the statement.

In Germany, 60 priests signed a statement saying they will defy the CDF, and bless same-sex couples. Another 350 priests in Austria signed a similar statement. Both of those statements used similar wording, saying that the priests will “continue” to bless such unions – highlighting the fact that many priests in Europe are already openly defying Church teaching. Another statement condemning the CDF responsum was signed by 230 theologians in Germany and elsewhere.

And it isn’t only priests that are signaling their dissent. Several bishops have also indicated their intent to pursue a different path, regardless of what the CDF says. “I feel ashamed for my Church. I mainly feel intellectual and moral incomprehension,” said Belgian bishop Johan Bonny in a statement. In the U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich, while noting that the responsum said “nothing new” about marriage, also added that it is “understandable” that many people feel “disappointment”. Experienced Vatican watchers are also pointing to the fact that, while Pope Francis apparently approved publication of the statement, he himself did not affix his name to it – possibly suggesting that he has mixed feelings about it.

The boldness of some of these expressions of defiance suggests the existence of an undeclared schism within the church, with a considerable number of priests, bishops, and theologians holding and promoting a position that is wholly out-of-step with the Church’s teaching on a crucial matter.

Reclaiming Church Teaching

The widespread shock and anger found in much of the media reporting, and even from many Catholics, highlights the discouraging fact that many people are deeply confused about what the Church teaches about marriage and the sexual act, and why it teaches what it does. Many people simply view the Church’s teachings as being harsh and judgmental, condemning people who “love” one another for no good reason.

Clearly, our culture is deeply confused about human dignity and the sacredness of marriage and the sexual act, and this confusion has infiltrated the walls of the Church Herself. Where the Church, her ministers, and her faithful should be beacons of light, showing another way forward, a more loving way, all too often we are finding the exact same confusion as in the broader culture.

married couple with rings

I am very grateful that at a time when confusion is reaching such a peak, the CDF’s new statement has provided us with a great opportunity to dispel the many misunderstandings about Church teaching!

Fundamentally, the CDF is upholding the truth about the human person. After all, written into the nature of the human person is a call to union and communion with and between one man and one woman. This union is indissoluble and by its nature procreative, participating in the generation of a new human life. Nature has a plan for human sexuality, and it doesn’t involve homosexual acts.

To “bless” any act contrary to the nature of the human person and the nature of marriage is contradictory. A same-sex couple cannot generate children because the nature of their sexual activity is not capable of procreation. There is no sexual complementarity. Moreover, there are two different kinds of sexual activity that should not be spoken of or treated as if they were the same – the conjugal act between one man and one woman, and a homosexual act.

Sexual intimacy is a mystery that symbolizes marriage and only belongs in marriage. Outside of marriage, conjugal relations are essentially untruthful. In upholding the good of the human person and of marriage, we are opposed to what threatens the context of sexual intimacy – i.e., premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual activity, etc.

Whereas the culture tends to view the modern approach to human sexuality and the sexual act as “broad–minded” and “liberating,” and the Church’s teaching on the same as being excessively “narrow” and “restrictive”, the reality is the exact opposite. The Church’s teaching on these subjects are so broad that they take into account the way the sexual act affects the whole person and impacts not only the people engaged in sexual behavior, but also others around them (especially their children), and society.

The modern approach, on the other hand, reduces the sexual act to a biological transaction that has no intrinsic meaning or purpose, and which is utterly private. This understanding of human sexuality is not only horribly reductionist, stripping the sexual act of much of its beauty and richness, but has also unleashed much suffering – through widespread divorce; the creation of an exploitative dating culture, characterized by mutual use rather than the pursuit of love; the consequent, ubiquitous disenchantment about romance and the possibility of finding true love; an explosion in STDs and out-of-wedlock births; the near-ubiquity of hardcore and degrading pornography, which exploits the actors and actresses, and enslaves many people in addiction, and so on.

The wisdom of the Church’s teaching is in how it captures the totality of what the sexual act is about: not just a source of physical pleasure, or even an expression of love between a couple, but also the means by which humans establish families, and contribute to the health and continuity of society. The Church’s view of sexuality is that the sexual act that is exclusively reserved to married couples is so noble and so powerful, that it must be carefully protected and nourished, integrated within the person, and within society.

The Church, in teaching that the sexual act is reserved for life-long unions of a man and a woman, is not against sex or against love. Instead, the Church is for sex and for love, including love for children, who have a right to be born into a stable union, and to be raised by a mother and a father. The problem with same-sex unions, or other sinful sexual relationships, is not that two people love one another, but that their love is expressed in a way that misuses and reduces the gift of sexuality, and thereby harms themselves and others.

For understandable reasons, this message is not nearly as popular as the message that people should pursue as much sexual pleasure as possible, in whatever ways they want. The good and the true are often not nearly as immediately alluring as the sinful and the untrue. To sin is easy; to be virtuous is hard. Nevertheless, the great saints and sages have always taught the same message: that the hard work involved in living in accordance with the good and the true is worth it. Wisdom is, in large part, the capacity to see through the superficial glitter of sin, and to recognize the subtle, but deep beauty of goodness and virtue.

The Church’s message about human sexuality, marriage and the sexual act, and the call to chastity, is a harder message to sell than the message of the Sexual Revolution. Nevertheless, it is our duty to do our best to find new ways to explain the truth about them, and to set the example ourselves by joyfully living according to this truth. I am grateful to the CDF for holding the line, and giving us some encouragement in this fight.

Women don’t need to fear using natural fertility awareness methods for family planning

 

A February 2021 TIME magazine piece about the Natural Cycles birth control app mimicked the skeptical, gloom-and-doom tone of most mainstream commentaries on fertility awareness-based methods of family planning (FABMs). The article trotted out the same concerns about their potential “inconvenience” and difficulty of use, as well as the claim that “it takes a very specific patient to be a good candidate to use FAMs as contraception.” Fortunately for girls and women seeking a hormone-free alternative to conventional birth control, the facts about modern, evidence-based FABMs of family planning are far different from what potential users are often led to believe.

Myth: FABMs are “inconvenient” and “difficult” to use.

The TIME article quoted a Seattle-based OB/GYN taking issue with Natural Cycles’ utilization of the woman’s waking temperature each day. She stated, “Taking your basal body temperature should be done before you move out of bed in the morning. And depending on how well you wake up, getting that accurate reading is really difficult and usually takes months of practice, because you literally have to do it before you get up to pee or move your body. So you have to reach over and take your temperature and then have the wherewithal to record it as well. It’s difficult for most people to do.”

Portraying the taking and recording of one’s own temperature as “difficult for most people” is arguably an exaggeration, not a statement of medical fact — especially given the simplicity of typing it straight into an app. Why should a woman who is considered capable and motivated enough to take a birth control pill each day be incapable of checking her own temperature?

In a world where women in particular often pay extraordinary detail to the food they consume and the chemicals in the products they use, the “inconvenience” and “difficulty” arguments don’t hold water. Certainly, women have other fertility awareness options that do not require a daily recording of one’s temperature, but automatically assuming that many or most women are incapable of this basic task is patronizing.

Myth: Very few women can use FABMs to successfully prevent pregnancy.

While the TIME article acknowledges Natural Cycles’ admirable effectiveness rate when it comes to pregnancy prevention (93% with typical use, comparable to the birth control pill, and 98% with perfect use), it quotes several medical professionals downplaying the statistics with various what-if scenarios.

One provider states that “If you’re someone who has irregular menses, or sometimes skips periods every other month, or has longer or shorter cycles, then this can make tracking your periods very difficult.” She adds, “An app (like Natural Cycles) does not take into account travel that you might be doing, stress from working night shifts, stress from childcare, stress from being in a COVID-19 pandemic, stress from an argument that you had at work, and all of those things can significantly affect your cycle.” She concludes, “These aren’t things that would necessarily be tracked in a fertility awareness method application, and a particular stress could make the fertility awareness method unsuccessful.”

The article fails to mention that Natural Cycles’ app takes into account the possibility of irregular periods, sickness, and more, and still boasts the effectiveness rate mentioned above. Other evidence-based FABMs also have similar pregnancy prevention rates even given the factors listed above. The single most important factor for pregnancy prevention when using an evidence-based FABM is learning the particular method from a trained instructor, who can answer follow-up questions and help the woman understand her own body as she begins to put what she learned into practice. Certainly there is a learning curve when a woman begins for the first time to get in touch with the natural patterns of her own fertility and infertility, and a trained instructor can help her interpret the signs and identify what she sees.

Here’s the truth: FABMs teach women to get in touch with their own bodies.

At one point, the TIME article accurately captures the beauty of FABMs, quoting a healthcare provider who says, “[FAMs] really allow the patient to become more aware of her own menstrual cycle and have a much greater awareness of her own body and her own fertility in a way that does not necessarily happen if she’s on some type of prescribed contraception.” This is exactly the message that truly pro-life, pro-woman health care communicates.

Women’s bodies are inherently beautiful, not broken, and fertility is actually an indicator of overall health, not a liability or a burden. Learning the natural patterns of fertility and infertility in their own bodies and utilizing that knowledge to plan their families empowers women at their core, in a way that suppressing, altering, or destroying a functioning reproductive system never can

“Big Abortion ally” puts Christ-centred organization commissioned to help women in the crosshairs

The Abortion Pill Rescue Network, a subsidiary of Heartbeat International, is claiming it was targeted last week by a leftist independent global media organization in an effort to discredit their work.

Andrea Trudden, Sr. Director of Communications and Marketing at APRN, notified ifamnews.com via email of openDemocracy’s “deceptive work (which) stole hours of hotline consultants’ time… (preventing) women truly in need from receiving the timely help they deserved.”

APRN had noticed an irregular increase in international calls to their organization, and to Option Line – their 24/7 contact center. Hotline nurses, despite the red flag and the overwhelming number of calls, did not waver in their response and continued to provide the usual compassionate service and care intended for women in genuine need.

APRN’s suspicions were confirmed Monday when openDemocracy contacted Heartbeat International for response to their “findings” of its “investigative report” on the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

The email sent to ifamnews.com also states that Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey had anticipated the ruse the week before. “We know that our team only supplied evidence that we love and care for women as they seek to make the choice to rescue their baby from a chemical abortion,” said Godsey. “The good news? Our team performed excellently.”

“We hear from women every single day who regret taking mifepristone to end a pregnancy and desire a way to continue their pregnancies and rescue their babies,” said Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact at Heartbeat International. “Abortion Pill Rescue Network listens to their requests and offers women real choices even after starting a chemical abortion.”

In a phone call with ifamnews.com’s Robert Siedlecki, Trudden stated the abortion pill reversal process uses doses of progesterone, “a time-tested FDA-approved treatment used for decades to prevent miscarriage and preterm birth.” Regarding openDemocracy’s wave of calls, Trudden also relayed that the callers wanted everything done via email – likely for the purpose of a “paper trail” – as opposed to using normal vehicles like various online chat platforms. What heightened the suspicion was that “a disproportionate number of callers went through the whole process and then suddenly said they didn’t want any help”.

For the online helpers at APRN and Option Line, time is of the essence in helping women in need. From the moment a woman takes the abortion pill, she has about 72 hours to change her mind and save her baby. The Abortion Pill Rescue Network answers more than 150 mission-critical calls a month from women who regret their abortion decision. Statistics show that more than 2,000 lives have been saved (and counting) through the abortion pill reversal protocol.

“The Big Abortion allies at openDemocracy may have grist for their hit piece, but what they really did was distract our good people from the life-saving work APR actually is,” Godsey said. “It will certainly be lost on openDemocracy that their efforts fail women.”

‘Humanae Vitae’ farewell. Here comes the one who will celebrate its funeral

March 18, 2021 (L’Espresso) — Sandro Magister note: Published as received. The author of the commentary, Thibaud Collin, is a professor of philosophy at the Collège Stanislas in Paris and has written important essays on “gender” theory, same-sex marriage, and political secularism. His latest book, from 2018, is entitled: “Le mariage chrétien at-il encore un avenir?”

The starting point for his reflection is the appointment of Philippe Bordeyne, 61, moral theologian, rector of the Institut Catholique of Paris, as president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, replacing PierAngelo Sequeri.

The rotation will take place in September. And it will mark a definitive course reversal for the institute that bears the name of John Paul II, but is increasingly distant from the teaching of the pope who founded it and of his predecessor Paul VI.

The earthquake that rocked the Institute in 2018 was unleashed by its Grand Chancellor, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, on a mandate from Pope Francis and with the visible disagreement of pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

But still there as dean was Sequeri – a theologian of recognized talent and not suspected of conservatism – to courageously keep alive an interpretation of Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae” faithful to its original meaning:
> Surprise. Among the Francis Men Is One Who Is Defending “Humanae Vitae”

But now this last levee has fallen as well. For years Bordeyne has backed the supplanting of that encyclical and the rethinking of the theology of the family, which for him – and in his judgment also for Pope Francis – “by no means ends with the little bourgeois triangle of a father, a mother and children,” but “is the place where each individual grows as a person in relationship,” so that “to despise different families would also be to despise this work of socialization” (interview with “La Croix,” April 8 2016).

Professor Collin’s turn.

But then let’s call it the “Amoris Laetitia” Institute

by Thibaud Collin

The announced appointment of Msgr. Philippe Bordeyne, current rector of the Institut Catholique of Paris, as dean of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute is the last stage of the refoundation carried out by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia and Pope Francis of this institution explicitly desired by St. John Paul II and founded by Carlo Caffarra, the future cardinal. That confirms this refoundation is a real and true revolution.

The rich reflection of the Polish pope on the sexual body, marriage, and the family can be understood as a response to the failure of the reception of St. Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae.” Of course, this document does not touch upon the entirety of those themes, far from it, but it can be considered as the touchstone of the whole doctrine of the Church on sexuality and marriage. The contraceptive mentality that the encyclical opposes is in fact objectively the condition of possibility of the social legitimation of abortion, of the technologies of procreation, and of all LGBTQ demands.

Now, the refoundation of the John Paul II Institute begun a few years ago by Archbishop Paglia, passing through the dismissal of most of its professors and the appointment of theologians such as Maurizio Chiodi and Gilfredo Marengo, clearly no longer takes “Humanae vitae” as touchstone. This document is now seen as too “abstract” and “theoretical”; the status accorded to it makes it only an ideal, even if it is described as “prophetic,” as if it were an ornament set on the mantel as decoration and no longer touched. The appointment of Philippe Bordeyne confirms this paradigm shift. It should be judged on the basis of the facts. Here is what he says in a text written on the occasion of the synods on the family of 2014 and 2015:

The encyclical ‘Humanae vitae’ teaches that natural methods of controlling fertility are the only legitimate ones. However, it must be recognized that the distance between the practice of the faithful and the teaching of the magisterium has grown even wider. Is it simple deafness to the calls of the Spirit or is it the fruit of a work of discernment and responsibility in Christian couples subjected to the pressure of new ways of life? The human sciences and the experience of couples teach us that the relationships between desire and pleasure are complex, eminently personal, and therefore variable according to the couples, and evolve over time and within the couple. Faced with the imperative moral duty to fight against the temptations of abortion, divorce, and the lack of generosity in the face of procreation, it would be reasonable to leave the discernment on birth control methods to the wisdom of couples, placing the emphasis on a moral and spiritual education that would make it possible to fight more effectively against temptations in a context that is often hostile to Christian anthropology.

In this perspective, the Church could admit a plurality of paths for responding to the general call to maintain the openness of sexuality to transcendence and to the gift of life. […] The way of natural methods that involves continence and chastity could be recommended as an evangelical counsel, practiced by Christian couples or not, that requires self-control in periodic abstinence. The other way whose moral legitimacy could be admitted, with the choice entrusted to the wisdom of the spouses, would consist in using non-abortive methods of contraception. If the spouses decide to introduce this medicine into the intimacy of their sex life, they would be encouraged to double their mutual love. Only this latter is capable of humanizing the use of technology, at the service of a human ecology of procreation” (“Synode sur la vocation et la mission de la famille dans l’Eglise et monde contemporain. 26 théologiens répondent,” Bayard, 2015, pp. 197-198).

This quotation is a summary of what a large number of theologians and episcopates have said about the ethical norm recalled by St. Paul VI and founded by St. John Paul II anthropologically in the catecheses on the “theology of the body” and morally in the encyclical “Veritatis splendor.”

But now the circle is closed: the ecclesial spirit of the seventies has ended up conquering Rome! But why has the “distance” been so “widened” if not because most pastors, not having wanted to embrace this good news on birth control, identified as an unbearable burden, never really passed it on to those who had been entrusted to them? At that point why even speak of “deafness” to the calls of the Spirit as if His voice had actually reached the ears of the faithful?

The reality is that most of these have had no inkling of the Church’s doctrine on this issue except from the dominant media. Since the transmission work has not been done, it is not surprising that there has not been assimilation.

It is therefore quite a stretch to say that this document, not having been accepted, needs to be sifted through the human sciences and the “wisdom” of couples. Circular reasoning that allows it to be discreetly cashiered. Making natural birth control the object of a choice reveals that the sacrament of marriage is no longer perceived as oriented towards the holiness to which all the baptized are called.

How can we fail to see that these statements gravely relativize the teaching of the magisterium and mislead couples of good will, who consequently see this ethical norm not as a way to happiness but as an almost inhuman ideal? The doctrine of “Humanae vitae” certainly needs to be embodied in pastoral practice and in a “moral and spiritual education,” but this need not be measured by the human sciences, unable by their nature to grasp the truth of the language of bodies. The purpose of education is adequate subjectivation, meaning the free realization of the true human good.

Pastors and lay people engaged in the pastoral care of marriage must therefore work to make lovable the good to be realized in the free acts through which the spouses signify in the language of the body the truth of their conjugal love. Affirming that the choice of birth control methods should be left to the conscience of couples reveals that the ethical norm is applied externally, without engaging the person as a whole; in short, in a manner that is already technical, a bit as if I were asking myself: “I have to go to that place: do I take the bike or the car?” Hence that very revealing expression which is the “humanization of technology through love,” when instead the very introduction of technology ends up obscuring the gift of self, making the union of bodies a sort of lie, which no longer objectively signifies the communion of spouses. The height of confusion is reached when it is indicated that this humanization of technology must be placed at the service of human ecology!

Only the virtue of chastity, intrinsically linked to the good of conjugal communion and the source of temporary continence while however not being reduced to this, can safeguard, in the unity of the person in body and soul, the truth of love. Only chastity raises the sexual life of the spouses to the height of the value of the person and avoids reducing this to its sexual values alone. In the field of love, technology cannot and will never be able to replace virtue.

Finally, it is amazing to think of contraception as a kind of bulwark against abortion, when all the studies show on the contrary that the advancement of the contraceptive mentality actually encourages abortion, not to mention that today many pills are also abortifacient.

In short, the appointment as manager of a figure like Philippe Bordeyne confirms that the John Paul II Institute, in full hemorrhage of students, should for the sake of intellectual honesty change its name. It could be called, for example, the “Amoris Laetitia” Institute.

3,000+ women report a popular IUD broke in their body, causing complications

https://13wham.com/news/spotlight-on-america/thousands-of-women-claim-a-popular-iud-broke-in-their-body-and-caused-health-complications

WASHINGTON (SBG) — Millions of women use implanted IUDs for contraception. The Food and Drug Administration has approved several brands as a safe and effective form of birth control. But one device, the Paragard IUD, is drawing thousands of complaints and dozens of lawsuits over concerns it can break, leaving women facing surgery and other complications. Now, some health advocates are calling for the FDA to step in and investigate so women can have more information about the device.

Anna Speaks lives in a rural area where she’s surrounded by forest, gardens and scenery. Her connection to nature has always made her careful about what she puts in her body. After her son was born in 2013, Speaks wanted a birth control method that didn’t involve hormones, so she decided to try Paragard. The popular and effective T-shaped IUD gets implanted in the uterus and is approved to stay there as long as 10 years. It is considered the only non-hormonal form of birth control, instead using copper to prevent pregnancy. Approved by the FDA in 1984, Paragard has been on the market since 1988.

Anna Speaks told Spotlight on America that Paragard seemed like a low maintenance, low fuss method. But she says she was never warned by her health care provider that the device could potentially break.

Anna Speaks says her Paragard IUD broke upon removal from her body (Photo: Alex Brauer)

After about five years with the device, Speaks decided to remove the IUD. While Paragard says the removal of its product should be done by a health care professional, there’s debate among experts, with some saying self-removal is safe and often the choice women make who don’t have access to care or insurance — just like Anna.

When Speaks removed the device, she immediately noticed a problem. The T-shaped device was broken and she knew a piece was still inside of her.

“When I realized one of the Ts had broken off, I just kind of started to freak out,” said Anna Speaks, a former Paragard user. “I was panicked. It was devastating, actually.”

Anna Speaks says when she removed her IUD, she immediately realized that a piece was missing (Photo: Anna Speaks)

Panicked, she realized the problem would now require an expensive and traumatic visit to a doctor to try to retrieve the broken piece. Eventually, surgery was required in an attempt to locate the missing fragment, which turned up on an X-ray supplied to Spotlight on America.

Our team discovered breakage like what Speaks experienced is a well-documented, yet little-publicized problem with the Paragard IUD. Spotlight on America dug through thousands of “adverse events” listed in a database known as FAERS – The FDA Adverse Events Reporting System, which tracks problems reported by individuals and health care providers.

According to the voluntary reports filed with the FDA since 2013 regarding Paragard, there have been:

  • 3,186 reports of “device breakage”
  • 1,910 of those events deemed “serious”
  • 102 related reports of hospitalization or life-threatening complications

An exclusive Spotlight on America investigation found 3,000+ reports of Paragard breakage in an FDA database (Photo: Alex Brauer)

Those figures uncovered in our Spotlight on America investigation are attracting new attention from national leaders in women’s health. Cindy Pearson is Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network, an organization that strives to empower women and promote equity in health care.

We shared what we found about the Paragard IUD with Pearson, who told us the complaints are just the tip of the iceberg, since they represent only those that took the time to file a report in a government system that is cumbersome and not well known to the public. The problem with voluntary reporting, Pearson says, is it’s hard to tell how often these issues happen, which specific lot numbers they may be tied to and whether the complication is related to the device or something specific about the individuals using it.

Getting the answers about the source of complications or adverse events after products hit the market can be difficult. Generally, companies are not obligated to look at the long-term effects or complications following FDA approval unless the agency instructs them to act or they voluntarily choose to conduct a study. But Pearson says with more than 3,000 Paragard breakage reports, it’s time for the FDA to take a closer look. “It’s a warning sign that deserves to be investigated,” said Pearson. “The FDA should now step in, investigate and use its authority.” Pearson says the agency could potentially require a study so that women can make an informed choice.

“That’s something that shouldn’t kill the method, it should just inform us,” said Cindy Pearson with the National Women’s Health Network. “If there’s no way to figure out what makes it more likely to break but we’re able to determine it breaks 1 in 25,000 times, then that’s a risk many women would still be willing to take, but we need to know.”

Cindy Pearson, Executive Director of the National Women’s Health Network, says IUDs are a safe & effective birth control method but women should be informed about potential complications

The FDA told Spotlight on America it is not currently requiring any new studies of the Paragard IUD. You can read their complete response to our questions at the bottom of this article.

For now, many impacted women are banding together on social media pages to discuss their experience with Paragard. One community on Facebook has more than 8,000 members, supporting one another by sharing personal stories. Some on the site have shared experiences discussing breakage of Paragard. Pearson says those collective experiences can prove powerful, with the FDA previously taking action on another birth control device, Essure, after a grassroots campaign on social media compelled the agency to look closer at complications. Essure is no longer on the market after advocates spent years highlighting problems with the device.

Health advocates say social media can be a powerful tool to compel the FDA to action, as was the case with the birth control device, Essure (Video: WJLA)

As women wait to see if the FDA will take a closer look, some are taking action in court. Spotlight on America discovered at least 55 recent lawsuits filed in more than 20 states by women who claim Paragard “has a propensity to break upon removal, causing complications and injuries, including surgeries to remove the broken piece of the device, infertility and pain.” The lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Georgia in December 2020 and are awaiting the next step.

Spotlight on America repeatedly tried to contact the maker of Paragard, reaching out by phone, email and even sending direct messages on social media platforms. Our requests to speak with the company were not returned.

Paragard has argued in the past that its warnings about the device are adequate, though you won’t hear any mention of breakage in the listing of potential side effects we found in commercials posted online.

When our team went through the prescribing packet for Paragard, we did find a mention of breakage in the fine print, “Breakage of an embedded Paragard during nonsurgical removal has been reported.” In a later section the company says, “Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of an uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.”

The prescribing information for Paragard notes that because reactions like breakage are reported voluntarily, it is not always possible to determine how often they happen (Photo: SBG)

Anna Speaks says she was unaware of the potential for breakage and never saw a product label. She is sharing her experience, hoping it will help other women make informed choices. She filed a report with the FDA and says she is working with an attorney. Speaks encourages anyone who’s experienced a complication to share their story. “I do think there’s power in that,” Speaks said. “That’s how we create better regulations and how we create more transparency with these companies and help protect women and their bodies.”

If you’ve had experience with Paragard IUD breakage, contact us on Twitter or email us spotlight@sbgtv.com.

An X-Ray image shows a broken piece of the Paragard IUD in Anna Speaks’ uterus (Photo: Anna Speaks)

Spotlight on America reached out to the FDA to see if they are taking any action on Paragard and to get their reaction to criticism of the voluntary reporting system. The full Q&A is below:

1) Is the FDA currently doing any studies or follow-up research when it comes to adverse events involving the Paragard IUD?

Response: The FDA has been monitoring the safety of Paragard, as we do with all approved drug products, and remains committed to informing the public in a timely manner if and when the Agency identifies new safety issues that warrant FDA action. FDA is not currently requiring or requesting any studies on the Paragard intrauterine system. Also see our response to questions 3 and 4 regarding our use of the FAERS database and the strengths and limitations of FAERS.

2) Does the FDA perform any oversight of the manufacturing of the Paragard IUD – including inspections of materials, factory process, etc.?

Response: At the FDA, protecting patient and consumer health is our highest priority. For Paragard and other FDA-approved products, the FDA inspects manufacturing facilities and, when needed, takes action to enforce current good manufacturing quality standards and applicable regulations. When objectionable conditions are identified with manufacturing processes or controls, creating a risk of potentially producing an unsafe product, it’s important that the problems are quickly remedied. When needed, we exercise our regulatory authority commensurate with the assessed risk, including issuing import alerts, warning letters, and in the most serious cases, working with firms as they recall drugs, seizing drugs in commerce or enjoining manufacturers to prevent further violations. We continue to remain vigilant in our compliance and enforcement work, and we’ve taken a number of actions already this year. These actions are key parts of our commitment to ensure high-quality manufacturing, and to make sure Americans have confidence in the quality of products sold in the U.S.

3) Is there a threshold for the number of complaints to the FAERS database before the FDA will re-examine a drug?

Response: There is no specific threshold for the number of reports required before FDA will reexamine a drug. The FDA is monitoring the safety of Paragard, as we do with all approved drug products, and remains committed to informing the public in a timely manner if and when the agency identifies new safety issues that warrant FDA action. The reports in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) database are routinely evaluated by FDA staff to monitor the safety of products after approval. On a weekly basis, FDA reviewers monitor individual spontaneous adverse event reports from the FAERS database. These staff also routinely monitor other sources of data, such as published literature and mandatory periodic safety reports from manufacturers. This information is collectively reviewed to inform whether regulatory action, such as labeling changes or other FDA communications, are needed. Additional information on postmarketing safety is available here.

Healthcare professionals, consumers, and manufacturers submit reports to FAERS. FDA receives voluntary reports directly from healthcare professionals (such as physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and others) and consumers (such as patients, family members, lawyers, and others). Healthcare professionals and consumers may also report to the products’ manufacturers. If a manufacturer receives a report from a healthcare professional or consumer, they are required to send the report to FDA as specified by regulations.

While FDA relies on the FAERS database as a drug safety surveillance tool after a product is approved and marketed, there remain limitations to the data that you should consider.

  • FAERS data by themselves are not an indicator of the complete safety profile of a drug.
  • Duplicate and incomplete reports are in the system: There are many instances of duplicative reports and some reports do not contain all the necessary information.
  • Existence of a report does not establish causation: For any given report, there is no certainty that a suspected drug caused the reaction.
  • Information in reports has not been verified: Submission of a report does not mean that the information included in it has been medically confirmed.
  • Rates of occurrence cannot be established with reports: The information in these reports cannot be used to estimate the incidence (occurrence rates) of the reactions reported or be used to make comparisons between products.
  • Differential reporting for one product over another may occur: Reasons for this include the time the product has been on the market, publication of literature reports related to an adverse event, and publicity surrounding the product or adverse event.

4) Because the FAERS database is voluntary, critics have asserted that it does not provide a complete picture of potential adverse reactions (i.e., It does not compel medical providers to report adverse events, which would help glean specific information about the frequency of specific issues, etc.) How does the FDA respond to that criticism?

Response: While there are limitations to FAERS (see response to Question #3), there are also notable strengths. FAERS data are particularly useful for identifying new (i.e., unexpected), rare, serious adverse events that are temporally associated with a product for which the background rate of events is low. Such adverse events are often not observed in the premarketing trials because these trials are limited in the number of patients, the types of patients included, and the duration of treatment. In addition, the spontaneous adverse event reports in FAERS can further refine or characterize a known adverse event.

As also noted in our response to Question #3, in addition to FAERS, other sources of postmarketing data are utilized to monitor and assess adverse events in the post-market setting.

Scientists Want to Kill More Unborn Babies for Unproven Embryonic Stem Cell Research

During the Great Stem Cell debate, “the scientists” said they “only” wanted to be able to create and experiment on embryos up to 14 days of development, when cells begin to differentiate. Of course, at the time they couldn’t maintain them for longer than 14 days, so nothing was actually limited.

Now that they can, they plan to ditch the “14 day rule” as it is called — actually, it is a guideline since it isn’t legally binding — promulgated by the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

From the MIT Technology Review story:

For the last 40 years, this voluntary guideline has served as an important stop sign for embryonic research. It has provided a clear signal to the public that scientists wouldn’t grow babies in labs. To researchers, it gave clarity about what research they could pursue.

Now, however, a key scientific body is ready to do away with the 14-day limit. The action would come at a time when scientists are making remarkable progress in growing embryonic cells and watching them develop. Researchers, for example, can now create embryo-like structures starting even from stem cells, and some hope to follow these synthetic embryo models well past the old two-week line.

And after that? Once embryos can be gestated in artificial uteruses, why not go to one month, three months, or six months? Hell, why not up to the point of birth? These are developing human beings, but there will always be a utilitarian excuse! Vermont has already passed a law that states no embryo or fetus has any rights of their own that have to be respected.

Much of this is learning how to engage eugenic manipulations:

Scientists are motivated to grow embryos longer in order to study — and potentially manipulate — the development process. But such techniques raise the possibility of someday gestating animals outside the womb until birth, a concept called ectogenesis.

According to [bioethicist Tetsuya] Ishii, new experiments “might ignite abortion debates,” especially if the researchers develop human embryos to the point where they take on recognizable characteristics like a head, beating heart cells, or the beginning of limbs.

Just know this: All of these talks of “limits” and “ethical boundaries” are a big con. Guidelines will not protect against abuse because those in charge will keep changing the guidelines.

And people wonder why there is so much distrust of our institutions.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Brain Health & Development

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Brain Health & Development

Earlier this year, we started a “Reasons Women Need Periods” series putting a spotlight on how women’s periods play a crucial role in other elements of women’s health. We talked about the importance of endogenous (i.e., naturally occurring) hormones and healthy cycles for immune system maturation, bone health, and heart and blood pressure regulation. Today we’re turning to the biggest and baddest organ of all—the brain.

Our noggin uses over 20% of our energy, making it the most “expensive” organ we have. And, you guessed it, our reproductive hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone) have really important effects on the brain. Brain health is another reason why you need a period—and therefore ovulation, and the healthy hormone production that makes your cycle possible.

Your brain and your hormones need each other

The first important thing to note is that steroid hormones (primarily estrogen and progesterone) are synthesized in the central and peripheral nervous system. This means they cross the blood-brain barrier and have organizational effects on the brain. Estrogen generates plasticity in the brain and improves cognitive function while progesterone regulates glial cells and promotes mood stabilization [1]. Before you think about these two hormones as independent players, they are anything but. If the effects of these hormones are not experienced in a balanced and cyclical way, the neuroprotective factors they are supposed to provide vanish.

In the first portion of our cycle (the follicular phase), estrogen is king. Or should I say—queen. As the dominant follicle in your ovary gears up for ovulation and grows, it produces increasing amounts of estrogen. This estrogen increases serotonin receptor levels as well as dopamine synthesis. This boils down to an increase in neuron excitability. These stimulated neurons increase structural plasticity of dendritic spines in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. Neuron excitability often translates to general feelings of an upbeat mood, increased energy levels, and improved verbal and lingual skills.

In the second portion of our cycle (the luteal phase), progesterone sweeps in and takes the stage. Progesterone is estrogen’s foil character. Instead of stimulating brain cells, it heals and maintains them by inhibiting dopamine-induced glutamate release. In this therapeutic phase, women often report mellowness in mood, decreased anxiety, and even more maternal tendencies. This is all thanks to GABA, the most inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Progesterone (and allopregnanolone, which comes from progesterone) potentiates GABAergic synapses [2]. If there’s no progesterone, there’s no GABA. And interestingly, GABA has been shown in early studies to be an effective treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) [3].

Teens need their cycles for proper brain development

Have you ever wondered why teenagers and young adults seem to make more brash decisions and seem less grounded with risk assessment? It’s because quite literally, their brains—or more accurately, their prefrontal cortices—can’t process risk until they have fully matured. This full maturation usually occurs in the mid-twenties. Exposure to endogenous and balanced hormones (which occurs through regular ovulation and menstruation) throughout the teenage and young adult years helps develop and protect the brain. Without ovulation, the brain doesn’t have the same chance to mature. And even better, maturation under healthy endogenous hormones can help retain brain plasticity better for women after menopause.

Brain fog and depression: Birth control’s effects on the brain

You may think that the hormones in hormonal contraception have the same effect on brain health as endogenous hormones do. Unfortunately, the synthetic alternatives of estrogens and progesterone found in birth control have been shown to decrease serotonin concentrations and increase hepatic sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). In effect, this makes your naturally occurring sex hormones harder for your body to utilize.

This could be also why women on hormonal contraception have been shown to have a decreased hypothalamus, “which helps regulate essential bodily functions including body temperature, mood, appetite, sex drive, sleep cycles and heart rate [4].” A smaller hypothalamus is connected with increased irritability and depression symptoms. Additionally, “synthetic estrogen and progestins in OCs may decrease cortical thickness bilaterally in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and in the posterior cingulate cortex” which can permanently alter certain pathways of cognitive function in women [5].

It’s well documented that the pill (and any of its relations, including the patch, the vaginal ringthe implant, the shot, and the hormonal IUD) comes with an increased risk of depression and mood disorders. Additionally, many women report “foggy brain” as a side effect of hormonal birth control. Some women don’t realize the symptom of brain fog until they get off birth control, and many women report feelings of “seeing in color for the first time” after returning to their cycles post-birth control. This is all related to the way the endocrine system acts on the brain. When you look at the bigger picture of how these synthetic hormones not only alter brain organization, but also rob the brain of exposure to endogenous hormones, these risks start to make sense.

You’re not crazy—your thoughts and feelings are very much tied to your hormones!

The Pill and your stress response—or lack thereof

Another glaring contrast in pill-taking brains as opposed to non-Pill-taking brains is the stress response, or rather the lack thereof.

As the author of the 2019 book This is Your Brain on Birth ControlDr. Sarah Hill puts it:

“For almost three decades now, researchers have been documenting that women on the birth control Pill lack the cortisol response to stress. Pill-taking women exhibit higher than average levels of total cortisol, high levels of corticosteroid binding globulins (CBGs), and dysregulated responses to exogenously administered cortisol. This is significant because these patterns are typically only observed when the body becomes so overwhelmed with cortisol, signaling that it has no choice but to shut the signal down, altogether.”

“We should all be alarmed by the fact that the stress hormone profiles of women who are on the birth control pill look more like those belonging to trauma victims than they do like those belonging to otherwise healthy young women [6],” Hill exhorts.

When women’s bodies naturally ovulate and menstruate, women’s brains are enabled to mature, improve, and maintain cognitive function, and even protect their future neuroplasticity. When they take synthetic hormones that disrupt these natural reproductive processes, these brain developments are inhibited.

So, do you need a period? The answer lies in how much we care about women’s overall health as the interconnected ecosystem that it is—where hormone health affects heart health, immune system health, bone health, and now we can add brain health to the list. Since ovulation and menstruation have lifelong effects on cognitive function—which can affect how you interact with yourself and others in the world—there is a compelling case that these are vital aspects of women’s health.

References: 

[1] Del Río J, Alliende M, Molina N, Serrano F, Molina S, Vigil P. Steroid Hormones and Their Action in Women’s Brains: The Importance of Hormonal Balance. Front Public Health. 2018;6. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00141

[2] Boero G, Porcu P, Morrow A. Pleiotropic actions of allopregnanolone underlie therapeutic benefits in stress-related disease. Neurobiol Stress. 2020;12:100203. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100203

[3] Hantsoo L, Epperson C. Allopregnanolone in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Evidence for dysregulated sensitivity to GABA-A receptor modulating neuroactive steroids across the menstrual cycle. Neurobiol Stress. 2020;12:100213. doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2020.100213

[4] Study finds key brain region smaller in birth control pill users. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191204090819.htm. Published 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020.

[5] Petersen N, Touroutoglou A, Andreano J, Cahill L. Oral contraceptive pill use is associated with localized decreases in cortical thickness. Hum Brain Mapp. 2015;36(7):2644-2654. doi:10.1002/hbm.22797

[6] Hill S. This Is Your Brain On Birth Control. New York, NY: Avery; 2019.

Ten-year study shows legalized abortion does not improve maternal mortality

 

Restrictions on abortion do not lead to an increase in women dying due to a lack of “safe” abortions, according to a new study highlighted by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).

In a recent tweet, AAPLOG cited a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open, which examined maternal mortality in 32 Mexican states over a 10-year period, between 2002 and 2011. The study began by acknowledging the pro-abortion argument that “the legal status of abortion … is a factor that influences maternal health.” They also acknowledged the common argument that restrictions on abortion are thought to lead to “clandestine, or illegal, or unsafe abortions” leading to an increase in maternal deaths.

But instead of discovering data in support of that argument, the study instead found that “states with less permissive abortion legislation exhibited lower MMR [maternal mortality rates]” (emphasis added) than those where abortion laws are more permissive. In other words, pro-life restrictions on abortion did not result in higher maternal mortality rates.

Even in Mexican states that enacted constitutional amendments outlawing abortion, women’s health did not suffer: “No evidence of deleterious or beneficial effect [on maternal mortality] was found for the presence of constitutional amendments protecting the unborn over a 4-year study period.”

To be clear, the Mexico study’s authors did not find evidence that abortion restrictions were the cause of better maternal outcomes. Independent variables between the states explained most of the differences in outcomes. As AAPLOG’s tweet pointed out, “non-legislative factors (female literacy, birth weight, skilled attendance at birth, clean water, etc.) were leading causes” in the lower maternal mortality rates in the states with more abortion restrictions.

An attempted rebuttal published in the noted pro-abortion journal Contraception sought to undermine the Mexico study’s conclusions by attacking the authors’ use of the underlying data, while also engaging in ad hominem attacks. The paper claimed the Mexico study’s authors “have failed to respond to anti-abortion ‘junk science,’ which influences policy in the region,” claims an excerpt in Retraction Watch.

Yet the critique did not hold up to scrutiny. “Sincerely, I don’t know how our study is ‘influencing’ policies in the region, and of course I don’t consider our work as ‘junk science’,” said Elard Koch, the main author of the Mexico study. After an examination of the data and counter-argument in the paper, Koch pointed out a major statistical error in key calculations of the rebuttal that undermined the published conclusions. The flaws in the Contraception article were serious enough that the editors were forced to issue a public retraction.

The finding that abortion restrictions do not cause higher mortality rates deals a blow to a common line of argument for abortion activists. The notion that maternal health suffers when abortion restrictions are enacted is a narrative that abortion activists often trot out in response to the enactment of new pro-life laws. In 2019, in response to Georgia’s heartbeat bill, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “When anti-choice politicians limit access to reproductive care, women die.” She argued that “we must continue to fight the new wave of six-week abortion bans that make women collateral damage for extremist views.”

The misperception about abortion and maternal mortality has its origins in a big lie told by early abortion activists. In the years leading up to the legalization of abortion, abortion activists like Dr. Bernard Nathanson (one of the founders of NARAL) disseminated false statistics about the number of women dying each year from illegal abortions, as Live Action News has reported. The widely cited figure — that 5,000 to 10,000 women were dying each year from back-alley abortions — was a deliberate fabrication designed to advance the pro-abortion agenda. Dr. Nathanson, who later became pro-life, admitted to fabricating this number because it was a “nice, round, shocking figure.”

The Mexico study correlates with historical analyses of maternal mortality in the 20th century. As a Live Action Pro-Life Replies video notes, maternal mortality in the United States dropped precipitously in the decades prior to the legalization of abortion, and not as a result of legalized abortion. It was the advent of antibiotics like sulfa and penicillin in the mid-20th century, not abortion legalization, that resulted in the dramatic reduction of maternal mortality rates.

Current maternal mortality rate comparisons between countries further refute abortion activists’ arguments. Countries like Poland and Malta — which have tight abortion restrictions — have lower mortality rates, at three and nine deaths per 100,000 live births respectively, while the U.S. rate stands at 17 deaths per 100,000 according to the latest data, as Vox reported.

If the Mexico study is right, then the remedy for maternal mortality is not permissive abortion legislation, and abortion activists need to stop using a deceptive narrative to further their cause. By doing so, they prevent us from getting at the real solutions to maternal mortality, as identified by the Mexico study: the “non-legislative factors,” or medical, social, and educational variables, that were shown to have a causal effect on maternal mortality rates.

What you need to know about fetal cell lines and vaccines

Dr. Marissa Brand

March 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The first vaccine in the United States to use an aborted fetal cell line in its production was the MMR vaccine in 1979. Currently in the United States there are many vaccines that contain aborted fetal DNA in the end product of the vaccine, while others use aborted fetal cells in their research and development.

There are four cell lines that are being used in vaccines currently available, including those expected to be available in the next month or two. These four cell lines are MRC-5, WI-38, PER C6, HEK293.

In addition to these cell lines, abortions were also done to obtain RA27/3 for use in the rubella vaccine. The rubella vaccine alone is the result of at least 99 abortions (32 for WI-38 and 67 for RA27/3). Yes, they came from abortions, not babies who died naturally in the womb.

The baby has to be alive when the tissues are taken. Otherwise, they are unusable.

MRC-6 and Wi-38 are both from the 1960s. PER C6 is from 1985, while HEK293 is from 1972. There are other aborted fetal cell lines that exist, but are not currently being used for vaccines.

The most recent aborted fetal cell line is from 2015 (Walvax2). This particular cell line is the result of 9 abortions.

Of those vaccines that are currently FDA-approved, all of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), hepatitis a, and chickenpox vaccines, including any combination vaccines for these illnesses, use aborted fetal cell lines. One of the shingles vaccine brands and one of the rabies vaccines also use aborted fetal cells.

As for experimental COVID injections, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca both use aborted fetal cell lines on which to grow the virus for their vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna, for their COVID-19 injections, used the aborted fetal cell line HEK293 for the research and development of their vaccines.

With the exception of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the others do contain aborted fetal DNA in the end product. It is next to impossible to remove all of the DNA from the virus grown in the aborted fetal cell lines. In fact, independent research has found levels as high as 142 to 2000 ng per dose, despite the FDA and WHO recommending limits of 10ng per dose.

The aborted fetal DNA contamination present in vaccines that use aborted fetal cell lines in their production come with risks. Specifically a risk of triggering autoimmune disease, as well as the risk of DNA insertion into the vaccine recipient’s DNA.

In addition to these risks, it is particularly interesting — given the current autism spectrum disorder (ASD) epidemic — that research shows that strong change-point correlations exist between rising ASD rates and when the first MMR vaccine with aborted fetal DNA was introduced, when the second dose was introduced, and when the chickenpox vaccine, which also contains aborted fetal DNA, was introduced in the United States.

The use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccine research and production carries the serious moral concerns of abortion, trafficking of these babies, and denial of a proper burial, as well as serious health concerns.

As long as we as a society keep rolling up our sleeves for vaccines and other pharmaceuticals that use aborted fetal cells in their research, development or production, the situation is not going to get better, as there is no motivation for these companies to change their ways.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.

Dr. Marissa Brand is a board-certified Doctor of Natural Medicine and Doctor of Humanitarian Services, with a PhD in Natural Medicine.

Is Gardasil Vaccine Linked to Record Birth Rate Declines?

Birth rates in the U.S. started their decline in 2006 — the same year the CDC recommended every American girl between the ages of 9 and 26 get Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine.

The Equality Act Necessitates a Response From All

By 

What are we doing to ourselves, and to our children? This is a question I am pondering a lot as of late, as I watch our nation, and so many parts of the world, racing to embrace ever more extreme and ever more destructive forms of anti-life and anti-family ideology.

With a kind of reckless abandon, we are casting aside common sense principles that have guided individuals and societies towards health and well-being for countless generations, replacing them with untested, unproven, and often flagrantly absurd ideas about sex, gender, marriage, family, life, and death.

In a way, I suppose I am “used” to the radicality and irrationality of the anti-life and anti-family revolutionaries. I expect bad and absurd ideas. After all, what could be more absurd than the claim that the unborn child is merely a “blob of tissue,” with no moral weight? And this in the 21st century, when we can watch detailed, 3D videos of the unborn child moving about in his mother’s womb!

And yet there is something that is somehow uniquely horrifying about the speed with which so-called “gender theory,” with its ever more implausible claims, has flooded the airspace in the past decade, going from something that most people had never given a moment’s thought to, to the dominant “social justice” cause of the day, with acquiescence demanded and enforced by the cultural and political elite.

Growing Intolerance

You would think that the burden of proof for the radical ideas of gender theory would rest on the revolutionaries who propose to turn our world topsy-turvy. Instead, however, in the historical equivalent of the amount of time it takes us to blink an eye, a new orthodoxy has swept our culture, quashing all dissent. Any amount of questioning or criticism is shouted down and shunned as a “dangerous” and “violent” assault on a vulnerable minority population.

Even merely to wonder, for instance, whether it is good for children and young teens to take puberty-blocking hormones, or to undergo irreversible surgical interventions, is proof-positive that one is “transphobic.” The only acceptable attitude to gender theory is unqualified enthusiasm. Anything less is a form of intolerance and bigotry that will – we are assured – drive transgender people to self-harm and suicide, and is therefore tantamount to “violence.”

At the moment, most of the enforcement mechanisms are social, rather than legal, taking the form of public shaming, and a growing censorship by private corporations. Any public figures who dare to publicly question any tenet of gender theory can expect an online mob to descend upon them, and for their employers to be pressured to cast them out into the darkness of unemployment. Often, the mob gets what they demand.

Meanwhile, the tech giants are increasingly ensuring that there is little space in the online world for expressing dissent. For years now, Twitter has banned so-called “dead-naming” – that is, referring to a transgender person by his or her birth name and/or biological sex. When President Biden recently appointed a transgender “woman” – i.e. a biological man who claims to be a woman – as the Assistant Secretary for Health, a conservative publication was suspended from Twitter for correctly noting that, biologically, he is a man. In other words, Twitter has formally banned stating a scientific truth as hateful and intolerant.

Recently, Amazon also stepped into the ring. Without notifying anyone, Amazon quietly pulled Ryan T. Anderson’s best-selling book When Harry Became Sally from their online store. Given that Amazon accounts for an overwhelming majority of online book sales, the disappearance of the book essentially makes it invisible to most online consumers. That, of course, is the whole point.

In the book Anderson had carefully scrutinized, and criticized, gender theory. It is worth noting that Anderson is no polemicist. He is a highly competent and highly respected conservative academic. In the book he presents his findings backed up by the best scientific data and takes enormous care to make his case in a way that is respectful towards individuals with gender dysphoria. And yet, none of that is enough for the progressive overlords at Amazon. As many commentators have rightly pointed out, you can buy Hitler’s Mein Kampf on Amazon, but you cannot find what is arguably the best book addressing one of the most hotly debated contemporary social issues.

Amazon eventually issued a terse statement saying that the book violated their “content policy.” That content policy states that Amazon reserves the right not to sell content “we deem inappropriate or offensive” – language that is so broad and subjective that it could be applied to just about anything. As Anderson noted in an article in First Things in response to Amazon’s move, “It’s not about how you say it, or how rigorously you argue it, or how charitably you present it. It’s about whether you affirm or dissent from the new orthodoxy of gender ideology.”

The Equality Act

Given the march towards censorship, it’s hardly surprising that a movement is afoot to take the next logical step – that is, to move beyond shaming and censorship, and to enforce this new ideology using the full apparatus of the State.

Enter the so-called Equality Act.

It is typical of the progressive left that they should disguise something so pernicious in language that sounds so harmless, indeed quite positive and uplifting. Who, after all, could possibly be against “equality”?

The Equality Act, which was passed just a few days ago in the U.S. House of Representatives, would ostensibly ban “discrimination” based upon “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” In other words, it introduces the ill-defined, scientifically unsupported, and revolutionary notion of “gender identity” all throughout federal law.

The effect of the law would be widespread. Conservative commentators, including the U.S. Catholic bishops, have warned that the law would be used as a bludgeon against conscience rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

In a list of the effects of the Equality Act, the U.S. bishops note that it would require “women to compete against men and boys in sports, and to share locker rooms and shower facilities with men and boys.” The bill, they said, also “forces faith-based charities…to violate their religious beliefs,” “forces religiously operated spaces and establishments…to either host functions that violate their beliefs or close their doors to their communities,” and “jeopardizes existing prohibitions on the use of federal taxpayer funds for abortion.”

In a recent letter to Congress, the five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops warned: “The [Equality Act] represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations. This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct.”

They continued, “It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.”

Push Back

On the question of gender theory, there is no doubt about Pope Francis’ position. He has been vociferous, repeatedly and often condemning gender theory as a diabolical innovation.

During a speech in Poland in 2017, he warned that, “[T]oday children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this?” On one occasion, he even compared the imposition of gender theory to the propaganda of the Hitler youth.

More recently in a book prepared by Father Luigi Maria Epicoco commemorating the 100th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s birth, Pope Francis, who offered commentary, was asked where he sees evil most at work today. “One place is ‘gender theory,’” said the pope. The Holy Father continued to say that gender theory is “dangerous” because it aims to erase “all distinctions between men and women, male and female.” It seeks to “destroy at its roots” the creative project that God wanted for each of us: “diversity, distinction. It would make everything homogenous, neutral. It is an attack on difference, on the creativity of God and on men and women.”

Indeed, I fear that we have barely begun to grapple with the impact that the ubiquity of gender propaganda in our schools and universities is having upon the younger generations, and what it portends for the future of our nation.

One shocking recent poll found that record numbers of youth are self-identifying as LGBT. Whereas in 2017, only 4.5 percent of the population identified as LGBT, that has since risen to 5.6 percent. A huge proportion of the increase can be traced to so-called Generation Z – that is, people born between 1997 and 2002. Nearly one in six members of Generation Z self-identify as LGBT, compared to 9.1% of millennials, and 3.8% of Generation X.

Pro-LGBT activists are interpreting this data as proof that more LGBT people feel comfortable “coming out,” due to more tolerant attitudes towards diverse sexualities. While it is possible that this is one contributing factor, I think it is naïve in the extreme to discount the ways that constant bombardment with pro-LGBT messages is recruiting more and more young people into experimenting with sexual identities and practices that would never have occurred to them otherwise.

Indeed, there are a growing number of stories of schools and communities where transgender identification has rapidly spread through the ranks of young teens. In many cases, these young people are immediately being shuffled towards “treatments” that are either completely irreversible, or have significant long-term impacts.

Courageous thinkers like Ryan Anderson are precisely what we need, to stand in the gap and question the dominant narrative using the best evidence available. Unfortunately, many people are being cowed into silence by the ideologues, afraid for their livelihoods and their reputations. The problem, however, is that every person who chooses silence and safety over truth, is one more person who gives the revolutionaries the space they need to steamroll others, and more of our culture, into acquiescence.

As always, hope in the face of lies and evil is found in adherence to truth and the willingness to fight to uphold it.

It is time for all Christians and people of good-will to rise up. One thing that every American can do today is to contact their senator, urging them to vote “no” to the deceptively-titled “Equality Act.” Do it today. The future of our country, and our youth, depends on it.

Study suggests abortion pill complications are underreported, and ERs are managing the majority

 

Abortion pill clients experiencing a complication are more likely to receive care from an emergency center than the abortion facility where they obtained the pills, according to an analysis of adverse events reports (AERs) submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by abortion pill manufacturer Danco.

A team of over 30 board certified physicians spent three years reviewing thousands of pages of AERs and discovered glaring deficiencies in reporting on abortion pill complications and deaths. They also found that more than 60% of the surgeries due to abortion pill complications were not handled by the abortion facility, increasing the potential for large amounts of underreported complications.

Published by Issues in Law & Medicine, “Deaths and Severe Adverse Events after the use of Mifepristone as an Abortifacient from September 2000 to February 2019,” sheds doubt on whether deaths and adverse events are being properly tracked. The authors of the study included researchers from the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). “[T]he analysis of the AERs revealed glaring deficiencies… Throughout the reports, there was also a lack of detail and many patients who were simply ‘lost to follow-up,’” the authors wrote.

Due to the dangers posed by the abortion pill, the FDA put in place a safety system called REMS. While anyone can submit an AER, the FDA currently requires AERs on the abortion pill (Mifeprex or mifepristone) to be submitted by Danco Laboratories, Inc. or by the abortion pill’s generic manufacturer, GenBioPro.

More ERs are treating complications than abortionists, which means complications may go unreported

The study found a greater percentage of emergency rooms were treating abortion pill complications than abortion facilities. And, since abortion pill complications are only reported to FDA once the prescriber (abortion facility) or Danco becomes aware, it is likely many complications are falling through the cracks unreported. Interestingly, Live Action News has documented how the abortion industry has advised women to present to ERs claiming miscarriage if they experience abortion pill complications.

Equally as troubling is that there is no federal mandate to report abortion-related complications across all 50 states.

AAPLOG’s executive director Dr. Donna Harrison and her team found that less than half of the women who experienced a complication received follow-up care from their abortion providers. Dr. Harrison said the AER reports indicated that “[m]ost of the time the women had to resort to the ER to get their care. And often it was after multiple visits to the abortion clinic.”

Reports suggested abortionists were often unaware of complications unless women returned to the abortion facility. As such, they would be unlikely to file reports in those instances.

“The information in the AERs is almost exclusively obtained from abortion providers, rather than the physician treating the complication, yet in this analysis, abortion providers managed only 39.75% of surgical complications (a number which is likely much lower since these are only the cases which are known to the abortion provider). Throughout the reports, there was also a lack of detail and many patients who were simply ‘lost to follow-up,” the authors wrote.

According to Dr. Harrison, “surgical complications” included a failed abortion requiring a complete D&C, an incomplete abortion (tissue left inside), a missed ectopic pregnancy and in a small number of cases, overwhelming infection leading to hysterectomies.

“Many of the AEs [adverse events] experienced by women were unknown to the abortion provider until the follow-up examination, which is troubling considering the poor follow-up rate and elimination of the requirement for an in-office follow up visit. Some of the patient deaths were not known to the abortion provider until they saw the death in an obituary or were contacted by an outside source,” the authors stated (emphasis added).

“Because of this, in addition to abortion providers, hospitals, emergency departments, and private practitioners should be required to report AEs,” the authors suggested.

How many women present to ERs for abortion complications?

“We know from other studies that about five percent of women end up in the emergency room,” Dr. Harrison stated.

Pro-abortion ER doctor Dara Kass confirmed this fact when she stated that eight percent of abortion pill patients end up in the ER. In 2019, Kass told Vice News, “[…] when patients are scared, or have pain or bleeding, they come to me.” She then pointed out, “Recently published results of the Gynuity pilot project showed that 8 percent of their patients who received abortion medication sought follow-up care at a local urgent care clinic or emergency department.”

Five to eight percent is no small number and may represent anywhere from 17,000 to 27,000 possible emergency or urgent care visits in one year, based off the most recent data (2017) showing 339,640 medication abortions were committed nationally out of 862,320 total abortions reported.

The question is, where are all those complication reports? Women are being misled. It is not as safe as the abortion industry claims.

Uncodable reports 

Dr. Harrison said her team of researchers found the information they reviewed to have scant details, and she described many of the AER reports as “uncodable.” Some indicated emergencies that did not specify whether the woman lived or died.

“No tests, no examination, no vital signs, no follow-up,” she described them. “Most of these reports we called ‘uncodable,’ and they were likely life threatening. We called these uncodable because there was no way to find out how sick she was or how much she hemorrhaged or how much blood was needed to save her life,” Harrison added. “And there’s no way that the FDA could tell that, either.”

Deaths and Complications

Live Action News has previously documented that, as of December 31, 2018, there were 24 women reported to have died from the abortion pill since its approval in 2000, “including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA’s website states.

The FDA also found nearly 4,200 adverse events including 1,042 hospitalizations and nearly 600 serious cases of blood loss along with over 400 cases of infection.

Despite thousands of adverse events and deaths, changes made by the FDA in 2016 no longer required Danco to report non-fatal adverse effects, so the true complication numbers are not known. In addition, despite numerous requests to the FDA and a requirement that Danco and GenBioPro report all known deaths, Live Action News has been unable to obtain more recent data.

Compromised and inadequate complication reports

The most important findings the researchers discovered, according to Dr. Harrison, was that the current FDA system to determine the safety of drugs like the abortion pill is inadequate.

The information given to the FDA was “compromised” and significantly underestimated the adverse events from mifepristone, Dr. Harrison said. In many cases, the researchers who reviewed reports found there was minimal to nonexistent clinical information for which to judge the severity of the events. Dr. Harrison suggested the reports may be filtered by the abortion pill manufacturer from an industry which has no motivation for accuracy.

“We found that almost one of six of the… reports didn’t even have enough information to tell the FDA or anyone else what actually happened to the woman. The FDA could not have used these reports to reassure anyone that Mifeprex is safe,” Dr. Harrison emphasized. “We are left with the sobering conclusion that the FDA now has no real-world idea of the number of women who are dead or injured from Mifeprex abortions.”

Dr. Harrison predicted the push to demedicalize abortion and lift REMS so women can obtain the abortion pill online, at a pharmacy, or over the counter would only serve to worsen the problem of faulty reporting. “More women will suffer complications invisible to oversight,” she said.

As such, AAPLOG is calling for the FDA to strengthen not weaken or eliminate the REMS on the abortion pill. In addition, they are also calling for mandatory abortion complication reporting to be implemented at the federal level for the safety of women.

Editor’s Note: For information on abortion pill reversal, visit AbortionPillRescue.

Does Contraception Lead to Abortion?

By 

Does Contraception Lead to Abortion? | Human Life International (hli.org)

“No matter how thin you slice it, ladies and gentlemen, family planning is a euphemism.  We don’t intend or desire to prevent conception for conception’s sake; we want to prevent conception because of what follows conception.  Family planning is the prevention of births, and as birth is the end of a sequence which begins with the sexual urge, then family planning is anti‑conception, anti‑nidation, and the termination of the conceptus if implanted.  This is the societal role of abortion in the future.”

― Professor Irvin Cushner of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1971.[1]

In 1986, Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, gave an excellent talk on contraception in my home town of Portland, Oregon.  I met him afterwards and explained that I still didn’t understand the connections between contraception and abortion.  After all, I asked, “Isn’t contraception designed to reduce the incidence of abortion?”  For a moment, he stared at me as if I had suddenly sprouted a third eye in the middle of my forehead.  Then he said, “Ve haff to talk.”

Half an hour later, I understood.

various forms of contraception

The Pro-Life Movement and Contraception

The pro‑life movement is currently divided into two schools of thought on the link between contraception and abortion.

The first group either sees no connection between the two practices, or takes a “no official position” stance on contraception in order to avoid controversy or to focus attention solely on abortion.  But more and more pro‑life groups and individuals have seen their many connections and realize that, as long as contraception is widely available and the underlying anti‑life mentality reigns, the practice of abortion will never end.

Regardless of what a person thinks about the links between abortion and contraception, he should consider the following, and perhaps reflect on the relevance of contraception to his own life.

Even committed Christians rarely discuss the moral aspects of contraception any more.  Mortal sin has become just another brightly-packaged consumer item on the grocery store shelf.  Despite this profound silence, it remains one of the major life issues of our time because it serves as the foundation of the practice of abortion.  Wherever contraception leads, abortion always follows, whether for a married couple, for a church denomination, or for an entire country.

At one time, the Protestant churches were united in opposing both contraception and abortion.  After the Anglicans accepted contraception in limited cases during their 1930 Lambeth Conference, resistance to all of the anti‑life practices unraveled with amazing speed.  All but a few of the many Protestant denominations now accept or at least tolerate contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, euthanasia, and pornography.  Today, most of the churches that actively oppose abortion are those that have steadfastly defended the Christian tradition against birth control.

The Sequential Connection  

In Western nations, pro‑abortion groups work for school‑based birth control clinics and comprehensive sex education programs that include training children in the use of contraceptives.  Alan Guttmacher revealed one of the primary purposes of value‑free sex education when he admitted, “The only avenue the International Planned Parenthood Federation and its allies could travel to win the battle for abortion on demand is through sex education.”[2]

sex education handritten with white chalk as a class or lecture topic on blackboard

The pro-abortion/population control strategy in the Southern Hemisphere is different.  Population control groups spend billions of dollars annually in order to saturate developing nations with birth control.  They know very well that contraception fails frequently, leading to an increasing demand for illegal abortion.  Women begin to die from these illegal abortions, so the population controllers hugely exaggerate these numbers and then demand the legalization of abortion.  This is a tried and tested formula that has worked successfully in more than one hundred nations.

The ultimate objective of the population controllers is to legalize abortion worldwide.  NSSM-200, written in 1974, has not been amended and thus continues to represent official United States population control policy.  It says, “No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”[3]

Pro‑abortionists, population controllers, “family planners” and sex educators all over the world falsely claim as part of their propaganda campaigns that as contraceptive and abortifacient use increases, “unwanted pregnancies” and both illegal and legal abortions will decrease.  At first glance, this allegation seems logical.  After all, authentic (non-abortifacient) contraception is designed to stop conceptions and, if more conceptions are prevented, fewer abortions will occur.

As Father Marx explained to me long ago, however, this theory does not work in the real world, because the large‑scale use of contraceptives and abortifacients leads to a tremendously increased rate of sexual activity, which, combined with method and user failures, leads to a huge increase in the number of “unplanned pregnancies.”

But science and history do not deter the “family planners,” who continue to claim that increased contraceptive use reduces the number of abortions.  They know that this message will appeal to the large segment of the public that uncritically accepts their assertions.

It would seem to be counterintuitive that a wider use of artificial contraception would lead to a great increase in the number of abortions, since the stated purpose of contraception is to prevent “unwanted” conceptions that lead to abortion.

However, there are two methods by which a greater general public use of contraceptives will lead to more, not less abortions.

  1. Both of the co-inventors of the birth control pill have confessed that a greater use of contraceptives has led to greater promiscuity and carelessness, which inevitably leads to more abortions.  Dr. Robert Kirstner said, “For years I thought the pill would not lead to promiscuity, but I’ve changed my mind.  I think it probably has.”[4]  And Dr. Min-Chueh Chang said, “[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity … I personally feel the pill has rather spoiled young people.  It’s made them more permissive.”[5]
  2. Secondly, contraception is failure-prone, but people put so much confidence in it because it is advertised as being reliable.  There are more than two million contraceptive failures in the United States annually, half of which end in abortion.[6]  In fact, more than half of all women currently obtaining abortions were using contraception when they got pregnant.[7]

welcome to reality sign

Up until the early 1980s, the most famous pro‑abortion leaders admitted that an increase in contraceptive availability inevitably leads to an increase in promiscuity and therefore abortions.  None other than America’s most famous “sexologist,” Alfred Kinsey, admitted, “At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraceptives.”[8]  And the world’s most experienced abortion statistician, Christopher Tietze, said:

A high correlation between abortion experience and contraceptive experience can be expected in populations to which both contraception and abortion are available. … Women who have practiced contraception are more likely to have had abortions than those who have not practiced contraception, and women who have had abortions are more likely to have been contraceptors than women without a history of abortion.[9]

Malcolm Potts, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), acknowledged the contraception-abortion link in 1981 when he said, “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.”[10]  Dr. Judith Bury of Canada’s Brook Advisory Centre confirmed Potts’ view when she said, “There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate.”[11]

People’s laziness about using contraception has naturally morphed into laziness regarding abortion.  Canadian sex educator David Robinson stated, “Today abortion is the most widely used birth control method in the world.”[12]

Indeed, some gender feminists see no distinction whatever between artificial contraception and abortion, seeing both as part of an unbroken continuum.  Kristin Luker, in her revealingly‑entitled book Taking Chances:  Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, says, “We would argue that since abortion has become a primary method of fertility control, it should be offered and subsidized in exactly the same way that other contraceptive services are.”[13]

The thinking behind the use of contraception is quite straightforward.  Once a couple starts using contraception, they make lifestyle changes and commitments that do not allow room for children.  When contraception fails and they become pregnant, their “life plan” wins out over their preborn children.  Additionally, they have been conditioned to see their preborn child not as a gift from God, but as a “contraceptive failure” or a “mistake.”  Since their contraceptive method has failed them, they feel cheated and therefore “entitled” to an abortion — using one method of medical technology to cover up for the failure of another.

View of the “Family Planners

The primary mission of the research arm of the vast “family planning” industry is to develop more and more effective abortifacients.  Every year, fewer women use true contraceptives and more are using abortifacient chemicals.

There are several reasons why abortifacients are preferable to contraceptives from a “family planning” point of view.  To begin with, abortifacients are much more effective at ending pregnancies than contraceptives are at preventing them.  The best user (‘real world’) effectiveness rates of the birth control pills, the IUDs, the injectables and the insertables average about 96-98%, and the best user effectiveness rates for the male and female condoms, cervical cap, diaphragm and sponge average only about 80%.[14]

There is another reason that “family planners” prefer that women use abortifacients.  Despite all of the propaganda promoting “woman-controlled” birth control, the population controllers are actually more interested in increasing their own control of women’s fertility, primarily in developing nations.  Abortifacients put more control into the hands of the medical profession and mean more money for the international pharmaceutical cartel than true contraceptives do.  Abortifacients must be prescribed by health professionals.  By contrast, contraceptives are controlled by the user.

Greater abortifacient use will ensure that physicians ― and, in some cases, the State ― will be able to strictly monitor and even control the fertility of the people.  This is now happening in the People’s Republic of China and has happened on a smaller scale in more than thirty other nations.

The Legal Connection

judge's gavel

The sequential link between contraception and abortion is not the only connection, however, between the two.

More than 25 years ago, pro-abortion lawyer Frank Susman recognized that the “rights” of abortion and contraception now actually merge:

For better or for worse, there no longer exists any bright line between the fundamental right that was established in Griswold and the fundamental right of abortion that was established in Roe.  These two rights, because of advances in medicine and science, now overlap.  They coalesce and merge and they are not distinct.  The most common forms of contraception today ― IUDs, low‑dose oral contraceptive pills, which are the safest type of oral contraceptive pills available ― act as abortifacients.[15]

The principle used to justify all anti‑life practices in the United States is the “right to privacy,” which is not actually mentioned in the Constitution of the Unites States.  The United States Supreme Court first used this term in its 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which legalized contraception for married couples nationwide.  Three years later, the Court extended this “right” to unmarried people.  And, of course, five years after that, it quickly applied the “right to privacy” to abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision.

Every American values personal privacy.  Everyone wants the government to interfere with their private lives as infrequently as possible.  So the “right to privacy” is used as a cover to justify practices that the public will not accept until it has been exposed to them for years.  We can see this principle at work in the seamless progression from contraception to abortion to euthanasia.  And the “right to privacy” is also used to justify homosexual acts, adultery, infanticide and all kinds of pornography.

The public has “evolved” to accept acts that were once universally believed to be immoral and loathsome.  Anti‑lifers now label any opposition to abortion, euthanasia, pornography and other evils “anti‑choice,” “anti‑freedom,” and “anti‑American.”

The Psychological Connection

brain psychology

So there are legal, medical and practical connections between contraception and abortion.  But they all pale in comparison to the most important connection of all: the fact that the belief system which accepts contraception will inevitably require abortion.

Most people — including most Christians — use contraception because they can’t afford a baby, they have problems with their relationships, they want to avoid single parenthood, they aren’t ready for the responsibility, they have all the children they want, or they are concerned about how a child (or another child) would change their lives.

These are exactly the same reasons women give for having abortions.[16]  Underlying them all is the fundamental denial of God’s design of man and woman as sexual beings, and His plan for children in our lives.  People today want to “plan” their families.

Why does a couple contracept?  Because they don’t want a child.  Why don’t they want a child?  Because they have made Important Plans for Their Lives.  And when contraception fails, the resulting “unplanned” child is often seen as an intruder, one who will spoil the couple’s carefully laid plans.

And when a couple has denied God’s plan for their lives once through contraception, it is so much easier to do it again through abortion.  As St. Teresa of Calcutta observed:

In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self.  This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gifts of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception.  Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.[17]

For decades, pro‑abortionists have worked to blur the distinction between abortion and contraception in people’s minds.  For example, a writer for “Catholics” for Choice said:

If RU‑486 is also used monthly, pro-lifers would have a hard time convincing the public that the drug isn’t just another contraceptive.  Indeed, a 1982 New York Times story on [Etienne‑Emile] Baulieu and RU‑486 described the drug as “a new birth control pill.”  Planned Parenthood released a “Fact Sheet” in October that refers to RU‑486 as a type of “interceptor (luteal contraception).”  If most people hear a new drug described as “birth control,” they’ll think of the Pill and IUD, not abortion.[18]

And the National Abortion Federation has said, “If RU‑486 is referred to as an ‘abortion pill,’ it has significantly less support than if it is called a new form of birth control.  In many polls, the description can change support by as much as 15‑20 points and determine if a majority of those polled are in favor of the Pill.”[19]

woman taking abortion pill

Conclusion: Pro‑Lifers and Birth Control

Some pro‑life activists will certainly be offended by the classification of artificial contraception as “anti‑life,” because they have completely separated contraception from abortion in their minds.  As far as they are concerned, abortion and artificial contraception are two entirely separate issues.

I used to think that way until HLI founder Father Paul Marx set me straight.

Many pro‑life activists use artificial contraception.  In fact, it is safe to say that many pro‑life women use “birth control” methods that are actually abortifacients.  These men and women may not want to hear that they may be committing one or more “silent” abortions themselves every year, but it would not be intellectually or ethically honest to deny the truth in this matter.  It is extremely ironic that a “pro‑life” woman who uses an intrauterine device or the Pill for a decade will suffer ten to twenty “silent” abortions, while a pro‑abortion woman using the same methods may only commit only one or two additional abortions through surgical means.

Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, former Prefect of the Pontifical Council on the Family, said:

Getting human sexuality “right” is one of the great challenges of our time.  Meeting this challenge is very much part of the work of the pro‑life movement.  The mysterious links between sexuality, life, and death are part of our psychology and our experience of life.  The anti‑life mentality began, not with abortion, but by separating sexuality from the transmission of life in contraception and sterilization.  As the Holy Father points out in Evangelium Vitae [¶13], “Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected.”

I invite everyone here to think seriously about the roots of the anti‑life mentality.  I urge you never to fall for the shallow argument that providing widespread contraception will reduce the number of abortions.[20]

statue hands holding unborn child right to life pro life anti abortion

Evangelium Vitae [¶13] points out, “Contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree.”

As such, all of this tree’s fruits ― whether they be contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexual activity, masturbation, or pornography ― are poisonous to the soul.  Everyone who genuinely seeks God’s will for his or her life must avoid them like the spiritual plagues they truly are.

 

Endnotes

[1] Professor Irvin Cushner, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, at the Symposium on Implementation of Therapeutic Abortion, International Hotel, Los Angeles, January 22 to 24, 1971.  Quoted in the Marriage and Family Newsletter, July 1971, page 3.

[2] Alan Guttmacher quote of May 3, 1973, Humanity Magazine, August/September 1979, page 11.

[3] National Security Study Memorandum 200, “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests,” December 10, 1974.  Special footnote, “Worldwide Abortion Practices.”

[4] Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School, co-inventor of the oral contraceptive pill, quoted in “In Brief:  Harvard, Mass.” ALL About Issues, June 1981, page 5.

[5] Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, co-inventor of the oral contraceptive pill, quoted in Charles E. Rice. “Nature’s Intolerance of Abuse.” ALL About Issues, August 1981, page 6.

[6] See Excel Spreadsheet F-21-03.XLS, “Statistics on Birth Control Methods Used by Women of Childbearing Age in the United States, and Total Annual Contraceptive Failures.”  For a copy of this spreadsheet, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[7] Rachel K. Jones, Jacqueline E. Darroch and Stanley K. Henshaw.  “Contraceptive Use Among U.S. Women Having Abortions in 2000-2001.”  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health [formerly Family Planning Perspectives] [Guttmacher Institute], November/December 2002 [Volume 34, Number 6], pages 294 to 303.  Table 1, “Percentage Distribution of Women Obtaining Abortions in 2002, by Contraceptive Method Used in the Month of Conception, and of Women at Risk of Unintended Pregnancy in 1995, by Contraceptive Method Used.”

[8] Alfred Kinsey, America’s most famous “sexologist,” quoted in Mary Calderone, M.D. [Editor]. Abortion in the United States [New York:  Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1956], page 157.

[9] Christopher Tietze.  “Abortion and Contraception.” In Abortion:  Readings and Research  [Toronto:  Butterworth & Co.], 1981, pages 54 to 60.

[10] Malcolm Potts.  “Fertility Rights.”  The Guardian, April 25, 1979.

[11] Judith Bury, M.D., Brook Advisory Centre.  “Sex Education for Bureaucrats.”  The Scotsman, June 29, 1981.  Also quoted in Rudolf Ehmann, M.D., “Consequences of Contraception and Abortifacient Birth Control,” Human Life International pamphlet.

[12] David Robertson, et al.  Sex Education:  A Teacher’s Guide.  The Canadian Ministry of National Health and Welfare, Volume 4, pages 24 and 25.

[13] Kristin Luker.  Taking Chances:  Abortion and the Decision Not to Contracept, 1975, page 144.

[14] Robert A. Hatcher, et. al. Contraceptive Technology (18th Revised Edition) [New York:  Ardent Media, Inc.], 2004.  Table 31-1, “Percentage of Women Experiencing an Unintended Pregnancy During the First Year of Typical Use and the First Year of Perfect Use of Contraception and the Percentage Continuing Use at the End of the First Year.  United States,” page 792.

Spermicides include foams, creams, gels, vaginal suppositories, and vaginal films. The female condom “Reality” is known as “Femy” in Spain and “Femidom” in the rest of the world.

Annual rates are not applicable since RU-486 effectiveness is measured on a per-use basis. For further information on the RU-486 abortion pill, see Chapter 2 of The Facts of Life, “Abortifacients.”

Eight major studies on the effectiveness of typical methods of natural family planning in the 1990s show an average user failure rate of 2.8%. These studies were carried out in a wide variety of cultures in Moslem, Hindu, Chinese and Christian cultures. The user failure rates by country were: United Kingdom 2.7%, Indonesia 2.5%, India 2.0%, Germany 2.3%, Liberia 4.3%, Europe 2.4%, China 4.4%, and Belgium 1.7% [Bob Ryder and Hubert Campbell. “Natural Family Planning in the 1990s.” The Lancet, July 22, 1995, page 233. Also see R.E.J. Ryder. “”Natural Family Planning:” Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church.” British Medical Journal, 1993;307:723-726].

[15] “Excerpts of Arguments before Supreme Court on Missouri Abortion Law.”  Washington Post, April 27, 1989, page A16.

[16] Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest.  “Why Do Women Have Abortions?”  Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, pages 169 to 176.

[17] Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  “Whatever You Did Unto One of the Least, You Did Unto Me.”  Address given at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 3, 1994.

[18] Tony Kaye.  “Are You for RU‑486?:  A New Pill and the Abortion Debate.”  Conscience [newsletter of ‘Catholics’ for a Free Choice (CFFC}], July/August 1986 [Volume VII, Number 4], pages 15 to 17.

[19] National Abortion Federation.  Abortion:  Moral Choice and Medical Imperative.  “Abortion Practice Advancement, Sixteenth Annual Meeting Workbook, April 13‑14, 1992, San Diego, California,” page 133, “Successful Strategies:  Managing the Media.”

[20] From the address by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, given March 23, 1996 in Westminster Central Hall, London.  “Evangelium Vitae and the Pro‑Life Movement.”

Male Infertility Threatening ‘Future of Human Race,’ Says Author of New Book

By Megan Redshaw, J.D

Scientists are witnessing an alarming trend: Men’s sperm counts are down, testosterone levels have plunged and erectile dysfunction is increasing. Male infertility is on the rise — and exposure to synthetic chemicals known as phthalates could be to blame, according to fertility scientist Shanna Swan, Ph.D., author of the new book, “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.”

Citing Swan’s book, the New York Post reported that the global fertility rate has dropped 50% between 1960 and 2016, with the U.S. birth rate 16% below where it needs to be to sustain the population.

Although girls are experiencing early puberty, and women are experiencing declining egg quality and more miscarriages, emerging science is shifting the focus toward men as more couples suffer from infertility.

Scientists report sperm counts have been dropping, infant boys are developing more genital abnormalities and men’s problems with conception are on the rise. Erectile dysfunction is increasing and testosterone levels are decreasing 1% each year.

In 2017, Swan, one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists, co-authored a meta-analysis that came to a staggering conclusion: The sperm count of average Western countries had fallen by 59% between 1973 and 2011.

Normal sperm counts range from 15 million sperm per milliliter to 200 million per milliliter. A rate below 15 million is considered “low” by the World Health Organization (WHO), but Swan argues that anything below 40 million creates challenges for reproduction. The average male is nearing that number at 47.1 million sperm per milliliter compared to his father who had an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter at the same age.

“If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward — which is always risky — it reaches zero in 2045, meaning the median man would have essentially no viable sperm,” Swan writes in her book.

Men are also experiencing lower testosterone levels. A 2006 study showed that a 65-year-old man in 2002 had testosterone levels 15% lower than a 65-year-old man in 1987. A 2020 study in the Urology Times Journal showed a similar drop with young adults and adolescents.

As a result, more men are getting prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapy, which increases testosterone levels but causes an even greater reduction in sperm count. “Ninety percent of men can have their sperm counts drop to zero while they’re on it,” according to Swan.

Sexual desire among men is also declining. Swan, who has studied infertility for more than 30 years, says men are seeking help for erectile dysfunction on average seven years earlier than they did in 2005, with 26% of men falling under the age of 40.

According to the New York Post, research shows an overall increase in genital abnormalities, including a higher rate of undescended testicles and unusually small penises. Growing numbers of sperm appear defective with some having two heads or wandering aimlessly instead of pursuing an egg.

Exposure to phthalates is a particular problem during pregnancy when fetuses are sexually differentiating in the first trimester, says Swan, and infants with greater exposure to phthalates during pregnancy are shown to have smaller penises.

Similar abnormalities have been observed in animals. Small penises are being reported in alligators, otters and minks. Polar bears have lower-than-normal testosterone levels, panthers are showing an increase in genital abnormalities, and fishfrogs and turtles are being born with both male and female organs.

Research points to endocrine-disrupting phthalates as likely cause

Swan and her colleagues say the problem could be caused by a class of endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, which mimic the body’s hormones.

Phthalates are synthetic chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. The chemicals are everywhere: plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, furniture, flame retardants, personal care products, pesticides, canned foods and even receipts.

In several studies over the last two decades, phthalates have been shown to disrupt male hormones like testosterone and to cause genital birth defects in male infants.

A 2018 systematic review published in Environmental International showed phthalates decreased testosterone and caused negative reproductive outcomes in men.

Flame retardants found in mattresses and foam furniture were linked to male infertility in a 2016 study published in the Reproductive Toxicology Journal, and chemicals in stain, water, fast-food packaging, paper plates, stain-resistant carpeting and other household items have been linked to a reduction in semen quality, testicular volume and penis length.

A 2017 U.S. study showed that 45 potentially harmful chemicals, including phthalates and flame retardants, were present in dust buildup in 90% of homes sampled, reported the New York Post.

Pesticides and herbicides have also been found to negatively affect male infertility. Atrazine, an herbicide used to prevent certain weeds from growing in corn, has been linked to lower sperm quality.

In her latest book, Swan writes:

“The problem isn’t that something is inherently wrong with the human body as it has evolved over time; it’s that chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing varying degrees of reproductive havoc that can foil fertility and lead to long-term health problems even after one has left the reproductive years.”

The cumulative effect of endocrine disruptors affect multiple generations. Patrician Hunt, a reproductive geneticist at Washington State University, conducted experiments on mice. When infant mice were exposed to disruptive chemicals for a few days their testes as adults produced fewer sperm. The mice passed on this propensity to their offspring, and after three generations of exposure, one-fifth of male mice were infertile.

“I find this particularly troubling,” Professor Hunt told The New York Times. “From the standpoint of human exposures, you could argue we are hitting the third generation just about now.”

According to the Times, the Endocrine SocietyPediatric Endocrine Society, President’s Cancer Panel and WHO have all warned about endocrine disruptors, while Europe and Canada have moved to regulate them.

Expert recommendations to increase male fertility 

Although more research, government regulation and corporate responsibility are needed, Swan offers practical suggestions to help men tip the scale:

  • Store food in glass containers and never microwave food in plastic.
  • Stop smoking and cut back on drinking. Cigarette smoke is associated with a lower sperm count and increased sperm defects, while more than seven drinks per week is harmful to sperm.
  • Buy organic to avoid pesticides and herbicides that interfere with male hormones, especially strawberries, spinach, kale, apples and grapes. Swan also recommends reducing full-fat dairy foods, which have been linked to greater sperm abnormalities and avoiding processed meats, which can harm the DNA of sperm.
  • Avoid saunas, binge watching TV and cut out stress, says Swan. A Danish study, “Psychological stress and testicular function: a cross-sectional study of 1,215 Danish men,” published in Fertility and Sterility Journal, showed that high levels of work stress resulted in a 38 percent lower sperm concentration.“Men who’ve experienced two or more recent stressful life events — such as the death or serious illness of a close relative, divorce or serious relationship problems, moving, or a job change — were more likely to have below-normal sperm concentration,” writes Swan.
  • Buy products labeled “paraben-free” and “phthalate free” and avoid skin-care products that are “antibacterial,” vinyl shower curtains, air fresheners, toxic household cleaners, and dust often to remove the build-up of chemicals, urges Swan.

“We can no longer afford to behave as though it’s business as usual,” Swan writes in her book. “The time has come for us to stop playing Russian roulette with our reproductive capacities.”

Democrat Equality Act ‘the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law’

February 24, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Following the announcement that the radical pro-abortion and pro-LGBT Equality Act will be brought before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, pro-life and pro-family leaders have described the proposed legislation as “the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.”

Dr. Bill Donohue, Ph.D., president of the Catholic advocacy group Catholic League, said that, contrary to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the Equality Act is “about ending discrimination,” that in fact the opposite is true, with Christians set to experience severe discrimination should the act be passed into law.

Donohue explained that, as well as amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act “to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of sex,” a thing never intended or envisioned by the authors of that legislation, the Equality Act would “undermine the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by allowing gay rights to trump religious rights.”

Donohue said that the act’s broad scope would force healthcare providers to supply hormone therapies and even surgeries in accordance with “sex change” procedures.

Women’s sports, too, will become unfairly altered by the inclusion of boys and men who purport to be female. “These biological males can use the locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities that have always been reserved for females,” he added.

But for Catholics and members of other religious groups who hold to a traditional understanding of human nature, they “could not raise religious liberty objections to any of the aforementioned rights of transgender women. In effect, religious entities would be secularized,” Donohue warned.

As an example, Donohue explained that “if the Equality Act were to become law, Catholic foster care programs would be shut down. They would either have to agree to allow two men to adopt children—a clear violation of Church teachings—or lose federal funding.”

Additionally, Catholic hospitals would lose any federal funding they receive under the proposed Equality Act if they refuse to perform abortions, “or be forced to get into the abortion business.”

“This is the kind of ‘gotcha’ type element that makes this bill so pernicious,” Donohue said.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins described the Equality Act as “a catastrophic loss of religious freedom in America.”

“The Equality Act is a grave and treasonous threat to our nation’s core values contained in our First Amendment. The fact that no Republicans have co-sponsored it, even those who co-sponsored in the previous Congress, underscores the Democrats’ lurch to the Left. This is a radical bill that uses the government to control, through coercion, how every American thinks, speaks, and acts on issues of human sexuality. It may be named the Equality Act, but as the details make quite clear, the only equal thing about it is how much damage it does to many facets of American life,” Perkins said.

“The bill erodes parental rights and positions the government as lord over churches and other faith-based institutions, potentially dictating how their facilities are used, who they hire, and even punishing them for not falling in step with a view of human sexuality that directly contradicts orthodox biblical teaching,” he continued.

“No person of faith or religious institution, whether school, church, synagogue, mosque, business, or non-profit, will escape the Orwellian reach of the Equality Act,” Perkins warned.

Mary Beth Waddell, FRC’s Director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty, commented that the bill “politicizes the medical profession and denies biological reality, harming those it claims to protect.”

“In addition to obliterating the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls, this extreme bill would politicize the medical profession, forcing doctors who provide legitimate hormone treatments and surgical procedures to offer those treatments against their conscience. It would put the threat of litigation over every medical professional who would dare to stand up for the science that indicates the harms of these treatments and surgeries, likely causing many to stay silent. The misnamed ‘Equality Act’ has no place in any just, fair, and tolerant society.”

Lila Rose, Founder & President of Live Action, described the Equality Act as “deceptively named and corrupt in its vision.”

“There is nothing empowering or ‘equalizing’ about killing innocent preborn children nor confusing what it means to be male and female. This deceptively named piece of legislation hides within it policies that override conscience rights, require employers to cover abortions in their healthcare plans, and nullifies pro-life laws and protections on a massive scale,” Rose said.

Experts from the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) agree. President Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., a specialist in bioethics, religious liberty, and political philosophy, said: “The so-called Equality Act is legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head.”

“It isn’t drafted as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities from unjust discrimination, but as a sword to persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.”

Anderson cautioned as to the effect the act would have on religious agencies, like schools and adoption firms, warning that, if the act passes, they “would face federal sanction for operating according to basic biology and mainstream biblical teaching on sex and marriage.”

Anderson’s colleague and EPPC Fellow Erika Bachiochi, J.D., a legal scholar specializing in Equal Protection jurisprudence, criticized the bill as an attempt to “transform the great Civil Rights Act of 1964 into a mechanism for public funding of abortion.”

“But taxpayer funding of abortion — deeply unpopular among Americans — would only further incentivize employers to prefer abortion for their pregnant employees over far more costly accommodations for parenting,” Bachiochi said.

Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., a scholar in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life criticized Biden in particular, whose “appeal to unity and moderation” he described as merely “a shallow political ploy.”

“This bill targets goodwill people of faith by making historic and reasonable claims about gender and sexuality suspect and ripe for exclusion from the public square,” he said.

The American Principles Project (APP), a national organization for pro-family advocacy in public policy, have released a scathing review of the impact of the Equality Act, recommending that Congress oppose the legislation on multiple grounds.

Terry Schilling, APP’s executive director, expressed dismay at the continued efforts of Democratic legislators to limit religious freedom, “now trying to make these changes permanent in federal law.”

“Of course, this has been their goal for a long time, and we know by now the very terrible consequences which will occur if the ‘Equality’ Act passes: female athletes will be forced to compete against biological males; women will be forced to share private spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, and shelters with men; and religious charities will be coerced into violating their beliefs or else be shut down.”

Connecticut public health committee passes anti-pregnancy center bill

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A Connecticut anti-pregnancy center bill is moving forward after passing the Public Health Committee in a 19-12 vote on February 22, despite dozens of people testifying against the bill in a public hearing earlier this month. This is the fourth year in a row such a bill has been introduced in the Connecticut State Senate.

Senate Bill 835, aims to “prohibit deceptive advertising practices by limited services pregnancy centers.” After a pregnancy center moved into the same building as an abortion business and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut in Hartford, NARAL became the driving force behind the bill in an effort to dictate how pregnancy centers advertise their services (while simultaneously downplaying what those services are). The bill claims that pregnancy centers are dishonest and trick women into choosing life. Proponents of the bill also claim that pregnancy centers stall women, preventing them from getting abortions right away.

When women don’t know about their other options or the help available to them, they frequently feel abortion is their only choice. Many choose it out of desperation, without informed consent — and sometimes even against their wills. Pregnancy centers exist to be a safe place for women to learn about all their options without being pressured by a business which will make money from the sale of an abortion.

Pregnancy centers provide women with free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, free baby gear, free clothing, and assistance with other needs such as housing, medical care, education, parenting classes, job placement, and more. Some pregnancy centers also offer limited medical services and many have medical professionals serving on staff or as volunteers. Services vary from center to center and women have often shared their joy at having been given a way out of abortion.

Meanwhile, abortion businesses offer one option for women facing unplanned pregnancies: abortion. Women have stated that they were purposefully deceived by abortion businesses regarding the development of their babies as well as abortion procedures as well. Women deserve to know the full truth before they undergo an abortion and the time to make the decision rather than be rushed into an abortion. Pregnancy help centers give them just that.

As Breast Cancer Rates Soar, the WHO Doubles Down on Promoting Birth Control

As Breast Cancer Rates Soar, the WHO Doubles Down on Promoting Birth Control

“Breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly-diagnosed cancer,” reads a February 3 press release from the World Health Organization (WHO). The occasion for the press release was to mark World Cancer Day 2021 on February 4. Overall, the news was not good:

“In the past two decades, the overall number of people diagnosed with cancer nearly doubled, from an estimated 10 million in 2000 to 19.3 million in 2020. Today, one in 5 people worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime. Projections suggest that the number of people being diagnosed with cancer will increase still further in the coming years, and will be nearly 50% higher in 2040 than in 2020.”

Breast cancer risk and birth control: The unmentioned connection

“The Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030 will need to ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are widely available and used. This includes supporting contraceptive services through effective government policies and the provision of high-quality services for individuals.”

To make matters worse, the WHO often promotes hormonal contraception in countries that may not have the sophisticated medical systems needed to detect and treat cancer.

Breast cancer risk and hormone exposure go hand-in-hand

Birth control is an endocrine disruptor

Promoting the science of fertility awareness helps combat breast cancer

Estrogen and COVID-19: How Pregnancy, Birth Control Can Increase Risk of Blood Clots

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/estrogen-and-covid-19-how-pregnancy-birth-control-can-increase-risk-of-blood-clots

New research has found that women who are pregnant or take estrogen either through birth control or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may have a higher risk of developing blood clots if they contract COVID-19.

Though estrogen does not cause blood clots, if used in birth control or HRT it can increase a person’s risk by three- or fourfold. COVID-19 may exacerbate that risk.

Many COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are developing blood clots that may contribute to respiratory failure.

Clotting with COVID-19 has been more common in patients who are older, male or have diabetes or obesity.

Some women who contract COVID-19 may need to discontinue their estrogen medications or begin anticoagulation therapy, according to the study, which published in the journal Endocrinology on Wednesday (December 2020).

According to the study, there have been no reports of increased incidence of venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) in pregnant women or people taking estrogen with COVID-19. Doctors have observed vascular abnormalities in the placenta of pregnant women with COVID-19.

Health experts say we need more research to fully understand how gender influences a person’s risk for severe COVID-19. Interestingly, women are generally less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to men, though it’s unclear as to why.

“My sense is, as with everything related to COVID, we are just beginning to understand gender as a risk for poor outcome in COVID and multiple factors are important, not just estrogen and clotting,” says Dr. Don L. Goldenberg, a rheumatologist and emeritus professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

COVID-19 causes abnormal clotting

Several people who have been hospitalized with severe COVID-19 have developed blood clots.

VTEs are commonly reported in ICU patients — one found that 31 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 experienced thrombotic complications.

Dr. Hamid Mojibian, a Yale Medicine interventional radiologist specializing in image-guided cardiac procedures, says there are a number of reasons COVID-19 may lead to clotting in some people.

Research has found that COVID-19 causes widespread inflammation in the body which may affect how well our platelets which are tiny blood cells that help regulate clotting — work and make them more prone to forming dangerous blood clots.

“Factors like overwhelming inflammation, vascular injury, platelet (blood cell) dysfunction, and pure immobility (stasis) contribute to blood clot formation,” Mojibian said.

Larger blood clots can prevent blood from flowing throughout our body and getting where it needs to be.

“During this pandemic, vein experts have found clots in the aorta, renal arteries, legs, and the brain,” says Mojibian.

Anytime blood supply is interrupted, there can be severe consequences, such as a stroke.

What is it about estrogen?

According to Goldenberg, estrogen is known to increase a person’s risk of VTEs.

With HRT and oral contraceptives containing estrogen, the risk of clots is highest in the first year of use amongst women with coagulation abnormalities.

Women without these abnormalities are also at higher risk for blood clots while taking these medications.

Estimates suggest 1 in 3,000 women who take birth control pills will get a blood clot each year.

Pregnancy, which causes the body to naturally produce more estrogen, is also linked to blood clots.

In fact, research shows the risk of venous thrombosis is six- to tenfold greater among pregnant women compared to nonpregnant women of the same age.

“Estrogen increases the gene expression of certain clotting factors and lowers factors which prevent blood clots. Overall, this leads to a ‘pro’ clotting state,” says Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Evidence also suggests that estrogen impacts the immune system.

“Estrogen affects immune response and T cells as well as ACE-2 receptors, each important in COVID infection and severity,” says Goldenberg.

How can you cut your risk?

It may take some lifestyle changes, but health experts say it is possible to cut your risk of experiencing a clot.

Per the researchers findings, women who take birth control pills or HRT and get sick with COVID-19 may want to ask their doctor about alternative options that do not contain estrogen.

Sood doesn’t recommend discontinuing birth control or HRT as a preventative measure. If women taking these medications were to become severely ill with COVID-19, then it’s time to consider other options.

“There are still no firm guidelines but women not infected who are on HRT or oral contraceptives should consult with their physician regarding potential risk during the pandemic,” says Goldenberg.

Mojibian also recommends getting physical exercise as staying home and not moving increases your risk of venous thrombosis.

Quitting smoking can also help lower the risk as can a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat.

The bottom line

New research has found that women who are pregnant or take estrogen either through birth control or hormone replacement therapy may have a higher risk of developing blood clots if they contract COVID-19. Blood clots are a common complication reported in severe cases of COVID-19.

Some women who contract COVID-19 may want to discontinue any estrogen medications to cut their risk of clots, but it’s crucial to first consult a doctor.

Melinda Gates’ Family Planning 2020 coalition aided abortion groups in promoting their agendas

 

 C-Fam) Melinda Gates’ Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) coalition celebrated the progress they say they’ve made since its debut in 2012 and announced a new, updated partnership for the next ten years they are calling FP2030. Beneath the festive veneer, the awkward fact remains that FP2020 has fallen well short of its goals. What’s more, despite the partnership’s attempts to maintain neutrality, several participants used the event to promote abortion.

FP2020 was launched at a summit in London, sponsored by Melinda Gates, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the government of the UK. Earlier that year, Gates announced that she wanted to make family planning her signature area of philanthropy, while stressing she wanted “no controversy” related to abortion or population control. “There’s a global movement waiting to happen,” she said.

However, there was already a global family planning movement, and its leaders were not interested in setting abortion to the side. Gates’ #nocontroversy hashtag quickly fell into disuse, and where FP2020 stayed relatively quiet on abortion, its partners and members of its steering groups filled the silence.

Speaking on a panel at the FP2020 event, Alvaro Bermejo, director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), said “the partnership has really made SRHR [sexual and reproductive health and rights] advocacy issues more effective” by bringing donors and implementing organizations together and creating accountability for governments.  FP2020 executive director Beth Schlachter agreed, echoing his support for “family planning and SRHR more broadly.”

SRHR remains a highly controversial concept which has been rejected by the UN General Assembly for decades due to its associations with abortion, comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual orientation and gender identity.

Another frequent theme of the event was the Mexico City Policy, reinstated and expanded by former President Donald Trump, which blocked U.S. funds from going to foreign-based groups that promote or provide abortions, such as IPPF affiliates.   “We made a specific decision to ensure that MSI [Marie Stopes International] and IPPF remained on the reference group to demonstrate that people could have different opinions […] but we as a community were going to try to find a way to work together,” said Schlachter.

“FP2020 managed to remain as the one convener where the U.S. government and staff and technical people and implementers like ourselves and other donors came around the table,” said Bermejo.

Numerous participants denounced Trump and his policies, including Simon Cooke, CEO of MSI, who also spoke stridently about abortion.  “We have pathways for trans men to access abortion services” at MSI clinics, he said, acknowledging that “these are infinitesimally small numbers.”

Between providing opportunities for IPPF and MSI to promote their broader agendas, the event showcased FP2020’s crowning achievement: 60 million additional users of modern contraception since 2012.  This fell significantly short of the partnership’s goal of adding 120 million new users in that time. FP2020’s progress had been off target for years, long before the COVID-19 pandemic created global disruption.

While FP2020 framed its work in terms of creating access to contraceptives, its metrics continue to rely on “unmet need,” which does not measure access and masks the fact that only a tiny percentage of women described as having such a “need” cite lack of access as the reason.

Editor’s Note:Rebecca Oas, Ph. D. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (https://c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.”

The Disappearing Babies

JOHN M. GRONDELSKI

On February 3, the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) reported research regarding American birth rates in the decade 2009-19. The results are not good. Even if we take 2008 as a baseline, the ensuing decade showed an implosion in birth rates. If birth rates had only stayed where they were in 2008 (remember, birth rates had been trending downward before that), there should be 5,800,000 more children in the United States than there are.

Drilling deeper into the data, the decline cut across all major demographic lines (white, black, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic). While some groups occasionally plateaued and others just plummeted, everybody ended the decade with birth rates markedly below where they had been ten years earlier. The biggest surprise, perhaps, was the collapse in Hispanic birth rates: almost half (47%) of that 5.8 million baby birth dearth are Hispanics. If Hispanic women had children at the rate they did in 2008, they would have reduced white mothers to a minority of population births in 2019. That they didn’t appears correlated with Hispanic women’s child bearing rates in 2008 (2.8) versus 2019 (2.0, i.e., below replacement).

Consider, also, that the 2009-19 birth dearth will probably be exacerbated by the annus horribilis of 2020 and COVID-19. As of this writing, the CDC attributes approximately 450,000 American deaths to the pandemic. And contrary to some initial hopes, there doesn’t appear to be a COVID-19 baby boom, but instead a baby bust.

A baby bust leaves its mark on society in a direct way for about 70-80 years (a typical lifespan) and an indirect one permanently. Our current lack of one-to-ten-year-olds will translate in a decade into a paucity of grade, high, and college students as well as first-job work entrants. The snowball multiplies across the decades, with fewer workers paying fewer dollars to subsidize entitlement programs, fewer people to marry, the not unreasonable possibility of their having fewer children…in short, a shrinking and aging society. It leaves its mark permanently by erasing from the picture all the activities (and children) those missing never do or have. Think George Bailey.

What caused the depressed birth rates of the past decade? A review of the history of those ten years suggests some obvious answers.

The 2008-11 recession obviously had an effect on marriage and parenthood. On the plus side, it reduced divorce, because two cannot live as cheaply as one flesh, especially in a society whose economic structure has geared itself to two-income households. On the minus side, it probably also drove down childbearing.

But while the economy appeared to recover (at least by the benchmarks economists employ) and, indeed, Americans arguably experienced a bull stock market in the Trump Administration, the question remains: Did Americans recover from their economic uncertainties? The 2016 election suggested that, at least for working/middle class Americans, the answer was “no.”

Further attention should be directed to the kinds of jobs created post 2008-11. While a “job” might mask unemployment, was the quality of those jobs (full v. part time, pay scales, benefits, permanence) more tenuous? For young people finishing schooling (high school or college) and seeking to enter the workforce in a first full-time job, were opportunities there? If there were, what were they and did they correlate with the economic situation of those first full-time workers? Were the jobs a high school graduate could obtain only slightly better than welfare?  Were the jobs a college graduate could get allowing him to start paying down (student) debt?

Financial instability has been blamed as one of the reasons for why Americans are marrying later than ever or not at all. I’m not inclined to lay all the blame on finances—birth rates plummet even in economically secure European social welfare states—but neither would I minimize their impact. While materialism can always offer an excuse that “we’re not ready yet,” there is something to be said for the desire to enter marriage with some measure of financial security to enable a couple to do “married” things, like have children and buy their own house.

But financial factors alone do not affect marrying and childbearing.  Cultural factors also devalue having children. Indeed, the lack of children is a perverse feedback loop: One of the factors the National Marriage Project (NMP) annually examines is what it called the “loss of child centeredness.” The time Americans spend with kids has progressively decreased. Fewer kids means less time with kids. A personal illustration: There is an 11 year span between my eldest and youngest child.  Assuming (dato non concesso) that children start to go off on their own when they finish college, my wife and I will spend 33 years with a child in our lives before they theoretically make their ways in the world. Absent our youngest, that range would shrink to 24 years.

The time American adults spend with kids shrinks with fewer kids. Divorce tests one’s mastery of division: How does one parcel who “gets the kids?” Life expectancy reduces the ratio of a child’s life presence in an adult’s life. Growing childlessness cancels it altogether.

Our understanding of marriage affects childbearing. The states which sought to protect sexual differentiation as an essential element of marriage often argued that marriage and procreation had a natural nexus. The Supreme Court in Obergefell formally severed it, but its practical severance had occurred long before 2015 as contraception gained acceptance, even among nominal Catholics.

But the NMP also identified a seismic but generally insufficiently considered shifting in American thinking about marriage. Even as Catholic thought concedes that marriage and parenthood are distinct if related institutions, the rise of the “soulmate” model of companionate marriage fostered the view that those institutions are distinct but unrelated. While most people don’t bother themselves to think about the theoretical implications of what they believe, the practical effect has been that marriage has shifted from being about us-cum-future-family to simply us. As NMP research showed, children are, in fact, seen as an enemy to soulmate marriage because they necessarily shift the couple’s focus from us to them, rendering void all the assumptions about the nature of marriage that the “soulmate” model entailed.

There will clearly be little consensus to forge a public view of marriage as related to parenthood, at least from most present political forces; but it does accentuate the yeoman work for churches (and especially the Church) to reconstruct that marriage-and-parenthood vision. For the Protestant “mainline/old line” (to borrow Neuhaus’s term) that’s going to be hard, given their approval of contraception. But Catholic marital and sexual ethics are still congruent with a vision of marriage and parenthood as intrinsically and not just accidentally or functionally related. Its task is simply to teach what it says it believes. That just doesn’t mean a few doctrinal citations or a reading from Humanae vitae, but a whole vision of marriage as it fits into the life of the average believer, and that is as much practical as theoretical.

Let me give a simple illustration. Something that struck me when I first studied at the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, was a discussion we had in a language instruction course on the topic: What kind of spouse would you want? The Polish teachers made it the topic of conversation because they considered it a topic college and older students would have ordinarily given some thought to and could expatiate upon. The Western students, especially the Americans, seemed surprised that the whole idea might be the subject of a public social conversation and repartee.

How do we expect to foster a vision of marriage if we don’t talk about it?

Because the Church’s role would be formative of a vision it would, as noted, be unlikely to find “common ground” with political discussions. Indeed, in the current climate of gender debates, the Church’s best hope would be to be left alone. But promote its vision it must. Two poles—the cultural vision and the economic conditions—are essential if we are to staunch the death spiral our growing rates of childlessness augur.

Two writers in the South China Morning Post reported research in January that, at least in East Asia, social and governmental efforts to promote marriage bolstered the birth rate. Chen and Yip note that every one percent increase in marriage rates among 25-29-year-old females was marked by an increase in fertility rates. While our two scholars “discovered” what most people knew about “the birds and the bees,” the Western fetish for numbers documenting claims helps make the case that promoting marriage promotes childbearing which promotes social stability.

The writing—or rather, the numbers—are on the wall.

 

Birth control is not the only solution

By Haley Strack

Birth control is not the only solution

Casual talk of birth control as a solution to women’s problems is abhorrent — and for a school that appreciates a proper, well-rounded education, I expected better.

The Curate women’s panel on Saturday covered many topics relevant to young ladies: careers, relationships, time management, and yes, menstrual cycles. One of the breakout sessions, led by a local pediatrician, was an “interactive talk on women’s menstrual health.” While I appreciated the open nature of the talk , the doctor mentioned birth control many times as the solution to women’s health problems.

For reasons beyond religious ones, contraceptives are problematic. Too often, young women are told that birth control can be a solution to their problems without knowing the side effects. Birth control has long-lasting detrimental effects on our bodies — ones that women should at least be informed about. Speaking of birth control as though it’s an easy fix to all of life’s problems is misleading, ill-informed, and wrong.

Birth control doesn’t actually “regulate” your body — it just creates an artificial cycle that takes longer for your body to adjust to. When women stop taking the pill, they have a high chance of what’s called post-pill amenorrhea, or when the body is forced to return normal hormone production, so the menstrual cycle is halted all together for up to six months.

The shot Depo-Provera (or DMPA), a popular form of birth control which is most frequently used by teenagers, can halt fertility for two years after the last injection. Say, for example, you took the shot in high school on the recommendation of your doctor. You enter college and by springtime in year four, you have that ring on your finger! When you and your financially stable partner are ready to consider conceiving, you go to your doctor. But wait — you might have to wait two years (or longer) until you welcome a new member into your family. Why wouldn’t your doctor tell you that contraceptive use can have long-term effects?

This is a phenomenon we see among quite a few young adults: doctors are quick to prescribe, slow to treat. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends over-the-counter purchase of contraceptives for teens.

A recent study found that many women are misdiagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that makes it harder to conceive, makes cycles more painful, and causes depression. Women are told they may have difficulty conceiving and that the pill is the best solution for the disease. Twenty-one percent of young women are diagnosed with PCOS, and a shocking number of them are misdiagnosed. Further, many symptoms of PCOS go away after the age of 25.

But instead of waiting until young women have gone through puberty to see if symptoms go away, doctors prescribe them a hormone cocktail to fix problems they might not even have.

As young women, it’s easy to listen to the doctors who know more, the women with experience, or the friends whom we trust. It’s easy to look to a pill that might lessen cramp pains, relieve acne, or “regulate” your body.

It’s equally as easy to do your research about what birth control could mean for your body, long-term. Research what it means outside of pain relief or a “regular” cycle before you introduce an ocean of chemicals into your body.

So, what are the negatives? Hormonal birth control can trigger depression. Women are 23% more likely to become depressed while taking contraceptives, and teenage girls are 80% more likely to suffer from depression while on the pill. Not to mention the other emotional and physical side effects — anger, stress, weight gain, acne, and moodiness.

Birth control also causes increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and increased breast and cervical cancer rates. In 2001, the World Health Organization classified contraceptives as Group 1 Carcinogens, or a substance known to cause cancer. Other Group 1 Carcinogens include cigarettes, mustard gas, and arsenic.

It’s not as if there’s no hope for women — natural alternatives are just as effective as hormonal birth control. In April 2007, professional nurses at Marquette University began a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a Natural Family Planning service. NFP works with a woman’s natural biology to determine fertility schedules, allowing women to get in tune with their body’s natural cycle. According to the study’s ongoing results, the Marquette method results in as little as a 2 – 6.8% failure rate, as opposed to the 9% failure rate of the pill.

It doesn’t matter if there’s a 1% chance, a 5% chance, or a 10% chance of harm from contraceptives; what matters is that you know the risk and act accordingly. Don’t fall victim to the slough of people who are more willing to prescribe than educate.

 

Haley Strack is a sophomore studying political economy. She is an assistant editor for the Collegian.

Some Catholic Thoughts on National Marriage Week

This week (Feb. 7-14) is “National Marriage Week” and Feb. 14 “National Marriage Day” (which coincides with St. Valentine’s Day). The USCCB Secretariat on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth even has a web page with some resources.

“National Marriage Week” happens to follow the release Feb. 3 of a short research piece by the Institute for Family Studies, “5.8 Million Fewer Babies: America’s Lost Decade in Fertility.” Its author, Lyman Stone, reports some disturbing numbers. He took the birth rate as it existed in 2008 (which had already been going down for some decades) and extrapolated it over the following 10 years. Next, he looked at the actual birth tallies for the period 2009-19. The result: there were almost 6 million fewer babies born in that period than actually should have been had the 2008 rate persisted.

Let me underscore several critical facts. First, Stone took 2008 as his baseline. That, in itself, was no high bar: it represented already declining trends. Second, the 2009-19 baby bust was not confined to one or a few demographic cohorts. All groups studied — whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans — went down. Hispanics were among the groups most in decline: just under 50% of that 5.8 million birth dearth was attributable to Hispanics.

Stone does not spend much time studying possible explanations for the decline, although he notes its future real and potential consequences. They range from a reduced workforce and military recruitment to increasingly polarized politics in an aging society competing for pieces of a non-expanding pie. I leave my readers to examine this disturbing report for themselves.

I raise it in the context of “National Marriage Week,” however, because of the correlation between marriage and parenthood. Yes, marriage and parenthood are theoretically distinct institutions and there are childless marriages. In reality, however, the first normally leads to the second and, as the Church itself teaches, “children are really the supreme gift of marriage” (Gaudium et spes, no. 50), not accessories or optional extras.

The National Marriage Project (NMP) has repeatedly tracked a phenomenon it calls the “loss of child-centeredness” in American life, including American marriage.

From a purely sociological viewpoint, the presence of children in American adults’ lives is in decline. Stone’s research cited above is one example: people are having fewer or no children.

Divorce is another: with the social acceptance and high incidence of divorce, those fewer children at best divide time between separate parents, with all the impacts such discontinuities entail.

Greater life expectancies is a third: an aging population increases the ratio of life lived apart from children, especially when one’s own children have fewer, if any children — no time with the grandkids. Our society economically squeezes kids by practically requiring and at least valuing higher both parents’ being in the workplace rather than with children.

Finally, we send all sorts of social messages. High tech IT firms offer ova freezing as a “benefit” for women to defer motherhood. I live in an apartment building in which the availability of a three-bedroom apartment is scarcer than hen’s teeth. And our elites convey their own anti-child messages: when my 13-year old was born in my late 40s, I received numerous unsolicited messages of sympathy for our “courage” in having a child, with the implicit assumption our precious and beloved Karol was some “mistake.”

All this is relevant as we mark “National Marriage Week” because there are two very strong trends in American culture that promote an idea of marriage which, in the end, is incompatible with Catholic marriage. The first is “soul mate” marriage, the second is the stripping away of characteristics Catholicism deems essential elements of marriage.

What is “soul mate” marriage? The NMP described it in its 2001 “State of Our Unions” report:

“Young adults today are searching for a deep emotional and spiritual connection with one person for life. At the same time, the bases for marriage as a religious, economic or parental partnership are receding in importance for many men and women in their twenties. Taken together, the survey findings present a portrait of marriage as emotionally deep and socially shallow.”

“Soul mate” marriage puts the focus on the spouse as fulfilling one’s emotional needs and goals, finding a kind of alter ego. 

While some might think “soul mate” marriage tends to foster a noble and deep interpersonal relationship, its track record is far less impressive. Rather than drawing a person out of himself, “soul mate” marriage tends to foster an expectation that the other will be a reflection of the self. It also tends to focus on the emotive (feelings) rather than the volitional (commitments) side of relationships.

It tends to foster unrealistic expectations of Prince or Princess Charmings who can address the whole of one’s needs, a quite unrealistic burden to impose on another person. Because those expectations are so high, they in fact place a heavy burden on the relationship itself which, in a divorce-tolerant society, tends to lower the threshold at which the parties walk away from the marriage.

Finally, “soul mate” marriage tends to face critical stress in the face of childbearing because children, by their nature and dependence, are greedy, unavoidably shifting focus away from the “us” of the couple to the “them” of the children and the “us” of the family, something the very trajectory of such a marital paradigm does not prepare its “soul mates” for.

Spouses (especially fathers) have often felt “second fiddles” when a child is born, but the traditional model of marriage at least enforced an expectation that some shift of the “us” from each other to an “us” vis-à-vis “them” was natural, normal, and mature. The “soul mate” model, at least given the way people have been living them and the expectations they attribute to them, has not been doing that.

“Soul mate” marriage does not really account for children (certainly not as the “supreme gift of marriage”). To the degree, therefore, that we do not challenge this increasingly ascendant model of marriage (or try better to connect the idea of “soul mates” with the idea of becoming parents as part of that “soul mate” vocation), to that degree we acquiesce in a cultural model of marriage that depreciates the connection of marriage and parenthood, undermines a Catholic vision of marriage, and contributes to our ongoing birth dearth with its concomitant baneful implications for society. If this model is to remain, we have got to both deepen radically the understanding of “soul mate” as well as temper it with reality.

In practice, “soul mate” marriage dilutes the nexus between marriage and parenthood, shifting it from a Catholic view of “distinct but related” to one of “distinct but unrelated (unless we want it to be).” That attitude, in turn, bolsters a “contraceptive mentality” that sees one’s capacity to be a parent not as an intrinsically good part of my personhood but as a merely physically neutral biological phenomenon whose value is fixed by its convenience to my wishes. The result is that it undermines, even in Catholic minds, the idea that fruitfulness – openness to life – is an essential part of marriage as seen from a Catholic perspective.

There are, of course, other essential characteristics of marriage as understood from a Catholic perspective that are increasingly incomprehensible to the larger society. One of them is sexual differentiation. Another is permanence.

Exclusivity still gets lip service, in the sense that concurrent bigamy is both still illegal as well as frowned upon, but consecutive bigamy (divorce and remarriage) is broadly approved. Exclusivity also still receives lip service in that, even in the case of remarriage, we still expect just one “spouse A” and one “spouse B.” But if we really “believe” that “love is love” (as the woke lawn signs in my neighborhood proclaim), how can we logically limit “love” numerically?

My point in noting the question of how compatible what many people (including nominal Catholics) think about marriage with what the Church teaches about it is to recall a neglected teaching from Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti connubii. Early on in that document, the Pope affirms a principle whose mention we have unduly neglected: the scope of human freedom.

“This freedom, however, regards only the question whether the contracting parties really wish to enter upon matrimony or to marry this particular person; but the nature of matrimony is entirely independent of the free will of man, so that if one has once contracted matrimony he is thereby subject to its divinely made laws and its essential properties.”

Put simply, human freedom extends to whether or not John wants to marry and, if he does, whether he wants to marry Mary or Ann. Human freedom does not extend to what marriage is, e.g., whether he wants to “marry” Betty “till death do us part” or “for five years, subject to mutual agreement on extension of the contract,” or whether he wants to “marry” Sandy but positively exclude parenthood with her.

This distinction between freedom to marry versus freedom to redefine marriage — fundamental and uncontroversial to what Catholics have always understood in relation to marriage — is increasingly incomprehensible even to many Catholics today, with concomitant consequences for marital nullity. Restoring awareness and understanding would go a long way to addressing the crises even Catholic marriages today encounter.

I also strongly suggest that this educational-catechetical-formative focus deserves at least as much attention in our “National Marriage Week” observances as the celebratory/counseling/psychological element. Individual marriages are supported by the latter, but Christian marriages at large are made and nurtured by the former where, I venture to say, our public effort has been anemic.

Unless we also get that right, there aren’t going to be as many Christian marriages to celebrate during “National Marriage Week” … and likely even fewer offspring as marriage’s “supreme gift.” On the latter, the numbers are already in.­­

The unsung heroines of the pro-life movement

by Mary Cooney Our youngest child has Down Syndrome. We found out the day after he was born, when the pediatrician noticed several markers for T21. That day the nurses tried to draw blood so they could run a test to confirm the diagnosis. But the particular vein they needed to draw blood from was too tiny, and after seeing my son’s wrist full of needle holes, I asked them not to try again until he was older and his veins were bigger. My husband and I didn’t need immediate test results — T21 or not, he was our son and we loved him dearly.

Unbeknownst to my husband and I, the nurses drew blood for the test a week later. I didn’t know this until they told me that the test came back positive. I could have been upset that they drew blood without our permission, but I wasn’t. I could have been upset that the test came back positive, but I wasn’t. I was, however, tired and stressed because Junior wasn’t gaining weight, I wasn’t producing enough milk, and progress with his oxygen levels was painstakingly slow.

Later that afternoon, Junior’s nurse noticed that I was visibly upset. She thought it was because the test results had come back positive. “I’m sorry about the test results,” she said, sympathetically. Then she said something that shocked me: “Do you want to put him up for adoption?”

I was too exhausted to be indignant. Instead, I smiled at her sadly and just shook my head. But in my mind I thought, “How could you even think that I would put him up for adoption? Don’t you see me here ’round the clock pumping, nursing, and caring for him? Don’t you see how much I love him?”

It hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps her question was neither callused nor far-fetched.

For surely several mothers had come to that hospital and given birth to children that, for whatever reason, they were not able to raise. And after seeing their babies’ heartbeats, feeling their babies’ kicks in utero, and carrying their little ones for nine months, they had forged a bond of love for their babies, the way nature intended. Loving their babies as much as I loved mine, but without the support and resources they needed, these mothers had made a most heroic sacrifice: put their precious babies up for adoption. It was the most loving thing they could do.

I have always admired the heroism and selflessness of women in difficult circumstances who carry their unborn babies for nine long months and then give them up for adoption. But I never imagined the extent of their love and pain until I read The Lucky Few, by Heather Avis. In this autobiography, Avis details her struggles with infertility and how God led her to adopt three children, two with Down Syndrome. I think I read it in two days — it was that compelling.

But the chapter where she describes the day she met her youngest in the hospital had me in tears. Because the birth mother’s sorrow at leaving her baby was utterly heart-wrenching:

Sami’s bags were packed and waiting by the door. At the appointed time, Sami (the birth mother) went over to her sweet baby boy, clicked off the blue light, and gently picked him up.

She removed the mask and cradled him in her arms as she softly ran the back of her hand across his fresh cheeks. With tears streaming from her eyes, she whispered, “I love you” into his ear. Time stood still, and everyone in the room wept with her and poured out our love on this perfect baby boy. Lucy (Sami’s sister) handed her a fresh bottle, and we all watched as she sat on the bed to feed him one last time.

By the time he finished his bottle, it was almost time for him to go back under the blue light. Sami handed him to Lucy, and for the next few minutes he was passed around the room as aunties, grandma, and sister said good-bye. Then Sami held him close one more time, closing her eyes and pressing her face against his head. After one more “I love you,” he has back under the obnoxious blue light.

Everyone gave Josh (the adoptive father) a quick and teary hug, and he stayed with August (the baby) as I walked with them.

No one said a word. We did what had to be done and put one foot in front of the other as we headed to the elevator. One foot in front of the other into the elevator, tear-filled eyes glued to the floor. The door opened, and we put one foot in front of the other out of the hospital and into the cool evening air and all the way to their car.

Saying good-bye to Sami and her family was brutal. The loss they were experiencing weighed on me in a way I didn’t expect. I embraced her sisters and mom.

“Thank you for everything! For the gifts and the love. Thank you!” I said through tears.

“Take good care of him. We know you will,” Lucy said as she wept on my shoulder.

“I will. I promise I will.”

I gave Joy (Sami’s daughter) a long, tight hug, “You can see your brother any time you want. You just have your mommy call me, okay?”

She smiled and hugged me back, her youth offering her some protection from the gravity of the moment.

Then I made my way to Sami. We wrapped our arms around each other and sobbed. As I drenched her shoulder with my tears, I thought about how less than forty-eight hours ago, she had August in her womb, where she loved him and cared for him with all that she was. Now her womb and her arms were empty.

“I’m so sorry this is so hard,” I whispered. “I am so proud of you, Sami. I have never seen someone do such a selfless thing,”

“I love him so much, Heather.”

“I know you do.”

“Promise me you’ll take good care of him.” Her words came out broken and slurred between the sobs.

“I promise, Sami. The best care possible.”

Women like Sami are the unsung heroines of the pro-life movement. Difficult, messy, and painful as their own lives may be, they still choose life for their unborn babies. While the world tells them to make choices in their own best interests, they still choose what’s best for the babies in their wombs: life over death, adoption over abortion, hope over despair. These moms ought to be thanked and recognized for their heart-rending but life-giving sacrifices.

So today, when we usually would be Marching for Life in Washington D.C., I’ve been praying for all the moms who have given up a baby for adoption. Praying for the moms who are agonizing over what to do with an unplanned pregnancy or a baby with special needs. Praying that they will have all the love and support they need to make the loving choice and be honored for it.

May God bless these unsung heroines! May He heal their hearts and reward them for their selflessness. By their sacrifices and examples, we are one step closer to building a culture of life.

Republished with permission from Mary Cooney’s blog, Mercy for Marthas

The dark side of sperm donation

by Michael Cook

Another dispatch from the Reproductive RevolutionBioEdgeMercatorNet’s associate site about bioethics, has been tracking the generosity of sperm donor dads for several years. Some men have fathered dozens of children, a few may have fathered hundreds. But in the case of Detroit gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Philip Peven the word “thousands” is being used. It will be impossible to know, but since he delivered some 9,000 babies in his 40-year career, it seems possible. Some proportion of those children carry his genes.

Dr Peven is now 105 years old but is still in reasonably good health. Online DNA tests from sites like 23andMe and ancestry.com have united several of his offspring when they did some sleuthing into their genealogy.

Two of them confronted him early last year before the Covid-19 pandemic cut off personal contact. In the late 40s, he explained to them, medical students and young doctors often donated or sold sperm.

When he set up his own practice, he continued to use his own sperm to help women whose husbands had infertility problems – without informing them of the donor. At least once he was given a vial of sperm from a patient’s friend, but discarded it and used his own. He has no idea how many offspring he has, although he told his visitors that “My daughter thinks I could have fathered thousands of children.’”

Some of the offspring have noted that Dr Peven is an Ashkenazi Jew and people with that genetic heritage are prone to Gaucher disease, Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. Many of his patients belonged to Detroit’s Jewish community, complicating matters still further. Their children could easily have married a half-sibling.

The Jewish News newspaper has covered this story extensively and found that other doctors were involved. One of the offspring of these other doctors made comments which apply to Dr Peven as well.

“I now realize that it was a different time, a time when doctors were not questioned, but I still consider the doctor’s behaviour unprincipled, unethical and possibly dangerous,” the person said. “The possibility was certainly there that half-siblings could meet, marry and have children. I do realize the doctor was trying to be helpful in enabling couples to have a child, but he should have told the mother he was using his own sperm. I doubt most women would have said yes to that scenario.”

As The Jewish News sought more information about Dr Peven, it unearthed deceptive donor sperm practices by other fertility doctors in Detroit. Dr Sylvester Trythall, who died in 1970, told one patient in the late 50s that he was going to mix her husband’s sperm with a medical student’s. But when a woman named Lynne Weiner Spencer investigated her genetic heritage, she found that she was really the daughter of Dr Trythall’s handyman, Hank Heemsoth, who died in 2006. Now it appears that Mr Heemsoth may have been the biological father of about 60 children – not many compared to Dr Peven, of course — but still noteworthy.

Secrecy is bad, of course, but the fundamental ethical problem with sperm donation is not secrecy; it is sperm donation. Every child deserves to be born as the beloved gift of a mother and father in a marriage. Sperm donation turns children into products and cuts them off from a father’s love, his own family connections, and a genetic heritage. However loving the child’s mother may be, erasing the father is a kind of child abuse. It should be banned.

But IVF clinics and sperm banks continue to promote it; the law continues to permit it. And as long as they do, some twisted men will take advantage of its legality for their own perverse reasons.

A horrifying feature in the New York Times this week shows a very dark side of sperm donation today. It examines the case of Jonathan Jacob Meijer, a Dutch musician in his 30s, who may have fathered 200 children – so far. Through donations to IVF clinics in the Netherlands, he has about 100; through private arrangements, another 80.

Even the New York Times suggests that at least more regulation is needed:

As an industry, however, it is poorly regulated. A patchwork of laws ostensibly addresses who can donate, where and how often, in part to avoid introducing or amplifying genetic disabilities in a population. In Germany, a sperm-clinic donor may not produce more than 15 children; in the United Kingdom the cap is 10 families of unlimited children. In the Netherlands, Dutch law prohibits donating anonymously, and nonbinding guidelines limit clinic donors to 25 children and from donating at more than one clinic in the country. In the United States there are no legal limits, only guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine: 25 children per donor in a population of 800,000.

The dismal truth is that some males get a kick out of spreading their genes far and wide. A member of Donor Offspring Europe, told the Times that some men travel around Europe trying to have as many children as possible.

“It’s kind of disgusting in a narcissistic way,” she said. “No sane person would want 100 children or more. The big question is why? These men want confirmation that they’re a great guy and everybody wants them.”

Mr Meijer, for instance, has been donating to a number of sperm banks outside the Netherlands as well. Ties van der Meer, the director of the Dutch Donor Child Foundation, told the Times that his offspring could number several hundred or even 1,000.

Mr Meijer says that this is “ridiculous” and appeals to an ersatz, mystical, flower-power version of love. “I am disappointed by the obsession of the numbers,” he says. “I became a donor not for any numbers but out of love to help parents with realizing their dream. I cannot understand how anyone can only focus on numbers and see my donor children as a number.”

Ultimately the problem is not more regulation. The Reproductive Revolution has to be unwound. We have to return to the notion that a new life is sacred and should only begin within marriage. That is where it is best protected.

Otherwise we end up with Genghis Khan wannabees like Philip Peven and Jonathan Jacob Meijer.

Pregnant or under 18? Don’t get Moderna’s COVID vaccine, WHO says

January 28, 2021 (Children’s Health Defense) — Pregnant women (unless they are at high risk of  exposure to the COVID virus) and people under age 18 should not get Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine until further studies are completed, according to new guidance issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In its interim recommendations for the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine in people 18 years and older, the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) said:

“While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure (e.g. health workers).”

In an online briefing, as Reuters reported, WHO director of immunisation Kate O’Brien said, “There is no reason to think there could be a problem in pregnancy, we are just acknowledging the data is not there at the moment.”

Earlier this month, the WHO similarly recommended against administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine to pregnant women, also citing insufficient data.

WHO continues to recommend that “health workers at high risk of exposure and older people should be prioritized for vaccination.”

However, today’s recommendations also included this list of people who should not get the Moderna vaccine:

“Individuals with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take this or any other mRNA vaccine.

“While vaccination is recommended for older persons due to the high risk of severe COVID-19 and death, very frail older persons with an anticipated life expectancy of less than 3 months should be individually assessed.

“The vaccine should not be administered to persons younger than 18 years of age pending the results of further studies.”

Last week, The Defender reported that allergic reactions had caused California health officials to hit pause on a large batch of Moderna vaccines. A few days later, Moderna said it was okay to resume using that batch.

Also last week, China health experts called for the suspension of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID vaccines after reports that Norway and Germany were investigating the deaths of at least 43 elderly people (33 in Norway, 10 in Germany) who had received the COVID vaccine.

In the U.S., as of Jan. 15, 181 deaths had been reported to the U.S. government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System as possibly being related to COVID vaccines. A 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that “fewer than 1% of vaccine injuries” are reported to VAERS and experts say the government’s reporting system is “broken.” Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, never before used in vaccines. In the U.S., both are approved for emergency use only, which by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition, means that they are experimental.

© January 26, 2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

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African social activist condemns US intent to target developing nations with abortion funding

 

(Right to Life UK) Filmmaker, author, and social activist Obianuju Ekeocha has called out the United States for repealing the Mexico City Policy which ensured that federal funding was not spent on abortions outside the United States.

President Joe Biden will revoke the policy put in place by the former US administration, likely resulting in a large increase in funds being made available to global abortion providers that target developing countries including MSI Reproductive Choices and International Planned Parenthood Foundation.

In a speech to the World Health Organization on Thursday 22nd January, Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, said:

“To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world”.

The Mexico City Policy

The Mexico City Policy was originally announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It required non-governmental organisations to agree, as a condition of receiving federal funding, that they “would neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations”.

The policy, which essentially forbids federal funding from being used to perform and promote abortion outside of the US, has been a significant point of contention since its beginning, with successive Republican and Democrat Presidents instituting and then rescinding the policy.

The former administration had reinstituted it after the Obama era and expanded it into a policy called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.

Under the new President, federal funding for abortions outside of the US will once again be available for global abortion giants such as MSI Reproductive Choices and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

US funding of abortion in Africa

Social activist Obianuju Ekeocha has slammed the President for this move in a Tweet, saying:

“So Pres Biden intends to repeal the Mexico City Policy so that the United States can resume funding abortion organizations in Africa and other parts of the developing world…to kill our innocent unborn children. We will object”.

With the repeal of the Mexico City Policy, US federal funding, which ultimately comes from the US taxpayer, will now be available to fund abortions and the promotion of abortion in Africa.

In a report for Culture of Life Africa released last year, Ekeocha accused the UN and a number of Western nations, including Canada, the US and the UK, of “humanitarian blackmail” as they sought to capitalise on the global COVID-19 crisis by imposing abortion on the continent.

Illegal abortions, fake doctors and abortion bonuses

The move to repeal Mexico City Policy will likely mean that federal funding will once again be given to contraversial global abortion provider MSI Reproductive Choices.

MSI Reproductive Choices has recently rebranded from its previous name, Marie Stopes International, to hide their association with eugenicist and Nazi-sympathiser, Marie Stopes.

The organisation perform millions of abortions across the globe each year and received over £340 million from the British taxpayer over the last ten years, and continues to be surrounded by scandal.

In October 2020, the bodies of ten illegally aborted babies were found discarded and decomposing in a bin at a Marie Stopes International franchise ‘Medical Centre’ in Kenya, resulting in the closure of the clinic.

In 2017, a damning report from the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) accused Marie Stopes International (now MSI Reproductive Choices) of paying staff bonuses for persuading women to have abortions.

In addition, the CQC found the abortion group was not following proper sterilisation and infection control protocols and was improperly disposing of the bodies of the babies they aborted.

In 2016, Marie Stopes International was forced to suspend abortion services for a month after an unannounced inspection by the CQC found “dead foetuses lying in an open bin and staff trying to give a vulnerable, visibly distressed woman an abortion without her consent”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said:

“Thank you Obianuju Ekeocha for courageously speaking out against the US’s return to targeting developing nations with abortion funding”.

“The fact that President Biden has rescinded the Mexico City Policy should come as no great surprise. This is exactly what Barack Obama did when he came into office in 2009 with Joe Biden as his Vice-President. That it was one of his first acts as new President is an ominous sign of the priorities of this administration. They appear to have completely aligned themselves with an ideology concerned with expanding abortion access at all costs”.

“In the UK, this same ideology is on clear display in the case of those promoting ‘DIY’ abortions, regardless of the many serious safety concerns posed to vulnerable women. There are inadequate safeguards to prevent women being coerced into having an abortion, there are also inadequate safeguards to ensure the woman is taking the abortion pills at the ‘appropriate’ gestational age, and there is evidence of systemic underreporting of complications related to the use of ‘DIY’ abortions. None of these major concerns appears to matter to abortion providers who, like the Biden administration, have shown that they care as little for women as they do for their unborn children”.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Right to Life UK and is reprinted here with permission.

The Links between Irregular Cycles, Birth Control, and Early Death

The Links between Irregular Cycles, Birth Control, and Early Death

In the fertility awareness world, it is no secret that we advocate for the medical community to consider the menstrual cycle a vital sign of health. Often sequestered to that aisle in the drug store or murmurs in the bathroom, periods have long gotten a bad rap. We’re learning now that not only do periods open a previously hidden door of new understanding into women’s well being and health, but healthy and balanced cycles have recently been linked with living longer.  Finally, the PR for periods may be getting a long-overdue overhaul.

A landmark prospective cohort study out of Boston, published in the British Medical Journal this past August, found an association between irregular and long menstrual cycles* in adolescence and adulthood with a greater risk of premature mortality (described as death before the age of  70 years old) [1].

This association between menstrual cycles and premature death was independent of body mass index (BMI) and was present with or without signs of PCOS, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. This indicates that hormonal disorders alone are not the culprit behind early death, but rather an indication that the lack of regular ovulation and menstruation could be the root of this association.

This is huge. It means if hormonal disorders are effectively treated, and regular ovulation is supported for women of reproductive age, then women with hormonal disorders can reap long-lasting health benefits just as well as women without such disorders.

The connections between irregular cycles, teenage birth control use, and early death

In an even more striking finding, the same study discovered an increased risk of early death among women who used oral contraceptives during their teen years, specifically between the ages 14-17.

This indicates two really important things that fertility awareness advocates have been positively shouting about for years: First, that having a regular, balanced period matters for a woman’s current and future health. Second, how the pattern of fertility cycles unfolds in a young woman’s early years matters.

It’s a sad irony that teens younger than 17 are more likely to be put on the Pill—or any other form of hormonal contraception—due to long or irregular periods, rather than for the express purpose of contraception. But irregular periods are more than merely annoying, and are thought to be a sign of something far more serious: a disrupted hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis. A disturbed HPO axis is associated with “non-communicable diseases, including ovarian cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and mental health problems, through mechanisms probably related to a disrupted hormonal environment, chronic inflammation, and metabolic disturbances.”

While irregular periods can be normal in the beginning years of puberty, there should be a progression over time to more regularity. In the case that a young girl experiences irregular periods that don’t progress toward maturation, this is often a sign of some type of hormonal imbalance.

But what does this have to do with birth control? As we’ve discussed at length before, hormonal contraception doesn’t regulate anything about a woman’s cycle, but rather, it shuts down the all-important HPO axis. So instead of having a true menstrual period each month, a girl or woman on birth control has a false hormonal withdrawal bleed every month.

It isn’t entirely clear why irregular periods are linked with premature death, but researchers are beginning to hypothesize that irregular and long menstrual cycles are strong predictors of a condition known as hyperinsulinemia [2]. That’s a fancy word for too much insulin—the hormone that regulates sugar—in your blood. Now it’s a question of what came first, the chicken or the egg: Did increased insulin cause irregular cycles or did irregular cycles cause increased insulin?

It’s no secret that modern diets are high in sugar, and that modern living is abundant in stress. Either one of these two things can wreak havoc on the endocrine system; together, they can cause a veritable firestorm in our bodies. Insulin resistance, when women have a much higher threshold of how much insulin is needed before their body recognizes it, is becoming the norm. And it has even been hypothesized that this condition could be cross generational [3]. This means that your great grandmother’s diet could have had an effect on your DNA, and insulin levels, even today. Wild. High insulin levels have been long thought to play a critical role in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. And, in case you were wondering, cardiovascular disease is the top cause for premature death in women, and cancer and diabetes are a close second and third.

What can be done?

Before you get too down about this, consider that we do have a chance to rewrite our future generation’s DNA. It starts with the menstrual cycle. Women young and old can chart their menstrual cycles with a fertility awareness method (FAM), which can reveal cycle irregularities or hormonal imbalances that a FAM-aware doctor can help treat with restorative reproductive medicine.

Rather than putting a hold button on these issues, as hormonal contraception does, we have the option to teach teens how to chart their cycles which gives them an empowering relationship with their body as well as a family planning tool for when they need it. But more importantly, their cycle charts serve as an invaluable diagnostic tool helping them to know and manage their health risks, and alerting them to get the help they need when it matters most.

This is another reason medical professionals should learn more about fertility science and include information on cycle charting in their practice. If medical practitioners have enough knowledge about cycle charting and include menstrual characteristics as a vital sign of health, young teens can navigate cycles (regular or irregular) and utilize both complementary and conventional medicine to reduce future risk of adverse health outcomes.

*Irregular and long cycles can be considered normal in transitional seasons such as early puberty, post birth, during breastfeeding, and perimenopause.

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

References

[1] Wang Y, Arvizu M, Rich-Edwards J et al. Menstrual cycle regularity and length across the reproductive lifespan and risk of premature mortality: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2020:m3464. doi:10.1136/bmj.m3464

[2] Wei S, Schmidt M, Dwyer T, Norman R, Venn A. Obesity and Menstrual Irregularity: Associations With SHBG, Testosterone, and Insulin. Obesity. 2009;17(5):1070-1076. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.641

[3] Fusco S, Spinelli M, Cocco S et al. Maternal insulin resistance multigenerationally impairs synaptic plasticity and memory via gametic mechanisms. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12793-3

 

US bishops urge Biden to reject abortion rights after ‘deeply disturbing’ statement

.- President Joe Biden’s statement backing legal abortion on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade drew swift reaction from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose pro-life chairman said the no president of the United States should ever defend denying the right to life of unborn children.

“We strongly urge the president to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need,” the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities head Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said Jan. 22.

“It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any president would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life under the euphemistic disguise of a health service,” he said.

The U.S. bishops’ conference responded to the statement from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide.

The president and vice president stressed their commitment to legal abortion, saying “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe.”

Although Roe v. Wade was a critical pro-abortion rights decision, the statement did not mention abortion by name, preferring to use euphemisms such as “reproductive health” and “health care.”

“In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” they said.  “As the Biden-Harris Administration begins in this critical moment, now is the time to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all individuals have access to the health care they need.”

The U.S. bishops’ conference said the statement wrongly characterized the Roe v. Wade decision as “an advancement of women’s rights and health.” While the Biden-Harris statement did not mention religion, the bishops said Catholics cannot support abortion.

Biden has repeatedly emphasized his Catholicism, attending Mass the morning of his inauguration and citing St. Augustine of Hippo in his inaugural address. He has put a Pope Francis picture in the Oval Office.

Even on Biden’s first day in office, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki cited Biden’s Catholicism when asked questions about abortion.

At a Jan. 20 press briefing, Owen Jensen of EWTN News asked Psaki what Biden plans to do regarding the Hyde Amendment and the Mexico City Policy, which Biden has opposed because they limit abortion funding.

“Well, I think we’ll have more to say on the Mexico City Policy in the coming days,” Psaki said.

“But I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he (Biden) is a devout Catholic, and somebody who attends church regularly,” she told reporters. “He started his day with attending his church this morning.”

In the bishops’ conference statement, however, Archbishop Naumann emphasized Church teaching on abortion.

“I take this opportunity to remind all Catholics that the Catechism states, ‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable’,” he said.

The statement also emphasized politicians’ responsibilities to reject a right to abortion.

“Public officials are responsible for not only their personal beliefs, but also the effects of their public actions. Roe’s elevation of abortion to the status of a protected right and its elimination of state restrictions paved the way for the violent deaths of more than 62 million innocent unborn children and for countless women who experience the heartache of loss, abandonment, and violence,” said Naumann.

The president of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Fr. Dave Pivonka, also reacted to the Biden-Harris declaration, saying their “aggressive pro-abortion statement … is saddening to Catholics worldwide. The policies they have promised to put forward are harmful to the dignity of the human person and are contrary to the teachings of the Church.”

Pope Francis has often rejected abortion as part of a “throwaway culture,” but some American pro-abortion rights advocates and politicians, and their supporters, have tried to claim the Pope has taken a non-confrontational approach at variance with most U.S. bishops.

On the day of Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, in his role as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said he was praying for Biden. He noted areas of agreement and disagreement between the bishops and Biden.

“Catholic bishops are not partisan players in our nation’s politics,” Gomez said in a statement. “We are pastors responsible for the souls of millions of Americans and we are advocates for the needs of all our neighbors.”

“For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the ‘preeminent priority’,” he said, adding that “preeminent does not mean ‘only’,” and there are a wide variety of challenges and threats to human dignity facing the country today,” he said.

The U.S. bishops will engage with Biden with the aim of starting “a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families,” Archbishop Gomez said.

Lost generations: Over 48 million Millennial and Gen Z babies have been killed by abortion

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Abortion has violently ended the lives of over 48 million Millennial (24.5 million) and Generation Z (24 million) babies combined, according to data published by Planned Parenthood’s former “special affiliate” and research arm, the Guttmacher Institute. Tragically, since the 1973 Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision forced abortion upon the nation, a staggering 60 to 62 million preborn babies have been killed.

Guttmacher data from 2017 revealed that the lives of 2,363 preborn babies are violently ended every day by abortion in the United States.

Abortion at 8 weeks (Image credit: AbortionNo.org)

Abortion at 8 weeks (Image credit: AbortionNo.org)

Using age definitions for the various generation groups published by Pew Research, along with reported abortion data published over the years by Guttmacher (note: the data has varied year to year due to estimations), Live Action News documented the following losses among the generations since Roe v. Wade:

Generation X = 8.7 million preborn lives lost to abortion 

Between 1973 and 1980, there were an estimated 8,736,000 preborn lives lost to abortion among Generation X, identified by Pew as those born between 1965-1980. This is more than the entire population of the state of Virginia, and exceeds populations in all but 11 states in the US, according to 2019 population data estimates.

Millennials = 24.5 million preborn lives lost to abortion

Millennials are identified by Pew as those born between 1981 and 1996. In that generation, there were an estimated 24,514,400 Millennial preborn lives lost to abortion. Data by state published at infoplease.com for 2019 indicates that this would amount to more than the population of the state of Florida, and would exceed populations in all but two US states.

Generation Z = 24 million preborn lives lost to abortion 

Pew Research defines Generation Z as those born after 1996. Between 1997 and 2017 (the last published report from Guttmacher), there have so far been an estimated 24,028,920 preborn babies from Generation Z lost to abortion. This, like those in the Millennial generation, also amounts to more people than the entire population of Florida in 2019, and would exceed populations in all but two US states.

The preborn lives lost to abortion among Millennials (24.5 million) and Generation Z (24 million) each outnumber the populations of a multitude of countries, according to a 2021 estimate published by WorldMeters.info. These include Niger, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, Romania, Chile, Guatemala, Syria and Cuba, among others. Collectively (48 million) they outnumber the populations of Spain, Uganda, Argentina, Algeria, Sudan, Ukraine and Iraq among many others.

Abortions by decade 

Using data published by Guttmacher, we can also see the impact abortion has had in America by decade:

  • 1973 to 1979: nearly 7.2 million
  • 1980 to 1989: nearly 16 million
  • 1990 to 1999: 14.3 million
  • 2000 to 2009: 12.4 million
  • 2010 to 2017 (last published year): nearly 7.7 million

Between 1973 and 2017 (the latest data published by Guttmacher), there were approximately 60 million abortions reported. Tragically, by end of 2020, the number of lives lost by abortion are now estimated to be as high as 62.5 million, according to National Right to Life.

As we enter the 48th year since Roe v. Wade, let us recommit to ending this horrific genocide of innocent children, so no more American generations will suffer loss from abortion.

Pro-Life Leader Joe Scheidler Remembered as ‘Fearless Champion of the Unborn’

Pro-life leader Joe Scheidler spent eight years as a Benedictine monk in Indiana, and though he discerned he wasn’t called to the priesthood, the founder of the Pro-Life Action League never stopped living the order’s motto of ora et labora (prayer and work) during his many years in the pro-life movement, said his oldest son, Eric.

Joe Scheidler, who inspired many pro-life leaders and was chief defendant in a decades-long lawsuit filed by the National Organization for Women against pro-life efforts, died of pneumonia on Monday at his Chicago home surrounded by his family. He was 93. Scheidler is survived by his wife, Ann, seven children, 26 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

“He saw prayer as a foundation that you build work upon, the labora part, the work part,” said Eric Scheidler, who serves as executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, which recruits and equips pro-life Americans to help save unborn children through nonviolent direct action.

“He wanted to encourage people to do the work and to join him on the front lines. And the No. 1 work for him was going outside of abortion facilities because that’s where our witness is the most powerful.”

Recognized as an expert on the abortion culture, sidewalk counseling, battling the courts, fetal experimentation, the spiritual dimension of pro-life activism and the Church’s responsibility to fight abortion, Scheidler, easy to recognize in his trademark black fedora, also was a devout Catholic and daily Mass attendee, according to son Eric, who added that his father “very much saw what we were doing as a religious work, even though it has a public character, and it has a political character and we’re out in the public square. It was always rooted in faith. And he was passionate about sharing that faith, especially with his family.”

Scheidler was born in 1927, in Hartford City, Indiana. After serving in the U.S. Navy as a military police officer at the end of World War II, he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree at Marquette University.

He spent eight years studying for the priesthood at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana. After discerning he was called to married life, Scheidler taught at Mundelein College in Chicago. During that time, he chaperoned a group of students on a pilgrimage to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Scheidler first got involved in the pro-life movement in 1972; and shortly after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, he became a full-time pro-life activist. He founded the Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) in 1980 and wrote several books. For much of his life in the pro-life movement, he also could be found sharing the truth about abortion on street corners.

In 1986, the National Organization for Women and a network of abortion facilities sued Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League on racketeering charges for conspiring to deprive women of the right to abortion, according to the organization’s website. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court three times before Scheidler won the case there in 2006, via a unanimous decision. The case didn’t completely end until 2014, however, when the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court order instructing the National Organization for Women to pay the defendants more than $63,000 to compensate them for their legal costs.

Attorney Thomas Brejcha began working with Scheidler in 1986, when he took on the case. Brejcha, who went on to co-found the national public interest law firm the Thomas More Society with Scheidler, described him as a “towering figure” and compared him to the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

Scheidler persevered as the court case dragged on and will be remembered for his advocacy in the face of persecution and oppression by litigation, Brejcha said of his longtime client and friend.

“He stood up and stood firm,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times people told him to settle the case, give in, make peace with the opposition, and he refused steadfastly to do so.”

The nonprofit Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which seeks to restore respect in law for life, family and religious liberty, was founded during Scheidler’s case and from it, Brejcha said, adding that he learned how to fight major pro-life cases, including those against investigative journalist, David Daleiden, who exposed illegal activities of the abortion industry and for whom the society is currently providing legal services, due to Scheidler’s court battle.

Scheidler’s fight in the court case was a fight for the whole movement, and he can be considered a white martyr, said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Something happens in a man when you give your whole life to something good and suffer for it,” Wolfgang said. “You just have this sort of presence about you, and people recognize that. That’s what everyone responded to whenever they were in a room with Joe Scheidler. You could feel his love for the unborn child. You could feel the purity of the man’s intention.”

‘A True Hero’

Scheidler also recognized the danger of new threats to religious liberty from the Obama administration’s contraception mandate introduced in 2012. He and the Pro-Life Action League organized simultaneous religious-liberty rallies across the country, Wolfgang said.

“I think they had an effect that, in some ways, continues to this day,” said Wolfgang, who added that Scheidler impacted his decision to work for the pro-life movement.

“It was Scheidler who rose manfully to the challenge of the 2010s, just as he did to the abortion challenge in the ’80s.”

Abby Johnson, founder and director of the pro-life apostolate And Then There Were None, remembered Scheidler on Facebook:

“Joe Scheidler was a true hero, someone whose opinion mattered in this fight for the unborn,” she wrote. “He was a giant in my own life, and I’m so grateful to have spent time with him and to have listened to his wisdom.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, and Janet Morana, Priests for Life’s executive director, honored Scheidler in a statement on Monday:

“I have countless memories of Joe, whether we were together fishing on Lake Michigan, praying to the Lord inside the Supreme Court as they were hearing his case, or saving babies in front of abortion mills,” Father Pavone said. “Every conversation with him was an inspiration to double my pro-life efforts.”

Morana called Scheidler the “godfather” of the pro-life movement. “In our early years, he was one of the people who taught us how to be pro-life activists,” she said. “He was an inspiration to us and gave us practical advice drawn from his many years as a passionate and fearless champion of the unborn.”

Scheidler’s passing on Jan. 18, the day when Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy was remembered, is fitting because King’s work helped inspire the pro-life leader to activism, just as he went on to inspire others, Eric Scheidler said. “Seeing the impact that regular Americans could have by taking action against racial injustice inspired my father to mobilize Americans in the same way in the fight against the injustice of abortion.”

COVID 19 vaccine could cause permanent auto-immune rejection of the placenta

The following information was taken from America’s Frontline Doctors White Paper On Experimental Vaccines For COVID-19. More research is needed to determine the effects of experimental vaccines on fertility.

For more information visit https://www.americasfrontlinedoctors.com/wp-content/uploads/Vaccine-PP.pdf

Experimental Vaccines & Other Unknown or New Problems

Frontline physicians have a very healthy respect for what is unknown. With these new experimental vaccines more is unknown than known, so this section is by definition, incomplete. But we already have suggestions of where serious problems will arise, based upon early data and mechanism of action. There is evidence to support that the vaccine could cause permanent auto-immune rejection of the placenta.

Placental inflammation resulting in stillbirths mid-pregnancy (second trimester) is seen with COVID-19 and with other similar coronaviruses. The way the experimental vaccines work, it is concerning that deleterious effect on the placenta, which in the wild only lasts as long as the acute illness, would instead be lifelong.

There is a case report of a woman with a normally developing pregnancy who lost the otherwise healthy baby at five months during acute COVID-19. The mother’s side of the placenta was very inflamed. This “infection of the maternal side of the placenta inducing acute or chronic placental insufficiency resulting in miscarriage or fetal growth restriction was observed in 40% of pregnant women with similar coronaviruses”54 Thus far SARS-CoV-2 appears to be similar.55 This issue has not been studied despite saying that “Additional studies of pregnant women with COVID-19 is warranted to determine if SARS-CoV-2 can cause similar adverse outcomes.” (Emphasis added)

The purported mRNA vaccines may instigate a similar reaction as the virus. There is a component in the vaccine that could cause this same auto-immune rejection of the placenta but indefinitely. In layman’s terms: getting COVID-19 has been associated with a high risk of mid-pregnancy miscarriage because the placenta fails – but the vaccine may do the exact same thing – but not for just a few weeks of being sick – but forever. Meaning repeated pregnancies would keep failing ~ mid-pregnancy. It is completely reckless to give this vaccine to millions of people who would otherwise all be expected to recover until we know the answer to that question!

  • i. Here is the scientific theory/explanation for the effect on the placenta (and possibly on sperm): the spike protein of Sars-Cov-2, against which teams are competing to develop a vaccine, is highly homologous with a human HERV protein, syncytin1. Syncytin-1, which is a HERV derived protein, causes fusion of cells in the trophoblast and has a role in placentation.56 The vaccinations are expected to produce antibodies against spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. However, spike proteins also contain syncytin-homologous proteins, which are essential for the formation of the placenta in mammals such as humans. It must be absolutely ruled out that a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 could trigger an immune reaction against syncytin-1, as otherwise infertility of indefinite duration could result in vaccinated women.57 58 (Emphasis added)
    54 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765616
    55 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30311-1/fulltext
    56 https://bjgplife.com/2020/05/21/of-hervs-and-COVID-19-questions-for-the-future/
    57 https://2020news.de/en/dr-wodarg-and-dr-yeadon-request-a-stop-of-all-corona-vaccination-studiesand-call-for-co-signing-the-petition/?fbclid=IwAR3yoj0SCIK8WaaS0-w1vIoig4qNYydTxT3aK01NJDwHut3jWpygtnnbNY
  • Alignment of the endogenous elements Syn1 found on human chromosome 7, or Syn2 found on chromosome 6, or HERV-K expressed from chromosome 6, all show a number of sequence motifs with significant similarity to nCoV2019 spikeprotein.59
  • ii. As reported by Public Broadcasting Service, regarding placenta science: “The syncytiotrophoblast is the outermost layer of the placenta, the part that is pressed against the uterus. It’s literally a layer of cells that have fused together, forming a wall….This wall of cells keeps mom and baby working in harmony and not killing each other. There’s no other structure like this anywhere else in the body.”
    60

Many scientists already agree the risk is much too high to release these experimental vaccines to the public at large. On December 1, 2020, the ex-Pfizer head of respiratory research Dr. Michael Yeadon and the lung specialist and former head of the public health department Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg filed an application with the European Medicine Agency responsible for European approval, for the immediate suspension of all SARS CoV-2 vaccine studies, in particular the BioNtech/Pfizer study on BNT162b. 61 62 One of the biggest reasons they cited was the possibility of lifelong infertility as described above and copied here.

America’s Frontline Doctors White Paper On
Experimental Vaccines For COVID-1958 https://2020news.de/wpcontent/uploads/2020/12/Wodarg_Yeadon_EMA_Petition_Pfizer_Trial_FINAL_01DEC2020_EN_unsi
gned_with_Exhibits.pdf

59 https://virological.org/t/response-to-ncov2019-against-backdrop-of-endogenous-retroviruses/396

60 https://whyy.org/segments/the-placenta-went-viral-and-protomammals-were-born/

61 https://2020news.de/en/dr-wodarg-and-dr-yeadon-request-a-stop-of-all-corona-vaccination-studiesand-call-for-co-signing-the-petition/?fbclid=IwAR3yoj0SCIK8WaaS0-w1vIoig4qNYydTxT3aK01NJDwHut3jWpygtnnbNY

62https://2020news.de/wpcontent/uploads/2020/12/Wodarg_Yeadon_EMA_Petition_Pfizer_Trial_FINAL_01DEC2020_EN_unsi gned_with_Exhibits.pdf

Supreme Court halts mail-order distribution of abortion pill

 

The Supreme Court has ruled that women must receive the abortion pill regimen in person, at an abortion facility, putting an end to dangerous mail-order abortions of mifepristone (brand name Mifeprex), also known as RU-486. The ruling affirms that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) in-person abortion pill distribution requirements will remain in place, though as recently as October 2020, the Supreme Court “refused to rule on a request from the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate a rule banning the distribution of abortion pills by mail,” according to a previous report by Live Action News.

In the ruling, Chief Justice Roberts said the issue at hand was not whether or not the current requirements pose an undue burden upon women seeking abortion, but whether or not the District Court properly ordered the FDA to lift those requirements. “My view is that courts owe significant deference to the politically accountable entities with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health,’ ” Roberts wrote, adding, “In light of those considerations, I do not see a sufficient basis here for the district court to compel the FDA to alter the regimen for medical abortion.

The court’s three liberal justices — Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — dissented.

READ: An OB/GYN speaks: The ‘no-test’ abortion pill protocol experiments with women’s health

Previously, the pro-abortion American College of Obstetrician-Gynecologists (ACOG) had sued for the requirements to be suspended for the duration of the pandemic, and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang ruled in the group’s favor. “Particularly in light of the limited timeframe during which a medication abortion or any abortion must occur, such infringement on the right to an abortion would constitute irreparable harm,” he wrote in his ruling. “By causing certain patients to decide between forgoing or substantially delaying abortion care, or risking exposure to COVID-19 for themselves, their children, and family members, the In-Person Requirements present a serious burden to many abortion patients.”

Yet overturning the FDA requirements also put women at serious risk of harm, as the FDA itself argued in its appeal.

 

“Defendants will also suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a stay because they will be unable to enforce requirements that FDA has determined, based on its experience and scientific expertise, are necessary to ensure safe use of Mifeprex,” the appeal read. “Requiring patients to obtain Mifeprex at a clinic — as has been required for years — does not deprive women of the ‘ability to make a decision to have an abortion.’”

Though the abortion industry has repeatedly tried to claim the abortion pill regimen is completely safe, this is far from true. Potentially serious side effects have been well-documented, including uterine hemorrhaging, viral infections, sepsis, and death. At least 24 women have died, with thousands more adverse events, though the true number is likely to be even higher, as not every state requires abortion complications to be reported. The abortion pill has been shown to carry a four-times greater risk of complications than a first trimester surgical abortion. Women are put at greater risk when gestational age is not first properly assessed, when a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy is not ruled out, and when Rh factor is not tested (which can affect future pregnancies).  Without an in-person visit, it’s also much easier for a woman to be coerced into an abortion against her will.

The simple reality is that the abortion pill is dangerous, and the FDA should remove it from the market altogether. But for now, at least, the Supreme Court has brought an end to mail-order abortions, a move that is likely to save some women’s lives.

CHINA ERADICATING ‘RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM’

by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com

XINJIANG, China (ChurchMilitant.com) – Decreases in the birthrate in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China are stemming from the “eradication of religious extremism,” according to a new Chinese Communist Party (CCP) report.

The report, published on Thursday by the Xinjiang Development Research Center, said the elimination of what it calls “religious extremism” has allowed Uyghur Muslim women to become more autonomous and confident, according to the China Daily. They are less likely to resist family planning measures and now see themselves as more than mere “baby-making machines,” the report states.

Reportedly, the birthrate in Xinjiang decreased from 1.6% in 2017 to 1% in 2018.

Many critics see the CCP’s use of terms like “religious extremism” and “family planning” as euphemisms that imitate the radical feminist language and hide a sinister agenda.

China expert Steven Mosher, who witnessed the horrors of China’s one-child policy in the 1980s, told Church Militant recently: “Chinese communist propaganda mimics the language of Western feminists to disguise their ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people.”

“What is really taking Uyghur women out of the baby-making business,” Mosher added, “is the massive number of forced sterilizations and forced abortions that are being performed on Uyghur women who have two children.”

Chinese communist propaganda mimics the language of Western feminists to disguise their ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people.Tweet

The report claims “safe, effective and appropriate contraceptive measures are now available to couples of childbearing age in Xinjiang, and their personal decisions on whether to use those measures — which include tubal ligation and the insertion of intrauterine devices — are fully respected,” according to the China Daily.

“An increasing number of people in southern Xinjiang were deciding to marry and have children later in life, seeing the benefits of fewer but better births, and the change was due more to personal choice than government policy,” it added.

Evidence: Birth-Prevention Tactics

Mosher is not the only expert to criticize the CCP “family planning” policies and describe what’s happening as genocide.

Another China expert, Adrian Zenz, has put forth evidence of mass birth prevention and mass female sterilization of Uyghur Muslims in China. In an interview with NPR last summer, Zenz shared information he gathered from Xinjiang National Health Commission, local prefecture government and county websites. He stated:

I was able to uncover dedicated policies by Beijing in the [XUAR] region to systematically suppress birth rates and depress population growth. I uncovered evidence that the Uyghurs are subject to internment in camps if they violate birth control policies — have too many children. I also uncovered that there’s tools to implement intrauterine contraceptive devices and other intrusive surgical birth prevention mechanisms in at least 80% of the targeted women.

Zenz related the “harrowing” stories of Uyghur women who are:

caught up by the police and, as they’re being brought to the internment camp, the first thing is that they’re told “you’re going to go on the surgery table, and we’re going to put an intrauterine contraceptive device into your body because that’s standard policy for women who are put into a camp.” Other women report of forced sterilization, of abuse, even accounts of rape.

Pro-China Global Times reported that Chinese scholars from a Xinjiang think tank dismissed Zenz as “a far-right Christian” and accused him of “fabricating unfounded reports to slander China’s policies in Xinjiang” and “to cater to the U.S. and some Western countries’ aim of attacking China.”

But many anti-American mainstream sources have likewise reported on the annihilation of traditional Uyghur people. NBC News, for example, reported in late 2019 on how “[f]or at least the last three years, Chinese authorities in the far western region of Xinjiang have been rounding up men and women … and detaining them in camps designed to rid them of terrorist or extremist leanings.”

As to ridding Uyghur people of “extremist leanings,” Mosher added wryly: “I suppose we could call that ‘gender equality,’ CCP style. Neither sex can have children.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Pro-Life Bill Saving Babies From Abortions

STEVEN ERTELT

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a new pro-life bill into law that will help save babies from abortions. The Ohio legislature approved a pro-life bill to ban a dangerous form of abortions that kill unborn babies but also put women’s health at risk.

Senate Bill 260, the Telemedicine Abortion Ban, passed out of the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 54 to 30. This legislation, spearheaded by Ohio Right to Life and Senator Steve Huffman, a physician, would prohibit the use of telemedicine for the purpose of selling abortion-inducing drugs and ensure that these killer drugs could only be provided in-person by the prescribing physician.

The Telemedicine Abortion Ban was introduced in January of 2020. During opponent testimony on SB 260, it came to light that Planned Parenthood had been committing abortions in Ohio using a form of telemedicine for several years. The total number of telemedicine abortions committed in Ohio by Planned Parenthood remains unknown, as they have yet to make the current statistics public.

“Ohio Right to Life is immensely grateful to our governor and our pro-life legislature for their work in ensuring that this much-needed protection became a part of Ohio law,” said Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis. “Although every chemical abortion is a tragedy than ends a baby’s life, this law helps prevent further loss of life by protecting women from an abortion industry which puts profits before safety. Planned Parenthood’s use of telemedicine to dispense abortion-inducing drugs cuts their own costs at the expense of basic health and safety standards. Patient safety shouldn’t have a price tag. Women deserve better.”

“The signing of the Telemedicine Abortion Ban into law is a victory for life and for women’s safety,” said Gonidakis. “No woman should be subjected to a dangerous telemedicine abortion in order to pad Planned Parenthood’s pockets. Pro-Life Ohio will not let the abortion industry continue to treat vulnerable women and children as money-making opportunities. Women and children deserve to be put first. This law is a crucial step towards that end.”

The abortion pills are dangerous to women.

The first pill in the chemical abortion pill regimen, mifepristone, is highly regulated by the FDA due to safety concerns. The FDA recorded nearly 4,200 adverse events from mifepristone between 2012 and 2018 and over 1,000 of those cases required hospitalization. Since the abortion pill regimen was first introduced in the U.S. in 2000, 24 women have died from chemical abortion complications.

Historically, Mifeprex, which comprises the first pill in the abortion pill regimen, has been highly regulated by the FDA, to the extent that they have imposed special safety requirements called Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) on the drug to reduce patient risk. Between 2012 to 2018 alone, the FDA recorded 4,195 cases of women being injured by the abortion pill. Twenty-four women have died from Mifeprex since the abortion pill was first introduced in the U.S. in 2000.

“Although every successful abortion is a tragedy which results in the ending of a human life,” says Senator Steve Huffman, “abortions committed through telemedicine have the potential to add one tragedy to another by subjecting women to dangerous abortions-inducing drugs without providing basic health and safety standards. Planned Parenthood may consider the financial boost of telemedicine abortion worth the very real risk to women’s lives, but as a physician, I certainly do not.”

Non-surgical abortions continue to make up a greater proportion of abortions performed in Ohio each year. In 2018, the [two-drug] Mifeprex regimen was used to perform 6,103 abortions, or approximately 30% of all abortions that year, and is the most commonly reported method of abortion before 10 weeks gestation.

Catholic bishops in Argentina vow to protect life despite abortion law: ‘All is not lost

 

Bishops in Argentina are urging faithful Catholics to be strong and are vowing to protect life despite the passage of a law legalizing abortion up to 14 weeks in the majority-Catholic country.

According to a statement published on December 30th, the bishops declared that, “together with brothers and sisters from different creeds and also many non-believers,” the Church’s leaders will “continue to work with firmness and passion for the care and service of life.” The bishops also decried the political leadership’s indifference to popular pro-life sentiment, “which has been expressed in various ways in favor of life throughout our country.”

The law, heavily and conspicuously pushed by Planned Parenthood subsidiaries and supporters, was passed over the objections of 60% of Argentinians, and with only a scant 26.7% in favor of the law, CNA reports.

In a separate statement, the bishops’ pro-life commission also expressed its solidarity with pro-lifers in Argentina: “With true conviction, we want to convey to you today that, despite what happened, life always triumphs over death. It is what Christ taught us, who overcame the death on the cross. All is not lost.” The commission urged Argentinians to “show the face of the God of Life and human love” in the new chapter of the Argentina’s pro-life struggle.

The statement, released the same day the country’s senate voted to become only the third in South American to legalize abortion, expressed the bishops’ sorrow and closeness with their flock. “We make their pain, their discomfort, their sadness our own, at the news of the sanction of a law that authorizes a mother to kill her child. We want each Argentine, each father, each mother, grandfather, son, to feel our closeness and understanding. We want to gratefully embrace all those who, from different convictions, from all creeds, without being discouraged, put their efforts, their hope and faith so that life triumph over death.”

The bishops invited pro-lifers in Argentina to redouble their efforts. “We feel called to work with more commitment than ever” in the face of this setback, and promised to work to strengthen the family. “That is why we want to invite you all, from different sectors, to join forces and work for a family that educates, contains, feeds, consoles, corrects, accepts and loves unconditionally,” the statement read.

Prior to the law’s late December passage, Argentina only allowed abortion in the case of rape or if a mother’s life were in danger. A similar pro-abortion effort in Argentina failed to pass in 2018. The bishops previously condemned the Argentinian government’s “feverish obsession” with abortion after President Fernandez vowed to legalize shortly after his election.

Stop Societal Breakdown: Build Up Marriage

By 

“The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, from birth to death. It is truly ‘the sanctuary of life: the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth.’ Consequently, the role of the family in building a culture of life is decisive and irreplaceable.”

─ Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 92

“Is marriage becoming irrelevant?” That’s the jarring headline on Gallup’s website, reporting the results of a new survey. The answer to the question, unfortunately, appears to be a resounding “yes.” In key ways, marriage is becoming irrelevant for large numbers of people.

 

The results of the survey show a distressingly swift reversal in public attitudes towards the importance of marriage in relation to the marital act and the transmission of human life. According to Gallup, only 29% of people now believe it is “very important” for a couple to get married before begetting children. That’s a drop from 49% in 2006.

Meanwhile, 72% of respondents said that it is morally acceptable to engage in a sexual act outside of marriage. That’s up from 53% in 2001.

This poll tells a sad tale about how people in general view human sexuality, marriage, procreation, children, and the family. However, one especially discouraging finding is how dramatic the shift in opinion has been among church-going people.

In 2006, 65% of poll respondents who went to church weekly said it was “very important” for couples begetting children to be married. In 2020, however, it was just 45%, a drop of 20 percentage points! Among those who go to church monthly, the number has dropped from 58% to 32%, a difference of 26 percentage points!

The good news is that church-going people are still more likely than people who never go to church to think marriage is important (only 19% of non-church-going people said being married is “very important”, down from 32% in 2006); the bad news is that the opinions of church-going people have changed far more swiftly for the worse than those of non-church-going people.

The Gallup poll also found that only 38% of people believe that it is “very important” for couples who want to spend the rest of their lives together to get married. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the number of respondents who say they are currently married has slid significantly in recent decades. Whereas in the early 80s, 64% of people said they were currently married, that number has since fallen to just 49%.

The Negative Effects of Family Breakdown

Unfortunately, none of these findings come as a great surprise. Ever since the introduction of contraception-on-demand and no-fault divorce, we have been witnessing the steady collapse of marriage and family life. This has been reinforced by the proliferation of a hedonistic attitude towards human sexuality that places greater emphasis upon personal pleasure, romance, and gratification. This attitude, in conjunction with the mentality and behavior it promotes, falsifies human sexuality, and divorces the marital act (an act meant to be exclusive to spouses) from its two-fold and inseparable ends, unitive and procreative. This kind of act is vastly different and contrary from the one God has made to be unique and complementary between spouses. The falsification of the inherent goods of marriage and the conjugal act has dire consequences, which impacts one’s view of self, others, marriage, and the family.

As Pope St. John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae:

Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated: in this way the marriage union is betrayed and its fruitfulness is subjected to the caprice of the couple. Procreation then becomes the “enemy” to be avoided in sexual activity: if it is welcomed, this is only because it expresses a desire, or indeed the intention, to have a child “at all costs”, and not because it signifies the complete acceptance of the other and therefore an openness to the richness of life which the child represents. (no. 23)

What we don’t seem to have yet realized, or at least not on any wide scale, is just how devastating the collapse of marriage and family life has been upon the health of our society. I am amazed, for instance, at how much conversation there is about poverty, violence, poor education, and homelessness, but how little is ever said of the systemic reasons behind these things, and where the remedy is to be found.

Study after study has found that children who do not grow up with both of their parents in the home suffer all sorts of negative consequences. As The National Review noted in response to a New York Times article minimizing the impact of single parenthood on poverty rates, the data is unequivocal: single parenthood is strongly associated with severe poverty.

“The social science tells us that children raised by single parents are significantly more likely to have children young, to drop out of high school, and to work less as young adults,” wrote W. Bradford Wilcox. “Not surprisingly, the children of single-parent families are more likely to end up poor as young adults.”

One Irish study found that the impact of divorce on children can even be worse than if one of the parents has died. According to that study, children of divorced parents are “more likely to develop depression, do worse in school, and have poor social skills compared to other children,” reported LifeSiteNews.

One of the researchers behind that Irish study said that she hoped their research would counteract the common narrative that paints divorce as inconsequential. “Nobody should delude themselves that divorce is easy,” she said. “Keeping a bad marriage together is difficult, but protecting children after a divorce can be even more difficult. Couples need to realise this.”

A Threat to the Common Good

The simple fact is that the redefinition and breakdown of marriage, exacerbated by the falsification of human sexuality and the acceptance of divorce and cohabitation, pose genuine and serious threats to the common good, the well-being of society. Marriage between a man and a woman, something that can be understood simply from the natural law, has been for millennia the foundation stone for civil society.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society. (no. 2207, emphasis added)

Children, always welcomed as a blessing under any circumstance, have a right to be raised by their biological parents and nurtured within the family, this God-instituted school of learning. Today, however, children suffer widely from rejection, abandonment, divorce, and multi-relationship and single-parent households. Because of the falsification of human sexuality and wide acceptance of contraception, children are no longer seen as the fruit of conjugal love; they are, instead, labeled as a burden, an unwanted consequence of the sexual act. Moreover, children are being treated as objects to be exploited – engendered outside of the conjugal act, in petri dishes and laboratories, turning procreation into a “production” which dehumanizes children.

Unfortunately, the vices that are nourished in the privacy of family life have a tendency to perpetuate themselves across generations, and thence to spread out into society at large. One of the consequences of divorce is that children of broken families are in turn more likely to get divorced themselves. Divorce begets divorce, spreading like a virus, and bringing with it all the various negative personal and social consequences.

Building a Culture of Life by Defending Marriage

My question, then, is this: How can we build a virtue-based society, one that loves, respects, defends, and serves the sanctity of life and the dignity of the individual, if the original cell of social life (marriage and the family) upon which society is built is rejected, compromised, or re-created in the image of modern-day constructs and language?

After all, a building built on sand will collapse.

Unfortunately, with the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and the near-total triumph of the contraceptive mentality and the sexual revolution, even many conservatives and pro-life and family activists have lost sight of the importance of the battle over marriage, which is widely viewed as being “lost.”

Well, the battle may well be “lost”…for now. Or seem to be lost. But the fact that we must face is that the battle for a Culture of Life will never be won unless we turn the ship around, and begin to make some progress on the battle for marriage as well.

The data clearly show that the abortion rate among single and cohabiting women is way higher than among married women. This is hardly surprising. Biologically, women bear the brunt of the burden of having a child. Being in a stable marriage provides women with the security they need to feel safe bringing a child into the world. However, if the father of the child is either gone, or is likely to be gone sometime in the future, then it is far more likely that the mother will feel tempted to take drastic measures when she becomes pregnant.

However, the problem is even more basic than this. If most men and women don’t see any connection between sex and marriage, then they are more likely to engage in extra-marital sexual relations. The more people do this, the more unintended pregnancies there will be, and the more abortions there will be. The lives of countless unborn children depend on us defending marriage and pushing back against the lies of the sexual revolution.

In the fight against the culture of death, the church needs to get back to the basics. Christians have always taught that fornication and adultery are grave sins. However, as the Gallup poll findings suggest, churches are failing to educate their congregations in Biblical truths about human sexuality and marriage. As Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed, the “future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Familiaris Consortio, no. 75). Without strong marriages and families as its foundation, society will continue to disintegrate. If we restore, however, the centrality of marriage and the family, as designed by our Creator, they will serve as a catalyst for rejuvenating social life. Only by defending marriage and strengthening the family can society be revitalized.

Personhood Alliance: RESPONDS TO DISMISSALS OF COVID VACCINE-ABORTION LINK

Personhood Alliance: RESPONDS TO DISMISSALS OF COVID VACCINE-ABORTION LINK

Sarah Quale, president of Personhood Alliance Education, notes: “By promoting so-called ‘scientific benefits’ gained from children who were intentionally killed, regardless of when their deaths occurred, we continue to align ourselves with the evil of abortion. This includes harvesting aborted fetal cell lines in the past and in the present, which we know is currently happening for future vaccine production. By ignoring this, we help perpetuate and further legitimize the connection between abortion, biomedical science, and human trafficking.”

The Personhood Alliance warns that any effort to commodify aborted human beings in the design, production, and testing of vaccines will continue indefinitely unless and until Christians demand biomedical science be separated from the killing and trafficking of innocent human beings. “There remains an ethical dilemma here,” says Quale, “whether we want to ignore it for the sake of COVID-19 or not. Currently, there are ethical alternatives available for producing and testing COVID-19 vaccines. Why wouldn’t we use the time we have right now to demand a fully ethical vaccine be brought to market instead?”

Les Riley, interim president of the Personhood Alliance, adds: “Personhood formed a committee that spent months wrestling with these ethical issues—Doctors, bioethicists, researchers, pastors, and apologists. Based on direct evidence, they reported that 6 of the 8 COVID-19 candidates were unethically produced and/or tested, including the Pfizer vaccine. The two remaining ones will likely also be tested unethically.”

“This fact is not disputed by others who are arguing in support of these vaccines,” says Riley. “We are all citing the same research and using the same data. However, they are coming to a completely different moral conclusion, based on a Utilitarian ethic. What we are sure of is this: Producing and testing vaccines using the broken little bodies of aborted children should never be considered a ‘scientific benefit.’ We are continuing to dehumanize these babies, and it is repugnant.”

“This is why the pro-life movement as a whole is having such a difficult time ending abortion,” urges Riley. “Because we compromise. Because we allow exceptions; whether that be in abortion law or in trafficking the body parts of abortion’s victims. We pull the rug out from under our own feet, undermine our own principles, and dismiss the value God places on each and every life He creates. Talk about harming our own ability to effectively witness and share the Gospel!”

President of Personhood Alliance affiliate Personhood South Carolina, Dr. Matthew Clark—who is also a pastor and holds a Masters in Public Health from Harvard, with a specific focus on pediatrics, allergy, and immunology—lends his expertise: “Let’s not allow sophistry to cloud the obvious issue. Baby-murder was the source of cells used to test most of the currently available COVID vaccines. Every Biblically-minded Christian should reflect deeply on this fact. To ignore or minimize this fact is to be pro-death, not pro-life.”

~~~

The Personhood Alliance is a confederation of 28 independent pro-life organizations who pursue personhood as the essential strategy for restoring legal protections to every human being—from biological beginning to natural death, without exception—and who endeavor to uphold the Biblical worldview in 21st-century politics and culture by honoring God’s design for life, marriage, family, sexuality, and gender.

Holy Innocents: First Martyrs and Pro-life Patron Saints

I was nine years old, and I was carrying a coffin.

Not just any coffin. This one held the tiny bodies of hundreds of aborted infants rescued from a dumpster, and I was among several children who were participating in their burial service at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Milwaukee in 1984. Pro-life mourners and local media crowded around the gravesite, and I stepped carefully, conscious of how precious a load we bore. I remember the small box being lowered into the ground as we watched solemnly.

The grave marker read, “Holy Innocents” and in time, over a thousand victims of legalized abortion were laid to rest there, given a dignity in death they were denied in their brief lives.

It’s not the kind of thing one ever forgets, but this time of year our liturgical calendar resurrects the memory in a very poignant way.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Church gives to us a somber memorial which concretizes what could very possibly become, thanks to elves and snowmen, an overly sentimental feast of Christ’s birth. Each year, December 28 marks the memorial of the Holy Innocents.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” (Matthew 2:16-18)

This day we are asked to remember and honor the lives of the little boys of Bethlehem, cruelly slaughtered by the command of the jealous and grasping Herod. We are reminded that Christ came not only in poverty and humility but in grave danger – our little Savior was a hunted refugee. We recall that Christmas, far from just lights, gifts, and feelings of goodwill, was a real historical moment – when heaven plunged into earth, taking on time and space and shaking the foundations of the world. And evil, sensing the rumblings of its defeat, lashes out at the littlest ones. On this day, we weep with Rachel.

Even then, because we have a God who uses all for good, on this day, the Church gains her first martyrs. It may seem strange: children, not yet of the age of reason, and years before Christ would die for them, to wear a crown meant for saints who died confessing him. But martyrs they are. As the Collect for the day reads: “O God, whose praise the Innocent Martyrs on this day confessed, not by speaking, but by dying, mortify in us all the evils of the vices; that our life also may proclaim in its manners Thy faith, which our tongues profess.”

They confessed him not by speaking, but by dying. They died because of hatred of Christ, and they died in his place.  St. Augustine speaks of this “pure host of infants,” saying of these children that they are “justly hailed as ‘infant martyr flowers’; they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.”

And so they are the first white-robed souls under the altar in the heavenly temple of Revelation, crying out to God (Rev 6:9-10). May their cries hasten not only his judgments but his healing mercy upon us and our land, and help us to remember, even in the midst of our joyful celebrations, that his coming exacted a steep price then and does so even now. Each of us, should we follow this tiny King, must be ready to lay down our lives – even if it be in the daily death to self that faithfulness demands.

Saints continue their missions even from heaven, and so the Holy Innocents have been given a fitting one: they have been appropriately named as patron saints of babies.

Therefore, we should entrust our own little children, grandchildren, and godchildren to their prayers.

We should beg the Innocents to intercede for the suffering children of the world. I thought immediately of the vacant stares in the faces of dusty, tear-stained orphans in Syria: “There is hope for your future, says the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country” (Jer 31:17).

And as the gravestone in the Milwaukee cemetery reminds us, we must ask also that their cries in heaven be also those of supplication for this current massacre of innocents, the genocide of abortion, to end. That evil laws, like evil kings, will be no more. But most of all, that his laws – always good and perfect and true – be engraved within us.

“…I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer 31:33-34).

Holy Innocents, first small martyrs, pray for us.

 

This post was originally published December 28, 2018.

A full cradle and an empty grave: Christmas is the opposite of abortion

By Jonathon Van Maren

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/a-full-cradle-and-an-empty-grave-abortion-is-the-opposite-of-christmas

 (LifeSiteNews) – Each year, abortion groups celebrate the season by requesting donations and wishing everyone happy holidays. It is always ironic to see the spiritual descendants of Herod twist themselves into knots to acknowledge Christmas without being too religious, but I suppose it is also understandable. Nobody likes being left out, even those who spend the rest of the year dispatching God’s tiny gifts to the next world with scalpels and suction aspirators. This year, one abortion worker attempted to get particularly festive by topping a Christmas tree not with an angel or a star, but with a set of serrated forceps used to clamp on baby limbs and destroy baby bodies.

But there are other reasons abortion groups have such a complicated relationship with Christmas. Mary’s welcoming of an unexpected Child as a gift (indeed, to the whole world) is not the sort of story abortion activists wish to tell. Indeed, every year around this time some of the angrier feticide fans post memes fantasizing about the Virgin Mary having an abortion, revealing that abortion advocacy and hatred of Christianity are nearly always inextricably intertwined. Abortion ideology is predicated on the idea that we must not sacrifice for others, and the Christmas story is the ultimate rebuke to that idea.

Even the language abortion activists use reflects the fact that their worldview is antithetical to the Christmas message. This is my body, broken for you, said the Savior. My body, my choice—and we will sacrifice any who interfere with our lives, say the abortion activists. The abortion worldview is merely a perverse inversion of the Gospel message, the triumph of selfishness and bloodshed over innocence and beauty. They will deny it. They try to dress up their message in the language of rights. But the truth is incontrovertible. The result of an abortion is a dead baby. That is the point of abortion. That is why people get them.

When abortion activists, who traffic in death, misery, and regret, wish everyone a happy holidays, I suspect they know that it rings hollow. The abortion industry is responsible for millions of empty places at millions of tables. Their forceps and needles have stopped hearts and broken hearts, and the holiday season often reminds those who made this awful choice of those who are not with them. Planned Parenthood and their abortion allies have it all wrong. Success, to an abortion activist, is an empty cradle and a full grave. The essence of the Christmas story is a full cradle and an empty grave.

Can you really use breastfeeding as natural birth control?

Can you really use breastfeeding as natural birth control?

If you are pregnant, there is a great chance that your OB/GYN or a nurse will ask you what form of contraceptives you’re going to use after you deliver.  If you’re planning on nursing your baby, you can tell them with confidence that breastfeeding is your method of “birth control,” along with a fertility awareness method (FAM).

Common questions about using breastfeeding for birth control

Fertility awareness while breastfeeding may sound counterintuitive to some women, because when you’re breastfeeding, your cycles usually change and the observable signs of fertility are affected. That’s why women considering using breastfeeding as birth control have questions like:

  1. Is breastfeeding alone an effective method of natural birth control?
  2. Can I still be fertile and get pregnant while I’m breastfeeding?
  3. Can I chart my cycles accurately enough to know if I’m fertile or not while I’m breastfeeding?
  4. Does my current method of fertility awareness or natural family planning (NFP) still work while I’m breastfeeding or will I need to change what I’m doing?
  5. Where can I go for reliable information on breastfeeding, fertility, and family planning?

This article is not a scientific white paper on the extensive topic of using breastfeeding for family planning, but an effort to answer the above questions in a succinct way and to guide you to additional useful, evidence-based information on the subject.

1. Is breastfeeding an effective natural birth control?

Yes, breastfeeding does affect your fertility, and therefore under some specific conditions, breastfeeding alone can be an effective form of birth control/pregnancy spacing.  Lactational Amenorrhea is a complicated-sounding term used to describe the connection between breastfeeding and the continued absence of periods (and fertility).  Ecological Breastfeeding (EBF) and Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) are two evidence-based methods of family planning that involve specific conditions for breastfeeding. Both methods have been proven to be highly effective when their respective required conditions are met, and both are widely used to postpone a pregnancy.

Here are a few encouraging statistics about LAM and EBF:

  • 1997 study of LAM involving 519 sexually active women in 11 sites throughout the world showed a 98% success rate at preventing pregnancy [1].
  • Ecological Breastfeeding reports a 0% chance of pregnancy for first 3 months, 1% chance for the next 3 months, and 6% chance after six months (assuming no abstinence, no fertility charting at all, and that the mother’s cycles haven’t yet returned) [2].

Keep in mind, too, that these family planning methods are accomplished without contraceptives. That means they do not require putting any chemicals or devices into (or on) your body to be effective! However, if you’re not following the LAM or EBF criteria, or if you simply prefer additional insurance against pregnancy, you should be on the lookout for the signs of your body’s cycle returning, which formal training in a FAM or method of NFP can equip you to do.

2. Can I still be fertile and get pregnant while I’m breastfeeding?

Yes! You absolutely can still get pregnant while breastfeeding if you are not following the conditions set for by LAM, EBF, or your chosen FAM or method of NFP. For instance, if you’re not feeding at the breast exclusively (or nearly exclusively) and use supplemental bottles of formula or pumped milk, and/or start early feedings of solids to your baby, there is a much higher chance that your fertility will come back within six months. And this is important: Every woman, regardless of how she feeds her baby, will be fertile before her period returns, because a period is always preceded by ovulation. So it is highly beneficial to begin charting again as soon as you can after your baby is born, so that you can catch that first postpartum ovulation (and know when to expect your first postpartum period). You can begin charting your signs of fertility with your chosen method of NFP or FAM from the beginning after delivery of your baby, once bleeding stops and lochia lessens.

3. Can I chart accurately enough to know if I’m fertile or not while I’m breastfeeding?

Definitely. We surveyed a few natural family planning (NFP) teachers and this is what they had to say about fertility and charting while breastfeeding:

“I’ve taught many breastfeeding women and they have quickly and confidently learned their days of fertility and infertility,” said Tina Luther, teacher of the Creighton FertilityCare method. “While breastfeeding, there is (typically) not a menstrual period, so it’s a continuous chart. Women chart what they see—their most fertile sign at the end of the day. So we teach them how to discern their days of fertility.”

“The best way to answer the breastfeeding ladies is to tell them that fertility signs can always be charted, but you need to know what you are looking for,” says Cathy Nix, teacher of the Sympto-Thermal Method with Couple to Couple League. “The return to fertility is signaled by the presence of [cervical] mucus and the [basal body] temperature sign.  At the first sign of mucus, it is recommended that a woman start to chart again and take her temp.”

The Billings method, another widely used fertility awareness method, offers a similar recommendation on their website: “When a woman is breastfeeding she remains infertile for a variable time. During this time she experiences, at the vulva, either a continuing sensation of dryness, or an unchanging discharge. The appearance of blood, or any change in the mucus or sensation alerts her to the possibility of her returning fertility.”

4. Does my current method of fertility awareness or natural family planning still work while I’m breastfeeding or will I need to change what I’m doing?

As mentioned above, FAM and NFP methods have individual processes to help you observe and interpret the signs of your fertility with a high degree of accuracy, and many have specific protocols to follow while postpartum and/or breastfeeding. If you haven’t learned a method yet, now is a great time to start—and to benefit from the pregnancy prevention efficacy rates, you must learn from a certified instructor in your chosen method. Some methods even have extensive classes specifically geared towards the postpartum period, which will teach you more about LAM and EBF. And if you choose not to follow LAM or EBF criteria, most methods will teach you specific protocols to follow in order to manage and chart the return of your fertility. Most of the major methods of NFP and FAM will help you with the specifics of charting, especially how to identify true cervical mucus after childbirth (the notable exception of which is the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor-based Marquette Method, which encourages mucus monitoring, but does not require it).

Another good reason to consider methods of NFP or FAM for postpartum family planning, compared with conventional forms of birth control, is that hormonal contraceptives can have a negative impact on breast milk production, supply, and duration. This problem seems more common with estrogen-containing combination pills (which is why the “mini-Pill,” i.e., the pill that only contains progestin, is recommended for new mothers who desire to breastfeed), but some women have reported similar issues with progestin-only pills as well. It is also likely that some small amount of the synthetic hormones contained within birth control pills passes through breast milk to the baby (although it is unknown what—if any—effect this may have on the baby).

5. Where should I go for reliable information on breastfeeding, fertility, and family planning?

If you have a FAM or NFP teacher already, you should talk to them while you are pregnant, so that you will be prepared to chart postpartum. If you don’t already have a method or an instructor, or want to learn more about breastfeeding and fertility, here are a few good sources of information:

Books: 

Studies: 

Personal testimonies about breastfeeding and fertility: 

To learn more about the different methods of FAM or NFP, click here.  

To find an instructor of FAM or NFP, click here.  

Empowering yourself against the postpartum contraception push

We’ve heard stories from mothers who describe how hospital staff would push the Pill or the IUD on them a little before or after they had delivered. Women have even shared with us how they’ve been pressured to have their tubes tied after delivery! This push toward contraception or sterilization so close to the emotionally fraught time of delivery can be quite insensitive, distasteful, and even unethical. Fortunately, women can empower themselves with the knowledge of fertility awareness before they deliver, so that they can better advocate for their own individual needs and family planning desires postpartum. And if your doctor or nurse starts arguing with you and tries to discourage you from using a FAM postpartum, you can refer them to this article! Even if they don’t trust you, know that you can trust yourself, when you have all the information needed to effectively practice fertility awareness postpartum. Don’t let promoters of chemical methods of birth control intimidate you. You and your baby deserve better.

References:

[1] Labbok M, Hight-Laukaran V, Peterson A, Fletcher V, von Hertzen H, Van Look P. Multicenter study of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM): I. Efficacy, duration, and implications for clinical application. Contraception. 1997;55(6):327-336. doi:10.1016/s0010-7824(97)00040-1

[2] Bonyata K. Breastfeeding and Fertility • KellyMom.com. KellyMom.com. https://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/fertility/#LAM. Published 2020. Accessed December 17, 2020.

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

This article was originally published on December 21, 2014 as written by Natural Womanhood CEO and Co-founder Gerard Migeon. It has since been updated by Natural Womanhood to offer more resources. Last updated December 17, 2020.   

Additional reading:

Does Breastfeeding Prevent You From Getting Pregnant?

The Problem with Offering Tubal Ligation in the Delivery Room

How breastfeeding is eerily similar to fertility charting

What’s the Best Postpartum Fertility Awareness-Based Method?

Good and Bad News Concerning the LAM Method During the Postpartum Period

Deciphering the Postpartum Period with FABMs

Pro-life short film showcases human potential

December 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Today marks the 250th birthday of one of the most famous and admired classical music composers, Ludwig van Beethoven.

On this occasion, it is worth watching the 2011 short film Crescendo, directed by the pro-life activists and filmmakers Jason Jones and Eduardo Verastegui. The film also had as executive producer Pattie Mallette, the mother of pop singer Justin Bieber, who said in 2012 that she herself rejected abortion.

Crescendo raised nearly $6 million for crisis pregnancy centers and won 15 international film festival awards. It also drew the praise of several pro-life leaders including Father Frank Pavone and Dr. Alveda King.

The pro-life film is set during “18th century Holy Roman Empire, [as] a series of events will turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary experience for a woman whose life will never be the same.” The story also displays the unimaginable potential of each human being, and how the murder of the unborn child takes away from the entire world.

This powerful 15-minute film is recommended for everyone ages 13 and older, but it makes for a great family movie night.

 

The Problem with Offering Tubal Ligation in the Delivery Room

The Problem with Offering Tubal Ligation in the Delivery Room

Many pregnant and postpartum women know what it’s like to field questions as they’re about to give birth and just after: “are we having an IUD inserted today?” or “what birth control will you be taking after birth?” Most recently, we’ve heard, “are we having our tubes tied today?” in reference to the sterilization procedure otherwise known as a bilateral tubal ligation.

While medical professionals may think they’re just helping women get the services they want after birth, there is a nature of the timing and the wording of these questions that produce an effect of asking “leading questions”—that is, questions that inherently direct patients toward a certain course of action regarding their reproductive health.

Theresa Pittl, a member of Natural Womanhood’s board, shared her personal experience at this year’s Gala:

We have children and all three were born by C-section; our first was an emergency and the other two were planned. Little do people know when you go in for a planned C-section they ask you not just once but repeatedly: “honey, are we tying your tubes here today?”

And I’m like, “no, no we are not!

Why would I want to break something that is working exactly as it is intended to function?

Then they wheel you into the operating room; literally you’re about to have your beautiful little baby and they ask you again: “Are we tying your tubes here today?” And I’m like, “no! No, we’re not!”

Don’t feel pressured to decide on a tubal ligation—or any form of family planning—during such an emotionally fraught time

To time questions about a procedure as serious as a tubal ligation right before, during, or after the stressful experience of labor or surgery is to take advantage of a vulnerable moment, when no matter a woman’s long-term family planning goals, she may be ready to swear off children forever. It’d be like having a lawyer ask you to sign your will, determining which of your children will get what assets after you die, in the moment right after your teenage son slams the door in your face. Your judgment might be a little skewed at that moment, so most would recommend you make important decisions like this when you’ve had some space from stressful events and can think more clearly about the long view.

There are numerous reasons a woman may feel pressured in the moment to make a choice to sterilize herself via a tubal ligation that she wouldn’t have otherwise. Some women may feel judged in the moment for having hopes for a larger family, as if that is somehow selfish or bad for the planet, instead of acting according to her personal hopes and goals. Or perhaps her partner doesn’t want more children and she does, and instead of talking about it on their own time, the partner may take the medical professional’s prompting for a woman to “get her tubes tied” and pressure her to do “what the doctor suggests,” even though it’s not medically necessary. Never mind, also, how tubal ligation brings its own risks and complications to women’s health.

Moreover, there is no reason why such a decision needs to be timed at the “game time” of labor. Women have had numerous OB/GYN visits preparing for birth, and such a post-birth decision could and should be discussed long ahead of time. If a woman and her doctor have discussed the options ahead of time and she has refused birth control pills, the IUD, or tubal ligation ahead of time, that decision should be respected during labor, delivery, and recovery from birth.

There are better postpartum birth control options than getting your tubes tied

Offering patients birth control after birth has been happening for years, as I have experienced, most recently being offered an intrauterine device (IUD) immediately after birth. For me, it sounds like a horrible idea to insert an artificial device into the delicate area that is recovering from just giving birth. (If I can’t have relations with my husband for six weeks, how is having a metal device harmless?) But I also don’t want to postpone children for very long, because I’m in my late thirties, and what if I want to give my little new newborn a sibling that’s close in age (like I’m thankful my parents gave me)? If I was impressionable at that moment as opposed to geared to advocate for myself, I could have acted in a way that opposed my true wishes.

I am thankful for natural family planning and fertility awareness methods (FAM) because I feel well equipped to space children after birth without ruling them out completely, and without making any drastic changes to my hormonal makeup or physiology. Having learned the Creighton Method ten years ago, and having refreshed myself with an instructor before birth, I felt prepared on how to space children safely and effectively.

It’s one thing for providers to recommend a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) such as an IUD after birth, as I was repeatedly offered after giving birth to my last child. But to suggest to women a sterilization procedure—tubal ligation—near that highly emotional moment of labor is ethically problematic. The risk is that the power of suggestion could guide a woman to make a choice she might otherwise have not made—and one she might regret when it is too late.

The Disastrous Effects of Ignoring Human Dignity!

The Disastrous Effects of Ignoring Human Dignity!

By

I never thought I’d see the day when I would have to praise the New York Times for waging a battle against a huge force within the culture of death that just about nobody else had the courage or conviction to take head on. But that’s what seems to have happened in the past week.

Nicholas Kristof, an opinion columnist at the Times, has in recent days set his sights on Pornhub, the largest porn website in the world. Pornhub reportedly welcomes some 10.5 billion visitors a month – surpassing even Netflix in viewership.

Pornhub, incidentally, is owned by a company called MindGeek, which is located in Montreal, Canada. MindGeek owns a huge consortium of over 100 porn websites, which together constitute by far the largest porn empire in the world.

There are many, many problems with Pornhub and Mindgeek, beginning with the fact that they traffic in porn, which is a dehumanizing industry that reduces vulnerable men, women, and children to objects to be consumed.

However, one of the most disturbing problems with Pornhub, is its complete and utter heedlessness about the massive amounts of outright illegal, violent, misogynistic, and morally heinous content that users upload and view on the site on a daily basis.

In the past year, Pornhub has come under increasing scrutiny. However, as a shadowy multi-billion dollar corporation, whose tendrils reach into almost every household on the planet, thus far it has arrogantly withstood every attack, brushing off the pro-woman and anti-porn activists who have tried to raise the alarm.

Even a petition signed by over two million people, demanding that Pornhub be shut down, has had almost no tangible effect to date.

The Children of Pornhub

But all that changed in the past couple weeks when Kristof decided to investigate and expose just how evil much of the content available on Pornhub is.

The first of Kristof’s columns is titled, chillingly, “The Children of Pornhub.”

Kristof summarizes what he found, writing:

Pornhub’s site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags. A search for “girls under18” (no space) or “14yo” leads in each case to more than 100,000 videos. Most aren’t of children being assaulted, but too many are.

Some of the stories that Kristof has uncovered are so disturbing that it is difficult even to summarize them. There is, of course, the now-infamous case of the 15-year-old girl who went missing, and who was only found after her mother found 58 different pornographic videos of her on Pornhub.

Another 14-year-old girl, Serena Fleites, was convinced by her boyfriend to record sexually explicit videos for him. Pornhub allows users to upload their own pornographic videos to the site, as well as to download videos from the site to their computer. Soon enough, Serena’s videos ended up on Pornhub. Even though her mother convinced the site to remove the videos, within short order they were back. Every time they’re deleted, they promptly reappear, making it impossible for Serena to put this chapter of her life behind her.

Serena was so traumatized by the looks and remarks she was getting at school that she started skipping classes. Kristoff tells the rest of her story:

Fleites quarreled with her mother and began cutting herself. Then one day she went to the medicine cabinet and took every antidepressant pill she could find.

Three days later, she woke up in the hospital, frustrated to be still alive. Next she hanged herself in the bathroom; her little sister found her, and medics revived her.

As Fleites spiraled downward, a friend introduced her to meth and opioids, and she became addicted to both. She dropped out of school and became homeless.

Eventually, just to make ends meet, at the age of 16 Serena started shooting and selling more photos and videos, which also inevitably ended up on Pornhub. She is now off drugs, but living in her car. “A whole life can be changed because of one little mistake,” she says.

Kristoff interviewed other victims as well, many of whom eventually attempted suicide, and all of whom pointed out the brutal psychological fact that, while the physical assault they endured eventually ended, Pornhub prolonged the suffering by preserving it and displaying it to the world for the pleasure of others.

‘Epstein on an Industrial Scale’

Kristoff naturally, as a New York Times liberal, protests that he is not against pornography. He is only disturbed by the fact that MindGeek and Pornhub are profiting off of illegal and violent content, in which the participants have not, or legally cannot, consent.

He is wrong, of course, in so cavalierly dismissing the problems with porn in general. But we have to take what we can get. And when the Grey Lady (i.e. the New York Times) goes on the attack, people sit up and listen.

Kristoff notes,

Pornhub appears to be increasingly alarmed about civil or criminal liability. Lawyers are circling, and nine women sued the company in federal court after spy cam videos surfaced on Pornhub. The videos were shot in a locker room at Limestone College in South Carolina and showed women showering and changing clothes.

The good news is that following Kristoff’s column, a few relatively big things happened quite quickly. In the first place, Pornhub instituted (or claimed to institute) much stricter policies, including only allowing verified users to upload videos, and preventing users from being able to download videos from the site. Clearly, it would be better if Pornhub didn’t exist. But if these measures protect children and other victims of trafficking and rape, then it is something.

However, perhaps the biggest news is that Visa and Mastercard both announced that they have cut financial ties with Pornhub. PayPal had already previously cut ties. This change will put a huge dent in Pornhub’s bottom line. We can hope that it spells the beginning of the end, although given the size of MindGeek, it will likely take more than this.

Four U.S. senators have also introduced legislation that would make it easier for victims to sue porn companies. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was looking into regulations to regulate companies like MindGeek. And, says Kristoff, various lawyers are contemplating civil and criminal suits against the company.

However, Kristoff rightly notes that this is barely scratching the surface. Other huge porn websites, not owned by MindGeek, also feature enormous numbers of videos tagged under disturbing key words suggesting that the girls featured are underage, and even preteen.

“Most of the results probably don’t involve children,” he writes, “but too many do, and the site is luring pedophiles who can then upload their own videos. This is Jeffrey Epstein on an industrial scale.”

Shut Down the Porn Industry

Though Kristoff is unwilling to address the elephant in the living room, I will. The problem with porn is not simply that unscrupulous criminals will take advantage of children or vulnerable women who have not consented. It is that pornography is inherently violent and dehumanizing.

The advent of the Internet unleashed a monster on the world. In the space of a few years, pornography went from something that was relatively fringe, difficult to obtain, and often low quality, to something that was streaming, in high definition video, in limitless quantities, on demand, into our bedrooms, and now, via the smartphone, into our pockets.

The old “free speech” arguments that allowed pornographic magazines and video companies to operate with impunity are simply not up to the task of responding to this brave new world. The world of high-definition porn on demand is simply way more addictive, way more destructive, and way more culturally damaging than anything that has ever gone before.

The statistics are clear: a significant majority of men, and a growing quantity of women, regularly view pornography. However, if you realize how much of the content they are viewing is unspeakably degrading, it will begin to dawn on you just how profoundly damaging this phenomenon is to the health of society, not to mention the profound spiritual harm to people’s immortal souls.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is pretty succinct, but direct, about what governments should do about porn. Pornography, it says, “is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.”

Free speech does not protect grotesque obscenity. Sites like Pornhub are making their livings off the exploitation and degradation of men, women, and children. In many cases, even women who have allegedly “consented” turn out to have been strong-armed, or pressured by circumstances, to do something in a moment of desperation that they soon regret, and will regret for the rest of their lives.

Pornography is a true plague with disastrous effects. Kristoff’s column has started a conversation. But it is up to us to finish it, and bring it to its logical conclusion. It is time to denounce and shut down the porn industry.

8 Coronavirus Vaccines are Heading Towards Production, Here’s Which Ones are Abortion-Free

BRAD MATTES

https://www.lifenews.com/2020/12/10/8-coronavirus-vaccines-are-heading-towards-production-heres-which-ones-are-abortion-free/

Talk of COVID vaccines has taken center stage. As with all vaccines, pro-lifers want to know whether they are produced with a cell line from an aborted baby.

An analysis from Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), part of the Susan B Anthony List family, is on top of the issue and has produced an easy to understand summary of information to help you make an informed choice.

Funded by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, eight COVID vaccines are advancing toward distribution. Each was scientifically analyzed by CLI experts to determine whether production and testing involved abortion-derived cells.

Pfizer and Moderna, the two most mentioned vaccines, joined other companies and did not use aborted cells in the production of their vaccines. On the other hand, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson used exclusively cells of aborted babies in their development. When utilized for production, the controversial cells are directly involved in making the final product, the vaccine that is injected in our arms.

When it comes to laboratory testing, at least six of the drug companies needlessly created a hurdle for American families wanting to avoid an abortion connection. They either used abortion-derived cells or utilized both abortion-derived cells and those not linked to abortion; two of the companies have not yet reported their testing process and the analysis was unable to determine either way.

According to Dr. David Prentice, VP and Research Director at Charlotte Lozier Institute, the testing process is another step removed from production of the vaccine for a recipient. “When an abortion-derived cell line is used in laboratory testing, that is not done within the production line.” He added, “It’s a confirmatory test done on the final vaccine, to validate what the scientists believe they’ve produced.  The product is used to vaccinate mice or cells in culture, to verify a response.”

new chart tracking each companies’ activities was produced by CLI for easy reference.

Four pro-life doctor groups have reported that two lead COVID vaccines—Pfizer and Moderna—did not use cells from aborted babies to develop their products. Still, false or misleading accusations have circulated, casting aspersions regarding Pfizer’s vaccine.

One is that their two-dose treatment isn’t safe for pregnant or nursing women because they were excluded them from clinical trials. But in reality, all vaccine trials exclude pregnant women and infants out of an abundance of caution, not because of any known risk.

Dr. Prentice explains the other. “A couple of doctors in Europe filed a claim with the European Medical Agency to stop the Pfizer trial because of potential fertility concerns.

“It started with a statement by Oxford Prof John Bell, who said: “These vaccines are unlikely to completely sterilize a population. They are very likely to have an effect which works in a %, say 60 or 70%.” By “sterilize” he means to rid the population of the virus and make the people immune, but the phrase was seized on by scaremongers who went looking for any connection to sterilization in terms of fertility, and thought they had found a protein similarity.

“They claimed a supposed similarity between the virus spike protein (the virus protein against which most of the COVID-19 vaccines are raised, not just Pfizer’s) and a protein that is expressed in the developing placenta called syncytin-1. They theorized that if the vaccine caused antibodies against spike, those might cross-react with the placental protein and inhibit placenta formation, causing infertility.  But their evidence is faulty and claims unfounded.

“We did our own protein database check on similarity of the two proteins and found that it was minimal. And the region of the proteins where the supposed similarity was found is actually buried in the protein structure, covered up so that it can’t cause an antibody reaction. The region of the spike protein against which antibodies are formed has no similarity to the placental protein.”

CLI will continue to follow the science and keep you abreast of new developments. As you make decisions concerning vaccines, be informed about making the best choice possible.

LifeNews.com Note: Bradley Mattes is the President of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group.

Should We Be Concerned about ‘Ethical’ Vaccines?

by Kristine Severyn, PhD, RPh

Should We Be Concerned about ‘Ethical’ Vaccines?

To address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress directed $10 billion to project Operation Warp Speed to develop vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics—so-called countermeasures.1 While the public health community and media laud the ambitious goal of producing enough vaccine for every person in the US by January 2021, other people have expressed concern that rapid development of a coronavirus vaccine might take shortcuts with proper safety testing. Indeed, 50 percent of Americans would not receive a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available, and another 25 percent aren’t sure.2 

Historically, vaccine development can take 10 years or longer,3 which may explain why many Americans, parents especially, lack trust in a coronavirus vaccine developed under such a hasty timeline. 

Perhaps more people have experienced or learned of adverse safety issues with other vaccines and are suspicious of claims by government and vaccine manufacturers that vaccines are “safe and effective.” 

Considering that coronavirus has a 99.8 percent recovery rate—similar to annual influenza—one could even question the need for a vaccine. Additionally, new coronavirus vaccines may be only 50 percent effective, similar to a yearly flu shot.4

Are “ethical” vaccines really ethical?

Another concern for people of faith is news that experimental coronavirus vaccines could be produced using tissue derived from aborted babies.In addition to future coronavirus vaccines, several vaccines used for other diseases can be designated as “unethical” because their production methods use tissues derived from aborted human fetuses to cultivate vaccine viruses.6 Children of God for Life has meticulously documented such vaccine origins.7 Its founder, Debra Vinnedge, was prominently featured in Meredith Wadman’s 2017 book The Vaccine Race, which offers a detailed history of vaccines developed using aborted human fetal tissue.8 

If a vaccine is not derived from aborted fetal tissue, can it then be termed “ethical” and thus appropriate for administration to entire populations? Unfortunately, vaccines may be considered unethical for reasons beyond the use of fetus-derived tissue. After many years of vaccine research, I have found abundant evidence of corruption and unethical practices within drug companies and the government public health community. 

Use of the term “ethical” to describe vaccines ignores the mandatory nature of vaccines and the potential for severe vaccine adverse effects, regardless of how the vaccines were made. 

For example, within minutes of birth, babies are injected with the vaccine for hepatitis B—a disease of promiscuous homosexuals, heterosexuals, and intravenous drug abusers.This is a so-called “ethical” vaccine because it’s not derived from aborted human fetuses. But is it ethical to inject all babies with a lifestyle-disease vaccine? 

In addition, pre-teens are injected with an HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine with the unproven goal of preventing cervical cancer.10 Infection with certain high-risk types of HPV—a sexually transmitted disease—can cause cancer of the cervix, genital areas, or throat. Cervical cancer is commonly related to early sex with multiple partners or to having a male sexual partner who has had multiple sexual partners.11 The HPV vaccine is another so-called “ethical” vaccine because it’s not derived from aborted human fetuses. But is it ethical to inject pre-teen girls and boys with a lifestyle-disease vaccine?

Furthermore, mandating vaccines is a blatant violation of medical informed consent—a basic tenet of ethical medical practice. With numerous vaccines currently mandated for work, school, college, and daycare—and soon a coronavirus vaccine likely added to the list when marketed—the potential for harm increases.

Are vaccines totally safe?

If an adult or child is killed or injured by a vaccine, federal law—the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986—prohibits the person from suing the drug company that made the vaccine. Despite the government’s narrowing criteria for injured parties to collect on vaccine death or injury, the taxpayer fund has paid out more than $4 billion to vaccine victims and their families. If vaccines are safe, why must drug companies be protected from lawsuits?

When recipients of a new coronavirus vaccine are killed or injured, they or their families will be prohibited from suing the vaccine makers.12 Since new COVID-19 vaccines are termed “countermeasures,” they are covered under the federal Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.13 Described as a government “black hole” process with no transparency or accountability, the CICP appears to lack sufficient funding, reflected in its less than 10 percent payout rate for mostly H1N1 swine flu vaccine injury claims and limited one-year statute of limitations. Since the program began reviewing claims in 2010, it has received 485 claims, yet only 39 people have received compensation, prompting one critic to portray this as “the right to file and lose.”14

In congressional hearings leading to passage of the NCVIA, which gave lawsuit immunity to drug companies for vaccine injuries and death, Dr. Martin Smith, then president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, compared children harmed by vaccines to military soldiers in combat. Dr. Smith stated: “This country does, and it should, provide compensation and continuing care for its soldiers who are injured in the defense of their country. It has been and is the contention of the [AAP] that the children of this nation are also soldiers in the defense of this country against disease.”15

This means the government is telling you to risk sacrificing your children instead of giving drug companies incentive to develop safer vaccines. In his testimony to Congress, polio vaccine pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk expressed concerns that the NCVIA would remove “the incentive for manufacturers and the scientific community to improve existing vaccines.”16 In recent years, adults have also been encouraged to receive an ever-increasing number of vaccines.17

When vaccines are mandated and the federal government (through taxes) pays the vaccine liability costs for drug companies, these companies have no incentive to make safer products or improve existing products.18

Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services has ignored directives under the 1986 NCVIA to report every two years to Congress how the agency has improved vaccine safety. In a Freedom of Information lawsuit in 2018, the HHS revealed that it had never submitted a single biennial safety report in 30 years. In the meantime, HHS promotes and funds a growing vaccine schedule with little apparent concern for the safety of currently licensed vaccines.19 

In their goal to achieve 100 percent vaccination rates, drug companies and government public health authorities withhold and distort an unconscionable amount of information. Common practices include inflating disease incidence data to mislead the public into thinking a disease is more common than it really is and minimizing reports on a vaccine’s adverse reactions. 

Financial conflict of interest is another major area of concern. Individuals and organizations that determine national vaccination policies often receive grants from or own stock in the very companies they regulate.20

Do your own research

Just as we research different brands when choosing a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a car, we should spend at least similar effort in researching the pros, cons, and safety of vaccines. Vaccine consumer organizations can assist with such research.21 With social media censorship of vaccine consumer websites, we cannot rely solely on Google searches, which link to biased government and drug-company-sponsored sources.22

Simple justice dictates that Americans exercise their right to medical informed consent for vaccines (i.e., the right to opt out of vaccines for themselves or their children). Why should vaccines be any different from other medical procedures, all of which require informed consent? 


  1. Fact Sheet: Explaining Operation Warp Speed, HHS.gov, June 16, 2020, hhs.gov/about/news/2020/06/16/fact-sheet-explaining-operation-warp-speed.html.
  2. Warren Cornwall, “Just 50% of Americans Plan to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s How to Win Over the Rest,” Science, June 30, 2020, sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/just-50-americans-plan-get-covid-19-vaccine-here-s-how-win-over-rest.
  3. Douglas Broom, “5 Charts That Tell the Story of Vaccines Today,” World Economic Forum, June 2, 2020, weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/vaccine-development-barriers-coronavirus.
  4. Thomas Curwen, “Those Coronavirus Vaccines Leading the Race? Don’t Ditch the Masks Quite Yet,” Yahoo News, July 30, 2020, news.yahoo.com/those-coronavirus-vaccines-leading-race-120006184.html.
  5. Kate Scanlon, “As Researchers Discuss Using Aborted Body Parts, Archbishop Urges Pro-life Vaccines,” National Catholic Register, May 3, 2020, ncregister.com/daily-news/as-researchers-discuss-using-aborted-body-parts-archbishop-urges-pro-life-v; “Another Pharmaceutical Company—Johnson & Johnson Using Aborted Fetal Cells to Develop Covid-19 Vaccine,” Children of God for Life, March 31, 2020, cogforlife.org/2020/03/31/another-pharmaceutical-company-johnson-johnson-using-aborted-fetal-cells-to-develop-covid-19-vaccine; “Much-Hyped Moderna mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccine Uses Aborted Fetal Cells—Sanofi Pasteur’s Version Does Not,” Children of God for Life, March 25, 2020, cogforlife.org/2020/03/25/much-hyped-moderna-mrna-1273-covid-19-vaccine-uses-aborted-fetal-cells-sanofi-pasteurs-version-does-not; James L. Sherley and David Prentice, “An Ethics Assessment of COVID-19 Vaccine Programs,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, May 6, 2020 (Vaccine List Table updated June 19, 2020), lozierinstitute.org/an-ethics-assessment-of-covid-19-vaccine-programs; “Charlotte Lozier Institute Responds to Claim That Aborted Baby Parts Are Needed to Develop COVID-19 Treatment,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, March 19, 2020, lozierinstitute.org/charlotte-lozier-institute-responds-to-claim-that-aborted-baby-parts-are-needed-to-develop-covid-19-treatment.
  6. “U.S. Aborted Fetal Products,” Vaccine Information Sheet, Children of God for Life, Updated July 2020, cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/fetalproductsall.pdf.
  7. See cogforlife.org for articles on vaccine origins.
  8. Meredith Wadman, The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease, (Viking, 2017), Chapter 26.
  9. “Hepatitis B Virus: A Comprehensive Strategy for Eliminating Transmission in the United States Through Universal Childhood Vaccination: Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP),” MMWR, November 22, 1991, 40 (RR-13); 1-19, cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00033405.htm.
  10. “HPV Vaccine Recommendations,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 17, 2020, cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/hcp/recommendations.html.
  11. “Cervical Cancer, Frequently Asked Questions: Gynecologic Problems,” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, December 2018, acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/cervical-cancer.
  12. Ludwig Burger and Pushkala Aripaka, “AstraZeneca to Be Exempt from Coronavirus Vaccine Liability Claims in Most Countries,” Reuters, July 30, 2020, mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN24V2EN?fbclid=IwAR1obN6xLSqK0AT3edhjxHkp1WzYGMNK4MSNyCxzI_6nqK2UyRaWe1P5Mt8.
  13. “Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP),” Health Resources and Services Administration, June 2020, hrsa.gov/cicp/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3umGs5PunOwKVbIuS-6_Cl-3fN3oBMXcOuAry83SnB-z1wpUUBnGiEZ1o;“Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program,” Fact Sheet, Health Resources and Services Administration, June 2020, hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/cicp/cicpfactsheet.pdf.
  14. Tom Hals, “COVID-19 Era Highlights U.S. ‘Black Hole’ Compensation Fund for Pandemic Vaccine Injuries,” Reuters, August 21, 2020, reut.rs/2ZBcELJ.
  15. “Vaccine Injury Compensation: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, 98th Cong., 2d Sess., on H.R. 5810, A Bill to Amend the Public Health Services Act to Provide for the Compensation of Children and Others Who Have Sustained Vaccine-Related Injury, and for Other Purposes,” September 10, 1984, p. 121, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015042797467&view=1up&seq=129&q1=smith.
  16. National Childhood Vaccine-Injury Compensation Act: Hearing on S. 2117 Before the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, 98th Cong., 2d Sess., S. Hrg. 98-1060 (May 3, 1984), at 166.
  17. “Table 1. Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for Ages 19 Years or Older,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.
  18. Ed Silverman, “Merck Is Accused of Stonewalling Over Effectiveness of Mumps Vaccine,” Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2015, blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2015/06/08/merck-is-accused-of-stonewalling-over-effectiveness-of-mumps-vaccine.
  19. Informed Consent Action Network v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Stipulation 18-cv-03215, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, July 9, 2018, icandecide.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Stipulated-Order-copy-1.pdf.
  20. FACA: Conflicts of Interest and Vaccine Development—Preserving the Integrity of the Process, Hearing Before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, 106th Congress, Second Session, June 15, 2000, Serial No. 106-239, govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-106hhrg73042/html/CHRG-106hhrg73042.htm.
  21. See the National Vaccine Information Center at nvic.org; See the Children’s Health Defense at childrenshealthdefense.org; See the Informed Consent Action Network at icandecide.org; See the Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute at thinktwice.com.
  22. Rep. Adam Schiff Sued by Physicians for Censoring Vaccine Debate, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, January 15, 2020, aapsonline.org/rep-adam-schiff-sued-by-physicians-for-censoring-vaccine-debate;“#MalkinLive: Interview with Del Bigtree after YouTube Bans The Highwire,” YouTube, July 30, 2020, youtube.com/watch?v=bPfTz3d0Zls; “Controversial Vaccine Movie Banned by Netflix & Apple,” YouTube, July 9, 2020, youtube.com/watch?v=FX95m5kXMBU; “CHD Holds Press Conference with Legal Team and Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Three of Facebook’s So-Called ‘Fact-Checkers,’” Children’s Health Defense, August 20, 2020, bit.ly/3bFVXU2.

Three heroes in the fight to end China’s draconian birth policy

by William Huang

A month and half ago, this writer predicted that China would end its two-child policy at the October meeting of Communist bigshots in Beijing. It was there that they hammered out their economic and social policies for the next five years, formally known as the “14th Five-Year Plan”.

I was hoping for a repudiation of a policy which had probably murdered more unborn babies than any other time in history and a formal announcement of the end of birth restrictions. I was correct — but in an underwhelming way.

The meeting did indeed announce further relaxations of the policy. But it did it ever so discreetly, buried deep in the pages of the CCP’s resolutions. The hated phrase “计划生育”, or family planning (an euphemism for the one-child policy in China), was finally dropped from the Five-Year Plan.

According to the English version of the semi-official Global Times, the plan also mentioned a much more “inclusive” policy, signaling that the era of child limits is coming to an end. Even Zhai Zhenwu, a population expert formerly employed by the National Family Planning Commission, a man who misled both the Chinese public and the tyrants in Beijing on China’s population prospects with both Malthusian theories and fudged statistics, admitted that: “Birth restrictions will definitely be phased out. We are moving in the right direction.”

Whilst this writer believes that we will only be on the right direction if and when people like Zhai and the officials who carried out mass sterilisations, forced abortions and cold-blooded murders of both pregnant women and babies are arrested, prosecuted and jailed for crimes against humanity, this is still a small victory.

But today I don’t want to talk about villains. I want to talk about the heroes. These are people who worked in a country with asphyxiatingly low levels of free speech and collective myopia on population policy, challenges the official population policy and changed hearts and minds. They helped to push China slowly towards demographic sanity.

Let’s celebrate the good guys for a change.

Big Country with an Empty Nest

The first is Yi Fuxian. He was trained at one of China’s top medical schools, Xiangya in his native southern Hunan Province (which as I profiled in one of my previous articles, was founded by missionaries from Yale University). By 1999 he was working in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was one of the most skilled researchers and physicians in his field.

Yi had an unconventional hobby — researching China’s demographics. When he started in the early 2000s, the rhetoric and the research was monopolized by the advocates of the one-child policy. They were making absurd claims that China’s population would reach 4 billion people in 2050 without a one-child policy. Western critics criticized its human rights abuses. But everyone missed the elephant in the room: the policy was useless; it was all based on lies; and the guys in charge were demographic illiterates.

Yi exposed this. Spurned by the officials in Beijing, he posted his research on the Chinese internet, which was considerably freer back in the early 2000s. He went viral on popular forums such as Tianya, and gained millions of followers. He was the first to point out that China would never have 4 billion people and that all of Beijing’s population projections since the 1970s had been wrong. The National Family Planning Commission had deliberately amended statistics in consecutive censuses to artificially increase the birth rate and continue the population panic. There might even be 100 million fewer Chinese people than  appeared in the official figures. Yes, fewer, not more. The draconian policy was unnecessary.

Yi has been vindicated repeatedly, humiliating the apparatchiks in Beijing. Even more worrying for the officials, he democratized opposition to the birth policy. Before Yi Fuxian, opposition to the one-child policy was taboo. But after his trailblazing research, it became much easier to oppose the policy and voices for reform grew ever louder.

Yi became subject to intense censorship. For years, he was not allowed to step foot in China. His influential book, Big Country with An Empty Nest, had to be published in Hong Kong in 2007 when the former British colony was still a haven for free speech in the Chinese world, because no publisher on the Mainland would touch it. For a decade he was not allowed to return to China, but his fanbase only grew bigger and bigger online.

When China loosened its one-child policy, first allowing couples to apply for a second-child quota if one of them were an only child, and then abolishing the one-child policy altogether. Yi was invited back to China, gave seminars in many universities and academic forums, and was even allowed to speak at the prestigious Bo’Ao Asia Forum (the Chinese version of Davos).

His book was published by a publisher with links to the government, and his Weibo account had hundreds of thousands of followers. Yi became a popular figure among both the Maoist hard-left and the pro-reform right. His book was endorsed by figures as diverse as Mao Yushi, a pro-democracy economist who won the Milton Friedman Liberty Prize, and Kong Qingdong, a Maoist Peking University professor who claims to be a descendant of Confucius. Hatred for the population policy may be the only thing left and right can agree on in China.

But then the Family Planning Commission decided to strike back even as it was on its way out. When Yi called for a full abolishment of all birth restrictions and declared that China’s population might have been exaggerated by the Chinese government in the tens of millions, making India more populated than China, his Weibo account was deleted and his articles and research were erased from the Chinese internet.

Yi retreated to Twitter and continues to post about his research online. He also maintains WeChat groups for thousands of his fans. Many of them were inspired to have more children by his writings and research. He provides advice for them on having children as well as how to evade punishment for violating birth restrictions.

Beijing pregnancies

Whilst Dr Yi converted people out of China’s family planning cult with hard-hitting facts, Ms Wang Ling, a senior journalist at the business news website Yicai and a visiting scholar at Purdue University, and Zhao Meng from the news website thepaper.cn took a completely different approach. They chronicled the pain and suffering of the cruel policy. Wang wrote a novel about it – A Beijing Pregnancy (“北京孕事”).

Wang, a devout Christian, interviewed mothers who had abortions or were pressured to have them, to speak about their experiences. She regularly updated on her personal WeChat media account with the contents of her book and regularly wrote articles in Yicai critical of the one-child policy, focusing on the harsh fines handed down by officials to impoverished parents for having an “illegal” child.

As a journalist, she embarrassed Family Planning Commission officials at news conferences. At its peak before the end of the one-child policy in 2015, tens of thousands of anxious Chinese parents were following her, as she told them that the reform of the birth policy was near and that they did not need to give up on a second or third child.

Ms Wang and mother-activists against the one-child policy spoke at seminars organized by the pro-natalist Chinese website cnpop.org. She was also vocal about how her Christian faith influenced her beliefs against the birth policy. She has since receded from her spotlight and no longer writes for Yicai, since her articles and writings are probably too provocative under Xi Jinping.

But she saved many babies and started a grassroots movement against the one-child policy, contributions which should never be forgotten.

Too many people in China?

James Liang Jianzhang is not your average crusader. He is very much part of China’s elite, one of the many who benefited from China’s economic boom. He is the founder of ctrip.com, one of China’s largest travel websites.

When Liang did a PhD at Stanford University, he noticed the differences in attitude towards child rearing and fertility between China and the United States. He began his own research on population control and came up with a radical slogan — people are wealth, and not a burden.

He used his position as Chairman of Ctrip to implement pro-natalist policies within his own company. He backed start-ups which help relieve the immense pressure on child rearing in China. He opened company-funded childcare facilities in the company headquarters of Shanghai, allowing Ctrip employees with children to have a peace of mind.

Nowadays he uses his position of influence to promote his “people are a wealth not a burden” theme. He has even created comedy sketches which debunk Malthusianism. He has appeared on one of China’s most popular variety shows on iQiyi ( China’s Netflix) called U can U Bibi (奇葩说 ), to debate population reform.

Liang went viral when he declared that the Chinese people will go extinct in the next few hundred years as a result of the current population policy if things are not turned around quickly. Liang’s partner in demographic research, demographer Huang Wenzheng, is also very active.

His provocatively titled book, Are there too many people in China?, was followed by another book, the Demographics of Innovation. Liang is permitted far more space for his opinions than Yi Fuxia because he is not nearly as anti-establishment. It also helps that he is a wealthy businessman and chairman of one of China’s best-known companies.

Future Nobel laureates?

Change would not have been possible had these people and many others who woke up from population brainwashing not spoken out for reform. China continues to be reluctant to acknowledge human rights abuses and the huge mistake it made through its inhumane population policy. But at least it is becoming more pro-natalist in its thinking, a step in the right direction.

Someday the world will recognize that China’s one-child policy should be as infamous as Apartheid. When that happens I will nominate these three heroes for the Nobel Peace Prize.

17 New Pro-Life Women Have Been Elected to Congress to Stop Nancy Pelosi’s Abortion Agenda

MALLORY QUIGLEY

Today the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) celebrated the continued momentum for pro-life women in Congress as Young Kim claimed victory in California’s 39th congressional district. Kim is the 17th new pro-life woman elected in the 2020 cycle. Out of these 17 women, nine have flipped seats formerly held by pro-abortion Democrats. This brings the total number of pro-life women in Congress to 27, more than double the previous record, with more races still to be called.

“This historic surge of pro-life women in Congress is continued proof that life is winning in America,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Nancy Pelosi and pro-abortion Democrats are now up against a stronghold of pro-life women who will stand up to their radical agenda and fight to protect longstanding pro-life policies including the Hyde Amendment and others like it, along with our gains under President Trump.

“These victories are a testament to the power of the life issue to motivate voters and unify Republicans to build a broad, winning coalition. Contrary to years past, today there is universal recognition in the Republican Party that protecting unborn children and their mothers is both morally right and politically smart. Following President Trump’s lead, pro-life candidates are going on offense to expose the extremism of their Democrat opponents and are finding tremendous success.”

A full breakdown of pro-life women victories and races yet to be called follows:

U.S. Senate:

  • Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) won election
  • Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) won re-election
  • Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) advances to a runoff to take place January 5, 2021
  • Six pro-life women will serve in the U.S. Senate next Congress, seven if Sen. Loeffler wins the runoff

U.S. House:

  • All 11 pro-life women incumbents have won re-election
  • 17 new pro-life women elected to the House with two races still to be called:
    • Maria Salazar (FL-27) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Yvette Herrell (NM-02) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Michelle Fischbach (MN-07) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Nancy Mace (SC-01) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Stephanie Bice (OK-05) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Ashley Hinson (IA-01) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Michelle Steel (CA-48) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Young Kim (CA-39) – flipped Democrat-held seat
    • Lauren Boebert (CO-03)
    • Beth Van Duyne (TX-24)
    • Victoria Spartz (IN-05)
    • Lisa McClain (MI-10)
    • Kat Cammack (FL-03)
    • Diana Harshbarger (TN-01)
    • Mary Miller (IL-15)
    • Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14)
  • 2 races featuring pro-life women yet to be called:
    • Claudia Tenney (NY-22)
    • Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02)

SBA List and its partner Women Speak Out PAC recently announced a $4 million independent expenditure campaign to elect Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and expose their opponents’ radical pro-abortion agenda to preserve the pro-life majority in the Senate. The multi-channel effort will reach one million voters and includes voter mail, digital ads, voter calls and texts, and door-to-door canvassing.

The groups’ Georgia efforts are an expansion of their overall $52 million campaign for the 2020 cycle. The biggest election effort in the organizations’ history reached more than eight million voters across 10 key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Details of the campaign in each can be found in SBA List’s 2020 Election HQ.

Abortifacient Brief: Implants

By 

Abortifacient Brief: Implants

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the legalization of birth control, millions of women—often oblivious to its dangers—have used one of its many forms. Manufacturers make billions off a woman’s desire to have sex with little to no consequences. While the pill is the most popular type, other methods continually entice women. Birth control implants are one such method.

A birth control implant is a device, about the size of a matchstick, used to prevent or impede pregnancy. A doctor inserts this device just under the skin of a woman’s inner upper arm. Usually containing levonogestrel, the implant releases this chemical into the woman’s body daily for years at a time.

implanon - birth control implants

Birth control implants are marketed as an easy solution to the “problem” of fertility. Women can have them inserted and then forget about them. This eliminates forgetfulness or user error. And it increases efficacy. But these implants have had a far-from-smooth introduction into the market. In addition, they do not prevent against STDs.

It all began with a device called Norplant. Norplant was first developed and approved abroad in the 1980s. But it wasn’t until 1990 that the FDA approved its use in America. Norplant was made of silicone and contained six capsules containing levonorgestrel. It was effective for up to five years.

Soon after Norplant was introduced, women found themselves facing health crises.

Side Effects of Norplant

Almost immediately, women began experiencing terrible side effects. These included:

  • severe headaches
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • depression
  • acne
  • weight gain of 60 to 100 pounds
  • excess growth or loss of hair
  • ovarian cysts
  • breast pain
  • skin discoloration
  • infection at the implant site or numbness in the arm
  • a variety of menstrual disorders

These side effects were so harmful that over 36,000 women joined a class action lawsuit against American Home Products Corporation, the parent company of the maker of Norplant. The plaintiffs claimed that the company “misled customers about the severity of Norplant’s side effects.” In 1999, American Home settled without admitting any wrongdoing. The company agreed to pay more than $50 million total. The settlement gave each woman slightly under $1,500.

According to a lawyer for the women who sued the manufacturer, the most severe side effects that he knew of were “enlarged ovaries and fallopian tubes that burst, causing the need for hysterectomies and/or the removal of the tubes and ovaries.”

Following the class action lawsuit and public outcry, the distributor withdrew Norplant from the US market in 2002. Its production was discontinued worldwide in 2008.

But like a phoenix rising after its death, birth control implants would not stay dead long.

In came Jadelle—an FDA-approved implant that is only marketed overseas.

Jadelle

While Norplant had 6 matchstick-sized implants, Jadelle is a set of two. Each contains 75 mg of levonorgestrel.

Like Norplant, a doctor must insert the rods—one at a time—into the woman’s arm. The doctor uses a local anesthetic and makes the incision. Often, swelling, bruising, or discoloration result at the site. Some women report pain or itching. In addition, some women have had skin reactions such as blistering, tingling, numbness, or scarring.

According to RX List: “Immediately after insertion of Jadelle® . . . implants, a low continuous dose of the hormone is released into your body. Pregnancy is prevented by stopping ovulation (so eggs will not be produced regularly), and thickening the cervical mucus (making it more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg). There may also be other effects that contribute to pregnancy prevention.”

Abortifacient effects:

It doesn’t mention these “other effects.” But we know what they are. Jadelle—and other similar hormonal contraceptives—alters the lining of the endometrium to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. That means that a baby has already been created. However, that baby is unable to attach to the wall of the endometrium to continue to grow. Because he cannot attach, he dies.

These three methods combine to give Jadelle a less than 1% failure rate.

Jadelle is effective for up to five years. If the woman weighs over 132 lbs, her doctor may recommend that she have the implant removed after the 4th year. This is done to maintain its efficacy.

Side effects:

No hormonal contraceptive comes without side effects. And Jadelle has many. About 10% of women suffer from:

  • irregular menstrual bleeding (heavy bleeding, extremely light bleeding, absence of menstrual periods, infrequent periods, spotting, shortened cycles)
  • application site reactions
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • vaginal discharge
  • breast pain
  • nausea
  • pelvic pain
  • urinary tract symptoms
  • weight gain

Between 1 and 10% of women suffer more serious side effects. Some of these include:

  • Chest pain
  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Bronchitis
  • Ovarian cysts

In addition, according to the Jadelle pamphlet, a woman may experience an allergic reaction to the device. Some of these reactions include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching, or hives

The pamphlet also warns: “You may have a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy if you get pregnant while your implants are in place. An ectopic pregnancy can be a serious and life-threatening condition. It can also cause problems that may make it harder for you to become pregnant in the future.”

Not only is the implant potentially deadly for a woman’s baby, but it’s potentially deadly for her as well.

blood clotting visual

Hormonal contraceptives can cause fatal blood clotting.

How are birth control implants removed?

Just as a woman must have a doctor insert the device, so must she return to the doctor to have it removed. While this is supposed to be an easy procedure, it is not always.

According to Jadelle’s prescribing information:

The overall incidence of removal difficulties in the clinical trials, including damage to the implants, was 7.5%. If removal of the implant(s) proves difficult, close the incision and bandage the wound, and have the patient return for another visit. The remaining implant(s) will be easier to remove after the area is healed. It may be appropriate to seek consultation or provide referral for patients in whom initial attempts at implant removal prove difficult.

So while many women have an easy time with the removal of the implant, a significant number of women experience difficulty. That difficulty has not gone unnoticed by the manufacturer.

Enter a new kind of device. This one is detectable on an x-ray.

Implanon and Nexplanon

Jadelle is not available in the US. So, in 2006, the FDA approved Implanon. Implanon was a single thin rod produced by a division of Merck that released etonogestrel. Its improved design made it easier to insert and remove.

However, just four years later, Merck replaced Implanon with Nexplanon. Nexplanon was designed to be visible through an x-ray, which makes it easier to find and remove. It also comes with an improved insertion device.

Nexplanon is currently the only available birth control implant in the US. The FDA has approved it for up to three years. Unlike Jadelle, which may not be as effective in women over 132 lbs, Nexplanon isn’t contraindicated in overweight women. Yet the information pamphlet also states that the device may lose its effectiveness in women with a BMI greater than 30.

Just like the other birth control implants, Nexplanon has a fewer than 1% failure rate. And its side effects are similar to those of its predecessors.

According to Merck:

Cysts may develop on the ovaries and usually go away without treatment, but sometimes surgery is needed to remove them.

Besides changes in menstrual bleeding patterns, other common side effects reported in women using Nexplanon include: headaches; vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina); weight gain; acne; breast pain; viral infection such as sore throats or flu-like symptoms; stomach pain; painful periods; mood swings, nervousness, or depressed mood; back pain; nausea; dizziness; pain and pain at the site of insertion. Implants have been reported to be found in a blood vessel, including a blood vessel in the lung.

Again, we see significant dangers to women. Sadly, many women feel that the gains outweigh the pains.

Who uses birth control implants, and where do they get them?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation: “In 2015-2017, the most recent years for which there are national data, about 4% of women ages 15-44 who currently use contraception used the implant.”

Those who use birth control implants tend to be younger women and women from low-income households. Many have Medicaid or are uninsured.

Researchers believe that women from these backgrounds prefer the implant because of its ease and because they want to prevent pregnancy for a longer period of time.

The Kaiser Family Foundation also reported the results of a 2016-2017 survey of obstetricians. This survey found that almost three out of four OBGYNs who provide obstetrical care offer the implant. Those who don’t offer it were asked why. They cited reasons such as lack of interest and the fact that their staff were not trained to insert it.

That brings us to another issue with birth control implants. Staff need special training to insert it. The FDA requires a two-hour, in-person training from the manufacturer. While the cost of the training is free, travel to the site and any other expenses incurred are the responsibility of the trainee. Some doctors don’t feel that it’s worth the effort.

Many low-income women use federally qualified health centers. However, because of the cost of the birth control implants, oftentimes these facilities do not stock them. Furthermore, their staff do not have the training. A 2017 study found that just over two-thirds of these facilities carry implants, Meanwhile, about 98% of Planned Parenthood clinics carry them. In addition, Planned Parenthood clinics allow a woman to come in for just one visit to have the birth control implants inserted. Some health centers require the woman to have an initial appointment and then return for the insertion.

birth control implant

Punitive Use?

When Norplant was still available in the US, it caused controversy for another reason. Judges in several cases made its use a requirement or part of a plea deal for women who had been accused of child abuse or endangerment.

According to Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly: “Within months of its approval, several judges around the country had already succumbed to Norplant’s allure. In California, Nebraska, and Texas, judges imposed use of Norplant as a mandatory condition of probation for mothers convicted of child abuse….Elected officials, judges, and other interested parties began advocating and implementing widespread and sometimes mandatory use of Norplant, often as a means to fight poverty.”

Initially, officials targeted women using drugs. Their hope was that Norplant would prevent them from creating babies who suffered from addiction at birth. Sometimes Norplant was used as an incentive. If the woman agreed to using it, she would get something in return. And finally, it was used as a condition of probation for mothers who were convicted of child abuse.

But was this ethical? Is it morally right to coerce a woman to have chemicals inserted into her body?

Right to Privacy?

According to Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, “The United States and California Constitutions provide a right to privacy that protects decisions regarding procreation, parenting, and medical treatment from government intrusion.”

The Constitution provides no explicit right to privacy. However, the Supreme Court has found what it terms as a “zone of privacy.” It first ruled on this in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut.

This right to privacy has been extended to include a person’s right to refuse “unwanted medical treatment and other invasions of bodily integrity.” Further, the Court allows a person to refuse medical treatment in a criminal setting as well.

The courts quickly realized that women could not be forced to undergo any kind of medical procedure. And that included birth control implants.

The Catholic Church is adamant about maintaining bodily integrity because the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. As HLI’s Brian Clowes states: “Any mutilation of the body—including extreme ‘body modifications’…and attempts to cripple it for social reasons (including sterilization)—is to be condemned. Such mutilations ‘violate the integrity of the human person.’ Direct sterilization destroys the normal and proper functioning of a body system and is thus illicit in all cases.”

While birth control implants aren’t sterilization, they do destroy the normal and proper functioning of the human body for years at a time. In addition, forcing a woman to undergo this treatment is an offense against her dignity as a human being.

Final thoughts

Advertisements, organizations, and social media all paint a joyous picture of the freedom that women can experience while using birth control implants. Rarely will they acknowledge that this “freedom” comes at a cost.

Isn’t it time that women exercise true freedom? Isn’t it time they listen to the facts? The facts paint a very different picture. Yet the facts tell the truth. Hormonal birth control, including implants, is detrimental to a woman’s health. And sometimes they kill a baby.

Women, you only get one body. Treat it with respect.

Two dads whose daughters died from hormonal birth control are educating women on risks

 

Joe Malone and David Rowan have each experienced the unthinkable: the loss of a child. Their daughters Brittany Malone and Alex Rowan were both 23-year-old recent college graduates when they suddenly died due to complications from hormonal birth control.

Brittany died in December of 2012 of a deep venous thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a major blood vessel, caused by the contraceptive NuvaRing. She collapsed after an evening out with her sisters and was declared brain dead three days later. According to her father, “Her death diagnosis was acute respiratory failure, diffuse pulmonary hemorrhage, diffuse venous thromboembolism with deep venous thrombosis, [and] severe anoxic brain damage.”

Alex collapsed in 2013 on the landing in her apartment building after grocery shopping. Six hours later, she was dead. She suffered a massive pulmonary embolism — a blood clot in the lungs. Pulmonary embolisms are a known side effect of the birth control pill, which Alex was using for contraception. Both young women had minimal or no symptoms in the days leading up to their deaths.

In order to “educate other women and families about the very real risks associated with hormonal contraceptives and the incredible lack of data and information available to women to make an informed choice,” Malone developed BirthControlSafety.org, to which Rowan is a contributor. According to research cited on the website, 1,500 women will die of a pulmonary embolism due to the birth control pill, patch, or NuvaRing in the United States each year. “A woman is 4-10 times more likely to develop a potentially fatal blood clot if she uses [the] pill, patch, or ring than if she uses an IUD or an implant,” according to the site. Stories of dozens of women who experienced a serious injury or even death due to complications of hormonal birth control are can be found on the site.

 

Rowan also launched the Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation in his daughter’s honor. The foundation funds research into pulmonary embolisms because research has revealed newer generations of birth control pills actually increase the risk of pulmonary embolism. The foundation also seeks to establish a protocol for utilizing a screening test or vetting program that could help to identify the women most at risk for embolism so they can make an educated decision about whether to use hormonal birth control. The Foundation has also partnered with the National Blood Clot Alliance to raise awareness about the connection between contraception and blood clots.

“By the drug company’s own data, if you’re taking hormonal birth control, you have a 1 in 12,000 chance of dropping dead,” Rowan said in a Period Party podcast interview in 2019. Furthermore, he noted that most women are not screened for a known blood clotting disorder that significantly raises their risk of developing a pulmonary embolism prior to being prescribed hormonal birth control. “If you have something called the Factor V Leiden mutation, you’re eight times more likely to develop a blood clot on birth control than not… So, your 1 in 12,000 rate goes down significantly, then it becomes a very real risk,” he said.

birth control

On October 30th, Alex Rowan’s family honored the 7th anniversary of her untimely death by sharing her college graduation picture.

Brittany and Alex were not the first young women to die of complications from hormonal birth control, and unfortunately, they were also not the last. Women deserve to know the root causes of their various reproductive system issues, plan their families, and monitor their fertility and overall health in ways that respect and even restore the natural rhythms of their bodies. Evidence-based fertility awareness methods of family planning offer all of this, without hormonal birth control’s potentially devastating side effects.

Pro-Life Doctors Ask Supreme Court to Uphold Title X Funding Rule

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court should hear appeals backing HHS rules that block recipients of Title X family planning funds from performing or making referrals for abortions, a group of pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists and a Christian medical association have said.

The Supreme Court is considering whether to hear appeals seeking to overturn an appellate court’s ruling against the Protect Life Rule, created by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services. The rule prohibits recipients of Title X family planning funds from referring for or performing abortions. It requires Title X fund recipients to be both physically and financially separate from facilities that perform abortions.

“The Supreme Court has already recognized that the federal government has authority to prevent Title X funds from being used for abortion. The 4th Circuit chose instead to rely on the preferences of pro-abortion medical associations,” John Bursch, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy, said Nov. 9. “The Supreme Court should take this case and affirm that HHS has the authority to issue a rule that the high court already deemed constitutional.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom legal group filed the Nov. 9 amicus brief on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, which claims 4,000 OB-GYN members and associates, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which claims 20,000 members and 329 chapters in the United States.

His wife got pregnant from sexual assault… and he has a message for pro-life men

 

Men, be MEN.

I’m a former Marine. These days, I work full time in manufacturing. I’m not one to go out and seek to be known or throw myself into the public arena. Yet, my wife and I are pro life speakers. I’m not the natural she is. That’s obvious within the first few minutes of me opening my mouth. But like my wife Jennifer says, “As God opens doors, we’ll walk through them.”

In 2014, Jen was a victim of a sexual assault so brutal it doesn’t bear thinking about. As painful as that was for both of us, separately and as a couple, what followed changed everything. What followed was a little boy. We named him Joshua.

We, as pro life men, have been cowed when it comes to the abortion debate. Especially when we’re talking abortion and exceptions. We have opinions. I have a very strong opinion. I hear the other side throw out the “but what about in cases of rape?” when debating, thinking that they’ve got a trump card. I know from my personal experience that things aren’t usually the way they say they are. I know from Jen’s experience and that of hundreds like her, that the child that came from rape has been nothing but happiness for them.

I’ve seen what our son has done for our family.

It irritates me that so many in the pro-choice world think they can talk for women who have conceived after assault.

I see the damage women have been dealt by being told that abortion erases trauma and NOT being told of the further damage abortion will cause. They’re never told that the baby can be a huge healing factor like Joshua has been for us. I know that’s not always going to be the case. That sometimes it would be best to consider adoption: A brave and beautiful decision.

Babies [are] created by God and human beings at conception. They are alive, they need to be spoken for, they should have rights like any other person.

Men need to be men… I get nervous about saying this because it might sound old fashioned or chauvinistic… but our job is to protect those weaker than us. Protect those who can’t protect themselves. An unborn baby is the most perfect example of one so vulnerable. Stand beside the mother. She has been fed lies for decades. She’s been taught that abortion is simple. Quick. Easy.

Stand for the baby.

They are 100% at the mercy of other people.

Love them both. Abortion cannot be seen as a solution. It doesn’t make you forget.

READ: Woman who conceived son from rape responds to Bill Maher’s cruel ‘rape baby’ joke

Some people call me a hero. Kind of weird. It’s a larger scale problem that we view keeping your vows, honoring your God, and loving your wife as heroic. Jen didn’t have any say in what happened to her. The baby didn’t have a say in it. Why would I lower my thinking to the level of putting the onus for some stranger’s actions on either one of them? I don’t know how to say this any better but it seems like such an immature, selfish way to look at the situation. That if your wife became pregnant after rape that you would want her to abort…

More often I’m called a cuck. A simp. Once I was called ball-less (which irked Jen mostly because it was written without a hyphen). Common attempts at digs from people who just don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re coming from a place where they believe “rapist’s spawn” is a thing. It’s not. I don’t even think the people saying these things believe them.

It doesn’t bother me. These are ridiculous arguments that have no weight to them. It’s this mindset that believes someone who marries a woman after she’s been raped is getting damaged goods. That staying with her makes him less of a man. If you ask me[, a]ny guy who so much as entertains that thought is already less of a man.

People talk about our son without even knowing him. They use phrases like demon seed and evil genes and talk about me being weak because I’m raising “somebody else’s” baby.

But he’s not somebody else’s baby. He’s my wife’s baby. He’s OUR baby who we loved from the very beginning. Childish, bogus arguments.

And while I’m at it[, s]top with the sins of the father being visited on the children stuff in reference to our story? That doesn’t fit. It should be the sins “of the donor.” Because I’M Joshua’s  father. I’m his dad in EVERY sense of the word except for how he came about.

Life never turns out the way you expect. But character is revealed in the valley.
Be consistent, pro life men.
Be strong for the weak.
Defend the defenseless.
Protect EVERY life.
Leave a name your children will be proud to speak.
Carry on.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Love Louder on Facebook and is reprinted here with permission.

Preemie of the Week: Viral video star Ward Miles Miller is now a thriving 8-year-old

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In July of 2012, Ward Miles Miller was born three and a half months early weighing just 1.5 pounds. His father Ben chronicled the first year of Ward’s life in a heartwarming video that went viral and has now amassed more than 35 million views on YouTube. Viewers loved watching Ward grow from a tiny preemie with his mother holding him for the first time into a laughing and thriving one-year-old. Now, eight years old and in the second grade, Ward continues to thrive.

Born at 25 weeks, Ward required the use of numerous machines to support him as he fought to survive. He spent 107 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and his parents were unsure at times if he would survive, but Ward overcame obstacle after obstacle. Today, he’s a big brother to Jude, age four, and loves to play hockey, enjoys math class best at school, and wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Though he struggled with vomiting as a toddler, he now has no issues at all from being born so young.

 

In April 2020, Ben Miller created a follow-up video of Ward to show the world how well he is doing. “We are surrounded by coronavirus, people are on lockdown in their homes and have bad news streaming in all the time,” said Ben in the video. “And I thought this would be a great time to share an update about Ward and let you guys see how far he’s come from such a tiny baby.”

Ward’s progress truly is amazing. He’s not that fragile little baby with seemingly endless wires attached to him. He’s now just like any other little boy with sports heroes he admires, a little brother with whom he loves to play (and fight), and a love of dinosaurs.

preemie

Instagram.

Babies born at 25 weeks have about a 50% chance of survival, according to VeryWell. Though babies as young as 21 weeks have survived, the closer a baby is born to 34 weeks, the much better his chances of survival. By 27 weeks, the chances rise to 90% and by week 32, babies have a 95% chance of survival. Sadly, abortion is still legal at these ages in the United States.

In eight states, abortion is legal through the third trimester, when babies are capable of surviving outside the womb. One of those states, Colorado, rejected Proposition 115 during the 2020 election, which would have banned abortion in the state after 22 weeks. Alaska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and New York also allow abortion up until birth. Most Americans have been misled into believing these late-term abortions are committed for health reasons, but this is untrue. If the baby is capable of surviving, there would be no need to commit a three-day abortion rather than carry out an emergency C-section if the mother’s health was truly on the line.

 

The Miller family has said that the first year of Ward’s life was difficult — spiritually, emotionally, and physically. But it was all worth it. In 2017, they allowed Live Action to alter and share the video of baby Ward in order to help educate Americans on the truth of life inside the womb and the fact that preborn children are human beings, not mere “tissue.” Ben Miller shared Live Action’s version of the video and said, “I hope people’s hearts are changed!”

Ward has definitely opened millions of hearts and minds with his story.

How do you know if you have a blood clot? Signs of blood clots, and how to get tested for them

Gerard Migeon

How do you know if you have a blood clot? Signs of blood clots, and how to get tested for them

Even among young women, the risk of blood clot should be a serious consideration if they are on hormonal birth control. Very recently, a friend of mine had a big scare. Her daughter Anne was complaining about unexplained lower back pain, and my friend found out that she was on birth control. She was especially concerned that Anne was on a version of birth control that had a similar formulation as Yaz (which contains ethinyl estradiol), the infamous pill that caused many cardio-vascular accidents among womenresulting in class-action suit settlement of over 19,000 claims including 100 deaths. Putting the two together, my friend quickly ascertained that Anne may have a blood clot, and urged her to get tested for clots. 

blood clot, signs of blood clot, symptoms of blood clot, blood clot symptoms, blood clot signs, blood clots and birth control, Factor V Leiden, d-dimer test

This mom, a faithful reader of our website, knew about the tragic stories of other young women like Alexandra Williams or Alex Rowan, whose early signs of blood clotsincluding lower back pain, were misread by medical professionals until it was too late.

Anne, a 28-yearold educated and active professional, was using this particular birth control pill in part because of its relieving effect on her acne. She had been to urgent care to check on her back pain, and the doctor had ruled out a blood clot. But upon learning the type of pill she was on, Anne’s mom insisted that she get it checked more thoroughly. Her daughter also complained about being short of breath, another serious sign of blood clots. Besides, members of the family had a history of blood clots and vascular disease. Now, where should she go to find out for sure?

The three levels of thorough testing for blood clots

Beyond an external checkup commonly performed by an outpatient physician (such as swollen and/or warm areas in the leg), the actual detection of a clot requires thorough testing, which is usually performed in an ER setting. Hospitals rely on three main tests to really find out if someone like Anne has a blood clot:

  • The D-Dimer blood test
  • The Doppler Ultrasound
  • CAT Scan

D-Dimer blood test

The D-Dimer test is the first step of a thorough check for blood clots. It will effectively signal a blood clot risk, though it may not mean that you have a blood clot. D-dimers are protein fragments produced as the result of the dissolving of blood clots. Elevated D-dimer levels in your blood is a possible sign of blood clots, or a sign of elevated risk for clotting, but doesn’t show where the clot is.

Note that this test can be done by regular labs and is not expensive. The advantage of going to the ER is that the analysis is done on-site and results are produced within the hour. This can make the difference that saves a life and if you’re very concerned, it is worth doing.

Anne went to the ER to get checked. Her D-dimer test results were higher than normal. The ER physician immediately ordered the next two exams, which were performed one after the other within the next hour.

Doppler ultrasound

The next exam Anne underwent to rule out blood clots was a Doppler ultrasound. This exam is designed to check the blood circulation speed in the legs or the arms. It sends an ultrasound signal that bounces back off red blood cells. A Doppler ultrasound is non-invasive and painless. It can identify if there is a blockage or a clot.

CT Scan

The second exam, the CT Scan, is high precision imaging technology that will produce images of the veins and arteries and detect clots. Megan Henry, an Olympic athlete, was a young woman whose CT scan revealed a large number of clots around her lungs, an exam that saved her lifeNote that the CT scan uses higher level radiation, which can have other side-effects.

Other tests for blood clots

Other possible tests include the ventilation/perfusion lung scan (“VQ scan”), which is a low-level radiation test reading a tracer injected in the patient’s veins, and a pulmonary angiogram, which is the most accurate but also the most risky. A MRI is also an option, and is usually administered to pregnant women for the safety of their baby.

Happily for Anne, both the Doppler ultrasound and CT scan were negative. She was able to go home safely, more aware of the signs of blood clots—and that her contraception method was a risk factor for her. What was next for her?

Preventing blood clots

As young women consider birth control options, they need to be thoroughly informed about the risk of vascular problems and the signs of blood clots. Aestimated 300 to 400 young women die each year from blood clots caused by contraceptives, and 13,000 are hospitalized in the United States alone. Here are a few considerations for them.

Get tested for Factor V Leiden

At minimum, if a woman feels she must use contraceptive drugs, she should get tested for Factor V Leiden. Factor V Leiden is a genetic condition that greatly increases the risk of blood clots at any ageThis condition can increase risk of VTE by 3 to 20 timesThe blood test for Factor V Leiden is done by labs for patients who have a family history of blood clotting or show other risk factors. It is an expensive test ($180 to $280, but can be as high as $2,000) and not always covered by insurance (be sure to check). This doctor suggests that clinicians should first order a test to measure the activated protein C (APC) resistance in the blood before the blood test. However, this CDC article about the merits of conducting this test states that “women with Factor V Leiden (FVL) who take oral contraceptives are at higher risk for developing VTE and, if tested and found to have FVL, can be prescribed a more appropriate non-hormonal contraceptive.”

Learn fertility awareness methods (FAM) for safe family planning

The safest option, as even women without the Factor V Leiden condition are at an elevated risk for blood clots while on birth control, is to avoid hormonal contraception altogether. While non-hormonal, non-chemical options exist, such as condoms, diaphragms, and so on, the most effective family planning approach will be a well-understood and managed fertility awareness method (FAM) or natural family planning (NFP). The effectiveness rates of fertility awareness methods vary depending on the method, but they are very similar to the pill and free of side-effects.

Sometimes the challenge for potential users of fertility awareness is that it takes more learning and planning than just popping a pill. But the sad irony is that busy young women are often keen on carefully managing their diet and exercise, while at the same time daily ingesting a very powerful and dangerous drug out of ignorance of its side-effects and risks.

Two other factors may deter these young women from using a fertility awareness method: the possible lack of support from their partner, and the sense of uncertainty when using the method. We do recommend that a woman has a serious talk with her partner, which could actually be a test of commitment (does he love me enough that he can take the change of birth control approach for the sake of my health?). We also recommend that women and couples work with a professional teacher who can guide them through choosing the method that is best for their lifestyle and body, and help them gain confidence in reading the signs of their body for effective family planning.

Young women live busy lives. Regardless of their education level, managing partner relationships, work, career goals, and family plans is a lot to manage for anyone. In this context, it would seem that the birth control pill is a no-brainer, until they really understand the risks and side-effects to which they are subjecting themselves. A serious detection of any blood clot risk is critical if one has any doubt, followed by a pro-active search for good support and training in FAM.

If you’re a family member (especially a parent), this situation may trigger a range of feelings depending on your thoughts about birth control, from doubt and resistance if you believe that contraception is generally OK, to possible resentment if you’re strongly opposed to it. In any case, know that you can make a big difference and play an active role as you engage with your loved ones in a pro-active, non-judgmental and supportive way. life may be at stake.

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

Reformed architect of legal abortion in America describes how it all happened

By Terry Beatley and By Clare Ruff

October 29, 2020 (Inside the Vatican) — At a prayer vigil in November 2009, I discerned the Lord asking me to interview Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the last surviving co-founder of NARAL — the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (later renamed NARAL Pro-Choice America). In the late 1960’s, Bernard Nathanson and Lawrence Lader crafted what they called the “Catholic Strategy,” later called “the most brilliant political strategy of all time.” It was a stealthy and effective scheme to destroy America’s historical protection of unborn life by undermining the spiritual authority of Divine Law and marginalizing the moral authority of the Catholic Church. As co-founders of NARAL, these two atheists deployed their Catholic Strategy with tactical precision and great efficacy. They were the pioneers of the sinister industry of abortion, which depended on political victory to deceive and destroy. And then a miracle of sorts happened, and Bernard Nathanson became immovably pro-life.

I was daunted by the prospect of interviewing Dr. Nathanson, and even doubted its possibility, but I felt I was supposed to try. Tracking down his phone number via a pro-life attorney, I dialed with trepidation. His wife answered and explained that her 83-year-old husband was very frail from terminal cancer and had not granted an interview in over a year. But she instructed me to fax my letter of request, and promised to present it to her husband.

A few days later she called to inform me that, much to her surprise, Dr. Nathanson had agreed to my request. On December 1, 2009, I flew to New York City to interview the man who trained Planned Parenthood how to kill children in the womb and who worked as Medical Director for the largest abortion center in the world, the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (CRASH). These credentials earned him the title “The Abortion King.” Yet, he was the same man who spent his final 35 years working tirelessly to undo what he had regrettably unleashed upon America: deceiving the courts, maligning clergy, manipulating the media, training doctors and crushing the souls of millions of mothers and fathers by stopping the beating hearts of their unborn children.

What Changed?In 1973, just a few months after celebrating the Roe v Wade decision, Dr. Nathanson witnessed for the first time a new technology: real-time ultrasound. He observed an unborn child in the womb — smiling, stretching, and wiggling her toes. He told me, “Real-time ultrasound was the bomb. It made everything come alive.” Science revealed the beauty, goodness and truth of life in this sacred space, demanding intellectual honesty from Dr. Nathanson; he had to acknowledge that abortion kills an existing human life, and admit that what he had been doing was morally wrong. In that moment, he realized he had two patients: the mother and her child. His job was to protect and save them both. In that moment, Dr. Nathanson’s pro-life journey began.

He spent two years persuading NARAL that real-time ultrasound exposed a major ethical and moral dilemma, but the organization cared little and would not alter its position.

Dr. Nathanson resigned from NARAL on the second anniversary of Roe v Wade. In his resignation letter, addressed to Lawrence Lader, he wrote: “The judgments of the Supreme Court were never meant to be infallible or eternal. And what if we’ve been wrong — if the Court should soon reverse itself on the abortion issue in the light of changing times and/or new scientific evidence? What an incalculable injustice will have been perpetrated. What an immeasurable, irretrievable loss will have been suffered. The annual dues to NARAL are ten dollars a year and the hubris of certainty. I can no longer afford those dues.”

By 1979, the father of America’s abortion industry had become 100% pro-life — without exceptions. The industry, in his words, grew “fecklessly out of control.” And fueling it was NARAL’s Catholic Strategy.

Following his defection from the abortion industry, Dr. Nathanson suffered nearly a decade of depression, frequently contemplating suicide, until he crossed paths with a priest who introduced him to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. On December 8, 1996, America’s “Abortion King” was baptized at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and was made new in Christ as a Child of Light.

Background: My Promise

As I sat beside Dr. Bernard Nathanson in the interview he had granted me, listening to his great remorse for orchestrating and leading the war on America’s unborn children, I felt a deep sense of empathy. He was too ill to get his message out anymore, which compelled me to make him an offer: if he had a message for America, I would deliver it across the country until it became common knowledge — or until Roe v Wade was overturned.

In a thin, raspy voice weakened by his illness, but coupled with a slight twinkle of hope in his eyes, he responded, “Yes, yes…Continue teaching about the strategy I used to deceive America, but also deliver this special message. Tell America that the co-founder of NARAL says to ‘Love one another. Abortion is not love. Stop the killing. The world needs more love. I’m all about love now.’” I reached over and shook his feeble hand, promising that one day America would hear his story — and his important message.

The non-profit pro-life organization I founded, named Hosea Initiative, is committed to revealing this vital piece of American history to the public. Our informal polling shows that more than 90% of our predominantly pro-life, Catholic audience lacks awareness of Bernard N. Nathanson’s “Saul-to-Paul” conversion or NARAL’s Catholic Strategy. This is essential information for Catholics walking into the voting booth this November 3.

The “Opposition Element”

NARAL successfully united a fractured pro-abortion movement and aggressively lobbied for the overturn of a 140-year-old New York law which protected infants from abortion. When Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed liberal pro-abortion legislation into law in April 1970, New York City became the nation’s abortion epicenter. Only nine months later, NARAL’s Executive Committee assembled for an emergency meeting to discuss a grave risk to their blossoming abortion crusade. An increasing number of infants were born alive following second-trimester saline abortions.

Executive Director Lawrence Lader showed no empathy for these salt-burned infants. He expressed just the opposite. Dr. Nathanson described Lader’s response in his post-conversion book, The Abortion Papers: Inside the Abortion Mentality (1983): “[He] saw these abortion survivors as an embarrassment to NARAL and was concerned that the press had made much of them and that the opposition elements were seizing upon them as a tactic in the abortion wars.”(p. 177)

Who Was the Most Feared “Opposition Element”? The Roman Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was NARAL’s primary opposition due to its long-standing, uncompromising doctrine regarding the sanctity of human life. While the Anglican Church reversed its position on contraception at the 1930 Lambeth Conference and other Protestant denominations followed, Rome held its position against contraception and abortion as destructive moral evils against God’s gift of life.

For a deeper understanding of the genesis of NARAL’s response to Catholic opposition, look to Lawrence Lader’s 1966 book Abortion, where he identifies the Catholic hierarchy as “a force inimical” to what he called “legalized abortion — the final freedom.”

Nathanson says Lader shows his true colors and the level of his vitriol against the Catholic Church in the sequel, Abortion II: Making the Revolution. In it, Lader names individuals with their religious affiliation (most Catholic) only if they did not support his agenda. (Interestingly, the current “cancel culture” phenomenon mirrors tactics from NARAL’s playbook.)

Naral’s Religious War

Together, Lader and Nathanson executed an all-out, anti-Catholic religious war: Anti-Catholic warp was a central strategy, a keystone of the abortion movement. It was, in a sense, the self-fulfilling prophecy: knowing that the Catholic Church would vigorously oppose abortion, we laced the campaign with generous dollops of anti-Catholicism, and once the monster was lured out of the cave in response to the abortion challenge and the nakedly biased line, we could make the Catholic Church the point man of the opposition. The more vigorously the church opposed, the stronger the appeal of the anti-Catholic line became to the liberal media, to the northeastern political establishment, to the leftist elements of the Protestant Church, and to the Catholic intellectuals themselves. (The Abortion Papers, p.196)

Image
A copy of the magazine of Margaret Sanger, the founder of the Birth Control Federation of America

Lader also modeled his anti-Catholic bigotry after the queen of racism and eugenics, Margaret Sanger, the founder of the Birth Control Federation of America (later renamed Planned Parenthood).

She started her dirty deeds in 1916 as a fallen-away Catholic whose socialist father taught her to despise the Church. In the early 1920s, she strategically pitted Protestants against Catholics over the issue of contraception.

By 1939, she launched the “Negro Project,” an aggressive plan to reduce the black race by pushing birth control and sterilization onto minority communities under the guise of women’s healthcare. In the late 1950s, she led the charge for a little white pill which fueled an era of unfettered promiscuity and out-of-wedlock births. Then, she passed the baton of abhorrence of the Catholic Church to Lader, her biographer and admirer, who soon thereafter partnered with Nathanson to form NARAL.

Dr. Nathanson explained that NARAL braced itself for a response, especially from the Catholic hierarchy. But none came. And it only fueled NARAL’s confidence and purpose. “What continually surprised us in the planning sessions and strategy meetings at NARAL was not only the comparatively mild quality of the organized Catholic opposition, but also the virtual absence of response to what was blatantly an anti-Catholic campaign.” (Ibid., p.190)

Later, writing with a heavy heart, Nathanson described the tactics as morally detestable, with no modern parallel. He was convinced that “there has been, then, no social change in American history as sweeping, as potent in American family life, or as heavily dependent upon an anti-religious bias for its success as the abortion movement.” (Ibid., p. 197)

The efficacy of NARAL’s Catholic Strategy helps explain why the vast majority of current U.S. Senators who identify as Roman Catholics consider themselves “pro-choice” and voted against the “Twenty-week Fetal Pain Bill,” which would have banned abortions from 20 weeks gestation onward, as well as the “Abortion Survivor Infant Protection Act,” which would have guaranteed, by law, healthcare to babies who survive attempted abortion.

The Catholic Strategy

Like wartime strategists, NARAL’s Executive Committee stealthily devised four primary points of attack against their leading opposition, the Catholic Church.

First: Blame and Accuse the Hierarchy

Cardinals, bishops and clergymen were targeted relentlessly by the NARAL team. Every time a woman was maimed or died from complications of illegal abortion, NARAL never accused the physician of malpractice, but blamed the hierarchy and Church opposition to legal abortion. Every press conference, editorial, or published article linked the name of a clergyman with social ills or women’s woes.

The blame game included an endless indictment of Church leaders for starting a religious war, abusing tax-exempt status and even attempting to overturn the Bill of Rights!

Nathanson explained: “The anti-Catholic tactic was… central to the maintenance of unity within the High Command of the movement. In providing a palpable, visible opposition it allowed those of us setting policy and devising a strategy to occupy ourselves with the enemy. We were kept too busy to contemplate in any critical way the quintessential brutality of permissive abortion. There was always another bishop to denounce, another pastoral letter to be rebutted, another cardinal to excoriate.” (Ibid., p. 197)

Second: Support and Campaign for Catholic Pro-abortion Candidates

NARAL recognized and praised Catholic politicians who publicly expressed a softened stance on abortion. It assisted legislators with election campaigns, grassroots efforts, and financial support, regardless of party affiliation. As long as the candidate embraced legalized abortion, s/he was a candidate for NARAL’s backing. Using the complicit media, NARAL made it appear times were changing, and “pro-choice” politicians were the new majority. NARAL understood the power of perception.

Third: Split and Set Catholics Against Each Other

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The Time magazine cover devoted to Pope Paul VI on the  publication of his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae

NARAL recognized that John and Jacqueline Kennedy were models of the modern, enlightened twentieth-century Catholic, thinking for themselves “without obeisance to church dogma.” NARAL’s strategists recognized two categories of Catholic faithful: the well-educated, fashionable “Kennedy Catholics,” and blue-collar, conservative Catholics, only one generation removed from immigration. NARAL fueled divisiveness within the Catholic Church, pitting liberal against conservative Catholics. As Dr. Nathanson recounted it, everything was in place “for the portrayal of the Catholic Church as a political force, for the use of anti-Catholicism as a political instrument, and for the manipulation of Catholics themselves by splitting them and setting them against each other.” (Ibid., p. 181)

Let it be said: The Church helped us in NARAL. The papal encyclical of 1968 [Humane Vitae] denying both abortion and contraception to Catholics was a bonanza for us at NARAL at precisely the correct moment in history. By linking abortion and contraception in the encyclical, the Vatican made it impossible for those Catholics who were using birth control to split off the abortion issue, therefore leaving them to pick their own way through the confusing ethical and theological landscape.” (Ibid., p. 189)

The leap from practicing contraception to supporting legalized abortion proved an easy one.

Fourth: Execute the Straddle

Perhaps the most common and effective tool in the NARAL strategy toolbox was ‘the Straddle’: a separation of religious conviction from legislative judgment. Nathanson wrote that it was first proposed to the Board by “such notables as Robert Drinan, SJ, and Richard Cardinal Cushing.” (Ibid., p. 177)

“To maintain their appearance as enlightened and progressive while still retaining their bona fides as Catholics, we provided [Kennedy Catholics] with the now classic ‘straddle’ for Catholics in public positions: abortion is personally abhorrent, but everyone must be free to make their own choice. Now we were ready to use them to call over the more traditional, less trendy Catholics to our cause.” (Ibid., p.181)

Of course, substitute “slavery” for “abortion” and few would agree that one person can find slavery personally abhorrent while others are free to choose whether or not to own slaves. Yet, it’s a refrain we’ve heard for decades in politics. Dr. Nathanson prophetically warned that, as long as abortion is legal, there would be increased violence, increased public turmoil and the disintegration of the American family. These bitter fruits are everywhere apparent.

I believe the abortion ethic is fatally and forever flawed by the immorality of the means of its victory. A political victory achieved by such odious tactics is at best an unstable tyranny spawned by an unscrupulous and unprincipled minority. At the very least this disclosure of those odious tactics should compel those who are uneasy with permissive abortion to re-examine the issue. I believe that an America which permits a junta of moral thugs to foist an evil of incalculable dimensions upon it, and continues to permit that evil to flower, creates for itself a deadly legacy: a millennium of shame. (Ibid., p. 209)

This powerful quote of Dr. Nathanson’s is one of my favorites. It reveals how intimately he understood the diabolic industry. Abortion does not simply “happen” as civilizations evolve; it is created with evil intent. Dr. Nathanson wanted every bishop, priest and Catholic layperson to know how they were deliberately exploited, and be motivated to act in defense of their Faith and the sanctity of every human life. It’s time to challenge the anti-Catholic bias which marginalizes the prophetic voice of the Church. Pivotal in this effort is the courage to elect pro-life leaders with the power to reverse the ebbing tide of pro-life legislation. It’s time to abort our “millennium of shame.”

Published with permission from Inside the Vatican.

Ethically problematic Crispr gene-editing technology causing unexpected problems in embryos

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Researchers behind a study published Thursday in the journal Cell found that using the Crispr gene-editing technology in human embryos caused unintended and unwanted chromosomal changes, showing that the ethically problematic research may cause more harm than good.

The study focused on attempts to use Crispr to repair a gene that causes hereditary blindness. Forty human embryos were created for the study, using the sperm of a man who has hereditary blindness caused by a mutation on the EYS gene. Crispr-Cas9 was used to cut the father’s DNA at the site of the gene mutation that scientists wanted to correct. A Crispr-Cas9 enzyme was then injected into 37 of the embryos, with three embryos used as controls. However, the use of Crispr caused the elimination of large sections of chromosomes or entire chromosomes altogether in half of the embryos.

Dieter Egli, assistant professor of developmental cell biology at Columbia University and the study’s senior author, called it “a very adverse outcome,” but also said, “This study is not going to stop the field.”

 

Crispr allows researchers to cut, edit, and insert DNA, and has been highly controversial since first used in 2012. While scientists see it as a way to treat severe illnesses like cystic fibrosis, cancer, and sickle-cell anemia, the technology is also viewed as highly unethical, with opponents seeing it as a first step in creating “designer” human beings, and with embryonic studies using humans with disabilities as disposable guinea pigs.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in September 2020, an international commission sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.K.’s Royal Society issued a report that said Crispr gene-editing technology is not ready to be used because scientists do not have a grasp on how to make the changes they want to make without causing dangerous health concerns. Twin girls, created using Crispr, were born in 2018, but virtually nothing is known about their health. Another baby created using Crispr is also believed to have been born, but again, nearly nothing is known about that baby’s health. The Chinese researcher who led the experiments that created those lives was sentenced to three years in prison for illegal medical practices.

Crispr can be used in experiments using adult cells, as was done in a study using intestinal stem cells from adults with cystic fibrosis. That study found that while cystic fibrosis might not be the “prime candidate for clinical application of adult stem cell gene therapy, this approach may present a safe complement to induced-pluripotent-stem-cell-based approaches, and in the future it could be applied to different single-gene hereditary defects.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, a paper that looked at the ethical issues surrounding the creation of genetically modified children was published in the Crispr Journal, and surveyed the policies regarding such technology in 106 countries. Ninety-six of the countries already had legislation, regulations, or international treaties regarding the gene-editing of embryos, with 75 of them prohibiting the creation of genetically modified embryos with the aim of implanting those embryos for continued development and birth. This was indicative, researchers said, of the possibility of creating an international consensus on the ethics surround gene editing and embryos.

When Nexplanon moves: How “the birth control that goes in your arm” can migrate and wreak havoc on your body

https://naturalwomanhood.org/birth-control-implant-may-not-stay-in-your-arm-nexplanon-side-effects-1-2019/

Grace Emily Stark

“We’re all on Nexplanon,” says a recent ad for “the birth control that goes in your arm, featuring actress Vanessa Hudgens. Seconds later, the ad warns that “if at any time you can’t feel the implant, contact your doctor right away… removal of the implant may be very difficult or impossible if the implant is not where it should be.”  

nexplanon lasting problems, nexplanon moves in body, birth control implant moves, nexplanon implant migration, birth control arm implant, birth control implants, nexplanon side effects, nexplanon horror stories

Perhaps you remember the old slogan for Nexplanon, which used to be the clever “Armor Up. Remember the ads, with the stylishly dressed young women in the workplace, flexing their biceps and telling us that they‘ve “armored up” against an unplanned pregnancy? Now, Nexplanon wants to show us that everyonefrom moms to gamers to students to actresses (and not just women striving for the corner office)—are “all on Nexplanon.”  

It’s true that more and more women are turning to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as Nexplanon. Like the IUD, the Nexplanon implant is increasingly favored by patients and healthcare providers for its ease of use and compliance. The idea behind Nexplanon and other LARCs is to function as a “set it and forget it” method of birth control, promising women up to three years of protection against unplanned pregnancy without having to worry about taking a daily pill. 

The trouble is, ever since women have been getting birth control implants in their arms, there have been reports that the matchstick-sized devices have the rare but serious chance of moving from the arm to other places in a woman’s body. In 2016, the FDA updated the Nexplanon label to include warnings about the device’s ability to migrate, noting that a “deep” insertion is more likely to lead to issues with locating or removing the implant. 

Nexplanon also shares hormonal birth control’s more common side effects such as headache, depression, weight gain, mood swings, breast pain, acne, nausea, loss of libido, and painful periods (among others)as well as the less common but far more serious side effects of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks 

How does Nexplanon work?

Similar to hormonal IUDs, Nexplanon prevents pregnancy by continuously releasing a steady, low dose of synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, known as a progestinNexplanon’s particular progestin is known as etonogestrel, which prevents pregnancy through various functions, including preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and changing the lining of the uterus (etonogestrel can also be found in combination with ethinylestradiol, a synethetic estrogen, in vaginal rings such as the NuvaRing) 

Nexplanon should be removed after three years, but if it is lost and/or cannot be retrieved, it may continue affecting the body even after the three-year mark. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some women have had difficulty finding providers to remove their expired Nexplanon implants. However, providers are assuring women that the device is probably still pumping out enough synthetic hormone one to two years after its expiration date to continue preventing pregnancy (although many providers advise condom use after an implant expires)The continued effects of the implant past its expiration may seem like a boon to some, but for those whose device has moved, making it difficult or impossible to retrieve (or if it has become lost, and impossible to retrieve, as has happened in some rare cases) the extended effects can be troubling. 

Nexplanon’s risk of moving and informed consent

As it turns out, Nexplanon‘s issues with migrating are nothing new. Nexplanon is actually an updated version of a device called Implanon (which gained FDA approval in 2006), which was also a matchstick-sized hormonal LARC placed in the arm to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. With the FDA’s approval of Nexplanon in 2011, Implanon has gradually been phased out, but for many years was the subject of class action lawsuits from women  “who allege they were not properly warned about the risks associated with using Implanon, and from some for whom the device is irretrievable.  

One of the issues with Implanon was not only that it had the potential to migrate to areas outside the arm—including the pulmonary artery, a vital blood vessel found in the lungs—but it was also impossible to find via x-ray. To fix this problem, Nexplanon was developed to contain barium, which makes it radio-opaque. This means that if Nexplanon does move (as it still has the potential to do, despite the updates made to the original version), it can be located via x-ray. So, in a way, the updates to Nexplanon were developed with a specific awareness in mind of the implant’s potential to get lost inside a woman’s body. 

When Nexplanon moves and can’t easily be found

Nexplanon migration is an uncommon occurrence, and an updated applicator is meant to keep healthcare providers from inserting Nexplanon too deeply (again, a deep insertion is believed to make migration more likely). However, migration to other areas of the body is still possible (including within blood vessels, and even blood vessels within the lungs), and it can be extremely serious. In fact, the FDA-approved label for Nexplanon notes that if the device cannot be located, chest x-rays may be required to ensure that the device is not located within the pulmonary artery.    

Some women report they were not aware of Nexplanon’s ability to migrate when they had it inserted. One woman shared with the New York Post her ordeal having to undergo mandatory surgery to go “fishing” and “digging” for the implant after her Nexplanon merely moved to a different part of her arm.  “I was angry,” says  Tenayah Dawson, who was told she needed an MRI to locate her implant because it had moved. “I was like, what do you mean it moved? I was really concerned. It moved? How can it move?” Dawson says it took over an hour of surgery for her doctor to find and remove the device. 

A way to prevent pregnancy that doesn’t require being “on” anything

The good news is there are family planning methods that don’t involve inserting foreign objects into your body.Fertility Awareness-Based Methodsmore informally called fertility awareness methods (FAM) or natural family planning (NFP) have gained in popularity since the FDA approved the digital health app Natural Cycles as an effective form of birth control.  

Fertility awareness methods are modern, scientifically-based methods of family planning. They are 100% natural (they work with your body’s natural processes of fertility, not against them), have zero side effects, and can be just as  effective  as the Pill, the implant, and the IUD. As a proud, longtime user of the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP, I’ll take a thermometer in my mouth any day over a matchstick in my arm—especially one that could end up in my lungs. If you feel the same, it’s time to start learning about your fertility awareness options today. Because, as it turns out, for women to reach the goal of scientifically proven and effective  family planning, we don’t have to sacrifice our health—or be “on” anything. 

*Nexplanon is a registered trademark of Merck. 

Over 30 countries sign declaration promoting health of women, preborn babies, and the family

 

The United States was joined by several countries on Thursday for a virtual ceremony to celebrate the signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family. Co-sponsors of the declaration are the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda. The Declaration currently has 32 signers and remains open, should more countries choose to sign on. Some countries who have already signed in agreement include Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Poland, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.

The Declaration intends to affirm and strengthen four major goals in international women’s health, including: “better health for women, the preservation of human life, strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and protecting every nation’s national sovereignty in global politics.” As part of attaining these pillars, the Declaration holds that “it is the sovereign right of every nation to make their own laws in regard to abortion, absent external pressure,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This comes as a significant step given the many external pro-abortion pressures often put upon historically and predominantly pro-life nations.

The Declaration also reaffirms “the inherent ‘dignity and worth of the human person,’ that ‘every human being has the inherent right to life,’ and the commitment ‘to enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.’” Additionally, the Declaration emphasizes that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth.”

 

At the Declaration’s virtual signing ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “At its very core, the Declaration protects women’s health, defends the unborn, and reiterates the vital importance of the family as the foundation of society. The Declaration restates that there is no international right to an abortion. It goes even further, affirming that every country has its own sovereign right to determine its own laws with respect to abortion….”

The statements of the Declaration reflect the United States’ Protecting Life in Global Health Policy, which guides U.S. dealings with the World Health Organization and the United Nations and abides by the same pillars as the four goals of the Declaration (listed above).

As part of attaining these international improvements for women and children, the nations on the Declaration commit to working together to “ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and equal opportunity for women.” Significantly, the Declaration also vows to “reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion,” a tenet “ consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies.”

The Department of Health and Human Services states the Declaration “charts a positive way forward for accelerating progress on achieving this end.”

The Prolife Witness of St. John Paul II’s Parents

The Prolife Witness of St. John Paul II’s Parents

By Lindsey Kettner

“I thought I knew everything about Karol Wojtyla, St. John Paul II. I did my doctoral work on his theology,” said Msgr. Start Swetland, host of Go Ask Your FatherTM on Relevant Radio®. But even Msgr. Swetland was surprised to learn a new fact about the early life of St. John Paul II and the heroic virtue of his parents.

Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920, in Poland to Karol and Emilia Wojtyla. It’s commonly-known that Emilia died when her one-day saint son was just a young boy, but did you know that her ailing health prompted doctors to recommend that she put her life ahead of her unborn son’s?

Emilia and her son, Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II)
Emilia and her son, Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II)

“I knew that her health was delicate, but I did not know that it was so delicate and there were some complications in the pregnancy … that doctors had recommended to her that she terminate the pregnancy,” explained Msgr. Swetland.

This shocking fact was revealed in a book published recently in Poland about the saint’s early life. Several witnesses have testified to the fact that this is true.

“Of course, being a devout Catholic, knowing the right and holy thing to do, she did not and the rest, as we say, is history,” said Msgr. Swetland. “You can see how Satan works—Satan would have loved to kill the future saint in the womb, if he could have gotten away with it and inspire people to do those kind of things.”

It gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it… knowing that 100 years ago, parents were counseled by their doctors to kill such a holy and influential man before he was even born? Thanks be to God, Emilia and Karol Wojtyla Sr. made the good and holy decision to give their son the gift of life, setting aside their own health and fears to bring a future saint into the world.

Their prolife witness is a stunning example of how trust and faith are rewarded by God. The cause for canonization of St. John Paul II’s parents has recently been opened. Servants of God Emilia and Karol Wojtyla, pray for us!

A Christian Vision of Society and Civilization of Love

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“Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are…radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good; as such they are completely lacking in authentic juridical validity. Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.” ─ Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 72

 

It is a true but underappreciated fact that animals in the wild almost never die of old age. Long before old age finishes them off, weakened animals succumb to disease, predators, or starvation. I say this fact is underappreciated, because it points to one of the most remarkable things about human beings: i.e. that we look out for one another, including – or rather, especially – the weakest among us. Rather than abandoning our grandmother when she can no longer work, we sacrifice our time and resources to ensure she is cared for and lives and ends her life surrounded by love.

Two Visions of Human Society

Some early modern philosophers claimed that civilization only came to exist because of our fear of one another, and our desire to look out for our own selfish interests. We band together into cooperative tribes, they say, only so as to counteract the threat of violence, and so that we can ultimately get the things we want. Civilization, in other words, is just a bunch of people who have agreed to some version of this promise: “If you don’t take my stuff, I won’t take your stuff.”

This is an incredibly narrow vision of human nature, and a dangerously reductionist understanding of the nature of society. The Christian vision of society is radically different. It is perhaps best expressed in the phrase used so often by Pope St. John Paul II: i.e. “the civilization of life and love.” As the phrase suggests, in a truly healthy society, people are bound together not by fear or self-interest, but rather by bonds of love for one another.

This vision is the natural outflowing of a radically different anthropology. Instead of viewing humans simply as highly developed animals striving like other animals for nothing more than food, sex, pleasure, and social status, the Christian vision understands human beings as made in the image and likeness of God, with the capacity for self-transcendence, and destined for eternal bliss in the contemplation of the Divine Essence. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) writes in their document entitled Catholic Social Teaching:

“Catholic social teaching is based on and inseparable from our understanding of human life and human dignity. Every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Every person, from the moment of conception to natural death, has inherent dignity and a right to life consistent with that dignity. Human dignity comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes the same point, when it notes that an authentic understanding of the “common good” presupposes “respect for the person as such.” In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person.”

Within the civilization of love, one person does not protect the rights and welfare of another in a calculating tit-for-tat arrangement in the hope that the other person will do the same for him. Instead, a person looks out for another because it’s the right thing to do: because the other person, by virtue of being a person, merits and even demands our protection and love.

In Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II pointed to “those daily gestures of openness, sacrifice and unselfish care which countless people lovingly make in families, hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly and other centers or communities which defend life.” For two thousand years the Church has spearheaded countless such charitable efforts, building up the common good in imitation of our Divine Master, who commanded His disciples, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another.”

Human beings are capable of self-transcendence, of looking out for the other with no other ulterior motive than to value the other person for the person they are, and to treat them with the dignity they deserve. It is this incredible capacity that the cynical modern philosophers completely overlooked. And yet, without this capacity, human society is not just built on a foundation of sand, but of quicksand. Any society that is founded purely on principles of self-interest will, at the first sign of instability, tear itself apart. Inevitably, it is the weakest members who will suffer most.

The Culture of Death

The vision of “society” described by some cynical modern philosophers looks a great deal like that formed by Satan and his minions, as depicted by John Milton in Paradise Lost. Though consumed by envy and loathing for one another, the demons are united by their common hatred of God and a desire to pervert the human race. Satan is the overlord of a true society in which the members cooperate to achieve a common aim; but what sort of a society, with what sort of a culture!

A culture of sin. A culture of death.

In our world the civilization of love has never existed in its pure form – not, at least, since that short-lived civilization of two in the Garden of Eden. Instead, the civilization of love and the culture of death are intermingled. In various times and in various places, one or another civilization is ascendant, while the other is ailing.

My fear, however, is that not only is the culture of death now dominant, but that in many cases we have even lost sight of the fact that any other form of culture is desirable, or even possible. Indeed, I fear that what we are experiencing now is a diabolic inversion, in which the anti-civilization embodied by Satan and his minions, in which the only bond uniting us together is selfishness and shared hatreds, is viewed as the ideal.

Less than Beasts

A few weeks ago, I quoted St. Augustine in On the Trinity, where he notes the paradox that in striving to become like God, human beings inevitably debase themselves, coming instead to resemble the beasts. In reality, however, the case is worse than this. In striving to become like God, humans often sink beneath the level of the beasts, becoming, as it were, more bestial than beasts.

A mother cat knows enough to treasure and care for her kittens. In our worship of radical “autonomy” and a diseased notion of “freedom” (that is, in our efforts to become like God), however, we now celebrate the “right” of mothers and fathers to choose to have their own children murdered. And while an adult cat may not do much to protect its mother or grandmother in their old age, we are now championing the “right” of our grandmother to kill herself or to have our grandmother killed. The thing that most distinguishes human society from that of the animals – our valuing of other humans not for anything they can do, but for what they are – is vanishing.

At root, this total inversion of values stems from our loss of the sense of the dignity of the human person, which in turn stems from our loss of the sense of God, in whose image the human person is made. To quote Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae again: “when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of man, of his dignity and his life; in turn, the systematic violation of the moral law, especially in the serious matter of respect for human life and its dignity, produces a kind of progressive darkening of the capacity to discern God’s living and saving presence.”

Building a Civilization of Love

Contrary to the claims of cynical pragmatists, the most useful thing in the world is an unattainable ideal. Even though this ideal be unattainable, the person with such an ideal at least knows in what direction he should be moving. The modern “pragmatic” conception of society, which views it merely as a means to protect “freedom,” without any notion of what freedom is for, at best leaves people lost and confused, and at worst sends them marching in precisely the wrong direction.

As Christians we need to constantly remind ourselves of the ideal – Pope St. John Paul II’s “civilization of love” – and to resist the allure of the deceptions of the evil one. Even in conservative circles one often encounters the idea that the only reason society exists is to protect our “freedom” – understood in the narrow sense of the ability to do whatever we want. In reality, society exists to protect and promote the common good, understood in the rich sense of human flourishing. The common good, says the Catechism, is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”

Human beings, however, only achieve their true fulfillment in relationships of love, firstly with one another, and ultimately with God. This Christian understanding of the “common good” as the creation of a civilization of love is an unattainable ideal. Such a civilization will never exist in a perfect form this side of Heaven. Nevertheless, to the extent that we transform this world into a foretaste of Heaven, it will only be because we have pursued such an ideal.

With such a beautiful ideal in mind, we in the pro-life and pro-family movement will gain new strength to labor against the great threats to that ideal in our own culture of death: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and other such attacks on human life and dignity. Let us pray, then, with Pope St. John Paul II, as he prayed in Evangelium Vitae, “May God strengthen us in our effort to bring about a culture of life and solidarity for the true good of the whole of human society.”

Planned Parenthood: The Mammogram Myth

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In May 2019, Sen. Amy Klobuchar criticized the Trump administration for attempting to cut Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. Klobuchar stated: “In their lifetime, one in five women go [to Planned Parenthood]. . . . And most of them are going there for contraception, birth control [and] . . . for mammograms.”

Her comments about mammograms caused confusion. Why? Because Planned Parenthood does not provide them.

“Mammograms” are an emotional tinderbox.

Breast cancer: Two words that rightly terrify women. It doesn’t matter what race, age, or color. According to MD Anderson, one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals, breast cancer takes the lives of about 40,000 women per year. In addition, there are about 265,000 new diagnoses each year. Fortunately, the five-year survival rate is almost 90%. The earlier the cancer is caught, the better a woman’s chances.

So it’s natural that women are scared. It’s natural that they want to be screened and tested. It’s natural that they don’t want to lose a part of themselves. And it’s natural that they don’t want to die. Couple these fears with a lack of money, and you have a recipe for anxiety. Many women struggle financially. They often wonder how they’ll pay for a doctor, and they fear needing extra tests.

So where do low-income women turn when they need testing?

If you ask the average person, you may find that he/she recommends Planned Parenthood. After all, politicians have falsely claimed for years that the organization offers mammograms.

Who repeats the mammogram myth?

The reality is that Planned Parenthood gives only referrals for mammograms. Still the myth persists that it does them.

The way people phrase their speech often hides its real meaning. The media is particularly skillful at doing this. We see this specifically when it comes to Planned Parenthood’s funding.

The media wants people to believe that poor women cannot live without the services of Planned Parenthood. Yet, there are over 13,000 federally funded health clinics across the country. Planned Parenthood has just 587. Women do have choices. They can function without the nation’s number one abortion provider.

Let’s examine some of the instances in which noted personalities mentioned mammograms and Planned Parenthood in an attempt to mislead.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood President

cecile richards planned parenthood president

In 2011, Cecile Richards was president of Planned Parenthood. She sat for an interview with TV personality Joy Behar and discussed current issues. During the interview, they talked about a proposal in Congress that would take federal monies from Planned Parenthood. Richards said: “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access—not to abortion services, but basic family planning. You know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer.”

She didn’t specifically say that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms. However, those listening—including the media—jumped on the notion that women might lose access to necessary healthcare. And since Richards mentioned mammograms, the media and others ran with it. They began to say that women wouldn’t get the mammograms that they need. Thus, they either ignored or wrongly interpreted the meaning of the word “access.”

Barack Obama

barack obama

Politicians and media personalities seem to enjoy creating fear in low-income women. They claim that women will lose access to healthcare if the government does not fund Planned Parenthood.

For example, during the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama talked about Governor Romney’s desire to take funding from Planned Parenthood. He stated: “There are millions of women all across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood for not just contraceptive care. They rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.”

Several weeks later, Obama made that same claim again. He told a New Hampshire crowd: “Governor Romney said he’d end funding for Planned Parenthood, despite all the work it does to provide women with mammograms and breast cancer screenings.”

People want to trust the president. When he says something, people believe him. Many don’t even question his words.

And everyone else…

Fast-forward to September 2015. Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, spoke to a government reform committee. Regarding Planned Parenthood funding, she said“All of the [people signing the letter to support defunding Planned Parenthood] are men. None of whom will get pregnant, or need a cervical screening for cancer, or a mammogram, or a pap smear, or other life-saving services that are provided by Planned Parenthood.”

The Washington Post later addressed the inaccuracies that high-profile supporters repeat about mammograms. One example was comedian Margaret Cho “who tweeted about this repeatedly during the hearing.” Another was Whoopi Goldberg “who referred to it on The View the day after the hearing.” The Post also mentioned that Miss Tennessee made a statement about it during the Miss America contest. She stated that Planned Parenthood’s federal funding “goes for mammograms.”

That same year, Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, was asked if he had seen any Center for Medical Progress videos. These videos showed Planned Parenthood staff members talking about selling baby body parts. O’Malley stated that he hadn’t. He then followed that up with: “I do know that 97 percent of the work that Planned Parenthood does is about mammograms and preventative health.”

Unravelling the deception

O’Malley was wrong on two counts. He was wrong about the mammograms. And he was wrong about 97% of PP’s services going to healthcare. Planned Parenthood likes people to believe the myth that abortion is only 3% of its services. But it calculates this 3% number to purposely mislead. Planned Parenthood counts each service it provides as a “unique interaction.”

Instead of recording multiple services for one person, Planned Parenthood records each service included in the abortion process individually. It then divides the number of abortions by the total number of services it provides. This number comes out to a little over 3%.

It’s easy to see how that number is skewed. And it’s easy to see how the untruths about mammograms get continually passed along. When people hear a lie over and over, they begin to believe it.

What type of cancer screenings does Planned Parenthood offer?

In its 2018-2019 annual report, Planned Parenthood listed the services it currently provides. This list included 566,186 cancer screening and prevention services. Under this umbrella are things like pap tests and HPV vaccinations. Also included in that number are 265,028 services for “breast care.” This refers to the same kind of breast exam that a woman can do on her own at home. The doctor will feel for lumps. He also checks for any other problems. If he finds something of concern, he will provide a referral for a mammogram at an outside facility.

Some Planned Parenthood facilities have allowed a mobile unit to park outside. This mobile unit offers free mammograms to PP’s clients. A few affiliates, such as Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, have created a healthcare fund. This fund helps needy patients obtain services they cannot afford. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention runs the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program—a program for low-income women to get access to services. Some PP facilities will help women apply for this program.

Why does the myth persist?

We know that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms. A simple google search proves this. Yet politicians and TV personalities often state otherwise. Why?

We live in a culture where people have not learned to think for themselves. Nor do they search for facts. They are willing to believe whatever suits their belief system. They do so even if that belief system is based more on emotion than on facts. Oftentimes people put more stock in what they see on social media or on memes than in the truth.

The myth that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms exposes a larger and more widespread problem in our society. People believe everything they see or hear. They then pass this misinformation along to others. They don’t take time to check whether something is true or not.

Many politicians back Planned Parenthood. The media backs Planned Parenthood. Knowing this, we must all be cautious. We must fact-check what we read and what we see on social media. We must do our best to pass along only what is true.

The media does have an agenda. If we are not careful, we will fall prey to it, and then we will never see the truth. Now more than ever, we need the truth. Does Planned Parenthood do mammograms? Absolutely not.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett agrees with science: Life begins at fertilization

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, currently in confirmation hearings before the Senate, has faced scrutiny for her pro-life stance. A Catholic mother of seven, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, and a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett has never hidden her knowledge and understanding that life begins at fertilization (often referred to as “conception”).

In 2006, as a private citizen, Barrett publicly supported St. Joseph County Right to Life, also known as Right to Life Michiana, which has been called “extreme” for taking the scientific position that life begins at fertilization. The organization ran a full-page newspaper ad in the South Bend Tribune noting the need to “defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death,” and Barrett and her husband Jesse signed their names to it. That advertisement also referred to abortion as “barbaric.”

During her January 18, 2013, presentation titled “Roe at 40: The Supreme Court, Abortion and the Culture War that Followed,” Barrett spoke “to her own conviction that life begins at conception,” reported Notre Dame Magazine. Abortion advocates are attacking her for this, but science shows that Barrett’s convictions align with scientific fact.

READ: First trimester babies aren’t blobs of tissue — they’re amazingly complex

 

In Human Life and Health Care Ethics, Vol. 2, James Bopp discussed this first moment of a new life:

The first cell of a new and unique human life begins existence at the moment of conception (fertilization) when one living sperm from the father joins with one living ovum from the mother. It is in this manner that human life passes from one generation to another.

In The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, professors Keith Moore, TVN Persaud, and Mark Torchia also note that life begins at the moment of fertilization, writing, “Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote.”

Along with National Geographic, The Endowment for Human Development, a scientific non-profit group, released a documentary about the development of human beings inside the womb. Of fertilization, EHD stated:

The two cells gradually and gracefully become one. This is the moment of conception, when an individual’s unique set of DNA is created, a human signature that never existed before and will never be repeated.

 

Medical experts and medical textbooks concur that a new human life exists at that first moment of fertilization “in a bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg….” That moment has been captured on film in “[a]n explosion of tiny sparks” that “erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.”

Thanks to ultrasound technology and other advances in science, gone are the days when people believed life began at the “quickening” or the first moment a woman felt her preborn child kick. Now, life inside the womb is better understood than ever before in history, including the fact that the human heart begins to beat between 16 and 22 days post-fertilization. Barrett’s so-called “extreme belief” that life begins at fertilization isn’t merely a belief — it is knowledge built from scientific data.

Analysis Despite abortion industry’s denial, abortion ‘significantly’ increases risk of mental health disorders

Abortion advocates call abortion “reproductive freedom” but instead of finding freedom, women who experience abortion can find themselves weighed down by mental health disorders, including depression. Research consistently points to the negative effects of abortion on women’s mental health — and personal stories from women corroborate these studies.

The Scientific Proof

A study published in July of 2016 — using data was collected from 8,005 women in the United States who were followed over a period of 13 years — associated abortion with an increased risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse in late adolescence and early adulthood. Dr. Donald Sullins analyzed the data and found that “abortion was consistently associated with increased risk of mental health disorders. Overall risk was elevated 45%.” This research confirmed 2005 study findings from Norway which showed that compared to women who have suffered miscarriages, women who have had abortions have “significantly higher” Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety scores even five years later. In addition, a 2008 New Zealand survey of over 500 women found that women who had an abortion had a 30% increased risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.

A 2019 study on abortion and mental health examined at women who aborted “wanted” babies compared to women who aborted “unwanted” babies. The results of the study showed that both groups of women suffered increased risks to their mental health after abortion. Women who aborted “wanted” babies suffered from mental disorders 1.43 times more often than women who aborted “unwanted” babies. But women who said their pregnancies were “unwanted” had a 94% higher risk of subsequent suicidal thoughts than women who did not abort. They were also 270% more likely to abuse alcohol.

The Personal Stories

Women who have suffered the effects of abortion trauma often suffer in silence, shamed by the abortion industry into believing abortion is a “right” they should applaud. However, there are women who have come forward with their heartbreaking stories showing that abortion did not empower them.

On the Netflix dating show “Love is Blind,” contestant Amber Pike revealed the trauma she suffered from abortion. “After the fact, [my boyfriend and I] were just talking. I’m telling him, like, I’m trying to explain what I’m going through, like, I”m having a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I don’t eat. I’m not really sleeping. […] I can’t survive that again. It would destroy me.”

In a post-show interview with ET, Pike discussed her financial debt. “I had not been paying on my student loans, as previously mentioned. After my abortion, I had fallen into depression and dropped out of school. My mental health was more of a priority for me and I was slowly building my life together when I got the opportunity to be on this show.”

Still, Pike received criticism for speaking about abortion in a negative light.

TLC band member Chilli revealed in 2010 that her past abortion still weighs on her. “It messed me up,” she said during an interview. “I don’t know; It just, it broke my spirit. […] I feel like I became kind of like not my strong self anymore. […] And I would break down and I would just cry because I wasn’t a mommy. I cried almost every day for almost nine years and then I was caught up, I had to have a baby.”

Allison Duhon shared her abortion experience, saying it was both physically and emotionally painful. “I remember going numb for months after my abortion,” she wrote. “I remember the trust issues I had with everyone. I remember feeling extremely overprotective of my daughter because I thought I didn’t deserve a healthy child. I remember the pain when I found out my son had autism and thoughts of it being a punishment.” She said she felt “unforgivable.”

“I still cry for my baby,” she explained. “[…] I have to live forever with the excruciating reality that I ended my baby’s life. All my ‘right’ did was cause me a lifetime of pain. There was no empowerment in that.”

Another woman shared her experience with abortion after becoming pregnant from rape. On the website AbortionChangesYou.com, she wrote, “There are no words that can explain this depressing, and anxiety feeling I feel. Deep inside it kills me everyday knowing what I did was very stupid. I don’t think I could ever forgive myself. Not only does it haunt me but it’s very traumatizing knowing I did it. Having this happen not only did it affect my feelings, but it affected my life in so many ways…. I do regret what I did. If I could only go back to the day I would have never done it.”

In a horrific story out of Belgium, Julie Lambotte aborted her daughter because of a Down syndrome diagnosis and afterward suffered such grief that she killed two of her three born children. She drowned her 22-month-old daughter and stabbed her nine-year-old and seven-year-old children. The nine-year-old survived. Lambotte told authorities she did it because she “missed her little girl.”

The denial of the abortion industry

Abortion advocates deny that abortion trauma exists, but the abortion industry has a lot to lose financially if women choose life. Rosemary Candelario, who served as director of the Massachusetts Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, explained the abortion industry’s reasoning behind denying that abortion trauma is real. “I think the fear in the [abortion rights] movement is if we admit abortion is hard for some women, then we’re admitting that it’s wrong [….]” She then denied, of course, that abortion is wrong.

Abortion is a traumatic experience for many women, and also for many men, who have said that abortion “left deep scars” and that they felt “an extra weight pulling [them] down.” Another man admitted that after his girlfriend’s abortion, “I didn’t know how I was going to survive; I wasn’t going to jump off a bridge, but I probably would have drank myself to death. I’ve thought about what happened every day for the last 32 years.”

Susan B. Anthony List: Big Tech is becoming complicit with Big Abortion

October 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The Susan B. Anthony List knows a thing or two about censorship. Three years ago, Twitter banned of their ads for including a quote from Mother Teresa, the world-famous nun who is now considered a saint in the Catholic Church.

Prudence Robertson works in the communication department for the Susan B. Anthony List, which is based in Washington, D.C. and works to elect pro-life politicians. She recently sat down with LifeSiteNews as part of our ongoing series Uncensored: Big Tech vs. Free Speech to explain how social media giants have unfairly targeted them for their pro-life messaging in recent years..

“It’s very frustrating that the majority of Big Tech groups continue to ignore us and continue to censor us. It’s been difficult to to fight this censorship,” Robertson explains. “It’s frustrating to see that they don’t value our pro-life speech and that they’re not willing to just give us a platform for conversation.”

Robertson pointed to several particular instances of censorship to support her claim that “Big Tech is becoming complicit with Big Abortion.”

“In 2018, when the election was coming around,” she began, “Facebook banned our ads, stopped them so that we could not reach pro-life voters and key persuadable voters, just weeks and days before the election…that’s critical for us to be able to reach those important voters.”

“And platforms like Twitter and TikTok and Pinterest have completely banned our friends at Live Action for their powerful, inspiring videos that expose the truth about abortion.”

Robertson said that despite the clear bias of Big Tech, she and her colleagues at the Susan B. Antony List are determined to fight back, and that they are using other platforms like Parler to get their message out.

“It hasn’t stopped us from standing up for the truth…we are as motivated as ever to reach voters and explain to them the extremism of the Democrat Party.”

“This election is a matter of life or death and President Trump will continue to fight for us in the White House as long as each and every pro-life voter gets out and votes.”

“I think the number one thing is to vote for President Trump, because in November it’s the Party of Death versus the Party of Life. President Trump will fight for life and Biden and Harris is the most radical pro-abortion ticket. It is crucial that each and every pro-life voter go out and vote.”

To watch more of LifeSite’s Uncensored: Big Tech vs. Free Speech series, click here for more info.

Why Say a Pro-Life Rosary?

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In 1937, Pope Pius XI wrote that the Rosary is “a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight, to preserve the integrity of life, to acquire virtue more easily, and . . . to attain real peace among men.”

October is not only the month of the Rosary, but it’s Respect Life Month as well. So it’s only fitting that we combine the two and begin the habit of saying a pro-life Rosary, not just in October, but throughout the year, for this powerful weapon is vital in rebuilding a Culture of Life

Our Spiritual Weapon

Tradition teaches that Our Lady gave the Rosary to St. Dominic, though this is possibly legend. We do, however, know that St. Dominic greatly advocated the use of the Rosary. Not only does Church history witness to the spiritual power of the Rosary, so does history, as well.

the victory of the rosary at the battle of lepantoWe see an example of this at the Battle of Lepanto. During the 1400 and 1500s, the Muslims and Christians were locked in battle, as Christians attempted to block increasing expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The decisive turning point came in 1571, when Pope Pius V sent a fleet comprised of Catholic European states to fight off the Muslims and protect the Mediterranean. He requested all the faithful say the Rosary, asking all to invoke our Blessed Mother’s intercession.

Despite being grossly outnumbered, the Holy League, as it was termed, won decisively. Pope Pius declared the Feast of Our Lady of Victory in honor of the Holy Virgin, which was later inserted in the universal Church calendar marking the date of the battle, October 7th. Today it is known as the Feast of the Holy Rosary. According to reports, the Muslims who later wrote of the battle recorded “seeing in the sky a lady dressed in armor holding a child.” While accounts vary, it is widely maintained that in battle the Ottoman side possibly lost as many as four times the number of ships as its enemies and Christendom was preserved from the would-be Muslim conquerors.

There are numerous testimonies to triumphs credited to the Rosary over the centuries, but here’s one other example. In 1628 King Louis XIII, the Catholic king of France, was attempting to put down rebellions by Protestant Huguenots. Fearing the possibility that his kingdom would be torn apart, he ordered “public rosaries and processions [to be] held nightly in Catholic churches all over France during the eight-month duration of the siege. Dominican friars accompanied the king to the battlefield and preached to the armies of the French the necessity of praying the Rosary daily for victory. The priests distributed more than 15,000 rosaries among the troops, with the soldiers praying together at set times during the day.” On October 28, the Huguenots surrendered, and the French were victorious.

Our Blessed Mother has often implored us to say the Rosary daily, and we know that she can and will hear our prayers if we persist. Starting now, in Respect Life Month, let us say a pro-life Rosary of the Joyful Mysteries and reflect upon the fact that every human being is sacred and valuable. With each decade, let us also pray that Mary will soften those hearts hardened by the Culture of Death.

 

Pro-Life Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries

1. The Annunciation

The Annunciation. Artist: Jean Bourdichon(1457?-1521?) Credit: Collection of New York Public Library

Artist: Jean Bourdichon (1457?-1521?). Credit: Collection of New York Public Library.

When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he greeted her saying “The Lord is with you.” He told her that she had found favor with God, that she should not feel afraid, and that she would soon have a son.

As we reflect upon Gabriel’s words and how Mary must have felt, let us remember that there are many women suffering from anxiety and fear because of a surprise pregnancy. Maybe they’re scared because they don’t have enough money. Or perhaps they’re afraid because they’re young or unmarried. Maybe they’re in an abusive relationship. Maybe they’re vulnerable because they have no family to help them. Let us pray for Mary’s intercession so that these women know that God is with them, telling them in the words of Pope Saint John Paul II, be not afraid to open the doors to trust Christ! He will help provide all that they need. And let us pray that, even if these women think that no one else is with them, they will somehow know that they can always turn to God.

2. The Visitation

Mary, pregnant with Christ, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was also expecting: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” Even John the Baptist, still a baby in the womb himself, understood that he was in the presence of Christ. This realization made him jump with joy.

As we reflect upon the fact that John, as a preborn baby, was able to sense and feel, let us pray that those with hardened hearts toward the humanity of the preborn come to understand that babies in the womb are indeed human beings. They can feel both pain and joy and deserve to leap with joy outside the womb as well.

3. The Nativity

In Luke 2:12, we read, “You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” As we think about this holy night—this beautiful gift of love—let us reflect upon the fact that Christ came to us as a baby. He could have come in any way he wanted—as a fully grown man or as the son of a rich king. But he did not. He came as a tiny, helpless infant to a young mother who trusted in God, for Mary had said “Yes!” to life, and her “fiat” (Latin for “let it be done”) made our redemption possible. She named Him Emmanuel – meaning “God is with us.” We must remember that, if God humbled himself to come to a poor family and to be born among the animals, there is room for all of us. Money and status mean nothing compared to life.

Let us pray for all those women who feel that they are too poor, too young, too uneducated, or too unskilled to care for a baby. Let us pray that they feel the strength of God and that, like Mary, they will trust in Him to guide them and that they will find joy in the birth of their babies. Let us also invoke St. Joseph, as patron of the family, to help care for these women as he cared for Jesus and Mary with all his might.

4. The Presentation in the Temple

Luke 2:22 says, “According to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” As was tradition, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to present Him to God. While there, Simeon approached the Holy Family. God had promised him that he would live to see the Christ child. After seeing the baby, Simeon said: “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

Let us pray that those who do not see the humanity of the baby in the womb also experience a light of revelation and come to understand that a baby is not just “a blob of tissue” or a “choice.” Let us pray that the callouses are removed from their eyes and that they work to protect even the smallest among us.

the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple painting by stefan lochner

Artist: Stefan Lochner

5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Joseph thought Jesus was with Mary. Mary thought that Jesus was with Joseph. When they realized He was not with the group as they traveled, they frantically searched for him. According to Luke 2:48, “When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’”

Jesus was lost, and both Mary and Joseph must have been beside themselves. If you have ever momentarily lost sight of a child—or if you have lost a child—you know that fear and despair. Let us pray for all those mothers and fathers who have lost a child—whether through miscarriage, through abortion, through an accident, or through spiritual loss—so that they find healing, understanding, and peace in Christ.

Final Thoughts

At Fatima, the Blessed Mother told the children, “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.”

We face a war every day. We are at war with the Culture of Death—a culture that devalues even the smallest among us. If we truly want to make the demons take flight and preserve the integrity of life, we will use the most powerful weapon given to us, not just by saying a pro-life Rosary in October, but throughout the year.

When Mary and Joseph found Christ teaching in the temple, Christ said to them: “I must be about my Father’s business.” Let us imitate His example and attempt to build a kingdom of our loving God on earth.

 

Can birth control cause infertility?

 by Gerard Migeon

Can birth control cause infertility? Yes… and no

Some women who have struggled with getting pregnant wonder if their past use of birth control might have caused their infertility. While there are assurances all over the internet that the birth control pill does not cause infertility, the answer is a bit more nuanced than that.

Let’s say you are 33 years old and got married a year ago. In the past ten years, you have been using a variety of hormonal birth control methods. Now you and your partner are looking forward to starting a family. You get off the pill, hopeful and a bit anxious as you know time is working against you—“biological clock,” and all. You try for eight months to get pregnant, but nothing happens.

You start getting concerned, and worry that your long-term use of birth control might have something to do with your fertility struggles. So you talk your doctor into putting you on Clomid, a drug known to stimulate ovulation, in the hopes that it might “jumpstart” your cycles once more. Unfortunately, this drug could actually lower your chances of conceiving, unbeknownst to you (more on this later). A few more unsuccessful months pass, before you get your first appointment at a fertility clinic. There you discuss your options: namely, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). You brace yourself for several months of treatment and thousands of dollars in medical bills, being assured all the while that this is likely your best hope for achieving pregnancy.

But could all the anxiety, doctor visits, and interventions be completely unnecessary?

birth control and fertility, birth control cause infertility, birth control effects on fertility, birth control and cervical mucus, clomid for infertility

When your cycles have returned after birth control, but you still can’t seem to get pregnant

Most women see their cycles return fairly quickly (i.e., the return of ovulation and menstruation) once a contraceptive device like the IUD, ring, patch, or implant is removed. And while most women see a return of their cycles fairly quickly after discontinuing birth control pill use, in some cases, it can take up to a year for your fertility to return as you begin to cycle regularly once again. A woman who has used the birth control shot Depo-Provera may not see a return to fertility for up to 18 months or longer.

Although birth control pills or devices may not cause long-term cycle-suppression after discontinuation, they can still delay your return to fertility, i.e., your ability to get pregnant. One theory for the delay in fertility post-birth control is the pill’s impact on the production of cervical fluid, an essential component of conception. Another theory is the possible association with long term (i.e., 5+ years or more of) contraceptive use and a significantly thinner endometrial lining. Because a thickened endometrial lining is essential for proper embryo implantation, a thinner lining can make it difficult to achieve pregnancy, even if ovulation and conception can still occur. No matter the cause, the delay in a return to fertility after being on birth control can be critical as women tend to start their families much later in life now than in earlier decades.

The importance of cervical mucus in fertility

We are all taught in high school biology or sex-ed that it takes a sperm and an egg to make pregnancy happen. What is often left out of this equation is the cervical fluid, also known as cervical mucus.

In order for sperm to survive more than a few hours in the vagina, and then have the energy reserves to travel through the uterus all the way to the fallopian tubes and wait for the egg to arrive, it needs good quality, fertile cervical mucus. Cervical mucus also does the important job of filtering out “bad” sperm, i.e., sperm with poor morphology or motility, to maximize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Cervical mucus is secreted by pockets in the cervix known as “crypts.” The mucus changes in consistency and appearance as ovulation approaches, in order to better nourish sperm and help it to reach the egg. Before and after ovulation, cervical mucus is much thicker, and blocks access to the uterus (a mechanism that also protects the womb from infection). At the time of ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes thinner and stretchier, almost like raw egg whites, allowing the “good” sperm to swim easily through the vagina and the cervix, into the uterus and fallopian tubes. Once there, the sperm await an egg for fertilization, and can actually survive for up to 5 days in the female reproductive tract in the presence of fertile-type mucus.

Without sufficient, good quality mucus, there can be no baby.

How birth control works to prevent pregnancy

Hormonal contraceptives, as generally documented in scientific literature, don’t work to prevent pregnancy just by suppressing ovulation (although this is generally the primary mechanism of action for the most popular forms of birth control, such as combination pills). Another mechanism by which contraception prevents pregnancy is its effect on the production of cervical mucus. Hormonal birth control actually continuously thickens cervical mucus, which provides an additional barrier against pregnancy in case ovulation still takes place (which can happen, although exactly how often is unknown).

If a woman is not taking hormonal birth control, the cervix follows the marching orders of your body’s naturally occurring hormones. But when a woman is on hormonal birth control , the synthetic hormones in the pill (or patch, ring, implant, or IUD) override the natural ones, and run the cervix in a way so that it constantly produces this non-fertile mucus. But how do the synthetic hormones in birth control accomplish this feat?

What does birth control do to your cervix—and your cervical mucus?

One theory of how of birth control effects cervical mucus comes from the research of a man named Erik Odeblad. Dr. Odeblad was a Swedish professor and researcher born in 1922, who spent most of his life studying and explaining the secretion of cervical mucus: specifically, the various types of mucus produced at different stages in a woman’s cycle and in her life, and their role and composition.

Dr. Odeblad was one of the first scientists to use MRI technology for a medical purpose, and through his research, Dr. Odeblad discovered that there are at least three different types of cervical mucus. Dr. Odeblad called the different types of cervical mucus GL, and S, and found that each has a different role, and is secreted by a different kind of cervical crypt at different times in a woman’s cycle and during different times in her life.

Dr. Odeblad found that right after puberty, a young woman has an abundance of S crypts, and as she ages, the number of S crypts decreases; the S crypts are then replaced by L crypts. Dr. Odeblad discovered that S mucus (which is secreted by S crypts) in particular is the type of mucus that is essential to fertilization: it provides passage, transport, and nourishment of sperm.

Dr. Odeblad appeared to find that hormonal birth control actually diminishes the amount of S crypts a woman has. From his findings, Dr. Odeblad concluded that “for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” He posited that long-term use of hormonal contraception may impair a woman’s chances of conceiving, because of the degradation of S crypts in her cervix.

Although Dr. Odeblad’s data has not been evaluated with a peer-reviewed study, his findings are not without precedent, as there is other evidence suggesting that hormonal birth control can have some effect on the tissues of the cervix. Further, long term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased cervical cancer risk, as well as accelerated maturation and increased cell proliferation of cervical epithelial tissue.

Why a delayed return to fertility after birth control matters

For a variety of reasons, women are waiting longer than ever to start their families than in the past. Case in point: in 1970, the average age at first child birth was 22. Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. In addition, more women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970, to almost one in three in 2014. This late start to childbearing is significant, because on average, a woman’s ability to get pregnant takes a sharp decline after age 35, and is practically nil by the time she reaches her mid-forties.

If a woman waits until her fertility is already in a natural state of age-related decline to try to get pregnant—and especially if she has been on birth control for several years prior, possibly depleting her S crypts and chronically thinning her endometrial lining—she may face even more obstacles to conceiving. If a woman’s issues with fertility lie in a problem with proper cervical mucus production, and she is placed on Clomid, it could further thwart her chances of conception: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid.

Further complicating matters, many women begin hormonal contraception as a means to “regulate” irregular or painful periods. Often, an irregular period is a sign of an underlying health condition such as endometriosispolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or some other hormonal imbalance—all of which are associated with infertility. If a woman began taking birth control to reduce symptoms for one of these conditions, she is likely to still be faced with painful and irregular periods once she discontinues birth control—and may also have trouble conceiving as a result of them not being treated.

How truly restorative reproductive medicine is the solution for infertility—even before you experience it

That is why it is so important that teenagers and young women have access to information about what’s known in the medical community as Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, more informally called fertility awareness methods (FAM) or natural family planning (NFP). Doctors who are trained in restorative reproductive medicine such as Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTechnology), can address the root causes of painful or irregular periods. With the treatment provided by fertility awareness doctors, a woman can get true relief from her symptoms, while healing her fertility for whenever she is ready for pregnancy. When a woman is faced with infertility, a thorough evaluation of both her ovulations and of her mucus production is needed, which is something restorative reproductive medicine and NaPro can provide.

We find here yet another great reason why young women who are hoping to get pregnant one day should avoid hormonal birth control all together and opt for evidence-based methods of natural birth control, by learning to chart their cycles with a fertility awareness method. Not only will these methods preserve their fertility, but when the couple is ready to achieve a pregnancy, the knowledge gained through training in a FAM will help them reach that goal more quickly and easily.

To find a restorative reproductive health practitioner who can meet via telehealth, check out this resource.

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

This article was originally published on March 11, 2017 as written by Gerard Migeon. It has since been updated by Natural Womanhood to offer more resources. Last updated October 3, 2020.

October may bring pro-life revolutions to both the US and China

by William Huang

The month of October will be an incredibly important one for the pro-life movement across the world. Tensions are already growing in the United States on “filling that seat” on the Supreme Court, which may decisively turn the tide for pro-life conservatives for a generation in the highest court of the most powerful nation on Earth. Indeed, the next month may offer one of the greatest victories in a generation for the movement.

But on the other side of the world, another “October Surprise” may be on the cards. Speculation is growing that China may finally abolish a policy — 40 years too late — by removing all birth restrictions. This would end the two-child policy (at least for the ethnic Han majority, who suffered most under China’s birth restrictions). The move would come only five years after the one-child policy came to an end.

Although most mainstream media outlets have failed to pick up on this development yet, this writer will venture a prophecy — October 2020 is likely to be the month when the birth restrictions, which should never have been implemented, are finally abolished.

The monumental change, should it transpire, will take place at the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). A mouthful of a meeting, it can be summarized this way: the entire core leadership of the Party will meet in Beijing to decide on a theme and make major resolutions on the issues related to that theme.

Themes may vary, with the Second Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee in January 2018, dropping the bombshell that the CCP was amending its Constitution so that it could crown Xi Jinping as President for Life by abolishing term limits. However, most 5th Plenary Sessions have a constant theme — the drafting of the next Five-Year Plan.

Five-Year Plans, for those who are not fanboys of Soviet and Communist history, are relics from the Soviet Union, exported to Communist China after 1949. Basically a centrally planned platform for the socioeconomic directives and initiatives for the entire country over the following five years, China’s five-year plans have been in place since 1953. The present one is the “13th Five-Year Plan”.

The plans are drafted and then approved almost every single time at the 5th Plenary Session of a Central Committee, because their five-year term ends after every 5th plenary session, heralding the need for a new one. Next year will usher in the “14th Five-Year Plan”, which is exactly what Xi and his mandarins will be discussing this coming October in Beijing.

OK, so plenty of political jargon, but what signals show that the two-child policy may finally be abolished once and for all at this boring-sounding meeting of Communist tyrants? Well, there is precedent — every single time the birth policy was reformed, it occurred during a plenary session. It was the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee in October 2015 that ended the one-child policy. It wrote the two-child policy into the official draft document of the 13th Five-Year Plan, which China is in the process of implementing until the end of 2020.

And the reform before that? It came in 2013, during the 3rd session of the 18th Central Committee in November 2013, which saw Xi Jinping timidly begin to dismantle the one-child policy by allowing couples with one member who is an only child to apply for the quota to have a second child. Incredibly underwhelming, I know, but at that time it was unthinkable because the National Family Planning Commission of China vehemently denied any possibility of both reforms before the two Plenary Sessions.

So here’s the bottom line: if these birth policy reforms, including the eventual abolition of the entire birth restriction system, are ever going to happen, it can only take place at one of these plenary sessions. And this time around, Xi looks to plan at this meeting his entire blueprint all the way to the year 2035. This means that if no birth-policy reforms occur at this vital point in time, the two-child policy will probably be around for a very long time.

Just as the battle for the seat of the Supreme Court in America will decide the pro-life fight for the next few decades, this Plenary Session and any decisions the Central Committee makes will decide if millions of babies can be born, or not, at least for the next decade-and-a-half in China.

Right now, as the seat in DC is in the hands of Trump and Mitch McConnell, the decision which will make or break the lives of countless unborn Chinese lies with Xi Jinping. Now that does not deliver any confidence, for Xi Jinping and his regime has been ruthless in Xinjiang, sterilizing Uyghurs en masse (covered in depth in one of my earlier articles), but Xi may well be considering the nuclear option of ending birth restrictions at least for the Han majority due to a myriad of factors.

To understand why this might be happening, we need to take a closer look at Xi and his father Xi Zhongxun, who was also one of the most powerful men in China. It is important to be aware of their personal legacies in relation to China’s birth policies, to understand why Xi Jinping may well be the man to end the inhumane policy (due to completely self-serving and dehumanizing calculations of his own).

Xi Junior and his obedience to the one-child policy

In the 1980s, Xi Jinping was a 30-year-old deputy Party Chief at Zhengding County in rural Hebei Province near Beijing. His father had only been politically resurrected a few years before from political persecution following the end of the Cultural Revolution. (More on Xi Senior later). Xi Jinping had managed to land the job in Zhengding thanks to his father’s maneuvers, and actually gave up a military position in Beijing for the role of a local county governor.

He was largely ignored at first because everyone thought he was going to come and go, as most “red princelings” do these days — using the county position as a mere stepping stone to return to the nerve centre, Beijing. But Xi had a different plan. He wanted to make a name for himself in Zhengding and climb his way up. Therefore, as Deputy Party Chief and then Party Chief, Xi began to leave his mark on Zhengding aggressively.

Some of his policies were benign — getting a bus route to come to Zhengding from the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, making use of Zhengding’s ancient Buddhist temple treasures to promote tourism, and building a “Dream of the Red Chamber” theme-park set to attract the shooting and production of films.

But the 1980s did not merely herald the beginning of the market economy in China — it also ushered in a period of full-on assault on the reproductive rights of the Chinese people. Xi, as a local mandarin eager to make an impression, launched an all-out assault on the women of Zhengding in 1983, which is also the year when National Family Planning Commissioner Qian Xinzhong rolled out his aggressive warlike national forced sterilization operations.

Xi had 31,000 women sterilized in Zhengding and had IUDs inserted into another 30,000 in late 1983 alone. When covering this for The New York Times in a profile of Xi Jinping as he was about to take over power in China, Times reporter Ian Johnson stated that there was “no evidence that Xi was more zealous than others” in the implementation.  But it was still incredibly zealous — Zhengding only had around 400,000-450,000 people back in 1983, and Xi oversaw the sterilization of 61,000 women in that whirlwind campaign, which was more than a third of all women in Zhengding and probably nearly half of all women of reproductive age.

Xi Senior and his “rebellion”

Before Xi junior’s climb up the ladder, atop the wombs and fetuses of the Zhengding people, Xi Zhongxun was already trailblazing reforms in the coastal province of Guangdong as party secretary in the province with his partner Ren Zhongyi, who continued the reforms in Guangdong after Xi Senior returned to Beijing. Xi Zhongxun is remembered today for proposing to create the special economic zones in Guangdong and creating the first market-based economy in Communist China. But Xi Senior’s legacy in Guangdong has another interesting aspect — the aspect of human life.

Xi Zhongxun and Ren Zhongyi both understood something the Beijing leadership did not — that human resources and manpower are something to be cherished, not feared. They knew that China’s best resource in the 1980s was none other than its hard-working people eager to lift themselves out of poverty.

In order for the factories to flourish, cheap labour needed to come into the party and attract investment. Xi and Ren managed to get policies specifically catered to Guangdong — Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping basically granted them the power of policy autonomy, or as he put it in guerilla warfare terms: “fight a bloody path out”. And when it came to population policy, Guangdong was far more radical than anywhere else in Han-majority China, just like its economic radicalism.

In 1980, just as the nationwide one-child policy was being rolled out, Xi Zhongxun’s Guangdong had a different approach. Xi Zhongxun allowed Guangdong women to have two children, something unheard of outside of ethnic-minority areas as the one-child frenzy began to take over pretty much every province.

In 1986 the policy changed to allow rural couples to have two children, but that was still considerably more humane than what was happening in the rest of China. Most other Han-majority provinces applied one-child quotas to every urban couple and only loosened the rules slightly to allow rural couples with a firstborn daughter to have a second child.

Xi and Ren’s two-child policy was universal in Guangdong at first and remained universal in rural Guangdong, and according to independent Chinese demographer Yi Fuxian, Xi Senior’s policy, which was only abolished in 1998 following immense pressure from the National Family Commission long after his retirement, may have allowed 5 million more births to occur in the province, which would not have occurred had he implemented the one-child policy like his son in Zhengding.

Xi Zhongxun was also resistant to the proclamation of any formal nationwide Family Planning Bill and repeatedly resisted the efforts to pass any such bill. It was only after his retirement that the National Family Planning Commission’s bid for such a bill succeeded in 2001, long after China had already reached sub-replacement fertility.

Fast forward a few decades, and now Xi Jinping is at the crossroads of a major choice. He no longer needs to impress any seniors with his implementation of baby slaughter. He actually has already dismantled a lot of the birth-control machine in China. But he is doing so because he has realized to some extent that China is falling off a demographic cliff. Xi mentioned in detail in his rationale for abolishing the one-child policy in 2015 that China faces a rapidly ageing population and the adverse effects this may have on the socioeconomic health of China — which is now his China. But he still did not have the courage to abolish all birth restrictions.

Since then, China’s birth rates have continued to plummet. Rumours had already begun to swirl suggesting that all birth restrictions would be lifted as early as 2018, with 2020 deemed “the latest” for the birth restriction to end. Initial feasibility studies had already been submitted to Premier Li Keqiang in 2018 about ending all birth restrictions. Every year, people in China thought the announcement would come through.

And now, in 2020, Xi is as vulnerable as ever due to his strategic blunders as well as his arrogance. If there is one policy announcement that could relieve him of some pressure, it would be an announcement to formally grant birth freedoms back to the Chinese people. It would not cause any controversy, and is unlikely to cause any baby booms, given how deeply entrenched the one-child and two-child norm is in Chinese society. It would be a purely symbolic gesture, but a hugely symbolic one.

Of course there are possible snags that could derail this prophecy about the October announcement. Ethnic minorities like the Uyghurs are now subject to 1980s-style mass sterilizations. Leftovers from the now defunct Family Planning Commission apparatus continue to spread Malthusian lies and demographic paranoia. But if there is one thing Xi can learn from his reformist father, it may be dismantling and opposing the family-planning apparatus, which has not only destroyed the lives of Chinese people (especially women), but could also derail Xi’s so-called “China Dream”. This is because an ageing, overburdened nation falling off a demographic cliff may be the one thing that could decisively cripple Xi’s ambitions.

So, we look to the October Surprise with bated breath. Both DC and Beijing may yet pleasantly surprise everybody.

October may bring pro-life revolutions to both the US and China

Vancouver street ads: Having only one child is ‘loving’ toward children

 

Advertisements promoting one-child or child-free families are appearing around Vancouver, British Columbia, with the intention of convincing young people not to have children in order to save the environment. One advertisement features a smiling baby and states, “The most loving gift you can give your first child is to not have another.” Other ads state, “We Chose One!” and “We Chose Childfree!”

The ads were placed by the group “One Planet, One Child,” which aims to move society towards a “small family norm.” The group’s goal is to drop the world population from today’s 7.8 billion to below 3 billion 100 years from now. The group states on its website that it has placed similar ads in Minnesota and Colorado, with similar advertisements soon to come in other U.S. and Canadian cities.

 

A healthy replacement fertility rate is 2.1, and the global fertility rate currently sits at 2.4. However, researchers have found that the world fertility rate is falling, and will drop below 1.7 by the year 2100. Twenty-three countries are predicted to see more than a 50% decline in their populations. This drastic decline in the population will lead to an economic crisis, with countries unable to support health care programs or welfare systems. With not enough people in the workforce compared to those of retirement age, the retirement age will rise — predictably by 8.4 years by 2050. Economic disaster is so imminent in some nations, like Hungary, Denmark, Italy, and Singapore, that these countries have put incentives in place to encourage couples to have more, not fewer, children.

“To be successful we need a fundamental rethink of global politics,” Professor Ibrahim Abubakar of the University College London told the BBC. “The distribution of working-age populations will be crucial to whether humanity prospers or withers.”

It seems that groups like “One Planet, One Child” are more concerned with the future of the environment than the future of humanity. However, new innovations and ideas from future people — some who have yet to be born — have the potential to help the environment… but not if those people aren’t born. Not if humanity “withers.”

“One Planet, One Child” says it is “not dictating anyone’s family size” but simply “helping young couples make informed decisions.” It says, “The choice is theirs.” But the group’s advertisements are reminiscent of Chinese ads promoting the government’s one-child policy, which state, “Less births will be better for your child,” and “Fewer and better births, happiness throughout your whole life.” Eventually, the constant presence of those advertisements convinced Chinese young people that having one child was the right thing to do, not something they were being forced to do.

Some Canadians responded to the ads in Vancouver, telling City News, “If you want to be child-free, be child-free. If you want to have like 10 children, it’s maybe not so convenient but, go ahead,” and “If you want to have a big family you can go ahead.”

Empowering Teenage Girls to Know Their Bodies

https://ccli.kartra.com/page/EmpoweringGirls

On Thursday, September 24, Natural Womanhood hosted Emily Sederstrand in a virtual conversation about empowering teenage girls to know and understand their bodies.

“I love foreign languages,” said Emily, “and so it was a great revelation to me to learn that fertility is like a language. But if you haven’t been taught, you don’t know how to interpret it. It’s not that it’s very complicated, but a woman does need to be taught.”

fertility awareness for teens, sex ed for teens, sexual education for teen girls, fam for teens

Emily talked with Natural Womanhood board member Jackie Aguilar and Natural Womanhood CEO Gerard Migeon about her mission to empower young women to understand the language of their fertility, and to appreciate the beauty of their bodies.

“Our girls today are being bombarded with images” remarked Emily, such as those found in popular music videos displaying graphic images of sexual abuse. She sees the language of fertility as a powerful tool for combating harmful messages our culture broadcasts to girls and young women via every media platform. Emily also offered resources and practical tips to parents of young daughters for protecting their innocence, physical health, and emotional wellbeing, and how fertility awareness goes hand-in-hand with these goals.

Watch the full video: replay Emily Sedestrand’s talk here.

New study pays girls as young as 11 to take birth control without parents’ knowledge

  A new research study is looking to provide birth control over-the-counter, without a doctor’s supervision — and children are being recruited for it.

According to CNS News, Advocates for Youth, which works with Planned Parenthood, sent out a mass e-mail with the subject line, “Know anyone ages 11-15 to join this study?” The e-mail was promoting The Pill Study, through which researchers are looking to make birth control available from a pharmacy, but without a prescription — essentially, over-the-counter. The study’s website also confirmed that girls as young as 11 are eligible to participate.

Participants who qualify will make an appointment at a participating pharmacy, where they will receive the birth control. The study also will remain fully confidential, so a child’s parents will have no clue that their daughter is receiving dangerous contraception and potentially having sex at such a young age. On top of that, the study will pay participants $75, further incentivizing children to sign up.

There is not a single state in the entire country in which an 11-year-old can legally consent to sex.

Equally disturbing is the idea that a child would be able to get birth control without their parents’ knowledge and without a doctor’s supervision. Under those circumstances, it seems unlikely, if not impossible, that the child in question would be adequately counseled about the potential risks associated with hormonal birth control.

Studies have found that birth control can negatively impact women’s mental health, with high depression rates found specifically in teen girls. One study even found that women using hormonal birth control have triple the risk of suicide than women not using hormonal birth control. Other known risks include pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke, numerous cancers, potential infertility, and more. That doesn’t even include any potential contraindications.

A child as young as 11 or 12 could not be relied upon to give a pharmacist a thorough medical history. Just last year, a college student’s family was awarded $9 million after she died. The student, Hope Johnson, was prescribed contraception even though she was at high risk of developing blood clots. A month later, Johnson tragically died.

It’s beyond inappropriate, not to mention dangerous, for children to be encouraged to join a research study, where they will be paid to receive birth control, without being seen by a doctor, and without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

Here’s how state governments can help women choose alternatives to abortion

(Pregnancy Help News) — If you are providing life-saving services to families in need and are not getting taxpayer funding, why not?

Real Alternatives recently celebrated 25 years of serving 322,813 clients through 1,888,825 client visits in Pennsylvania. As the statewide administrator for Pennsylvania’s Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program, Real Alternatives assisted those 300-thousand-plus Pennsylvania residents via public funding.

Real Alternatives uses a network of 29 service providers with 86 pregnancy support centers, maternity homes and other pregnancy help sites in 33 counties, Heartbeat International affiliates among them, with 234 caring and compassionate trained counselors to provide free pregnancy support and parenting education services to women and families in Pennsylvania.

Kevin Bagatta is president and CEO of Real Alternatives, which has extended their operations into Indiana and Michigan. Thirteen other states have started taxpayer-funded operations with Real Alternatives’ assistance.

“When explaining the program to government officials from other states,” Bagatta said, “I’ll often ask them, ‘Do you know what they call a positive approach to the most controversial issue of our time? They call it a solution!’”

Vice President Mike Pence has supported Real Alternatives starting in 2014 as governor of Indiana, directing the state’s Department of Health to contract with them to start and operate a $1-million program modeled after Pennsylvania’s.

“For more than two decades, Real Alternatives has empowered women for life by providing positive, life-affirming pregnancy and parenting support services to women and families in need. I am grateful to all the men and women who have dedicated their time and talent through the Real Alternatives network,” Pence wrote in 2018 congratulating the organization.

In the Real Alternatives model (which could be duplicated in all 50 states) the state hires the organization to administer a statewide program that promotes childbirth rather than abortion. The PA group was the first Alternatives to Abortion Program to receive state and then federal funding. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the federally funded portion.

“After the pregnancy, especially with young people, that unplanned pregnancy, or unexpected pregnancy can become a crisis parenting situation,” Bagatta said. “We’ll be there with them for that time to make sure they are ready and are providing good parenting and good nurturing and are being taken care of during that first year of life.”

Real Alternatives is the only statewide faith-based program funded in Pennsylvania. At $7.263 million per year ($6.263 million state and $1 million TANF) taxpayers are empowering women to choose life and have the resources to thrive.

Real Alternatives’ goal is to provide life-affirming alternatives to abortion services throughout the nation. Therefore, Bagatta seeks to share the information with any pro-life organizations serving women and families in need.

Measurable outcomes of the program include the increase of women who choose life rather than abortion — among those served by Real Alternatives, 60% of abortion-minded clients and 89% abortion-pressured clients choose life.

Image

As Real Alternatives’ network of programs thrive, there are increases in measured outcomes of physical and emotional support, knowledge of adoption, parenting skills, reproductive health due to STD education, and the modification of risky lifestyle behavior through abstinence education.

The Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program gets results for taxpayers’ investment, as health and Medicaid costs are lowered due to high rates of pre-natal and pediatric care, and immunization.

As Real Alternatives recently celebrated 25 years, national growth of their programs was highlighted at the organization’s banquet.

For six years Real Alternatives partnered with Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN). In 2012, TPCN assumed sole administration of their program.

Among the award winners at the 25th Anniversary celebration was Mike Turzai, the former speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He has been an avid supporter of Real Alternatives.

“Every single human being is beautiful. Everybody is capable and will contribute to this world,” Turzai stated, addressing the Real Alternatives banquet. “And everybody wants to feel the love of their family, friends and another human being. You are not only providing that love, protection and care during the pregnancy, but you are doing it after the pregnancy.”

Another award winner was former Governor of Pennsylvania, Mark Schweiker, who had increased funding of Real Alternatives with $1 million of TANF funds. These funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for alternative to abortion services programs were the result of U.S. Senator Rick Santorum pushing for the approval of TANF for such services.

Schweiker stated, “Real Alternatives steers women into the reassuring hand of service providers and away from fear and uncertainty.”

The Real Alternatives model demonstrates real potential for other states. Bagatta is eager to talk with any organization interested in knowing more.

“With the financial resources provided by taxpayers,” stated Bagatta, “the pregnancy support centers, Catholic Charities, maternity homes, and adoption agencies can hire more counselors and open more centers thereby compassionately serving more women in unexpected pregnancies and lower abortions!”

As studies have demonstrated, abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women need at least one person in their lives to empower them to choose life with confidence.

Bagatta points out this is the driving force of the Real Alternatives program.

“The real alternative to abortion is another person,” said Bagatta. “Connecting a woman with that one voice (counselor, pregnancy help center or other resource) is a dual empowering force for life. First for her own and for her baby.”

Accountability in billing for actual, specific services performed for women in need and the extensive tracking of funds is part of Real Alternatives’ history and is a vital aspect of working with government funded programing.

All billed services occur as a one-on-one service to women in need.

Any savings in administrative costs, which Bagatta’s team keeps as low as possible, are redirected toward advertising. This increases traffic to Real Alternatives’ website where women utilize the zip code specific referral system to locate local services.

Bagatta eagerly looks forward to the overturn of Roe vs Wade decision, but noted, “Even when that happens, we will still need to continue this work to support women who need help.”

For now he looks forward to hearing from more states eager to utilize this opportunity for taxpayer funded pro-life programs, stating, “The vision is for the citizens of every state to see their taxpayer dollars to be used to help at risk women, empowering them so they do not need to choose abortion.”

Note from the editor of Pregnancy Help News: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota’s eugenics: Wishing Hitler success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Excerpt: Margaret Sanger Letter to Clarence Gamble, Negro Project

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

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

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

Virginia’s eugenics: Over 8,000 sterilized

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

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

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

Harry Laughlin author of Immigration Act signed Committee for Planned Parenthood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Eugene Fischer (Image: DNA Learning Center)

Eugen Fischer (Image: DNA Learning Center)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Many studies on how contraceptives affect mental health are biased

 

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

Effects of hormonal birth control are broad

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

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

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

Many studies skewed and of poor quality

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

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

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

The alternatives

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

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

MICAIAH BILGER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICE facility doctor accused of forcibly sterilizing immigrant women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/11 Memorial remembers preborn children too

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promiscuity and the price of free love

by Ann Farmer

Promiscuity and the price of free love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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