News & Commentary

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

Martin M. Barillas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

In a Facebook post, Julia wrote:

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

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

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

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

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

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

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

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

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

Race officials squelch free speech

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

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

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

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Credit: LIFE RunnersLIFE Runners

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

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

Another Reason to Oppose Abortion: Marriage and Pregnancy Reduce Crime

STAR PARKER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Male Sex Hormones Are a Big Deal, Too

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

by Grace Stark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media praises contraception for reduced abortion rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US fertility rate hits record low after fourth consecutive annual decline

Calvin Freiburger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“For 2018 the [total fertility rate, the number of children an average woman will have] stood at 1.73, according to a Pew study released in May,” Zachary Evans writes at National Review. “This means that women are having fewer than two children on average, below replacement level for the general population.”

“If birth rates continue to decline, and immigration drops off, the impact on the U.S. economy could be significant,” the Population Research Institute warns. “Economists estimate that as much as one third of economic growth is attributable to workers being added to the labor force every year. Low birth rates correspond to aging population. The U.S. is facing a substantial increase in its dependency ratio as the Baby Boomers retire, and working-age adults must replace the productivity thus lost and pay for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.”

67% of Babies With Down Syndrome Die in Abortions. This Must End

SARA HART WEIR

While countries like Iceland have grossly celebrated the eradication of individuals with Down syndrome from their society (eugenics as its worst) – we are teaming up to send a new message to our country’s leaders, employers, educators, healthcare providers, future parents and most importantly, individuals with Down syndrome – life for people with Down syndrome matters.

Our life’s passion and work, in different corners of our great country, brought us together with this common moral – “pro-life for all of life.” For the two of us, a future that doesn’t include people with Down syndrome is very personal (Chloe is a self-advocate from Pennsylvania who is one of the fiercest advocates on the planet and Weir is the former President & C.E.O. of the National Down Syndrome Society and a candidate for U.S. Congress).

Today, we are calling on all Members of Congress, regardless of party, to put your differences aside and help us ensure that our society embraces diversity, embraces differing abilities and, most importantly, stands for life, from the very beginning to natural death, by supporting a new bill, the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, which places a federal ban on the performance of an abortion because an unborn child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

There continues to be a widespread increase in the Down syndrome prenatal screening tests in the United States (and across the world) which is leading to a decrease in the number of babies with Down syndrome. And while these screening tests (called noninvasive prenatal screening tests (NIPT)) are intended to only screen for Down syndrome (not diagnose), the pressure to not seek further testing, and terminate a pregnancy is real. For instance, the most recent stats available to the public estimate that 67% of babies with Down syndrome are terminated in the Unites States, 77% in France, 98% in Denmark and 100% in Iceland.

Chloe Kondrich, who happens to have Down syndrome, is from Pennsylvania and has fought to pass her own bill “Chloe’s Law” which requires support and educational materials to be provided for families after a diagnosis of Down syndrome – a model law that is working itself through state legislatures around the country. Chloe has met the President and Vice President and appeared twice at the United Nations in NYC.

Chloe and her father Kurt speak at events and venues across the country to end this prenatal eugenic movement against Down syndrome, and Weir is setting her sights, with Chloe’s support, on taking their collective message to the United States Congress by representing her home district in Kansas to continue to give a voice to the voiceless. Kansas also happens to be a battle ground state for the pro-life movement, as we seek to advance an amendment next year to reverse the State of Kansas’ recent court decision that found the right to an abortion in the Kansas Constitution. Weir and the Constitutional amendment will find themselves on the same ballot in 2020.

For the two of us, as women, this possibility that our society won’t include people with Down syndrome is unacceptable. We are speaking up and speaking out to help influence generations of women and families that people with Down syndrome matter – and will continue to advocate at the federal and state levels to “Embrace, and not erase” our community. We hope you join us!

LifeNews Note: Sara Hart Weir, (38) a pro-life Republican US Congressional Candidate in Kansas’ Third District, most recently served as the President & C.E.O. of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, inspired by her best friend, Kasey, of over 20 years who happens to have Down syndrome, is hoping to continue her life’s work by giving a voice to the voiceless in Congress.

Planned Parenthood sued by unattended woman who fell off table, broke neck after IUD insertion

CHICAGO, Illinois, November 20, 2019 (Operation Rescue) — According to documents and a 911 recording obtained by the Pro-Life Action League, a previously unknown medical emergency at the Near North Planned Parenthood in Chicago, Illinois, has resulted in a medical malpractice case filed by a woman who fell and broke her neck after a medical procedure.

On May 2, 2019, Morgan Castro sued Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, abortionist Amy Whitaker, and other clinic employees for damages in excess of $50,000 due to serious injuries she suffered during an appointment for insertion of intrauterine contraception (IUC).

Castro reported to the Near North Planned Parenthood on May 24, 2018, for the IUC procedure. Castro’s complaint stated that she was informed by Planned Parenthood workers that after the procedure, she might become dizzy or experience cramping. Castro did in fact become dizzy and informed a Planned Parenthood worker.

Castro was alone and unmonitored when she lost consciousness and fell off a table. A Planned Parenthood employee later discovered her on the floor and called for an ambulance.

Once at Presence St. Joseph’s Hospital, an MRI revealed fractures to two vertebrae in Castro’s neck. Due to her severe injuries, she was transferred to Presence Resurrection Hospital where she was fitted with a Halo brace to stabilize her neck.

Planned Parenthood has been accused of negligence for failing to monitor Castro, failing to recognize and treat her dizziness, and failing to prevent her from falling off the table.

Operation Rescue has documented 19 medical emergencies at the Near North Planned Parenthood, with the help of the Pro-Life Action League.

“Planned Parenthood loves to tell everyone what great healthcare they provide and how caring they are — ‘no matter what.’ But that is just public relations spin. In truth, they should change their motto to ‘Negligence — no matter what,'” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “If the general public knew all we have learned about Planned Parenthood through our research monitoring life-threatening abortion facility medical emergencies, failed inspection reports, and heartbreaking malpractice/wrongful death suits, Planned Parenthood would have no customers left!”

Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD

by Cheyenne Walters

Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD

Editor’s note: More than once at Natural Womanhood, we have received emails from parents whose daughters have tragically died as a result of her birth control. A few months ago, we received a different kind of note—one from a woman who had a close call and was able to share her story with us. Cheyenne, whose name has been changed, found Natural Womanhood in a search for help when experiencing birth control side effects; it’s that Google search that led to a Natural Womanhood article on copper IUDs, which she credits with saving her life.Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, copper Iud side efects, copper IUD toxicity, copper toxicity, birth control side effects, IUD side effects, copper IUD side effects, birth control side effects, birth control answers, natural birth control, birth control education, learn about birth control side effects, “Thank you so much for your article. I had a close encounter with death just this afternoon.” Cheyenne then shared her story. She ended her note with these words: “Thank you for your website, which saved my life. I’m forever grateful.”

Here is Cheyenne’s story.

All I can say in a nutshell about life: You do not know what life is until death comes knocking at your door.

Back in my home country of Malaysia, I used to work in the TV and advertising industry. But now living in South Africa I cannot work because of my Visa, even though I am married to a South African. I travel to Malaysia every two years to renew my Visa.

I have been married for three years. Because of our financial situation, it’s not the right time for us to have kids. So I am a full-time homemaker. I manage my vegetable garden and I am a mommy to my fur-baby, my dog.

When it comes to family planning, I cannot use the Pill; I can’t use the implant; nothing works. The Pill gives me spotting every day, and that’s terrible. I’ve tried everything. Once a doctor recommended a hysterectomy to me due to my endometriosis. Everything here is “Can’t deal with it? Remove it.”

I decided to get the IUD on my next trip to Malaysia because it is more affordable there.

I thought this would be like any other procedure because I had used the IUD before. Due to my endometriosis, my threshold of pain is extremely high so the initial pain is nothing to me. It was about 4:30 p.m. and I was walking to a mall 20-30 minutes away. While walking I noticed that I was experiencing something that was not quite right—light-headed, nauseous, and imbalanced. Of course, I had cramps, and that could be from the procedure, but other symptoms were not quite right.

I thought I probably was just tired and needed to rest, so I went into town and dinner with a friend. I left the restaurant with a huge migraine, which I have never had in my life. It was mostly on the right side of my face, around my eyes, but my whole face was painful. I didn’t know what was going on. The cramping pain was elevated. Back home after dinner, I vomited. Then I came down with a fever.

Still, I thought I could sleep it off. I told my husband by phone, took two panadol (Acetaminophen), and dozed off.

Dizziness and the IUD

When I woke up in the morning, within a half-hour all the symptoms had come back in double force. I was extremely imbalanced, and now dizzy, light-headed, and breathless.

I went to eat breakfast with my friend, and I told her I wasn’t feeling well. I needed to run an errand in town but was really, really feeling off. The symptoms started to escalate. I started having palpitations, shortness of breath, brain fogginess, extreme hunger, nauseousness, and slight weakness in my legs.

While waiting for my friend in the car, I did a quick research on copper toxicity and it was only Natural Womanhood’s website that described my symptoms.

My friend took me straight to the gynecologist. She was busy with patients, so the nurses said the doctor would call me back.

My friend took me back home, and that’s when things got scarier. When I was going up the stairs, I almost blacked out; I grabbed hold of the railing and my body felt intoxicated. I had to use all my strength to hold onto the railing and get up the stairs to my water bottle.

That’s when I knew something wasn’t right, and it was the IUD. The doctor called me back, and my friend rushed me there. I struggled to walk because my legs were extremely weak. I noted that I had lost my balance. And while I was explaining the symptoms to the doctor, I noted that I started slurring and was leaning to one side.

My doctor agreed with my assessment that we should remove the IUD. By the time she removed it and I went back home, my symptoms were reduced by 80 percent. By the next morning, I was 100 percent better.

Dangerous but hidden birth control symptoms

If I had never made it—if I collapsed in the house, no one would have known the cause, what had happened, even if an ambulance came. Who would ever figure out it would be an IUD?

When I Googled “copper toxicity,” I found a generalized article that did not actually state my symptoms. It suggested that what I was experiencing can’t happen, or that it always differs for individuals. But after I did more research on it, I came across the same symptoms I was experiencing, in a Natural Womanhood article.

I believe it was God who sent me to the Natural Womanhood article. When I Googled copper toxicity, it came up on the first page, in the third spot. In the article, I read further and it made a lot of sense on how the biochemistry, and the IUD, and your body all work together. I really respect the author for writing it because I really want to know the details of why I’m experiencing what I’m experiencing. It was written with a lot of heart and patience and understanding and time.

I want to pass my thanks to the author for writing it and to Natural Womanhood for publishing it. I am happy to share my story in hopes it will save someone else’s life.

Use and Abuse: The Exploitative Reality of Surrogacy and Egg Donation

Over the last two years, I noticed my Facebook and Instagram feeds filling with ads urging me to donate my eggs or to become a surrogate. At first I laughed it off. But the more ads I saw, the more concerned and uncomfortable I felt. So, I started a small experiment. Every time I saw an ad from a fertility company, I took a screenshot.

Here are just some of the results, from over thirty unique ads replayed numerous times:

 

Egg 2

Egg 3

Egg 4

Egg 5

It troubled me that women were portrayed as Easter Bunnies; that their ovaries were compared to egg cartons; and that the donors, especially Asian women, were fetishized as exotic, smart, sexy finds, ideal for making a baby. These fertility companies ask young women like me to make a choice―somehow simultaneously altruistic and lucrative―either to sell their eggs for up to $10,000 per ovulatory cycle, or to serve as a surrogate for a couple who just wants a child of their own (for upwards of $75,000). For a college student on a tight budget, or a low-income mother trying to make ends meet, that’s a tempting offer. And I fear that the monetary compensation obfuscates the fact that this system inherently exploits women’s and children’s bodies.

It troubled me that women were portrayed as Easter Bunnies; that their ovaries were compared to egg cartons; and that the donors, especially Asian women, were fetishized as exotic, smart, sexy finds, ideal for making a baby.

A Dangerous Industry

The fertility industry targets and exploits low-income populations: wealthy companies and the powerful elite offer to pay for eggs and wombs from poor women. India, Nepal, and Thailand have recently banned commercial surrogacy because of its predatory nature. Prior to the bans, many women signed contracts with foreigners without knowing the consequences―like facing dangerous Caesarean sections—and with no guarantee of receiving postpartum care.

The fertility industry targets and exploits low-income populations: wealthy companies and the powerful elite offer to pay for eggs and wombs from poor women.

In Jennifer Lahl’s documentary Eggsploitation, women recount the devastating medical problems that they experienced as a result of donating their eggs, including Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome; puncture, torsion, or loss of their ovaries; infertility; strokes; and reproductive cancers.

Surrogacy can have even worse consequences. Some surrogates have died in childbirth or suffered severe complications from pregnancy. Women that participated in both egg donation and surrogacy told Jennifer how no one informed them of the risks. When many women faced catastrophic health issues, their doctors ignored them, and fertility agencies did nothing to cover the costs of their massive medical bills. Because of their desire to help others, many of these women lost the ability to have their own children, and paid far more than they had bargained.

The European Union has also banned commercial surrogacy, declaring the practice “reproductive exploitation,” which “undermines the human dignity of the woman, since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity.” However, in the United States, the practice continues, because there the desires of wealthy and privileged adults currently trump the rights of poor women and vulnerable children.

The truth is that no one has the right to a child, and that the bodies of women and children should never be treated as commodities.

Who’s the Parent?

In even the most routine of surrogate pregnancies or donor conceptions, a child can have as many as six parents: the genetic father, the genetic mother, the surrogate mother, her spouse, and the intended parents.

Unfortunately, the state views parents as legally interchangeable. In California, a new law went into effect last year that requires birth certificates to list only the intended parents as the “natural parents.” Biological and surrogate parents will no longer be listed. The stamp of parentage is now arbitrarily decided by a contract that names each individual as parent, partner, surrogate, or donor.

Consider the case of Melissa Cook, a surrogate mother of triplets from Orange County. The intended father, Shannon Moore, a deaf single man living in his parents’ basement, urged Melissa to abort one of the triplets since he couldn’t pay the extra cost of another baby. Melissa refused and did not charge Shannon any money after the births of the children. She only wanted these babies to have a good, loving home.

Months after the triplets’ placement with Shannon, Melissa was horrified to learn that the intended father had a history of killing pets, lives with unstable family members, left the infants alone for hours, forced them to eat off the dirty floor of the basement, and changed their diapers so infrequently that the baby boys suffered severe rashes and had to be taken to the hospital. Shannon’s sister even contacted social workers begging them to take the triplets, saying that her brother was “unable to care for the children.” Heartbroken, Melissa sued for custody to protect the boys from abuse and neglect. Because surrogates are considered legal strangers to the children they carry, her request was denied. To this day, Shannon retains exclusive custody of the triplets as both their legal and “natural” parent.

The Rights of the Child

According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child has the right “to know and be cared for by his or her parents,” to “preserve his or her identity,” including “family relations,” and not to be separated from parents against his will. In case a separation becomes necessary, the child has the right to “maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis.”

Americans are generally very aware that adopted children suffer from being separated from their natural parents. For proper psychosocial development, children need to form attachments with their biological parents, siblings, and extended family. They need to know their heritage and identity. Adoptive families and agencies show immense sensitivity to adopted children’s needs and work hard to remedy the trauma of adoption. Many of them practice open adoption, preserve records, identify the child’s cultural roots, and incorporate traditions from the child’s birth culture into family life. And yet, at the same time, our society sanctions the creation of children for the express purpose of separating them from their biological family. The desire to create a family and to love a child is good and noble. But it is neither noble nor loving to create a child so that it can suffer separation and loss.

Gestational surrogates also bond with the children whom they carry throughout the nine months of pregnancy, as they feed, shelter, nurture, love, and protect them. But the attachment is severed at birth. Research shows that children who are carried by gestational surrogates are more likely than the general population to experience depression. The surrogate mothers also face severe emotional experiences. This correlation suggests that, even though the child and mother lack biological ties to each other, they still feel a loss when they are separated. Thus society creates these children in order to make them suffer twice over: from being separated not only from their genetic parents but also from the women who carry them.

Lost Identity

The first generations of children who were conceived by donors and borne by surrogates are now adults, and many are searching for themselves. Message boards like the Donor Sibling Registry allow young people to find half-siblings and relatives whom they never knew to exist. The community that these platforms help to create is growing, but not all the members’ stories end happily. One young woman, Kathleen LaBounty from Texas, discovered that she had been conceived by a sperm donor who was a Texas A&M medical student. She contacted every man who had attended the school during the years prior to her conception. Although she heard from hundreds of men, she still did not discover her father. In an open letter, Kathleen describes feeling “empty and extremely cheated out of important aspects of life.” She desperately wants to find out if her “interests, appearance, life views, and personality” match those of her biological father.

Scores more children have written on the site Them Before Us to share their stories of longing and loss. One daughter reflected soberly about her traditional surrogate mother (that is, who conceived the child by her own ovum and artificial insemination): “When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after [the payment is received] you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself.” Just as surrogates are treated as wombs for rent, surrogacy turns children into a commodity to be bought and sold.

Women and Children Should Not Be for Sale

Surrogacy and donor-conception are frequently in the news as more and more celebrities pay for these services. Missing from the Instagram posts and tabloids are the stories of the other family members that are affected by these actions. What do donor-conceived and surrogate-born children think of their conception and family history? What about the surrogate mothers and donor parents? Lost in the legal and financial drama are the rights of children to know their biological parents and the rights of women to receive full information about the risks of these procedures.

The truth is that no one has the right to a child and that the bodies of women and children should never be treated as commodities. Just because we can do something does not make it right. And in the case of reproductive technology, the least society can do is to protect the right of children to know who they are and to protect the right of women not to be exploited.

Making Babies: A Very Different Look at Natural Family Planning

H. W. CROCKER III

Natural family planning (NFP) needs a slogan, because as a “product” — if I might adopt business-speak — it’s not selling too well. According to some surveys, about 90 percent of professed Catholics reject the Church’s teaching on birth control. Even among priests, fewer than one in three considers artificial contraception to be “always” sinful.

So let me propose a new rallying cry: “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!”
You think I jest.
The case for NFP should, by rights, be the case for more babies. To have them is good. Not to have them is to be deprived. Every wife deserves to be a mother, and every mother’s son deserves a brother and a sister. And since a cat-o’-nine-tails has nine tails, surely having nine children is the proper way to scourge selfishness right out of one’s family.
As a slogan, “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” has many strong arguments in its favor. First, it is true. NFP proponents tout its 99 percent effectiveness rate, but they neglect to mention that this is true only if the husband is in the Navy and assigned to extended, uninterrupted sea duty of three-year tours or longer. Otherwise, for most Catholics I know, NFP means a baby every two years or so, though the rate can slow with age, as the couples learn a proper respect — that is, fear — for each other and are too tired in any event for what Catholics call “the conjugal act.”
Now I know there will be inevitable protests and testimonials by those who swear by NFP. And who am I to say that my own experience is not colored by the fact that I am excessively virile? Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that this is the case.
But another reason for NFP’s allegedly high success rate is that couples who use it are prepared to welcome children and so don’t blame NFP for unexpected pregnancies. Four of my own five children came the NFP way — that is, totally unexpectedly — and that’s a good thing, because without them bouncing in as surprises, excuses to delay (the sort of excuses one might hear from a recruit in parachute training) might have gone on for a very long time. As it is, in a mere matter of ten years, my wife and I assembled a complete basketball team. And if menopause doesn’t strike my wife soon, who knows what sort of team we might assemble.
Rather than bite one’s nails to the quick at the prospect of baby number ten — which, if one marries in one’s early 20s and practices NFP, is a definite possibility — we should encourage the attitude of the more the merrier, which is a far more attractive case to make than all the goo-goo language about how NFP helps couples “communicate” and about the joy of charting temperatures and discharges and plotting one’s conjugal acts as a captain might chart a course for his ship.
Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, the charts can be thrown away (what’s so “natural” about them?). And to hell with improving “communication” as a dogmatic defense of NFP. For men, the whole point of marriage is to avoid communicating; all that dating conversation stuff can finally be foregone. Married communication, as successful husbands know, is best limited to grunts and hand signals — one upraised finger meaning, “I need a beer”; two upraised fingers meaning, “You need to change the brat’s diapers”; three upraised fingers meaning, “Honey, why don’t you mow the lawn while I watch football?,” and so on. No words are more doom-laden than a wife’s sitting down and saying, “Let’s talk.” Communication is, of course, the first step toward divorce.
Tom Hoopes pointed out in the November 2004 issue of crisis that there are no apparent data to support the widely touted statistic that only 2 percent of NFP couples divorce. If there is any validity to this number, I suspect it lies in the fact that NFP couples have no time to communicate. The husband has to hold down several jobs to pay the family’s bills, and a wife with little ones barely has time to shower, let alone talk to her husband, save to pass a pregnancy test result across the breakfast table through splodges of spilled porridge as she sighs, & 2000 #8220;Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
I grant you, there is one form of communication that NFP certainly does advance — it makes a public statement. Not so very long ago, I was invited to speak at a Confederate Memorial Service. There I was with my Robert E. Lee tie, my wife (a blond California beach babe) wearing a Confederate battle flag scarf, and the five little members of our own Critter Company lined up in a row. A friendly chap meandered over and told us, apropos of nothing, “My daughter’s a Catholic, too. Three kids.”
No need for a secret handshake. Kids tell the story.
As a slogan, “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” puts the focus where it belongs — on babies — and away from a technique, a technique that wrongly strikes most lay Catholics as medieval. If only it were medieval, then it would be effective: a sturdy, padlocked, handsomely designed, pewter chastity belt.
Instead, NFP is shiny, modern, and scientific, as its advocates are always quick to emphasize. In his book The Truth of Catholicism, George Weigel approvingly quotes several paragraphs from a woman in love with NFP. She reminds us that:
Natural Family Planning is not the justly ridiculed rhythm method, which involves vaguely guessing when the woman expects to ovulate and abstaining for a few days around day fourteen of her cycle. The full method involves charting a woman’s waking temperatures, changes in cervical fluid, and the position of the cervix.
Nothing unnatural or artificial about that, is there? Her raptures climax with NFP apparently transformed into “Narcissism For Pleasure”:
But the turning point came for me as I watched, month after month, as my temperature rose and fell and my hormones marched in perfect harmony. I had no idea I was so beautiful. I found myself near tears one day looking at my chart and thinking, “Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” My fertility is not a disease to be treated. It is a wonderful gift. I am a wonderful gift.
Er, if you say so, missy. If my wife talked like this, I’d have her committed. Happily, my wife, bless her heart, takes a more robust line: “Barefoot and pregnant is better than high-heeled and professional!” That’s the spirit!

There is no shortage of people wandering
 around these days thinking they are wonderful gifts. In fact, there are rather too many of them — and they shouldn’t be encouraged. What’s lacking are married couples who think that having a family big enough to fill up a minivan (or for the younger, stronger, and more ambitious, a small bus or modified hearse) is a wonderful gift.
A neighboring priest has noted how many young married women these days are without children but doting over dogs. One suspects that such women are less in need of NFP training than they are of a push into motherhood (and thereby full-fledged adulthood) with a reminder that children are what marriage and life are all about.
So rather than focusing on NFP, premarital preparation should go like this:
Father O’Counselor: “Now I want you two to understand that the primary and fundamental purpose of marriage is not companionship, not romantic love, not moonlit strolls on the beach, or any other balderdash but the begetting and raising of children — lots of ’em, and starting soon. The optimum number is enough so that you can lose a few at the grocery store and not notice. That’s giving without counting the cost, and at that point, you won’t care anyway. As a priest, my sacrifice for the good of the Church is celibacy. As a married couple, yours is to propagate children — who will incidentally annually propagate fierce storms of influenza in your house. If you haven’t already studied up on communicable diseases and basic first aid for children jumping off sofas, I’d do it now. But you will find children and their challenges to be the great tutor of not only the medical but the moral virtues.”
Potential Husband: “You mean, I’m screwed?”
Father O’Counselor: “In a manner of speaking, yes.”
Potential Husband: “Is it too late to enroll in the seminary?”
We can thus improve Catholic marriages and alleviate the priest shortage at the same time.
In fact, we forget how inspiring parents’ confessions are to priests:
Penitent: “Forgive me, Father, but I lost patience when my children used my wedding china as Frisbees, took my necklace and used it as a line and fishhook in the toilet, and took my toothpaste to give the cat a bath.”
Priest (sotto voce): “Thank God I’m celibate.”
Penitent: “What did you say, Father?”
Priest: “I mean to say, why not just laugh about it? These years will pass all too quickly. And when they’re over, you’ll know why you have gray hair and high blood pressure. Now, a Hail Mary and an Act of Contrition, if you please.”
So, let us step out boldly and fly the banner high. Say it proudly — “Use NFP: It Doesn’t Work!” But babies sure as heck do.

Beyond birth control: Natural family planning is a whole lifestyle worth embracing

 

Fertility awareness-based methods of natural family planning (FABMs) have been called “natural methods of birth control.” While modern, evidence-based methods of FABMs can be used to successfully avoid pregnancy, they are not just another form of contraception, albeit one without the increased depression riskblood clots, and other side effects. The use of FABMs involves a lifestyle that fundamentally contradicts two major premises of our contraceptive culture.

Women’s Bodies Aren’t the Problem

In the book, Women, Sex, & the Church, contributing writer Angela Franks observed that “the contraceptive mindset cannot avoid scapegoating women’s bodies as the cause of both personal and societal problems.” Franks cited birth control crusader and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s firm belief that tyranny, war, and famine were ultimately caused by women because of their failure to use birth control.

Franks notes that modern society tells modern women and girls that they “need to turn against their bodies in order to be liberated,” disavowing their fertility with pills, patches, shots, and so on. Anticipating that these cultural attitudes may not seem to impact the average individual woman, Franks queries,” how many women do you know who seem at home in their bodies?”

In contrast to the women’s-bodies-are-the-problem attitude, the “natural” in fertility awareness-based methods of natural family planning refers to what mirrors the dignity of the human person. Rather than reducing women to sex objects, FABMs view women’s fertility as an integral part of their whole persons. Furthermore, a woman’s fertility is a physical reflection of her innate and unique ability to nurture others, whether by physically bearing children or by emotionally nurturing others.

Children Aren’t the Problem

In the contraceptive mindset, an unplanned pregnancy is the ultimate “method failure.” Society seems to have forgotten that conceiving a baby from sex during the fertile part of the cycle is actually a sign of health. But because contraception promises baby-free sex without regard to the woman’s cycle, the logical implication is that babies are a problem to be avoided at all costs.

This mindset leads to an implicit “need” for abortion when contraception fails, as noted in the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey Supreme Court case ruling that the “Roe rule’s limitation on state power could not be repudiated without serious inequity to people who, for two decades of economic and social developments, have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”

On the other hand, FABMs understand children to be human persons with worth and dignity. In fact, children invite their parents in a unique way to a new level of personal growth in selflessness. Women, Sex, and the Church contributor Jennifer Roback Morse wrote about the birth of her first child, “I experienced for the first time the genuine neediness of another person. I had to bend my schedule and my life to her, as did my husband. This newfound ability to give of ourselves, while often painfully won (colic and all), was the most important growth that we experienced in our lives. It was also the single best thing that ever happened to our marriage. We experienced what is true for every human being: self-gift, while difficult, makes us flourish.”

Rather than forcing the woman to bear the responsibility of pregnancy achievement or avoidance alone, FABMs involves a woman and her partner having a monthly conversation about their intention to avoid or achieve pregnancy and then working cooperatively with the woman’s cycle in light of their goal. When couples using FABMs do get pregnant, the understanding that parenthood is a shared responsibility is already in place. In this way, FABMs promote a positive environment for children to enter into.

Hormonal birth control can come at a terrible cost for teenage girls

 

A twist on the old joke, “a ___ walks into a bar” might be “a girl walks into an OB office” followed by the predictable punchline “and walks out with a prescription for birth control.” Hormonal birth control, whether via the Pill, the Patch, or other hormonal medications, is routinely prescribed to teenage girls for everything from acne to heavy bleeding to irregular periods to pregnancy prevention. No matter what’s wrong, birth control seems to be the answer. But is it? What’s the cost of putting young women still going through adolescence on hormones for potentially years on end?

Hormonal birth control is a Band-Aid

Everyone seems to know someone who went on the Pill for heavy bleeding as a teen, typically without much investigation into the cause. A 2015 bulletin by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called “Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign” showed a graphic of no less than 14 different issues, some very serious, that abnormally heavy bleeding could indicate. Birth control represents a band-aid for a symptom without addressing, let alone fixing, what’s wrong. In fact, hormonal birth control represents a band-aid approach in many cases, as it only takes away the symptoms of irregular periods or painful periods, etc.

Box 2

Source: ACOG.org

Lizzy, a 31 year old from Illinois, told Live Action News that she was placed on prescription pain medication as a teen for extremely painful periods, and then the Pill at age 21. Even though her pain persisted despite the medicine and the Pill, she was always told that “everything’s fine.” Only after she was married and unable to conceive did she learn that her infertility was due to Stage III endometriosis, a growth of uterine tissue outside the uterine cavity on other abdominal organs that can cause excruciating pain.

Hormonal Birth Control Creates New Problems

Just last month, CNN.com reported on a new study in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry that found an increase in crying, sleeping, feeling worthless, suicidal thoughts, and other symptoms of depression amongst teens who went on birth control compared with non users. The connection between birth control use and depression is nothing new, and in fact a 2016 study from Denmark found that teen girls placed on hormonal patches, coils, and rings were at even higher risk for depression than those placed on the Pill. This latest research confirms that teenage girls are hardest hit by depressive symptoms amongst new birth control users, even when researchers controlled for other potentially confounding factors like ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Depression isn’t the only problem that the Pill and other methods of hormonal birth control can create. Both birth control pills and the Depo-Provera synthetic progesterone shot have been found to decrease bone density in teen girls and young women, a particularly concerning finding given that bone density growth should be most significant amongst this population. This can translate into higher osteoporosis risk later on in life.

Another major side effect of birth control use in teenagers is the increased risk of blood clots, which can be life-threatening and even fatal. Live Action News recently reported that an Alabama teen’s family was awarded $9 million after their daughter died due to a blood clot caused by her birth control. In that case, taking a thorough family medical history before giving the girl birth control could likely have saved her life, as her own mother had a history of blood clots. Live Action News also recently reported on a Tennessee girl who nearly died due to a blood clot in her lungs caused by her birth control. Yet another story from 2019 is of an Irish girl whose birth control caused a blood clot in her legs that broke off and traveled to her lung. She, too, almost died.

In 2013, Live Action News reprinted a three-part series on the dangers of hormonal birth control use by teenage girls, covering the potential risks of making the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B available in school vending machines, the risk of developing blood clots, increased rates of hard-to-treat triple negative breast cancer in younger and younger womenthe connection between steroid use and heart disease, and much more.

A Better Way

Live Action News has previously reported on the benefits of teaching teen girls to track their menstrual cycles. The 2015 ACOG bulletin mentioned above specifically addressed how the menstrual cycle can be a fifth vital sign in girls and adolescents. According to the bulletin, “Just as abnormal blood pressure, heart rate, or respiratory rate may be key to diagnosing potentially serious health conditions, identification of abnormal menstrual patterns in adolescence may improve early identification of potential health concerns for adulthood.” This is because the menstrual cycle is an indicator of overall health in the young woman’s body. Certain patterns in menstrual cycle charting can prompt trained clinicians to suspect hormonal abnormalities, which can have a whole host of effects on various body systems.

What’s more, as Leslie Carol Botha found out in the late 1980s, teaching girls to chart their cycle can truly be life-changing. Botha worked with young women in restorative care homes, whose typical profile included a history of sexual assault, running away from home while still a minor, drug and/or alcohol use, and jail time. She found, according to the Natural Womanhood article on her work, that “these young women hadn’t been equipped with an understanding of the hormonal shifts in their cycles and how these changes were driving their moods and behaviors.” Astonishingly, she found that of the girls who had gone to jail, some 90% of them had been in the premenstrual phase of their cycle at  the time of their criminal behavior. Within just three months of learning to chart their cycles, she found that they began to take control over their own lives, understanding when to expect the “rabbit hole” of premenstrual symptoms to begin… and when it would end.

In fact, research done on the TeenStar program that incorporates menstrual cycle charting in teaching teens self-awareness and responsible decision making found that “this program is effective in reducing the rate of pregnancy, delaying the onset of sexual activity, decreasing sexual activity in sexually-active youth, and improving attitudes towards abstinence, compared with students in the no-treatment groups.”

With benefits like these, and the risks of hormonal birth control on the other hand, what’s not to love?

Court Stops Hospital From Pulling Plug on 9-Month-Old Baby Against Her Mother’s Will

STEVEN ERTELT

A Texas court has stepped in to stop a Fort Worth hospital from pulling the plug on a 9-month-old baby without her mother’s consent.

Cook Children’s Fort Worth was slated to pull the plug on 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis against her mother’s will on Sunday. But pro-life advocates helped Tinslee’s mother fight for her in court.

Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die on Sunday.

According to Texas Right to Life, the hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments.

Baby Tinslee’s mother was in a race against the clock this weekend to save her daughter. Texas Right to Life provided a lawyer to defend the patient after the family contacted us for help, but the Texas 10-Day Rule legally allows this form of euthanasia.

The 10-Day Rule is a provision in the Texas Advance Directives Act (Chapter 166.046 of the Texas Health & Safety Code) that allows a hospital ethics committee to withdraw basic life-sustaining care, like a ventilator or dialysis, from a patient against his expressed will, his advance directive, or the instruction of his surrogate decision-maker. Ten days after informing the patient or surrogate of the committee’s decision, the hospital can remove basic life-sustaining care from a patient.

Committees can withdraw care for any reason and the patient cannot appeal the decision. Even if the patient is conscious, coherent, and actively requests to stay alive, the 10-Day-Rule allows the hospital to overrule the patient’s will.

Thankfully, a court has stepped in to grant Tinslee and her mother more time.

The controversial 10-day rule essentially allows hospitals to euthanize patients after a 10-day notification. Attorney Wesley Smith, a noted writer and author on end of life issues, testified in favor of the legislation. During his testimony he broke down the problems with the 10-day rule:

In Texas, patient autonomy is essentially a one-way street. Here, if a doctor disagrees with the patient’s decision to maintain life—and the patient or family refuses to permit the life-extending treatment to be withdrawn—the doctor can take the controversy to the hospital bioethics committee for a quasi-judicial hearing and binding ultimate ruling.

If the committee agrees with the doctor, the patient or family has only 10-days within which to find an alternative source of treatment and arrange a transfer. If they can’t, the life-extending treatment can be terminated over the patient or surrogate’s objection—meaning the patient will be forced into a death at a time when life could have been maintained.

To fully comprehend the unjust nature of Texas law in this regard, realize that these “futile care” or “inappropriate care” decisions do not terminate treatment because it won’t work, but because it does. It is keeping the patient alive when the doctor/bioethics committee thinks the patient should die.

This isn’t an objective medical determination, but a subjective value judgment. And given the subjective nature of such decision making—which involves the question of whether the among of suffering the intervention may cause outweighs the desire to maintain life—the law should give the ultimate power to decide such questions to patients, families, and duly appointed surrogates who know the patient most intimately, not to bioethics committee members who are strangers to the patient.

Cardinal Sarah: ‘Contraceptive mentality’ led to LGBT takeover of children’s schools

Martin M. Barillas and Pete Baklinski

MADRID, November 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah strongly criticized LGBT ideology that he said is overrunning governments and education centers while tracing the ideology to the root of the widespread acceptance of contraception about seven decades ago.

“The destructuring of sexual identity, which is often called ‘gender theory,’ against which Pope Francis has harsh words and an attitude of absolute intolerance, can be understood as the anthropological consequence of a practical mutation,” said Cardinal Sarah, the Vatican’s Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline, at a Nov. 7 conference at Madrid’s San Pablo University in advance of the 21st Congress of Catholics and Public Life of Spain. His talk was titled “The importance of education in the Church’s mission today.”

Gender theory holds that male or female sexual organs do not determine an individual’s “sexual identity” but a person’s inner sense of being a man, a woman, or whatever it is that a person wants to identify as (dozens of ‘gender options’ have been invented to help people identify how they feel about themselves). The theory holds, for instance, that a person born with a male organ of reproduction can choose to identify as “female” and that it’s discriminatory not to support the individual’s choice, including the male’s choice to use female pronouns. The theory also holds that a person’s “gender identity” is fluid and can change over time.

“The first link in the process involved women,” Cardinal Sarah continued: “In fact, the contraceptive mentality that has extended strongly after 1950 has made possible a profound disconnection between the woman and her body, a disconnection that has radically changed the way of understanding human sexuality, marriage, filiation and of course education.”

The Catholic Church reaffirmed its condemnation of contraception in the 1968 Encyclical Humanae Vitae. Pope Paul VI prophetically warned that widespread acceptance of contraception would lead to the “general lowering of moral standards” among other things.

The Cardinal credited French writer Simone de Beauvoir’s phrase “You are not born a woman, you become a woman” as summarizing the essence of gender theory.

“Let’s add that for de Beauvoir, the family, Marriage and motherhood are the source of female ‘oppression’ and dependence. The pill would have ‘freed’ women by giving them ‘control of their body’ and the possibility of ‘freely disposing’ of it. Under the feminist motto ‘my body belongs to me’ a deep alienation of the incarnated subject is actually hidden. In fact, behind this ‘freedom’ statement lies an instrumentalization of the body itself as a material available to the most indeterminate desires,” he said.

The Cardinal then showed the link between contraception and the distancing of a person from his or her male or female body.

“The contraceptive mentality has engendered a dualism between individual freedom seen as unlimited and almighty, on the one hand, and the body as an instrument of enjoyment, on the other. In that perspective, the sexed body can no longer be lived as a sign and instrument of the gift of self, whose purpose is the communion of the spouses. The intrinsic link between the two meanings of the conjugal act, the procreative dimension and the unitive dimension, is broken. This link becomes optional, and logically, sexuality ends up being considered only in its relational and pleasure-producing dimension. The destabilizing effects of such a mentality have not been long in coming,” he added.

The Cardinal noted that one of the major destabilizing effects of the contraceptive mentality was the “social legitimization of homosexuality.”

“In fact, if sexuality is no longer perceived in the light of the gift of life, how can homosexuality be considered a perversion, an objective and serious disorder?” he said.

Cardinal Sarah said logically accompanying these changes regarding sexuality was a “redefinition of sexual identity, considering it as purely constructed.”

“If the intrinsic link between the two meanings of the conjugal act is denied, the difference between the sexes loses the first foundation of their intelligibility.” From then on, he said, the “sexed body” can more and more be considered as a “material that individual consciousness can model to its liking.”

The Cardinal then explained the mechanism at work as “sexual minorities” publicly demand equality and freedom to live according to their perceived identities.

“In the name of the fight against the ‘discrimination’ of which the ‘sexual minorities’ would be victims, the agents of the anthropological subversion take the public authorities and the legislator hostage in their revindications. In the name of ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’, they demand that all social discourse, especially in schools and the media, be ‘respectful’ with the sexual indeterminacy of individuals and the free choice of their identity,” he said.

“Then, each one can affirm that it is by self-designation and proclaim: ‘I make my own choice. I am proud of it and I affirm myself in that choice. I do not admit that another or society tell me what I am. I do not receive my being and my existence from anyone but myself. I decide for myself who I am. Society must assume my choice and adapt to my orientation changes.’”

For the LGBT movement, the Cardinal pointed out, the battle is no longer about “claiming tolerance” but about “imposing a new conception of the human being” and creating a “new” human being.

“Under the guise of freedom, this deconstruction at the service of a radical constructivism can be compared with the totalitarian attempts to produce a ‘new man,’” he said.

“Its innocent victims are mainly children, whose parents, permeable to libertarian slogans and bewitched by contemporary sirens, do not support [authentic] human growth and the formation of their [genuine] sexual affectivity. All this presupposes an erroneous conception of freedom, understood as the fact of not being prevented from following your immediate desires. How far we are from true freedom, which is the realization of the person when he uses his free will to seek the truth and choose his true good,” he continued.

“The anthropological revolution violently disrupts intellectual and moral education, because it creates mental and social dispositions that separate people from themselves,” he added.

The Cardinal said that Catholics should be aware of the gravity of the crisis, “given the atheist atmosphere or of indifference to religious or moral issues which permeate education and school structures.” What should be understood is that the goal of education is for students to “acquire the virtues that permit them to unfold and structure their humanity and personality in accord with the truth that is intrinsic to them.”

He called for the Church to become more active in defending the truth about man in sectors of civil society where that truth has been abandoned, especially in education.

“As has been the case several times in history, the Church has a duty to assume a substitute role to compensate for the collapse of entire sectors of civil society and public authorities,” he said.

“The Church assumes this function of substitution through all its children who are present in this magnificent educational task,” he added.

‘Dirty and unhealthy’ environment destroys children

Following his presentation, Cardinal Sarah answered questions from participants who are concerned about secular influences upon their children.

Likening schools to aquariums where fish are regularly fed fresh food, he said, “But the water in the aquarium is dirty and unhealthy.” Despite the good food, he said, the fish are slowly poisoned and eventually perish. In the learning environment, “even while there are well-disposed students and dedicated teachers, there are substances in the environment that are toxic to the students mental health,” said the Cardinal.

When he was asked how the water in the aquarium could be made clean, he said, “What poisons the environment are dangerous ideologies,” citing “marxism” and “transhumanism.”

He continued, “If we cannot explain who is man, who it is that God wants him to be, logically the aquarium is contaminated.” The water can be cleansed by rediscovering, he said, “the identity of human beings created in the image and likeness of God.”

“Identity is not something we give,” he said, “God gives it to us.” The West, he said, arrogantly “refuses to accept” that identity.” “The great issue are the economic and media leaders who contaminate the environment concerning the identity of the human person.” This is, he said, “the rejection of God.”

Asked what the Church should do in an environment where God is excluded, the Cardinal said, “The Church should be the first to combat toxic ideologies.”

The Church, he said, should focus on “the unprecedented anthropological and moral crisis of our time which demands that the Church should assume a greater responsibility and commitment to propose its doctrinal and moral teachings in a clear, precise and firm manner.”

Doctor accused of sterilizing women, performing hysterectomies without their consent

 

Javaid Perwaiz, an OB/GYN in Virginia, has been arrested and charged with health care fraud after being accused of sterilizing women without their consent. The FBI had been investigating Perwaiz for over a year after a hospital employee gave them a tip about his unethical actions.

According to the Virginian Pilot, women were sent to the hospital by Perwaiz for what they thought were “annual cleanouts,” without actually knowing what kind of procedure they would be undergoing. He would then be performing hysterectomies, D&Cs, or tubal ligations without their knowledge or consent.

One patient was given a D&C each year by Perwaiz because she believed she had endometriosis; at least once, the procedure was done without Perwaiz seeing her for an office visit beforehand. Another patient, a breast cancer survivor, was told that she had pre-cancerous ovarian cells present; she agreed to have her ovaries removed. But when she woke up, she found out that Perwaiz had done a complete hysterectomy, and perforated her bladder. She ended up with sepsis, and her medical records later showed that no pre-cancerous cells were present. Still another patient had tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child, only for a fertility specialist to eventually tell her that her fallopian tubes had been completely removed, burned down to nubs.

Many of the women Perwaiz victimized were Medicaid patients. Doctors often need to use hysteroscopes to be reimbursed by insurance for a hysterectomy, and a Medicaid analysis showed that Perwaiz claimed to have used his hysteroscope over 80 times in both 2016 and 2017. Yet in 2010, an inspection found that his hysteroscope was broken; it was repaired but hadn’t been serviced since then. He also didn’t use anesthesia when using the instrument on his patients, though it can cause pain, and he only used the scope for around 10 seconds at a time — not long enough to properly view the uterus.

Perwaiz’ medical license had previously been revoked in 1996, after he pled guilty to tax evasion, but was reinstated in 1998. He also has faced numerous malpractice lawsuits.

Many women have been sterilized without their consent; this is often due to ethnicity, disability, or income status. Medicaid patients are likely to be either minorities or low-income. While it’s not known why Pervaiz did this, this kind of behavior is one of the worst injustices that can be visited on someone. And it has, understandably, left many of his patients scared and speaking out.

Every patient he sees he orders surgery on them,” one woman wrote on Facebook, the Virginian Pilot reported. Another woman said she wanted to get an ultrasound to make sure nothing had been removed. “I’ve been a patient of his since 2008 and to read about this today is very disturbing,” a third patient said on Facebook. “I’ve had several procedures performed by him to include major surgeries in which I was scheduled to have an appt at the end of this month. My concerns are what he’s done to me thus far. There is no amount of money to compensate many of us for the things and procedures that he’s performed as some aren’t reversible.”

US paid to tie down, blindfold, sterilize indigenous Peruvian women. Now they’re suing

LIMA, Peru, November 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – After more than 20 years, women who were forcibly sterilized will have their day in court as prosecutors in Peru intend to charge a former president and government officials with serious human rights abuses.

Former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru (1990-2000) and other former high-ranking government officials will face a court in December for their involvement in forced sterilizations of women, which caused the death of at least one woman in the Andean republic. Fujimori, 81, promoted his Voluntary Chemical Contraception Program in the 1990s to supposedly level the playing field and provide to poor women contraception that they would not be able to afford without government assistance. Contraception services in Peru were subsidized by U.S. taxpayers through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This was despite a 1978 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 that prohibits the use of U.S. dollars “to pay for the performance of involuntary sterilizations as a method of family planning or to coerce or provide any financial incentive to any person to undergo sterilizations.”

The Congressional Research Service reports that as a result of the forced sterilizations in Peru, “In October 1998, Congress enacted an amendment introduced by Representative Todd Tiahrt as part of the FY1999 Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act that directs voluntary family planning projects supported by the United States to comply with five specific requirements.”

Those requirements lay out stricter guidelines that are supposed to prevent funding from going to coerced sterilizations.

This amendment, “which became known as the Tiahrt amendment, has been included in foreign operations appropriations in each subsequent fiscal year,” the Congressional Research Service reports.

‘They cut me up like a hog’

According to Spanish website LaRazon, Gloria Basilio, 46, recalled that government nurses came to her home in the 1990s, telling her that because she already had three children, she should not bear any more.

“They explained to me ‘in the future, we will privatize schools and hospitals and there won’t be any money.’ My children wouldn’t have an education, so it was obligatory to tie my [Fallopian] tubes. They didn’t pay me anything, so I told them, ‘I’ll think about it.’” Two days later, she said, the nurses returned and told her that she should take advantage of the government program because sterilization would soon become expensive.

She says they told her, “Women in the countryside multiply like guinea pigs, like rabbits.”

When the nurses returned for a third visit while Basilio’s husband was travelling, Basilio agreed to the procedure.

“They came for us at five in the afternoon, then they tied down our arms, blindfolded us, and without any machines. Through the blindfold, I could see the surgical saws and how the blood sprayed on the doctors from my abdomen. But I couldn’t move because I was anesthetized. They cut me up like a hog.”

Basilio and thousands of other poverty-stricken Peruvian women are demanding justice and a hearing of their concerns.

Another of the victims of the contraceptive program was María Mamérita Mestanza Chávez, a woman from an indigenous community in the mountainous Cajamarca region of Peru. According to various media reports, she agreed to demands for sterilization after 10 threatening visits from government medical personnel. On March 27, 1998, personnel of the Peruvian Ministry of Health operated on and sterilized her without a doctor present. The officials did not offer any information about the risks and consequences of the operation or any further medical assistance. In less than two weeks, on April 4 of that year, Mestanza Chávez died as a result of an infection.

Besides Mestanza Chávez, Peruvian prosecutors have identified four other women who died as a result of forced or involuntary sterilizations: Alejandra Aguirre Auccapina, Reynalda Betallaluz Aguilar, Marían Espinola Otiniano, and Celia Ramos Durand. The number of victims of Fujimori’s sterilization campaign range as high as 300,000. Of these, 272,000 were female and 22,000 were male. Of these, 2,166 have presented complaints before prosecutors. Approximately 1,316 victims of sterilization have been added to the case so far. There are 5,758 women whose names appear on the National Victims Registry that is maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Some women were sterilized unknowingly when government medical personnel performed caesarean deliveries for them. Many of the victims are illiterate and are non-native speakers of Spanish. The indigenous people of Peru speak the pre-Columbian Aymara or Quechua languages. According to Adolfo Castañeda of Human Life International, many of these women agreed to be sterilized only after being offered food for themselves and their hungry children.

Peruvian feminist Giulia Tamayo told the Peruvian website LaMadre that she observed in the poorest districts of her country that government agencies had quotas to fulfill for sterilizations among women. Many of these districts are heavily populated by indigenous people. Some of these districts were targeted, she said, because the government judged them to be under the control of narcotraffickers and armed leftist insurgents.

USAID was funding Peru’s health system during the period that sterilizations were widespread. Other organizations involved in the campaign were the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the nonprofit Japanese NIPPON Foundation.

According to the pro-life Population Research Institute (PRI), USAID files show that Project 2000, an accord reached by the U.S. with Peru in 1993, put the agency at the forefront of Peru’s health ministry during the years that the abuses took place. UNFPA donated $10 million for the forced-sterilization campaign, bolstering the millions spent by American taxpayers.

Concerning the Peruvian victims, in an email to LifeSiteNews, PRI President Steven Mosher wrote: “These women not only deserve compensation, the government needs to apologize to them for violating their human rights.”

In his book Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits, Mosher wrote:

“President Alberto Fujimori, elected to a second term in mid-1995, had wasted no time in legalizing sterilization as a method of birth control. He ordered the country’s Ministry of Health, headed by Dr. Eduardo Yong Motta, to focus its efforts on family planning, specifically, on tubal ligations. To train Peruvian doctors and officials in how to structure and run a sterilization campaign, Dr. Motta brought in Chinese, Indian and Colombian doctors who had carried out such campaigns in their own countries. To monitor the success of the campaign, Fujimori himself set national targets for the numbers of sterilizations to be performed—100,000 in 1997 alone—and demanded weekly progress reports.

Mobile sterilization teams, a fixture of such campaigns, were soon being assembled in the capital city of Lima. These teams of doctors and nurses, who often had no prior training in obstetrics or gynecology, were hurriedly taught how to do tubal ligations, and then sent to the countryside to conduct a series of one- or two-week ‘ligation festivals.’ Prior to a team’s arrival in an area local Ministry of Health employees would hang banners announcing the forthcoming ‘Ligation Festival,’ and fan out across the countryside to captar [ ‘bring in’ or ‘capture’ in English] women for tubal ligations. The effort was focused on the poorer provinces, home to a high percentage of Peruvians of Indian descent.”

In 1974, during the Nixon administration, bearing the title “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth For U.S. Security and Overseas Interests, National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM-200 or so-called Kissinger Memorandum, which bore the name of erstwhile Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) set out the American foreign policy goals for demographic collapse of Latin America and other regions of the world. The secret document was declassified in 1989.

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International analyzed the document, noting, “In order to protect U.S. commercial interests, NSSM-200 cited a number of factors that could interrupt the smooth flow of materials from lesser-developed countries…to the United States, including a large population of anti-imperialist youth, who must…be limited by population control.”

As for former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, he remains in prison after the country’s supreme court overturned a presidential pardon in 2018. He was sentenced in 2005 to a 25-year sentence for human rights violations involved in using death squads to fight leftist insurgents in his country.

14-Week-Old Baby Wakes From Coma and Smiles at His Dad

TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE   NOV 8, 2019

The early morning hours of March 15 were filled with terror for the Labuschagne family.  14-week-old baby Michael unexpectedly suffered cardiac arrest. His mother, Emma Labuschagne, described the moment in a video shared on Facebook, writing, “We watched our baby breathless, gasping for air while his heart stopped and paramedics worked to save his life.  In that moment I did not think Michael would make it through.”

Remarkably, Michael did survive and was rushed to the hospital, where he was placed in a medically induced coma.  In her video, Michael’s mother writes that the family was told their son was not likely to survive the ordeal, and if he did, he “would not be the same baby.”  Michael had been without oxygen for 9 minutes during the medical emergency, leading his medical team to believe that he would be severely brain-injured.  Families of patients in such situations are often not given any reason to hope.

Five days later, when doctors removed some of the sedatives and Michael began to wake up, he gave his family an unmistakable sign of hope.  His mother wrote, “The first thing he did when he opened his beautiful brown eyes was smile at his daddy.”

“It’s a moment I will cherish with every inch of my heart,” Labuschagne told CNN. “To be really honest, it’s got to be the happiest moment of my life.  He is a living miracle, and we have never felt prouder of him.”

Michael’s medical problems, however, were far from over.  Doctors discovered that the infant had a 5 cm cardiac fibroma, a tumor in the left chamber of his heart.  The condition is so rare that doctors in the United Kingdom, where the Labuschagnes live, have no experience operating to remove the tumor.  They placed a pacemaker and defibrillator but are unable to offer any hope of improvement beyond waiting for a heart transplant.

Through research, the Labuschagnes found an alternative: traveling to the United States for potentially life-saving surgery.  Boston Children’s Hospital, the premiere hospital in the world for these types of conditions, has experience with the surgery Michael needs.  His mother told CNN, “We researched the hospital and specifically the cardiac surgeons, Dr. (Pedro) del Nido and Dr. (Tal) Geva.”  The surgeons have a 100% success rate, so the family had no doubt that they would do whatever is necessary to make the journey.

Michael’s mother said, “When we received a response from Boston confirming that he would be a good candidate for surgery, it did not matter what the cost was.  We would pay any amount of money to save our child’s life.”

Since the family began fundraising for the trip and cost of the surgery, they have received tremendous support.  Emma Labuschagne said, “We have had well-wishers and donations from all over the world!  We are unbelievably thankful!”

For now, Michael, who is now 10-months-old, lives a surprisingly ordinary life, despite his significant medical challenges.  His mother says, “Looking at him, he is like any other baby.”

She told CNN, “He is always smiling and grinning widely.  His older brothers dote on him and he is a strong little character in our family.  We are just so grateful for him, even with his medical troubles.”

Michael’s story, which seems likely to have a happy ending, recalls other stories from the United Kingdom of families seeking medical care in other countries.  The world watched in horror as first Charlie Gard and then Alfie Evans were held captive in UK hospitals with the courts ruling in favor of anti-Life bureaucracy.  In those cases, the medically vulnerable boys were not able to leave the hospital and that meant their families were unable to move their sons for potentially life-saving treatment.

Every family has the right to advocate for the care of their loved ones.  Anti-Life laws that give hospitals power over life-and-death decisions must be repealed.  Every child, like Michael, deserves the care his family thinks is best.

 

What They Don’t Tell Women About the Dangerous Abortion Pill Mifeprex May Kill Them

BRAD MATTES   NOV 7, 2019

The chemical abortion pill, marketed as Mifeprex and referred to as a medication abortion, is the future of the abortion industry. The number of chemical abortions in America has increased dramatically while the overall tally of abortions has declined.

Those who advocate for and provide this abortion drug almost always downplay the excruciating process that awaits unsuspecting women, doing a grave disservice to them.

Tammi Morris was no stranger to abortion. She had previously had seven of them, so when an abortion provider told her the chemical abortion process would be “safe, near painless, and private,” she agreed to use it. Shortly after taking the second dose of pills, however, Tammi realized it wouldn’t be anything like what the abortion center staff had described.

“They didn’t prepare me for this,” Tammi said. Instead, what she endured was an experience she described as “savage” and “horrific.” She found herself alone, “feeling like I was going to give birth to death.” Profuse bleeding forced Tammi to seek medical intervention.

Elizabeth Gillette’s experience with the abortion drug was similarly traumatizing. In her case, the falsehoods exceeded the abortion staff’s mischaracterization of the drug’s effects. Elizabeth told them she was undecided about the abortion and wanted to view the ultrasound. At first, she was rebuffed, but Elizabeth persisted.

A staff member finally showed her a still shot of the monitor, saying, “Do you see? There’s no heartbeat. There’s no movement. Your pregnancy’s not viable.” Elizabeth said the facility had lied to her in an attempt to tip the scale of her uncertainty about the abortion.

“No one counseled me. No one told me what the options were.” As for the abortion process, Elizabeth says she was told, “You’ll experience some light cramping. It’ll be like a heavy period. Shouldn’t hurt.”

Elizabeth confessed, “I had no idea what was coming. No idea.” The cramping was “deep and very painful. I’ve had three children since then, and it felt like labor.”

The physical ordeals of these women were just the beginning of more horrors to come. Common to Tammi and Elizabeth’s experience during their chemical abortions, facilities send women home to abort alone, with no one to shield them from what they will see and feel.

Numerous medical experts understand the added physical and emotional trauma inflicted by chemical abortion. OB-GYN Donna Harrison likened the process, which is four times more likely to require medical intervention afterward than a surgical abortion, to “almost patient abandonment.” She sees the irony in feminists demanding safe, legal abortion while “pushing a chemical coat hanger on women.”

During her chemical abortion — really an induced miscarriage — Tammi felt the urge to push and then looked down. What she saw left her devastated. “There was my baby, in a toilet. This wasn’t fetal tissue. This was a formed, recognizable, undeniable baby. My baby.”

Through tears, Elizabeth also described coming face to face with her unborn son. “I held him. The doctor promised me that I would feel relieved.” But what Elizabeth described wasn’t relief. Instead she felt an “overwhelming guilt, a sickness inside that I couldn’t put away. Nightmares started shortly after. I stopped eating. I became anorexic. I was later diagnosed with acute post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Tammi and Elizabeth then faced the struggle of daily emotional turmoil enveloping their lives as a result of what they had done and seen.

“How does a mother who killed her own child in the womb intentionally, how does she grieve outwardly?” Tammi questioned.

Elizabeth felt a burning passion to warn other women. When facing a second unexpected pregnancy, she made a video that quickly became popular, encouraging other women to persevere. “Hiding in the silence is just your own personal death sentence. But when you stand up and say enough is enough. This hurt me and it’s hurting women everywhere, it set me free.”

“Our society is breeding fear,” Elizabeth said. “We tell our women to go out and get a job and be everything you can be, except being a mom. And that’s a lie.” To her, abortion is “a regret you can’t reconcile. It’s forever.”

Grassroots organizations and people who have seen or experienced these devastating effects are making an effort to give a voice to women who have been physically or emotionally harmed by chemical abortion. They’ve created a safe, confidential place women can go to tell their stories about their experience. Sharing can often be therapeutic.

The landscape of the abortion debate was altered during the 1980s when women who had experienced abortion and its aftermath came forward to tell their stories. By speaking out, the victims of chemical abortion can spare countless other women and their babies from enduring a similar tragedy.

Hear Tammi and Elizabeth’s stories and learn more about chemical abortion below, or watch the full documentary here.

LifeNews.com Note: Bradley Mattes is the President of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group.

All Methods of “Family Production” are Not Created Equal

Victimization is a prominent leitmotif in contemporary culture, and our morally relativistic, “non-judgmental” times tend to take self-claims of injury at face value. But, as contemporary Polish philosopher Zbigniew Stawrowski has observed, today’s “sleek barbarians”—those who, employing traditional terms like “rights” and “justice” empty them of their received meanings, pressing them into service of what had once been deemed wrongs and injustice—often employ the victim card to parry what once would have been called “chutzpah.” Case-in-point: Bryce Cleary.

Bryce Cleary is a physician who, as a student at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) 30 years ago, apparently liberally donated his sperm. He claimed his motivation was to help the infertile and to foster research. He caveated his gifts: the sperm should be used by five couples on the U.S. East Coast, while the rest should go for research. He’s now suing OHSU for $5.25 million, claiming fraud.

See, thanks to modern technology, the internet and Ancestry.com, Cleary discovered that he had fathered at least 17 children (in addition to the four he publicly acknowledged as a father within marriage), most of whom lived nearby in Oregon. And that’s what’s got him peeved: his acknowledged and unacknowledged offspring can intermix (and apparently have) without their even knowing it.

A narrow, autonomy-centered paradigm might say, “Well, that’s what he was concerned about, and that’s what OHSU failed to prevent. He’s been lied to.”

Perhaps, however, we ought to expand the concept of “lie.”

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave//when first we practice to deceive,” goes the old axiom. Cleary thinks he was deceived. But so were his children.

Bryce Cleary is responsible for 17 lives with which he clearly never intended to have any contact. Sperm donation has long been shrouded in secrecy, and Cleary had no problem with being at least partially a liar. After all, “’I can’t emotionally be invested in all these people’” he says.

Well, then, you shouldn’t have become their father.

This case is tragic, but not the way Bryce Cleary sees it. It is tragic because real people—real kids—do not know whom their real father is, have probably been lied to all their lives, and do not know whom their brothers and sisters are (or even how many they have).

Letting Cleary define the parameters of this case would be wrong. The situation shows that parenthood is not just a matter of “personal autonomy” but has social implications in which society as a whole has vital rights and interests, in no small part “in the best interests of the children.” Yes, we’ve forgotten that test of social policy.

A person’s right to know his true parentage and relations and the prevention of incest are not just Cleary’s private concerns. They are all our concerns. Cleary’s lawsuit suggests that, because he donated his sperm, he is the policymaker for whether and how to achieve these ends.

So does that mean he could decide a child has no right to know his true genetic parentage? Even as we recognize that orphans have a right eventually to know who there is true parents are, we would give genetic fathers a veto over another person’s rights to their very identity? This would guarantee making that person an orphan, not just physically but spiritually and intellectually? Afflicting the orphan, like maltreating the widow, is among the Bible’s worst crimes.

The artificial insemination industry has, of course, long been shrouded in secrecy. Artificial insemination by donor (AID) has been cloaked by its own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, where one’s real father excludes himself from his child’s life, while an often infertile man pretends to be the “father” of this child – until the ugly truth comes out (usually not voluntarily). (For the perspective of lied-to children, see “Anonymous Father’s Day,” a great documentary film, here).

When this “gentlemen’s agreement” of secrecy was confined to AID, its impact was circumscribed: the number of people resorting to artificial insemination, especially using the gametes of a third party, was in the past limited.

But the fertility industry today is an enormous (and enormously profitable) business, which depends on AID, ovum donation and surrogacy. It is also a largely unregulated business: America at large is, as Jennifer Lahl puts it, “the Wild West” of surrogacy, and some states (e.g., California) are wilder than others.

Trends in delayed marriage, subordination of parenthood to career milestones, and growing infertility fuel that fertility industry. So, too, does “same-sex marriage.”

The fallacy behind Obergefell’s establishment of “same-sex marriage” was the Supreme Court’s claim that sexual differentiation was irrelevant to marriage because marriage had no inherent nexus to procreation. But the Court is inconsistent in its own logic, because homosexual activists increasingly argue that, unless they have a “right to parenthood” (notwithstanding their own natural sterility), then Obergefell’s promise of “same-sex marriage” is empty.

Lest this proposition end on some maudlin slogan about “the right to choose whom you love,” understand what it implies. If there is a “right to parenthood” notwithstanding the natural incapacity of two people of the same sex to conceive children, it means that parenthood as it has been understood in every culture throughout history (and as it biologically exists) has no right to be privileged or given priority in law. Parenthood as the natural outcome of the union of a man and woman is just “one alternative” parenthood, and the state must support any method of conceiving children so long as it fulfills the problem of overcoming the “discrimination” apparently established by “nature and nature’s God.” Natural law itself would become practically unconstitutional.

If one has any doubt that legal preference of parenthood as it has existed as long as there have been men and women would be undermined, consider already what has been going on with birth certificates. A number of states have been complicit in the “gentlemen’s agreement” of AID by establishing presumptions about paternity when it comes to issuing birth certificates: if a child is conceived in wedlock, the law presumed that the husband of the wife is the child’s father. If a couple agreed to use AID, neither spouse had an interest in disclosing true paternity, and the birth certificate simply covered up that fact.

With the advent of “marriage” without sexual differentiation, however, there also arose the question of whom to list as “parent one” and “parent two” on the birth certificate. (Note the disappearance of “father” and “mother,” presumably as “discriminatory” sexual residue. A child may now be entitled to two parents, but he is not entitled to a father and a mother). Several states balked at applying the “paternal presumption” in the case of two lesbians, since clearly (a) there was no male “married” to these two persons and (b) the female “spouse” clearly could not have exercised the genetic paternal role. But the federal courts, applying Obergefell, have insisted that—biology notwithstanding—the “parental presumption” requires listing the same-sex “spouses” as “parents” on the birth certificate, regardless of their natural incapacity to give life.

What this clearly means is that birth certificates need not have any necessary relationship to truth, i.e., need not necessarily tell us about who is father and mother of this child. What it means is that the law increasingly ratifies and countenances the parcelization of parenthood, sliced and diced into genetic, gestational and social components, with the implicit presumption that the social component – those who chose to raise the child –is the “parenthood” that matters.

The poor kid: who gets the Father’s and Mother’s Day cards? The anonymous gamete donor? The gestational “womb for rent?” The woman or man that signed the check for the braces?

Sperm is not just “another bodily fluid,” whose “donation” is as anonymous as blood or plasma or bone marrow. It’s time we stopped pretending it is. Newsweek featured a story in 2011 about the new “paternity,” of a man hired by two women for his semen, who went into a Starbucks bathroom, ejaculated into a cup, handed his free will donation to the woman, who then employed it, after which they all shared a Venti Dolce Latte.

Is society to affirm “fatherhood” as an ejaculate handed over in a coffee shop? Cahal Daly once observed that the way one treats sperm is the way one would treat a human being. I didn’t grasp his existential meaning when I read that line 45 years ago, but I get it now.

It’s also time to stop pretending that a child born from his real mother’s womb is no different from one from another’s womb or commissioned as a product from a hatchery. All methods of “family production” are not created equal.

These are profound and radical changes with enormous social implications, but they are advancing with little, if any, social debate. And the real victims, because they are deceived about their origins, are the children. Instead, pseudo-“victims” sue in the name of their violated autonomy.

We need to refocus on those who are the real victims: the kids.

All views contained herein are exclusively those of the author.

Teen girls on birth control pills report crying more, sleeping too much and eating issues, study says

A new study found that the use of birth control pills was associated with more depressive symptoms in teenage girls, including crying, excessive sleeping and eating issues, compared to their peers who don’t take oral contraceptives.

The study, published recently in JAMA Psychiatry, included more than 1,000 participants in the Netherlands between the ages of 16 to 25 over a period of nine years. On average, researchers found that the 16-year-old participants who were using oral contraceptives reported more crying, sleeping and eating problems than those who weren’t on the pill.

Previous studies have found an association between adolescents who take oral contraceptives and the risk of depression into adulthood. This study, led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen and Leiden University Medical Center, aimed to examine the more subtle depressive symptoms.

“Depressive symptoms are more prevalent than clinical depression and can have a profound impact on quality of life,” said co-author Hadine Joffe with Brigham’s Department of Psychiatry. “Ours is the first study of this scale to dive deep into the more subtle mood symptoms that occur much more commonly than a depression episode but impact quality of life and are worrying to girls, women and their families.”

Researchers analyzed data from a cohort study, called Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey, and assessed the participants’ birth control usage at ages 16, 19, 22 and 25.

Each participant filled out a survey with questions about depressive symptoms, such as crying, eating, sleeping, suicidal ideation, self-harm, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, energy, sadness and lack of pleasure. Their responses were used to generate a depressive symptom severity score.

Among the 1,010 participants between ages 16 and 25, the team found no association between oral contraceptive use and depressive symptoms overall. But they did find that the 16-year-old participants who were using oral contraceptives had depressive symptom severity scores that were 21 percent higher on average than those who were not taking the pill.

The study authors noted the findings don’t prove that birth control pills cause depressive symptoms. While birth control pills might contribute to these symptoms in girls — it also could be that more severe symptoms may prompt teen girls to start taking them, researchers said.

“Because of the study design, we can’t say that the pills cause mood changes, but we do have evidence suggesting that sometimes the mood changes preceded the use of the pill and sometimes the pill was started before the mood changes occurred,” said author Anouk de Wit, a trainee in the Department of Psychiatry at University Medical Center Groningen.

The authors also pointed out that the study only included females in the Netherlands, a relatively homogenous population, and a more diverse group may have produced different results.

“One of the most common concerns women have when starting the pill, and teens and their parents have when an adolescent is considering taking the pill, is about immediate depressive risks,” said de Wit. “Most women first take an oral contraceptive pill as a teen. Teens have lots of challenging emotional issues to deal with so it’s especially important to monitor how they are doing.”

Did Kanye West imply that Plan B can cause an abortion? If so, he’s right.

 

Kanye West recently came out against abortion during an interview for his new album Jesus is King. During that bold statement, he mentioned Plan B, the “emergency contraception” product that claims to prevent pregnancy in the event of contraception failure. Many people, including the manufacturers of Plan B, concluded that West was likening Plan B to abortion, and it caused a stir.

“Democrats had us voting Democrat for food stamps for years, bro,” said West, speaking about the Black community. “What you talking about? Guns in the 80s, taking the fathers out of the home, Plan B, lowering our votes, making us abort our children. Thou shall not kill… I can’t tell y’all how to feel. But what I can tell you honestly is how I feel.”

Foundation Consumer Healthcare, the pharmaceutical company that makes the Plan B One-Step pill, seems to believe that West was labeling their product as an abortion. They were so concerned about what West had to say that they told TMZ, “Plan B helps prevent pregnancy before it starts by delaying ovulation. Plan B is not an abortion pill – it will not harm an existing pregnancy and it will not be effective if a woman is already pregnant.” But that’s not the whole truth.

READ: Kanye West rails against abortion in ‘Jesus Is King’ interview

plan b

Back of the Plan B box.

A Planned Parenthood rep also spoke to TMZ saying, “As Black women, we make our own decisions about our bodies and pregnancies, and want and deserve to have access to the best medical care available. Misinformation like this is meant to shame us and keep us from making our own health care decisions. Black women want and deserve support and access to the full range of reproductive health care, but this persistent lie is threatening our ability to obtain it.” But if West was calling Plan B an abortion-causing product (though it isn’t clear that he was; after all, Plan B and “abort our children” were not mentioned contiguously), he wasn’t lying.

plan b

Close-up of the back of a Plan B box.

While Plan B states on the box that it “will not harm an existing pregnancy” it also states that it will “prevent […] attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus.” And that is the unnatural ending of the life of a new human being, and therefore, Plan B can function as an abortifacient.

Science is clear – life begins at fertilization. Ending that life on purpose is an act of abortion and, therefore, by potentially preventing implantation, Plan B can cause an abortion. Plan B sticks to the term “fertilized egg” instead of zygote to try and distract people from the reality of the fact that a new human being is present the moment an egg is fertilized.

As President of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins pointed out during an event at Villanova University, The American College of OBGYNs altered the definition of pregnancy in 1965 after birth control was introduced. They decided to start considering pregnancy to begin at implantation rather than fertilization, despite the scientific proof that says a human being is present days prior to implantation.

“So that allows the makers of Plan B to say, ‘Woah, woah, woah, we’re not killing anybody. We’re just not letting anything implant,” said Hawkins. “What aren’t you letting implant? ‘Oh, it’s just a fertilized egg.’ Why do we use the word fertilized egg? Because fertilized egg doesn’t sound like human being. […] So what the Plan B manufacturers said today was disingenuous and they’ve been lying all along.”

But don’t take Kanye West’s word for it. All anyone has to do to realize that Plan B actually can cause an abortion is read the Plan B box.

Cardinal Dolan on Biden communion denial: ‘I wouldn’t do it’

By Mary Farrow

.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to questions about the denial of Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday.

On an Oct. 31 interview with Fox News, Dolan said that he thought the incident was a good teaching moment about the Eucharist and the seriousness of denying Church teaching, but that he would not himself deny anyone reception of the Eucharist.

“So whether that prudential judgment was wise, I don’t want to judge him either,” Dolan said of Fr. Robert Morey, who denied Holy Communion to Biden. “I wouldn’t do it.”

“Sometimes a public figure will come and talk to me about it. And I would advise them, and I think that priest (Morey) had a good point, you are publicly at odds with an issue of substance, critical substance, we’re talking about life and death and the Church,” Dolan said.

Receiving the Eucharist “implies that you’re in union with all the Church believes and stands for. If you know you’re not, well, integrity would say, ‘uh oh, I better not approach Holy Communion.’ That’s always preferable than to make a split-second decision and denying somebody,” Dolan added.

Last Sunday, Morey denied Eucharistic communion to 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden at Mass at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, because of the politician’s public support of abortion.

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey, who is the pastor of St. Anthony’s, explained in a statement sent to CNA.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” Morey added. “Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

In denying Biden communion, Morey was following a diocesan policy set forth in a 2004 decree signed jointly by the bishops of Atlanta, Charleston, and Charlotte. The decree states that supporting pro-abortion legislation is “gravely sinful” and that public figures who do so must be denied communion until they repent.

Joseph Zwilling, director of communications in the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA that the archdiocese does not have such a policy.

Dolan told Fox & Friends he agreed with what Morey said, though he would not personally deny a public figure the Eucharist.

“I think what he said was very to the point, I thought that was a good teaching moment,” Dolan said.

The cardinal said the issue has never come up for him personally – he has never seen a public figure in his Communion line who he knew was publicly advocating for policies that violate Church teaching.

“I’ve never had what you might call the opportunity, or I’ve never said ‘Uh oh, should I give him or her Holy Communion’, it’s never come up. Sure could,” Dolan said.

Dolan faced heavy criticism in January from Catholics who felt that he should have explicitly barred from communion New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had signed into law an expansive abortion bill.

On his radio show Jan. 29, Dolan said that sacramental disciplinary measures against the governor “would be completely counterproductive, right?”

“Especially if you have a governor who enjoys this and wants to represent himself as a kind of martyr to the cause, doing what is right. He is proud to dissent from the essentials of the faith. He’s proud with these positions.”

“For me to punish him for it? He would just say, ‘Look at the suffering this prophet has to undergo,’ the cardinal added.

Dolan said Oct. 31 that he frequently sees public figures at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and that he “admires” them when they do not approach the Eucharist out of their own awareness of their sin and separation from the Church.

“They seem to know – ‘I shouldn’t do that. That could be hypocritical at this moment,’” Dolan said.

“On the other hand, we also remember Pope Francis. We…I personally can never judge the state of a person’s soul. So it’s difficult, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not up there as a tribunal, as a judge, distributing Holy Communion, I’m there as a pastor, as a doctor of souls,” Dolan said.

“So it’s difficult to make a judgment on the state of a person’s soul. My job is to help people make, with clear Church teaching, make a decision on the state of their soul and the repercussions of that.”

When asked if priests could refusing other people communion because of their sins, Dolan said that communion is intended for sinners.

“If only saints could receive Holy Communion, we wouldn’t have anybody at Mass, including myself, alright?” Dolan said.

“So sinners are who Holy Communion is for, it’s medicine for the soul, it’s an act of mercy, so it’s intended for sinners…but sinners who want to, who are sorry and want to repent. Then anybody’s welcome, come on up,” he added.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Edward Peters, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit wrote in The Hill this week that “however the decision to withhold holy communion from Biden made headlines, it was unquestionably the pastor’s decision to make and he made it, in my view, correctly.”

“While there are relatively few examples of pastors withholding holy communion from Catholic politicians who support abortion, the refusal that Biden experienced should not have come as a surprise. He had been warned about approaching for holy communion in 2008 by Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, who told Biden that, because of his support for abortion, he would be refused holy communion if he approached that prelate, and by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput (then of Denver, now of Philadelphia), who implied likewise,” Peters wrote.

While not addressing Dolan’s remarks Peters addressed a point Dolan made during his interview, which Peters called the “reddest herring” in defense of Biden.

Specifically, he criticized the argument “which implies that withholding holy communion requires a minister to peer into the soul of a would-be recipient and judge it unworthy. Nonsense. To confuse the private examination of one’s conscience as envisioned by Canon 916 with the recognition that some public acts warrant public consequences under Canon 915 is to show either ignorance of or indifference to well-established Catholic pastoral and sacramental practice.”

In a memorandum to the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2004, explaining the application of Canon Law 915, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said “the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin.”

The case of a “Catholic politician” who is “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” would constitute “formal cooperation” in grave sin that is “manifest,” the letter added.

Biden has declined to comment on the communion incident telling reporters that it was “just my personal life.”

“I’m a practicing Catholic. I practice my faith, but I’ve never let my religious beliefs…to impose that view on other people,” Biden said this week.

While Biden served in the Senate, he largely supported the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that found a legal right to abortion, Roe v. Wade. He called his position “middle-of-the-road,” in that he supported Roe but opposed late-term abortions and federal funding of abortions.

Since then, he has supported taxpayer funding of abortions via the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City Policy in his 2020 platform and has called for the codification of Roe v. Wade as federal law. Biden also favors reinstating taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

12,000+ Successful Tubal Reversal Surgeries

RALEIGH, N.C. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 25, 2019

A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center is a center where couples can regain their natural fertility through tubal ligation reversal surgery and vasectomy reversal surgery. Dr. Charles W. Monteith, MD is the Medical Director of this unique specialty center a surgical center located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Monteith exclusively specializes in fertility surgery and using his unique surgical skills he is able to offer couples affordable outpatient reversal surgery to couples who travel from across the world to have surgery at his specialty center.

Tubal ligation, more commonly known as ‘getting one’s tubes tied’, is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States. Unfortunately, research has shown that up to 30% of women will regret their tubal ligation procedure. Most women regret tubal ligation because they would like to have more children. Some regret their tubal ligation because they have developed troublesome symptoms after tubal ligation.

Tubal ligation regret is a common problem that can cause immeasurable guilt and anxiety in women. If you suffer from tubal ligation regret and would like to have more children then you only have three choices; tubal reversal surgery, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or adoption. Most people are unaware that tubal reversal surgery can be more successful and far more affordable than in-vitro fertilization. Tubal reversal provides a woman a chance to become pregnant every month and more than one time. In-vitro fertilization is an expensive and lengthy medical process that may not be as successful as tubal reversal. On average about 2 out of every 3 women who have tubal reversal will become pregnant. In comparison, 1 out of every 3 women who have IVF will become pregnant.

The cost of tubal reversal surgery with Dr. Monteith is approximately $6,900. The cost of IVF is approximately $14,000 for each cycle attempted. You can easily see how Dr. Monteith offers patients a better option for having more children with outpatient tubal reversal surgery at A Personal Choice.

Some women will develop abnormal tubal ligation symptoms after having their tubes tied. These women will often complain of irregular periods, heavier periods, pelvic pain, hair loss, joint pain, and memory issues. Although tubal ligation side effects are rare, Dr. Monteith specializes in helping these women. Tubal reversal allows these women a surgical evaluation of their tubes and the chance at improving their symptoms. Often during these surgeries Dr. Monteith will discover undiagnosed endometriosis or pelvic scar tissue. Many times these women will have completely normal findings. Dr. Monteith has observed over 80% of his patients who have reversal for abnormal symptoms report improvement after reversal surgery.

Patients travel from across the United States and around the world to have reversal surgery with Dr. Monteith. Many patients will find it easier and more affordable to travel to Raleigh NC to have surgery with Dr. Monteith than with a less experienced surgeon in their hometown. Scheduling surgery at A Personal Choice is easy. Patients can determine if they are a candidate for surgery by faxing or emailing Dr. Monteith a copy of their tubal ligation records for a free review. Scheduling surgery occurs over the phone and by email. Patients then travel to Raleigh for surgery and spend two nights and three days. The consultation is on the first day, the surgery is on the second day, and the postoperative visit is on the third day. After the postoperative visit, patients are free to return home. Surgery at A Personal Choice is extremely safe with a very low surgical complication rate. Patients are encouraged to start trying to become pregnant as soon s they feel comfortable. Most will report pregnancy within the first 12 months. Those who have abnormal symptoms often report improvement within the first week!

Dr. Monteith’s success is illustrated by the many testimonials shared on his website and Facebook page. A new mom who traveled to Dr. Monteith from North Haledon, New Jersey to have reversal of burned tubal ligation submitted a testimonial saying, “Our second tubal reversal son was born August 8th 2019. His older brother is 4 years old. These are true miracles from God through the guided hands of Dr. Monteith and his staff. We are so blessed and thankful for these two boys! We can’t thank you enough!”

In another testimonial, a happy mother, writes, “Fifteen years of suffering from tubal ligation symptoms brought my husband and me to Dr. Monteith. He did a great job and I felt the symptoms vanish soon after my reversal. Our baby (born on the one year anniversary of my reversal) is an amazing blessing!”

Those looking to learn more about A Personal Choice to have more children after their tubes have been tied or to evaluate abnormal symptoms after tubal ligation can find extensive information and statistics on the website of A Personal Choice. In addition, A Personal Choice also maintains an active company Tubal Reversal Facebook page and Facebook Tubal Reversal Group, where they share updates with those desiring more information about tubal ligation reversal and vasectomy reversal surgery.

For more information about A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center, call (919) 977-5050 or visit https://www.tubal-reversal.net:

CONTACT INFORMATION:
A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal
Dr. Charles W. Monteith, Jr., M.D.
(919) 977-5050
ContactUs@tubal-reversal.net
3613 Haworth Drive, Raleigh NC 27609

‘The best World Cup gift’

 

Servando Carrasco and Alex Morgan are a match made in soccer heaven. The couple, who married in 2014, are both major soccer stars; Carrasco plays professionally with the L.A. Galaxy, while Morgan is co-captain of the United States national team, which just dominated in the 2019 World Cup, where she won the Silver Boot award for second-most goals scored. But now, they’re celebrating a new achievement: a new baby girl, due next April.

Carrasco and Morgan announced their pregnancy on Morgan’s Instagram account, posing on a beach with a onesie, and a sign that read “Baby Girl April 2020.” In the caption, Morgan wrote, “We are already in love and we haven’t even met her yet.”

Carrasco likewise celebrated the news on Instagram, with a picture of them posing with their two dogs. “Can’t wait to meet my baby girl,” he wrote. They also spoke to PEOPLE about their exciting news. “We are so overjoyed to grow our family,” Morgan said. “She’s the best World Cup gift I could have asked for.”

Their soccer family likewise took the occasion to celebrate with them. “Bringing another powerful woman into the world. Love to see it,” the US Women’s National Team account posted on Instagram. “Congrats [Alex] & Servando! Your #USWNT fam is ecstatic!”

Morgan is the latest elite female athlete to show that motherhood does not get in the way of achieving goals, or that having an amazing career does not keep one from being a mother. Serena Williams, considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, won a Grand Slam tournament while two months pregnant. Kerri Walsh Jennings, a star volleyball player who has won numerous Olympic gold medals, likewise won Olympic gold while pregnant with her daughter Scout, and she credits her children for giving her the drive to succeed.

“She knows she’s golden,” she said of Scout in an interview. “I don’t know if she knows how big of a part she played in that [Olympic win]. My boys certainly do.” Another Olympian, Alysia Montano, is a seven-time United States champion, a two-time American record holder, and she’s won three Olympic medals. She competed in the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships at almost six months pregnant, her baby bump proudly on display; she had previously competed in the USATF’s USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2014 while eight months pregnant.

Allyson Felix is another Olympic runner, and is the most decorated Track and Field Olympian of all time. She became pregnant, and was almost immediately threatened the loss of her sponsorship by Nike. Felix, however, fought back, successfully pressuring Nike to change their policy towards pregnant athletes, and ensuring that women who play sports will not be punished for having children. Her fight marked a huge victory over pregnancy discrimination for athletes everywhere.

U.S. women’s soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Kate Markgraf have shown support for Morgan and her goal of returning to the Olympic team in late July.

“[…] we’re going to do everything in our power, use the resources that the federation is providing, whether it’s high-performance director, staff, anything that we can do on our side to help her get back for the Olympics,” said Andonovski.

These women, together, are making a huge difference for women everywhere. They’re proving that women can do anything — from being Olympic stars to doting mothers — and they don’t have to choose between their children and their dreams.

Study Confirms Half of Women Killing Baby With Abortion Pill Use It as Birth Control

RANDALL O’BANNON PH.D

Data collected by Prof. Abigail Aiken and the team at Project SANA (Self-managed Abortion Needs Assessment) do give us some valuable insight into exactly who is seeking chemical self abortion and why.

Distribution by age of those inquiring about abortifacients online tended to be about what they were for the general population of abortion patients. About 72% were under thirty, 24%-25% were women in their 30s, and between 3% and 4% were women over forty.

Just over half (about 53%) already had given birth to at least one child ; past national figures from the CDC put the number for aborting women who have already given birth at closer to 60%.

More than 7 in 10 (72.3%) reported the age of their unborn baby at less than seven weeks (the FDA’s original cut off for chemical abortions with mifepristone). The remainder said they were between seven and ten weeks pregnant (the FDA’s current cut off).

Though we know from reports that clinics across the U.S. have often attempted to chemically abort women with gestations greater than ten weeks, the Women on Waves (WoW) website currently tells women these pregnancies are too far advanced and will end the consult.

Because this data is based on self reporting, factual confirmation of these details are lacking. Moreover, there are still questions about the representativeness of this sample. Nonetheless, there are interesting claims made by women in the study about the circumstances under which they became pregnant and why they wanted abortions.

Nearly half (48.9%) said that they were not using birth control at the time they became pregnant. Another 45.4% said their contraception “failed.” About one in twenty (4.9%) said that they were pregnant as a result of rape.

Reasons given for seeking to chemically self-abort were largely consistent with those we have heard for all abortions.

More than six in ten (60.7%) reported “lack of money.”

About four in ten (38.7%) said they “want to finish school.”

Three in ten (30.4%) said they were “too young”; one in twenty (4.8%) said they were too old.

More than two-thirds (68.8%) simply said, ”I just cannot have a child at this point in my life.” (What this meant was not further specified in the form; women were able to pick out multiple reasons, so percentages do not add up to 100.)

Less than one in fifty (1.9%) cited unspecified “illness” as the reason for their abortion, while one in five (20%) simply stated that their “family is complete.”

Aiken and her team tried to generate separate statistics for those women contacting WoW from “hostile states” and those from “supportive states.” (The categories depended on how many laws had passed with regard to parental involvement, informed consent, abortion funding, clinic regulation, etc.)

Differences were slight with regards to gestational age, contraceptive use, and reasons for seeking abortion. Women from “hostile states”–those with more pro-life laws–tended to be more likely to have previously given birth (55.7%) than those from “supportive states” (44.6%).

Reasons for online abortion pills not as expected

Abortion advocates have tried to argue that limits on abortion in those “hostile” pro-life states are driving women to seek out abortion pills online. Despite their best spin and efforts, the data here in this study generally doesn’t seem to support that view.

For example, when asked why they were seeking abortion pills online from WoW, less than a fifth cited “state laws.” Just 18.1% cited this as a reason for trying to get the pills in the so-called “hostile” states, and almost as many (14.1%) gave this as a reason in states that the research team deemed “supportive.”

Beyond the low percentage, the minimal difference between perceptions in “hostile” versus “supportive” states shows that the actual presence or absence of such laws in a given state isn’t that big a factor in pushing women into the arms of the online abortion merchants.

What about the distance involved in having to travel to an abortion clinic, often cited by abortion advocates? This was slightly more of an issue for women in “hostile” states (29%) than it was for those in “supportive” states (21%). However this may be a function of geography (e.g., being in a state with a spread out population) or of their generally being a higher concentration of abortion clinics in those abortion sympathetic states.

The other reasons given for seeking abortion pills online are pretty much what might be expected of women looking for an alternative to an abortion at a clinic. About half said being able to abort in the “privacy” (49.3% for “hostile” states, 48.5% for “supportive” states ) or “comfort”(47% for hostile” states ,44.5% for “supportive” states) of their own home environment was factor.

This is something that was a huge early selling point for these abortions, attractive to those unaware of the physical dangers and psychological trauma associated with the chemical abortion process.

The quarter of potential WoW customers that said they sought the pills online because of the “ability to have others present” (25.3% for “hostile” states, 25.8% for “supportive” states) may have included some with a better understanding of the risk involved.

A sizeable number of women appear to have bought into the myth (or at least thought that it sounded like an attractive feature) that at home abortions with pills bought over the internet give them “a feeling of autonomy” (41.9% in “hostile” states, 43.7% in “supportive” states) or a “feeling of empowerment” (10.8% for “hostile” states,12.8% for “supportive” states).

About four in ten (39.6% in “hostile” states, 43.2% in “supportive” states) cited the “need to keep abortion secret” as their reason for turning to online abortifacients. Just over a third (34.4% in “supportive states,” 32.5% in “hostile” states) said that getting the pills online helped them avoid problems involved in getting time off from work or school.

Less than 20% from either “hostile” or “supportive” states mentioned “perceived abortion stigma,” “protester harassment” or “difficulty finding childcare” as reasons they might prefer a method that would enable them to avoid going to the clinic.

By far, the biggest reason women gave for seeking out online abortion pills was the “cost of clinic abortion.” This was cited by 71.1% of women in “hostile” states and 62.9% in “supportive” states, tops in both categories. [1]

This clearly means that interest in online abortifacients is driven, not by those seeking a way around pro-life laws, but by women unhappy with clinic abortion prices looking for a bargain on the internet.

Either way, that’s an industry issue, a marketing issue, not a legal one.

These results presents the industry with a dilemma. Clinics are struggling to get enough clients to stay open, to pay the bills, cover the rent, pay the staff, and give the abortionists their cut. Cut prices and the margin is even lower.

Online abortion pill peddlers don’t have all the overhead of a physical clinic, all the extra employees, thus enabling them to charge lower prices. The more women go online for their abortions, the less business there is for the “brick and mortar” clinics.

This may explain why you see other people and other groups out there promoting these online pills but not abortion giants such as Planned Parenthood.

More a marketing report than a study

Ostensibly a study to show how pro-life laws are driving pregnant women to seek the means to self-abort online, Aiken et al.’s study instead exposes how well the abortion industry’s widely touted and heavily promoted effort to come up with a new and improved abortion method to address problems with clinic abortions like cost, time, travel, etc., is faring.

The answer appears to be “not well.”

There are some women, accustomed in this day and age to shop for bargains on line, who are looking for something cheaper, something better that they can get at home rather than the expensive, inconvenient abortions for which they’d normally have to take the day off work and drive to the abortion clinic.

The pitch of a cheap, easy, safe abortion a woman can do in the privacy of her own home is clearly attractive to some women, even if the reality is something far different. What should be surprising to the Aiken team is how relatively few women seem to have sought the option.

Advocates of “self-managed abortion” are anxious to portray this as an “access issue,” where state laws and FDA drug policies interfere with a woman’s ability to exercise what they think is her “right to abortion.” Creating “evidence” of this supposed interference and demand is a critical part of making their case to the FDA to loosen controls on prescription and distribution of these abortion drugs to overcome these barriers.

Although that was clearly the intention of this study’s authors, their data tell us it really wasn’t the reason most of the women sought the abortion pills online. They simply weren’t satisfied with the product and the prices currently being offered at America’s abortion clinics.

Eventually, in spite of the latest marketing pitch, women will figure out that it is the same product, just with new packaging being delivered in a new and riskier setting. And no matter the price, they will discover that the cost in lost lives and wounded souls is just too high

[1] That about 8% fewer in the “supportive” states mentioned cost in some cases may be because many of those states cover abortions with state funds.

LifeNews.com Note: Randall O’Bannon, Ph.D., is the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee. This column originally appeared at NRL News Today.

Major family planning groups reveal how they use crises to push abortion in poor nations

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2019 (C-Fam) — Several major family planning groups recently revealed how they are working to integrate abortion into their humanitarian work. The groups were quite open about this at an event hosted by the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Millions of people around the world are affected by war and natural disasters, with many displaced from their homes. Humanitarian crises can last for years, during which families must continue to raise their children; access health care and education; and protect themselves from violence, often exacerbated in fragile situations.

But such crises are also opportunities to change gender norms, promote contraception and abortion, and campaign for changes to abortion laws, according to speakers at panel. The event was co-sponsored by Save the Children, CARE, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Family Planning 2020. Although the theme was providing family planning in humanitarian settings, the panelists frequently discussed their work in providing abortion.

“Norms have a way of changing in acute settings,” said Seema Manohar of CARE, an organization working to undermine the current U.S. administration’s pro-life policies abroad. CARE opposes the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy blocking U.S. funding to foreign groups that promote or provide abortions.

As an example, Manohar said that in one area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only short-acting contraceptives had been available. After conflict in the region necessitated a humanitarian response, longer-acting methods were being provided.

Manohar said that her organization’s work includes the provision of “safe abortion” and she cited a guidance called the Minimum Initial Services Package, or MISP, which calls for “safe abortion to the full extent of the law” in humanitarian settings. The MISP was created by the Interagency Working Group for Reproductive Health in Emergencies, of which CARE is a steering committee member.

On multiple occasions, the presence of abortion in the MISP has led to its exclusion from negotiated UN documents.

Erin Wheeler, IRC’s Contraception and Abortion Care Advisor, also discussed her organization’s work to promote abortion, focusing on Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. She noted that IRC “strives to be a feminist organization” and provides abortions in eight countries. In Colombia, IRC works with local affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, where they refer patients for abortions after 13 weeks’ gestation. For earlier pregnancies, Wheeler said her organization provides them with abortion pills.

Comparing different sites in Colombia, Wheeler said providing abortions was more difficult in Medellín, both because of local regulations and health workers’ attitudes. “We’re actually finding some providers a bit reluctant to offer this service, we’re seeing conscientious objections, but also they’re requiring hospitalization for even first-trimester abortion, which actually has been dramatically increasing our costs.”

Wheeler said IRC was working with local leaders to find ways to “improve staff attitudes” and document “delays” to accessing abortions.

All panelists stressed the importance of advocacy in addition to providing humanitarian services. Wheeler said that in order to change norms nationally, one key was finding groups already working on those issues and helping them with partnerships and financing. She pointed to the example of a “nexus-wide” effort to liberalize the abortion laws in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In response to an audience question about the impact of PLGHA, Wheeler noted that IRC is U.S.-based, and therefore exempt from the policy, which she referred to as a “benefit” of their structure.

Wheeler echoed the sentiments of the panel regarding the administration’s pro-life policy: “Hopefully we don’t see it in the future.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.

Depo-Provera Betraying Women

Carolyn Moynihan

A dialogue of discomfort in the face of an epidemic:

A. What could be more important to a developing country than highly effective contraception for its women?

B. Preventing HIV-AIDS, perhaps?

A. That is equally important, but not more important.

B. We agree. But what if the most effective method in such a country seems to be increasing the risk of HIV?

A. Well, none of the evidence for that so far is very strong. We must do some research that will give us a definitive answer to this question.

That, very simplistically, is the conversation that has been going on for at least a decade between the international population control establishment (A) and the HIV-AIDS prevention establishment (B) – a conversation that resulted in a World Health Organisation press release in June headlined, “New study finds no link between HIV infection and contraceptive methods”.

The definitive research has been done and the main finding is greatly reassuring to the WHO and the sexual and reproductive health NGOs providing contraceptive services in southern and south-eastern Africa. This is the region of the world where the HIV epidemic is now concentrated, especially among young women – the population which is also deemed to be most in need of highly effective contraception.

For 30 years, as the AIDS epidemic took hold in many countries, evidence has been accumulating that women on hormonal contraceptives, in particular the injection best known as Depo-Provera, were more likely to become infected with HIV than those not using modern contraception. Targeted studies over the last decade showed increased risk levels of 50 and 100 percent.

This was disappointing to the WHO and others because Depo-Provera – a synthetic progesterone shot lasting three months and usually injected into muscle tissue in the upper arm (also named DMPA-IM) — and a similar injectable were regarded as the most effective method for women living far from family planning clinics (or any regular health service) and in traditional communities where birth control was suspect.

Did this highly effective method of preventing too many births in fact pose a special risk? And if so, how much of a risk?

The ECHO trial

To answer these questions a clinical randomised trial was designed with the title, Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO). Its main purpose was to compare HIV infection rates among women using DMPA-IM and two other methods: the Levonorgestrel implant (also known as Jadelle), and a (non-hormonal) copper-bearing IUD.

Sexually active young women (ages 16 to 35) who wanted effective contraception were recruited in 12 community settings (nine sites in South Africa, and one each in Eswatini, Kenya and Zambia) with high HIV prevalence, they had to be HIV negative and not have used any of the methods during the previous six months. After screening, 7829 women were enrolled in the trial and randomly assigned to one of the three methods.

The women were followed for 12 to 18 months and received ongoing health services, including counselling on HIV prevention and care, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. To remain in the trial they had to contribute at least one HIV test. Retention rates were over 90 percent.

When the results were reported in The Lancet Online in June there was good news and bad news.

The good news: “We did not find a substantial difference in HIV risk among the methods evaluated, and all methods were safe and highly effective.”

The bad news: “HIV incidence was high in this population of women seeking pregnancy prevention, emphasising the need for integration of HIV prevention within contraceptive services for African women.”

The take-home message: “These results support continued and increased access to these three contraceptive methods.”

In other words: Shame about all the HIV – we need to do something about that – but it’s nothing, or nothing much to do with the contraceptives we like so much.

‘Reassuring’ – and ‘sobering’ results

In the WHO press release, a member of the ECHO Management Committee said that the results were both “reassuring” and “sobering”:

“After decades of uncertainty, we finally have robust scientific evidence about the potential relationship between hormonal contraception and the risk of HIV from a rigorous, randomised clinical trial,” said Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “The results on this question are reassuring, but our findings are also sobering, because they confirm unacceptably high HIV incidence among young African women.”

At the end of August, WHO issued an updated guidance on the contraceptives in question that means they can be used without restriction.

So, all methods safe? Full steam ahead?

Not everyone in the conversation about contraception and HIV is equally reassured. Those involved in HIV prevention and advocacy, in fact, find it very sobering.

Responding to the WHO’s reclassification of DMPA-IM, the New York based Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention (AVAC) said it was “gravely concerned that this guidance will be used to justify a ‘business as usual’ approach.” The Civil Society Advocacy Working Group on contraception and HIV went further, saying that, “The ECHO results are not ‘good news’.”

Listening carefully to ECHO

To understand why requires listening carefully to ECHO, to three notes in particular.

1. The number of women who became infected with HIV during the trial – despite counselling and treatment – was 397, an annual rate of 3.8 percent (4 percent in South Africa) that the authors of the Lancet report describe as “alarmingly high”. The WHO requires a preventive drug regime known as PReP for rates above 3 percent.

Under these circumstances, as the advocacy groups cited above said, any increased risk associated with method use is unacceptable. However, the trial was geared to detect a 50 percent increased risk (or hazard ratio) and could not reliably detect ratios below 30 percent.

2. ECHO only compared three methods to one another, not the absolute risk of using a method compared to using no hormonal or other “highly effective” form of contraception, as most previous studies have done.

Dr Jokin de Irala, who holds the Chair of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarre in Spain, told MercatorNet that he agrees with the ECHO authors that, given the design of the trial, having a placebo group would have been unethical, but a comparison with HIV rates in the areas from which the women came would have been useful. As it is, “the only valid conclusion from the trial is that the three groups compared have similar rates of HIV.” Given the high rate of infection inthe trial, he adds, the ECHO finding that “all methods are safe misses some criteria of safety.”

3. ECHO did find increased risks in its comparisons; these were (per annum) as follows: 4 percent for DMPA-IM compared with the copper IUD; 23 percent for DMPA-IM compared with the implant LNG; and 18 percent for the copper IUD compared with LNG. (In a secondary analysis the first two figures were 10 percent and 29 percent.) What was “reassuring” was that these figures were “similar” and all below 30 percent – that is, not statistically significant in terms of the study design.

STIs – the other epidemic

In truth, it is hard to see how anyone can feel reassured by these results from a region with what AVAC calls a “soaring epidemic [of HIV] among young women,” (who can also, by the way, infect new partners.) Among those in the ECHO trial there were high rates of other infections as well: at enrolment 18 percent had chlamydia and by the end of the trial, despite treatment, gonorrhoea stood at 5 percent. Some had herpes. It is well known that these other STIs increase the risk of HIV in the long run.

WHO officials quoted by the Kenyan paper, The Nation, said the infection figures in ECHO were “a wake-up call”, that “STIs have been forgotten” and that family planning clinics should be offering testing. Ironically, it’s long-acting contraceptives like DMPA, and even more, the implant and the IUD, that keep women away from clinics and their other services.

At the same time, as Dr de Irala points out, these “very effective” methods might lead young women to take more risks with their sexual behaviour – what is known as risk compensation. The ECHO study authors themselves noted “post-randomisation differences in self-reported HIV risktaking behaviours between groups.”

Biological reasons are also in play for young women. It is thought that hormonal contraception reduces the immunology of the vagina and cervix, which in younger adolescents is immature. A scientific report in Nature in January suggested the mechanisms by which this happens with DMPA-IM.

Anything but behaviour change

Both the population control and HIV-AIDS prevention establishments agree that there is an urgent need for “integration” of their respective services and training of providers. AVAC and others insist that injectables are not suitable for all women and that there must be a greater choice of contraceptives for them, as well as PReP for those most at risk of HIV. How they will achieve all this, and who will continue to fork out the funds required is not clear. Some are pinning their hopes on a magic pill that will prevent babies and HIV at the same time.

The last thing they will consider, apparently, is behaviour change. In the 1990s the Ugandan population living with AIDS fell from 15 percent to 5-6 percent through the presidential-led ABC campaign: abstain, be faithful to one partner, or if you can’t, use condoms. This strategy has been used in other African countries also with some success, where it is more consistent with traditional values.

But Western elites underestimate the peoples of the developing world, and in their continued hurry to bring down birthrates that are already falling – and are just where they should be in Africa – they undermine local cultures and make whatever is faulty in them worse. Much of this is done in the name of “empowering” women, who, in southern Africa at least, are now the population most vulnerable to HIV, and from an early age.

The trouble with rich elites is that when they intervene in other cultures, they only look for echoes of themselves. This is why they cannot really help African women, as the plight of those in the ECHO study demonstrates.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

A ‘new’ normal? Updated fertility trends across the globe

Lyman Stone

By now most readers are aware that U.S. birth rates have fallen to all-time lows. Early data for 2019 suggest that this slide is likely to continue. Those interested in demography more generally may also be aware that birth rates are falling in other countries. Most recently, reports of Finland’s baby bust have made headlines. Why are birth rates plummeting across so many countries?

Before the “why” question can be answered, it’s important to get a handle on the scope and scale of the decline. Where is fertility falling? Is the decline more severe in some places than in others?

To answer that question, I’ve put together the most up-to-date database of fertility statistics available anywhere, covering 61 countries for recent years. Major sources like the World Bank and the United Nations are only updated through 2017; I have updated through 2018 where data is available, and where year-to-date 2019 data is available, I’ve estimated what 2019 fertility rates are likely to be.

The data shows that very low fertility rates are becoming increasingly normal across the globe. Current declines are probably not just cyclical, but likely reflect a “new normal” with most countries having birth rates between 1.4 and 1.9 children per woman.

Presenting 61 countries’ fertility rates in a single graph is not feasible. Instead, below I show the average annual change in each country’s birth rate from 2007 to the latest data (2017, 2018, or 2019) for a variety of countries, grouped by various regional or historic ties. The groups are arranged from left to right, with the highest fertility region as of 2007 (the Middle East and North Africa) at the left, and the lowest-fertility region as of 2007 (East Asia) at the right.

As the figure shows, fertility fell the most in the highest-fertility regions, and it rose somewhat in lower-fertility regions. Put in statistical terms, the amount of variation among these 61 countries declined by half between 2007 and 2019. This was not only because of fertility declines among very-high-fertility countries, what demographers call “demographic transition,” but also because of modest fertility increases in low-fertility countries, and declines in medium-fertility countries.

The graph below illustrates this even more clearly, with the change in fertility rates since 2007 compared to actual fertility in 2007.

Basically, countries with birth rates above 1.6 or 1.7 children per woman experienced fertility declines. Countries with birth rates below that saw more stability or even increases. What we appear to be seeing is a global convergence around fertility rates of 1.6 or 1.7 children.

This is not just a rich-world phenomenon. Birth rates in Mexico are around 1.9 to 2 kids per woman, so below the rate needed to sustain Mexico’s current population levels. Brazil’s birth rate is even lower, at 1.75, similar to Colombia’s at 1.77. Costa Rica is even lower, at 1.66. El Salvador, Argentina, and Venezuela are all just barely “breaking even” demographically. Other countries like Guatemala are higher but falling fast.

Across the Pacific, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India are all around 2 or 2.2 kids per woman, while Malaysia has fallen to about 1.8. Thailand is even lower, at 1.5 kids per woman. Even Muslim countries like Turkey (2), Iran (1.8), and Tunisia (2.1) have near-replacement fertility, with speedy declines still ongoing.

Data for Africa is not sufficiently recent or high-quality to speak to very recent declines, but the trend there is also one of extremely rapid fertility decline, as I’ve written previously for IFS.

Thus, while recent fertility declines are not globally shared, they nonetheless point to an emerging norm of below-replacement fertility. We should not expect that the future will be one of growing populations, but rather one where most countries face serious demographic challenges.

Why is this happening? A few specific country examples may help point the way to an explanation.

Asian Tigers? Asian Pandas.

Many commentators use “Japan” as a by-word for demographic decline. But while Japan does face demographic challenges, it appears to be rising to meet them. Today, Japan actually has the highest fertility rate in East Asia, once we exclude the hermit kingdom of North Korea and the post-Soviet nomads of Mongolia.

Japan’s birth rates have been rising for some time. But beyond this rise, Japan has been getting creative to encourage births at all levels of society and is also successfully opening its doors to immigration. The perception of Japan as an ultra-low fertility, unfriendly-to-families, closed-to-immigration country is increasingly outdated.

On the other hand, Korea’s birth rate has plummeted to astonishingly low levels. If current trends hold, 2019 will report birth rates of around 0.92 expected children per woman, one of the lowest numbers ever reported by any country. Korea is trying to boost fertility rates, but their efforts are misguided and failing. Without serious labor reforms aimed at de-prioritizing “workist” career-competitiveness, Korea’s birth rate will continue to fall.

Korea’s case is unique, but the forces driving it, especially the unchecked power of the labor market over peoples’ lives, are shared with many countries.

The Mongol Horde

The universality of the forces reducing fertility is sometimes obscured by impressive-looking short-term fluctuations. And indeed, elsewhere in Asia, there’s a baby boom.

Mongolians averaged 7.3 kids per woman in 1974: a figure that fell to 2.5 by 1993, and below 2 by 2005. But then, something happened. Since 2005, Mongolian birth rates have rocketed upwards and now stand at around three children per woman. The consequences of this baby boom on school crowding, the challenges it poses for children’s health in Mongolia’s highly polluted capital, and the role played by improving rural maternal health services, have all been featured in international media. More generally, Mongolia’s economic boom driven by growing global, and especially Chinese, investment almost certainly had a role to play. Meanwhile, this fertility gain has not come at the expense of gender equality, as Mongolian women remain better educated than Mongolian men, and are making more and more inroads into traditionally male-dominated fields.

But while Mongolia’s case appearunique for Asia, offering some cause for hope, that optimism would be misplaced. Mongolia’s true peers are not other Asian countries, but other post-Soviet countries.

Many former Soviet countries had a “baby bust” just like Mongolia did during the 1990s due to the chaos and disruption of the fall of communism. And many of those countries are now enjoying a recovery to fertility rates nearer their 1980s levels, just as Mongolia is. These recoveries probably will not last forever, and indeed may already be fizzling out. In time, despite its currently-impressive fertility trends, it is most likely that Mongolia’s “Soviet recovery boom” will fade, and the gradual forces of economic modernization will push its birth rates down to similar levels seen in other countries.

Modern Greenland

Economic modernization is a funny thing. Sometimes it comes naturally, sometimes, it’s forced. One of the most striking cases of “engineered modernity” comes not from the Soviet Union, but from Greenland, a constituent part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Denmark had owned and colonized Greenland for a long time when, starting in 1950, the government embarked on an ambitious project to modernize the people of Greenland: economically of course, but also, perhaps especially, culturally. Notably, this was despite a 1946 decision by Greenland’s native leaders to reject modernization.

The first step of modernity was to introduce the sale of alcohol into Greenland, with predictably deleterious effects. Then, from 1952 to 1968, the Danish government embarked on a massive campaign of housing and infrastructure expansion designed to encourage Greenlanders to move out of small, traditional villages, into a few urban centers, where public services could be more easily delivered. The most infamous of these new housing developments was Blok P, an enormous and notorious public housing project that eventually housed nearly 1% of the total population of Greenland, but few of them happily. During the modernization period, education was also switched to Danish. Political modernity arrived as well, with the usual democratic, socialist, liberal, and rightist parties forming during the 1970s.

Overall, Denmark’s aggressive modernization campaign provoked anti-colonial resistance and helped lead to the movement for Greenlandic home rule in 1979, self-government in 2009, and perhaps someday independence.

But that wasn’t all. Fatefully, in 1967, the Danish government began a major campaign to promote IUDs. The results of aggressive modernization, intentional cultural disruption, and aggressive contraceptive campaigns were as might be expected.

In the span of just eight years from 1966 to 1974, fertility rates fell abruptly from 7 children per woman to 2.3. This is the fastest fertility transition in human history.

Of course, Greenland’s fertility did not fall to extremely low levels and remains near replacement rate today, although it is gradually declining. But the country is an example of the striking influence that can be exerted by a determined government. A full-court-press of political reform, urbanization, healthcare, education, and industrial transformation radically altered Greenlandic fertility. Not even China’s one-child policy was so dramatically successful at reaching its goals and, certainly, no pro-natal initiative has ever been so successful.

People of the Promise

So, if a government can engineer a cultural change to reduce fertility, can it do the opposite?

In any discussion of fertility, one country comes up a lot: Israel. Virtually alone among rich countries, Israel has a fertility rate of around 3 children per woman. And this is not just thanks to a minority group within Israel, like Muslims. The majority-population of Israeli Jews have birth rates around 3 kids per woman. While the ultra-Orthodox Jews have the most children, even secular Jews have above-replacement-rate fertility in Israel.

This also cannot be solely attributed to the general policy environment. While Israel does encourage births, many previously very-high-fertility groups in Israel, like the Druze, now have near-replacement-rate fertility. Rather, Israel’s high birth rates appear to be in some sense a product of cultural norms within the Israeli Jewish community.

However, if early data for 2019 is to be believed, Israeli Jewish fertility is now falling as well. If even Israel’s pro-family culture and aggressively pro-natal policies can’t stave off fertility declines, what can?

Looking Forward

Birth rates are falling. Around the world, it seems like fertility rates are likely to reach stability between 1.4 and 1.9 kids per woman, and most plausibly around 1.6 to 1.7. This is considerably below the assumptions of most population forecasting bodies like the United Nations, which typically assumes stable fertility rates of between 1.8 and 2.1. In other words, the ongoing global fertility slump suggests that the future human population will be smaller than expected.

Lyman Stone is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and an Adjunct Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Republished from the Institute for Family Studies blog, with permission.

 

Oral contraceptives making women fatter, new study finds

Martin M. Barillas

PAMPLONA, Spain, October 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The use of oral contraceptives among women increases the risk of obesity, according to new research.

Researchers at Spain’s University of Navarre analyzed the results of a longitudinal study of nearly 5,000 women over the course of eight years. Lead researcher Alfredo Gea and colleagues at the university’s Center for Research on Obesity and Nutrition (Ciberobn) published their findings in the International Journal of Obesity. The study is titled “Oral contraceptives use and development of obesity in a Mediterranean cohort: the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project” and was published in August.

According to the study, the use of oral contraceptives by women over the course of two or more years is related to an increase of 78% in the probability of obesity in the following eight years. The abstract of the study stated, “The use of oral contraceptives (OC) has been suggested to represent a potential risk factor for the development of obesity.”

Regarding methodology, the authors noted that the study population consisted of 4,920 female university graduates who were identified as “initially nonobese” with a mean age of 28.2 years. The use of oral contraceptives was self-reported, while the body mass index of the subjects was assessed at the onset and every two years thereafter. For the purposes of the study, the female subjects were divided into two groups. The women of one group were regular users of oral contraceptives, while those of the other group were not.

The results of the study showed that obesity becomes especially prevalent among women who consistently use oral contraceptives over time. Researcher Álvaro San Juan Rodríguez of the University of Pittsburgh told Spanish newspaper ABC that the study proved that “the risk of developing obesity in the following years practically doubles among the women who regularly used oral contraceptives and almost tripled among those who used it continuously for more than two years.”

Gea urged caution in the use of oral contraceptives, which are more and more commonly used.

The study noted that obesity has become a global public health issue that has reached “epidemic proportions” and presents a major challenge to human health. According to the authors, “obesity increases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer, among other diseases.”

The authors wrote that available evidence is highly inconsistent as to how oral hormonal contraceptive may cause weight gain. “Weight gain may be a result of fluid retention, fat deposition, muscle mass gain, or any combination of the aforementioned elements,” the study said.

No previous large prospective studies have assessed the long-term risk of oral contraceptive use, wrote the authors.

Previous studies have indicated links between oral contraceptive use and debilitating or deadly blood clots. Oral contraceptive pills can cause elevated levels of cholesterol, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, various forms of cardiovascular disease, and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, women who have used oral contraceptives are at a slightly higher risk for breast cancer. The government agency noted that women who have used oral contraceptives are also at a higher risk of endometrial and cervical cancer.

$9 million awarded to family of student who died from birth control complications

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The family of a college student who died in 2014 from a pulmonary embolism linked to birth control has been awarded $9 million in a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against Auburn Urgent Care in Alabama.

Hope Johnson was prescribed hormonal birth control by her gynecologist even after a blood test determined that she was at a high risk of developing blood clots. The doctor’s office, however, failed to properly file the lab results and Johnson was prescribed birth control that was a risk to her health and life. According to AL.com, her mother had a history of blood clots and had a pulmonary embolism while pregnant.

About a month after being prescribed the hormonal birth control, Johnson was struggling with shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and a sore throat. On December 2, 2014, she went to Auburn Urgent Care for help. She was diagnosed with bronchitis and was prescribed an antibiotic. She was directed to come back if her condition worsened.

The next day, she had “severe shortness of breath” and her chest pain had gotten worse. However, the doctor at Auburn Urgent Care did not give her a physical exam, according to AL.com, but diagnosed her with a high white blood cell count and shortness of breath. She was given an inhaler. It was the first day on the job for a new doctor at the clinic and he had been directed by the medical director to treat patients without having any access to their current or past medical records. The lawsuit stated that Johnson’s condition was critical and she should have been taken by ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center.

The following day, on December 4, Johnson died of a “massive pulmonary emboli” according to the lawsuit, which was filed against Auburn Urgent Care, Dr. Zenon Bednarski – the clinic’s senior partner, owner, and supervising physician – and Dr. David Willis, the doctor who saw her at the urgent care. The lawsuit states that Bednarski did not give Willis login credentials that would have enabled him to view patient histories. It was Willis’s first day on the job. The verdict is the largest ever in a Lee County medical-malpractice suit.

“We are very pleased with the jury decision in the wrongful death case of our precious daughter Hope,” the Johnson family said in a statement. “We continue to feel her absence every day and pray this decision brings about much-needed change. Our chief desire is that this case will set a precedent that will prevent this from happening to another family or college student, not just in Lee County, but in Alabama as a whole.”

Hormonal birth control carries numerous risks to women’s health, which are frequently downplayed by doctors and the media. Women are often not fully informed about the potential risks to their health when they are prescribed birth control. These dangers include an increased risk of depression and suicide, heart attack and stroke, breast cancer and cervical cancer, infertility, and blood clots — as was the case with Johnson.

“Hope’s death is tragic because it was entirely preventable,” said Brett Turnbull of Turnbull Law Firm, representing the Johnson family. “We don’t know the exact number of patients seen that day, but it was too many. Patient well-being, not profits, should be the primary goal of healthcare.”

Calling All Catholics: We Need You Praying the Rosary to End Abortion

FATHER FRANK PAVONE

The pro-life movement is marked by many prayers. For people of faith, prayer unites us to the Lord of Life, and calls Him to make present the Victory of Life. We pray for our own conversion and for the conversion of the mothers, the fathers, the abortionists, and the general public.

Among Catholics, few are more popular than the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

The Rosary has been constantly recommended by Popes and saints. In its prayers can be found all of salvation history. It immerses us in Scripture. It has gained great victories for Christianity through the ages.

And it is particularly well suited to our movement to end abortion. There are a number of reasons.

The Rosary honors a Mother, and calls “blessed” the fruit of her womb. This counteracts the abortion mentality, which sees motherhood as more of a burden than a blessing and sees the fruit of the womb as disposable.

In the Rosary, we proclaim that we are sinners. “Pray for us sinners.” “Forgive us our trespasses.” It proves false the accusation of abortion supporters who tell us we are “self-righteous.”  Rather, we are the ones who need to repent of our negligence and inactivity regarding abortion.

Often the Rosary is used at the prayer vigils at abortion facilities, where we confront the killing, lies, and exploitation that go on inside.

The Rosary has a calming effect as our fingers handle the beads, our lips repeat the Hail Marys, and our mind calmly reviews the Mysteries. An abortion mill can be a place of great tension, especially if there are counter-demonstrators. The Rosary helps diffuse the tension.

The format of the Rosary allows everyone to participate, whether at an abortion mill or during a march. It can be prayed while walking and can be adjusted to any time frame. A practical suggestion is to have half the group say the first part of the Hail Mary and the other half respond. If there is only one person leading the prayer, most people cannot hear it, especially with the noise of traffic.

Because of the popularity of the Rosary among pro-life activists, various forms of “pro-life Rosaries” have been developed. Some of these have different colored beads associated with each decade, each representing a specific intention (the babies, the mothers, the abortionists, etc.). Some rosaries bear the image of the unborn child on each bead.

A large number of pro-life rosary meditations have also been composed, based on Scripture, doctrine, and the experience of the pro-life movement.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet grew out of a series of visions experienced by St. Faustina, who was a religious sister in Poland in 1935.

In the revelations of Divine Mercy to St. Faustina, abortion was the primary sin for which God asked us to cry out for his mercy. Moreover, God allowed St. Faustina to experience severe abdominal pains, to signify the pain of mothers aborting their children. The devotion to Divine Mercy deserves particular emphasis for those who have had abortions and for abortionists and clinic workers.

Because of all this, we at Priests for Life have just begun a daily broadcast of the Rosary at 3 p.m. ET on EndAbortion.TV and about twenty social media video platforms simultaneously.

The Joyful Mysteries will be recited on Mondays and Saturdays; the Sorrowful Mysteries, on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Glorious Mysteries, on Wednesdays and Sundays, and the Luminous Mysteries, on Thursdays.

Following the rosary each day, I will also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet of St. Faustina. Each broadcast lasts about 28 minutes.

Please join us, and let’s continue to bring the power of prayer to the most important, urgent and fundamental human rights struggle of our day: restoring protection to the children in the womb!

Who is footing the bill for ‘free’ abortion pills on California college campuses?

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A measure to force public universities to offer dangerous abortion pills on college campus, recently signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, will initially be set up using funds from pro-abortion groups. However, pro-life student group Students for Life of America (SFLA) notes that student fees will also be used to fund on-campus abortions, since those fees underwrite the costs of campus healthcare centers. SFLA also pointed out how the conscience rights of students and healthcare workers will be violated if forced to participate with abortions. “This law includes funds that can go to Planned Parenthood for ‘consulting’ and new funds for ‘security’, allowing the nation’s number one abortion vendor to sit back and cash checks, enjoying the chaos of abortions taking place at schools without any of the risk,” said SFLA president Kristin Hawkins.

 

The bill requires student health care services centers at the state’s 34 University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses to offer medication abortion on and after January 1, 2023. According to a Department of Financial Bill Analysis, SB 24 “establishes the College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund under the administration of the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.” It requires the Commission, whose current chair Alisha Wilkins previously worked for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in Riverside, “to provide grants of $200,000 to each student health center, and a grant of $200,000 to both the UC and CSU system to become prepared to offer abortion by medication techniques and develop associated back-up medical supports.”

 

The abortion pill was brought into the U.S. by the Population Council, a eugenics organization which sought out investors to set up a highly secretive company — DANCO Laboratories — to manufacture the drug.

Investors included:

  • The Packard Foundation, which originally invested in 1996 to help keep DANCO afloat when it “ran short on funds”
  • The Buffett Foundation, identified by the Washington Post in 2000, writing, “The Buffett Foundation… made at least $2 million in interest-free loans to the Population Council… according to tax documents filed in 1995. That money was in turn used to conduct clinical trials of RU-486 [the abortion pill].”
  • George Soros (Open Society Foundations)
  • A number of other abortion pill investors chose to remain unnamed, according to internal documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal

Image: Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

To update campus student health center procedures, provide training, and purchase equipment at UC, the Department’s analysis estimated:

  • One-time system wide readiness General Fund costs between $4.6 million to $7.8 million…
  • Ongoing General Fund costs of $2.2 million to $3.3 million commencing in 2023 to provide abortion by medication services in each campus student health center and provide access to 24-hour telehealth services.

At CSU, the initial costs were “unknown” but raised concerns it could likely range in the millions to low tens of millions of dollars.

Image: CSU on costs of law mandating abortion pills on California campuses (Image: CBS Sacramento)

CSU on costs of law mandating abortion pills on California campuses (Image: CBS Sacramento)

“While this bill and its sponsors indicate that private financing would cover all the costs associated with this bill, Finance notes this bill could create future General Fund cost pressures to the extent sufficient private funding cannot be raised to support readiness grants, the costs to comply with this bill’s requirements exceed the proposed grant funding, or to the extent the UC and CSU incur ongoing costs after January 1, 2023,” the analysis said.

zImage: Lila Rose on law mandating abortion pills on California campus (Image: Twitter)

Lila Rose on law mandating abortion pills on California campus (Image: Twitter)

According to a statement by the ACLU, a “[C]onsortium of funders, including the Women’s Foundation of California and Tara Health Foundation,” has raised the initial funds.

Tara Health Foundation (THF):

Image: TARA Health Foundation promotes abortion

TARA Health Foundation promotes abortion

The Women’s Foundation of California:

According to the Guttmacher Institute there were 132,680 abortions committed in California in 2017. A previous analysis by Live Action News revealed that taxpayers in the state paid over half a billion dollars (nearly $700 million) for abortions from 1989 to 2014. In 2017, the pro-abortion Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) — a research group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, which trains abortion providers — estimated, “Approximately 23% of CSU students and 12% of UC students are enrolled in Medi-Cal.”

Image: Medi-Cal FFS abortion expenditures in California 1989 to 2014

Medi-Cal FFS abortion expenditures in California 1989 to 2014

“Students across UC and CSU campuses obtain 1,038 abortions each month,” ANSIRH wrote adding, “[W]e estimate there would be between 322-519 medication abortions occurring across UC and CSU campuses every month.”

SFLA claims there was no need for the law because abortion facilities are less than 6 miles from every California public university and college campus. The group also claims there are no safeguards are in place to protect women who may be dosed with the drugs without their consent. Live Action News previously documented how many of those behind the push for these dangerous pills to be readily available on campus are also pushing for FDA safety requirements to be lifted. To date, at least 24 women have died from the abortion pill and literally thousands have been hospitalized with serious complications.

 

How Hormonal Contraception Messes With Your Sleep

by Margaret Brady

The Pill vs.The Sandman: How Hormonal Contraception Messes With Your Sleep

Are you feeling tired? You’re not alone. Roughly 25% of women have trouble sleeping at any given time. As our female bodies go through seemingly endless hormonal changes, it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. But researchers have found there may be an unexpected factor contributing to the modern epidemic of exhaustion: the birth control pill.

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To understand how hormonal contraception can affect a woman’s sleep, it’s important to first know how human sleep is structured. Shut-eye actually happens in phases. In stage 1, which only lasts a few minutes, we experience brain waves called alpha and theta waves. This is very light sleep where we can still be easily awoken. In stage 2, the brain causes a sudden increase in wave activity. Stages 3 and 4 are where the deep, restorative rest we all long for happens. This is slow wave sleep, in which the brain is producing delta waves. We get our energy for the next morning, consolidate what we learned during the day for our long-term memory bank, and repair our bodies during this time. Finally, there’s Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. This stage is when most of our dreaming occurs.

Ladies actually have a special sleep advantage: We are naturally capable of getting more of that deep, stage 3 sleep, compared to men. But researchers have discovered that women taking the artificial hormones found in the Pill don’t get the same benefit. Their body temperatures were elevated, and they experienced less stage 3 sleep compared to women who were experiencing their natural menstrual cycles without the synthetic hormones found in contraceptives. I asked Dr. Lynn Keenan about this phenomenon. She is Program Director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship, and a NaProTECHNOLOGY expert, at the University of California, San Francisco – Fresno.

What natural hormones have to do with good sleep

“This was also found in women after menopause taking the synthetic progestin,” Dr. Keenan told me. “They have worse sleep quality than those taking bio-identical progesterone.” Bio-identical hormones are the same, at a molecular level, as those naturally produced in the human body.

Women who are paying close attention to their bodies through Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), or modern methods of natural family planning (NFP), may find their fertility charting to be a helpful tool for understanding the intersection of their reproductive cycle and their sleep.

“Charts can give you hints that there may be a coexisting sleep disorder that is impacting the woman’s quality of life,” Dr. Keenan said. “I have had women who only had sleep walking or sleep talking in their luteal phase, and when taught to chart, we found lower than normal progesterone, and the timed administration of bio-identical progesterone controlled their [sleep walking].

“Some women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, have very heavy menses, and I find that group in particular have a high chance of sleep apnea,” she noted. “The oxygen drops associated with sleep apnea can really affect the ovaries and endometrium, and when the sleep apnea is controlled, I have seen significant improvements in menstrual flow. Both PCOS and sleep apnea have lower than normal progesterone,” she said.

Dr. Keenan has even observed a connection between women’s health and sleep conditions like narcolepsy and Restless Legs Syndrome, also known as RLS.

Given all the multi-tasking, care-giving and problem-juggling women have to cope with, it’s fair to say we have enough to keep us up at night, without disrupting the most restful stage of the sleep we do get. It’s just one more reason it’s wise for women to make the switch from birth control to Fertility Awareness-Based Methods; they work with our bodies—and our sleep goals—instead of against them.

Calling on Cardinal Newman: Mother’s Miracle Paves Way for Canonization

K.V. Turley

Melissa Villalobos woke up on May 15, 2013, to find herself in a pool of blood.

That morning she was alone with her four children. Her husband, David, had left the family home in Chicago earlier that morning and was just then boarding a flight to Atlanta for a business meeting.

Bleeding had been noticed some weeks earlier during the first trimester of this, her sixth pregnancy. An ultrasound had shown that the placenta had become partially detached from the uterine wall, “so there was a hole in the placenta and that hole was allowing blood to escape,” Melissa explained to the Register July 22. To make matters worse, she had developed a subchorionic hematoma, a blood clot two and a half times the size of her unborn baby. This had lodged in the fetal membrane.

Her doctor ordered immediate bed rest for Villalobos.

But this was easier said than done. Melissa had four small children, aged 6, 5, 3 and 1. Although the 36-year-old mother had formerly practiced as a lawyer, her husband was the family breadwinner now. He had a high-pressure job that regularly took him away from home. No family members were close at hand to help: Melissa had been brought up in St. Louis, and David was raised in Texas. Apart from a few neighbors and friends, they were alone: Six months’ bed rest until the birth of their new child was nearly impossible.

In any event, the bleeding continued, and was getting worse since Melissa was admitted to a hospital emergency room on May 10, 2013. At that time, the medics warned the couple about a possible miscarriage. If the baby survived the pregnancy, they said, she would probably be born prematurely with attendant complications. The medical prognosis was heartbreaking, and now, less than five days later, the worst seemed to be happening.

Seeking Heavenly Aid

Sadly, David and Melissa had been here before. In February 2013, Melissa’s fifth pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, and Blessed John Henry Newman had been a part of that story, too. In that earlier pregnancy, the doctors, after detecting no heartbeat for weeks, had offered the mother a procedure to remove the unborn baby. Melissa refused. She was determined to carry the child to delivery, even if she knew the child could not live.

Perhaps no one, other than David, understood the grief that Melissa carried in her heart during those weeks before that first miscarriage. As she put it, at that time, she feared “the grief of that miscarriage would kill me of a broken heart.” So she prayed. The person to whom she prayed was a 19th-century English Catholic convert whom she had seen discussed on an EWTN television show and then whose prayer card had been brought home unexpectedly by her husband and now stood on a mantelpiece in the family home: “Please, Cardinal Newman, help me with this.”

Melissa Villalobos prayed as never before. She prayed for the child she carried; she prayed that, if her baby died, she could still believe, still trust, still love the God who had sent her this cross. But, most of all, she prayed that God’s will be done.

Her prayer was heard. As the dead child was buried, Melissa Villalobos remained faithful to the God of love. She knew that her prayer had been heard: that her faith, hope and love were intact, and that Newman’s intercession had been instrumental in this. Today, of that time, she simply says: “I lost the baby. But I had kept my faith — thanks to Cardinal Newman, my rock.”

 

Desperate Prayer

With the experience of her miscarriage still fresh in her heart and mind and concern for who would tend for her four young children, this young mother lay in bed, helpless, in a pool of her own blood on the morning of May 15, 2013.

Terrified thoughts ran through her consciousness: “I was afraid … of losing the baby and what would become of the four children downstairs if I were to bleed to death. How would they be raised? These things were crashing through my mind.”

Although she continued to bleed, she delayed calling 911, worried about her children should she be admitted to the hospital. Finally, she knew she had to call an ambulance, but she then realized she didn’t have her cellphone near her. She also knew that in trying to find it and make a call she would cause even more damage to her body.

Eventually she struggled to her feet. She began to make her way downstairs. Somehow she managed to get the children all in the kitchen and watched as they helped fix breakfast. Then, firmly, mustering all the strength she had, she ordered them: “Don’t get out of your seats no matter what!” They fell silent as their mother left the room. Melissa ascended the stairs.

At last she reached the bathroom. She locked the door behind her, fearing the children would see the blood on the floor. The next thing she remembers was opening her eyes after having collapsed. Now a feeling even more debilitating overtook her physical weakness: desperation.

Was it on this bathroom floor that she was to die, Melissa asked herself, while downstairs her four children sat silently waiting for her?

She prayed: “Please, Cardinal Newman, make the bleeding stop!”

It did.

Immediately.

“‘Please, Cardinal Newman, make the bleeding stop.’ Those were my exact words. Just then, as soon as I finished the sentence, the bleeding stopped.”

She knew instantly that something physical had changed. As she checked, something else occurred. “Just then the scent of roses filled the bathroom,” Melissa recalls, “the strongest scent of roses I’ve ever smelled.” In hindsight, she says: “The injury was unseen so the roses gave me the confidence to go downstairs to see the children.”

She made her way downstairs again. This time she was praying a different prayer than that uttered only minutes previously: “Thank you, Cardinal Newman. Thank you.” During all this time she heard no sound in the house. This had unnerved her. She felt panicked, thinking that the children had gone outside. She rushed to the kitchen only to find four silent faces looking at her. As they told her later, she had asked them to remain there, and that is exactly what they had done, simply and quietly waiting for their mother to come back to them.

The children may not have registered the fact that their mother’s mood had changed from one of utter anguish and dereliction to euphoric elation. “I thought to myself in that moment, ‘Oh my goodness! My baby is okay. I’m okay. My four children are okay. We’re all okay.’ And I said, ‘Thank you, Cardinal Newman.’”

Then her cellphone rang. It was David. He had arrived in Atlanta. There was a problem with his hotel. But all he wanted to know was how his wife was doing. His wife’s reaction was as unexpected as it was welcome: “Everything is going to be fine. … Everything is going to be great! … I’ll explain later. …Take care of your hotel and call me back.”

As it happened, that afternoon Melissa had a scan prearranged at the hospital, as the doctors were understandably still worried about the health of their patient. So, later that day, her complete recovery was confirmed. The doctors told her everything was now “perfect.” There was no longer a hole in the placenta.

Seven months later, on Dec. 27, 2013, a baby girl, Gemma, was born. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. The child has had no medical problems then or since, nor has her mother.

 

Canonization Cause

Villalobos waited until after Gemma was born to report the healing to the promoters of Cardinal Newman’s canonization. Officials from the Archdiocese of Chicago conducted the initial inquiry. A report was then forwarded to the Vatican for another series of investigations. This process officially concluded on Feb. 13, when Pope Francis announced the miracle was accepted: Cardinal Newman would be canonized. At no stage in this process was Melissa in any doubt: “I knew it was a miracle.”

 

Saintly Expression of Love

Melissa loves the family life she shares with David and her now seven children. When she was ill, it was the disruption to the family’s ordinary life that she found hardest to bear. She could not cook and clean and was unable to lift anything; she could not play with her children, for fear that if they bumped her it would set off more bleeding. She feared she would never return to normal family life. That changed instantaneously — and for good: “I was able to resume my full, active life as a mom,” she said. “I was cured through Newman’s intercession so that I could continue an ordinary life, but at the same time be completely devoted to him and to God and his Church.”

That devotion will open a new chapter this October when Melissa makes her first trip to Europe. She will travel with her family to Rome to witness the Pope proclaim a saint that same 19th-century English Catholic convert priest whom she feels now she knows well.

Melissa’s devotion to Newman started with an EWTN television discussion and a prayer card dedicated to him. It was his face upon the card that drew her interest. Newman’s eyes and expression seemed to understand her mood, her preoccupations when, from time to time, she passed by the card on the mantle. The more she read about Newman’s life and witness, the more she felt he understood her. Above all, she says, she learned of how Newman was a true shepherd to all. She wondered if, spiritually, she, too, could become part of his flock, “one of his spiritual children.”

That prayer is now answered — definitively. Now, John Henry Newman is linked to Melissa Villalobos. “To be in the same sentence as Cardinal Newman is a blessing beyond words,” she said, “a display of God’s mercy and Newman’s humility.”

Melissa says that Gemma, now age 5, is not aware of what took place, not yet, although the other day she asked her mother: “What does ‘cured’ mean?”

Today, as Melissa watches her children play and as she plays with them, Newman’s spiritual child reflects: “Several times a day I think of what has happened and try to show my gratitude, just to be as loving as I can be.”

STD rate at an all-time high due to promiscuity and drug use: CDC report

October 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2018, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia were at an all-time high in America, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The three most common sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) rose to more than 115,000 cases of syphilis, more than 580,000 cases of gonorrhea, and more than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia, the CDC said in a press release. While all three are treatable by antibiotics, without treatment they can be spread to other people and lead to heightened risks of HIV, infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

The most alarming detail in the new report is a 40 percent spike in the number of infants born with syphilis to 1,300.

“There are tools available to prevent every case of congenital syphilis,” Gail Bolan of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention said. “Testing is simple and can help women to protect their babies from syphilis – a preventable disease that can have irreversible consequences.”

The CDC report attributes the increases partly to drug use and decreased condom usage, as well as “poverty, stigma, and unstable housing” reducing “access to STD prevention and care,” as well as “cuts to STD programs at the state and local level.”

Social conservatives argue that something more fundamental is at work.

On Thursday, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins interviewed Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians and FRC’s own David Closson, who attributed the numbers to “liv(ing) in such a sexually saturated culture” and to venturing “outside of God’s design and the boundaries that he’s given us,” respectively.

Cretella faulted the CDC’s statement for emphasizing secondary prevention (treatment after the fact) over primary prevention (discouraging risky behavior). She noted that government and society have no hesitation about telling young people to abstain from smoking (often employing frightening and judgmental language and imagery in the process), but tends to treat sexual promiscuity differently.

Pro-lifers have long argued that so-called “comprehensive” sex education, particularly as operated by Planned Parenthood, actually encourages underage sexual activity, partly out of far-left ideology and partly in order to generate more demand for Planned Parenthood’s services.

2016 report from the Obama-era U.S. Office of Adolescent Health found that, across six different Planned Parenthood affiliate partners, more than 3,500 students, and 87 schools, a Planned Parenthood-backed sex-ed program left students “significantly more likely than controls to have ever been pregnant or to have caused a pregnancy.”

Abortion activists expand their ‘ideological colonization’ to Latin America

 

Activists with green handkerchiefs, which symbolizes the abortion rights movement, demonstrate to mark the revival of their campaign to legalize abortion, in front of the National Congress in Buenos Aires, on May 28, 2019. – Activists and lawmakers in Argentina relaunched a bid to legalize abortion on Tuesday with a new bill before Congress and a major demonstration, resuming a battle that has divided the homeland of Pope Francis ahead of October’s general election. (Photo by Emiliano Lasalvia / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMILIANO LASALVIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Obianuju Ekeocha, pro-life founder of Culture of Life Africa, has coined the phrase “ideological colonization” to describe how well-funded abortion activists in the West push for the killing of preborn babies in developing countries, many of which have strong pro-life cultures. Although abortion activists are most overt in their ideological colonization in Africa, Latin America is also an important, if oft-overlooked, battleground in the struggle for life. A recent AP overview of the current hotspots in Latin America reminds us that abortion activists’ ideological colonization efforts are alive and well in the region.

Argentina

Argentina has long been a strong protector of the rights of the preborn, with abortion illegal with limited exceptions since the 1880s, making it a prime target of ideological colonization in Latin America by abortion activists.

Last year, Argentina came close to legalizing abortion after abortion activists’ well-organized and internationally backed campaign. As Live Action News reported, influential abortion colonizers like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Amnesty International were directly involved with pressuring the Argentine government into taking up the bill. Many other groups supported the effort, including Human Rights Watch, which in 2018 called Argentina’s pending pro-abortion legislation a “landmark opportunity to end [the] harmful policy.”

Green scarves worn by protesters are well-recognized symbols of the pro-abortion movement in Argentina  green scarves. The origin of these scarves is deeply, painfully ironic; the inspiration was drawn from the legacy of Argentine mothers of the desaparecidos, or disappeared, who wore white scarves in remembrance of their children who went missing under the military dictatorship. But instead of speaking up for their missing children, the green scarf-clad abortion supporters are wearing those symbols instead to advocate for their right to disappear their own children, through the violence of abortion.

Last year the effort to legalize abortion failed by a 38 to 31 margin in the Senate after widespread civic action by pro-lifers. However, this has not deterred the pro-abortion groups. As PRI reported, abortion activists reintroduced an abortion legalization bill on the symbolic date of May 28th, which abortion activists have termed the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. The day is an initiative of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, whose members include leading ‘abortion colonizers’ like Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the International Centre for Reproductive Health, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Pathfinder International.

Mexico

Like most of Latin America, Mexico has long afforded preborn babies legal protections, but those seeking to expand abortion  have been chipping away at its protections for decades. Planned Parenthood Global claims that its work in Mexico is “growing” and has as its primary goal to “reduce abortion stigma.” The predominantly Catholic country has traditionally been opposed to abortion with the exception of Mexico City, which legalized abortion in 2007. Last month, the state of Oaxaca became the first state outside the capital to legalize abortion when the state’s lawmakers approved a bill allowing abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Although Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has not publicly taken a position on abortion, the fact that his party dominates Oaxaca’s legislature does not bode well. In another ominous sign, according to The Guardian, the federal government tweeted a note of support for Oaxaca’s abortion legalization: “Our democracy is strengthened with the extension of rights and the recognition of the autonomy of women to make decisions over their own bodies.”

Planned Parenthood Global celebrated with a tweet rife with undertones of ideological colonization; the abortion giant claimed that Mexico is finally emerging from its so-called backwardness and now “takes a crucial step in the protection of women’s rights.”

El Salvador

The small Central American republic of El Salvador has one of the most staunchly pro-life laws in the world. The country has come to the forefront in the news recently for controversies surrounding its abortion law and the case of a woman who was charged with inducing an abortion. International groups have been using this woman’s case, as well as the country’s controversial practice of prosecuting women who procure abortions in general, as a wedge and an opening to advance their ideological colonization.

Despite the flurry of recent press coverage, abortion supporters have targeted the country for years. In 2013, they tried to use the case of a 22-year-old named Beatriz (who requested an abortion because she had lupus and her baby had anencephaly) as their rallying cry, and they falsely claimed she needed a “life-saving abortion” when she was offered an emergency c-section (not the same as an abortion). The Supreme Court denied her request and upheld the abortion ban in 2013. In 2016, Amnesty International railed against El Salvador’s abortion restrictions as “tantamount to torture,” as Live Action News reported. Abortion groups like IPPF have even been caught covertly funding abortion advocacy organizations in El Salvador, as the Population Research Institute has reported. And in 2017, 21 pro-abortion Congressmen from the U.S. threw their weight behind the abortion colonizers by formally calling for El Salvador to decriminalize abortion, as reported in a Center for Reproductive Rights press release.

Despite losing U.S. federal funding, the abortion colonizers have retained significant influence around the world pushing their agenda, including Latin America. As Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom International Neydy Casillas said in an interview last year with Live Action News, Central and South America “have been targets for the abortion movement” for a long time. Some Latin America watchers are even trying to paint recent pro-abortion developments in Latin America as part of a “green tide,” an allusion to the green scarves of Argentina’s abortion activists.

Yet pro-life laws in many Latin American countries remain deeply rooted in pro-life cultural values that draw from the traditional influence of the Catholic Church and, more recently, the growing presence of evangelical Protestant groups. As Casillas has pointed out, despite the efforts of wealthy international abortion colonizers, “In Latin America, it has not been easy for them because most of the constitutions throughout the region protect life, but furthermore the value of life lives in people’s hearts.”

Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

Issues In Law & Medicine published a new meta-analysis done by the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute 20 retrospective case-control studies from January 1, 2000 through June 30,2017 were analyzed. Overall, the 20 studies resulted in a 151% increase in breast cancer with induced abortion. These results were statistically significant. There was a 291% increase in the 5 studies that differentiated induced from spontaneous abortions as well as a dose response i.e. there was greater risk with more abortions. You can see a copy of this  study here

An Epidemic of Child Porn

by 

Can the Onslaught Be Stopped?

Children, including infants, are being sexually abused, and then suffering the further degradation of having their abuse filmed and shared amongst an army of online perverts, on a scale that beggars belief.

“The Internet Is Overrun With Images of Child Sexual Abuse,” states the title of a New York Times investigative article, published last week, exposing the epidemic of child porn. According to the Times, in 1998 there were some 3000 reports of images depicting child sex abuse. A decade later, that number grew to over 100,000. By 2014, the number of reports broke one million, before ballooning to over 18.4 million by last year. Those reports, says the Times, “included over 45 million images and videos flagged as child sexual abuse.”

The scale of the problem is so vast that it is beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to respond. Officials interviewed for the article lamented that they are continually being forced to make impossible decisions about how to prioritize their resources – focusing, for instance, on identifying and rescuing the youngest and most vulnerable victims, knowing that by doing so they are abandoning countless other children to ongoing abuse. Furthermore, once the images are in circulation, they are almost impossible to delete: their existence haunting the lives of their victims indefinitely.

According to one law official, less than two percent of cases in which a computer in the U.S. has shared child porn will be investigated. “We are overwhelmed, we are underfunded, and we are drowning in the tidal wave of tragedy,” said Special Agent Flint Waters.

Some of the increase in the number of reports over the years can, no doubt, be explained by the implementation of better technology, such as artificial intelligence, to detect child porn. However, the experts interviewed by the Times leave no room for doubt – the underlying problem is an exponential increase in the number of individuals producing and sharing child porn.

It is tempting to envision the perpetrators of this horrific crime as being a tiny sliver of sub-human scum lurking somewhere “out there.” But the numbers defy this interpretation. One online forum on the “Dark Web” dedicated to sharing child porn reportedly had some one million members. Another such forum had over 30,000 members. The creator of that site – an Ohio man – had over three million images of child sex abuse on his computer when authorities caught up with him.

The members of these forums not only share child abuse images, but they also encourage one another to produce new images (i.e. to find children to abuse, and to film it), and exchange tips on how to evade the authorities. One of the creators of one such site, a daycare worker, admitting to abusing over a dozen children, as young as three months old. I cannot bear to type even the briefest description of what he did to the children.

Equally Deviant, “Legal” Porn Must End

As grateful as I am that the Times has drawn attention this epidemic, I was also troubled by a bizarre companion piece that they ran alongside their investigative article. This article strongly endorsed the hypothesis that the origin of pedophilic sexual attraction is “largely biological.” As James Cantor, director of the Toronto Sexuality Center, says in the article: “The biological clues attached to pedophilia demonstrate that its roots are prenatal.” In other words, people who are sexually attracted to children are “born that way.”

Now, I will not dismiss the possibility that early biological development may play a role in predisposing some people to experiencing unwanted sexual attraction to children. And if that is the case, such people bear a heavy cross. However, if – as the article itself acknowledges – scientific research on the topic is in its infancy, then why do other possible causes of pedophilic attraction receive scarcely a passing mention? In fact, the article avoids any mention at all of the elephant in the living room: the explosion in so-called “legal” porn use, and its connection to the growth of deviant forms of porn, including child porn.

Indeed, many people who work fighting child porn have argued that there is a clear link between legal porn use, and the rise in child porn. As Margaret Healey, a former adjunct professor at Fordham School of Law, put it in a report prepared for the 1996 World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children:

[W]ith the emergence of the use of computers to traffic in child pornography, a new and growing segment of producers and consumers is being identified. They are individuals who may not have a sexual preference for children, but who have seen the gamut of adult pornography and who are searching for more bizarre material.

Muireann O’Brian, who leads the Bangkok office of the organization “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism,” made the same point. “[A]rrests have shown men with perfectly normal sexual proclivities become seduced, then involved and finally addicted to child pornography,” she said. “Their addiction may manifest itself by them just keeping and looking at the images … But it has been found that the addiction leads many men into seeking out children to abuse.”

Certainly, there is no doubt about the existence of the phenomenon of “escalation” among regular porn users. Many users of legal porn will admit that the kinds of material that once excited them no longer excite them. In order to achieve the same sexual “high” they used to experience, they have instead found themselves searching out more and more deviant forms of pornography. A habit that at first seemed innocent and “normal” gradually led them down a rabbit hole into a cesspool of the grotesque and the violent.

The world-renowned psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best-selling book The Brain That Changes Itself, has argued that routine porn use can alter the brain itself, creating new reward pathways that can only be stimulated by more and more extreme material. Doidge objects to the simplistic claim that the only problem with porn use is that some people may use too much of it. The problem with porn addictions is even more sinister, he says. Porn addictions have the power to “change sexual taste.”

It’s a simple matter of science, he notes: “One key driver of plastic change [in the brain] is the reward centre, which normally fires as we accomplish a goal.” He further explains:

A brain chemical, dopamine, is released, giving us the thrill that goes with accomplishment. It also consolidates the connections between neurons in the brain that helped us accomplish that goal. As well, dopamine is secreted at moments of sexual excitement and novelty. Porn scenes, filled with novel sexual ‘partners’, fire the reward centre. The images get reinforced, altering the user’s sexual tastes.

Not all regular porn users will become child porn users. However, many porn users will find themselves becoming gradually desensitized – or even attracted – to forms of porn that once disgusted them. Studies have found that people who view such material are also far more likely to want – and attempt – to act out what they have seen. Some will end up in the very darkest corners of the Internet. Indeed, it is madness to discount the possibility that some child porn users began as “regular” porn users, and that the normalization of pornography has not in some way contributed to some of the worst crimes imaginable.

What to Do: The Porn Stops Now

In the face of such horrific evil, it is easy to feel powerless. However, there are several concrete steps we can do to respond to this epidemic:

  • Pressure lawmakers to put more resources into fighting child porn – The New York Times article gets this part right. Law enforcement agencies need more resources to fight this filth. Demand that your local, state or federal legislator prioritize this issue.
  • Pressure lawmakers to prosecute “normal” porn – As Patrick Trueman has pointed out, hardcore pornography breaks obscenity laws already on the books. Despite this, lawmakers and law enforcement agencies have allowed our society to be immersed in a sea of filth. We should be prosecuting the big porn platforms and porn creators, and passing tighter restrictions on porn sites, so that children can never “accidentally” encounter pornography. This may not end child porn, but it will do yeoman’s labor in making it harder for people who are disposed to addiction to obscene materials from going down that dark road. Stop the problem at the source.
  • Quit porn – If you’re a regular porn user, you’re part of the problem. No, you may not be viewing illegal material involving children. But chances are you’ve already become comfortable with seeing forms of porn that once caused you discomfort. Furthermore, the porn industry in general is predicated on exploitation. The big porn sites are full of hardcore material involving young women who, in a moment of vulnerability, agreed to do something that they will regret for the rest of their lives. You are training your brain to be ok with violence and exploitation. Don’t feed the porn industry. Quit.
  • Talk to your children – In this day and age, parents simply cannot afford to be complacent about the harsh realities of our pornified society. Child sex abusers will often show their victims legal pornography in order to lower their inhibitions. The average age of exposure to pornography is now around 11 years old. When children are exposed to porn, they are more likely to become addicted, to be potential victims of abuse, and in some cases, to abuse others themselves. Talking about sex and porn with your kids is hard. But it’s your job. There are lots of helpful materials out there. One book lots of people I trust recommend is called “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.” Buy a copy, or look for other books, and then approach the topic with your children in a frank, non-threatening and prayerful fashion. Arm them with the tools they need to protect themselves from abusers, and to protect their souls and their minds from the scourge of porn addiction.

Rep. Sean Duffy’s family welcomes baby girl with Down syndrome: ‘The most perfect angel’

C

Earlier this year, Rep. Sean Duffy resigned from his position in the United States House of Representatives to focus on his family. He and his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy — both alums of the MTV reality show “The Real World” — were expecting their ninth child together, and had discovered the baby had a heart defect. This week, their baby girl was born, and that baby has a little something extra to love: an extra chromosome! Daughter Valentina StellaMaris has Down syndrome.

In August, Duffy took to Facebook to announce his resignation and explain why he was stepping down. “Recently, we’ve learned that our baby, due in late October, will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition,” he wrote. “With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now.”

The baby ended up being born a month early, and Duffy explained that their daughter would not only need open heart surgery within a few months, but also would have developmental delays, leading some to speculate that the little girl has Down syndrome. Yesterday, that news was confirmed, when Campos-Duffy made the announcement on her Facebook page.

Campos-Duffy said that Valentina remains in the NICU, and is the “sweetest, most perfect angel we’ve ever seen.” She also said that she does, in fact, have Down syndrome. “Valentina was born with a heart defect (2 holes in the heart and valves that need to be fixed). She will need surgery in 3-4 months,” Campos-Duffy wrote. “As we suspected, Valentina was also born with an extra chromosome, which means she also has Downs Syndrome. That extra chromosome certainly made her EXTRA cute. Life is wonderful!!” Both parents report that the family is already very much in love with their beautiful little girl.

Duffy is an outspoken pro-life advocate, including fighting for minority children to be protected while in the womb.

Congratulations to the Duffy family!

Exposing Abortion: “The Silent Scream” and “Unplanned”

 

In 1985, I was asked to show the new film “The Silent Scream” (still online) at a local community college for the students. I was anxious to show this amazing 30 minute film showing an actual abortion on ultrasound and narrated by the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist who was the co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) in 1969.

Dr. Nathanson later deeply regretted his actions, and earned the enmity of the abortion movement by exposing the “deceptions, dirty tricks, and other tactics that helped make abortion legal and socially acceptable in the United States”.

His “The Silent Scream” film was his effort to get the truth about abortion to the nation and it caused a lot of controversies.

When I showed the film at the community college, I was seven months pregnant and had a bumper sticker that said: “Every child deserves a birthday”. My mother supported my pro-life work but was worried about my speaking publicly. “Someone may try to shoot you!” she warned.

I just laughed at the time but when I got to the college I saw an armed guard also attending. He said he was there because there were death threats about showing this film. Although nothing happened and the students were very receptive to the film’s message, I was a bit shaken but hopeful that this film would help end the abortion nightmare.

34 years later, the battle to end abortion continues.

I thought of Dr. Nathanson’s film when I was finally able to see the 2019 movie “Unplanned” that, like “The Silent Scream”, also caused tremendous controversy. Some theaters refused to show it and many film critics panned it but the movie was a surprising success at the box office.

“Unplanned” is a great sequel to “The Silent Scream” because it depicts the true story of Abby Johnson, an ambitious young woman who became the director of an abortion clinic and thought she was helping women.

Abby slowly and painfully finally learns the truth about both medical and surgical abortions and the real effects on women-including herself. The effect is both eye-opening and heartbreaking. Abby Johnson now helps other abortion clinic workers like herself as well as the public to see the truth about the enormous damage abortion causes.

Although “Unplanned” is no longer in theaters, it is available for purchase or online streaming on TV and well worth seeing and sharing with others.

Thank you, Abby Johnson and Dr. Nathanson, for your courage in sharing your stories. We will never know how many born and unborn lives you have saved!

America’s Underpopulation Crisis

JONATHAN ABBAMONTE

It’s been ten years since the Great Recession ended. Yet, despite robust economic growth and low employment over the past two years, births in the United States have continued to plummet.

Before the Great Recession, the fertility rate—the number of children women have on average during their lifetimes—had been on the rise. But once the recession hit and unemployment rose to 10%, many couples put off having children and birth rates declined.

Demographers and economists had long anticipated the birth rate would rebound when the economy recovered. After all, birth rates in the U.S. have historically fallen during economic downturns and risen during times of economic recovery. But despite a fifty-year low in the unemployment rate, rising earnings and wages, and a robust 2-3% growth in GDP almost every quarter since the start of 2017, birth rates are still falling

Earlier this year, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the birth rate in 2018 had fallen to 59 births per 1,000 women 15-44 years of age—the lowest birth rate ever recorded in U.S. history. But before 2018, the 2017 birth rate had been the lowest birth rate ever recorded. And the year before that, the 2016 birth rate had been the lowest. In fact, of the 10 lowest birth rates on record, 9 of them have occurred in the past 9 years.

America’s total fertility rate is also at an all-time low with women on average giving birth to 1.73 children over their lifetimes. This is far below the replacement fertility rate, which is about 2.1 and is the minimum fertility rate needed for the current generation to replace itself without having to be propped up by immigration.

Despite low birth rates, however, preferences for childbearing in the U.S. have not declined.

According to Gallup, Americans on average think 2.7 children is the ideal number of children to have. This is virtually unchanged from the number of children Americans considered ideal back in the 1970s. In fact, Americans’ ideal family size today is larger than it was before the recession started in 2007—and in 2007, the fertility rate had peaked to the highest level on record since 1971.

So if childbearing preferences are not declining, why have birth rates continued to decline in spite of robust economic growth and low unemployment rates? As it turns out, there is no single driving reason why birth rates have fallen. The decline in the birth rate is the result of a variety of factors—including economic factors, postponement of marriage, demographic changes in the marriage market, and changing ideas on marriage—all of which happen to be converging right about now.

This week’s article will discuss the economic reasons behind the falling birth rate while next week’s article will discuss the cultural and demographic reasons behind this trend.

Lost Millennial Wealth 

Perhaps the most potent reason driving the falling birth rate is that many adults, particularly young adults in their prime marrying-age years, are finding it difficult to afford having children or are finding it difficult to get their finances in order so that they can have a family. Nowhere has this effect had more impact than on Millennials who now make up the bulk of women in their childbearing years.

Financial concerns have weighed particularly heavily on Millennials as they were the generation hardest hit by the Great Recession. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Millennials born in the 1980s accumulated 34% less wealth than they would have had the recession not occurred. By comparison, adults born in the 1970s lost 17% of their wealth and those born during the 1960s lost only 11%.

Many Millennials, who faced high employment and underemployment early in their careers, were not able to accumulate as much income or savings as prior generations had when they were entering the workforce. For some young adults, this has made it more difficult for them to achieve enough financial stability to start a family. As adults aged 20-34 years of age make up the bulk of childbearing in the U.S., lower birth rates among the Millennial generation has directly translated into falling birth rates overall.

For one, wages and earnings for young adults in their prime marrying years are less than they were a generation ago. Inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings for adults 25-34 years old today are lower than what they were in 1979 and during the early 2000s. Meanwhile, wages for the workforce overall has increased—an indication that while older adults are still seeing their real wages rise, adults in their prime marrying years are being left behind.

 

 

Today’s young adults are not only making less than they used to, they are also making less compared to the workforce overall. During the early 1980s, adults aged 25-34 years on average made more than the overall workforce and made close to what most adults over the age of 25 made. But during the late 1980s, median earnings for adults 25-34 years of age dropped below the workforce average. And since 2002, the wage gap has been steadily widening. Today, median usual weekly earnings for adults 25-34 years of age are almost 9% lower than the workforce average.

Due to high unemployment and slow wealth accumulation early on in their careers, Millennials are at risk for becoming a “lost generation” in terms of wealth, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This has likely forced Millennials to put off milestones like getting married, buying a house, and having children.

The loss of wealth accumulation has affected low-income, lower socioeconomic, and minority young adults in particular. The little savings men and women in these demographic groups were able to accumulate were often spent on supporting aging parents or paying for basic living expenses rather than on things like education, transportation, and job training which could have helped to advance their careers.

Additionally, when it comes to getting a college education, young adults today (and their parents) have faced skyrocketing tuition costs. According to tuition statistics tracked by College Board, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition at four-year private colleges has risen by 134% since the 1986-1987 academic year. At public colleges, the rise in tuition has been even steeper, increasing by 215% since the 1986-1987 academic year.

Meanwhile, wages have not kept pace. Since 1986, real median household income has only increased by 15.7%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The steep and rising cost of college education has forced young adults to take on unprecedented amounts of student debt. The amount of outstanding student debt nationwide is now $1.48 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is now greater than the amount of debt Americans owe through either credit card debt or auto loan debt. And since 2011, student debt has been rising at a faster rate than either credit card debt or auto loan debt.

 

 

The rapidly rising cost of student debt is likely part of the reason why birth rates have been declining in the U.S. According to a study from Ohio State University, every $1,000 in student debt a college graduate is historically linked to a 1.2% drop in the birth rate.

Due to mounting student debt and slow wealth accumulation, young adults have put off owning a home more than previous generations. While 43.3% of adults under the age of 35 owned their own home in 2005, in 2015, only 34.6% of young adults did.

Birth rates for women in their late 20s have plummeted since the recession (before the recession, they had been rising). A slight rise in birth rates among women in their early 30s (30-34 years) has not made up for the difference either. And while birth rates among women in their early 30s had been on the rise since 2011, in 2017, the birth rate for this age group also fell for the first time since the end of the recession.

 

The Rising Cost of Child Care

But there are many other reasons for the declining birth rate in the U.S. and it would be incorrect to fully attribute falling fertility to lost Millennial wealth due to the Great Recession.

A recent New York Times/Morning Consult survey found that the number one reason men and women today cite for having fewer children than their ideal number is that child care is too expensive.

Indeed, the cost of child care is quite steep. According to Child Care Aware of America, the cost of daycare for infants averages between $5,000 – $23,000 per year, depending on the state of residence. For most low-income parents, these costs can be prohibitive.

After child care, concerns related to finances, the economy, and the cost of raising a child were among the foremost reasons adults in the New York Times/Morning Consult survey cited for expecting to have fewer children than they wanted. Nearly 40% also cited not having paid leave through their employer or not having enough paid leave as reasons for not having as many children as they wanted. Presumably, if these couples had the financial security to take time off from work to have another child, they would. A full 36% of adults also said they struggled with striking a work-life balance, in part perhaps due to the fact that many adults do not feel secure enough in their careers or savings to devote sufficient time to family.

Some adults have even chosen to forgo childbearing altogether due to financial reasons. Those who say they do not want to have children most often say they want more leisure time or say that they haven’t found a suitable partner yet. But 31% say they do not want children because they cannot afford child care.

The cost of raising a child has skyrocketed in recent years. Since 2000, the cost of raising a child has risen by 41%. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), middle-income married households with two children making up to 107K per year spent on average $233,610 per child through age 17. And that does not even include costs associated with putting a child through college. A middle-income couple today with two children can expect to spend about $12,680 per year on a child until the child turns 3.

Even for married couples making less than $59K per year, the cost of raising a child is not much different. Parents making less than $59K shell out on average $174,690 per child in a two-child family.

According to the USDA, the biggest expenditure associated with the cost of raising a child is the cost of housing. In recent years, home prices have soared. In the past five years alone, the cost of housing has jumped by 33% nationally, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

After the cost of housing, the cost of food is the second largest expenditure for parents when raising children, according to the USDA. The cost of child care and education is a close third and the cost of transportation a close fourth. But for parents with children under the age of five, the cost of child care is often a larger expense than either food or transportation.

 

Lack of access to paid leave in the U.S. is also a significant hurdle for many couples. According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor, 46% of Americans in 2012 who qualified under federal law to take unpaid leave for medical reasons, military deployment, or for the birth of a new child did not take it because they could not afford to do so.

Very few Americans have access to paid leave. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17% of Americans as of 2018 had access to paid leave through their employer.

Other Economic Reasons

Studies have also hinted at other possible economic reasons for why the birth rate in the U.S. continues to tank.

High unemployment during the Great Recession, for instance, may have a significantly negative hindering effect on how many children Millennials have in the long term. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, women who live through high unemployment rates while in their early 20s may have significantly fewer births over their lifetimes. The study found that every 1% point increase in the unemployment rate experienced by women in the early 20s correlates with a 14-point drop in the birth rate by age 40.

But perhaps even more impactful on the birth rate than high employment has been the permanent loss of manufacturing jobs that were wiped out during the recession. According to one study, the loss of manufacturing jobs since the recession accounts for anywhere from 25%-50% of the drop in the birth rate, depending on race. The study found that the loss of manufacturing jobs during the recession had a stronger effect on the declining birth rate than even the unemployment rate. The loss of manufacturing jobs has driven down the birth rate for all major racial and ethnic groups, but the effect has fallen particularly hard on Hispanic women.

LifeNews Note: Jonathan Abbamonte writes for the Population Research Institute.

Why understanding the body’s cycles empowers women and girls

 

basal thermometer and graphs

In a society obsessed with chemical-free everything, interest is growing in fertility awareness methods, which respect a woman’s physical “ecosystem” rather than disabling her fertility with chemical toxins. On September 30th, Fertility Care practitioner Melissa Buchan hosted a webinar titled, “How to Manage your Menstrual Cycle without the Pill.” Buchan was a co-host of the first ever Cycle Power Summit held in May of this year. During the webinar, she shared 3 Secrets to Tapping into Body Literacy for Self-Awareness and Health Advocacy.

Understanding your unique cycle is the foundation to confidently using natural birth control

Buchan spoke about how knowledge is power when it comes to fertility awareness. Each woman’s body speaks a “language” through the signs and symptoms of her fertility. Charting observable signs like cervical mucus and/or basal body temperature allows a woman to learn that language over time by identifying her unique body’s predictable patterns. Buchan stressed that confidence in using fertility awareness methods comes most importantly from learning an evidence-based method of natural family planning from a certified teacher. “Drive-by” self-teaching of natural family planning from a mishmash of online articles is insufficient and could potentially put a woman at risk of an unintended pregnancy. Furthermore, ongoing contact with a certified teacher is necessary, both for accountability and to answer questions that the woman may have as she navigates various situations like illness, the postpartum period, etc.

Charting your cycle is the first step to identifying reasons behind unexplained infertility

Buchan emphasized that infertility is a symptom of an underlying issue, not the primary problem, as a prominent infertility expert concurs. Infertility is a sign that something is wrong in the woman’s body that needs to be explored, and hopefully managed successfully or even cured.

In September, Live Action News shared several stories of women who conceived after infertility related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) through Natural Procreative (NaPro) Technology. NaProTechnology is a reproductive health science that utilizes charting from the standardized CREIGHTON Model FertilityCare System. This charting serves as a starting point for exploring the root causes of abnormal bleeding, irregular periods, unexplained infertility, and more by helping guide fertility care clinicians in their choice of diagnostic tools. Multiple days of brown bleeding at the end of a woman’s period, for example, would generally indicate that a clinician should run a blood test to check for low progesterone levels. Low progesterone is one of a number of causes of infertility, as well as recurrent miscarriage.

Living a charting lifestyle is a powerful tool for self-advocacy

Buchan referenced a 2015 bulletin from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called “Menstruation in Girls and Adolescents: Using the Menstrual Cycle as a Vital Sign.” So often, a teenage girl with abnormally heavy periods is simply counseled to go on the Pill, which can have a whole host of dangerous and even life-threatening side effects. However, the graphic below shows a list of conditions that abnormal bleeding patterns in a teenage girl can indicate, which could be masked by the “band-aid” approach of going on the Pill to stop the bleeding.

Box 2

Source: ACOG.org

Imagine the possibilities if a girl starts charting her cycle in her teens, learning her body’s unique patterns long before she needs to use them to navigate family planning. By the time she gets married and is ready to have babies, she is confident of how her body works (does she experience double-peaks? does she have little to no mucus on one hand, or continuous mucus on the other?) and if needed, has proactively sought medical help if she saw deviation from her norm, or if her charting instructor noticed abnormalities in her charting. She has already addressed any personal risk factors she has for miscarriage or preterm labor. This woman truly embodies every feminist catchphrase — she is empowered by knowledge, and free to make choices about her body that will benefit her and her whole family.

30,000 Doctors Say: Killing an Unborn Child Not Necessary to Save a Mother’s Life

STEVEN ERTELT

Medical leaders representing more than 30,000 doctors said intentionally killing a baby in an abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life.

The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), representing over 30,000 medical professionals, issued a correction of the recently released joint statement on abortion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Society for Family Planning (SFP).

Today, Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of AAPLOG, emphatically stated that “there is a difference between elective abortion – a procedure done to ensure that a baby is born dead – and the separation of the mother and the baby in order to save the life of the mother. ACOG leadership is deceptively hiding behind the confusion about the definition of ‘abortion’ to imply that such treatments to save the life of the mother are the same as elective abortions.”   
 
Dr. Cretella, executive director of ACPeds explained, “a separation procedure to treat maternal pathology INTENDS to save the lives of both the mother and her baby if possible.  In contrast, an abortion, which the general public understands to mean ‘elective abortion’, INTENDS to deliver a dead baby every single time. That is why a baby born ALIVE after an elective abortion is called a ‘Failed Abortion’.  The separation of the baby from the mother did not fail.  What failed to occur is that her baby ‘failed’ to be killed.”

Finally, Dr. Michael Chupp, chief executive officer of CMDA pointed out that “ACOG leadership’s advocacy of elective abortion is out of step with the 85% of OB/GYN’s who do not perform abortions.   Their extreme advocacy for elective abortion through birth does not represent the majority opinion of either ACOG membership or the majority opinion of all the rest of the obstetricians and gynecologists in this country.”

The full statement follows:

As organizations representing over 25,000 medical professionals, we would like to correct the errors and assumptions of the recently released joint statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRH).

We state unequivocally that there is a difference between elective abortion – a procedure done to ensure that a baby is born dead -and the separation of the mother and the baby in order to save the life of the mother. ACOG leadership is deceptively hiding behind the confusion about the meaning of the word “abortion” to imply that such treatments to save the life of the mother are the same as elective abortions.

A separation procedure to treat maternal pathology INTENDS to save the lives of both the mother and her baby if possible. In contrast, an abortion, which the general public understands to mean “elective abortion”, INTENDS to deliver a dead baby. That is why a baby born ALIVE after an elective abortion is called a “Failed Abortion”. The separation of the baby from the mother did not fail. What failed to occur is that her baby “failed” to be killed.

We are glad that ACOG and PRH leadership recognize what all pro-life obstetricians know – that sometimes treatments which result in the separation of the mother and the baby are necessary to save the mother’s life. However, ACOG and PRH leadership disingenuously imply in their statement that these life saving procedures are the same as elective abortions.

The ACOG leaders’ advocacy of elective abortion is out of step with the 85% of OB/GYN’s who do not perform abortions. Their extreme advocacy for elective abortion through birth does not represent the majority opinion of either ACOG membership, or the majority opinion of all the rest of the obstetricians and gynecologists in this country.

Respectfully,

Donna J. Harrison M.D. dip. ABOG
Executive Director
American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Mike Chupp MD, FACS, FCS(ECSA) CEO
Christian Medical Dental Association

Michelle Cretella, M.D.
Executive Director
American College of Pediatricians

Mom solves daughter’s mystery illness: School nurse secretly inserted birth control implant

BALTIMORE, Maryland, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A mother is furious after discovering that her 16-year-old daughter’s headaches and soreness were caused by a birth control implant inserted by a school nurse without her consent.

Nicole Lambert was shocked to learn from her daughter’s pediatrician that the pain her daughter was experiencing had been caused by a tiny tube containing the contraceptive  “Nexplanon,” which had been improperly inserted in her daughter’s upper arm.

Not only did the doctor recommend that the tube be removed to alleviate the child’s discomfort, but he further warned that the contraceptive could cause far worse side-effects, such as blood clots.

“I actually started crying because just to hear that your child, anything could happen to your child and you don’t even know what’s going on,” Lambert told WMAR-2 News. “It’s a scary feeling.”

“I actually went to the school. I was furious. I was mad, so I went to the school and the nurse told me, ‘I don’t have to talk to you about absolutely nothing,’” said Lambert. “I’m like that is my child, I take care of this child, you can talk to me about my child.”

“And they put me out of the school,” said Lambert.

“They call me for Tylenol, but they don’t call me about birth control,” continued the concerned mom. “You gave my daughter this insertion so she might be suffering from that, but do they even look at that?”

“Other kids out here could be going through the same thing and their parents don’t know about it. And I just think these kids, if they have it incorrectly or whatever it is, they should be checked because anything could happen to these kids,” she added.

Disturbed that her daughter — and others — could, without parental notification, undergo such an invasive medical treatment that comes with potentially serious side-effects, Lambert has hired attorney David Ledyard to investigate.

“Ms. Lambert wasn’t given the choice to pick the medical provider where her daughter would feel comfortable going and receiving these services, who she knew did a comprehensive medical exam, who she knew her medical history,” Ledyard explained.

“There’s no transparency in the training or certification of the school health centers,” Ledyard told PJ Media.

“Are they looking at the medical history of the students and doing a full workup before implanting these devices?” asked Ledyard. “What is the certification process and training of the nurses?”

Lambert’s daughter attends Digital Harbor High School, which is home to one of Baltimore City’s 17 School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), several of which offer birth control to students.

According to the Baltimore City Health Department, 164 students were using birth control provided at school during the 2017–2018 school year, including oral contraceptive pills, Plan B, Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, and Nexplanon.

Maryland’s health code states, “A minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to treatment for or advice about contraception other than sterilization.” Minors are also able to consent to treatment for or advice about drug abuse, alcoholism, venereal disease, and pregnancy, as well as to consent to physical examination and treatment of injuries from — or to obtain evidence from — an alleged rape or sexual offense.

According to PJ Media’s report, the surgery to remove the Nexplanon implant from Lambert’s daughter also entailed removing skin and tissue damaged by the device.

Although the Nexplanon implant was inserted into her daughter’s body without Lambert’s knowledge, a doctor could not remove it without Lambert’s consent.

The Pill ‘dictates who you fall in love with’ – and lowers your sex drive

Twins Who Had Surgery in the Womb to Fix Life-Threatening Condition are Born Healthy

TARA SANDER LEE, KATHRYN NIX

Earlier this year, parents in North Carolina faced heartbreaking news in the second trimester of pregnancy—their twin girls had developed a disease called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a life-threatening condition for both babies, caused by connections in the blood flow between identical twins who share one placenta.

That leads the smaller (donor) twin to pump blood to the other, larger (recipient) twin. If left untreated, advanced forms of the disease are fatal between 80% and 100% of the time.

The news was devastating, and the potential outcome for both babies was grim. But the medical team at the Charlotte Fetal Care Center offered a glimmer of hope.

They could perform laser surgery on the placenta to correct the defect, while the twins remained in their mother’s womb. If performed promptly (the next day), the surgery could significantly increase the odds that one or both of the baby girls would survive.

The North Carolina couple decided courageously to embrace this lifesaving treatment. Dr. Courtney Stephenson performed the in-utero surgery on the babies at 21 weeks, and even with some unexpected turns during the procedure, both girls survived with no lingering health issues. A news account can be found here.

Fetal surgery, in which babies receive lifesaving treatment while in the womb, is one of the next frontiers of medicine.

The first procedure used to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was pioneered and performed in 1988 by Dr. Julian E. De Lia in the United States. Opportunities for intervention have markedly improved since then, but the underlying goal has remained the same; namely, stop progression of the disease and optimize outcomes for both babies.

Fast-forward 30 years, and this minimally invasive surgery—formally called fetoscopic laser ablation—is now the preferred treatment, particularly when the disease is identified in its early stages, for patients between 16 and 26 weeks’ gestation.

High-volume fetal therapy centers, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, report a higher than 90% survival rate of at least one baby and a higher than 80% survival rate of both babies after laser ablation. The Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Center reports similar data of higher than 80% overall survival of at least one or both twins.

The advanced technology uses endoscopes (small fiber-optic guided instruments) and one small incision to seal off the blood connection between the twins. Mom and both babies are under anesthesia, and the entire operation lasts less than two hours and requires only a one- to three-day hospital stay.

It is routine that women with twin pregnancies at increased risk of developing twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome receive increased surveillance to catch the disease in its early stages, should it develop. Women should be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for this close monitoring and for review of the options for treatment, including fetoscopic laser ablation.

Yet women still report instances where this procedure was not offered to them. In a recent study, one woman reports, “My [maternal-fetal medicine specialist] told me to abort babies and that laser was not an option for me … . I had surgery after I found a clinic … on my own, and both babies survived and are healthy.”

A 2017 Vice article describes a pregnancy with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome to argue in favor of abortion beyond 20 weeks, with no mention of the latest treatment modalities in fetoscopic laser surgery.

Termination of one baby, called selective fetal reduction (or selective feticide), regrettably remains an option for babies with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, despite the fact that laser surgery has a proven record of saving both babies at all stages of the disease.

Selective reduction is rare and typically offered as a last resort in the presence of severe problems affecting one of the babies. In this procedure, cord blood flow to one twin is surgically blocked, causing death to that twin with the purpose of trying to improve the outcome for the other twin.

Studies have shown that selective fetal reduction offers no better outcome, with maximum survival of 50% for one twin, a rate much lower than laser surgery with a higher than 80% survival of one or both babies. And this termination procedure will guarantee 0% survival for at least one twin.

Furthermore, it can be hard to define which fetus has the worse prognosis.

A study in the Netherlands reported intentional fetal and neonatal demise in almost 10% of all twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome pregnancy cases, due to abortion, fetal reduction, and withdrawal of neonatal intensive care. A study in India reported performing fetal reduction up to 27 weeks of pregnancy, with survival rates still no greater than laser ablation procedures.

A 2019 U.S. study reported that the majority of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome patients referred to a single surgery center in California for fetal therapy underwent fetoscopic laser ablation (96.4%), but a small percentage still opted for selective feticide (0.8%). Of those patients that did not undergo any form of fetal therapy, 42.6% terminated both twins.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is a particularly challenging and dynamic disease, with progression that is often unpredictable. Some cases remain stable throughout pregnancy, or even regress, while others develop quickly with rapid deterioration of twins within days.

The aforementioned U.S. study also highlights the critical role of time and suggests that the rapid progression of twin-to-twin syndrome, along with delays between diagnosis and treatment, contributed to a subset of women becoming ineligible for fetal surgery and resulted in fetal demise.

Clearly, there is a real need for immediate consultation in these women to determine eligibility for laser ablation surgery to give them the greatest chance of survival for their babies.

Resources such as the TTTS Foundation and Be Not Afraid can offer help to women in crisis who need immediate attention.

The story out of North Carolina is a beautiful reminder that amid the pain and despair in receiving a diagnosis of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, there is real hope of survival with fetal surgery.

It just takes a courageous medical team to do everything it can to give both babies the chance at life they so desperately deserve.

Physicians who remain diligent in following advances in this and other types of lifesaving fetoscopic surgery to treat a previously incurable disease can drastically improve outcomes for families and contribute to the advancement of medical science in the 21st century.

LifeNews Note: Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., is an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. She is a scientist with almost 20 years’ experience in academic and clinical medicine. Kathryn Nix Carnahan, M.D. is an obstetrics and gynecology resident in Wisconsin and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Carnahan was a health policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

One Year After Alexandra Williams’ Death By Birth Control, Little Has Changed

By 

On September 27, 2018, a 20-year-old woman named Alexandra Williams died at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. The days prior had been normal for Alexandra, until she spontaneously collapsed in her driveway on September 26. In the months prior, she had experienced some back pains, which doctors did not understand were the setup of what ultimately became fatal blood clots in her lungs.

What no major media covered in the year since her death is that Alexandra Williams lost her life due to her birth control.

Just nine months before her death, Alex received a birth-control prescription from a local Planned Parenthood clinic. The generic combination pill, Levora, is marketed as one of the “safer” birth control pills available. Like many women, Alex was not fully aware of the health risks associated with her birth control, as she and doctors struggled to identify health complications that resulted just months later.

Alex’s father Anthony Williams shared with Natural Womanhood that Alex’s visit to an Urgent Care center resulted in a muscle-strain diagnosis, and an ER visit later resulted in a diagnosis of a lung infection and prescribed antibiotics. “However, at various times up until her death,” Williams said, “Alex still mentioned occasional discomfort in her back and her overall energy level fluctuated more than normal.”

No medical professional identified the real problem—not even the Duke Medical Center doctors who tried to revive her on September 26. Then, on September 27, 2018, a brain scan revealed no brain activity, and Anthony and Lisa Williams let their daughter go.

The Least-Discussed Killer of Women Today

Pulmonary embolisms, strokes, and such cardiovascular events used to be rare in people Alex’s age. But those numbers have increased since birth control has become the most mass-prescribed drug on the market. A systematic review published this year found 300 to 400 U.S. women die yearly of birth-control related health complications like those Alex faced.

Researcher Lynn Keenan, MD, and Natural Womanhood CEO Gerard Migeon cowrote an article expounding that, “comparing users of HC [hormonal contraception] to nonusers, and including more than seventeen million woman-years of observation, we found that using HC increases a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with VTE by three to nine times. For women under thirty, the risk is increased thirteen-fold during the first year of use, when the risk for clot formation is highest.”

While we might not hear much about this in news headlines, pharmaceutical companies are highly aware. After a major lawsuit, Bayer settled more than 10,000 claims between 2009 and 2016 from patients who took the drug Yaz and suffered venous thromboembolism. The Yaz label suggested a risk of “cardiovascular events” with “cigarette smoking,” misleading many women into believing they were safe if they weren’t smokers.

In one such comment, Laura Bonnet shares, “2 years ago, my daughter died from a blood clot in her brain caused by the birth control, Yasmin. It was prescribed to her for acne and she believed it was safe. She had no risk factors, no clotting disorders. In the hospital, the doctors told us they see 3-5 patients EVERY WEEK with blood clots from birth control. That’s one hospital in a small metropolitan area in Wisconsin. I can’t imagine what other hospitals are experiencing…”

In another comment, Carol Pepin explains, “My 19 year old daughter Shelby Pepin had died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing…”

Deaths Like Alex’s Can Be Prevented

One other comment in the recent FDA Citizen’s Petition on birth control health risks is from a woman whose symptoms sounded remarkably like those of Alex Williams.

Scans revealed “a clot the size of a ten cent gum ball was stuck in the valve between my left lung and heart. If it moved to my heart I would die… I had a stroke right in the ER and my life was forever changed. When I arrived to the ER my O2 level was below 40% and I should have been dead. . . . I was the one out of five who got to walk away…”

What bothers Amanda the most is knowing that the health risks she experienced were “100% preventable.” She says, “If I had never used the Nuvaring none of this would have happened to me. My pulmonary embolism with infarction and stroke were a direct result of my Nuvaring usage.”

Just like Amanda, Alex’s doctors at one point thought her symptoms indicated a lung infection. Tragically, no one made the connection between her birth control and blood clot possibility until it was too late.

It’s time that birth control side effects and health risks receive greater attention both in the medical community and the media at large. It’s time birth control receives the same treatment as every other drug with adverse health effects—with accurate black-box warnings, product recalls, and even the discontinuation of particularly dangerous drugs from the market.

Today, Alex would have just celebrated her 21st birthday. We owe it to her to do better.

Mary Rose Somarriba, who completed a 2012 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship on the connections between pornography and sex trafficking, is editor of Natural Womanhood and associate editor of Verily Magazine. Follow her at maryrosesomarriba.com.

Essure’s Hidden Harms

We recently shared the results of our months-long investigation into the Hidden Harms of various drugs and medical devices. In doing so, we hoped to shed light on the many ways in which patients can be misled by confusing or incomplete drug and medical device labels. Today, we continue those efforts by kicking off our Hidden Harms blog series. Each post in the series will focus on one drug or device from our investigation, exposing the contrast between marketing messages and reality—as experienced by actual patients.

We begin our series with Essure, the non-surgical implant once touted as an ideal alternative to tubal ligation. The silicone and metal Essure inserts were supposed to provide a convenient, safe form of permanent sterilization, but many implant recipients experienced life-altering side effects. More than 30,000 of the women harmed by Essure have filed lawsuits claiming Bayer and Conceptus—the original manufacturer—failed to warn them of risks associated with the device.

Keep reading to understand how Essure marketing and labeling materials failed to communicate possible risks, leading many women to unexpected and serious consequences.

2 out of 50 Essure recipients develop chronic pelvic pain.

The Human Face of Essure’s Hidden Harms

Keisha Carney and her husband had eight children between them. “God has blessed us abundantly,” she told the Washington Post, “We knew we were done.” After speaking with her OB-GYN, Keisha underwent permanent sterilization through Essure implantation.

At first blush, the procedure seemed to be a success. But then strange symptoms appeared. Keisha suddenly developed recurrent, serious tooth infections, eventually losing five teeth. Her hair started falling out. She lived with constant brain fog and fatigue, whether she slept or not, and she gained weight.

Then she missed a period. She wanted to believe she couldn’t be pregnant, because her doctor had assured her that Essure was “the most effective method of permanent birth control available.” But Keisha wanted reassurance, so she bought a drugstore pregnancy test.

She was pregnant.

Keisha went online where she learned that other Essure recipients were experiencing symptoms similar to her own, including unplanned pregnancy. She wanted the implants out but couldn’t do anything about it until she delivered the child she was carrying.

Keisha’s pregnancy was plagued with problems: widespread pain, lower back pain that sometimes paralyzed her, and depression. Doctors attempted to remove her Essure devices during Cesarean section delivery, but they couldn’t retrieve a fragment that had migrated near her colon.

A hysterectomy finally removed the last known Essure fragment from Keisha’s abdomen, a hysterectomy she never intended to have. She says her symptoms changed immediately. The stabbing pains in her back stopped, her hair started to grow back, and the recurrent tooth infections disappeared. Keisha says she still struggles with brain fog and a few aches and pains, but overall, things have improved since ridding her body of the Essure devices.

Nothing about Keisha Carney’s Essure experience conformed to the information she received from her doctor. Similarly, Keisha’s Essure saga contrasts sharply with expectations set by the patient brochure and label information.

Essure Patient Brochure and Label Messaging

Though patients should have access to the official device label and instructions for use, many only ever examine the patient information booklets for implants. In the case of Essure, patients were given a 19-page document replete with smiling, middle-aged women extolling the virtues of the Essure implants.

The first page of the 2007 brochure proclaimed Essure a “Simple Option for Permanent Birth Control” in large, bold, blue lettering. Turning the page, potential users learned the benefits of Essure:

  • Effective
  • Covered by Most Insurance Plans
  • No Cutting Into the Body
  • Rapid Recovery
  • Can Be Done in An Office Setting
  • Confirmation of Placement
  • High Patient Satisfaction
  • Hormone-free
  • No General Anesthesia Required

Readers learned of Essure’s 99.8% success rate in preventing pregnancy in addition to the user comfort ratings ranging from good to excellent within 1 week of implantation.

The brochure informed women that a simple test could confirm proper placement of the inserts and give them peace of mind about their sterilization status. Buried deep in the later portions of the brochure, women who continued reading learned that they would have to use alternative birth control for 3 months prior to confirming placement and function of the inserts.

The brochure did not inform women that they absolutely could not rely on the Essure inserts until and unless they underwent the confirmation test with positive results. Keisha Carney never had the test done, because her insurance would not cover it.

Nickel Allergies

The original patient brochure instructed women with confirmed nickel allergies not to go forward with Essure, but the FDA later approved a label change downgrading this contraindication to a warning. “The data did not meet the threshold of a known hazard,” according to an FDA spokesperson. Some women asked their doctors about potential nickel allergies only to have their concerns dismissed, possibly as a result of this labeling change.

Essure’s Hidden Harms

During our Hidden Harms investigation, we analyzed over 40,000 Essure adverse event reports hoping to distill the true incidence of adverse events mentioned and unmentioned in the Essure patient and physician materials. Ultimately, such reports could not provide reliable estimates of side effect incidence, but scientific studies could.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

clinical study in Canada found that 4.2% of Essure users developed chronic pelvic pain after device implantation. Neither the term “chronic pelvic pain” nor any of its derivatives appear anywhere in the Essure Instructions for Use or the Patient Information Brochure.

Unintended Pregnancy

Many studies have attempted to estimate the rate of unintended pregnancy after Essure sterilization, but few have succeeded. A 2014 study used a mathematical model combined with published Essure placement success rates and short-term unintended pregnancy rates to predict the expected long-term unintended pregnancy rate. The model indicated that 1 in 10 Essure recipients would have an unintended pregnancy over a ten year period.

According to Essure materials, almost every other form of birth control has a  lower failure rate than the one found for Essure. Keisha Carney said she felt betrayed by the contrast between the rosy message presented in Essure materials and the stark reality of the device’s relatively frequent failure to prevent pregnancy.

Informed Women Stopped Choosing Essure

After years of public outcry from Essure users, the FDA finally took additional steps to ensure transparent risk communication with potential patients. Once the FDA began requiring physicians to complete a mandatory communication checklist prior to Essure implantation, sales plummeted. Bayer announced Essure’s removal from the market just months later.

The original Essure marketing materials did not communicate risks transparently. Some were buried in text-heavy pages, and others were entirely absent. Women did not fully understand the implications of Essure implantation, and many were then surprised by the health consequences of the device.

When patients truly understood the risks, they did not choose Essure. Based upon the success of the Essure patient communication checklist, we hope to see similar communication requirements for drugs and medical devices of the future. You can find additional examples of transparent risk communication in our Hidden Harms Risk Explorer.

UK announces plan to spend millions promoting abortion, contraception abroad

September 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom announced Monday that it will spend £600 million on “family planning supplies” for third-world nations, including abortion and contraception.

UK International Development Secretary Alok Sharma made the announcement at the United Nations, claiming that “universal sexual and reproductive health and rights” were essential to achieving “universal health coverage.”

The plan is to spend £600 million over the next five years for various “family planning supplies” in the world’s poorest countries, such as Bangladesh, Syria, and Yemen. That sum will cover some legitimate health services such as medicines to prevent death in childbirth, and the UK government’s press release speaks only in euphemisms such as “reproductive health care,” but the supplies will include “condoms, the contraceptive pill[,] and safe abortions,” according to the Telegraph.

“The UK has been at the forefront of global efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls living in the world’s poorest countries,” Sharma declared. “This UK aid will help give millions of women and girls control over their bodies, so they can choose if, when[,] and how many children they want. That is a basic right that every woman and girl deserves.”

Hailing the announcement, the International Women’s Health Coalition claimed access to abortion and contraception was “at the core of your freedom as a human being,” and called the UK’s move a “stark contrast to the policies of the United States,” which under President Donald Trump has blocked foreign aid to entities that commit or promote abortions, leading the UK-based abortion organization Marie Stopes International to close hundreds of locations across Africa.

Pro-lifers had the opposite reaction. “There is no internationally recognised right to abortion, and the British Government, along with the UN, should not be acting as if there is,” Right To Life UK spokeswoman Catherine Robinson responded. “The British public does not want its taxes being used in this way. 65 [percent] have stated they are opposed to their taxes being used to fund overseas abortions.”

“This is nothing short of neo-colonialism, where the British Government is using its resources to fund abortions in foreign nations,” she declared.

U.S. officials took the opposite approach to abortion at the UN this week, from the president rebuking the international body for pressuring pro-life countries to accept abortion, to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declaring there is no so-called right to abortion and condemning the use of euphemistic language such as “reproductive health” that can be used to assert one.

Parents Stand Up to Planned Parenthood Sex Ed Program Pushing Abortion and Sex on Pre-Teens

MICAIAH BILGER

Concerned parents in Austin, Texas rallied Monday against a new sex education curriculum that they say would “sexualize” young children in the city public schools.

Texas Scorecard reports the abortion chain Planned Parenthood is involved in the developing the curriculum that the Austin Independent School District is considering.

The program would teach children in third through eighth grades about gender identity, sexual orientation and other controversial issues, according to the Austin Statesman.

On Monday, local parents held a rally before the school board meeting to discuss the issue. Several parents also spoke during the crowded meeting, urging the school board not to adopt the curriculum.

“These types of lessons are sexualizing our children,” Lorie Meynig said. “Please focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

Caryl Ayala, co-founder of the local group Concerned Parents of Texas, said she is concerned that the curriculum will pit students against each other and violate “students’ rights to hold a different opinion regarding boundaries of sexual behavior according to their family’s values.”

She said Hispanics like her and her family also feel that the teachings violate their cultural values, according to the Scorecard.

“I am offended that this school district is grooming 46,000 Hispanic children to accept these behaviors,” Ayala said. “I consider this a direct assault on Hispanic family culture.”

Here’s more from the report:

“Many of us are concerned that the national sexuality education standards that have been adopted by the AISD board are not in compliance with the laws of the state of Texas,” said grandparent and district taxpayer Don Dores, who brought up the age of consent laws in the Texas Education Code. One example of questionable age-appropriateness is an incident in 2017 where AISD Covington Middle School sent children home with a Planned Parenthood information sheet that included YouTube links to the abortion business’ consent video series, videos that feature gay and lesbian couples undressing each other and preparing for sex.

“It’s time for us to stand up to the board, tell them to go back to the drawing board, and give parents another opportunity to give their input in what their children should be taught,” said Mary Elizabeth Castle with Texas Values, who spoke at the pre-meeting rally.

The school board is slated to vote on the issue later this fall.

Parents often are shocked to find out that Planned Parenthood teaches sex education in many public schools. In November, upset parents flooded a Florida school district with complaints after one of Planned Parenthood’s graphic sex education videos was shown to students without their knowledge or consent.

Among some of its worst teaching points, the abortion chain tells children that promiscuity is not unhealthy. “There’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners,” Planned Parenthood tells students on its Tumbler page. Planned Parenthood’s booklet for HIV-positive youth, “Healthy, Happy and Hot,” also tells young people that it is their “human right” to not tell their partner that they have HIV.

Many fear it is pushing a pro-abortion agenda on students as well. Monica Cline, a former sex educator who worked closely with Planned Parenthood, said the abortion chain uses its programs to “groom” children for promiscuity, which often leads to abortion.

Numerous communities across the United States have rejected Planned Parenthood as a sex education teacher. The whole Massachusetts legislature recently rejected a bill that recommended Planned Parenthood’s middle school sex education curriculum. The program teaches children as young as 12 “how to perform oral and anal sex.”

Concerned parents in PennsylvaniaMichiganCaliforniaWashington stateNew YorkNorth Carolina and other parts of the country also have protested Planned Parenthood’s involvement in their students’ education in the past year.

Planned Parenthood teaches sex education to at least 221,000 students in 31 states, according to CBS News. It also aborts about 330,000 unborn babies every year.

Pregnant woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer: ‘How blessed are we that I got pregnant?’

 

If she hadn’t become pregnant, Courtney Greer wouldn’t have learned so quickly that she had ovarian cancer. It was during her first pregnancy ultrasound, usually performed around eight to ten weeks, that the doctor noticed the tumor on her ovary. When that doctor said she suspected it wasn’t cancerous, but they wouldn’t be able to biopsy it until after the baby was born in nine months, Greer decided to get a second opinion.

“My mind was racing, I had a million questions,” she wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “[…] after talking to a few friends and family members, they suggested a second opinion. I noticed one doctor’s name kept coming up. I did not find this to be by chance, (it’s a God thing) so I called and made an appointment. I wanted a second opinion and I wanted it to be from a well-respected physician who knew what he was talking about.”

After meeting with this doctor, Greer knew he was the one who would take the best care of her and her growing baby. They came up with a plan that made her comfortable and moved forward taking measurements of the tumor to monitor its growth. Unfortunately, it kept growing. But Greer, though originally upset at the prospect of having surgery to remove the tumor while she was 15 weeks pregnant, soon found it to be a blessing.

“I was a big ball of nerves with ‘what ifs’ and ‘is my baby going to be okay?’ A million things go through your mind as a Mom. However, I trusted my doctor and believed in him,” she wrote.

The surgery went well but just days later, the doctor told Greer and her husband Micah that unfortunately, it was cancer.

“I’m so excited to see this doctor and tell him how I’m recovering, thank him for everything, and find out is this baby a boy or a girl?!” she wrote. “When he walks in, I can see his demeanor isn’t quite what it usually is. He tells us we need to talk. What we removed wasn’t a fibroma. It’s cancer…”

Greer barely reacted to the news. She didn’t cry. She didn’t worry. But she was in shock. She was healthy. She wasn’t experiencing any symptoms. How was it possible that she had cancer? And then she came to a realization.

“Finally, I look at Micah and say, ‘How blessed are we that I got pregnant?! I would’ve never even know I had a tumor if it weren’t for the baby,” she explained. “I had no symptoms. I felt fine. I couldn’t see or feel it.”

“My doctor tears up and says, ‘Wow. I didn’t even think of that.’ Then he tells me that divine intervention brought me to him. He grabs a tissue and points at a photograph on the wall. He can’t get the words out. I just knew, through the tears I ask him, ‘Is that your daughter?’ … after a few moments he speaks. ‘Yes. In all my years practicing, she is the only case of this cancer that I’ve seen.’ We all break into tears,” she said.

After meeting with an OB oncologist, Greer learned that it appears they got all of the tumor during surgery. There is a 25 percent chance of the cancer coming back, so she will wait to do chemo until after her baby is born. In the meantime, she will be closely monitored and may end up not needing chemo at all.

“This little miracle inside me saved me from letting cancer go further,” said Greer. “I would’ve never known I had it if I didn’t go in for my first ultrasound. Who knows how long this would’ve gone on for? I thank you God for listening to me and making me listen to You. I feel beyond blessed for every single thing in my life and I felt compelled to share this message.”

According to the American Pregnancy Association, only up to 5.7 percent of pregnant women will have a mass on their ovary. Only about 5 percent of those cases turn out to be cancerous. Each case is different and will require a different course of action based on the doctor’s recommendations.

While ovarian cancer itself will not pose risks to the preborn child, treatments for ovarian cancer can. Depending on the severity of the cancer, the risks to the baby will be weighed against the risks to the mother with doctors focused on carrying for both of them.

Betrayed by sexual revolution

CARDIFF, U.K., September 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A restoration of true femininity is essential to restoring Christian civilization, said Maria Madise, International Director of Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, at a U.K. Catholic conference earlier this month.

Madise made the case that the revolutions behind today’s culture of death have specifically targeted women to play an essential role in a worldwide corruption of morality.

“She [women] is a strategic target of the revolution, because of her influence on the family and society,” Madise said.

 

Madise’s talk (read full talk below), titled “Women and the rebuilding of Christian civilisation,” was given at a conference organized by Voice of the Family, an initiative of LifeSiteNews and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. The Sept. 6-8 conference, titled “Handing on the Deposit of the Faith,” was held at Newman Hall, University Catholic Chaplaincy, in Cardiff, UK.

The corruption of morality has been necessary for evil to thrive both in general society and within the ranks of Christian communities, Madise noted.

“The Reformation and the French Revolution tempted the woman to rebel against her position in society. The Communist revolution turned the rebellion against her position in the family. The sexual revolution incited rebellion against her very womanhood. In the current phase of the revolution we see an attempt to introduce these errors into the Church,” she said.

The remedy, Madise puts forward, is a “counter-revolution” of women who discover what it means to be a woman by imitating the example of the person of Mary, Mother of God, who was crucial in overturning the great supernatural revolution against God and His order.

“Mary’s ‘Fiat!’ reconciles the human race with God and forms the troops of the counter-revolution,” she said.

“To fulfil her destiny, to be truly happy, every woman must take Mary as her example. Regardless of her particular role or state in life, if she is to be a joyful counter-revolutionary, she must submit herself wholly to God in everything she does,” she added later.

Drawing throughout her talk on the writings of Alice von Hildebrand and Edith Stein, Madise addresses several key issues Christian women face, including modesty in dress and behavior.

“Vigilance is required to maintain purity of mind and body. By the way we look, speak and act we can give witness that God exists. A fact so well hidden today! We should look and sound Catholic. Our appearance, therefore, should not contradict what we believe. We are in the battle. Soldiers in slippers cannot be taken seriously at wartime. Their uniform, on the other hand, shows their readiness and competence to fight. We should look like Catholic women ‘on duty’ at all times,” she wrote.

“Christian mothers must have special regard to the holiness of their children. ‘All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother,’ observed Cardinal Siri. This is why modesty in dress, comportment and speech is necessary not only in public, but also at home. By guarding the innocence of their children, Christian mothers foster wilful purity in their children in later life,” she added.

Madise concluded by challenging women to embrace their true calling.

“Since Eve, only one woman has had the right attitude of complete surrender, the attitude of Fiat. Let us seek to imitate that woman.  Let us adopt her attitude to the Truth – protect it as a mother would protect her child and submit to it as she submitted to her Child who was the Truth. Let us be part of her army under the command of Her Immaculate Heart, turned always to God, while crushing the devil with her heel. We are her little children called to the battle.”

This talk is printed in full in the current edition of Voice of the Family’s quarterly magazine ‘Calx Mariae’. Copies of the magazine can be ordered here.

***

Women and the rebuilding of Christian civilisation

By Maria Madise

Introduction

“To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood,” noted Archbishop Fulton Sheen. We can only fathom the full dignity and beauty of Christian civilisation when we consider that its level is none other than the Blessed Virgin.

Today’s world looks even more fallen than after the Fall and wholly unworthy of her. However, we should not forget the perseverance of those who lived between Eve and Mary, ceaselessly imploring God to send a saviour to reopen the gates of Heaven. Their prayer was successful. So we should also pray – and work – for the speedy triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

Mary is our surest and shortest way to Christ. The closer we are to her, the closer we are to Christ. They are so intimately united that St Louis de Montfort claimed: “it were easier to separate the light from the sun, the heat from the fire”. “Nay,” he said “it were easier to separate from Thee all the angels and the saints than the divine Mary, because she loves Thee more ardently and glorifies Thee more perfectly than all the other creatures put together.”1

If she is our true help and comfort, our chief commander and sovereign, we need to know where to find her. With her marvellous assistance, she could be present anywhere, but we can surely find her at the foot of the Cross. The Cross is at the heart of Christian civilisation, of which Mary is the mother and crown.

Alice von Hildebrand points to the privileged position that has been granted to women in the economy of redemption from the Annunciation to bringing news of the Resurrection. The holy women, in the company of Our Lady, followed and served Christ as He taught, made their way to Pilate’s courtroom, accompanied Him to Calvary and assembled at the foot of the Cross.2 Amid complete despair, when God Himself was dying, woman received her new mission. The Apostles had fled. St John did come back and it was he that the dying Saviour entrusted to His Mother: “Woman, behold thy son.” Her task was not finished, but extended. And with her, each woman, who wants to fulfil her role, must share in her motherhood wrought at the foot of the Cross.

This article will consider how the revolution against Christian civilisation has sought to instrumentalise women and womanhood – so tightly connected to the Cross – and how, consequently, the counter-revolution is dependent on women.

Order and revolution

The revolution is a perpetual attack on God’s order. Recalling the success of the serpent, revolutionaries often seek to achieve their goals through the woman. She is a strategic target of the revolution, because of her influence on the family and society.

By “revolution” we mean a movement that aims to destroy a legitimate order and replace it with an illegitimate power or state of things (not order). It is the subversion of the moral order and denial of God. This, in fact, is how “revolution” is defined by Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908-1995),3 the Brazilian thinker and author of the book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, essential reading for all counter-revolutionaries.

Dr Plinio explains that all big revolutions in history, whether the Reformation or French or Communist revolution, as well as any of the more localised and limited forms of revolution, are fruits of the same tree – the denial of God and His order. Thus, revolution has a universal character.4 He also argues, that each “episode” of the revolution contains within it all previous stages.5 So the key elements of the Reformation can be seen in the French Revolution, and the key elements of both, the Reformation and French Revolution, in the Communist Revolution and so on. It is no surprise then, that we may identify many Marxist and socialist ideas in the revolution we are witnessing in the Church today.

Given that the aim of revolution is to destroy the Christian order mothered by Mary, logically, the aim of the counter-revolution is to stop the revolution and to restore the authentic Christian civilisation in its beauty, goodness and truth.

In principle, the temptation inciting the woman to co-operate with the revolution derives from God’s command for her. Through the sin of our first parents, the original or natural order, created by God, became fallen. The relationships between man and God, as well as between man and woman, changed dramatically. Man and woman were punished each according to their main domain and privilege in the natural order, which for the woman was giving birth to new life. God said to her: “I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.”6 In each of the following episodes of the revolution, therefore, the woman is especially tempted to protest against the sentence she received for her first sin: against being subject to the man and making sacrifices for her family.

However, tempting her has become more challenging after Mary’s “Fiat!”. For her pride, Eve was humbled, but through the perfect humility of the Blessed Virgin, the authentic dignity of women is restored. Eve’s disobedience echoed the rebelling angels’ “non serviam!”. But Mary’s “Fiat!” reconciles the human race with God and forms the troops of the counter-revolution. The gate of Heaven closed behind Eve, while Mary became the gate of Heaven herself. The Fall and Incarnation frame the loss and restoration of order that kaleidoscopically form countless new patterns in Christian history.

Given what happened in the Garden of Eden, we may consider that it follows that love of sacrifice and perseverance are inherent in the female nature. It was through atoning sacrifice that her disobedience was to be redeemed. Until then she was to be completely powerless in healing the wound that she had inflicted on her relationship with God. All she could do was to persevere in hope for the sacrifice to be offered for her and all her children born in exile. This love of sacrifice, so deep-rooted in women’s nature, is reflected in the words of Edith Stein: “After every encounter in which I realise my inability to influence others directly, I become more intensely conscious of the urgent need for a personal holocaustum.”7

Yet, Mary raised this to a completely new level. Her love of sacrifice was not the love of a sinner hoping for reconciliation, but the love of the mother, completely united with her Son who was the Sacrifice. Eve was sentenced to bring forth her children in sorrow. In her tremendous sorrow under the Cross, Mary became the mother of all and was ordered to love all. Since then every woman is called to take part in the sacrificial motherhood of Mary, be it naturally or spiritually, and raise citizens for Heaven.

Love of sacrifice and perseverance is what the revolution wants to destroy in every single woman and also in a culture. For the revolution, these are intrinsically related, because the woman who can nurture souls, can also nurture the culture.

Woman and revolutions

How has each episode of the revolution sought to appeal to women and deform their mission? The Reformation and the French Revolution tempted the woman to rebel against her position in society. The Communist revolution turned the rebellion against her position in the family. The sexual revolution incited rebellion against her very womanhood. In the current phase of the revolution we see an attempt to introduce these errors into the Church.

We cannot study these attempts fully in the scope of this article. However, we can consider some of the key elements in the main episodes of the revolution in connection with women, while seeking to strengthen our commitment to Our Lady’s counter-revolutionary army today.

Early progress of the revolution against Christian civilisation

Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira identifies some of the essential factors in the Protestant revolution as: loss of the love of sacrifice, loss of true devotion to the Cross; the rise of sensuality and the importance of man’s own merits; the rise of natural above the supernatural.8 These were all changes that deeply affected the woman’s mission. Dr Plinio goes on to explain: “Pride begot the spirit of doubt, free examination and naturalistic interpretation of Scripture, and revolt against superiority which wrought ecclesiastical egalitarianism… On the moral plane, the triumph of sensuality was affirmed by the suppression of priestly celibacy and by the introduction of divorce.”9 This first episode of the revolution in the Christian world laid out the plan for destroying the protective walls of Christian morality – enshrined in the commandments and sanctified by the sacraments.

We could make two observations here in connection to the woman. Firstly, the long term consequence of the growth of pride and sensuality became evident in the later stages of the revolution, especially in the Communist and sexual revolution, when divorce, combined with its allies, contraception and abortion, ensnared women in moral chaos. It took time to reach that point. However, we should not miss the first blow to the sacramental order of marriage, which made all further blows possible.

Secondly, we must consider the inevitable and immediate conflict between these developments and the Blessed Virgin who is a constant reminder of God’s order. From the early episodes of the revolution in the Christian world, statues of Our Lady, her images and devotions had to be violently removed in pursuit of the design that so wholly contradicted her.

Like the Reformation, the French Revolution entered into a direct conflict with the blessed Virgin. A“Goddess of Reason” was enthroned in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. A temple of Philosophy was erected in the nave and decorated with busts of philosophers. At its base was an altar dedicated to Reason, and before it a torch of truth. The true Seat of Wisdom, however, was driven from her own cathedral.

According to Dr Plinio, the French Revolution was “the heir of Renaissance neopaganism and Protestantism, with which it had a profound affinity.”10

“The political work of the French Revolution was but the transposition to the sphere of the State of the ‘reform’ the more radical Protestant sects had adopted in the matter of ecclesiastical organization: the revolt against the King corresponding to the revolt against the Pope; the revolt of the common people against the nobles, to the revolt of the ecclesiastical “common people”; the faithful, against the “aristocracy” of the Church, the clergy.”11

Central to the French Revolution was the emergence of the Freemasonic lodges and the role they played in spreading revolutionary ideas. When the permanent instruction of Alta Vendita (Italian high lodge) came to light, it revealed a strategic plan to subvert the Catholic Church. Both Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII ordered this revolutionary document to be made public. Also, the letters, which have survived from the members of the lodge, leave no room for doubt of their plan:

“Catholicism does not fear a very sharp sword any more than the monarchies feared it. But, these two foundations of Social Order can collapse under corruption; let us never tire to corrupt them… from the blood of martyrs Christians are born; let us not make martyrs; but, let us popularise vice among the multitudes; may they breathe it through their five senses; may they drink it and be saturated. Make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics.

“It is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken… a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave. Lately, I heard one of our friends laughing philosophically at our projects saying: ‘To destroy Catholicism, we should do away with women.’ The idea is good in a certain way, but since we cannot get rid of women, let us corrupt them with the Church. ‘Corruptio optimi, pessima.’ The best dagger to strike the Church is corruption.”12

Notably, in this correspondence, in the universal corruption of Catholicism, women were considered to have an important role. This programme of corruption was determinedly pursued and in association with the feminist movement in the 1960s, these efforts bore ample fruit. Showing remarkable continuity with the Masonic letters of the previous century, the magazine L’Humanisme wrote at that time:

“The first conquest to be done is the conquest of women. Woman must be freed from the chains of the Church and from the law. […] To break down Catholicism, we must begin by suppressing the dignity of women, we must corrupt them together with the Church. We spread the practice of nudity: first the arms, then the legs, then all the rest. In the end, people will go around naked, or almost, without batting an eyelid. And, once modesty has been removed, the sense of the sacred will be extinguished, the morality will be weakened and faith will die of asphyxiation.”13

Until recently, the Church zealously protected the purity of her daughters. In his address to a group of Catholic girls, Pope Pius XII lamented:

“Many women… give in to the tyranny of fashion, be it even immodest, in such a way as to appear not even to suspect what is unbecoming. They have lost the very concept of danger: they have lost the instinct of modesty.”14

Later, he commented on the inherent connection between the morals of an individual and the morals of the culture and the nation, so well-known to the enemies of the Church:

“It is often said almost with passive resignation that fashions reflect the customs of a people. But it would be more exact and much more useful to say that they express the decision and moral direction that a nation intends to take: either to be shipwrecked in licentiousness or maintain itself at the level to which it has been raised by religion and civilization.”15

Our Lady herself issued warnings against the corruption of her daughters. “Certain fashions are to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much,” she said in Fatima. “Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.”

Already much earlier, 1594-1634, in Quito, Ecuador, Our Lady of Good Success had said:

 “Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to ensure general corruption.

“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.”16

Communist Revolution

The Communist Revolution instrumentalised women with enormous profit. In his article “A Great Beginning” (1919), Vladimir Lenin asserted that “we have far more organising talent among the working and peasant women than we are aware of.”17 And the party vowed that it is principally important to employ these talents in state business and social work. With that manoeuvre, the family was left to be mothered by the state.

The influential Communist women Inessa Armand (1874-1920), a member of the executive committee of the Bolshevik party, also Lenin’s lover, and Aleksandra Kollontai (1872-1952), the first Soviet People’s Commissar for Social Welfare, argued that sexual liberation was a necessary premise for the realisation of a socialist society. Kollontai wrote, in 1920, in the journal Kommunistka:

“In place of the individual and egoistic family, a great universal family of workers will develop, in which … men and women, will above all be comrades… These new relations will ensure for humanity all the joys of a love unknown in the commercial society, of a love that is free and based on the true social equality of the partners…The red flag of the social revolution which flies above Russia and is now being hoisted aloft in other countries of the world proclaims the approach of the heaven on earth.”18

In 1921 she explained:

“The economic subjugation of women in marriage and the family is done away with, and responsibility for the care of the children and their physical and spiritual education is assumed by the social collective. The family teaches and instils egoism thus weakening the ties of the collective and hindering the construction of communism.”19

Nothing like the powerful alliance of Communism and feminism has employed women more ferociously in the destruction of the family. To assume their responsibilities as “talented organisers” they were either to abort their children or hand them over to the Communist educational model that in the words of Kollontai, would “take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of a child.”20 Once the family was out of the way, immorality and liberalism would pave the way to “free love”. Incidentally, sex education in our schools today is the fruit of the seeds sown at this stage of the revolution.

Lenin congratulated himself on the progress made with regard to the position of women. He claimed:

“In this field, not a single democratic party in the world, not even in the most advanced bourgeois republic, has done in decades so much as a hundredth part of what we did in our very first year in power. We really razed to the ground the infamous laws placing women in a position of inequality.”21

The speed of the Bolshevik attack on the true mission of women and the family was remarkable indeed. On 17 December 1917, a few weeks after Bolsheviks seized power, divorce was introduced; in 1920 abortion was legalised without restriction (Soviet Russia was the first country in the world to allow this); in 1922 prostitution and homosexuality were decriminalised.22 In 1923 Leon Trotsky wrote: “The first period of family destruction is still far from being achieved. The disintegration process is in full swing.”23

Communist movements grew out of the French Revolution, which was the heir to the Protestant revolution – and nothing could be more logical, as Dr Plinio explains:

“The normal fruit of deism is atheism. Sensuality, revolting against the fragile obstacles of divorce, tends of itself toward free love. Pride, enemy of all superiority, finally had to attack the last inequality, that of wealth. Drunk with dreams of a one-world republic, of the suppression of all ecclesiastical or civil authority, of the abolition of any Church, and of the abolition of the State itself after a transitional dictatorship of the workers, the revolutionary process now brings us the twentieth-century neobarbarian, its most recent and extreme product.”24

On the eve of the Communists’ seizure of power, the Blessed Virgin appeared in Fatima. Her Immaculate Heart desired the Consecration of Russia, to prevent it from spreading its errors throughout the world. But the world had rejected the humble Virgin and enthroned a common woman worker instead.

Sexual revolution

In the realm of the family, the sexual revolution was the refinement and globalisation of the Communist revolution. When considering the territories and populations conquered by Communist regimes, we see that at this stage, the revolution had truly built an empire. Dr Plinio also points out that through its networks and infiltration of every social and professional sphere “the Third Revolution applies with devastating efficacy the tactics of psychological conquest.”25

What the sexual revolution added to the refinement and spread of the revolution was contraception.

In her book Adam and Eve after the Pill, Mary Eberstadt notes, “it may be possible to imagine the Pill being invented without the sexual revolution that followed, but imagining the sexual revolution without the Pill and other modern contraceptives simply cannot be done.”26 The pill redefined the most elemental human relationships. It is perhaps the single greatest change in the relationship between men and women after the Fall. The individual and social consequences of contraception predicted by Humanae Vitae (1968) – including 1) lower moral standards; 2) greater infidelity, 3) less respect for women by men, and 4) coercive use of reproductive technology by governments – are all fully vindicated today.

Nothing has ever done more for woman than Christianity. But nothing has enslaved and harmed women more than “sexual liberation”. There is ample empirical evidence – which Eberstadt presents in her book – that people in faithful married relationships “score better on all kinds of measures of well-being”. Other data “testifies to the propositionthat families headed by a married couple are better off than those headed by a cohabiting couple.”27 Children who grow up with both of their biological parents do better emotionally, financially, educationally, mentally than children who grow up with a single parent.28 Secular research tells us that lifelong, faithful marriage is better for children, better for adults and better for society.

The ideological position that women need to be freed from marriage and their fertility in order to enjoy unrestricted sexual relations, along with its permanent back-up plan, abortion, is a lie that subjects them to a grave injustice. It robs them of their right to be honoured and protected as women.

The sexual revolution suggests that, as a result of continued offences against God, woman “was severely punished in the very domain of her glory – to give life.”29 Only she is no longer suffering in the pain of childbirth, but rather in the fruitless pain of the sacrifice of her children on the altars of the revolution. The moral blindness of our society has grown to the extent that the killing of fifty million unborn children worldwide each year is no longer considered a crime that cries out to heaven. Consequently, millions of women walk the earth wounded to the core – in their femininity, motherhood and ability to love, to say nothing of those who share in these wounds, even if they also share responsibility for inflicting them.

After being tempted to rebel against God, against man, against her family and children, the woman is incited to rebel against her own nature and against womanhood. G.K. Chesterton wrote that the feminist is someone who “dislikes the chief feminine characteristics” and that “feminists want to destroy womanhood”.30 Alice von Hildebrand added, “the new age philosophy of feminism, in waging war on femininity, is in fact waging war on Christianity. For in the divine plan both are intimately linked.”31 Feminism leaves the culture without femininity, without the mother and without the queen.

Revolution in the Church

All phases of the revolution share one main target – the Church. At the heart of the revolution is the subversion of God’s order and a desire to institute disorder without God. The revolution will never be satisfied as long as the Holy Catholic Church, the earthly shrine of God-given order, stands strong. It desires to corrupt the Church, as it has corrupted the world. Let us recall the correspondence of the Alta Vendita:

“…let us popularise vice among the multitudes… make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics… it is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken…a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave.”

Instead of attacking her directly, the revolution allures her children to take everything it has achieved in the world today – secularisation, divorce, contraception, abortion, homosexuality, gender ideology, and bring these things into the Church. And once morality is corrupted, doctrine is corrupted. If she were to accept any of these sins of her children without calling them to repent, all her teachings would wither.

Yet, at this stage of the revolution, even more seems to be under attack than her moral and doctrinal health – namely, the very relationship with her Son which is at the foundation of the salvation of mankind. This brings us to the upcoming Amazon synod.

Concerns about the synod are dominated by proposals to adopt pagan, syncretistic, egalitarian, tribal ideas and practices incompatible with Catholic teaching and the admission of married men to the priesthood. It is the discussion of an official ministry that could be conferred on women that is relevant for us.32

Tradition opposes female ordinations, Sacred Scriptures reject it, canon law forbids it, popes throughout history have ruled against it. Christ came to earth as the Son of Man. He established his priesthood in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. Therefore, all ministers ordained to His ministry must be men.

This is not ordered so as to exclude women. On the contrary, Christ bound Himself on earth intimately to one woman, the Blessed Virgin, who would have been most qualified of all women to share in His ordained ministry, if that were part of the divine plan. But the plan for the woman is different. Edith Stein writes:

“He formed her so closely after His own image as no other human being before or after; He gave her a place in the Church for all eternity such as has been given to no other human being. And just so, He has called women in all times to the most intimate union with Him: they are to be emissaries of His love, proclaimers of His will to kings and popes, and forerunners of His Kingdom in the hearts of men. To be the Spouse of Christ is the most sublime vocation which has been given, and whoever sees this way open before her will yearn for no other way.”33

Marriage is between two parties. One cannot be married to oneself. Women can never carry out a ministry in the person of Christ. Women cannot be ordained deacons either, because all other ranks of ordained ministry are ordered after the ministry of the High Priest. Women’s role is fashioned after that of the Spouse of Christ, the Church, who is the fruitful mother of souls that are borne to Him.

The institution of marriage in this world is under continual attack. Today it is fiercely assaulted by the homosexual and transgender agenda. Proposals to ordain women, however, direct these attacks on the supernatural marriage of Christ and His Church. Words fail to convey the gravity of such a desecration. However, this shows why churchmen who do not recognise this desecration are incapable of resisting the evil of homosexuality and gender ideology.

Once again, a revolutionary proposal seeking the input of women, is founded on the same premise as the ancient Fall. The serpent suggests we will gain something we are denied, while retaining everything we have now. What was the reality? Eve got the apple, but Paradise was lost. There was no gain to speak of.

Thanks to the merits of the Blessed Virgin, instead of human equality, women are offered a dignity and honour in the Catholic Church unparalleled to what they have received in any other institution. This is rooted in humble service of the handmaid of the Lord. Her “Fiat!” is the greatest word ever said after Logos. Her word brought forth the Incarnation of the Word.

Conclusion

A similar examination of the key episodes of the revolution could be taken through the perspective of men, formation of children and youth, religious life or in a number of other ways. However, women have their own particular, and irreplaceable, role in countering the revolution.

The pure image of feminine nature stands before our eyes in the Immaculata, the Virgin, writes Edith Stein.

“The most pure virgin is the only one safeguarded from every stain of sin. Except for her, no one embodies feminine nature in its original purity. Every other woman has something in herself inherited from Eve, and she must search her way from Eve to Mary. There is a bit of defiance in each woman which does not want to humble itself under any sovereignty. In each, there is something of that desire which reaches for forbidden fruit. And she is hindered by both these tendencies in what we clearly recognise as woman’s work.”34

To fulfil her destiny, to be truly happy, every woman must take Mary as her example. Regardless of her particular role or state in life, if she is to be a joyful counter-revolutionary, she must submit herself wholly to God in everything she does. Edith Stein continues:

“Whether she is a mother in the home, or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind quiet cloister walls, she must be a handmaid of the Lord everywhere. So had the Mother of God been in all circumstances of her life, as the Temple virgin enclosed in that hallowed precinct, by her quiet work in Bethlehem and Nazareth, as guide to the apostles and the Christian community after the death of her Son. Were each woman an image of the Mother of God, a Spouse of Christ, an apostle of the divine Heart, then would each fulfil her feminine vocation, no matter what conditions she lived in and what worldly activity absorbed her life.”35

What practical conclusions could we draw?

We should of course share in all the tasks that come with our time to defend and spread the faith, but women today seem to be required specifically to exercise discipline of the senses and focus on the divine. To lead, so to say, a “Eucharistic life” – to love and adore the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as a bride loves her husband. Bridal love of Christ makes His business one’s own, says Edith Stein. And His business is none other than saving souls.

Vigilance is required to maintain purity of mind and body. By the way we look, speak and act we can give witness that God exists. A fact so well hidden today! We should look and sound Catholic. Our appearance, therefore, should not contradict what we believe. We are in the battle. Soldiers in slippers cannot be taken seriously at wartime. Their uniform, on the other hand, shows their readiness and competence to fight. We should look like Catholic women “on duty” at all times. The Catechism of Perseverance speaking of the first century Rome recalls: “The admirable purity of our ancestors appeared in their exterior. Nothing was more striking than the contrast between Christian and pagan women in this respect.”36

Christian mothers must have special regard to the holiness of their children. “All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother,” observed Cardinal Siri. This is why modesty in dress, comportment and speech is necessary not only in public, but also at home. By guarding the innocence of their children, Christian mothers foster wilful purity in their children in later life.

Religious are called to manifest the fidelity of true brides in every detail. These traditions nurture the hidden life in this special and most privileged union. A bride has more perfect opportunities to offer signs of affection and service to her husband compared to any other.

In all of these roles, interiorly, we must unite ourselves with Our Lady – through the Sacraments, through the Rosary, and through consecrating our entire lives to her.

Since Eve, only one woman has had the right attitude of complete surrender, the attitude of Fiat. Let us seek to imitate that woman.

Let us adopt her attitude to the Truth – protect it as a mother would protect her child and submit to it as she submitted to her Child who was the Truth.

Let us be part of her army under the command of Her Immaculate Heart, turned always to God, while crushing the devil with her heel. We are her little children called to the battle in the way described by St Louis de Montfort:

“… the power of Mary over all the devils will especially break out in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel; that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem, and abased before all, like the heel, trodden under-foot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their animated zeal, and leaning so strongly on the divine succour, that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil, and cause Jesus Christ to triumph.”37

Endnotes:

[1] St Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte 2010, p. 30.

[2] Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman, Sapientia Press, Ave Maria 2002, p. 18.

[3] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), Spring Grove 2008, p. 40.

[4] Ibid., p. 11.

[5] Ibid., p. 4.

[6] Genesis 3:16.

[7] Sister Teresia de Spiritu Sancto, O.C.D., Edith Stein, Sheed and Ward 1952, London and New York, p. 77.

[8] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, TFP, Spring Grove 2008, pp. 14-16.

[9] Ibid., p. 16.

[10] Ibid., p. 17.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Letter of Vindice to Nubius [pen-names of two leaders of the Italian ‘Alta Vendita’], dated 9August 1838, International Review of Freemasonry, 1928; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 6.

[13] Quoted by Virginia Coda Nunziante in Countering the Challenges of Today’s Society as Catholic Women, Voice of the Family 2018; http://voiceofthefamily.com/countering-the-challenges-of-todays-society-as-catholic-women/

[14] Pius XII, Address to a group of Catholic Action girls on 6 Oct. 1940, quoted by Robert T. Hart inThose Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 5.

[15] Pope Pius XII, Address to a Congress of the “Latin Union of High Fashion”, 8 Nov. 1957; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 26.

[16] Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times, TFP 2000.

[17] Vladimir Lenin, A Great Beginning, Marxists Internet Archive, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/jun/19.htm

[18] Alexandra Kollontai, Communism and the Family, first published in Komunistka, No. 2, 1920, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1920/communism-family.htm

[19] Alexandra Kollontai, Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations, first published in Kommunistka, No. 12, 1921, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kollonta/1920/communism-family.htm

[20] Ibid.

[21] Vladimir Lenin, A Great Beginning, Marxists Internet Archive, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/jun/19.htm

[22] Cf. Givanni Cadevilla, Dalla Rivoluzione bolscevica alla Federazione Russa, Froanco Angeli, Rome 1996; quoted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, A History of Revolutions and their Consequences for the Family, Voice of the Family 2017, http://voiceofthefamily.com/roberto-de-mattei-a-history-of-revolutions-and-their-effects-on-the-family/

[23] Leon Trotskij, Problems of everyday life, Monad Press, New York 1986, p. 37, quoted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, A History of Revolutions and their Consequences for the Family, Voice of the Family 2017, http://voiceofthefamily.com/roberto-de-mattei-a-history-of-revolutions-and-their-effects-on-the-family/

[24] Dr Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, TFP, Spring Grove 2008, p. 18.

[25] Ibid., p. 130.

[26] Mary Eberstadt, Adam and Eve before the Pill. Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2012, p. 12.

[27] Ibid., p. 25.

[28] Ibid., p. 27-30.

[29] Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman, Sapientia Press, Ave Maria 2002, p. x.

[30] Quoted in ibid., p. 2 and p. 8.

[31] Ibid.p. 32.

[32] Instrumentum Laboris, No. 129, a), 3., http://www.sinodoamazonico.va/content/sinodoamazonico/en/documents/pan-amazon-synod–the-working-document-for-the-synod-of-bishops.html

[33] Edith Stein, Essays on Women, ICS Publications, Washington 2010, p. 84.

[34] Ibid., p. 119.

[35] Ibid., p. 54.

[36] Abbé Gaume, The Catechism of Perseverance, Vol. III, p. 78. Dublin; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 33.

[37] St Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte 2010, p. 24.

Students vow ‘not to have children’ until gov’t stops climate change

TORONTO, September 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A growing number of students from around the world are pledging not to bear children until their governments do something to combat so-called climate change.

Launched by 18-year-old Canadian Emma Lim, the initiative asks students to refrain from having children until their government takes action.

“I pledge not to have children until I am sure my government will ensure a safe future for them,” the initiative’s website states.

“I am not the only young person giving up lifelong dreams because they are unsure of what the future will hold. We’ve read the science, and now we’re pleading with our government. ​Please, keep us safe. Please act while there is still time,” she writes on her website.

Carleton University professor Michael Hart argued in his 2016 book Hubris, however, that climate change advocacy is based on “poor science” and is being used as a Trojan horse for ramming through a social agenda on an unsuspecting population.

“I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives,” he told LifeSiteNews in an August 2016 interview.

“Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs. As John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, sees it, ‘The alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policymakers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort … announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policymakers,’” he said.

On Tuesday, Lim told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak program, “Our government isn’t doing enough.” She said her country’s legislators are “nowhere near the action needed.” On Twitter, supporters can use the “No Future, No Children” hashtag to register their position. Lim has launched a website where they can announce their decision.

As of Thursday, more than 1,000 people had registered at Lim’s website. While Lim herself claims she wants children, she says she wants them only if they can be “safe.”

Lim believes that global climate change will cause mass migration. Comparing it to the Holocaust, she said she fears that her children will have to “again face the very worst of humanity.” On CBC, Lim said, “It’s clear that our leaders aren’t taking this seriously, and this is a serious issue,” referring to the approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline by the Canadian government.

Lim’s website is linked to the Climate Strike Canada website, which is calling on students to leave their classrooms on Friday to demonstrate their support for climate change doctrine. Among student testimonies collected by the website, “Emma” is quoted: “Just 100 companies are responsible for 70% for GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, [yet] convenient rhetoric keeps the blame and responsibility off their shoulders. I strike because I believe change is possible and because there is so much in this world worth protecting.”

According to its website, Climate Strike Canada endorses a Canadian Green New Deal and supports the Global People’s Platform for a Livable Future. Among its proposals is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 75% over 2005 levels by 2030.

Students of all ages are expected to walk out of school, starting on Friday, as part of a global climate strike. In Canada, some school boards are allowing or even encouraging students to skip class. Among the institutions in support are the Toronto District School Board, Dawson College of Montreal, and the University of British Columbia. The Toronto board has asked schools to avoid scheduling tests on September 27 so as to ensure that students are not penalized academically for taking part in the rally outside the Ontario legislature. Students under 18, said the authorities, must obtain parental permission to skip class.

The University of British Columbia told student participants that they should talk to their instructors first, while faculty members were told to inform students in advance should they participate in the strike.

New York City schools declared recently that students participating in the strike will receive excused absences. Students around the world are set to participate.

Media attention has been focused on Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden who has been largely credited with starting the student movement in her country. She testified before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, appearing at a hearing on Wednesday. She offered a copy of the United Nations’ report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which offered findings of scientists to be used by government leaders.

“I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me,” Thunberg said, adding, “I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.”

Baby girl saved by Safe Haven Baby Box the first month it was installed

 

Less than 30 days after installing a Safe Haven Baby Box, Franciscan Health Hospital in Hammond, Indiana, received a healthy newborn baby girl. ABC7 Chicago reported the baby was retrieved by first responders in less than 90 seconds. An alarm sounded when the baby was placed in the box, and the emergency department of the hospital responded.

ABC7 Chicago interviewed Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Kelsey was adopted, and later learned that she was abandoned as a newborn. After seeing a baby box at a church in Cape Town, South Africa, where parents could surrender a newborn without face-to-face interaction, Kelsey started Safe Haven Baby Boxes to create a way for mothers to ensure their child’s care, and educate people about Safe Haven Laws, gwhich allow parents of newborns to surrender a newborn without facing legal consequences.

In regards to the newborn recently placed in the hospital baby box, Kelsey said, “That is my hope and my goal for this little girl, is to grow up knowing she was loved from the beginning. Her mom just felt that this was best for her, and hopefully one day she changes the world and does something amazing.”

 

The story of this newborn safely delivered to authorities is a contrast to many recent stories that could have ended tragically. Over the summer, one newborn baby girl was found abandoned in the woods in a plastic bag in Georgia. Another baby girl, likely just hours old, was found naked in the woods of Silver Spring, Maryland. In both cases, the babies were rescued when passersby heard crying and investigated. Tragically, many cases of abandoned newborns do not end with the child safely rescued.

Indiana Safe Haven Laws allows parents to place a newborn in care at any hospital emergency room, police or fire station without any questions or legal consequences. As the recent story shows, laws like this save lives. For information about Safe Haven Laws in your state, you can visit Baby Safe Haven or call 1-888-510-BABY.

Doctors Suggested Abortion Every Week for Months Because Lillee Was Disabled, Now She’s Healthy

INTERNATIONAL   SPUC

Kiera Meldrum, aged 20, was offered an abortion every single week following her 21-week scan, which discovered that her unborn baby had severe ascites to the bowel.

The young mum from York, bravely defied the doctors’ orders to abort her baby, every week, and describes how constantly being offered an abortion made her feel “horrific.” At 34 weeks, Kiera delivered her baby girl, Lillee-Rose, who had to undergo life saving surgery and spend eight intensive weeks in hospital.

However, Lillee-Rose is now happy and home with her family. Despite having a delicate bowel, doctors are satisfied that she should live a healthy and normal life.

According to The Scotsman, Lillee-Rose’s mum (Kiera) said: “Doctors told me every week to terminate my pregnancy, and hearing that advice over and over again was horrific, but something told me Lillee-Rose would make it through.

“I refused to terminate Lillee-Rose every time they told me to, and I’m so happy I listened to my heart instead of the doctors. There was no way I was terminating my pregnancy – I’d waited so long to become a mum and I was determined to do all I could to protect my baby

“My baby girl never stopped fighting and finally having her home with me is a blessing. I always had a feeling that she’d be ok, and seeing her grow up healthy and strong just goes to show that a mother always knows best. She is my little miracle.”

“Always go with your gut instinct”

Earlier this year, SPUC reported on the case of Scottish mother, Lauren Webster, who was also repeatedly offered an abortion during the course of her pregnancy, as her unborn child was suspected of having a low chance of survival. Ms Webster resisted the medical pressure to abort, and later gave birth to a healthy baby boy as she had a “gut feeling he would survive.”

PRO-LIFE COLLEGE STUDENT? LifeNews is looking for interns interested in writing, social media, or video creation. Contact us today.

Similarly, mother Natalie Halson was advised to abort her baby, Mirabelle, ten times after she was diagnosed with spina bifida, and was told by doctors that the baby would have a ‘poor quality of life.’ Ms Halson resisted the pressure from medical staff to abort and later gave birth to a healthy baby, who after a spinal operation is likely to live a happy and normal life.

Ms Halson said: “I would recommend to any parents who are advised to abort that it isn’t the only option, no matter what the hospitals try to tell them. Always go with your gut instinct; something inside told me that my baby was going to be ok- and look at her now, she’s perfect.”

“Mothers should not be facing such pressure”

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications and Campaigns, Michael Robinson said: “Whilst these stories of survival are heart-warming, they also highlight the immense and unacceptable pressure on mothers from medical staff.”

“These brave mothers chose life for their child and now cannot imagine life without them. It is saddening to reflect on the pressure brought upon them during their pregnancy- what should have been a hopeful and happy time.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.

Exposing the Truth about the Odious Abortion Industry

by 

 

Imagine for a moment that a courageous undercover journalist embedded herself among a group of powerful and wealthy businessmen involved in some horrific crime – sex-trafficking, for instance. Imagine the journalist had surreptitiously recorded conversations in which these powerful men openly haggled over the prices of their victims and spilled the details about how they circumvent the law.

Now, imagine that this journalist publicly released these damning recordings. And then imagine that, instead of investigating the businessmen, congressmen and law enforcement officials instead investigated the journalist – for the “crime” of secretly recording the businessmen!

The scenario is absurd, you might say. The public outrage in the face of such a gross miscarriage of justice would be swift and ferocious. After all, even if the secret recordings were technically illegal, clearly this kind of hard-hitting undercover journalism is an important exception.

However, we don’t really need to “imagine” such a supposed absurd scenario. Right now, two heroic pro-life investigators are fighting for their freedom in a Californian courtroom. Their crime? Exposing the horrific illegal practices of abortion clinics and biomedical companies who traffic in the bodies of aborted babies.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are the two journalists, working for the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), who secretly recorded abortionists and other officials in the abortion industry describing how they harvest the body parts of unborn victims of abortion, and then sell them for a profit to various buyers. The pair publicly released the shocking videos in 2015.

They are now facing 15 felony counts for allegedly “illegally” taping the conversations with the abortion officials. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison!

The horrifying truth

I’ve watched the videos. To say they are nauseating is an understatement. One of the most haunting of them shows a medical worker digging through a petri dish filled with the crushed remains of aborted 20-week twins. At one point, the tweezers seize upon an object, and then proceed to lift the dismembered arm of a baby for the camera to see. Each of the fingers is vividly, searingly visible. This is the arm of a human being…a human being that was fully alive but minutes before, but whose mangled body is now being sorted through for intact parts that can be sold to pad the bottom line of the abortion clinic.

Then there’s the video in which the CEO of Stem Express, a tissue procurement company, described how in order to harvest “insanely fragile” brain tissue, it’s best just to ship the whole head of the fetus to researchers. “Just make sure the eyes are closed,” Daleiden (one of the pro-life investigators) remarks at this point. “Yeah,” the CEO laughs in response, “Tell the lab techs it’s coming…it’s almost like they don’t want to know what it is.”

Just about anybody with an intact conscience who saw these videos knew they were looking at something morally repugnant. In our bizarre legal system, however, the mere fact of harvesting the bodies of unborn babies who have been deliberately murdered is not, in itself, illegal. However, some of the practices that abortionists and other officials in the video explicitly admit to engaging clearly violate the law.

For instance, though it is technically legal to harvest human body parts from abortion and to provide them to biomedical companies or universities for macabre “research,” there are regulations against profiting from the sale of these body parts. Furthermore, there are regulations that forbid abortionists from altering the abortion procedure in order to obtain better or more intact “specimens.” The reason why is obvious: the abortionist could put the baby’s mother at risk if he decides to change his normal practices because he wants “better” body parts to sell.

In the videos released by Daleiden and Merritt, however, it’s clear that the abortionists and biomedical companies are very, very interested in money. In one of the most notorious of these videos, Dr. Mary Gatter, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s for-profit Medical Directors’ Council, haggles over the price of baby body parts. At one point she even jokes, bizarrely, that she “wants a Lamborghini.” In the same conversation, Gatter says she would be willing to ask their abortionist if he would be willing to alter “the protocol” they follow during abortion to procure the body parts. In other words, Gatter appeared to violate the law on both counts in a single conversation.

A politically motivated prosecution…that might backfire

Unsurprisingly, the abortion industry responded to CMP’s videos by doing everything in their power to browbeat the pro-life investigators into silence. Unfortunately for Daleiden and Merrit, the abortion industry has powerful friends in high places.

One of these is former California Attorney General Kamala Harris – now a stridently pro-abortion presidential candidate for the Democratic party – who first initiated the investigation into CMP, partially in response to the urging of four Democratic congressmen (frankly, I’m not sure she needed much urging). And another is Harris’ successor, current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is known as a staunch pro-abortion advocate with ties to Planned Parenthood.

According to Peter Breen, one of the lawyers defending Daleiden and Merritt, the case against CMP is the “first time in California history” that an attorney general has prosecuted anyone under California’s law banning illegal taping. As Breen observed, this is bizarre. “We as a society made a value judgement, we as a society value undercover journalism,” he said. And (it should come as no surprise), “Undercover journalism requires surreptitious taping.” But in the quest to protect legal child-killing, it appears just about any stick is good enough to beat pro-lifers with.

Daleiden was also previously hit with a nearly $200,000 fine after a California judge concluded that Daleiden and his lawyers had violated a gag order he had placed on CMP’s videos.

It’s possible, however, that the abortion industry’s strategy of suing and investigating CMP into oblivion will backfire. As Daleiden pointed out late last month, before the current hearing began, if Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against CMP proceeded, many of the abortionists and abortion officials featured in their videos would have to take the stand and testify under oath about their nefarious activities. Which is precisely what CMP wanted in the first place.

That, in fact, is currently happening. The first week of the preliminary hearing into Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit wrapped up last week, and the case will be ongoing this week. Several key witnesses have already taken the stand and described some the macabre business of harvesting fetal body parts. And while the pro-abortion attorney general requested a gag order that would seriously impede media reporting on the case, the judge overseeing the preliminary hearing last week rejected that request.

Perhaps the most chilling testimony of all, so far, came from Daleiden himself, who last described on the stand how he was motivated to investigate fetal tissue procurement after seeing a 2012 documentary in which a whistleblower who worked in Planned Parenthood clinics described receiving the intact bodies of aborted babies, and “cutting open the chest and seeing the heart was still beating.” Daleiden then explained that Stem Express itself provided researchers at Stanford University with fetal hearts. According to Daleiden, the methods used by those researchers would have required that they receive living human hearts.

The CEO of Stem Express herself admitted in court last week that her company provided fetal hearts and heads, and that in some cases the heads would be attached to the bodies of the baby, or could “be torn away.” As Daleiden’s lawyers pointed out, this raises questions about how Stem Express is obtaining intact bodies of babies, and whether the babies may well have been alive at the time they were born or were victims of illegal partial-birth abortions.

Pray for Daleiden, Merritt and their lawyers

At this point in the preliminary hearing, Daleiden and Merritt’s lawyers feel confident that they are winning. They are arguing that the laws against illegal taping do not cover cases when the conversations being taped can reasonably be expected to be overheard. This would include many of the conversations in CMP’s videos, which were recorded in public restaurants and at trade shows with numerous people milling about in the vicinity. The lawyers are also arguing that the law doesn’t apply to instances when those doing the recording reasonably believe that they are investigating a violent crime – which, clearly, Daleiden and Merritt were doing.

However, as anyone who has worked in the pro-life movement knows, legal proceedings involving the issue of abortion often go in unexpected directions. Lawyers who defend pro-life advocates often must prepare themselves for things that they have never experienced in their entire legal career: e.g.seemingly slam-dunk, routine preliminary motions arbitrarily denied, or judges tortuously interpreting the law in novel ways to arrive at decisions that go against the pro-lifers.

Daleiden and Merritt are courageous pro-life witnesses, who have done immeasurable good for our unborn brothers and sisters. Thanks to their efforts, the sheer, horrific barbarity of abortion has been exposed for countless millions of people to see. Right now, they are fighting for their freedom. They need our support in any way we can give it to them. And they and their lawyers need our prayers – for wisdom, and spiritual protection. I hope you will join me in praying for them throughout this court case.

Study Shows Link Between Teen Birth Control Use and Adult Depression

Gabriella Patti

A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that teenagers who use birth control are “1.7 times to 3 times more likely to be clinically depressed in adulthood, compared to women who started taking birth control pills as adults, and to women who had never taken birth control pills.”

According to UBC News, the researchers collected data on over a thousand women in the United States, which led them to see that use of hormonal birth control during adolescence increases vulnerability to depression in adulthood even if the woman has been off of birth control for years. “Adolescence is an important period for brain development. Previous animal studies have found that manipulating sex hormones, especially during important phases of brain development, can influence later behavior in a way that is irreversible,” said the study’s first author, Christine Anderl, a psychology postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.

While the study’s authors say that this doesn’t prove that birth control causes depression, they hope that dialogue will continue on the topic. Meanwhile, the researchers behind this study are working on a new study to “investigate how hormonal changes during adolescence can affect teenagers’ emotions, social interactions, and mental health.”

Given what we know both about the side effects of hormonal birth control and the ever-fluctuating hormones of teenagers, this correlation comes as no surprise. Depression and anxiety are cited as some of the most common side effects of hormonal birth control, and this is not the first study to make this connection. Another study from 2017 published in The American Journal of Psychiatry looking at nearly a million Danish women and girls found that those on “hormonal contraception were 97% more likely to attempt suicide than those not taking the drugs, and were 200% more likely to succeed in their suicide attempt.”

Safer Alternatives to Birth Control

Menstruation is a normal healthy part of a young woman’s development, and it’s possible to teach teenage girls to appreciate the uniqueness of their fertility health through Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs). Teaching teenage girls fertility charting in lieu of birth control not only protects them from a host of unsavory side effects, but it also introduces them to practical tools to learn more about their health, equips them to pursue treatment for hormonal imbalances naturally, and produces body-positive results.

All this being said, it is important to note that many women will experience anxiety and depression whether or not they have been prescribed hormonal birth control. However, one of the beauties of FABMs is that it can help women regulate stress and mood swings and help with self-care and emotional health. 

One hopes that these recent findings—echoing concerns we’ve had for a while now—will be taken seriously and be considered by healthcare providers when they are caring for teen girls. Women and girls should not have to suffer mental-health side effects in order to prevent anything from pregnancy to acne to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Thank goodness for fertility awareness and the freedom and clarity that it can bring!

Scientists announce method to mass-produce living ‘embryo-like structures’

September 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A group of scientists revealed the opening of another Pandora’s box this week with a new paper detailing a method for quickly producing large quantities of organic structures similar to human embryos, for the purpose of studying human life in its earliest stages.

The paper, published Wednesday in Nature, details the development of “microfluidic devices” capable of mass-producing embryoid bodies, which are “cystic teratoma-like structures consisting of semi-organized tissues representing all three embryonic germ layers.”

These devices, the researchers say, offer a “powerful experimental system to advance knowledge of human embryology and reproduction,” which “could assist in the rational design of differentiation protocols of hPSCs for disease modelling and cell therapy, and in high-throughput drug and toxicity screens to prevent pregnancy failure and birth defects.”

Describing these embryoids as “synthetic embryos,” NPR reports that the research has sparked a conversation about the ethics of creating organic entities so similar to newly conceived human beings.

Rockefeller University embryologist Ali Brivanlou said the development opens “windows to aspects of development that we have never seen before,” the “Holy Grail of human embryology.” But Harvard and Case Western bioethicist Insoo Hyun called on researchers to be “very careful not to model all aspects of the developing human embryo, so that they can avoid the concern that this embryo model could one day become a baby if you put it in the womb.”

Jianping Fu, the lead researcher on the paper, acknowledged he was “pushing the boundary” but insists he made sure these embryoids only “resemble a portion of the human embryo — the core of the early human embryo,” and that his team had “zero intention” of creating a “complete human embryo.”

That approach satisfied some of the researchers who spoke to NPR, but Georgetown bioethicist Daniel Sulmasy sounded concerned.

“That would be sort of a very early sort of Frankenstein model, right? Taking different parts and stitching them together in order to try to create an organism,” he said. “If somebody tried to do it and it were even at the earliest stages of embryonic development, and they tried to then let it develop further, that would be a problem.”

Tackling the question of whether embryoids are, in fact, living human beings, Heather Zeiger of the Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity writes that they “seem to have many of the features that define a biological organism. They respond to environmental stimuli, exhibit self-organization, undergo growth and development, and consume energy. The cells within embryoids can be said to reproduce in the same sense that embryonic cells grow and divide. However, the embryoid itself lacks the necessary cells to grow into a human that, in turn, can reproduce. Furthermore, its self-organization is local in contrast to the global and directional organization of embryos.”

Ethical guidelines currently accepted by the scientific establishment dictate that scientists can experiment on an embryo only for up to fourteen days after its creation, a restriction that Fu touts embryoids as circumventing. In 2017, scientists from Harvard argued that the advent of embryoids necessitated replacing the 14-day rule with a more rigorous framework based on the precise nature of the entities being created.

“These and related experiments raise more foundational issues that cannot be fixed by adjusting the 14-day rule, because the framework underlying the rule cannot adequately describe the ways by which synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs) might develop morally concerning features through altered forms of development,” they wrote at the time. “We propose that limits on research with SHEEFs be based as directly as possible on the generation of such features, and recommend that the research and bioethics communities lead a wide-ranging inquiry aimed at mapping out solutions to the ethical problems raised by them.”

Who benefits most from abortion pills on college campuses? Not who you think.

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Abortion pills on state college campuses may soon become a reality, depending on how the California legislature votes tomorrow on SB 24, a bill that would allow California campus health centers to dispense the abortion pill regimen to students.

Live Action News previously detailed how at least 24 women have already died and how literally thousands have been hospitalized with serious complications from the abortion pill, all while the pill regime was monitored under a safety system (REMS) put in place by the FDA. But many of those now pushing for these dangerous pills to be readily available on campus are also pushing for these same safety requirements to be lifted.

 

What does this mean?

According to the pro-abortion Rewire news website:

The California state legislature has until Friday to vote on the College Student Right to Access Act, sponsored by state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino). If it does not move forward this week, the bill will be “carried over” to 2020…. A previous version of the bill was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) last year, but California’s new governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, has signaled he would sign the bill into law.

Should SB24 be approved, Rewire says, “Starting in 2023, each campus of California State University and the University of California would receive $200,000 to cover the startup costs of offering medication abortion services at their health centers.

Who will benefit most from abortion pill distribution on California college campuses? The pill’s manufacturer, DANCO Laboratories, LLC , a secretly organized company which was put in place by the eugenics-founded Population Council and was seeded with millions from The Packard Foundation, an original investor of Danco.

Who’s funding this?

Rewire fails to point out that, as Live Action News previously documented, the funds for campus abortion pill distribution were promised by Tara Health Foundation (THF) — a radically pro-abortion organization pushing to expand abortion.

Image: TARA Health foundation funds abortion pill on college campus

TARA Health foundation funds abortion pill on college campus

Tara Health Foundation has been planning to expand abortion through philanthropic measures for some time. This is outlined in a strategy supported by THF, commissioned by Reproductive Health Investors Alliance Steering Committee, and published on THF’s website. It includes a push for “home use” abortion, elimination of FDA’s safety requirements known as REMS, and lists DANCO investor the Packard Foundation as a steering committee member.

Image: Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

Packard Timeline shows it invested in abortion pill distributor

THF recently funded a study on TelAbortion (telemedicine), claiming abortion pill expansion is safe. This study was published by the Journal Contraception, which has failed to list previous financial conflicts tied to the abortion pill’s manufacturer, DANCO, in past reports. The Journal’s editorial board has been stacked with abortion industry insiders, including a National Abortion Federation board member and members of the Population Council (responsible for bringing the abortion pill into the US and forming DANCO, the manufacturer of the pill).

Who are the people behind the studies claiming that distributing the abortion pill this way is safe?

Abortionist Daniel Grossman, director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), told Rewire that Tara Health’s funding of the abortion pill on California college campuses  “should be ‘more than enough’ to train staff and get student health centers ready to provide abortion care.”

He should know; Grossman is part of UCSF’s abortion training program, is senior adviser at Ibis Reproductive Health, and is behind the push to expand so-called self-managed abortion. Grossman is also behind an abortion pill clinical trial for pharmacy dispensing. Grossman is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal Contraception, where he publishes his abortion studies. That Journal is funded by the Packard Foundation.

Grossman was also recently recruited to issue “fact checks” for Facebook, targeting Live Action. (Live Action News has been exposing Grossman’s ties to big abortion.)

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

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

Rewire also quoted Ushma Upadhyay, associate professor at ANSIRH. “In one study,” Rewire writes, “[Upadhyay] and her colleagues found that the average student at a California state school had to wait about a week for an off-campus appointment and pay an average of $600 for medication abortion services.” That study, published by the Journal of Adolescent Health, deliberately hid its funding source, noting it was a “private anonymous donor.”

Image: Ushma Upadhyay abortion study anonymous funding

Ushma Upadhyay abortion study anonymous funding

Hiding funding sources isn’t new among abortion insiders. Live Action News uncovered that the Buffett Foundation — another DANCO abortion pill manufacturer investor — has been an anonymous funding source for at least one abortion pill study. And we have documented several times that Buffett and Packard were original investors in DANCO, as was billionaire George Soros (Open Society Foundations).

In past years, Buffett gave $78 million to the University of California — and according to New York Times, Buffett is the primary financier of the Bixby Center’s Ryan Residency Program at UCSF, where Daniel Grossman works. In 2016, ProPublica revealed that “Buffett’s main academic partner (receiving at least $88 million from 2001 to 2014) has been the University of California, San Francisco…” where Grossman is on staff.

Image: Buffett funds UCSF Bixby Ryan program where Grossman is staff and Family Planning Fellowship

Buffett funds UCSF Bixby Ryan program where Grossman is staff and Family Planning Fellowship

Additional connections:

  • ANSIRH: Founded by abortionist Felicia H. Stewart, previously awarded by Population Council which brought the abortion pill to the US and set up Danco Laboratories.
  • ANSIRH publishes workbooks on abortion training and is part of University of California’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.
  • ANSIRH has for years pushed for abortion expansion in California with funding from DANCO investor, the Packard Foundation.
  • Bixby trains abortionists, as Live Action News previously documented, and receives funding from a number of organizations collaborating to expand abortion, including DANCO’s original investor the Packard Foundation.
  • University of California is heavily funded by DANCO’s investors (Packard and Buffett), and sponsoring clinical trials to expand abortion in U.S.
  • Upadhyay studies have been funded by Danco investor, Packard.
  • Ibis is directly funded by Danco Laboratories, according to their own website where Grossman is senior adviser.
  • ANSIRH recently collaborated with Danco-funded Ibis to publish a report entitled, “A roadmap for research on self-managed abortion in the United States.” 

Image: Daniel Grossman works with Ibid funded by abortion pill mfg Danco

Daniel Grossman works with Ibis funded by abortion pill mfg Danco

As they say… follow the money.

The sexual revolution: a pandora’s box for the problems plaguing society

September 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – This week on The Van Maren Show, Jonathon Van Maren speaks with Mary Eberstadt about the sexual revolution. Eberstadt provides an intellectual and precise commentary on current culture, philosophy, and the fate of the post-modern man. She is the author of the new book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics, and also wrote How the West Really Lost God and Adam and Eve after the Pill.

The sexual revolution is a topic that Van Maren has covered extensively on his LifeSiteNews blog and on The Van Maren Show. The sexual revolution has impacted every corner of society, from the so-called LGBT movement to pornography and sex-education to attacks on freedoms of speech and religion.

Eberstadt dives into the concept of “the loneliness epidemic” and how it relates to the sexual revolution. According to Eberstadt, to say there has been an explosion of loneliness in every single advanced country is not at all an overstatement. It is traceable to the fact that a lot of people simply aren’t having children. She states that children and marriage are nature’s solution to loneliness. However, more and more people are not getting married and are deciding against having children.

“This is, to me, one of the most poignant manifestations of the revolution’s fallout. And it’s something that we’re going to be dealing with for a long time to come,” she explains.

Van Maren and Eberstadt spend some time discussing the #MeToo Movement and third-wave feminism, which are consequences of the sexual revolution. Eberstadt summarizes the rage that we see all the time in the third-wave feminism movement by stating that “the problem is the sexual revolution has unleashed predation and made it harder to find what most women, even now, will say they want most, which is marriage and family.”

Despite the far reaches of the sexual revolution and the massive impact it has had on today’s culture, Eberstadt wraps up this episode with a good bit of hope: “I think there are all kinds of reasons for hope, including that we are rational animals.”

She cites several examples of positive social transformation in history, and argues that young people today being more likely than their Baby Boomer parents to be pro-life is evidence of a rollback of sexual revolution ideology.

Eberstadt’s commentary is simply amazing. This episode of The Van Maren Show is a must-listen. Additionally, be sure to read Eberstadt’s books, available at Amazon or her website.

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Contraception made many promises to women… and it hasn’t kept them

 

The prevailing cultural mindset states that contraception has been a panacea for women. In fact, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute — Planned Parenthood’s former research arm and special affiliate — inseparably links contraception with women’s ability to reach their full potential. The organization’s July 2018 fact sheet, “Contraceptive Use in the United States,” went so far as to claim (emphasis added):

The ability to delay and space childbearing is crucial to women’s social and economic advancement. Women’s ability to obtain and effectively use contraceptives has a positive impact on their education and workforce participation, as well as on subsequent outcomes related to income, family stability, mental health and happiness, and children’s well-being. However, the evidence suggests that the most disadvantaged U.S. women do not fully share in these benefits, which is why unintended pregnancy prevention efforts need to be grounded in broader antipoverty and social justice efforts.

With rave reviews like this, what’s not to love? Plenty, as it turns out.

In the Beginning

Contraception, beginning with the development of the only medication to be so widely known that it’s simply called “the Pill,” marked a major shift in men and women’s understanding of the purpose of sex. Classically understood, sex was for babies and bonding between the partners. Not every act of intercourse led to babies, certainly, but couples understood that the possibility of conceiving existed.

Contraception was originally marketed using a kind of salvation messaging. Promiscuous sex — including with married men — and a career would give a single girl’s life meaning, according to Helen Gurley Brown’s best-selling book “Sex and the Single Girl.” And sex without the possibility of more mouths to feed would make married women happy and free as described in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. In this narrative, birth control was the ticket to making both single and married women’s wildest dreams come true. Unfortunately, the Pill hasn’t made good on all of its glitzy promises.

Reality Check

Separating fact from fiction in the Guttmacher Institute’s claims above, it’s true that 33% of modern-day women will graduate college, versus just 7% in the 1960s, and some 60% of recent college graduates are female. It’s also true that at the time contraception was introduced, women were often fired for becoming pregnant, as described by Sue Ellen Browder in her book, “Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.” Legal policy changes, ultimately, not contraception, were the driver in ending pregnancy discrimination. In fact, contraception plays right along with the misogynistic idea that women have to be just like men (unable to bear children) in order to succeed professionally.

While the Guttmacher Institute also insists that contraception makes women economically better off, data from the United States Census Bureau show that more children, not less, are living with single mothers than in decades past. And, those single mothers, 27% of whom are living in poverty, are significantly more likely to be poor than the far fewer numbers of single fathers raising children. In fact, economist Timothy Reichert found that “the contraceptive revolution has resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men” by setting up “what economists call a ‘prisoner’s-dilemma game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off.”

The Guttmacher Institute also claims that contraception contributes to family stability, yet we know that divorce has skyrocketed since the 1960s. Speakers in the 2018 documentary Unprotected pointed out the logical connection between contraception and divorce, given the basic premise that human beings need deterrents to do the right thing and that contraception removes a historical deterrent to infidelity by dramatically reducing the risk of an unexpected pregnancy. Infidelity is commonly cited as a reason for divorce. Timothy Reichert’s analysis of research from the social sciences bore out this connection as well.

Improved “mental health and happiness” is also credited to contraception in the quote above, and yet directly contradicts a major study finding that women’s happiness “has declined both absolutely and relative to men” when compared to women in the 1970s. This makes sense given that the Unprotected documentary mentioned above noted how young girls face pressure to “sext” nude pictures of themselves to teenage boys. In college, rates of sexual assault on young women are staggering. The trend of disrespect for women continues in the workplace and beyond, as catalogued by the #metoo movement.

READ: You might think contraception is a solution to abortion. It isn’t. Here’s proof.

 

According to the Unprotected documentary, this decline in women’s well-being due to a loss of respect for women was directly predicted by Pope Paul VI in his 1968 papal document “Humanae Vitae,” which reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s traditional prohibition on contraception. Specifically, Pope Paul VI anticipated that if contraception became widespread, “the man” would lose respect for “the woman” and “no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium,” and would go so far as “considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

In fact, Pope Paul VI also predicted an increase in “infidelity and moral decline,” described above, as well as governments using coercive measures to control population size and poverty. China’s regressive One-Child Policy comes to mind, as well as the United Kingdom’s new “Two-Child Limit” on welfare benefits for poor couples.

While the Guttmacher Institute’s claims are factually questionable, contraception has had some undeniably negative effects on women’s health. Contraception has been linked to blood clots — some fatal, and even in young women — as well as depression, especially among younger womenbreast cancerheart attacks, strokecervical cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases.

A Better Way

While contraception has proved far from an unqualified good for women, modern, evidence-based methods of natural family planning (NFP) enable women to work with their bodies to plan family size and monitor their reproductive health. Natural family planning maintains the integral unity of sex, rather than separating babies from bonding. Couples utilize the woman’s fertile window if they are trying to become pregnant, and to abstain from sex during that time (growing their relationship in other ways) if their goal is to avoid pregnancy.

With apps like Daysy and FEMM, and at-home fertility monitors like the Clear Blue Monitor, technology is assisting more and more women in understanding their own bodies and achieving their reproductive goals in ways that respect their fertility rather than viewing it as an obstacle. At the end of Unprotected, presenter Christopher West emphasized that working cooperatively with the woman’s body via NFP is a game-changer for couples. In fact, research suggests that rates of divorce amongst couples using NFP are less than 5%. Respecting the woman’s body, rather than treating her fertility as the enemy, can bring benefits that contraception can’t ever achieve.

European abortionist sues FDA for cracking down on abortion-by-mail scheme

September 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The European physician behind an organization that circumvents medical regulations by sending abortion pills through the mail has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) over actions it has taken to block their activities.

Created by Dutch abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts, “Aid Access” sends women the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone and misoprostol after just an online consultation with a “doctor,” for the express purpose of getting around the costs and unavailability of abortions in their area, as well as regulations such as waiting periods or parental involvement requirements. The group claims it’s safe to take the pills at home, without medical supervision.

The FDA opened an investigation into Aid Access last October, and in March warned the organization that it was “facilitating the sale of…unapproved and misbranded” products, and to “promptly cease” doing so or face regulatory action potentially “including seizure or injunction, without further notice.”

On Friday, Gomperts filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho against the FDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for seizing up to ten doses of abortion drugs Aid Access had “prescribed” since that letter, NPR reports, as well as allegedly blocking some payments to the group. The suit seeks to stop what Gomperts calls “bullying” and “intimidation” by the FDA.

Gomperts’ attorney Richard Hearn claims that Aid Access merely helps women carry out the so-called “right” to abortion. “Some women in the United States can exercise that right just by going down the street if those women happen to live in New York or San Francisco or other major metropolitan areas on either one of the coasts,” he told NPR. “But women in Idaho and other rural states, especially conservative states…cannot exercise that right.”

“FDA remains very concerned about the sale of unapproved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy on the Internet or via other channels for illegal importation, because this bypasses important safeguards designed to protect women’s health,” the agency responded in a statement to NPR. It didn’t comment on potential future actions against Aid Access, but said it “generally does not take enforcement action against individuals” who receive such unapproved drugs.

Part of the FDA’s March warning to Aid Access was that its business circumvents federal requirements that the approved prescription version of mifepristone, Mifeprex, be only made available via a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program and obtainable only from REMS-certified healthcare providers. This, it said, ensures that providers can “assess the duration of the pregnancy accurately, diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or to have made arrangements for others to provide such care”; give women “access to medical facilities for emergency care”; and more.

Pro-lifers also warn that even when “properly” taken, abortion pills are not only lethal to preborn children but more dangerous to women than advertised.

“As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the FDA warns, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

“Protecting women from the known dangers of abortion-inducing drugs is good and safe policy,” Students for Life of America spokesperson Kristi Hamrick said in a statement about the lawsuit. “Risking women’s lives so that an international sales team for abortion pills can more easily operate is not in the interests of American women. It’s easy to understand why a profit driven industry for chemical abortion pills wants fewer health and safety standards but protecting women from the known dangers of the pills is the right public policy.”

Abortion pill reversal saved her baby after she regretted taking the first dose

 

Sarah was 26 years old when she got the shock of a poorly-timed, positive pregnancy test. Already a mother of three, she was concerned about the course of her life. Her boyfriend insisted she have an abortion, so she scheduled the appointment, fearing being a single mother of four and feeling she needed to “save face,” succumbing to the father’s pressure to “take care of this.”

Sarah was given two pills to complete the abortion. But after she took the first pill, she dissolved into tears. “It was awful,” she told The Catholic Telegraph. When she looked at her other children she thought, “I love you and we’re making it. Why does this baby not deserve that same chance to love and be loved and be a sibling?”

Soon after, she began combing the internet for a way to undo the effects of the abortion pill, which is when she discovered Abortion Pill Rescue, which offered the process of the abortion pill reversal. She discovered there was a doctor in her area who could see her in just a few hours to begin the process.

Abortion pill reversal works by countering the effects of the first phase of the two-step abortion pill process. In the first step, a woman takes mifepristone in order to block the effects of progesterone, essential cutting off nutrients the baby needs to survive. Mifepristone will eventually lead to the death of the baby. The second pill, misoprostol, causes contractions that expel that baby’s body.

Reversing the process involves administering high dosages of progesterone to counteract the first abortion pill, mifepristone, and its harmful effects. As the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) explains, “[U]sing progesterone to counteract the effect of mifepristone is the logical extension of simple principles of toxicology and poison control.” And while some abortion activists baselessly claim that administering high doses of progesterone is dangerous to women and can cause birth defects, Live Action News has shown that these are lies. On the contrary, administering progesterone has been a standard part of OBGYN care for decades.

READ: These babies were saved by abortion pill reversal. So were hundreds of others.

As Live Action News has reported, Dr. Bill Lile, an obstetrician and gynecologist licensed in Alabama and Florida, has explained that abortion pill reversal is analogous to a patient who has overdosed on narcotics and is given the reversal agent Narcan. “[J]ust like we give Narcan to reverse a bad decision, we can give Prometrium [micronized progesterone] to reverse a bad decision. And we’ve been very successful around the country with reversal protocols.”

After Sarah began the treatment, her baby showed a strong heartbeat, and the doctor who gave her the regimen continued to treat her and Isaiah, who was born healthy. Isaiah’s father left after Sarah told him the “abortion didn’t work.” But despite the roadblocks in her life, she is doing better now than she could have imagined.

“I have a job now that I couldn’t even see myself having when I found out I was pregnant, wondering how I was going to make it work,” she said. “But God sets things in motion, and I’m benefiting from believing in His plan.”

Sarah’s story is being told in an upcoming episode of the Being Pro-Life podcast, airing September 12th.

Editor’s Note: If you have taken the first of the two-dose abortion pill and regret it, visit abortionpillreversal.com or call their 24-hour helpline at 877-558-0333.

Mother Teresa’s 5 Lessons for Pro-Life People

ALITHEA WILLIAMS

Mother Teresa is best known for her work among the poorest of the poor, caring for “all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society” in the slums of Calcutta. By her death in 1997 the order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, had grown from a 13-member Calcutta congregation to more than 4,000 sisters who managed orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centres worldwide, caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine.

However, she was also praised (and fiercely criticised) for her staunch opposition to abortion. She spoke up for the unborn on the biggest stages imaginable, including when she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize. She didn’t let famous people off the hook either, keeping up correspondence over many years with Hilary Clinton to try and change her mind on abortion.

So, on this twentieth anniversary of her death, what lessons does Mother Teresa have for pro-lifers today?

1) Dare to speak out

Speaking out about abortion can be hard. It is such a controversial topic, and people’s reactions can be so extreme, that we can all feel the temptation to be quiet about our beliefs, or perhaps stick to more socially acceptable causes. Mother Teresa’s main work was with the poor and hungry, and I’m sure it would have been easier for her to stick to that work and enjoy the praise she received for it. But she didn’t. She used the platform her fame had won her to speak out for the most marginalised, the unborn. When accepting her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she said:

“And I feel one thing I want to share with you all, the greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child in her womb, what is left for you and for me to kill each other?”

She reiterated the sentiment at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C, on February 5, 1994, where guests included the then President Bill Clinton, and his wife Hilary.

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

​Here, she stood in front of the most powerful people in America, if not the world, and dared to call out abortion for what is it – the killing of a child.

2) Reach out in love

However, Mother Teresa also reminds us that we must spread this truth with love. This quote is also taken from the prayer breakfast address:

“How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.”

While I’ve yet to encounter the pro-lifer of common stereotypes, who shouts “murderer!” at women seeking abortion, we can never be reminded too often that the only way to reach out to an abortion-minded woman is with love, and by offering support.

3) Recognise the real difficulties

This also means recognising the very real situations that people find themselves in. Mother Teresa knew that keeping a baby often isn’t easy – love means to be willing to give until it hurts. ​Working with people in the most unimaginable circumstances, she knew better than anyone how difficult it can be, and that a baby changes the parents’ lives beyond recognition.”So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.”

4) Do your part

​This recognition requires those of us fighting for the cause to give of ourselves. Mother Teresa told the assembled VIPs in Washington what she and her sisters did to put her pro-life rhetoric into action. “We are fighting abortion by adoption — by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: ‘Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.’ So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.’”

We may not be able to personally care for mothers and babies to this extent, but we should all be willing to translate our beliefs into real action – we too must give until it hurts. This could be by volunteering, or by making it known to those around you that you would help them in any difficulty, or by lobbying your MP, or simply by speaking up for your beliefs. To use another famous quote from Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

5) The greatest destroyer of peace

Perhaps the greatest lesson Mother Teresa can give us is an understanding of just what it is we are fighting. Abortion doesn’t just kill babies and damage mothers, it affects the whole of society. It isn’t just those women and those babies that are affected, but all of us. Abortion certainly affects the fathers: “…that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.” ​It also affects the entire country where abortion is permitted: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

There are many other causes worth fighting for, but we must never let ourselves be convinced that the pro-life fight is a side-issue, or one that affects only a small number of people. It’s not just that we care about babies, and also their mothers – we care about everyone. A final quote from the Washington address:

“Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today — abortion which brings people to such blindness.”

The Surprising Link Between Birth Control and Skin Cancer

Recent numbers released by the American Academy of Dermatology revealed a dramatic spike in the incidence of melanoma cases among young women. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and for women aged 18-39, its rates have increased by 800% from 1970 to 2009. In Caucasian women under 44, the number of cases has increased by just over 6% annually. (1)

Now, in addition to being the most dangerous, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women). More than 7,000 people in the United States are expected to die of melanoma in 2019—about 4,740 men and 2,490 women, (2) and the American Cancer Society estimates that about 96,480 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in 2019. (3)

The introduction of indoor tanning is likely to have played a major role in this spike. However, we should take a hard look at exactly what role highly prescribed drugs like birth control play in the epidemic of skin cancer cases among pre-menopausal women.

Connections between skin cells and estrogen receptors

Anyone who has encountered breast cancer in their family history is probably familiar with a receptor known as HER2. I was, but I really didn’t know much about it beyond its name until I began researching for an article I was writing on breast cancer.

According to the NIH, a cancer that is HER2 positive, “describes cancer cells that have too much of a protein called HER2 on their surface. In normal cells, HER2 helps to control cell growth. When it is made in larger than normal amounts by cancer cells, the cells may grow more quickly and be more likely to spread to other parts of the body.”

HER2 stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Each cell in our body can contain many types of receptors. These receptors are proteins, usually on the surface of the cell, seeking to bond with another very specific molecule. Together, these partners fulfill many different types of functions in the body, especially the immune system. As a receptor, HER2’s primary partner is Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a protein believed to play a role in how cells normally grow.

For me, the first clue that birth control could play a role in skin ailments came when I read that scientists at the University of Colorado recently discovered that the presence of estrogens can stimulate astrocytes in the brain to produce EGF. (3)

With all this “epidermal” terminology and the estrogen connection, I couldn’t help but wonder what effect hormonal birth control might have on the skin.  It didn’t take much digging to learn that hormonal contraceptives are commonly linked to things like acne, hyperpigmentation, and melasma (5), but I was surprised to learn that they have also been linked to skin cancer. Honestly, given that estrogen receptors can be found in nearly every cell of the body, I’m not sure why it surprised me; but this is one birth-control side effect that definitely flew below my radar.

Connections between hormonal contraceptives and skin health

In 1978, the New York Times reported on a ten-year study of nearly 18,000 patients, which found that women who took birth control for more than four years faced almost twice the risk of developing malignant melanoma.

A follow-up study out of the University of Oxford in 1981 showed that the risks weren’t significant in the short term. However, after five years of use, the increased relative risk climbed to nearly 60% (6).

A 1999 study demonstrated that premenopausal women who took hormonal birth control were nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to develop melanoma (7), while a 2018 French study showed that the increased risk for ten-year users was only 33%. (8)

While studies show mixed numbers, they all show a risk increase

Clearly, the results are mixed, and there’s a lot of debate in the scientific community about how significant birth control’s impact is on skin cancer. But, whether the increased risk is 33% or 350%, the studies seemed unified in signifying that a woman’s risk increases the longer she takes birth control.

Another recent health scare that made headlines may offer insight into how birth control could contribute to this increased risk. When scientists recently questioned whether some ingredients in sunscreen could actually be causing cancer, one of their concerns was that most brands contain parabens and phthalates, which, like hormonal birth control, are known endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are estrogenic chemicals that mimic natural hormones (in this case, estrogen) by binding to receptors within cells and thereby blocking the body’s natural estrogens from binding to these same cells.

In his enlightening book, Estrogeneration, Anthony G. Jay, Ph.D. explains how the UV light from the sun can fuse the disruptors to the estrogen receptors. Jay says, “If or when this chemical reaction occurs, the estrogen receptor would be stuck in the ‘on’ position. Biochemists call this a ‘constitutively active receptor.’”

Having this “light switch” stuck in the “on” position leads to longer-term damage, because the receptor switch is turned on for far longer than nature ever intended for our bodies. (9)

A Two-Pronged Attack

Given all this research, I’ve come to view the relationship between hormonal birth control and skin health much like a messy tenant in an apartment building—leaving the lights on for UV damage and piling up its dirty laundry in the form of overproduced Epidermal Growth Factor. This disorderly behavior disturbs two very important receptors in skin cells. Considering the spike in melanoma rates since the introduction of the Pill, it may be time to clean house.

 

References

  1. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer
  2. https://www.curemelanoma.org/about-melanoma/melanoma-statistics-2/
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  4. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/uoca-tsw030119.php
  5. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/color-problems/melasma
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2010646/pdf/brjcancer00442-0055.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374297/
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0398762018308538
  9. Estrogeneration, Anthony G. Jay (p. 32)

Economist: Birth control has devastating financial consequences for women, children

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Despite the popular belief that birth control is necessary to lift women out of poverty, the United States Census Bureau found that more, not fewer, children are being raised by single mothers — and single mothers are more likely to live in poverty.

From 1960 to 2016, the number of U.S. children living with two married parents dropped 19 percent — and the number of children living with just their mother tripled from nine percent to 23 percent of all children under the age of 18. This represents about 17 million children. Numbers from the Pew Research Center report that 27 percent of single mothers live in poverty. Even though there are five times more single mothers raising children than single fathers, single mothers are significantly more likely to be poor than single fathers are.

Living Arrangements of Children Under Age 18

 

In 2010, economist Timothy Reichert argued that contraception actually has devastating economic consequences for women and children. He suggested that “the contraceptive revolution has resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men,” because it “sets up what economists call a ‘prisoner’s-dilemma’ game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off.” Despite being a lose-lose situation for women, and the children that rely on them, he wrote that because of the “prisoner’s dilemma,” contraception would continue to be the law of the land “unless legal restrictions or social mores ‘tax’ men and ‘subsidize’ women and children.”

Contraception creates a Marriage Market and a Sex Market

Reichert argued that birth control separated what has historically been a mating market, inhabited by roughly equal numbers of men and women, into two separate markets. One market, called the sex market, includes men and women seeking sexual relationships without any plan for marriage or a permanent future together. The other market, called the marriage market, is inhabited by people seeking what its name suggests. This split of one mating market into sex and marriage markets becomes a problem when “imbalances exist in these markets (so) that the ‘price’ of either marriage or sex tilts in favor of one or the other gender.”

Reichert explained how at any given time, more men are likely to be in the sex market because they don’t have a “biological clock” necessitating that they move into the marriage market by any certain age. Women in the sex market tend to “have more bargaining power than men” for two reasons: relative scarcity and age. Firstly, they are typically in shorter supply in the sex market. Secondly, women in the sex market tend to be younger, as a typical woman will decide by her early 30s that she is interested in marriage and a family, and thus leave the sex market. Younger women tend to be interested in older men, and vice versa, whereas younger men are not equally likely to be interested in older women.

Using charts, graphs, and research from the social sciences to illustrate his point, Reichert contrasted the sex market with the marriage market. In the marriage market, women face significant challenges in finding marriageable men because there are fewer men in the market than women. Reichert isn’t the only one to have made this observation. Riffs on the topics “Why can’t I find a good man?” and “Why are good men hard to find?” abound online, backing up Reichert’s economic analysis with personal anecdotes. He went on to argue that women become more likely to settle for less in order to get married, and then end up getting divorced later on. A 2017 study by Stanford University found that in 2,500 divorce cases studied, women initiated 69% of them.

Reichert further argued that the creation of separate sex and marriage markets caused by contraception correlated with a higher “cost” of infidelity to women than men, higher rates of divorce (and women heading up single-parent households), a “need” for abortion, and even — surprisingly — a driving up of the cost of real estate.

The “Prisoner’s Dilemma”

Reichert considered contraception a “prisoner’s dilemma,” or a situation in which “all parties have a choice between cooperation and noncooperation, and where all parties would be better off if they choose cooperation. But because people in a prisoner’s dilemma setting cannot effectively coordinate and enforce cooperation, all parties choose the best individual choice, which is noncooperation. The social result is disastrous, and everyone is made poorer.” He wrote that “women (and, by implication, children) would be better off had there been no separation of the mating market into separate sex and marriage markets,” because of the long-term negative consequences of the imbalance between the two markets on women, children, and society at large. But, they are nonetheless highly motivated to continue using contraception because of the short-term benefits to themselves.

An Overall Lose-Lose

Reichert’s consideration of contraception’s economic fallout adds to the growing sentiment that birth control is bad for women. It doesn’t dramatically reduce abortion rates and it isn’t necessary to prevent overpopulation. It does, however, have serious health implications and it does pit women against their preborn children. Quite frankly, women deserve better.

Abortion Has Killed an Entire Generation. America Can’t Survive if We’re Aborting Our Future

Cal Thomas

There are people in every generation who believe the generation following theirs is either going to the dogs or will ruin the country.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll lends credence to that way of thinking, especially where Generation Z/millennials (those born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s) and Generation X (those born in the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s) are concerned.

The poll of 1,000 adults earlier this month found that “younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children as less important to them than did young people two decades ago.”

The poll contrasts with a similar survey conducted by the Journal 21 years ago. When asked then which values were most important, respondents sounded like their parents and grandparents, saying “hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion and the goal of having children.”

Not only will these current findings likely impact next year’s election (most of those running for president with more than single-digit polling numbers are much older men and women and thus represent a generation gap), they could also have serious implications for the future of the country.

The Founders and subsequent generations — perhaps excepting the Gilded Age and the horrors of slavery — mostly believed in the virtues younger people either now reject or approach with indifference.

How can this be? What has happened between the World War II generation, which gave so much so their children and grandchildren might enjoy the blessings of liberty, and the current generation, which seems cool to what once seemed to matter most?

Generalizations are always problematic, but I have lived long enough and witnessed the general decline to make some.

Prosperity is one explanation. People who make more money than previous generations and possess a lot of stuff seem less inclined to participate in community (how many of us know our neighbors, who are here today and move tomorrow?). Stuff and the personal satisfaction of achievement lead to a decline in one’s need for God — too much money, too little purpose.

Politicians become a god-substitute and politics their religion. Creeping secularism has affected theological truth to the point where people can believe whatever they want — or nothing at all — and escape correction. Heresy, even apostasy, has infiltrated many churches.

Then there is culture. Younger people are exposed to what we collectively call “media” more than any previous generation. Most of what constitutes culture proceeds from a singular worldview that denigrates, or does not promote, patriotism, belief in God and values previous generations not only took for granted, but instilled in their children.

Unrestricted abortion has cheapened how many young people view the value of human life. For growing numbers of the young, marriage has become passe as children witness the pain of their parents’ divorce and decide that living together without a formal, legal, or spiritual commitment is better than risking the cost and pain of ending a marriage. For some, children are viewed as a financial burden and an intrusion on adult lifestyles.

Sociologists and historians will tell us these things are cyclical, like weather. That has been true in the past when spiritual revivals often followed a fallow period of faithlessness and a focus on self. I’m not sure that cycle will repeat with younger people, given what they are taught at public schools and in liberal universities.

The values that shaped and sustained America through economic downturns and wars had to be taught and instilled in the next generation. Today’s younger people, as reflected in the poll, seem intent on making their own rules (if they can be called rules) and creating their own gods.

They will eventually learn the impossibility of it all as their substitutions will fail them. The question is can America survive when our moral, spiritual, and patriotic foundations are destroyed? If you don’t love your country, what’s the point of having one?

LifeNews.com Note: With a twice-weekly column appearing in over 600 newspapers nationwide, Cal Thomas is the most widely read and one of the most highly regarded voices on the American political scene.

Planned Parenthood’s refusal of Title X funds reveals pipeline between birth control and abortion

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Contraceptive pill

(Pregnancy Help News) Despite their public statements to the contrary, Planned Parenthood did not turn down $60M in Title X federal funds because a new “gag rule” is against their freedom of speech (the new federal “Protect Life Rule” prohibits Title X recipients from referring for abortion).

Nor did Planned Parenthood turn down Title X because they are so committed to “women’s reproductive health” — however skewed it is to think that an abortion referral could ever be construed as “health care.”

Nor did Planned Parenthood turn down the money because it would be too onerous to separate their abortion services from their Title X funded services in geographical location and financial recordkeeping as the new federal rule requires (much smaller faith-based groups that receive federal dollars comply willingly with similar requirements that separate their tax-funded services from their faith-based ones).

Planned Parenthood’s refusal to accept the conditions of the Title X grant proves, without a doubt, how closely tied contraception is to abortion in their strategy.

A required service for Title X recipients is comprehensive family planning (not including abortion).  Planned Parenthood’s “cash cow” is abortion. How are the two connected?

The first time I became aware of the connection was years ago when I first heard Carol Everett’s story. She was the owner of several Texas abortion clinics before she became pro-life and authored Blood Money. The sooner she and her staff could get girls and women on the pill (they aimed for middle school), the sooner they would get pregnant (because of contraceptive failure rates), and the sooner Carol’s abortion clinics would provide abortion as the “back up.”

Carol’s business plan was based on their family planning clients having multiple abortions before graduating from high school.

Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director, now a pro-life advocate and author of Unplanned, tells a similar story.

As the clinic director, she thought she was helping women by providing contraceptives. But her Planned Parenthood bosses were really motivated by the “bottom line” — increasing income from abortions.

Bring them in for birth control, develop a relationship, sell them an abortion.  That was Abby’s assignment. 

After all, once a woman commits to the idea that the worst possible outcome of her sexual activity is a pregnancy, she is a prime candidate for abortion when her contraceptive fails.

Planned Parenthood’s “family planning” clinics (funded primarily by Title X) are the pipeline for their abortion clinics. If these family planning clinics don’t refer for abortions, might women whose contraception fails find another abortion provider?

Planned Parenthood has the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics, their annual abortion numbers continue to increase so that they now perform slightly more than half of all reported abortions in the USA [Live Action News Editor’s Note: According to Planned Parenthood’s annual reported abortions compared to the Guttmacher Institute’s latest abortion statistics, Planned Parenthood currently holds approximately 35-36% of the U.S. abortion market share.] But the overall number of abortions is decreasing, the “market” is getting smaller.  All a woman needs to do is google the word “abortion” to find lots of competition for Planned Parenthood.

 

Planned Parenthood is no doubt hoping that a scheduled Court hearing on September 23 will go in their favor, the new federal rule will be overturned, and things will be “back to normal.” If not, they are counting on a different President in 2021 so things will go “back to normal.”

Meanwhile, I can’t see Planned Parenthood ever cutting back their “family planning” services (even though they now whine that “women will have to travel further . . .”).  Birth control accompanied by abortion referral is too crucial to Planned Parenthood’s overall strategy.

Plus, Planned Parenthood can afford to provide low cost or “free” contraceptive services even if they never again receive Title X funds.

After all, $60M (the amount of Title X money they are refusing) is only about 12% of the $500M they receive each year in federal and state tax dollars for their services (not including abortions), much of it from Medicaid. For abortions, in addition to private pay, Planned Parenthood receives millions of state tax dollars in NY, CA, and some other states. (See GAO data in Heritage Foundation report, 2018.)  Planned Parenthood’s balance sheet also shows millions of dollars in assets.

No matter what happens with Title X, Planned Parenthood won’t abandon the contraceptive pipeline to their abortion engine.

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

The Changing Abortion Landscape

by

Planned Parenthood is having a terrible few weeks.

It began with the news that on the same day that the movie Unplanned was released on DVD, it shot up to become the #1 selling DVD on Amazon. Apparently, sales haven’t slowed down much since. Over a week later, Unplanned is still sitting right next to Avengers: Endgame on Amazon’s “Best Sellers” list. In case you don’t know (and you should!), Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic manager who became pro-life. The movie exposes both the truth about abortion (that it kills a living human being) and Planned Parenthood (that it never met an abortion it didn’t like). How inspiring to see this comparatively low budget pro-life film holding its own against blockbuster films that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make. As it turns out, the public doesn’t just want glitzy popcorn entertainment: they are hungry for films that tackle serious topics and promote the pro-life and pro-family worldview. Hollywood, take note.

Then, Planned Parenthood announced that due to new rules promulgated by the Trump administration, they would be foregoing $60 million in taxpayer funding. Under the new rules, clinics receiving Title X funding cannot refer for abortions. However, rather than abiding by this rule, Planned Parenthood announced they would withdraw from Title X altogether. ABC News reports that abortion clinics around the country, including Planned Parenthood clinics, are worried about being able to keep their doors open in the wake of the loss of funding. Good! Killing babies and authentic reproductive health have nothing to do with one another. Planned Parenthood’s PR machine went into overdrive in the wake of the decision, bombarding people with the notion that somehow this new rule will harm poor women, who won’t be able to get the care they need. Nonsense. In reality, there are myriad community health clinics all across the country that perform all the other services that Planned Parenthood does, except for killing babies. Many of them are woefully underfunded, in large part because Planned Parenthood’s well-oiled lobbying and marketing machine sucks up most of the money.

Then came perhaps the biggest blow of all, at least to Planned Parenthood’s public image: a jury in Arizona ordered Planned Parenthood to pay $3 million to a former clinic manager who had exposed all manner of malfeasance going on at Planned Parenthood clinics. Mayra Rodriguez had worked for the organization for 17 years and had run three different clinics. In other words, she knew what was going on behind the walls of Planned Parenthood. She was fired from her job after she raised concerns about the fact that an unusual number of women were experiencing complications after having abortions at the hands of one particular abortionist. She also complained that the doctor was falsifying medical records, that the clinic failed to report a case of statutory rape, and about poor procedures for handling narcotics, among other things. Rodriguez is now working with And Then There Were None, the pro-life organization founded by Abby Johnson to help abortion clinic workers to leave their jobs and to embrace the pro-life position.

Power to Change the Culture

In case it need be said, developments like these don’t just “happen.” Each one of them came about as the result of weeks, or even years of hard work and savvy strategizing on the part of various pro-life groups and individuals. Each one of them is a testament to the growing sophistication, commitment, investment and influence of the pro-life movement.

Planned Parenthood is not alone in having a rough time these days. The whole pro-abortion movement in the United States is on the defensive. I’ve noticed a significant change in tone in a lot of the pro-abortion rhetoric in the past couple of years. The pro-abortion movement has always claimed that reproductive rights are “under attack,” and that people need to donate to them in order to stop the “anti-choice” fanatics from undermining “women’s rights.” Lately, however, I’ve started to notice that this urgency, and even fear, no longer sounds like a fundraising strategy. Pro-abortion activists are legitimately worried that they’re losing.

Pro-life Generation, Walk for Life 2019, San Francisco

As well as they might. As one liberal publication put it recently: “For America, it seems, this is a year of reckoning on the issue of abortion.” The article continues, “In the past few months, a slew of states have passed restrictive abortion laws, with the explicit intent to have them challenged in front of the Supreme Court.” It also does the heart good to read the recent headline in the New York Times, “‘This Is a Wave’: Inside the Network of Anti-Abortion Activists Winning Across the Country.” The article itself begins, “State after state is passing sweeping abortion restrictions this year…”

But it’s not just the growing number of pro-life laws that are changing the landscape on this issue. These laws are coming about as the result of the experience and hard work of a growing body of shrewd pro-life lawyers, legislatively-focused organizations, and pro-life lawmakers. But even as these types of pro-life individuals and groups are grinding away at the often thankless and unseen work of paving the way for pro-life state and federal laws, a huge army of pro-life individuals are chipping away at the Culture of Death in their own ways, both big and little.

Looking at the modern pro-life movement makes me think of St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.” The glut of pro-life laws being put forward is inspiring. But there’s no way we’d be able to pass pro-life laws if it weren’t for the crack troops of the Culture of Life: the volunteers at the thousands of pregnancy help centers across the country providing love and concrete help to women in trouble; the thousands of prayerful protesters outside abortion clinics; the groups working on college campuses to change the minds of the next generation; the pro-life media organizations; the Knights of Columbus councils that fund pro-life initiatives; organizations committed to helping post-abortive women heal; organizations committed to helping abortion workers leave their jobs and repent; parish-level pro-life groups…and on and on.

Walk for Life 2019, San Francisco

Each one of these groups is necessary. And every one of these groups is constituted of individuals who felt God’s call to do something about the massacre of the innocents and responded. There is a need for some form of concrete pro-life witness or activism in every single one of our lives. For the busy stay-at-home mom, it might just be a matter of witnessing to her own children about the sanctity of life by the love she shows them, and the gratitude with which she welcomes new life. For the working father, it might just be a matter of budgeting a portion of his pay to go to the local pregnancy help center, or offering up a weekly holy hour for the end of abortion.

Or it might be more than that. It might be opening your heart to adopt an unwanted child, or to fostering some of the many children who our culture tells us are “unwanted” and probably better off aborted. It might be putting a roof over the head of a pregnant woman desperate for a place to stay while she figures out the next steps in her life. Or it might be starting that pro-life council at your parish, or taking a shot at launching that big pro-life idea that’s been on your heart for years.

What there’s no excuse for, is doing nothing. If you’re grateful about the visible pro-life progress that’s being made these days, don’t give in to the temptation to relax. This progress would never have been possible had it not been for the handful of dedicated pro-life pioneers in the early 1970s who courageously forged the way for us and without the small and unseen sacrifices of pro-life citizens like you. Rather than relaxing, renew your resolution to do more, providing further energy to this great push in favor of the sanctity of life.

Almost Half of Abortionists Say the Abortion Pill is Unsafe, 35% Admit It Has Injured Women

Randall O’Bannon Ph.D

When it comes to chemical abortions (“medication” abortions, in pro-abortion parlance), rhetoric and reality have increasingly been on a collision course.

Advocates have diligently argued that chemical abortions are so simple and safe that women can do them on their own (the rhetoric). But simultaneously many have also insisted that women “denied” access to abortion would be in danger if they tried to self-abort (the reality).

What do abortionists who have encountered such women in their clinics—as opposed to activists and academicians–say?

Safety concerns about chemical self-abortion stand out in a study published April 16, 2019 in the journal Contraception. It is titled “Abortion Providers’ experiences and views on self-managed medication abortion, an exploratory study” (abstract at www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(19)30143-X/pdf)

Between July and September of 2017, researchers from the University of Iowa did an online survey of the memberships of the Society of Family Planning, the Association of Reproductive Health Care Providers and the Abortion Care Network. They inquired about their experiences with and opinions of “self-managed abortion.”

Of the 650 respondents, just over half (359, or 55.1%) were abortionists. Results?

More than two thirds (230) of the abortionists reported having experience with women trying to abort on their own. More than three quarters (153) of those with such experience indicated those women were using mifepristone (RU-486) and/or misoprostol, the abortion drugs currently sold in the U.S., but legally available only through an abortionist who meets certain conditions laid down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). *

Women have been known to pick up misoprostol – which can be used alone to abort, though not as successfully – on the black market at places like border town flea markets [1] and have been able to order packets of foreign manufactured mifepristone and misoprostol from the internet [2].

Certain abortion researchers and advocacy groups (e.g., Aid Access, Women on Web [3] have been promoting the idea of self-managed abortion with pills bought over the internet. One, Gynuity, has been conducting trials in several states where abortion drugs can be mailed to women after an online consult [4]

In the University of Iowa survey, though, barely half (53.3%, or 171 of 321 abortionists**) said they thought the use of misoprostol/mifepristone for the self management of abortion was safe. That means that nearly half of those who did abortions were not satisfied that it was safe for women to use drugs to perform their own abortions.

More than a third (34.9% or 117 of 335 abortionists**) said they had witnessed complications from self-abortion. The most common complication was an incomplete abortion, but also reported were hemorrhage, sepsis (infection), and uterine rupture.

What the study tells us

Several results are very much worth noting.

One obvious thing is that “incomplete abortion” was mentioned so frequently as a complication in the study that failure is clearly a far bigger issue than advocates would have us believe. These results fly in the face of assurances by promoters that these drugs have proven to be “highly effective” (Aid Access at http://aidaccess.org/en/page/427/what-is-a-medical-abortion, accessed 4/25/19).

If official statistics from Danco, the U.S. distributor of mifepristone are accurate (claiming 93-98% effectiveness), this still means that perhaps one of every 20 patients may require surgery to either stop the bleeding or to complete the abortion. This would actually be a lot of cases for a drug we are told is used by hundreds of thousands of American women a year.

Promoters of the abortion pill have tried to soft-pedal complications

The University of California-San Francisco’s ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) compiled an August 2016 Issue Brief on the “Safety and effectiveness of first-trimester medication abortion in the United States.” The Issue Brief claimed that there are serious complications with mifepristone and misoprostol in less than 0.5% [one half of one percent] of patients.

Women on Web, major promoters of online-facilitated abortions, appear willing to concede a greater incidence of complications. They said that between 2-3% of women having a “medical” (chemical) abortion “have to go to a doctor, first aid center or hospital to receive further medical care” (www.womenonweb.org/en/page/485/in-collection/6907/how-do-you-know-if-you-have-complications-and-what-should-you-do , accessed 4/24/19 ).

These admissions seem at odds with the experiences of abortionists who participated in the University of Iowa survey.

From the figures given, we don’t know the percentage of self- aborting patients that had problems. But we do know that they were frequent enough that at least a third of the abortionists in the survey encountered them–and that some were quite serious, serious enough that almost half the abortionists were unwilling to tell researchers they considered it safe.

“Adverse events”

The latest FDA postmarketing report on mifepristone (www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/UCM603000.pdf) indicates that, since approval in 2000, there have been over four thousand cases where there has been a reported a significant “adverse event.”

The FDA reported that 24 patients are known to have died in the U.S. during that time, at least a third from rare bacterial infections. (Some of the 11 mifepristone patients who died in other countries also died of these infections.)

The over 4,000 figure includes over a thousand hospitalizations, more than 500 patients requiring transfusions, and more than 400 “severe infections.”

No matter how many thousands managed to endure the drugs’ grueling, painful process without any obvious immediate or enduring damage, if such a number of women have died or faced serious complications, it is a clear indication that the drugs are potentially quite dangerous.

And note this: most of these deaths and complications are associated with standard clinical use of the drugs, before studies of mail order abortions were launched and before webcam abortions became available in very many states. And there is nothing about the webcam or mail order abortions that would make complications like incomplete abortion, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, or deadly infections any less likely. It just might make medically qualified, timely help less likely–something that would concern any good doctor.

Abortionists at odd with Activists and Academicians

Perhaps the most significant finding in the University of Iowa study is that many of the rank-and-file abortionists do not appear to be on the same page as the academics and advocates who are pushing hard for at-home chemical abortions.

Those advocates are doing their own studies. They then tell the public that women can order these abortifacient drugs on line or pick them up at their local pharmacy and “manage” their abortions themselves with little or no supervision.

Daniel Grossman, popular abortion researcher, chemical abortion “expert,” and advocate, raved about self-abortion in an interview with National Public Radio [3/11/15]: “It would really be quite easy for women to actually use this [mifepristone/misoprostol] on their own…. It could almost be eligible for the kind of medication that could be available over the counter.”

In February of 2013, Grossman told Contraception that “Women can use misoprostol on their own and with accurate information; they do not necessarily need a health care provider to use it safely and effectively.”

He told CNN on November 5, 2018 that “When it comes to self-managing abortion, research shows that when people have accurate information and high-quality medication, they can use the abortion pill safely and effectively on their own.” (Emphasis added.)

Beverly Winikoff, of Gynuity, is currently in the middle of the “TelAbortion Study” using telemedicine (webcams) to counsel and screen patients and then mailing them the mifepristone and misoprostol to use at home. Winikoff claims that there had been no problems with the 200 women who had enrolled in the study as of November of 2018. (CNN, 11/18/18.)

Women, she said, were satisfied. “The results are equivalent to what’s happening in the clinics.”

The World Health Organization said “There is no evidence that home-based medical abortion is less effective, safe or acceptable than clinic-based medical abortion” (Vox 10/22/18).

Yet nearly half of the abortionists who answered the University of Iowa survey seem to think otherwise. Many of those who deal with aborting women at their clinics on a regular basis, who have practical, clinical experience versus the detachment of a university researcher or an activist, won’t call it safe. They don’t seem willing to consider self-managed abortion a good idea.

Winikoff and her Gynuity pals are likely to come out soon with a study of their own, claiming to have proven that mail order abortion drugs taken at home after an online consult are “safe” and “effective,” along with an assurance that women found them “satisfactory.” When they do, remember this University of Iowa study and the abortionists with the real life experience that led them to a far different conclusion.

*The FDA approved mifepristone, used in conjunction with misoprostol, for abortion in September of 2000. However it has limited its distribution to “certified healthcare providers” who 1) have the ability to date pregnancy accurately & diagnose ectopic pregnancy; who 2) provide (or have made arrangements for) surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding ; and who 3) indicate they have read and understood the prescribing information (which contains warnings about possible “serious and sometimes fatal infections or bleeding”).

** We did not have full numerical tables when it came time to post. But apparently different numbers of abortionists responded to different survey questions.

[1] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2013/07/off-label-abortion-pills-being-sold-at-flea-markets

[2] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2014/09/the-abortion-pill-known-as-ru-486-by-any-other-name-just-as-deadly.

[3] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2019/03/fda-sends-warning-letters-to-two-entities-selling-mislabeled-and-unapproved-abortion-drugs-over-the-internet

[4] www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/2016/11/the-next-step-abortion-by-overnight-mail

LifeNews.com Note: Randall O’Bannon, Ph.D., is the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee. This column originally appeared at NRL News Today.

 

Unborn Baby Saved Through Extraordinary In Utero Blood Transfusion

Steven Ertelt

A remarkable, cutting age medical intervention has given joy to a family and life to their baby boy who was threatened by a rare illness in the womb.

Baby Edward, also known as Teddy, developed anaemia whilst inside the womb. In response, Doctor Amarnath Bhide, used an ultrasound sensor to insert a needle through the uterus and into the umbilical cord which injected Teddy with donated blood.

Teddy received five blood transfusions before he was born, these were some of the earliest in-utero interventions to ever be performed.

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications, Michael Robinson, described the interventions as “extraordinary.”

Saving life through in-utero surgery

Whilst the life-saving intervention performed on unborn baby, Teddy, is indeed ‘extraordinary,’ the option of in utero surgery, which can save and improve the life expectancy of unborn children, is becoming a far more positive prospect.

Currently, in utero surgery, can treat a number of foetal health conditions including Spina Bifida, foetal tumours, Cerebral Palsy, foetal cardiac conditions and Hyperthyroidism.

In May of this year, the UK witnessed the astonishing account of doctors who performed key-hole surgery on an unborn baby with Spina Bifida, which was the first operation of its kind in the United Kingdom. Unborn baby, Jaxon, received the operation at just 27 weeks gestation, and as a result had the ability to move his legs after being born six weeks later.

Similarly, unborn child, Ethan Leibbrandt, underwent in utero surgery to remove the benign tumour which consumed 50% of his lung space. The in utero surgery was successful and life saving as without it, Ethan would have died of cardiac failure.

Human beings worth protecting

SPUC Scotland, Director of Communications, Michael Robinson, said: “The early interventions that can now be used to treat and save unborn children are truly astonishing. The story of Edward once again proves that science is on the side of the pro-life movement. Indeed, scientific developments and new technology is now instilling a sense of awe that society never really had before, about the beauty and dignity of every unborn child.”

Mr Robinson continued: “This case illustrates the terrible irony that medical teams spend enormous effort, time, and money to deliver babies safely and nurse premature infants back to health. Yet, in the UK we routinely and deliberately end the lives of 600 babies a day. Whilst pro-abortion campaigners insistently refer to unborn children as ‘blobs of cells’ or ‘parasites’, the use of in utero surgery, highlights that unborn children are human and worth saving and protecting.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom. File photo.

Melinda Gates Is Wrong: Birth Control Isn’t Poverty Control

Mary FioRito

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/melinda-gates-is-wrong-birth-control-isnt-poverty-control

There is a very funny scene in the 1980 film Airplane! that speaks to the current assumptions about what the West thinks is best for developing nations.

The movie features a young couple, Ted and Ellen, who visit the fictitious “Malombo” tribe in Africa as Peace Corps volunteers.

Instead of focusing on practical solutions that might best help the tribe to which they are assigned, the couple spends time introducing Western solutions that, while well-meaning, completely overlook the real needs of the people. For example, Ellen hosts a Tupperware party for the women of the village to help them “stretch” their food dollars and to “keep hot dog buns fresh for up to a month.”

The cognitive dissonance in the scene is, of course, part of the humor, but it also draws a bead on the mixture of ignorance and arrogance that has defined much of what passes as Western “aid” to developing countries.

Like this idealistic young couple in Airplane! Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, seems to have her heart in the right place. She has a love for the poor and a genuine desire to relieve the suffering of others. She understands the influence that her position in society brings.

Unfortunately, Gates’ primary solution to the problems plaguing African and other developing countries is no better (and often a great deal worse) than Tupperware: Gates is strident in promoting widespread use of artificial contraceptives, as she argues in her new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

Gates’ argument for contraception is experienced-based. She holds that contraception is the primary path for women to freedom and equality and cites her own success as a career woman “to work and have the time to take care of each” of her and Bill Gates’ three children, who are precisely spaced three years apart.

Moreover, she says that when it comes to contraception, “no woman I knew went without it.” If Western women are healthy, educated and powerful — a packet of adjectives she comes back to frequently — Gates reasons that such benefits are a result of unlimited access to contraception.

But Gates is a puzzle. She is passionate about contraception and yet she also professes to have a great love for her Catholic faith.

As she relates, she received a Catholic education through high school, attending the prestigious Ursuline Academy — a Catholic boarding school in Dallas — before attending Duke University. She also takes pride in noting that her parents attended a Marriage Encounter retreat (at her father’s insistence) and her mother not only “believes in the Church” but also “goes to Mass five times a week … reads, goes to silent retreats and explores spiritual ideas with passion.” Nevertheless, despite the great influence that she says the Church has had in her life, Gates has apparently never encountered a woman who in her married life has followed Church teaching on contraception.

It is telling that The Moment of Lift includes no references to the tremendous advances in non-contraceptive (and Church-approved) methods of achieving and avoiding pregnancy.

For instance, one wonders what Gates would make of technology like the natural fertility app developed by a Swedish nuclear physicist, or how she might consider the potential benefits to the poor provided by “CycleBeads,” a reproductive physiology-based method promoted by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. CycleBeads is well-known as a simple, low-cost, easy-to-teach and natural family planning method that has greatly benefited women in developing nations. The method — which relies on the woman’s natural fertility cycle — does not require women to walk miles and miles every few months to receive contraceptive “shots” or have their IUDs adjusted.

It is equally telling that, in a later chapter, Gates describes natural family planning in general as “the rhythm method,” even though neither teachers nor practitioners in the fertility-awareness-based field have used that term for more than 40 years.

Such misnomers, though, may not indicate Gates’ animus toward fertility-based-awareness methods, so much as her ignorance of such methods — either in how they work or how they can benefit women. Indeed, this can only be the case if she has surrounded herself, intentionally or otherwise, with peers who have only known and used artificial contraception.

Indeed, we might assume that Gates’ ignorance regarding fertility awareness extends even to the Church’s teaching on such matters. But her own words indicate rather a truculence to such teaching.

In her book, Gates points out that it is “hugely reassuring” to her “that a huge majority of Catholic women use contraceptives.” She also claims to have met with “high-ranking officials of the Church” to discuss her disagreements with the Church’s teaching on family-planning methods — although she doesn’t name the officials nor the topics covered. Instead, she simply notes that the Church officials shared “similar concerns” about the plight of the poor.

Gates does provide some horrifying stories about the ravages of poverty and its particular impact on women and girls. These stories include personal anecdotes and experiences shared with her by those who serve the poor in countries in Africa and Asia.

For example, she relates how young girls can be married off as early as age 11. She also points out the prevalence of female genital mutilation and sexual trafficking. In one poignant passage, Gates reports on children as young as 5 “baby-sitting” for tiny infants so that their mothers could go out and scrape together enough food for the day. She also tells about children looking through garbage dumps for food, children dying from diarrhea, mothers dying in childbirth and newborns dying because they don’t receive even basic postpartum care.

Likewise, Gates’ book is valuable for expressing concern — and outrage — at the substandard hospitals the poor must rely on and at the lack of educational opportunities for women. In her book, she also helps raise awareness about the need in these countries for neonatal care, preschool programs, healthy food initiatives and microloans to small family businesses.

However, as Nigerian-born pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha points out in her “Open Letter to Melinda Gates,” none of these problems are solved by contraception, and the millions of dollars spent on contraceptive pills, implants and devices imported to African nations and other developing countries by wealthy Western aid organizations would be better used to address the conditions that necessitate such aid in the first place.

Why is the bulk of Western financial aid, as Ekeocha notes, focused on ensuring “that the African woman is less fertile” — especially when most African cultures welcome and celebrate new life as a gift from God?

Ekeocha rightly notes that there are multiple risk factors associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives, as American women have long complained, while no similar side effects exist with the use of fertility-awareness methods.

As Ekeocha asks, does “a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot … call 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic? No, she dies.” Moreover, Gates does not even touch the issue of the failure rate of hormonal and injectable contraceptives, which Great Britain’s leading abortion service, BPAS, has admitted. Nor does Gates acknowledge the increased risk for HIV infection among African woman who use hormonal injections (which The New York Times admitted poses “an alarming quandary”).

In a news clip that went viral, Ekeocha instructed a BBC talk-show host on the real needs of African women, of the side effects of hormonal contraceptives that are not fully disclosed to them when promoted, and of the “ideological colonization” that contraceptive programs sponsored by the West represent.

Even if the poor do achieve a momentary “lift” from the widespread use of artificial contraceptives, as Melinda Gates contends, it is a lift that will likely have no lasting impact. You don’t eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor.

After using contraceptives, women may have fewer children, but they won’t necessarily have a new maternity hospital, or a new preschool, or successful crops, or educated daughters.

The Catholic Church has much wisdom and lived experience to share with Melinda Gates. Perhaps, with the help of testimony from Ekeocha and other women outside her peer group, she may still inquire into how the Church can help women around the world achieve a true moment of lift.

Mary FioRito is the Cardinal Francis George fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

Blood clots and birth control

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – When people get new prescriptions, they very often don’t look at the list of side effects. One woman in Seattle started taking the birth control shot, Depo-Provera not knowing all the side effects. She became one of the less-than-one-percent who developed life-changing, life-threatening blood clots in her lungs.

Marilyn Wightman thought losing weight would ease her sudden mysterious shortness of breath in 2009. It didn’t. Then, she fainted on the stairs.

“The first question my doctor asked was, ‘Are you taking Depo-Provera?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, that’s it,’” said Wightman.

He put her on blood thinners, but she was in and out of the hospital until last year when her doctors told her that without surgery, she had a ten percent chance of living five years.

Michael Mulligan, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgery, UW Medicine shared, “In a very small fraction, however, patients develop a response to the clot, where the clot breaks down, but then you start to develop scar-like plugs that obstruct the vessels and make it harder and harder for the blood to be pumped through the lungs.”

In a six-hour procedure that left a scar, Dr. Mulligan removed 15 clots mixed with scar tissue from Marilyn’s lungs. First, he had to raise her oxygen level, lower her temperature and metabolism, stop her heart and drain her blood.

“You work very quickly to expediently tease out these clots that are multi-branched without puncturing the vessel, which is wafer thin,” continued Dr. Mulligan.

Marilyn says she wouldn’t have taken Depo-Provera if her doctor had told her about the blood clot risk.

“So, I’m telling my story because I want at least one woman to ask the question. When your doctor is trying to give you a new drug, ask the question. What are the side effects?” stated Wightman.

Dr. Mulligan says as long as Marilyn stays on her blood thinners, her clots should not return. It shouldn’t be long until she has her normal life back again.

 

Defending freedom of conscience on emergency contraception

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/defending-freedom-of-conscience-on-emergency-contraception/22775

The UK’s biggest abortion provider, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), has attacked pharmacists who do not sell the ‘morning after pill’ for conscience reasons.

After one incident where a pharmacist would not dispense emergency contraception to a woman for ‘personal’ reasons, BPAS condemned both the pharmacist and the conscience protections provided to pharmacists. A petition was also set up to prevent pharmacists from claiming freedom of conscience rights.

Under the current law, covered by guidance from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), pharmacists with a genuine conscientious objection to selling the pill can refer the customer to another pharmacist.

However, BPAS complained that it is ‘impossible to overstate the significance of even one pharmacist conscientiously objecting to selling the morning-after pill’.

Fortunately, the General Pharmaceutical Council, in this case, upheld their guidelines and the consequent media coverage has now died down, temporarily at least.

This may seem like a one-off minor incident, but it is an illustration of increasing pressures on freedom of conscience protections. It is often assumed that the role of the conscience in medicine is relevant only to a few specialised and limited areas such as contraception or abortion, but in fact, the concept of the conscience goes right to the heart of what it means to act in a moral way, to act with integrity.

If we do not stand by those who are under pressure, the problems will only get worse and will spread. A well-known quote often attributed to Burke, which may have actually come originally from JS Mill warns: “He should not be lulled to repose by the delusion that he does no harm who takes no part in public affairs. He should know that bad men need no better opportunity than when good men look on and do nothing.”

CMF has therefore written to the GPhC to ensure they are aware of our concerns and to thank them for holding to their guidance. The text of our letter is as follows, with their response after it:

‘I am writing to you following the recent news coverage of a Lloyds pharmacy worker who, according to news reports, conscientiously objected to selling the morning after pill and directed a customer to another pharmacy instead.

I note that a petition has since been set up to prevent pharmacists from claiming conscientious objection rights.

The Christian Medical Fellowship is the UK’s largest faith-based group of health professionals and we contributed with both written and oral evidence to your review of your Guidance on Religion, Personal Values and Beliefs. We publicly welcomed the new Guidance and the statement accompanying it, in which the Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council highlighted the positive contribution that pharmacists’ faith can make in their provision of care. We also welcomed the clear statement that: Pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs’.

We all aspire to person-centred care. In any care scenario, there are (at least) two parties – the carer and the one receiving care – each of whom has rights. The General Pharmaceutical Council guidance helpfully achieves a balance between the patient’s right to service access and the pharmacist’s right to freedom of conscience. 

Respect for the sincerely held religious and moral beliefs of employees is essential and we are concerned that some of the demands being made, based on this one recent case, would marginalise the beliefs, values and religion of pharmacists disproportionately and unnecessarily, and trivialise their right to freedom of conscience under the law. Despite widespread coverage of this case, we have yet to see evidence of recurring complaints under the present provisions. 

While we strongly support the right to freedom of conscience for pharmacists, we do also emphasise the importance of openness and sensitive communication with colleagues and employers; any refusal to supply should be made courteously and sensitively.

On behalf of CMF, I want to thank the Council for protecting the right of pharmacists to refuse to engage in certain procedures that violate their most profound moral convictions. 

I also encourage the Council to continue to make it clear, publicly, that all pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs.

Yours faithfully

Dr Mark Pickering
Chief Executive, CMF

In response, the GPhC replied with the following two sentences:

‘Our existing guidance ‘In practice: Guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs’ (to which you refer) remains in place. We have no current plans to review it.

As you are aware, the guidance sits under our standards for pharmacy professionals and relates to standard 1, Pharmacy professionals must provide person-centred care.

The point here is simple but vital; if we care about liberty and personal integrity, we must make a reasoned defence of it in the public square, from the smallest incident to the biggest.

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at CMF. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues. Republished from the CMF blog with permission.

No longer a death sentence: This hospital treats kids with Trisomy 18, and the results are amazing

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When parents are told that their preborn child has Trisomy 18, the diagnosis is often followed up with the words: “incompatible with life.” But as a team of doctors at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha is proving, children with the condition can live and thrive when doctors treat them as equal human beings.

“If you look at the old textbooks, and a lot of them are still being used, the outcome is death,” explained Dr. Meaghann Shaw Weaver, division chief of Palliative Care in an interview with Children’s. “It was one of the few diagnoses that was named lethal.”

Because it was considered “lethal” for so long and still is by many, most doctors automatically write-off preborn children with Trisomy 18 and consider them as good as dead, often advising parents to abort. For Meredith Willard, mom of one-year-old Rose, even meeting with the comfort care team to discuss her baby’s birth wasn’t allowed by the doctors in their home state of California.

Rose was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 at 12 weeks gestation. Trisomy 18 can cause congenital heart defects, physical and mental developmental delays, and feeding and breathing problems. Doctors said Rose wouldn’t survive. For choosing life for their daughter, Willard says they were called “cruel” and told they had to “let this child go.”

“I said, ‘There’s a heartbeat and she’s here, let’s let her be,’” explained Willard. “When I said I wasn’t going to terminate, there really was no more help for me there. I went weeks with no one.”

Finally, a doctor advised them that they should speak to a heart surgeon because he felt that their baby would live through pregnancy and birth, but would need heart surgery. 50 percent of children with the condition have a ventricular septal defect (VSD or hole in the heart) while the rest have defects that can be fixed with the right surgery. None of the heart surgeons in California would operate — strictly because Rose has Trisomy 18.

“You’re angry, but it fuels you,” said Willard. “You know that kids are treated. We just wanted that for our kid.”

That’s when they learned of Children’s Hospital in Omaha, 1,500 miles away, from a support group called SOFT – Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders. Doctors there agreed to operate on Rose. And while it was a big deal to the family, for Dr. James Hammel, division chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery, it was just another day at work.

“If a family didn’t want surgery for an infant with VSD or tetralogy or even pulmonary atresia, we would take them to court, take the child out of the family and take care of them,” explained Dr. Hammel. Yet for children with Trisomy 18, it’s considered “cruel” to perform surgery despite the fact that without care they die, and with care they can live for much longer than originally thought. Seventy to 80 percent of babies with Trisomy 18 survive heart surgery, and 50 percent will still be alive 16 years later, according to Dr. Hammel. Others say the rate of survival is as high as 90 percent.

In the video below, Dr. Hammel gives a fascinating and instructive web lecture on heart surgeries for children with Trisomies 13 and 18:

 

“Most physicians view this as a hopeless diagnosis – but there is always hope,” he said. “Yes, these kids have functional limitations, but there is plenty of room to make their life better…. I’ve always said if I can improve a child’s chance of survival from five percent to 10 percent, I’m perfectly happy to take that on if that’s what the parents want to do.”

Thanks to the dedication of Dr. Hammel and his colleagues, families from across the country are self-referring to Children’s Hospital. The team at Children’s aims to treat the whole child and the whole family. They say that the medical treatments they provide for these children would be “absolutely obligatory for a child without trisomy” but other hospitals refuse to do them simply because of the trisomy diagnosis.

“Going to Omaha, we were treated the most normal you could be treated with such a medically fragile child,” said Williard. “It was like nothing fazed them, nothing scared them. They’re like, ‘No worries – we’ve got this, Mom. Go get a coffee.”

Rose was born with multiple heart defects and suffered from apnea, which is the cessation of breathing. After surgery, the apnea stopped.

“At the hospital we were at, they kept telling me, ‘She has Tri-18; her body is not meant to survive.’ I said, ‘It’s because of her heart.’ When Dr. Hammel repaired her heart, she never had one more episode of apnea. We flew home commerical with her on no oxygen… and I was told this child could never live outside the hospital.”

Bella Santorum, incompatible with life

Doctors said Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella, who has Trisomy 18, was incompatible with life. She is proving them wrong.

Rose still has health concerns. She uses a feeding tube to get proper nutrition, she takes two heart medications as well as medication to help stop seizures, and she sees multiple specialists. But her life with her parents and four older brothers is a happy one.

“I’m super excited to see what she can do and explore and experience,” said Willard. “I was told this kid wasn’t a survivor. I knew she was.”

Terra Spiehs-Garst, Nebraska’s state chairwoman for SOFT, has a now seven-year-old son named Emerson who has Trisomy 18. Spiehs-Garst and her husband Tyson Garst learned Emerson had Trisomy 18 when Terra was 17 weeks pregnant. Doctors advised abortion. The couple told Live Well Nebraska that they wanted Emerson to be in control. He had heart problems that were able to be controlled with medication; now, he no longer needs them. He had surgery on his jaw, which helped his breathing improve. He underwent treatment for kidney cancer at 15 months old and is still tumor-free. He uses a communication device to talk to his family, and he loves dancing and hugs from his three brothers.

Dr. Hammel notes that there are other hospitals in the United States that do provide care for children with Trisomy 18, but they aren’t the established multidisciplinary team that exists at Children’s. Thanks to social media, more and more families are learning about the program at Children’s and are able to properly care for their children with Trisomy 18. Dr. Hammel is happy to provide this crucial care to families.

“In the end,” he said, “we will be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Thanks to the doctors at Childen’s, vulnerable children with Trisomy 18 are being treated as equal and whole human beings worthy of life.

Why I Choose to Use a Fertility Awareness Method, Even Though I Have a Serious Reason to Avoid Pregnancy

by Allison Jung, PA

Why I Choose to Use a Fertility Awareness Method, Even Though I Have a Serious Reason to Avoid Pregnancy

As a physician assistant specializing in OB/GYN, I have prescribed birth control to everyone for everything . . . irregular cycles, painful periods, unusual bleeding, PMS, acne, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, perimenopause and, of course, to avoid pregnancy.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, menstrual health, menstrual cycle, infertility, fertility, birth control side effects, hormonal birth control, hormonal birth control side effects, natural birth control, the Pill,

It wasn’t until my own struggles with infertility that I began to research more about the consequences of using artificial hormones. Although I was taught in school that the birth control pill was a treatment for these disorders, I learned that artificial hormones are only FDA-approved to treat two things: to avoid pregnancy, and for hormonal acne. Other than that, the Pill only masks the symptoms of underlying disorders. Actually, for estrogen-dominant disorders like PCOS and endometriosis, the excess estrogens in the Pill can make these disorders worse!

After many years of my own struggle with infertility, I was diagnosed with atypical PCOS and realized that I had symptoms starting at 15 years old. Now, I know that if I had been treated for PCOS instead of being placed on the Pill to “regulate my periods,” I would not have had to struggle with infertility.

The Search

Fast-forward 8 years and 4 precious children later, I was diagnosed with a dangerous heart condition and was told it would be medically unwise to become pregnant again. I was given the choice of different forms of birth control, as well as permanent sterilization options. As a Physician Assistant, my medical knowledge instilled the fear of risks of surgery, as well as the risks and side effects of artificial hormones. I had just been through a very difficult 8 years of struggles with infertility and related health problems, and did not need to deal with any more problems. So began my search for a natural method of avoiding pregnancy.

The method I chose had to be very reliable in avoiding pregnancy and had to be fairly easy to learn as I now had four children under the age of 6 to take care of. I investigated the Sympto-Thermal methods, Marquette (using ovulation predictor kits), and the Creighton Model System. I chose the Creighton System due to the medical studies and statistics backing its accuracy, as well as the benefit of NaproTechnology, the branch of medicine which seeks to naturally cure underlying disorders causing the symptom of infertility. I learned that the Creighton Model System came with a 99.5% efficacy rate for perfect use and 98.6% typical-use effectiveness rate in avoiding pregnancy in one year. This is amazing, since other forms of birth control come with only a 97% use effectiveness, and they have the added risks and side effects that I was seeking to avoid.

After only 3 months of using this system, and working with my FertilityCare Practitioner (Creighton teacher), the specifics of my PCOS were revealed: I had estrogen dominance combined with low progesterone. Although all my previous bloodwork with fertility doctors appeared normal, my Creighton chart revealed a different story. I began seeing a NaproTechnology doctor and learned that I was also insulin resistant (my previous doctors had only tested my glucose for diabetes, and missed this very important diagnosis). After taking bio-identical progesterone, adding a few supplements, and drastically changing my diet, I started ovulating regularly, felt much better, and I developed a confidence in recognizing my fertile and infertile days shown within my Creighton chart.

“I felt normal for the first time in my life”

As it happens, the very simple methods of diagnosis provided by my Creighton cycle charting revealed not only the causes of my infertility, but also my life-long struggle with my weight and the causes of my mid-cycle anxiety and premenstrual depression (“mood swings”). With NaproTechnology, I was able to feel healthy and normal for the first time in my life!

Although I physically felt better, emotionally, I became angry . . . very angry! Why was I not taught this in medical school? Why didn’t my supervising physician and mentor have any options for women besides artificial hormones? Why did my “fertility doctors” not investigate further the causes of my infertility? Why, now that I am in my forties and unable to have more children, have I not heard about NaproTechnology sooner? This anger spurred me on to do something about it. I became trained both as a Creighton Model Practitioner (FCP) and a NaproTechnology Medical Consultant (NFPMC).

In my new role educating and assisting women with their cycle and hormonal health, I have seen numerous women who had painful periods and/ or ovulation, painful sex, heavy or long periods, were diagnosed with endometriosis and then put on the Pill to lessen their symptoms. Years later, in order to conceive a baby, they got off the Pill. Not only were their symptoms worse, but now they had infertility to deal with, too. They suffered from regret: if they had only used a Fertility Awareness-Based Method for avoiding pregnancy, and treated the endometriosis with supplements, diet changes, and/ or surgery early on, then they would not only be pain-free, but would have been able to start their families by now!

I have seen teenagers with symptoms of PCOS: irregular, long cycles, facial hair, acne, difficulty losing weight. The traditional approach of putting them on the Pill would add to their estrogen-dominance and, later in life, they may have insulin resistance or diabetes, obesity, depression, and/or infertility. However, when these girls start early-on charting their menstrual cycles with a Fertility Awareness-Based Method, learn about their bodies, diagnose underlying problems, and start with natural treatments and diet changes, their futures can be symptom-free!

A missed diagnosis

When women are given artificial hormones to treat PMS, a key underlying disorder is missed: low progesterone. We know that the vast majority of PMS is caused by low progesterone. When charting one’s menstrual cycle Fertility Awareness-Based Method, women see this diagnosis within their charting in the form of brown spotting prior to their periods starting, or brown spotting at the end of their periods. A short luteal phase may also be recognized. With NaproTechnology, the progesterone can be replaced, instantly eliminating the symptom of PMS. This has long-range benefits, as low progesterone is also linked to infertility and recurrent miscarriages. So, instead of masking the symptoms of low progesterone, women using natural methods of family planning can diagnose themselves, seek treatment, and prevent future miscarriages!

These are the most common disorders diagnosed and treated with Fertility Awareness-Based Methods and NaproTechnology, but there are many more. Using artificial hormones, whether to avoid pregnancy or to reduce unwanted symptoms, can not only delay diagnosis and treatment, but also add unnecessary risks. Artificial hormones have side effects such as headaches, weight gain, nausea, bloating, irregular spotting, decrease in libido, and are linked to blood clots, strokes, and even breast cancer.

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods have side effects, too: increased relationship bonding due to an increase in communication, a 50% decrease in divorce rate, as well as early detection of medical disorders. Some forms of FABMs are up to 99.5% accurate in avoiding pregnancy, equivalent or better than any form of artificial hormones and even sterilization—all without the side effects.

I truly wish I had known about natural family planning and NaproTechnology sooner, even before I was trying to achieve pregnancy. However, now that I am having to avoid further pregnancies for health reasons, I am so grateful to be able to reap the many benefits of using a Fertility Awareness-Based Method.

Posted by Allison Jung, PA Allison Jung, PA
Allison Jung is a Physician Assistant with more than 18 years of experience in OB/GYN and fertility. She is also a health educator, teaching the Creighton Models System and NaproTechnology for almost 4 years. Through her own story of PCOS and infertility, Allison found the validity in a holistic approach to healthcare—searching for the causes of symptoms, instead of the routine treatment of covering up symptoms with artificial hormones, painkillers, or anti-depressants. Allison loves working with women with symptoms of irregular cycles, painful periods or PMS who have been told that birth control is their only answer, and showing them not only the reasons behind their symptoms, but curing them often with natural means. Allison’s approach to women’s healthcare is one of hope and freedom.

Terrifying: Woman’s birth control implant migrated to her lung

 

A study published in the July 2019 edition of BMJ Case Reports details the case of a 31-year-old woman in Portugal whose birth control implant migrated from her arm to her lung. The implant’s migration was only discovered because the woman experienced abnormal vaginal bleeding for three months and was referred to a gynecologist.

Upon examination, the implant, originally placed in her upper arm, could not be found. Subsequent ultrasound revealed the implant had migrated to her chest. An X-ray and CT scan showed the implant was in the lower lobe of the left lung.

This alarming complication (which is not unique) resulted in surgery to extract the implant from the woman’s lung. After four days in the hospital, she was released, apparently without further complication.

The woman had been using the Implanon NXT implant for eight years and had two implants before the most recent one, one in 2010, another in 2013. The most recent, placed in 2017, is the one that migrated to her lung.

The Implanon NXT — and other contraceptive implants like it — is a small rod inserted under the skin of the upper arm. Once inserted, the implant gradually releases the hormone progestin to alter a woman’s cervical mucus to prevent conception.

The article in the BJM Case Reports notes that risk factors for migration include having the implant placed too deeply or participating in vigorous physical exercise… even when an implant is properly placed. Many women are never told of this rare but severe complication of implanted devices. For an implant in the arm, the device can migrate to the chest cavity where is can be difficult to locate. In fact, this happens often enough that the implant’s material was updated to be easier to locate on a diagnostic scan “if it ever moves from its original location.”

Thousands of women have also reported their IUDs becoming dislocated, some causing uterine perforations.

The risk of migration is alarming enough on its own, but hormonal contraception like this comes with a slew of other side effects and complications that are often not discussed. Physical and mental side effects can be devastating for women using hormonal contraceptives.

In the video below, one woman documents her “horror story” with getting the Nexplanon contraceptive implant in her arm, which actually ended up migrating and causing nerve damage. She says in the video that she will never get an implant again, and instead intends to use natural family planning. Below the video on YouTube are several comments from women who also had scary experiences with their implanted birth control:

 

There are alternatives to hormonal contraceptives, including modern natural family planning methods. Natural family planning (fertility awareness-based methods) is slowly gaining recognition as a viable and effective form of child-spacing that respects a woman’s body and does not undermine her physical and mental health.

Shock: In 3 months, no girls, 216 boys were born in this district of India

 

According to a horrifying report, not a single girl has been born in the last three months in the Uttarkashi district of India.

The discovery has launched an investigation into whether sex-selective abortion or female feticide is being practiced in the region, which has a population of over 300,000. The district magistrate Ashish Chauhan spoke to ANI saying: “We are monitoring these areas to find out what is affecting the ratio. A detailed survey and study will be conducted to identify the reason behind it.” Officials are also holding emergency meetings with local health care workers.

According to official data, 216 children were born in the district’s 132 villages in the last three months. None were female. The area has been marked as a “red zone,” meaning it will be scrutinized more closely and the government has asked health care workers to be on alert. In recent days, the government has attempted to prevent sex-selective abortions through its BBBP program, which among other things helps to educate on the importance of the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and promises girls in India a good education.

In a 2011 census report by the United Nation Population Fund, India’s CSR had declined from 927 to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys. Although abortion on the basis of sex is illegal in India, the practice is widespread based on cultural views of girls as potential liabilities, and boys as breadwinners and parental caretakers in old age.

Live Action News recently reported that 550,000 preborn baby girls are killed each year due to sex-selective abortion in India, with a total of 15.8 million girls lost to sex-selective abortion since 1990. India has also been found to be the “most dangerous country in the world for women” on account of its astronomical numbers of rape and sexual assault. Parents are also frequently pressured to pay dowries when daughters marry, even though the custom was abolished in 1961. Kalpana Thakur, a social worker from the region, pointed out that these alarming numbers show that the government isn’t doing enough.

“No girl child was born for three months in these villages,” said Thakur. “It cannot be just a coincidence. This clearly indicates female foeticide is taking place in the district. The government and the administration are not doing anything.”

 

While sex-selective abortion is more prominent in countries such as India and China, it is accepted here in the United States. Planned Parenthood has spoken out against proposed laws to ban sex-selective abortions and Live Action’s undercover investigation revealed that the abortion corporation has no problem aborting simply because the preborn child is a girl.

Birth control pills may make women less likely to remember negative information

By 

New research provides some preliminary evidence that hormonal contraceptives could influence how things are remembered. The study in Psychological Reports found that women taking birth control pills tended to recall less negative emotional information compared to women who were not taking them.

“I have previously conducted a number of studies on the effects of oral contraceptives on mood and have always been interested in this area of research,” said Kirsten Oinonen, an associate professor of psychology at Lakehead University and the corresponding author of the new study.

“I know many women who have reported experiencing emotional side effects from oral contraceptives and I think it is imperative that researchers continue to examine the effects of hormonal contraceptives on mood, cognition, and perception. It is critical that women are fully informed about these potential effects so that they can make informed decisions about birth control options.”

“I have a graduate student, Brandi Person, who was also extremely interested in exploring how oral contraceptives affect emotion and cognition. Given previous research suggesting that hormones can affect both mood and cognitive ability, we felt that looking at the effects of ‘the pill’ on emotional memory would be an important area to study,” Oinonen explained.

For their study, the researchers recruited 58 women who were using oral contraceptives, 40 women who were not using oral contraceptives, and 37 men.

The participants completed an Emotional Spatial Memory test, in which they viewed a variety of emotionally-charged and emotionally-neutral items that had been set up on a tray. Shortly after viewing the tray of items, the participants were asked to list as many items as they could remember and also to indicate where each item had been placed.

One week later, the participants completed the same tests of memory recall again.

The researchers found that oral contraceptives users tended to recall more positive items and fewer negative items than nonusers in the short-term recall test. In the long-term recall test, there was no significant difference between users and non-users.

“Hormones have the potential to influence emotions and cognitive ability. Thus, women should be alert to any such changes they notice in themselves when taking hormonal contraceptives,” Oinonen told PsyPost.

“The findings of our particular study suggest that women taking ‘the pill’ may experience a change in their memory for emotional information. In particular, the findings suggest that women taking the pill may show a memory bias in terms of being less likely to remember negative information than nonusers.”

“This could result in women taking the pill viewing situations, people, or objects as more positive than they might have if they were not taking the pill (i.e., because they are relatively more likely to remember the positive versus the negative information),” Oinonen said.

The researchers controlled for a number of variables that could impact mood and memory, including menstrual cycle phase. But like all research, the study includes some limitations.

“Any new research finding needs to be replicated before it can be accepted with confidence. That applies here as well. Thus, future studies need to replicate the findings with larger and more diverse populations,” Oinonen said.

“As we looked at memory for visual stimuli, future studies should examine if women also show a tendency to recall less negative verbal, olfactory, auditory, and kinesthetic stimuli. Brandi Person and I are examining some of these questions in her PhD dissertation. Of course, a future placebo-controlled trial to look at the effects of oral contraceptives on emotional memory would provide the strongest evidence to support these findings.”

The study, “Emotional Memory in Oral Contraceptive Users: Negative Stimuli Are More Forgettable“, was authored by Brandi Person and Kirsten A. Oinonen.

Birth rate drops to an all-time low in the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — According to the Centers for Disease Control, the fertility rate in the United States reached an historic low in 2018.

In a report issued Wednesday, the CDC confirmed provisional figures that were released in May that “the 2018 general fertility rate fell to another all-time low for the United States.”

The Atlanta-based government institution found that the fertility rate among women ages 15 to 44 dropped by two percent between 2017 and 2018. This represented a drop from 60.3 births per 1,000 for women ages 15-44 to 59.1 percent. In addition, the percentage of preterm and early-term births increased: For babies delivered at less than 39 weeks, the percentage increased from 9.93 percent in 2017 to 10.02 percent in 2018. Full-, late-, and post-term deliveries declined.

According to the CDC report:

  • The general fertility rate for the United States declined two percent in 2018 to 59.1 per 1,000 women ages 15-44 from 60.3 in 2017.
  • Fertility rates declined for the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups from 2017 to 2018, down two percent for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women and three percent for Hispanic women.
  • In 2018, the fertility rate was highest for Hispanic women (65.9), followed by non-Hispanic black (62.0) and non-Hispanic white (56.3) women.

In May, provisional figures released by the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC showed the total fertility rate, or average number of children born per mother, was 1.7, which is far below the demographic replacement rate of 2.1.

Also, statistics showed that in 2018 fewer than 3.8 million children were born in the United States. Despite a peak year in 2007, birth rates have fallen in all but one of the last 11 years.

The U.S. showed a continuing trend of diminished fertility among younger women during that period.

The average age of first-time mothers has risen by more than five years: in 1968, the average age was 21.4; today, it was registered as 26.8. In 2018, childbirth rates in the 20-24 age cohort dropped by four percent, and three percent among women ages 25-29. However, women in the 30-35 age cohort had a higher rate of births than those ages 25-29. Thus, this is the first time that women in their early 30s were leaders in birthing babies.

In February, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that women with four children or more will be exempt from paying income tax for life in an effort to encourage births. The Hungarian fertility rate is currently 1.45 children per woman.

The Lancet medical journal published a report in November 2018 that showed that almost half of the countries on earth do not exhibit sufficient birth rates to outdistance deaths. In South Korea, for example, there were seven births per 1,000 people in 2017, a number that has since fallen. In Spain, a report issued in Marchshowed evidence that the abortion rate is contributing to the nation’s birth dearth and its overall aging.

Experts have long warned about the economic and social costs of a declining birth rate. This has long been documented in Japan, which has a current birth rate of 1.43. Small families, contraception and abortion have led to an aging population. Fewer births means fewer workers to support the growing number of pensioners, for example. Experts contends that a birth dearth may curtail any country’s plans to sustain and increase social welfare programs that currently depend on population growth.

In Japan, official encouragement for mothers to be more open to childbirth has largely failed. Immigration has not met with much acceptance in Japan, either.

Toddler and soccer pro, both born without left forearm, bond in viral photo

July 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — It’s already been dubbed “The Best Soccer Image of the Year,” and it has gone viral.

A toddler from Florida expressed sheer joy encountering his new friend who is just like him. The faces of 21-month-old Joseph Tidd and professional soccer player Carson Pickett — both born without a left forearm — register delight as they “fist bump” after Carson’s game.

 

Joseph’s mom, Colleen Tidd, snapped the photo, which quickly went viral on Instagram and has exploded all over all social media.

Young Joseph and 25-year-old Orlando Pride defender Carson Pickett first met last spring, according to a Today.com report. Pickett exclaimed to Joseph, “We have the same arm!”

The “instant bond we can’t begin to understand”

“Carson knelt down next to Joseph and showed him her arm,” Joseph’s dad, Miles Tidd, told TODAY Parents. “It was this instant bond we can’t begin to understand.”

The now viral picture of the two clearly displays their special bond.

Pickett, for her part, said the feeling was mutual.

“I know I might be seen as his role model, but he’s also mine,” Pickett told USA Today Sports. “It’s just a gift to feel so much emotion from a little boy who understands you in a way other people can’t.”

“Literally within five minutes of me meeting him, we had an instant bond,” said Pickett. “It’s interesting, though, because for a kid that young, I didn’t expect him to connect the way he did. Even though we both have the same arm (birth defect), it was amazing to me that it felt like he realized why we were bonded.”

“Honestly the best part of the photo is that it was so real and wasn’t planned,” said  Pickett. “It was the true pure reaction we both had.”

“Pictures mean a lot so hopefully when he gets older he can see that and feel even more of what it means,” continued Pickett. “When I was younger and I didn’t know how the world works, it was hard. My parents always tell me that God put me here for a reason. The biggest thing I’d want Joseph (and others) to know is that even if people see you as different, it’s what’s in your heart that counts.”

Joseph, still three months shy of his second birthday, may well end up following in Pickett’s footsteps.

“Carson believes she can do anything,” said his dad, Miles, “and that is the mindset we want Joseph to have as well.”

“Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, he does it all,” mom Colleen told TODAY Parents. “He maneuvers his arm a little bit differently, but he makes it work.”

New Research Claims Birth Control Should Be Prescribed in Bulk, Despite Health Risks

by Gabriella Patti

According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and published in USA Today, distributing 12-months of birth control pills at a time will reduce unintended pregnancies.

The study’s lead author has stated that the distribution of more birth control at one time will reduce the healthcare costs associated with pregnancy, making it economically beneficial.

However, there are serious concerns surrounding this potential plan. At this time, there are 17 states plus Washington D.C. that have laws that require insurers to provide 12-months worth of birth control pills at a time, however, most people have difficulty getting more than a 90 day supply at a time.

According to Cathryn Donaldson, communications director for American Health Insurance Plans, some insurance companies are reluctant to provide this 12-month supply because, as with any medication taken in the long term, birth control comes with risks.

“Side effects and improper use of prescription drugs can have a serious and potentially life-threatening impact on a patient, which is why it is recommended patients regularly consult their physician, pharmacist or other care provider,” wrote Donaldson. She also states that this 12-month supply could cause “waste, fraud, abuse and increased costs.”

There serious reasons to be concerned about how a 12-month prescription system could affect women. While this system may sound convenient, it doesn’t account for the long-term side effects of birth control that may go unaddressed in a woman who is only required to consult with her physician about her medication once a year.

Safer, More Effective Options

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), also known as “natural birth control” or natural family planning, allow women to manage their health without putting loosely regulated drugs (that come with many health risks and side effects) into their bodies. When taught by a certified FABM instructor, these methods of family planning are more effective than the birth control pill in preventing pregnancy. In addition, Fertility Awareness-Based Methods are economically feasible. It’s reassuring to know that methods like FABMs exist, which allow women to take their health into their own hands in an empowered and safe way.

A 12-month prescription of birth control may seem convenient, but it eliminates the need for frequent visits with a physician, which are necessary in order to reassess a woman’s health and address medical side effects. Considering how many women suffer painful and even life-threatening side effects of birth control, from depression to blood clots, women being prescribed birth control today deserve more medical care and attention, not less.

Strokes, cancer, and more: ‘Eggsploitation’ documents the plight of egg donors in an unregulated fertility industry

 

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Eggsploitation (2010, updated and expanded version released in 2013) is a documentary short about some of the unheard victims of the $6.5 billion per year infertility industry. It follows the stories of several women from a variety of demographic backgrounds who chose to become egg donors for the promised financial and altruistic benefits, yet suffered terrible consequences. Stroke, ovarian torsion, unexpected cancer, and ultimately damage to or loss of their own fertility are some of the painful prices these women paid, despite not being adequately counseled on serious risks ahead of the procedure.

Produced on a $25,000 budget, the award-winning 45-minute independent film Eggsploitation is the first in a series of Jennifer Lahl’s exposés on the shady business of breeding in the laboratory. These include Anonymous Father’s Day (2011), Breeders: A Subclass of Women? (2014), and Eggsploitation: Maggie’s Story (2015, also streaming on Amazon Prime).

As the stories in Eggsploitation reveal, the venture can be eerily reminiscent of human trafficking, with women treated as commodities rather than respected as autonomous beings in a reasonable economic exchange.

 

With offers as high as $100,000 floating in advertisements, young women (usually targeted for their physical beauty and academic success — one woman in Eggsploitation had to take an IQ test) are easily baited into signing up for the initial procedure. When their ovaries don’t release as many eggs as preferred in the first cycle, they feel pressured to continue the risky operation or settle for less money and possibly disappoint their recipients.

Lahl, R.N. and founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBC), decided to create the documentary when she encountered many women hurt by the egg donating process. She takes a sympathetic approach to the subject, understanding the charitable intentions many young women have towards those who struggle to conceive. The ethics of egg donation, in vitro fertilization, and other infertility treatments are left to the viewers’ discernment. But when it comes to the ethics of treating patients, Eggsploitation makes it quite clear that there is a problem.

“If you are an organ donor and you donate your kidney, you will forever live in a database that will monitor you long term to find out how you do five, ten, twenty years later after you donate a kidney,” Lahl says in an interview with Women Now. “That’s not the case with egg donors,” whom she says are not even treated as patients because their importance becomes secondary to the woman pursuing a fertility remedy. “Because they’re not sick, we don’t even keep medical records on egg donors,” says Lahl.

“This whole industry of fertility medicine is relatively new,” Lahl, says in the aforementioned interview. “It’s only been around for about three decades, so we’re only now starting to see some of the negative longer term risks, and those are predominantly cancers.” These risks apply not only to women donating eggs, but to women who collect their own eggs for in vitro fertilization, and possibly to children conceived through these alternative methods.

The risks are due to tampering with the hormones that control a woman’s reproductive cycle. While a man normally produces millions of easily released sperm every day, a woman normally produces a single egg every month that is matured and released on a delicate hormonal schedule. Since this is commercially impractical, the egg donation procedure must hijack the menstrual cycle with hormonal injections that cause the woman to produce an abnormal amount of eggs (a range from 20 to 70) at once, which are then surgically removed.

British study published last year notes, “[a]ssisted reproduction cycles usually involve exposure to supraphysiological levels of oestradiol, exogenous gonadotropins, and multiple ovarian punctures, all potentially carcinogenic. Most concern surrounds the risks of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers after such exposures.”

 

Eggsploitation reports that the procedure begins by inducing temporary menopause in order to synch the egg donor’s cycle with that of the egg recipient. This is done by the woman self-injecting Lupron, a drug the FDA has not approved for fertility use. Next, the ovaries are prompted to super ovulate, which can lead to the dangerous ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). A final injection is given to release the mature eggs, which are afterward sucked out via a vaginal catheter under anesthesia.

Even though the featured women began experiencing extreme discomfort (the ovarian swelling alone is miserable) and some severe side effects, their symptoms were dismissed as “normal,” and their commitment to the donation kept them in denial.

But it’s not just the women who came forward in Eggsploitation who can testify to this. A quick Google search highlights a sisterhood of suffering egg donors. One Canadian blogger who documented her experience is disappointed in how the risks were downplayed at the outset, and cautions other women to do more thorough research.

“Are we fulfilling one woman’s dream at the expense of another woman’s health?” This is the question at the heart of Eggsploitation. While society may have grown past the ancient days of women using slaves as their surrogates, humanity’s baser instincts in the face of desperation to conceive have not necessarily become less barbaric.

How natural family planning helped the US women’s soccer team win the World Cup

 

Natural family planning, or NFP, is increasingly becoming an attractive option for women and couples alike as they rethink conventional contraceptives. Unlike birth control, NFP can be used to track a woman’s monthly cycle, not only avoid pregnancy, but to help couples get pregnant, and to help women better understand their own bodies. And one app that helps with this sort of tracking has been credited with helping the US Women’s National Team with the FIFA World Cup.

The women’s soccer team thrilled fans across the country as they not only became world champions, but also scored the most goals ever in a Women’s World Cup. According to the coaches, using NFP was crucial. “I feel like it’s one of many strategies that we deployed that helped us win,” Dawn Scott said in an interview with Good Morning America. “I feel like [the U.S. is] leading the way on this.” Scott, the high performance coach for both the USWNT and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), had been tracking her players’ cycles for years, but as the World Cup approached, she realized she needed a more advanced and individual approach.

“For a few players, I always noticed that just before they started their cycle, their recovery fatigue was increased and their sleep was less,” she said. “I was noticing it for three or four players and thought, ‘We’re six months out from the World Cup, how we can help that?’” So with the help of Dr. Georgie Bruinvels, a research scientist, the problem was solved, thanks to Fitr Woman, an app Bruinvels created that tailors workout schedules and nutrition advice based on their unique monthly cycle. Each player filled out an individual survey, explaining the timing of their cycles, the symptoms they felt, and how those symptoms impacted their playing. That information was used to keep the athletes in peak condition as they competed for almost two months for the World Cup.

FitrWoman app

“We could see what [menstrual cycle] phase a player was in and what some of their symptoms were,” Scott explained. “I would just text or say to a player, ‘Hey you’re in phase three and we know you get disrupted sleep, so make sure you do x, y and z.’”

This outlook was lauded by several medical professionals, who said it is long overdue for women who compete in sports. “We do know that there are parts of the cycle where women may have less ability to sleep and may have different eating habits,” Dr. Richard Beckerman, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., explained to ABC News. “But just as we find people are affected differently by different things, it can be very variable.”

ABC News chief medical correspondent and OB/GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton agreed. “For anyone who understands the complexities of women’s health, the fact there can be fluctuations in physical or mental stamina, or changes in sleep or dietary behaviors corresponding to changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle come as no surprise,” she said. “The ability to individualize behaviors that have the potential to optimize athletic performance exists and absolutely should be considered when dealing with any athlete, male or female.”

She added, “The fact is, female athletes are biologically, hormonally and physically different, and the sooner that reality is embraced instead of resisted, the more potential exists for that athlete to optimize her training behaviors. An app that tracks the menstrual cycle absolutely has the potential to improve a female athlete’s behaviors.”

In Scott’s case, she wanted to go public to break the taboo surrounding menstruation. “For the 15-year-old girl who doesn’t have the support of a national team, I want to make it so she can talk about it with a female coach and a male coach,” Scott said. “We need to make people aware of it and not embarrassed by it. This is physiologically what female athletes deal with.”

While NFP has long been maligned, especially by the abortion industry, pro-lifers have been its strongest advocates over the past several decades, and it has only grown in popularity. The reality is, NFP is more effective than women are often led to believe. And though traditional birth control comes with serious side effects, which roughly half of women have “serious trouble” with, NFP has no side effects — and, as the USWNT shows, it can be used for more than just avoiding pregnancy.

Stars from the “Bachelor” franchise, as well as other celebrities, have likewise been increasingly open about using NFP apps that help them understand their own bodies, how they are affected by their cycle, and how it has helped them to both avoid and achieve pregnancy. It is this kind of information that empowers women, giving them the ability to see how their hormones and cycle affect them, as well as to take charge of their fertility without potentially using an abortifacient or feeling like they must subject themselves to unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects.

Empowering a woman begins with educating her about the amazing way her body and her fertility works.

St. John Paul II Was Right: The Relevance of the Theology of the Body

Solène Tadié

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/why-the-body-matters-a-key-to-a-sound-christian-anthropology-of-love-and-se?fbclid=IwAR2lvDV3t2Dlsj574Bx30woLCg4e_Xm4xFaNb5uOH9dkSFc0AuwI9Inggew

ROME — The anthropological vision of John Paul II on love, life and human sexuality, developed in his “theology of the body” (TOB) catechesis, has become a polestar for a whole generation. Gathering a series of 129 catechetical addresses pronounced during his Wednesday audiences in St. Peter Square from Sept. 5, 1979, to Nov. 28, 1984, the theology of the body remains a key element of John Paul’s thought and a major papal contribution to the Church’s teaching on human sexuality..

Although the Pope’s addresses remained relatively unknown until the 1990s, this crucial work is now widespread — and continues to spread — thanks to the commitment of individuals around the world who have dedicated their lives to teaching John Paul’s vision, notably through the organization of large conferences and the creation of institutes and associations.

One of these associations is the Dallas-based Theology of the Body Evangelization Team, known as TOBET, founded in 2001 by a group of educators and parents. TOBET’s aim is to “‘translate’ this philosophically dense, theological reflection so that families and people of all ages can access this life-affirming teaching.”

Its executive director, Monica Ashour, a national speaker and author, wrote a number of books designed to help people live according to the anthropology espoused by the theology of the body in a more concrete and authentic way, including through books for children entitled The Body Matters.

In May 2015, Ashour was a participant in an ad hoc committee for the Pontifical Council for the Family led by the council’s president at the time, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. Three years earlier, in November 2011, she attended the Theology of the Body International Symposium in Rome and presented a talk about how to teach teens the TOB.

The Register met her during her recent pilgrimage to the tomb of St. John Paul II in Rome.

For many years, you’ve been dedicating a significant part of your life to spreading St. John Paul’s TOB, through TOBET. Why are these teachings so important nowadays?

I think John Paul II saw the problem in our current culture. In the mid-fourth and early fifth century, St. Augustine sought to address the problem of what it means to be human; 800 years later, St. Thomas Aquinas addressed this question, as well; and 800 after Thomas, St. John Paul, in turn, sought to answer a similar question. St. John Paul saw that the body was not being seen properly in modern society. He describes our understanding of our bodies as “detachment.” We [as a modern society] are, John Paul II claims, detached from the truth of our own bodies. We don’t see them as a sacrament, as revealing something about God, about ourselves, about love. So John Paul II focuses on the body and its meaning, and I think this focus is perfectly fitting for this culture.

How did John Paul II develop these teachings from his own experiences?

Karol Wojtyla lived during World War II, during which, in [Nazi] concentration camps in Poland and neighboring countries, there would be experiments on people, especially on Jews, whose bodies were seen as objects of scientific study. And then with the sexual revolution — John Paul was a young priest back then — he saw people abusing the body as mere tools for pleasure. This is how he came to understand that the body matters.

In John Paul II’s TOB addresses, the importance of the body is underscored by the fact that the word “soul” appears 55 times, “spirit” 99 times and “body” 1,319 times.

But today, things are not much better than they were during John Paul II’s time. When we look around, we see so many tattoos on people, and there is rampant sexual promiscuity — all because we see the body in the wrong way. The sacred dimension of our body is so often lost.

This is what I think St. John Paul saw at the time. And he anticipated even transgenderism. In TOB, he says that, in today’s society, a person has difficulty in identifying with his or her own body. When he wrote that in the 1980s, he may have seen transgenderism as it was going to become many years later. Many at the time did not understand the meaning of being a “body-person,” a term coined by him. In this way, John Paul II doesn’t give us only a theology of love, of marriage, and of matrimony, but he also gives us the theology of the body.

You see a continuity of thought linking St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Paul II. What are their distinctive features? 

Regarding the theology of the body, St. Augustine says that procreation and education of children is the purpose of conjugal and marital intercourse. Then, 800 years later, St. Thomas Aquinas further developed St. Augustine’s idea of the union of spouses as a secondary and subordinate end to procreation. And 800 years after Thomas, St. John Paul, agreeing with both Augustine and Thomas, further develops our understanding of the body’s nature by pointing out that the body speaks a natural language, a language of a free, full, faithful, fruitful person-to-person encounter.

In the theology of the body, John Paul II says to the husband and wife that their bodies speaks through the language of gift. He draws inspiration from Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 24, which says men and women “cannot fully find [themselves] except through a sincere gift of [themselves].” That is the meaning of life. In a similar way, Pope John Paul sees the meaning of life in Genesis 2:25 (“Adam and Eve were naked and did not feel ashamed”). Why? Because before the Fall, the human body revealed who we were as humans, and we knew our bodies were meant to be a gift. After the Fall, we lost sight of this sense of gift. So the gift — and recovering that sense of gift — itself is the meaning of life.

Even if I am single, I can give the gift of my body to others, although in a way quite different from how a married couple give their bodies to one another, of course. It is important to know that we all, married and single, speak the language of gift through our bodies — because we are gifts to each other. Right now, for example, my vocal cords are directed towards your eardrums. I am giving something to you, and you’re giving something back by receiving, by smiling at me, and together as we interact we are more than the sum of our parts.

God is love, so whenever all of us love together, we reveal God. And how can we express that love to one another? A primary and fundamental way of expressing this love is through our bodies. We are a composite body and soul. But I think John Paul moves away from the expression “body and soul” and just says that the body shows you that you have a soul, that you’re made for love and that finding that sense of love in our bodies and souls is the meaning of life.

A significant part of your work focuses on young people, to whom you dedicated a series of books. Why do you think it is important to reach young people with these teachings?

A few years ago, I received a phone call from Toronto, in Canada. I’ve been urged to teach TOB to children because, in a school there, the small children were told that their sexuality was fluid. “Close your eyes,” the teachers instructed the children. “Think about whether you’re a boy or a girl, and don’t let anybody tell you. You decide your own sexuality.” Naturally, parents were outraged at this sort of activity, and the school’s sex-education curriculum provoked great controversy among the parents.

After I heard that story about students being encouraged to decide their own sexuality, and many others like it, I consulted the bishops on our TOBET advisory board and they advised that I write books for children that would counter these false secular teachings on human sexuality. This is how my series of books called The Body Matters started. We hope we can spread them in Catholic schools as well as in parish catechetical programs. And we want parents to read these books as well because many may not know the theology of the body. These books are a good way to establish a dialogue between parents and children.

Some commentators lamented the fact that the synod on young people, in October 2018, didn’t give enough space to sexuality. Do you agree with them?

I believe there wasn’t much discussion about TOB during the synod on young people, which I think is a problem. There needs to be some focus on sexuality, and that focus should not be at the exclusion of anthropology — that is, at the exclusion of what it means to be human. I wish the synod would have integrated Pope John Paul’s understanding of the human person as a gift made in God’s image because I think he knew what we need now — that is a TOB based on Scripture.

How would you have integrated TOB into the synod on young people? 

I would have advised participants to take seriously what Pope John Paul was trying to do. He warned against seeing the body in “detachment” or that the body doesn’t have meaning. If I was an adviser in this kind of event, I would start by asking, “How does the body teach you many lessons?” Then I’d point out that the body teaches us that we’re human, first and foremost. This basic teaching — the humanity of our bodies — will become more important in the future because another thing that is coming is transhumanism, which is very scary.

Next, I would point out that the body teaches us that we are male or female (“boy body” or “girl body” is how I put it for children in the TOBET books), not neutral. This, too, is vital for children to know, as I’ve heard that people are even building sex robots to replicate — and replace — authentic human sexual experience. So, if we don’t talk to young people about the truth of their existence as male and female sexual beings, then they’re going to be brainwashed by erroneous views of sexuality as a neutral thing. My advice is that young people should take seriously the people who have studied and understood the truth of the child, the truth about the human person, and the truth about sexuality and about the body mattering in all these truths.

Your first book was on marriage preparation. What would be your first piece of advice to a young couple getting married?

Engaged couples need to understand that the body is a revelation of the person. So often, we wrongly think that the body is separated from the person. It is seen as a tool for pleasure, not a sacrament. Engaged couples must see the body as a gift and the other as a gift. Only then will they be able to see how the teachings about sexuality come into play — even though, of course, marriage is about much more than sexuality.

All of TOB is about ultimately getting to heaven, where we will be in union with God and others, with our “spiritualized” bodies. So, through TOB, engaged couples will truly come to now that “I am meant to be for you and you for me.”

When I give talks before engaged couples, one of the last things I explain to them is how, for instance, two fiancées, Katy and Joe, will enter into a mutual self-giving in marriage. “When you get married, Joe,” I say, “you become Joe for Katy, and, Katy, you become Katy for Joe.” In other words, Pope John Paul says a person is a “being-for-another.” So they become gifts for each other, and they get to journey this life together. And, ultimately, they get to see each other face-to-face, with their bodies, in heaven. Marriage gives you a taste of heaven.

In the priesthood and religious life, too, individuals are self-giving and likewise live for all. In either case, married or religious life, this self-giving is a taste of what heaven is about. Both of those vocations give a taste of heaven. It is all about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — and the Church — all being at the center of one’s life.

You’re in Rome for a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. John Paul II. What does this trip mean to you?

I am here is to show my gratitude. I am grateful to God, to my parents for raising me in the Catholic faith, and to Pope John Paul who gave us TOB. I am going to be in front of his tomb, praying and thanking him for his gift, a gift which is going to transform the culture, one person at a time, for Jesus and his Church.

Solène Tadié is the Register’s Rome-based Europe correspondent

 

Scientific American Addresses the Problem of Birth Control Suppressing Periods

Madeleine Coyne

Scientific American Addresses the Problem of Birth Control Suppressing Periods

There is no more unifying experience among women around the globe than menstruation. All women understand what it feels like to have their period—even if they don’t exactly understand what it is.

And yet, the topic of menstruation continues to hold significant stigmas, and embarrassment or hesitation to discuss this vital function of the female body has created gaps in our knowledge of how the menstrual cycle affects a women’s overall health.

Therefore, it was a welcome shock to discover that the May 2019 issue of Scientific American magazine is primarily dedicated to the science of women’s reproductive health—or rather, the lack thereof. In one particularly revealing article, “What is the Point of a Period?” by Virginia Sole-Smith, the author investigates the long-standing menstrual taboo and the devastating effect it has had on women’s reproductive health, including the unique problem concerning menstrual suppression through hormonal birth control.

Coming from a nationally esteemed scientific magazine as Scientific American(the longest continuously published magazine in the United States), this article is truly a breakthrough for women’s reproductive health, for several reasons.

The medical and scientific repercussions of the global menstruation taboo

All women of child-bearing years experience menstruation. There is nothing strange or unhealthy about it, even if global taboos are still very much alive. In fact, the female menstrual cycle is necessary for reproduction—necessary for human survival. But still, most people are too scared or embarrassed to talk about or even acknowledge it. As Sole-Smith explains, “That aversion has influenced women’s relationships to their own bodies as well as how the medical establishment manages women when things go wrong with their reproductive health.”

Somehow, many doctors still do not understand the intricacies of the menstrual cycle (especially how charting one’s cycle using a Fertility Awareness-Based Method can help diagnose and treat common health problems). Too many doctors don’t realize that periods offer clues that often reveal underlying issues concerning a woman’s reproductive and overall health.

The scientific community has offered very limited help. As Sole-Smith explains, “It is hard to measure how much money is spent on period research, but experts agree the subject is underfunded.”

At the heart of this menstruation taboo is a lack of knowledge and understanding. Many women may know that their period signals the shedding of their uterus’s lining. But what exactly does that mean? Sole-Smith answers this question thoroughly and concisely: “The endometrial lining of the uterus thickens over the course of a woman’s cycle as her estrogen level rises. If none of the eggs she releases at ovulation joins with a sperm and implants in that lining as a fertilized zygote, then levels of estrogen and another hormone called progesterone drop, triggering the uterus to shed the thickened endometrium so it can start fresh in the next cycle.”

Essentially, a woman’s uterus lining thickens every month to prepare for the possibility of a fertilized egg and pregnancy. If the egg does not get fertilized, then the uterus sheds this lining and it leaves the body as menstrual blood.

While scientists are still struggling to understand exactly what menstrual blood is, Sole-Smith writes that “Even less is known about why so many women—up to 80 percent by some estimates—experience cramps, bloating, fatigue, anger, or other symptoms just before the onset of menstruation.” She quotes Tomi-Ann Roberts, president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, who reveals that “We know so little about menstruation. . . . Because of this, our attitudes toward menstruation are overwhelmingly negative. This has real consequences for how we can begin to understand healthy menstruation, as well as menstruation-related disorders and the treatment options available.”

In another article in this same issue of Scientific American“Fertile Ground: The Long-Neglected Science of Female Reproductive Health,” author Clara Moskowitz writes:

“Having periods is not a disease. But when they go wrong, they offer clues into disorders that require intervention. The medical field has largely done a poor job of identifying and treating them with precision. Clinicians tend to wield synthetic hormones like a hammer, liberally prescribing the birth-control pill for all kinds of pain—which is partly why serious diseases of the female organs such as endometriosis take an average of eight years to be diagnosed. That women’s symptoms are often dismissed does not help.”

Which brings us to the question of why doctors started covering up the female menstrual cycle via hormonal birth control in the first place, and why they are just now—decades later—starting to adequately research the effects of menstrual suppression.

The problem of birth control’s long-term suppression of menstruation

In her article, Sole-Smith explains how research on menstruation evolved from ludicrous conclusions “that menstrual blood contained a kind of poison” in 1920 to research on how to prevent pregnancies in the 1950s in large part to the work of Margaret Sanger (future founder of Planned Parenthood). In the first large-scale, FDA-approved trial of hormonal birth control, 265 low-income Puerto Rican women were recruited (as Sole-Smith notes, “without the level of ‘informed consent’ required today”), and 22% of the women dropped out of the experiment after experiencing adverse side effects. “The study’s medical director argued that the pill ‘caused too many side reactions to be generally acceptable.’ Nevertheless, it went to market.”

This is how birth control came to be—tested on poor women in another country without proper consent, with their blatant side effects brushed aside. While the Pill is celebrated as a liberating breakthrough for women, Sole-Smith goes on to explain: “But liberation came with a price. By the late 1960s patients across the U.S. were reporting the same symptoms documented during the Puerto Rican trial. Despite many reformulations over the ensuing decades, side effects remain a problem for many women on the pill; risks for breast cancer, blood clots and stroke may also be higher.”

Elizabeth Kissling, a professor of women and gender studies at Eastern Washington University, explains how this new “reproductive freedom” did not seem to take into consideration the consequences of “shutting down a woman’s natural cycle.” Sole-Smith sums it up well: “scientists figured out how to supplant periods long before they began trying to understand why they work the way they do.”

The article explains how scientists did not truly investigate “the larger question of why menstruation happens at all” until the late 1980s. She explains the research of evolutionary biologist, Beverly I. Strassmann, including her investigation into why humans do not reabsorb their menstrual blood like other animals do, stating: “Our physiology doesn’t permit reabsorption, so much of the blood gets discharged as menstruation.” This led her to conclude that bleeding during one’s menstrual cycle is “an insignificant by-product of evolution rather than an advantage.”

Does that mean a woman’s cycle is insignificant, and should be suppressed by artificial birth control? After all, Sole-Smith notes that “Skipping that monthly ordeal can mean avoiding debilitating pain . . . and other symptoms that can dramatically impair a woman’s quality of life.” But as Kissling notes, “The pill isn’t a treatment for these conditions. It’s a way of refusing to treat them.” Endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior explains how “it can take up to a decade or longer from disease onset for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis, for example, in part because doctors are so quick to prescribe the drug to teenagers reporting bad cramps without investigating to see if there is an underlying cause.” The Pill masks often serious underlying problems and manipulates natural hormone functions.

Reason for concern

Strassmann, for one, is rightly skeptical about the long-term effects of “medically induced menstrual suppression”—namely, the higher hormone levels with which women become exposed. She says, “It’s true a monthly menstrual period is not necessary. But taking more progestin to skip your period is not living like our ancestors did 500 or 1,000 years ago.”

As the article “What is the Point of a Period” reveals, “analyzing data from 12 studies, as well as the information on birth-control package inserts, Strassmann’s team concluded that some types of the Pill exposed women to a quadruple dose of progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone contained in the Pill), relative to the progesterone their naturally cycling body would produce.”

Ultimately, this crucial article reveals that what we know about menstruation and the long-term effects of birth control on menstruation is that we still don’t know enough. Sole-Smith explains, “Nobody knows for sure what that exposure to synthetic hormones will mean long term for women using the Pill to suppress their cycles indefinitely. This knowledge gap speaks to broader concerns about our ignorance around menstruation.” And if this is not concerning, then I do not know what is.

What I do know is that I do not want to be part of this experiment. I find myself asking the same questions that Moskowitz poses, “What might be different if researchers had investigated the evolutionary purpose of periods before they developed a Pill to shut down a woman’s cycle? Why are women expected to shoulder health trade-offs in exchange for avoiding pregnancy?”

I find it tragic that more women do not see their menstrual cycle and fertility as a vital sign of health and that they are not given adequate information by their doctors about their cycle and natural options for family planning and treatment of common health issues, other than birth control. Too many women are not given the option of—or even information on—safe, natural, side-effect-free, Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, modern methods based in science.

In a closing sentence that left me with chills, Kissing suggests that “Long-term menstrual suppression via birth control is the largest uncontrolled medical experiment on women in history.” Here’s to stopping experiments when it comes to women’s health.

Making America faithful again

G. Tracy Mehan III 

Book Review: American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation. By Timothy S. Goeglein and Craig Osten (Regnery Gateway, 216 pages, $28.99).

Liberty can no more exist without virtue than the body can live and move without a soul. — John Adams

Bowling alone, coming apart, two nations, alienated America, sexual suicide — these phrases, all taken from titles of books both recent and dated, describe in painful detail the collapse of a cohesive society in which stable families, social mobility, and a common moral vision, however imperfectly lived, enabled a rising middle class to prosper. The familial collapse first identified by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his prescient 1965 report on the decline of the African-American family has now become a generalized, systemic condition for a large segment of white and Hispanic America, too.

According to Tim Goeglein and Craig Osten in their bracing new book, American Restoration: How Faith, Family and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation, things can only get better given the dismal circumstances we find ourselves in today.

“As of 2014, more than seventy percent of all African American children are now born out of wedlock — triple the percentage Moynihan reported in the mid-1960s when the Great Society was launched to solve the problem (hopefully) of fatherless children in African American homes,” Goeglein and Osten write.

“In 2014, more than half of Hispanic children were born out of wedlock, as well as one-third of all American babies born to Caucasian mothers,” they continue. “As recently as 1970, only 15 percent of all American babies were born outside of marriage. The combined rate of all racial groups is now a whopping 40 percent.” And this despite $22 trillion spent over fifty years on Great Society programs.

As a mountain of social science data shows, single-parent families, usually without a father and husband, are an economic and social calamity for children, especially boys. A University of Pennsylvania study found that young men who grow up fatherless are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families.

For these authors, the cause of our problem is fundamentally cultural and religious, inextricably tied to a “propulsive postmodernism” and a demiurge for “self-fulfillment” without tether to Judeo-Christian morality or even the cardinal virtues discerned by ancient writers such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, or Aquinas. In truth, these sources of the Western tradition are denigrated by the bien pensant, the current elites, the Brahmins presiding over our universities, the media, and much of corporate America today.

As the Catholic writer and social critic Mary Eberstadt opined:

“Politics did not create these problems. The sexual revolution did. That’s why politics will not solve them, either.”

Goeglein and Osten proceed to outline the origin and extent of the rot in American culture in several tight, well-developed chapters treating culture, family, the judiciary, religious liberty, education, medical ethics, and a variety of moral virtues required of a free and democratic people.

Their philosophy is grounded in the Christian idea that men and women are made in the image of God — imago Dei. This informs their view of the need for civility and the recovery of the concept of the gentleman regarding whom John Henry Newman said, “It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain.” Unfortunately, the authors do not discuss the concept of a lady, probably too fraught a topic in this day and age for males to address.

Nevertheless, their hero is another great gentleman, George Washington, who, in his first inaugural address, stated that “religion and morality” are the “finest props of the duties of men and citizens,” adding that they are the pillars supporting “the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity.”

“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect the national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle,” the first president proclaimed.

While realistic regarding the forces arrayed against a moral restoration in America, they do not subscribe to the more extreme forms of the “Benedict Option,” which seem to counsel a complete withdrawal from the public square into an exclusively private zone disengaged from politics, culture, and social matters not exclusively en famille, so to speak. The authors do concur with the proponents of this idea that one must deepen oneself spiritually and morally in faith and humility. But that should not lead one to flee the slings and arrows of a hostile culture. Engagement grounded in a religious worldview is the correct posture.

Goeglein and Osten write, “We must not despair.”

Citing the work of David Brooks and James and Deborah Fallows on the vibrancy of positive, local restorative action in communities across America, these authors state boldly that “we must continue to be faithful. The key to America’s restoration is to be found in remaining engaged in our neighborhoods, in our communities, and in our nation — doing so faithfully and knowing God is in control.” They urge Americans to take up the charge offered by the great English philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke:

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections.

These writers are nothing if not hopeful — sometimes maddeningly so. But hope is a theological virtue grounded not in reason but in faith. They urge us to live that virtue and become “salt and light” in a country well worth the effort.

G. Tracy Mehan III is an adjunct professor at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. This article was first published in The American Spectator and is republished here with permission.

The Blessings of ‘Ordinary’ Children

by 

Sign of Hope

 “In its most profound reality, love is essentially a gift; and conjugal love, while leading the spouses to the reciprocal “knowledge” which makes them “one flesh,” does not end with the couple, because it makes them capable of the greatest possible gift, the gift by which they become cooperators with God for giving life to a new human person. Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother.”

— Pope St. John Paul II (Familiaris Consortio, 14)

The English writer G.K. Chesterton loved pointing out that we are surrounded by seemingly “ordinary” things that are in fact so suffused with beauty and mystery, that we ought by all rights to be walking about in a perpetual state of stunned wonder. As he famously put it: “There is a law written in the darkest of the Books of Life, and it is this: If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.” What he meant is, that thousandth time, you might slough off your old pereptual habits that took the thing for granted and see the thing for what it is: a pure, mysterious gift.

G. K. Chesterton, aged 31

One of the ordinary things that Chesterton sought to show us in a new light was the family. A quote often attributed to him goes like this: “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.” Now, I can’t seem to find a source for this quote. But the sentiment is unquestionably Chestertonian in nature. The fact of a man and a woman falling in love, their desire to unite their lives together with an unbreakable vow, and the children that – God willing – naturally follow: on the one hand these are utterly straightforward things, and on the other, filled with an unspeakable beauty and mystery. These ordinary things are really the most extraordinary things.

However, as Most Reverend José Gomez, archbishop of the diocese of Los Angeles, recently pointed out in a profoundly challenging speech hosted by the University of Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life, marriage and children seem to be becoming “extraordinary” in a totally new way. That is to say, for the first time in the history of our civilization, it seems that a vast, and growing number of people, are consciously rejecting these things, refusing marriage, and consciously avoiding having any children at all.

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles, photo courtesy of the Archdiocese

For thousands of years, just about everyone intuitively understood that it was a good thing to commit one’s life to another in marriage, and then to bring children into the world. But for unusual cases, such as those entering the priesthood, or monasteries and convents, this is what the overwhelming majority of people would aspire to, and expect to do. Now, however, for a variety of reasons, “many young people are debating whether it is ‘ethical’ to have kids,” the archbishop noted. “There is an even larger conversation going on among millennials about the ‘value’ of starting a family.”

The ostensible rationale given for much of the anti-natalist attitude is concern for the natural environment – the fear that more children simply means more resource-hogging humans damaging the earth. We saw this attitude expressed memorably earlier this year by Democrat congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In a Q&A session live-streamed on Instagram to her 2.5 million followers in February, Ocasio-Cortez mused about environmental questions: “It is basically a scientific consensus that the lives of our children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it OK to still have children?”

In his speech, Archbishop Gomez didn’t discount the need for serious concern for the environment; however, he suggested that this growing ambivalent – and even hostile – attitude towards children “tells us far more about the state of the family today” than many of the other problems that we usually associate with the crisis in marriage and the family: “contraception and abortion; divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, people living together rather than getting married…the growth of same-sex unions and the confusion about sex that we see in our society.”

In rejecting marriage and children outright, he said, “Our society has rejected what 20 centuries of Christian civilization considered a basic fact of nature.”  He stated: “Now marriage, family, and children have all become an open question, a ‘choice’ that individuals must decide for themselves.”

Recovering the Radical Christian Message

In response to this peculiarly sinister modern crisis, Archbishop Gomez firstly urged the need “to rediscover the radical ‘newness’ of the Christian message about the family.” We have heard the basic Christian teaching about marriage so often that we have lost sight of how radical, and how radically beautiful it is, both in itself, and in the context of historical attitudes towards marriage.

“When St. Paul said: ‘Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her’ — he was announcing a revolution in human thought and human society,” the archbishop said. “Before Christianity, no one had ever spoken about marriage in terms of a love that lasts a lifetime, or as a calling from God, or as a path that can lead to holiness and salvation.”

“It was a new and thrilling idea to speak of man and woman becoming ‘one flesh’ and participating in God’s own act of creating new life.” Indeed, it was through the profundity of their love for one another, and the way they lived that love in concrete ways, that the first Christians spread the Gospel. Not only did they approach marriage as a “life-long relationship of friendship and mutual devotion,” but they rejected the anti-life practices of their pagan neighbors: “They rejected birth control and abortion and welcomed children in joy as a gift from God and treated them as precious persons to be loved and nurtured and brought up in the ways of the Lord.”

The Marriage at Cana – 14th century fresco at the Visoki Decani Monastery

Archbishop Gomez went on to quote the early Church Father Tertullian. The quotation is so beautiful, that I feel compelled to include it here in full:

How beautiful … the marriage of two Christians, sharing one hope, one desire, one way of life. They are truly two in one flesh; and where the flesh is one, the spirit is one, also. They pray together, worship together, fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another… they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. They visit the sick and assist the needy. … Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices.

I can’t help but think how different society would be if all Christian couples lived up to this beautiful vision!

Life is a Gift

However, continued Archbishop Gomez, not only must we recover the radicalness of the Christian message about marriage, but “we need to recover the Christian narrative, the Christian vision for life and human happiness.” This section of the archbishop’s speech is so theologically profound, and beautiful, that I urge you to read the whole thing if you can.

The archbishop lamented that many Christians are taking their cue about the meaning of life from our technologically obsessed and consumeristic society, rather than Christ and the Scriptures. The Scriptures reveal to us the great mystery that even God Himself is a family – a Trinity of persons united in love. “We need to tell this good news to our neighbors — that this God of love, who created the galaxies and oceans and mountains in the beginning, is still at work today, still creating,” said the archbishop. “And God intends his plan for creation, for history, to unfold through the human family.”

Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, entered into history in the womb of His mother, and raised within the beauty and hiddenness of the family. It is this great mystery that reveals to us how we humans are called to participate in God’s loving act of creation. “We are called to help every married couple realize this vocation — to live their love forever in a mutual and complete gift of self; to renew the face of the earth with children, who are the fruits of their love and the precious love of our Creator.”

Within this rich Christian view, children can never be viewed merely as “takers” and parasites, to be viewed with suspicion, and prevented through invasive, immoral means. On the contrary, “Every child who is born is also a sign of God’s love — a mystery, a gift, a miracle. In every child, even those in the womb, we glimpse the mystery of the Christ Child, in whom we come to know God.”

The archbishop warned that a society that does not welcome children is a society that has forgotten the meaning of life and has abandoned hope. “It is not about just giving birth to children. It is about hope,” he said. “It is about living with confidence in God’s Providence, knowing that he loves us and will never abandon us — no matter what this world may bring.”

The archbishop concluded this remarkable speech with this moving expression of his hope for those listening. “If you are married,” he said, “love your spouse with a great affection and raise your children well. Work for them, sacrifice for them; teach them to talk to God and listen for his calling in their lives. We cannot be afraid to call our young people to greatness, to be saints.”

“Life is not ours to sanction or command. Life is a beautiful gift — the child received by a husband and wife is as beautiful and precious as anything we find in nature.”

“By the love in our homes — by the sacrifices we make and the love that we hold in our hearts and pass on to our children — we are called to testify to this God who is our Creator and Father. This God, who holds all of this world — and every one of us — in his loving hands.”

I have nothing more to add to this beautiful and inspiring message. God bless Archbishop Gomez for his courage and fatherly concern in calling his flock (indeed all of us) to holiness in this way.

Prenatal screening is a pro-life tool hijacked by the abortion industry

 

For the pro-life community, prenatal screening can be a source of contention, but for parents faced with the diagnosis of their preborn child, prenatal screening can be the technological gift that allows them to properly and effectively care for their child. The problem is, prenatal screening has been hijacked by the abortion industry.

Though the more routine use of tests such as ultrasounds and amniocentesis didn’t begin in the United States until the 1970s, the development of these tools was already in the works two decades prior. Well before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, researchers were developing ways to learn more about not only the development of the preborn child but also whether or not a child would be born with any health conditions. The controversy is, of course, what happens with the information that is gathered from prenatal testing. In a pro-life society, that information would simply be used to give the mother and child the best possible care for the best possible outcome at birth and throughout the child’s life. But in a pro-abortion society, that information is used to instead discriminate against the child in the womb and kill that child through an act of eugenics.

When used appropriately and ethically, prenatal testing is a pro-life tool.

For example, prior to prenatal testing, a woman who was carrying a child with anencephaly – a condition in which the child’s skull doesn’t properly form and he isn’t likely to survive more than a few hours after birth – would have absolutely no idea that the precious child she was so thrilled to give birth to was dying. There was no way to prepare her or the child’s father or grandparents or siblings for this tremendous loss. Now, however, parents can learn this information ahead of time, allowing them time to grieve and prepare so that when they meet their child at birth they are able to focus on him, not his diagnosis, and even have family photos taken. They can spend their time loving him instead of having him whisked away for tests. They will have had time to get a plan in place for the baby’s funeral or for family members to have traveled from long distances to arrive in time to meet him.

Down syndrome

Likewise, for the parents of a child with Trisomy 21, better known as Down syndrome, receiving the diagnosis ahead of time allows them to not only emotionally prepare, but it helps them to plan for their child’s needs. Knowing that their child may need extra care because of a heart condition or anticipated developmental delays would give parents the opportunity to meet with specialists prior to the child’s birth in order to give the child the best care possible. Knowing of a diagnosis such as Down syndrome ahead of time may also alter the family’s financial plan so they are better prepared for the future.

Similar arguments could be made for prenatal testing that allows treatment plans to be set in place for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and spina bifida. About 10 percent of children with cystic fibrosis will need bowel surgery immediately after birth, making it important to keep an eye on their bowels via ultrasound. Early animal testing has even shown that treating CF while the child is still in the womb can treat male infertility, which affects 98 percent of men with CF. As for spina bifida, fetal surgeons are now performing surgery on babies while they are still in the womb with amazing success rates, including the increased likelihood of independently walking. The results of prenatal surgery for spina bifida are proving to be better than surgery after birth.

spina bifida

Photo: EBU Photography

Parents who learn their child has Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome) prior to the child’s birth will likely be told that their baby is “incompatible with life” and told to abort. But the truth is that these children aren’t necessarily going to die at birth as in decades past. New information and the right doctors are helping children with the condition to live longer and healthier. One man with the condition just celebrated his 18th birthday.

While some conditions will need an amniocentesis in order to confirm a diagnosis, many parents may not wish to go through with this test because it carries a small risk of miscarriage. That is completely understandable. But going through with any prenatal testing, especially non-invasive testing that doesn’t carry a risk of harming the baby, in no way should lead to the assumption that those parents don’t love their child. In the pro-life community, many parents will say that they skipped all testing because it didn’t matter to them if their child had certain health conditions or not. And it is their right to do so. But if a parent is determined to choose life no matter what, and if a blood test or ultrasound could help a child live better and even survive, then taking that test is not unloving. It is preparing.

Betsy Leaf insisted that she was keeping her little boy, Jacen, even after he was diagnosed with anencephaly and she was offered abortion.

READ: Prenatal screening shouldn’t equal a death sentence

Prenatal testing can help certain children live longer and healthier lives, so why do the doctors who diagnose them push abortion on the grieving and scared parents? One very sinister reason is that they are actually trying to eliminate people who may cost more money to care for, especially if the child is going to be using government healthcare programs. Or they may want to eliminate people with disabilities because they think that these lives aren’t worth living. It’s discrimination. It’s eugenics. And it must stop.

Another reason doctors may push invasive testing and abortion is that they fear facing lawsuits. And that fear isn’t unfounded. There have been numerous cases of parents suing doctors for the “wrongful births” of their children because they went undiagnosed during pregnancy and the parents didn’t have the chance to kill them before birth. Doctors could lose their entire livelihood over it.

The reality is that prenatal testing is a game changer, but it makes a big difference which team parents and doctors are playing for. When we approach a prenatal diagnosis with a pro-life vision, amazing things happen. When we approach a prenatal diagnosis with a pro-abortion vision, death happens.

When It Comes to IVF, Remember: Frozen Embryos Are People Too

ANA BRENNAN, J.D

Earlier this month a heartbreaking story about an IVF “mix up” was reported. It seems the fertility clinic responsible for handling embryos during the IVF process accidentally implanted the wrong embryos into a woman. Instead of giving birth to twin daughters, the woman gave birth to two boys who were not genetically hers. Not only did this woman have to relinquish the children she just gave birth to, but the clinic has yet to locate her unborn daughters.[i] These cases may not be the norm but they’re not unheard of either, and as more infertile couples turn to IVF and more profit is to be made by the fertility industry,[ii] the frequency of these tragedies will increase.

Most people are rightly horrified by this story. Unfortunately, the conversations elicited by this story rarely extend to the broader debate surrounding artificial reproductive technologies (ART).  In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of ART, which involves,

[C]ombining extracted eggs and sperm in a lab. The process involves producing multiple embryos and transferring them. . . into the woman’s womb, in hopes one would implant and cause a pregnancy. Today, many embryos are usually frozen, as couples opt to transfer the most viable one at a time to avoid multiple births. Unused embryos may be stored indefinitely, donated to science or destroyed….[iii]

Surrogacy also requires the creation of embryos through IVF, but in the case of surrogacy a third party is hired to carry the child created through IVF for another intended “mother”; with just IVF, the woman who gives birth to the child created though IVF is also the intended mother (unless the wrong babies were put inside of her, of course).

Sadly, not only are people not morally outraged by IVF, but they see it as a social good – the ends justifies the means. Some even think IVF as something they are owed by the US taxpayer.

Of course, infertility is a heavy cross to carry, and infertility caused by a combat injury even more so. No one is disputing the untold sacrifices that disabled veterans have made for this country, but even a disabled veteran is not above the moral law.

In 2016, with some qualifications, Congress authorized benefits for disabled veterans that covered IVF treatments, a benefit already available to active duty. Currently, the benefits for the disabled veterans must be reauthorized every year. It is the annual re-authorization of this program which, creates thousands of disposable embryos, that is in contention.[iv]

Putting aside the emotional aspect of disabled veterans, the arguments used to justify entitlement to this benefit are just as morally hollow as any other defense of IVF. According to one military wife, who’s already had three failed IVF attempts, and is now on her fourth try using donor embryos, “IVF gives . . . couples trying to conceive the ability to bond with their babies as soon as physically possible, unlike alternatives such as adoption and surrogacy. . . . By using donor embryos, you have all those memories, you have all those firsts. . . .You’re not having to make yet more sacrifices, more compromises.”[v]

It is absolutely frightening that the argument presented here isn’t even about a “right” to a child or “right” to be a parent. Rather, IVF and the destruction of offspring is justified based on a preferred way of bonding, making memories, and not comprising; all paid for by the taxpayer.

Proponents of IVF rarely, if ever, discuss the ethical and moral dilemmas associated with the child that they desire. “[C]ouples usually freeze many embryos, test for health problems and transfer the most viable one at a time to avoid multiple births. That often means leftovers once the desired family is complete.”  One study estimates that 1.4 million embryos are currently in frozen storage.[vi]

One reason so many embryos are left in storage is due to the hesitancy of couples who suffered from infertility, who went through so much to create a family, now must destroy their leftover offspring. Offspring who, if given the chance, could have been additions to the family they fought so hard to create.[vii]

It is evident that the issue of IVF is rife with moral questions and concerns: creation of embryos in the first place, the exploitation of vulnerable infertile couples at the hands of the fertility industry instead of focusing research on medical treatments that actually treat infertility, putting embryos in the wrong woman, the psychological trauma inflicted on couples, and of course the pressing issue of the destruction on leftover embryos.

I say “pressing issue” because these embryos are being created and destroyed right now. These embryos are being denied their humanity, treated like nothing more than a commodity. This is not some abstract debate; this is the very real situation we are faced with in this moment. If we believe life begins at conception, we need to start acting like it. IVF is a pro-life issue. No one else is going to defend the humanity of these children. Pushing policies that recognize the humanity of and protect frozen embryos should be just as important as pushing policies that protect children in the womb.

Until the pro-life movement addresses the moral dilemmas inherent with IVF, we will continue to live in a country where children are “misplaced” or put into the wrong mother; where the destruction of embryos is completely justified so long as people get what they want. It’s time for pro-lifers to step up.

___________________________

[i] “Couple Says Wrong Embryos Implanted by IVF Clinic in ‘unimaginable mishap,’” CBS News, July 8, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/couple-says-wrong-embryos-implanted-by-ivf-clinic-in-unimaginable-mishap/.

[ii] “IVF Services Market to Garner $26.38 Billion by 2026 at 9.8% CAGR: AMR,” Yahoo Finance, July 1, 2019, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ivf-services-market-garner-26-125353029.html.

[iii] “Correction: Injured Veterans and Fertility Help Story,” Associated Press, Julie Carr Smith, July 9, 2019, https://www.apnews.com/3e2ea01c3ef64787903ae136c25faa03?fbclid=IwAR1GjabainmgPJyLNkwEhjAAGYOEKY0Hft6gDQdd3yHNxckUX6yS6pq3xeU.

[iv] Id.

[v] Id.

[vi] “Tens of Thousands of Embryos Are Stuck in Limbo in Fertility Clinics,” CBS News, January 17, 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/embryos-are-stuck-in-limbo-in-fertility-clinics/.

[vii] Id.

LifeNews Note: Ana Brennan, J.D., is the Vice President of the Society of St. Sebastian. She also serves as the Senior Editor for the Society’s publication, Bioethics in Law & Culture. Ms. Brennan began her pro-life activism in college, continued through law school, and ultimately worked at the national level in Washington, D.C. As a State Legislative Associate for the National Right to Life Committee, working closely with grassroots lobbyists, state attorney generals, and governors she helped state affiliates pass pro-life legislation.

Doctors said her son had a birth defect and pressured her to abort. He was born healthy.

 

Lauren Webster, a Scottish woman, has gone public about being repeatedly pressured to undergo an abortion after being told her preborn baby had a fatal birth defect. In an interview with the Scotsman, Webster said that after refusing an abortion, her son was born healthy.

Webster, 21, had previously suffered two miscarriages, but was hopeful about her latest pregnancy. “When I found out I was pregnant, I was very scared because of what had happened before,” she told the Scotsman. “But I just had a gut feeling that this was my time.” But then, at 13 weeks, she had an ultrasound at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow and was told there was a problem with her baby.

“I was scared when I found out I was pregnant with Ollie,” she said. “I just thought, this is going to happen again. Because I had had two miscarriages previously, I got two early scans but there was a heartbeat so they weren’t concerned. But when I went for my 13-week scan, the doctor told me he had a bladder obstruction. She asked me if I wanted to terminate, saying there was a low chance he would survive.”

 

After Webster refused to have an abortion, she was told to come in for weekly ultrasounds to monitor the baby — but her wish to save her baby’s life wasn’t honored. “Every week she was asking me if I wanted to terminate,” Webster recalled. “She said she had to ask me. It was around Christmas time and I was feeling very down. I said to her ‘don’t ask me that again because I’m keeping it.’ By 18 weeks she had noticed that the bladder had repaired itself.”

But her problems were far from over — doctors then told Webster that her baby might have Edwards syndrome, and the pressure to have an abortion resumed again. Doctors told her that her baby wouldn’t survive past the age of four, but then doctors found out that he didn’t actually have the condition.

“After that, the doctor was shocked about how perfect he turned out in the scans,” Webster said. “I went into labour early and had to get an emergency caesarean because his heart rate was going up and down. Ollie was in the special care unit for a week but he came out absolutely fine. He was a good weight, he was 5lb 14oz. He’s a big boy. He’s got a condition called talipes which means his feet are a bit turned and he had to undergo a minor hernia op but apart from that is healthy. He sleeps good and is feeding well, he’s great. If someone else was to go through that experience, I wouldn’t want them to terminate because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

 

This kind of pressure to have an abortion isn’t unusual at all; many parents report being pushedtoward ending the lives of their preborn babies. Some parents, like Webster, have found that there ended up being no medical problems with their children, but others steadfastly chose life regardless of a diagnosis, knowing that the value of someone’s life is not dependent on the lack of a disability, or on how long they will live. As for Webster, she had a simple reason for telling her story in the end, saying, “I just think everyone should read my story and never give up hope.”

CONTRACEPTIVE IMPLANTS AND THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL

Contraceptive Implants and the Illusion of Control

Nexplanon, an artificial birth control arm implant, launched a recent ad campaign using the slogan “Armor Up.” It shows pictures of attractive young women with battle ready faces, flexing one bicep while pointing to the implant. The ad reads: “Pregnancy protection for up to 3 years. Over 99% effective. Your life. Your way.” This ad campaign merely takes the common phrasing of birth control as “protection” to its logical extreme. Against whom are women to “armor up?” Well, babies, it would seem. According to Nexplanon, a baby would be an invader, an enemy even.

This marketing technique promotes and plays into women’s fears that children mean the end of life. It perpetuates the idea that becoming pregnant is something to fear, unless it is meticulously planned. But protection, of course, comes at a cost. The risks and side effects include the possibility of blood clots, stroke, and death. More common, the website reports that 10 percent of women stopped using Nexplanon because it caused “an unfavorable change in their bleeding pattern.” The implant is only one of many varieties of hormonal birth control medications that pose similar risks.

There is an irony in the contraceptive mentality, as it purports to give women ultimate control over their bodies and reproduction. In reality though, women become dependent on pharmaceutical drugs that can cause a range of side effects, some of which are a nuisance, to those that threaten lives. In the end, the sense of “control” is an illusion. A pharmaceutical company recently recalled packets of birth control pills because of a packaging error that placed placebos where active pills should have been. This is not a lone incident. In 2015, 100 women filed a lawsuit against multiple pharmaceutical companies they held responsible for their pregnancies after another placebo pill mix up.
It is not uncommon to find women who become pregnant while using

contraceptives. Yet the prevailing message is that if you “protect yourself,” you have nothing to fear. “99% effective,” proclaims the Nexplanon ad. That means some women will become pregnant while using the implant. How shocked will they be? Will they embrace this baby they were protecting themselves against, or seek an abortion?

Despite the messaging, artificial contraception takes control away from women in at least two ways. First, most forms suppress a woman’s natural hormones and cycle which give her important information about her reproductive and overall health. Second, they make women dependent on the pharmaceutical companies that make them, and government programs or insurance companies to pay for them.

Fortunately, there is a better way to avoid pregnancy when it’s not the right time for a baby. The dramatic language of the Nexplanon marketing campaign highlights the stark differences between Natural Family Planning (NFP) and artificial birth control. Birth control promotes the idea that babies are something to fear. They will derail your life so you don’t want to take any chances. “Armor up,” suppress your natural hormones, and accept side effects as the cost of this security. NFP recognizes that there are times when conceiving would not be wise. But instead of telling women that their bodies’ natural cycles are a threat and something to thwart, NFP gives women more information about what is going on with their bodies to allow for informed choices each cycle. NFP offers women an arsenal of information about fertility, hormonal health, and more. It educates women about their own bodies, which makes women stronger, independent, and more empowered than an implant or pill ever could.

Miracle Approved for Beatification of Ven. Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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The miraculous recovery of a stillborn baby, whose parents turned to Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen for help, has been officially approved by Pope Francis, thus paving the way for the beatification of the popular televangelist.

According to the National Catholic Register, the Vatican approved the miracle on May 14 and authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding this decision. Plans can now get underway to set a date for the Archbishop’s beatification.

The popular television star and host of Life is Worth Living, a show that ran from 1951 to 1957, was declared Venerable in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI after being recognized for his heroic virtue.

However, the cause was suspended by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria in 2014 on the grounds that the Holy See expected the Archbishop’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese rather than in the archdiocese of New York.

Apparently, Archbishop Sheen indicated that he wished to be buried in New York, but his niece and closest living relative, Joan Sheen Cunningham, later said that he would have wanted to be interred in his home diocese of Peoria, Illinois if he knew he was going to be considered for sainthood.

A years-long legal struggle ensued between the family and the Archdiocese of New York that ended in May of 2019 when the New York Court of Appeals dismissed the archdiocese’s appeal and granted the family’s wishes of having the Archbishop’s remains transferred from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to Peoria. Once this was accomplished, the cause was permitted to continue.

During this time, a miracle was already under consideration. It occurred on September 16, 2010, when Bonnie Engstrom gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. During delivery, the baby’s umbilical cord became knotted and cut him off from essential oxygen and nutrients, resulting in his death.

The child’s parents, who live in the Peoria-area town of Goodfield, watched their little boy receive CPR and immediately turned to Archbishop Sheen for his intercession. Even though the baby showed no signs of life while the doctors worked on him, and was without vital signs for 61 minutes, the child miraculously returned to life.

“Moments before the doctor was going to declare the infant to be dead, suddenly and without any medical explanation, the infant’s heart began to beat normally and the baby breathed normally,” Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky said in a statement. “After a few weeks in the hospital, the infant was sent home and has now grown into a healthy young child.”

Eventually, seven medical experts agreed that the sudden recovery of the child, named James Fulton Engstrom, was miraculous.

A date for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen has not yet been set.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Four lies abortion supporters are telling about abortion pill reversal… and the truth

 

Five states in 2019 have passed pro-life measures requiring abortionists to inform women using the abortion pill about the possibility of abortion pill reversal. But the simple act of providing potentially life-saving information to women has been viciously opposed by pro-abortion activists — for instance, in North Dakota, where the pro-abortion American Medical Association (AMA) joined with the Center for Reproductive Rights to launch a legal challenge against the new mandate in court.

To justify their opposition, abortion activists are engaging in fear-mongering and the spreading of misinformation about abortion pill reversal. A recent article published in the Huffington Post is a good case study in these types of deceptive scare tactics, which abortion activists are using with greater frequency.

False Claim #1: Abortion pill reversal is junk science

The HuffPost article cites attorney Molly Duane with the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, who claims, “The notion of ‘abortion reversal’ is based on junk science.” But as the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) explains in a 2019 position statement that “using progesterone to counteract the effect of mifepristone is the logical extension of simple principles of toxicology and poison control.” AAPLOG adds, “There is a very long and solid history of safety of the use of natural progesterone in pregnancy.” A 2018 study observed 754 women who attempted the Abortion Pill Reversal procedure and concluded that “reversal of the effects of mifepristone using progesterone is safe and effective.”  In addition, AAPLOG executive director Donna Harrison recently told Live Action News that there are “multiple studies” — not just the 2018 Delgado study — which suggest the legitimacy of abortion pill reversal, including Davenport 2017, Yamabe 1989, and Baulieu 1989.

Many abortion activists with ulterior motives are pinning their hopes on a new study that, as Live Action News’s Carole Novielli has shown, should be viewed with great suspicion. It is being funded by organizations with deep ties to the abortion industry, including investments in abortion pill manufacturer DANCO. The study clearly lacks independence, as its backers all stand to gain financially from an outcome that would support the unfettered and widespread adoption of the abortion pill and the discrediting of abortion reversal. The study itself, which is being conducted by California abortionist Mitchell Creinin, involves a disturbing methodology that will involve the death of 40 preborn babies. Watch the video below to see how the abortion pill actually works:

 

READ: Is abortion reversal really a ‘scary new tactic,’ or do abortion supporters just fear its implications?

False Claim #2: Abortion pill reversal is not effective anyway

According to the HuffPost article, abortion reversal is an “experimental practice” that is based on “false and nonscientific information.” Actual research and experience, however, paint a different picture. As AAPLOG points out, “By giving a woman progesterone, the Mifeprex abortion can be stopped and the chances of the baby surviving increase from 25% (the survival rate without natural progesterone) to 68% (the average survival rate after giving natural progesterone).” While the efficacy of progesterone supplementation can depend on the method of progesterone delivery and how far along the pregnancy is, abortion pill reversal has been demonstrably effective at increasing the likelihood of survival. A growing number of physicians, like Dr. Robert Snyder and Dr. George Delgado, are advocating and using abortion pill reversal with great success. And countless stories from real-life women seeking abortion reversal continue to testify to the efficacy of the treatment.

False Claim #3: Abortion pill reversal is dangerous to women

The HuffPost article cites abortionist and pro-abortion researcher at UC Davis, Dr. Daniel Grossman (who is involved with Planned Parenthood). He claims that “there is no evidence” that abortion reversal is safe for women, and that “patients deserve to know if there are any safety risks.” This is another scare tactic. The reality of abortion reversal involves nothing more than administering high doses of progesterone — a natural hormone treatment — to women to counteract the effects of mifepristone, a progesterone blocker. And decades of medical practice have shown overwhelmingly that progesterone is safe for women. As the 2018 Delgado study explains in a section titled “Progesterone Safety,” progesterone “has been used safely in pregnancy for over 50 years.”

As a result, according to the study, “The American Society of Reproductive Medicine states that no long-term risks have been identified when progesterone is used in pregnancy. The FDA has given progesterone a category B rating in pregnancy, in contrast to synthetic progestins.” In fact, progesterone can be used safely and effectively more or less continuously for some women, such as peri- and post-menopausal women. And while there has been some question about whether progesterone support in early pregnancy is effective at preventing miscarriages, there is no evidence that it is unsafe for women.

READ: He once committed abortions. Now he saves babies with abortion reversal.

False Claim #4: Abortion pill reversal could cause birth defects

The HuffPost article cites abortionist Kathryn Eggleston, who raises questions about the drug’s safety as it relates to preborn children (yes, you read that correctly). “Scientists thus do not know what impact, including potential birth defects, the administration of these drugs could have on the children,” said Eggleston. Aside from the dark irony of an abortionist feigning concern about preborn babies’ health, this again is fear-mongering without evidence. The 2018 Delgado study found that, among 257 women who had successful reversals, the percentage of children born with birth defects — at just under 3% — was the same as the general population.

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) agrees, saying “there is no convincing evidence that progesterone causes birth defects. This seems to make sense, since progesterone is a natural hormone and is identical in structure to the progesterone which is produced during the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy,” adding that “long-term adverse consequences of progesterone therapy have not been identified in humans and appear unlikely.”

Although abortion activists seem desperate to discredit abortion reversal, their claims cannot withstand objective analysis. Still, these false claims will be repeated widely, since the notion of abortion reversal strikes at the heart of abortion advocates’ core narrative: that abortion is a positive good to be celebrated, and therefore women can’t and don’t regret it. Meanwhile, abortion pill reversal will hopefully continue to be a blessing for vulnerable women and their children.

Effects of medical abortion

Philippa Taylor

The rat is a valuable animal model of human disease. Humans and rats share many common genetic features and by examining the physiology, neurology, neurophysiology and the resulting behaviours such as the response to stress, of a rat, scientists can gain valuable insights into how humans function. The rat is one of the primary models for studies of human reproduction.

Which is why the findings of a new peer reviewed study on the effects of a drug induced medical abortion on rats is so fascinating. And since 71% of women having an abortion in England and Wales have a medical rather than surgical abortion (over 140,000 women per year), research on the effects is needed.

In a medical abortion, two drugs are administered, mifepristone then misoprostol, up to 48 hours apart. The effects of medical abortions are debated, especially the mental health consequences, but some of the known physical complications are detailed in this briefing.

In the rat experiment the same drug protocols were followed as with humans, but with the major advantage in that rats, unlike humans, can be randomly assigned to different groups. So out of 81 rats there was a control (non-pregnant) group, a pregnant group and a group that was administered mifepristone and misoprostol at the equivalent of 28–40 days gestation for humans.

The researchers measured rat body weight, food intake, vaginal impedance, sucrose consumption and home-cage activity.

The results were striking.

The rats with a full-term pregnancy increased their weight throughout as expected. The rats that experienced a natural miscarriage stopped increasing weight but did not lose weight, their weight stabilised. But the rats given the medical abortion lost significant weight. They simply stopped eating as much and their sucrose consumption dropped dramatically. The ‘miscarriage rats’ and pregnant rats ate normally throughout. Weight is a useful indication of health, well-being and stress in rats and a drop in sucrose consumption and weight suggests depression-like behaviour. In this research, the ‘abortion rats’ demonstrated moderate to severe stress.

Activity levels also measure depression-like behaviour. This showed that the average distance, speed and time moved per week was far less for the ‘abortion rats’, even compared to the ‘miscarriage rats’, which moved as much as the full pregnancy ones. When measuring ‘rearings’ (standing on hind legs – an indication of normal interest in their environment), the medical abortion group displayed a significant decrease relative to all the other groups.

The time spent in cage corners was also measured and showed that the ‘abortion rats’ separated themselves from the others and spent far more time than the other rats in the far back corner of the cage, indicating increased anxiety.

Additionally the ‘abortion rats’ did not show healthy rat behaviour. They did not groom themselves , they had unkempt coats, their posture was more hunched, and they showed a reduction in exploratory behaviour (sniffing and rearing).

The researchers concluded that the rats who had had a medically induced abortion showed moderate to severe stress, as indicated by their physiological effects measured. The observed effects of stress were specific to the induced abortion not the loss of a pregnancy through miscarriage.

The authors also note that the effects of the drug induced termination were not short-term. The effects on food intake lasted for seven days which is the equivalent of 244 human days. The biochemical observations were still visible at the end of the experiment which equates to around six and a half human years.

Our findings strongly suggest that pregnancy termination at mid-term (first-trimester human equivalent) induces significant negative biological and behavioural changes in the rat. Additionally, such a procedure appears to be associated with a potential absence of beneficial effects of carrying a pregnancy to full-term. Moreover, our findings also appear to indicate a significant difference between induced pregnancy termination (medical abortion) and natural miscarriage.

The researchers say that this is the first research that investigates the biological and behavioural effects of drug-induced abortion in an animal model. It seems that the focus of other research has been primarily directed at the success (effectiveness and speed) of terminating a pregnancy. Which leaves me questioning what rigorous pre-clinical therapeutic investigation has taken place with the administration of these powerful drugs on women.

Obviously, as this research was done on rats and not women, the results cannot be directly extrapolated across. But as I state at the outset, knowledge from rat models has benefitted many disorders and contributed significantly to the progress of medicine, so it cannot be easily dismissed. It was also a controlled, objective and ethical assessment – no one can argue that rats suffered these consequences because they were reflecting on what they had done, or were being made to feel guilty by society for having an abortion.

These findings at the very least emphasise the need for further objective research into the physical and behavioural effects of drug induced abortion. Particularly since 86.1% of abortions in Scotland and 71% of abortions in England and Wales are performed using these drugs – over 150,000 women per year. I wonder how many of these women have any idea of the potential physical and emotional consequences to their long-term health?

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at Christian Medical Fellowship. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues. Republished with permission from the CMF blog.

The research paper: Biological, Behavioral and Physiological Consequences of Drug-Induced Pregnancy Termination at First-Trimester Human Equivalent in an Animal Model is a peer reviewed research article published in Frontiers In Neuroscience by Sammut et al.

A Breakdown of the Recent FDA Citizen’s Petition Concerning Hormonal Contraceptives

by Madeleine Coyne

You may already know that a Citizen’s Petition was recently filed to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requesting more transparency and patient warnings regarding potential side effects for different forms of hormonal contraceptives. We have been talking about it for a few weeks now, and, as Natural Womanhood CEO Gerard Migeon invited readers weeks ago, we encourage anyone who has suffered from birth control side effects to share their story by making a comment on the petition, to which dozens of people have already commented.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, lack of information about birth control, transparency about birth control, FDA, Citizen's petition about birth control, citizen's petition, food and drug administration

But what exactly does this petition contain? At almost 100 pages, this hefty document can appear a little intimidating at first glance. So we’re happy to break down the content into a digestible FAQ format.

What is the goal of the petition?

In brief, the Citizen’s Petition aims to make all healthcare providers and consumers of hormonal contraceptives aware of their possible, proven side effects. To do so, it is urging the FDA to add black box warnings to certain prescribing information, as well as other safety information, and to remove one of the worst culprits from the market completely.

black box warning is a label on a prescription medication that warns both providers and consumers about serious safety concerns of that drug, usually adverse (and potentially life-threatening) side effects. The FDA can decide to require the manufacturer to add a black box warning to a medication’s packaging at any time after that drug is approved to be on the market.

What exactly would these potential changes be?

If accepted, this petition would, first of all, remove one drug from the market altogether—the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera, known medically as Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA). Evidence definitively shows that it is responsible for increased transmission of HIV from men to women (a side effect that is currently not even reported in online sources of contraceptive information, like Planned Parenthood). As  the FDA petition documents:

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

Besides the request that Depo Provera be removed from the market, the majority of this petition’s impact would be to affect the advertising of many contraceptives, which would then affect those being advertised to—that is, everyday consumers. The petition requests that the FDA add black box warnings concerning the proven, reported, adverse side effects of breast cancer, cervical cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), depression and suicide, venous thrombosis (blood clots), and cardiovascular events.

Additional safety information that the petition requests should be added to contraceptive labels include: the increased risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a higher risk of bone fractures, a significantly increased percentage of fat body mass (which can lead to other serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems), and an increased risk of urogenital problems. Potential urogenital problems include a significantly higher risk for the development interstitial cystitis, an increased risk of urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness, Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) caused by OC-induced dyspareunia, reduced sexual desire and libido, and other problems. (Visit the FDA document for all cited research).

Currently, these potential risks and side effects are either not added to black box warnings on most hormonal contraceptives, or they are downplayed or misleading at best. Just as it took years for cigarettes to add appropriate health warnings onto their packages, it seems that it is taking an unacceptably long time for the FDA to add sufficient warnings to the packages of hormonal contraceptives.

Even with some current warnings on birth control pill packaging, the implication is that certain risks—like blood clots (which claimed the life of 20-year-old Alexandra Williams)—only occur when combined with cigarette smoking, and increase with “heavy smoking” and an increase in age. This misleads users to think their risk is null if they don’t engage in cigarette smoking and/or are not over 35 years of age. It also suggests it is not the contraceptive that causes the blood clot but the cigarette smoking. If the FDA heeds this petition, it will follow the request that such labels be changed to state: “WARNING: INCREASED RISK OF SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS INCLUDING BLOOD CLOTS.”

What forms of contraception does the petition cover?

As the Preliminary Statement explains, hormonal contraceptives have been around for 50 years. When most people think about birth control, they think of “the Pill,” but it is not always realized that there have been numerous different formulations of it over the years. Further, other methods of hormonal contraceptives besides oral pills have been increasingly gaining in popularity, such as intravaginal rings, transdermal patches, implants, and the IUS/IUD.

The Citizen’s Petition differentiates between combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptive formulations (COCs) and progestin-only contraceptive formulations (POCs), in listing the many different contraceptive “agents,” or pharmaceutical names of different kinds of hormonal contraceptive. The overwhelming majority of these fall under the “COC” banner as Combined Estrogen-Progestin (EE-P) Pills—from Natazia to Ortho-Novum to Yasmin. There are two types of COC patches and one vaginal ring (the popular Nuvaring). The number of “POC” Progestin-Only Pills is much smaller, although there are several POC injectables, implants (Nexplanon has been on the hot seat this year), and IUS/IUDs (the Mirena IUD has also had its share of unfortunate connections).

What is the research behind this petition?

A lot of work went into the creation of this petition, which was spearheaded by Dr. William V. Williams, Editor in Chief Emeritus of the Linacre Quarterly. An official “Contraceptive Study Group” of medical professional and experts (including Natural Womanhood’s CEO, Gerard Migeon), compiled all of the information and extensive research necessary for the FDA to make their decision regarding the proposed changes.

The petition goes into depth about each adverse side effect for which it requests a black box, citing research from various studies over past decades, as well as a series of comprehensive, well-documented literature studies. In the case of Depo Provera (DMPA), the one contraceptive drug that the petition advises should be immediately removed from the consumer market, the petition provides both epidemiological evidence from various studies and reports, as well as mechanistic and experimental evidence—including in vitro evidence of increased HIV replication at the cellular level. As the petition concludes: “In the United States, where the availability of a wide range of contraceptive drugs and devices is virtually universal, and where, among these contraceptive choices, one and only one particular method—DMPA—is now known to increase the transmission of an often-fatal viral infection (HIV/AIDS), there can be no justification for such a drug’s continued availability in the marketplace.”

Extensive research and statistics are provided concerning the causal relationship of hormonal contraceptives and cancer—both breast and cervical—including tables of case control studies. PubMed literature reviews back up claims of causal links to Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Various studies of contraceptives and depression, mood disorders, and suicide are provided, as well as studies about every other proven side effect of hormonal agents. (Again, all of this research is cited in the supporting documentation of the FDA petition.)

The economic impact of contraception

The conclusion explains how all of the data reviewed above reflects many of the known side effects that are not properly represented in current prescribing information (indeed, as it explains, warning information is often presented in a misleading manner). The conclusion also begs the FDA to consider the many environmental and economic impacts of hormonal birth control, stating:

“Many millions of women are currently receiving COCs and POCs. Many millions more have been exposed to these agents at some point in their lives. They should receive updated information regarding risks which have not been conveyed, or not adequately conveyed, in the past. All women who have been exposed to COCs or POCs should be informed so that they can take this information into account as they may encounter some of these adverse effects in some cases many years after cessation of use.”

This statement is immediately followed with numerous studies documenting the various environmental impacts of hormonal agents; for example, highlighting the effects of synthetic hormones on fish populations and other species. It calculates the estimated economic impact by taking into account both those women who are currently using COCs and those who have ever used them. It cites reports and studies that show an estimate of just how much money hormonal contraceptives are costing our society, by considering different cases of cancers, diseases, and mood disorders.

In short, the conclusion reveals that there are even more reasons to be opposed to hormonal contraceptives than the many obvious (and serious) health concerns.

So what can I do to help?

The FDA is seeking comments from both medical providers who have witnessed adverse birth control side effects firsthand, or from patients who have experienced them. If you or someone you know has, indeed, suffered at the hands of hormonal contraception, now is the time to make your voice heard.

Please comment directly on the petition (by clicking the “Comment Now!” button on the right-hand corner), or share with someone you think would like to know about it. With your help, we can make an enormous impact and greatly increase awareness of the many proven risks involved with various forms of birth control. Lives could be saved! Your assistance is very much appreciated.

Too many women are given a prescription without an explanation. Too many women are wholly uninformed and misled about the dangerous (and even potentially fatal) effects of hormonal birth control. The overall goal of this petition is to amend this cycle of misinformation. In turn, the hope is that doctors might also start thinking twice before prescribing some of these contraceptives to their patients and offer effective natural alternatives in their practices (as some doctors have already told us they are doing). We currently live in a world where a woman has much more information on possible side effects of her ibuprofen than her birth control—and that needs to change.

Before and After the Pill: Its Redefinition of Human Sexuality and Impact on Society

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When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as ‘arbiters’ of the Divine plan and they ‘manipulate’ and degrade human sexuality – and with it themselves and their married partner – by altering its value of ‘total’ self-giving. Thus, the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.

— Pope St. John Paul II (Familiaris consortio, n.32)

 

Late last month The Washington Post ran a lengthy obituary upon the death of George Rosenkranz, a Hungarian-born chemist. You might be thinking that chemists aren’t usually the subject of lengthy articles in publications as prestigious as The Washington Post, and you’d be right. Rosenkranz, however, was world-famous due to his instrumental role in devising one of the most revolutionary drugs in all of human history – the birth control pill.

george rosenkranz
George Rosenkranz

Though responsibility for the invention of the pill can be attributed to a host of scientists, Rosenkranz was one of the first to create a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. Ironically, norethindrone – as the synthetic hormone was called – was initially intended to help prevent miscarriage. However, the pharmaceutical company that Rosenkranz worked for soon realized its potential as a contraceptive, and released their version of the pill in 1964, making the company (and Rosenkranz) immensely wealthy.

As The Washington Post summarizes, the release of the pill on the market was “a watershed moment in the feminist movement as well as the culture wars — allowing women to enjoy sex without fear of becoming pregnant, permitting couples to decide when and whether to begin families, and setting off an enduring debate about sexual values.”

It truly is hard to overstate the impact of the pill on our world. As Evangelical Pastor Albert Mohler observes in writing about the death of Rosenkranz, the invention of the pill is truly one of those rare events in history, the consequences of which are so seismic that it constitutes a dividing line – before the pill, and after the pill. Only in the 1960s, for the first time in human history, did humans widely have access to a relatively reliable method of separating sex from procreation. And, as Mohler observes, “once that separation took place, you basically redefined human sexuality.”

The Church was Right

The question that hangs over us to this day is whether this redefinition has been for good or for ill.  Dr. Rosenkranz himself seemed ambivalent about the question, focusing instead on the purely practical question of technical achievement. “I leave to others any debate about the ultimate worth of the pill,” he said, while receiving an honor from the University of Mexico in 2001 for his work.

It’s no secret that the Catholic Church, and a small number of other Christian denominations and thinkers, have consistently opposed artificial contraception. This opposition is often based on, or at least supported by the observation that separating sex from marriage and procreation has helped unleash a sexual revolution that has devastated traditional sexual ethics.

As Mohler notes, the pill not only enabled couples (more or less reliably) to control their fertility, “it also gave technological authorization to adultery and premarital sex and extramarital sex and just about everything you can imagine.”

The “everything you can imagine” includes a whole lot. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine, for example, the grotesque excesses of the LGBT movement – which were so prominently on display during last month’s “Pride” celebrations – and the widespread public support for them, without the redefinition of sexuality that the pill precipitated. Once sex became viewed as just another pleasurable pastime, rather than the immensely sacred, powerful, and private act by which a married couple express their love for one another and create new life, there was nothing stopping all manner of sexual excess – from the explosion of pornography, to the celebration of various deviant and violent sexual practices, to the systematic grooming of children through so-called “comprehensive sex education.”

George Rosenkranz is known as an inventor of the birth control pill.

However, the Church’s critique of contraception has always gone beyond concerns about sexual morality, to the far-reaching practical consequences. Many people scoffed at the Church’s claim that more contraception would lead to more abortion. It seemed self-evident to the early birth control pioneers that if women had the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy, then abortion rates would drop. What they didn’t account for was the way contraception would drastically alter sexual behavior. With routine casual sex becoming the norm, contraception’s “small” failure rate of several percent suddenly translated into millions of “unwanted pregnancies.” The result was that the abortion rate exploded even as the rate of contraceptive use increased.

The early birth control pioneers also failed to anticipate other dire consequences of the illusion of unfettered “sexual freedom,” both for the individual and society. Monsignor Pope recently summarized some of the these in an insightful article, writing:

Since contraception’s widespread use began, abortion has skyrocketed, as has divorce. Other consequences included an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (such as AIDS), teenage pregnancy and single motherhood, absent and irresponsible fathers, the breakdown of the families, and the poverty and dysfunction that goes with all of this. There is also a pornification of our culture that assists in spreading sexual confusion to include the celebration of homosexual acts and so-called transgenderism.

Growing Secular Opposition to Contraception?

Lately, however, I have noticed a fascinating trend. More and more non-religious people are starting to take note of the downsides to artificial contraception. In a surprising number of cases, they are instead turning their attention to natural methods of family planning. Case in point: the explosion of secular-developed mobile apps to assist women in fertility tracking. While in many cases the moral outlook of these developers doesn’t match Catholic teaching (for instance, they happily promote using barrier methods of contraception during fertile periods), it’s astonishing how many secular people seem to be coming to the same conclusions about the harms of contraception as the Catholic Church reached long ago.

Many women, for instance, are realizing that they disproportionately (indeed, almost entirely) bear the burdens and responsibilities that come with artificial contraception. Even worse, they are increasingly realizing that they are doing so in order that men can use them for meaningless sexual encounters that they are far less likely to desire in the first place.

Among the burdens born by women are the myriad side effects of pumping their bodies full of artificial hormones. One recent article in a widely-read secular German publication is titled “Depression and Suicide: The Dark Side of the Birth Control Pill.” The article focuses on the story of one woman who developed suicidal tendencies after going on the pill. But as the article observed, she’s far from alone. Indeed, it’s not hard to find forums online where thousands of women share terrifying and sometimes heart-breaking stories of emotional side effects they suffered once they went on birth control – severe depression, anxiety, mood swings, personality changes, loss of libido, and on and on.

woman with depression

Other side effects are less obvious, but possibly far more pervasive, and equally troubling. One study released earlier this year suggested that using hormonal contraceptives can interfere with women’s ability to detect emotional cues from others. While this is a relatively small study, it adds to the growing body of evidence that hormonal contraception interferes with women’s cognition and psychology in subtle ways that, multiplied hundreds of millions of times, may in fact be altering society in far more substantial ways than anyone realizes.

Some studies, for example, have suggested that the pill significantly affects how women perceive men as potential mates. This might not sound like a big deal. But as the authors of one study observed, “[T]he use of hormonal contraceptives may not only affect initial partner choice but also have unintended consequences for women’s relationship satisfaction if contraceptive pill use subsequently changes.” That is, women who were attracted to their partner while on the pill may suddenly find that the attraction changes or goes away when they cease using contraception. Again, multiply this effect potentially several hundred million times, and you see how the pill may be affecting lives and society in ways that the pill’s inventors never anticipated.

Other well-documented physical side effects from hormonal contraception include increased risks of certain types of cancer, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, weight gain, headaches, nausea, and decreased libido.

Many women are now waking up to the fact that they have been the subjects of a vast, largely untested scientific and social experiment, often for the sake of the pleasure of others. And they are beginning (rightly) to ask themselves whether this is true female “empowerment.”

The Wisdom of the Church’s Teachings

pope st paul vi
Pope St. Paul VI, author of Humanae Vitae

In a way, it is easy to understand why contraception became as popular and widespread as it did, or why so many even within the Church urged Pope St. Paul VI to change Church teaching on contraception. All the pleasures of sex without any of the consequences? Who wouldn’t want that?

The problem, of course, is that the promises of contraception are a lie. The really Big Lie is that contraception eliminates the risk of pregnancy. It didn’t, and still doesn’t. Even the most effective methods of contraception have a failure rate. Even if only a few percent risk per year, that translates into an enormous number of unwanted pregnancies. The contraceptive mentality, and its false promise of total control, primes men and women to view these unwanted pregnancies as unjust encroachments on their freedom, instead of the natural consequences of their sexual behavior. Inevitably, many of them turn to abortion to fix the “problem.” Indeed, data suggests that a solid majority of abortions may involve women who were using contraception at the time they became pregnant.

However, the other Big Lie is that pregnancy is the only “consequence” of sex, and that once we get rid of that, sex can be rendered simply “fun.” As we are learning, the “contraceptive mentality” can change society. It fundamentally changes the way men and women relate to one another, the kinds of sexual behavior society deems acceptable, the way we pursue romance, the meaning of marriage, the values that people treasure, the education our children receive, the entertainment we watch, the structure of the family, the physical and psychological health of our populace. And on and on, into every aspect of society.

The Catholic Church saw all this from its very beginning. Pope St. Paul VI saw this when he resisted the immense pressure put on him to lift the Catholic prohibition on contraception, and instead upheld that teaching in Humanae vitae. Pope St. John Paul II saw this when he repeatedly and emphatically reemphasized the Church’s teaching, despite the reality of widespread dissent from Church teaching.

Herein we find one more proof of God’s providence operating through His Church – that despite the confusion in the world, the Church could chart a clear path through that fog of confusion, upholding a beacon of truth, showing Christian couples (indeed all couples) the way to contribute to a true “Civilization of Love.”

Midway through aborting, pregnant woman changes her mind and saves her twins

July 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Twin babies were saved when their mother changed her mind after beginning the process of a chemical abortion.

“Alexis” was around six weeks pregnant when she sought an abortion at Charlotte, North Carolina’s busiest abortion provider, A Preferred Women’s Health Center.

During an ultrasound, the technician casually remarked, “Oh, twins,” giving her pause, because she had always wanted twins.

While she processed the fact she was carrying twin babies, Alexis, a pseudonym, was given the first of two drugs in the chemical abortion process, along with the second dose to be taken in the next 48 hours.

As she left the abortion center, a sidewalk counselor was able to reach Alexis through her state of bewilderment and initiate the process of saving her twins.

“It might not be too late for you,” the counselor told her, “AbortionPillReversal.com, they can still help you save your baby.”

After Alexis left the abortion facility, she pulled into the nearest parking lot and searched on her phone for the website mentioned by the counselor and called the helpline, which coordinated assistance for her at a local pregnancy center.

“We got her started on the abortion pill reversal treatment extremely fast,” said Courtney Parks, abortion pill reversal coordinator for HELP Pregnancy Center. “It was a matter of hours.”

Alexis’s story was recently published by Pregnancy Help News and picked up by FoxNews.com.

The “abortion pill,” or RU-486, refers to a chemical abortion that uses two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone is taken first, destabilizing the pregnancy by blocking progesterone receptors and reducing progesterone levels in the mother’s blood. The abortion is then finished when misoprostol induces labor, forcing the mother’s body to expel the baby.

Abortion pill reversal treatment works by giving the mother extra progesterone up to 72 hours after she takes the first chemical abortion pill.

HELP medical director Matt Harrison and California physician George Delgado developed the reversal treatment over a decade ago.

The Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN) includes 450 professional health care providers in the U.S. and 11 other countries that assist women who call the helpline that Alexis had called. The helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is a project of Heartbeat International, a global network of 2,600 pregnancy help organizations.

Acting within that 72-hour window is crucial, and Alexis was fortunate to make contact with the helpline early enough in that timeframe. Her twins are two of the 750 babies who have been saved by abortion pill reversal.

Once at her appointment with HELP Pregnancy Center, Parks and HELP sonographer Kelly Byrum gave Alexis what the abortion facility did not: the opportunity to see her babies on an ultrasound.

“They were tiny, little babies and they had beautiful, little heartbeats,” Parks said. “I just remember sitting with her in that ultrasound room and her crying, and just hoping that this would work for her so that she could save her babies.”

Parks saw to it that Alexis had follow-up ultrasound scans in the following several weeks, to be certain the babies were still healthy and thriving.

The abortion pill reversal protocol worked, and roughly a month later, the center connected her with a doctor who provided her with prenatal care for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Parks and his HELP team kept in touch with Alexis, throwing her a baby shower along with another ministry.

“She has had everything that these babies need for several years provided for her,” Parks said. “She told me, ‘If I had known what I know now and I had seen how the Lord has provided for these babies, I would have never even walked into that clinic.’ So she’s just been overwhelmed with just how good God has provided for her throughout this.”

HELP Pregnancy Center has seen four babies saved by the abortion reversal protocol.

The rest of Alexis’s pregnancy was otherwise uneventful, and she delivered her babies early this year.

Parks said Alexis is thriving as a single mother, and she has the support of her own mother, who moved in with her to assist with the twins.

Alexis “is just head over heels in love with these babies,” Parks said.

Byrum is glad for the awareness created for abortion pill reversal by Alexis’s story.

“It’s really neat that it’s getting some press now and people are becoming aware of it,” she said. “We have heard women come out of this [abortion] clinic that have told us that they told them inside that once you take this pill, there’s nothing you can do to reverse it, that it’s just not

Parks, one of 800 clinicians in the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, concurred.

“We really just hope that this brings awareness to abortion pill reversal and the fact that it does save lives,” she said.

The abortion reversal helpline number is (877) 558-0333. More information is available at AbortionPillReversal.com.

In imitation of the Sacred Heart

By Father Frank Pavone

I once heard a very young boy call out for his daddy in a beautiful, clear, and diminutive voice while he was playing. The father, moved by it, responded lovingly,“Yes, my heart?” And something about that interaction touched me. If that boy is his father’s heart, then he is the most important thing to him. The heart is the core or center of a person in a figurative way. And, in the most literal and physical sense, the
heart is the engine or the motor of the body. It pumps our entire lives, never sleeping. It keeps us alive. If a father can love his son to the core of his being so that he calls him his heart, then we can understand more how Jesus must love us.

In the image of the Sacred Heart, Christ extends to us His flaming heart that has been lanced and pierced with thorns. It is a suffering heart. Christ loves us by saving our lives in exchange for His life. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to do the same.

One way this love is embodied is in prolife work. It is, at its essence, a work of self giving love for children in the womb who don’t even know we are loving them. And it is a lifesaving work that comes with a cost. The crown of thorns on the heart and the piercing with the lance symbolize the suffering that all those who defend the unborn will undergo; defend the unborn and you will be treated like them. Despite suffering, Christ’s heart keeps on beating inside His body. So must we persevere within the Body of Christ.

And we worship the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His heart is part of His body, and it is the body of God.The Feast of the Sacred Heart, and our devotion to that heart throughout the year, bring to the forefront the reality of the Incarnation. And so does pro-life work. Just as the heart is a physical organ, pro-lifework is a physical concern, not just a spiritual one. We must pray for the children in the womb, but we must also encounter them physically and defend them physically. We pray at the places where they are being killed, we counsel the moms in whose wombs they are nourished, we bury the bodies of those we could not save. We act, in the body, because we are moved by His love, which He shows us in His Body.

Moreover, the passion of love in the Sacred Heart is also the passion of love by which we defend the baby in the womb; His heart of mercy is the mercy we extend to all who have been involved in abortion. Pro-lifers are often stereotyped as being single-mindedly concerned with saving babies and nothing more. This claim couldn’t be further from the truth. Our ministry at Priests for Life ministers to everybody. Rachel’s Vineyard offers healing retreats for families broken by abortion. Silent No More gives them a voice and a vote. This is the work of mercy.

Jesus said He is meek and humble of heart, and this also brings us to the heart of the pro-life movement. The attitude of humility is the opposite of pro choice, which asserts itself. Humility humbles itself and accepts the choices of God. It accepts that God’s will and plans are better than our own, even if they come unexpectedly. A story recently broke about an Olympic athlete who discovered she was pregnant weeks before the Olympics. Blindsided and panicked by the pregnancy, she hastily aborted so she couldparticipate in the Olympics. But the decision was met with instant regret. She and the father realized that what they decided demonstrated a desire to control their circumstances. She wishes she had had a more open heart.

The Sacred Heart is a welcoming and open heart.It welcomes the unexpected. When we have Jesus’ heart, we see Him in the stranger. We must not treat our children as strangers in the womb, but we must welcome them as if we were welcoming Christ. We make room for the woman in crisis as if we were welcoming Christ. We open our hearts to the brokenhearted who regret their abortions. And we even open our hearts to those who have yet to see the error of their ways. We see Christ in each of these and we choose love.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and our worship of that heart,represent the heart of the pro-life movement, and enable us to be transformed according to that heart. Every aspect of the pro-life movement is motivated by love, and that’s why we can be confident of victory, for“Love is stronger than death, more powerful even than hell” (Song of Songs 8:6). Sacred Heart of Jesus, lead us to the victory of life and of love!

The Crohn’s-Birth Control Connection: More Gut-Wrenching News About Contraceptives

by Grace Stark

We’ve already talked a bit here at Natural Womanhood about how the Pill can negatively affect your gut health. So for our regular readers, it should come as no surprise that the development of Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, has been linked to the use of oral contraceptives since researchers and physicians first began observing the connection in the 1970s.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, autoimmune disease, crohn's disease, crohn's disease and birth control, hormonal birth control side effects, The Pill, The Pill side effects, oral contraception, oral contraception side effects, lupus,

Crohn’s disease can be a painful, debilitating, and even life-threatening disease for those affected by it. According to the Mayo Clinic, the chronic inflammation of the bowel in Crohn’s disease can “lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.” The exact cause of the disease is unknown—researchers are divided on whether the chronic inflammation of Crohn’s is due to the immune system attacking itself or something else within the gut—but heredity and risk factors like smoking and obesity seem to play a role in the development of Crohn’s.

Although the incidence of Crohn’s among young women spiked disproportionately to the incidence in young men after the widespread introduction of the birth-control pill in the 1970s, today the disease affects men and women at mostly equal rates. However, a recent study out of Australia found evidence that for reasons as yet unknown, women with Crohn’s tend to fare worse than do men with Crohn’s, facing more complications, more hospitalizations, and less chance of remission. The chief investigator of the study, Professor Rupert Leong, posited that “hormonal differences may also account for the accelerated disease progression seen in women,” citing the “weak association” found between the use of oral contraceptive pill and the onset of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s.

Weak association or not, research both old and new continues to reveal some link between the development of Crohn’s and contraception use. A recent, large-scale study from Harvard researchers found that American women who had used the birth-control pill (or morning after pill/Plan B) for five or more years were three times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. The same researchers found an association between long-term contraception use and increased risk for surgery among Swedish women with established Crohn’s disease. Lead researcher Dr. Hamed Khalili stresses that a combination of genetic factors and contraception use is likely at play in the development of Crohn’s, and recommends that physicians take into account family and personal history of Crohn’s when considering prescribing hormonal contraception to patients.

The Bigger Picture

As I mentioned in my piece detailing the connection between birth control and Lupusresearch continues to uncover the effects of hormones on the immune system. The colon is chock-full of estrogen receptors, and synthetic hormones are known to affect both the gut’s permeability and microbiome. The Pill’s deleterious effects on the gut may be the culprit behind an entire cadre of digestive issues in women, ranging from the annoying (like bloating and irregularity), to the downright dangerous (like Crohn’s and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO)—some of which may be reversed, and some of which could be permanent.

As more evidence comes to light about the Pill’s effects on the gut (and in turn, the immune system) more women (and especially women with a family history of immune diseases) should seriously consider non-hormonal family planning options like Natural Family Planning and Fertility-Awareness Based Methods.

Compatible with life: Man with Trisomy 18 celebrates 18th birthday against all odds

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Told that her son would never survive after he was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, Marta Johnson McClanahan couldn’t hold back her joy at the fact that her baby boy just turned 18. She turned to Facebook to share her excitement in an emotional post.

“Screaming from the top of my lungs HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to my amazing, STRONG and happy boy Kayden! To think we were told he wouldn’t live,” she wrote. “He sure has proved them all wrong!”

McClanahan explains that Kayden has had the odds stacked against him his entire life, but that the doctors were wrong about both his quantity and quality of life. She says he has truly lived “an amazing 18 years full of LOVE, happiness and lots of fun!”

“Drs talked about no quality of life does this look like no quality???” she wrote, sharing photos of Kayden throughout this life. She also thanks God for Kayden and for allowing her to care for him.

“We are all so very blessed and pray we have many more years with him,” she said.

Many doctors consider children with Trisomy 18 to be “incompatible with life” and tell parents that their children will die at birth or shortly after. However, it has come to light in recent years that not only are children with Trisomy 18 compatible with life but that when they receive proper health care, they can and do thrive.

Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella has Trisomy 18 and recently turned 11 years old. Her mother calls her “the happiest little girl in the world.” Little Evelyn received a similar prognosis when doctors diagnosed her with Trisomy 18 in the womb. Doctors told her parents that “everything is wrong” with her and that they couldn’t keep their daughter. Now Evelyn is a big sister who is proving the doctors wrong.

trisomy 18

Despite how well these children are doing, parents of children with Trisomy 18 have discovered, to their horror, that doctors will initiate what’s known as “slow code” when they have a child with the condition under their care. Put simply, in this situation, medical personnel avoid taking measures to save the child’s life or treat underlying health conditions, yet act as if they are taking steps to help. Parents of children with Trisomy 18 must find a doctor they can trust.

Kayden is proving that not only can doctors be wrong, but that every human being has value regardless of any health condition they may have. Each person has his or her own gifts to bring to the world — even those who may live shorter than average lives.

Trojan horse: New ‘TelAbortion’ abortion pill clinical trial skirts FDA regulations

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Is a ‘TelAbortion’ (telemedicine abortion pill) FDA clinical trial actually a Trojan horse intended to skirt important abortion pill safety requirements put in place under the FDA? Live Action News has been analyzing the effort to expand abortion, and has documented the various abortion pill collaboratorsworking behind the scenes on various clinical trialsstudies (read more here) and funding streams, which all happen to be closely connected. In addition, Live Action News has documented the push for illegal dispensing of the dangerous pills and the effort to discredit abortion pill reversal. Now, we’ve analyzed changes reported under the Direct-To-Consumer protocol (pills sent via mail after a TelAbortion or telemedicine interview) and are seeing that FDA regulations are being skirted in the name of continually broadening “clinical trials.”

BACKGROUND: 

  • The abortion pill regimen is made up of two drugs: Mifeprex and Misoprostol.
  • Mifeprex was approved in 2000.
  • It was brought to the U.S. by the eugenics-founded Population Council.
  • The pill’s manufacturer, DANCO Laboratories, is a highly secretive company.
  • The Packard Foundation and other pro-abortion philanthropy groups seeded DANCO.
  • Packard is now funding groups and studies that claim abortion pill expansion is safe.

Image: Packard Foundation invested in abortion pill manufacturer DANCO (Image: David and Lucile Packard Foundation )

Packard Foundation invested in abortion pill manufacturer DANCO (Image: David and Lucile Packard Foundation )

FDA’s SAFETY REQUIREMENTS KNOWN AS REMS:

The FDA currently requires Mifeprex to be placed under a safety system called REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), which is a “safety strategy to manage a known or potential serious risk associated with a medicine and to enable patients to have continued access to such medicines by managing their safe use.”

Under the REMS Program, the FDA states, “Mifeprex and the approved generic version of Mifeprex”…

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

Without REMS, abortion pills could be ordered online, picked up at any pharmacy, and prescribed by any health care provider.

Image: TalAbortion a workaround abortion laws

TelAbortion a workaround abortion laws

TELABORTION CLINICAL TRIAL:

In theory, clinical trials are used to test a specific drug and hopefully alleviate safety issues that arise. But with expansion of this abortion pill clinical trial there is a growing concern it is less of a clinical trial and more of a permanent way to skirt the FDA’s REMS system. In fact, a recent interview with the co-leader of this Gynuity sponsored trial, Erica Chong, by the online media group Fast Company, noted, “The hope is to get enough providers on board so TelAbortion can eventually go from research study to full-blown service.”

The TelAbortion clinical trial was announced in 2015. When the (then cohort) clinical trial began recruiting in 2016, they anticipated an enrollment of 50 participants with eligibility ages between (believe it or not) 11 to 50 years old and an estimated completion that same year.

In 2016, there were only two locations for the trial listed, as seen in the screen below.

Image: TelAbortion screen from 2016 two locations

TelAbortion screen from 2016 two locations

However, as of the date of this article (June 2019) the now defined “case-only” (instead of “cohort”) clinical trial currently intends to enroll 1,000 participants with age eligibility as young as 10 years old. Why Gynuity Health Projects moved the recruitment age even lower is not stated, but this is concerning, given past abuses by abortion facilities and Planned Parenthood centers’ failure to report child sexual abuse, along with potential violations of parental consent and notification laws in certain states.

Image: Feasibility TelAbortion clinical trial ages 10 to 50 accessed June 20 2019

Feasibility TelAbortion clinical trial ages 10 to 50 accessed June 20 2019

In addition to those changes, the completion date continues to be pushed out, and is currently set for June of 2020. There is also a growing list of locations (see below), enabling the abortion pill to be dispensed even more widely, without existing REMS safety requirements.

In other words, the study just keeps getting bigger and broader, with no FDA safety requirements in place.

Locations:

  • Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (Denver, CO, and New Mexico)
  • Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (Portland, OR, and Washington)
  • Oregon Health and Sciences University Women’s Health Research Unit (Portland, OR, and Washington)
  • Carafem (Atlanta, GA)
  • Maine Family Planning (Augusta, ME)
  • The University of Hawaii Women’s Options Centers (Honolulu, HI)
  • Choices Women’s Medical Center (Jamaica, New York)

The aforementioned media group, Fast Company, noted another “workaround” to existing laws, writing:

In some cases, TelAbortion providers are physically located in one state but licensed in another, which allows them to reach clients there as well…. TelAbortion obviously cannot expand into states where telemedicine abortion is illegal, but one workaround Chong is exploring is to introduce the program in neighboring states. “If we can get into a neighboring state, it’s possible for a woman in Texas, for example, to maybe cross the border into New Mexico,” Chong says. “She can have her consult there, and then pick up her package at a Fedex office that’s holding the package for her, or something like that.”

These kind of “workarounds” to intentionally bypass existing laws and safety regulations are clearly not the intention of any FDA clinical trial.

Image: TalAbortion locations screen accessed of June 20 2019

TelAbortion locations screen accessed of June 20 2019

Abortion generally is not without complication or risks. Recently, the FDA updated its adverse effects reports through 2018, revealing 24 deaths of women associated with the abortion pill since it’s  September 2000 approval.  To date, the report documents nearly 4,200 reported adverse effects, including hospitalization and other serious complications. But under 2016 changes, the drug’s manufacturer, DANCOno longer has to report non-fatal adverse effects, so we can only imagine what the number really is.

Overpopulation? No, “The World Might Actually Run Out of People”

MICHAEL COOK   JUN 24, 2019

Population growth can have an impact on controversial bioethical issues like abortion, contraception, aged care and euthanasia. That’s why a projection of world population trends from United Nations, released this week, should be of great interest.

There are no big surprises, but the UN has revised its projections downward. Two years ago, it predicted that global population in 2100 would be 11.2 billion. The 2019 projection is only 10.9 billion.

Below are the UN’s 10 take-aways from the report.

The UN’s figures are not definitive. In fact, there are dissidents who believe that the UN is seriously overstating population growth. While the UN projects that world population will peak and begin to stablilize or decline in 2100, others think that decline will begin as early as 2050. Even the UN acknowledges that there is “roughly a 27 per cent chance that the world’s population could stabilize or even begin to decrease sometime before 2100.” For more on this, read Wired’s review of the book Empty Planet – which is headlined, chillingly, “The world might actually run out of people”.

* * * * * * *

1. The world’s population continues to increase, but growth rates vary greatly across regions. The world’s population is projected to grow from 7.7 billion in 2019 to 8.5 billion in 2030 (10% increase), and further to 9.7 billion in 2050 (26%) and to 10.9 billion in 2100 (42%). The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050 (99%). Other regions will see varying rates. These include Australia and New Zealand (28%) and Europe and Northern America (both 2%).

2. Nine countries will make up more than half the projected population growth between now and 2050. The largest increases in population between 2019 and 2050 will take place in: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the US (in descending order of the expected increase). Around 2027, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

3. Rapid population growth presents challenges for sustainable development. Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition, and strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems.

4. In some countries, growth of the working-age population is creating opportunities for economic growth. In most of sub-Saharan Africa, and in parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, recent reductions in fertility have caused the population at working ages (25-64 years) to grow faster than at other ages, creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth.

5. Globally, women are having fewer babies, but fertility rates remain high in some parts of the world. Today, close to half of all people globally live in a country or area where fertility is below 2.1 births per woman over a lifetime. The global fertility rate, which fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019, is projected to decline further to 2.2 in 2050.

6. People are living longer, but those in the poorest countries still live 7 years less than the global average. Life expectancy at birth for the world, which increased from 64.2 years in 1990 to 72.6 years in 2019, is expected to increase further to 77.1 years in 2050.

7. The world’s population is growing older, with persons over age 65 being the fastest-growing age group. By 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16%), up from one in 11 in 2019 (9%). Regions where the share of the population aged 65 years or over is projected to double between 2019 and 2050 include Northern Africa and Western Asia, Central and Southern Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. By 2050, one in four persons living in Europe and Northern America could be aged 65 or over. In 2018, for the first time in history, persons aged 65 or above outnumbered children under five years of age. The number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.

8. Falling proportions of working-age people are putting pressure on social protection systems. The potential support ratio, which compares numbers of working-age people aged 25-64 to those over age 65, is falling around the world. In Japan, this ratio is 1.8, the lowest in the world. An additional 29 countries, mostly in Europe and the Caribbean, already have potential support ratios below three. By 2050, 48 countries, mostly in Europe, Northern America, and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, are expected to have potential support ratios below two.

9. A growing number of countries are experiencing a reduction in population size. Since 2010, 27 countries or areas have experienced a reduction in the size of their populations of 1% or more. This is caused by low levels of fertility and, in some places, high rates of emigration. Between 2019 and 2050, populations are projected to decrease by 1% or more in 55 countries or areas, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least 10%. In China, for example, the population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or 2.2%, between 2019 and 2050.

10. Migration has become a major component of population change. Between 2010 and 2020, Europe and Northern America, Northern Africa and Western Asia, and Australia and New Zealand will be net receivers of international migrants, while other regions will be net senders.

LifeNews Note: Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge where this story appeared.

Embryo adoption agency celebrates 800 births, but embryos remain frozen

 

The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) of Knoxville Tennessee recently gathered families from around the country to celebrate the 800th birth of a child conceived by a donated embryo through the clinic. WATE 6 reports that the group has been collecting leftover embryos for 16 years.

NEDC president Dr. Jeffrey Keenan told the news station, “It’s been exciting, it’s been awesome. It’s in some respects put Knoxville on the map, as far as a fertility destination because many of these families, to be honest are out of options and don’t have really any other good option for conceiving except to come here and receive donated embryos.”

Many people view in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as a positive scientific development that has allowed many couples struggling with infertility to conceive children. But this rosy view ignores the serious ethical problems with IVF, which include treating children as manufactured goods.

READ: Woman conceived via IVF: The means don’t justify the end, even if the end was me

Reporting on NEDC’s celebration, the reporter said, “Many people attending the event are alive because of the donated embryos.” Meanwhile, the remaining embryos, also created outside the womb and kept frozen, are also alive. They are in suspended animation, frozen indefinitely and treated as products to be discarded, made into jewelry, or traded for a more desirable offering. The NEDC estimates there are at least 700,000, and possibly more than 1 million, “surplus” embryos currently frozen in the United States.

 

The NEDC states, “Many biological parents store their frozen embryos for future use. But when those parents have completed their families, they must decide what to do with their remaining embryos. Donating them to another infertile couple is an increasingly popular option. It benefits both the genetic family and the recipient family.”

These types of donations are sometimes called “snowflake adoptions,” referring to the unique and unrepeatable attributes of each individual child frozen at the embryonic stage. Embryo adoption can be a way to recognize the human dignity of children through IVF, but there are still myriad ethical concerns with the process.

The NEDC’s celebration of 800 births demonstrates the massive scale of the unintended consequences of IVF: the hundreds of thousands of children kept frozen indefinitely. Couples struggling with the heartbreak of infertility deserve to know the full consequences of undergoing IVF before they make a decision, and they deserve to know that there are ethical alternatives.

After HHS Decision on Aborted Fetal Tissue, Will Ethical Vaccines Get a Boost?

Peter Jesserer Smith

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – APRIL 26: In this photo illustration a one dose bottle of measles, mumps and rubella virus vaccine, made by MERCK, is held up at the Salt Lake County Health Department on April 26, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo Illustration by George Frey/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — As part of its push to eliminate or greatly restrict federal funds involved with fetal-tissue research, the Trump administration canceled a medical research contract with the University of California, where fetal cells were infused with mouse immune systems.

The June 5 decision from the Department of Health and Human Services is the latest example of the administration pledging to find “adequate alternatives” to research that has depended on fetal tissue and to make sure “efforts to develop such alternatives are funded and accelerated.”

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” the decision  stated.

The announcement may give hope for Catholics that the time has come to push for the development or distribution of ethical vaccines whose source cells did not involve the taking of a human life by abortion.

Most vaccines are derived from ethically derived sources, such as animal or insect cell lines, and not from unborn children whose tissues were harvested following elective abortions. But a number of vaccines Americans rely on today, such as the Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) vaccine, are derived from cell lines whose origins go back to the tissues of unborn children aborted decades ago.

In Kentucky, Jerome Kunkel, a Catholic high-school senior at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton, refused a chicken pox vaccine for this reason, citing his objections to abortion.

He sued the Northern Kentucky Health Department after it barred him from going to school for several months due to concerns over possible contagion from his lack of a chicken pox vaccination. Kunkel came down with chicken pox in May and since returned to class.

The Catholic Church opposes using fetal tissue derived from abortion for medical research and vaccine development. However, the Church also recognizes that in the absence of ethically sourced alternatives, parents and individuals may use those vaccines until an alternative is available, explained Jozef Zalot, staff ethicist at the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center.

A 2005 instruction from the Pontifical Academy for Life stated that people who have no access to ethically sourced vaccines would be “right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health.”

The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life explained that there is “proportional reason” to use such vaccines “on a temporary basis” to avoid considerable dangers to public health, particularly in the case of diseases such as rubella (German measles), which is fatal to unborn children. It said “the burden of this important battle cannot and must not fall on innocent children and on the health situation of the population — especially with regard to pregnant women,” but this unjust situation of forcing parents or individuals to violate their consciences through passive material cooperation to avoid worse evils “must be eliminated as soon as possible” by production of ethically derived alternatives.

Zalot explained that while Catholics have a moral responsibility to communicate their demand for ethical alternatives to vaccines derived from fetal tissue, the burden of responsibility increases for those in positions of power and authority. He pointed to leaders of Catholic health care systems that have contracts for hundreds of millions of dollars with pharmaceutical companies that provide such vaccines as one example.

Catholic health care systems, Zalot said, “have some clout, and because of that, I would say their moral responsibility to call for ethically sourced vaccines is greater than [that of] your typical John Q. Public.”

 

Generating Grassroots Pressure

Dr. Barbara Golder, the editor in chief of The Linacre Quarterly and a member of the Catholic Medical Association, said that because the vaccine issue is one of moral law and not spiritual matters, Catholics need to make sure the discussion on ethical alternatives to vaccines derived from fetal tissue does not get confined to the Catholic or religious world, but is part of the general conversation.

However, she said Catholics should arm their advocacy with awareness about the alternatives in existence and make sure their allies in the pro-life movement are informed about them. Golder said there is also more at stake than the ethical source of the vaccine.

“It is unreasonable to put a patient in the position of choosing to violate his conscience for an essential medical procedure, in this case, vaccination,” Golder said.

Golder, however, cautioned that refusing to take vaccines at all is “counterproductive.”

“The rising incidence of vaccine refusal is leading in some places to an elimination of exemptions altogether, which undermines the argument for religious conscience in general,” she said.

Conversations about ethical alternatives could build to grassroots-level engagement that could “involve medical societies, large practices or other community groups.”

She said Catholics — and other people of goodwill — should be informed about ethical vaccines and “ask for them by name when the time comes” to one’s physician, pharmacist or health department. She recommended rewarding practices that provide ethical vaccines and protesting when “alternative vaccines are not available because the hospital, practice or insurance company has elected not to cover them.”

Golder suggested that Catholic physicians, organizations and institutions should become intentional about getting behind this effort. Universities might also have the heft to raise funds to support ethical vaccine development.

But she said it is important for Catholics to speak up and organize to generate “a growing sense of demand that can’t be ignored” so lawmakers and policymakers can act on the development of ethical alternatives.

“We have a responsive administration just now — it makes sense to take advantage of it,” she said.

Some in Congress have echoed similar sentiments in welcoming the Trump administration’s HHS decision.

“Ethical scientific practices are paramount to discovery, but they should never include the harvesting of developing baby hearts, eyes, livers and brains following elective abortions,” U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., said in a statement.

 

Toward Newer, Ethical Vaccines

The Trump administration’s decision to close the federal spigots on fetal-tissue research could help vaccine development stay focused on vaccines that are not only ethically sourced, but far more effective in the long run.

Tara Sander Lee, a senior fellow and director of life sciences at the Washington-based Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the Register that the new Ebola and shingles vaccines, engineered with Vero monkey cell line and engineered hamster cells respectively, have proven more effective than their fetal-tissue based alternatives. Lee said the new Ebola vaccine proved to be 97% effective, and Shingrex (the new vaccine for shingles) showed “greater than 90% effectiveness.”

Lee said scientific research is demonstrating that the new vaccines from animal cells are just as effective, if not more so, than the ones derived from fetal cells. She noted that none of the vaccines currently in use today by Americans are affected by the decision to close off fetal-tissue research.

“The vast majority of vaccines are already being produced with ethical alternatives [to fetal tissue],” she said, such as monkey kidneys, insect cells or Chinese hamster cells.

Scientists in the past have used fetal cell lines because fetal cells replicate much faster than adult tissues when it comes to cultivating vaccines. But Lee said they were not the exclusive source — vaccines such as for polio now use animal cells.

Lee also pointed out that there are more ethical alternatives that have been developed, but they are not available in the U.S.

“There is an ethical version for MMR [Measles, Mumps and Rubella], but it is only available in Japan,” she said. Japan’s rubella vaccine is derived from quail egg and rabbit cell lines.

However, she said companies like Merck are reluctant to reformulate vaccines or get the Food and Drug Administration to approve distribution of ethical vaccines when they see no financial incentive to do so.

Stopping this practice of fetal tissue-based research now, with renewed pressure from the administration, Lee said, would encourage scientists to focus their research on non-fetal-tissue-based alternatives that make more effective vaccines in the long run.

“There’s no need for them to continue to use these fetal cell lines from abortions that took place back in the ’60s. There’s just no need,” she said.

“The newer, most advanced way is using ethical vaccines.”

Peter Jesserer Smith is a Register staff writer.

Teen’s birth control triggers stroke

Anicka Slachta | Vascular & Endovascular

A Wisconsin high schooler is speaking up for stroke awareness after she suffered a stroke of her own during gym class, WAOW reported—an event her doctors said was brought on by her birth control pills.

Like two-thirds of women her age and up, Hannah Drummond, 18, was prescribed birth control with low expectations of any serious side effects. Loyola University Medical Center researchers previously found women who don’t have any other medical problems are safe to take the pill, but in those with comorbidities, it can be a riskier call.

Drummond was taken to the hospital after experiencing numbness and tingling during her gym class, quickly learning she’d suffered a stroke. Her care team said the culprit was her birth control, and that the estrogen in her pills had caused a blood clot that then slipped through a previously undiscovered hole in her heart and up to her brain.

“It was actually scary knowing I was so young, I’m 18, this is happening to me,” she told WAOW. “If you don’t feel something is right, say something, tell someone.”

Drummond is still suffering from impaired vision but is expected to make a full recovery.

Read the full story below:

Authorities Fail to Curb Ever-Worsening STD Epidemic

by 

The promotion of promiscuity through comprehensive sex education and condom-distribution campaigns is continuing to fuel an STD epidemic that is now seeing more than one million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases (STDs) every year.

According to the AFP, the World Health Organization (WHO) is expressing alarm over the lack of progress in curbing the rampant spread of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide since 2012.

“WHO found that there were more than 376 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis registered around the world in 2016 — the latest year for which data is available,” the AFP reports. “That is basically the same number as WHO reported in its previous study, based on data from 2012.”

The WHO, which promotes comprehensive sex education and condom distribution rather than abstinence as a way to fight this epidemic, now blames the continued spread of these infections on dating apps and a more complacent attitude about the spread of HIV because of new antiviral drugs that have proven to be very effective.

People are “more complacent about protection,” said Teodora Wi, a WHO expert on STIs, which she believes is dangerous because this attitude is coming at a time when “sex is becoming more accessible (through things like) dating apps”.

Peter Salama, WHO’s executive director of Universal Health Coverage, expressed concern over the “lack of progress” in stemming the tide of these diseases and infections, and called the latest numbers to be a “wake-up call” for authorities.

The numbers are indeed grave. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, an estimated 127 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 were infected with chlamydia. Another 87 million contracted gonorrheoea, and 6.3 million contracted syphilis. In addition, 156 million were infected with trichomoniasis, a parasital disease commonly called “trich.”

This amounts to one in 25 people globally that have at least one of these STIs.

What makes these diseases so difficult to prevent through mere comprehensive sex education and condom distribution campaigns is because some have no early symptoms. This means people who are engaging in casual sex unwittingly spread the diseases which, if left untreated, can lead to serious conditions. These include infertility, stillbirth, neurological and cardiovascular disease, as well as increased risk of contracting HIV.

The only real way to stop the spread of STIs and STDs is to promote abstinence until marriage, but the WHO is once again choosing to follow the same failed path by recommending regular screening and the proper use of condoms. They tend to promote comprehensive sexual education, which supposedly contains abstinence-only material, but analyses of these programs finds that only a small percentage of the content is actually devoted to authentic abstinence education.

How many more young lives will be ruined before officials at the World Health Organization hear this “wake-up call” for what it is – a call to admit that their strategies are failing and the time has come to challenge youth to live chastely until marriage?

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Can Hormonal Birth Control Trigger Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

by Grace Stark

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease (AI) that attacks the central nervous system, often to the point of causing severe disability. It is also a disease that has always loomed large in my life. My paternal grandmother had MS, and it caused her to be bed-ridden from the time my dad was a small boy, until her death when he was in his early 20s. Various aunts and uncles have also been diagnosed with MS, and I know I am not the only one among my cousins who lives with the fear of receiving that diagnosis someday, too.

So you can imagine that I try to do what I can to avoid triggering the monster that might very well be lying dormant in my genes. After all, the prevailing theory is that for an autoimmune disease to occur, one must have the right (or rather, wrong) genetics, and that some “triggering event” must occur to spring the disease into action. Different theories abound about what the different triggers may be, but one theory has not been given nearly enough light: the possibility of hormonal contraception as an autoimmune trigger.

In the past few months at Natural Womanhood, we’ve already covered how birth control can possibly trigger other immune/autoimmune diseases like Lupus, and the potential way it triggers MS is much the same.

As guest author Mike Gaskins wrote for Natural Womanhood:

“When our body’s natural estrogens attach to receptors on T cells (the “soldiers” of the immune system), it arms the soldiers and gives them their marching orders. Natural estrogen basically points out the invader and triggers the command to attack. But when disruptive agents that mimic natural estrogen enter our body, they attach to the receptors. Suddenly, the soldier is armed but doesn’t know what to attack because the synthetic estrogens don’t carry the code our natural estrogen would have provided. This can cause the armed immune system to battle our body’s healthy tissue, which will result in an AI for those who are genetically predisposed.”

In the case of MS, the immune system attacks myelin within the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Myelin is “the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers—as well as the nerve fibers themselves, and the specialized cells that make myelin.” So who—or rather, what—is giving the orders for the body’s attack on the central nervous system when it comes to MS? The cause is still unknown, but perhaps clues can be found in the way the disease disproportionately affects women, especially keeping in mind the role estrogen plays in the immune response.

Multiple Sclerosis Disproportionately Affects Women

In general, most AIs affect women more greatly in severity and/or number of cases, and MS is no different. Researchers have found that while MS has always disproportionately affected women, the gap in incidence (number of new cases) between women and men has widened considerably in the last five decades. This suggests that a possible environmental factor is at play, and it just so happens that the increased incidence of MS in women (especially as compared to men) coincides with the widespread use of hormonal contraceptives.

While this might seem like a leap in logic to some, others have noted that as we learn more about the role of estrogen on the gut—and particularly, the huge number of immune receptors located in the gut—we’ve also learned a bit more about autoimmunity’s “female” preference.

Data from a 2014 Kaiser Permanente Southern California study backs up the theory of hormonal contraceptives as a possible MS trigger:

Researchers identified 305 women who had been diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome, during a three-year period from the membership of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and who had been members for at least three years before the MS symptoms began. Then they compared them to 3,050 women who did not have MS . . .

Women who had used hormonal contraceptives were 35 percent more likely to develop MS than those who did not use them. Those who had used the contraceptives but had stopped at least one month before symptoms started were 50 percent more likely to develop MS.

So while autoimmune diseases presents a unique mix of genetic, epidemiological, and environmental factors, perhaps there is something to the theory that the synthetic estrogens from hormonal birth control—which our bodies and environment have been awash in for more than fifty years, now—could be the culprit behind skyrocketing rates of autoimmune diseases (and especially so in women).

Whether or not the birth control-MS link is substantiated further, I’m thankful that, with 50 million Americans currently suffering from an autoimmune disease, and a known genetic link to the disease in my own recent family history, I have ways to plan my family that are both effective and hormone-free. Of course, Ican’t do much about the synthetic estrogens polluting our environment—and, in particular, our water—but at least I know that in foregoing hormonal contraception in favor of a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) of family planning or Natural Family Planning (NFP), I’m not taking a Pill, receiving an injection, or carrying an implant that is exposing me daily to a substance that could seriously affect my health.

Where Many Fear to Tread, One Shepherd Dares to Go

by 

Organizers of “Gay Pride” events have successfully conditioned the media and the public to talk about these parades as if they were simply celebrations of “equality.” However, even some people who are fully on board with the LGBT agenda have pointed out the obvious: these parades are often less about celebrating equality than they are about celebrating promiscuous sex – the more debauched the better.

A few years ago an openly homosexual columnist in a major Canadian newspaper defended themuch-derided declaration by Toronto’s former mayor that the world-famous Toronto Pride parade is just an event where “middle-aged men with pot bellies” run down the street “buck naked.” “I’d say that was just an accurate description of what goes on,” admitted Josh DehaasDisturbingly, more and more parents are bringing young children to watch the parade, exposing them to provocative displays of sexuality that no child should witness. If a politician believes in family values, why would he or she want to be associated with such debauchery?”

Truth be told, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that any parent, no matter how liberal, would bring their kids to these parades. A lot of things happen at so-called “gay pride” parades that aren’t fit for polite adult conversation, let alone for the eyes of children. It seems to me that keeping Pride parades child-free should be something that liberals and conservatives could easily agree on. After all, what benefit could there possibly be to exposing children to public nudity, simulated sex acts, highly sexualized displays of affection and dancing, etc.?

Alas, there is no such common ground to be found. After all, we now live in a world where parents openly and proudly encourage their three and four-year-old children to explore “diverse” sexualities, helping them cross-dress in sexually provocative clothing, or bring their pre-pubescent children to gay bars to dance for money, or to appear on national TV shows, where they are lauded and feted by sycophantic hosts and cheering audiences. Furthermore, we have now reached a point where even the mildest expression of dissent from even the most extreme instantiations of the LGBT agenda is greeted with rage

Bishop Tobin’s Tweet

Recently, one of the United States’ Catholic bishops learned the hard way just how bad things have gotten. One June 1, the first day of a month that has been coopted as “Pride month” by LGBT activist, Bishop Thomas Tobin sent out a tweet reminding Catholics that they should not be supporting or attending “Pride” events, which, he said, “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.” Such events “are especially harmful for children,” noted the bishop.

bishop tobin tweet
Courtesy of Twitter

The response to this rather mild tweet was extraordinary. As of this writing, there are over 95,000 responses to the tweet – the vast majority of which are deeply, even violently critical. For simply doing the bare minimum of what his job entails – i.e., stating and defending what the Catholic Church believes and has always taught – the bishop found himself in the international spotlightportrayed as an odious purveyor of hatred and bigotry.

Articles about his tweet appeared on CNN, The Daily Mail, the Irish Post, and countless other news publications. Famous actors and actresses took to Twitter to vent their outrage. The mayor of Providence Rhode Island, and the governor of the state, both issued statements condemning the bishop’s remark. One of the priests in Bishop Tobin’s own diocese was featured in numerous news articles, after he pleaded with homosexual parishioners not to leave the Church over the bishop’s tweet.

The next day, Bishop Tobin issued a statement expressing “regret,” not so much for the tweetitself, as the way it was received. “The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I,” the bishop stated. “Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.” However, he added, “As a Catholic Bishopmy obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues.”

The Lessons WCan Learn

This disturbing episode is illuminating in more ways than one. Unfortunately, some of the lessons to be learned are far from encouraging.

In the first place, it seems that we are now at a point in which a completely straight-forward, non-emotional, impersonal, and non-confrontational expression of Catholic teaching – and, for that matter, moral common sense – is widely viewed as de facto intolerance, bigotry and hatred. The organized venom aimed at Bishop Tobin is – and, one suspects, was meant to be – a message sent to every faithful Christian in the country: the mere fact that you believe what Christians have always believed about sexuality makes you an enemy and a persona non grata. Either change your views and conform or be prepared to be hounded into silence.

Bishop Tobin of the Diocese of Providence (courtesy of LifeSite News)

Indeed, the thing that stands out most strongly to me is how mild Bishop Tobin’s tweet was. To anyone with an ounce of common sense, it is clear that Gay Pride parades are harmful to the innocence of children. And to anyone who understands an iota of Catholic moral teaching, it is clear that Gay Pride parades are completely incompatible with life as a faithful Catholic. Bishop Tobin stated both of these facts in a calm, straightforward manner, without a hint of animosity. He was, in other words, doing what any priest or bishop charged with leading a flock should be expected to be doing on a regular basis – instructing the faithful in how to be better Catholics. Given the filth that young children are routinely exposed to at these parades, the bishop could easily have been justified in using stronger language.

As Catholic journalist Phil Lawler recently observed, “what is remarkable about Bishop Tobin’s tweet is that it was so unusual—that other bishops and pastors have not routinely issued similar cautions.” Indeed, one discouraging effect of Bishop Tobin’s tweet has been to highlight how rare it has become for Catholic shepherds to speak unpopular moral truths, particularly on sexual matters. If our priests and bishops were routinely catechizing the faithful on the totality of Catholic moral teaching, then the media would have had a very difficult time making Bishop Tobin’s tweet into a national story. Instead, the good bishop would have been just one among countless other bishops and priests saying exactly the same thing.

We are awash in extremist LGBT propaganda. This is especially true now, in this month of June, when nearly all the large corporations use LGBT-themed marketing, which fills our streets and airwaves. Understandably, many Catholics in the pews simply don’t know what to think, or how to respond. They do not realize how Catholic teaching is grounded in an authentic compassion for homosexual individuals, or how Catholic teaching promotes the happiness and flourishing of individuals and societies by showing how God’s gift of sexuality is best put to use: in a loving union of a man and a woman oriented towards the begetting and raising of children. In the absence of clear voices from the pulpit presenting Catholic teaching in a compelling and unapologetic way, many Catholics are simply being swept away by the prevailing message in the culture. They feel overwhelmed, confused, and brow beaten.

There is a very real human cost to this silence! As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in the “Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons”:

“[W]e wish to make it clear that departure from the Churchs teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Churchs position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

The Church’s teachings on sexuality provide the road map for human fulfillment. For a pastorto remain silent out of a fear of losing social esteem or of “offending” Catholics in the pews is to abandon the sheep to the wolves.

Good Shepherd

Indeed, a natural response to the controversy over Bishop Tobin’s tweet would have been for every other priest and bishop in the country to re-tweet the exact same message, or, at the very least, to issue a public statement supporting the bishop, and explaining Catholic teaching in a loving, compassionate way. What a great opportunity for evangelization that would have been! What a powerful message that would have sent! Instead, as the wolves circled for the kill, Bishop Tobin had more the look of a lone sheep than a shepherd among shepherds.

Even worse, the day after Bishop Tobin posted his Tweet, one extremely prominent Catholic cleric, who even enjoys an advisory role at the Vatican, tweeted out a message saying, “Catholics need not be wary of Junes #PrideMonth.” The previous day this same cleric posted a message wishing a “Happy #PrideMonthThis is a breathtaking form of moral blindness. The Catholic Church’s vision of sexuality, which has remained consistent since the earliest days of the Church, is one characterized by wholesomeness, fruitfulness, modesty, self-giving and joy. “Pride” celebrations proclaim a diametrically opposed message. It is quite true that we require creative thinkers to pursue pastoral approaches to reach out to homosexual persons in compassion and love in an effort to help them arrive at the fullness of Christian truth. However, there are simply no compelling arguments that supporting participating in wholly worldly public celebrations of sin does anything except spread confusion, at the enormous cost of souls. The hyper-sexualization of children  including the expectation that parents should bring their children to “Pride” events that is increasingly a feature of the LGBT movement is especially dismaying.

As Catholics we have to support our pastors when they speak difficult truths, as well as challenge them to speak up when they remain silent. A petition supporting Bishop Tobin has received over 25,000 signatures. That’s a good start. I hope you will join me in praying for Bishop Tobin, and all of the Church’s pastors, including myself, that we will be filled with the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit, and that we will imitate the early Apostles by fearlessly proclaiming the totality of the Gospel, regardless of the personal cost.

Casualties of surrogacy

Jennifer Lahl

This essay is adapted from remarks delivered at the Heritage Foundation.

The media and Hollywood celebrities, like Kim Kardashian and Jimmy Fallon, present surrogacy as a wonderful and beautiful thing. Even Ben Shapiro said “surrogacy can be useful and wonderful in some cases” when he spoke at this year’s March for Life. But I’m happy to discuss what you won’t hear about in the media: the health risks to women, and to the children to whom they give birth, of commercial contracted pregnancies.

On October 8, 2015, an American surrogate mother named Brooke Brown died from complications related to pregnancy. Brooke was a commercial gestational surrogate, not the biological mother. She was being paid to carry twins for a couple from Spain, where surrogacy is illegal. This had been an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy; Brooke was just a day away from a scheduled caesarian section. But then she suffered a complication, called placental abruption (the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus), that proved fatal. The twins died, too.

Almost immediately after the loss of these three lives, women calling themselves Brooke’s “Surro Sisters” set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise $10,000 for Brooke’s family; although in the end they weren’t even able to raise $7,000.

A healthy society would not create a multi-billion-dollar fertility industry at the risk of the health and well-being of women and children. The spirit of proper medicine, expressed in the principle “First, do no harm,” requires us not to allow healthy women to engage in entirely elective, medically risky procedures that do not benefit them in any way and might harm them or lead to their death.

In the process of making documentary films