News & Commentary

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

by Carolyn Moynihan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The link between abortion and some vaccines is real

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

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

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

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

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

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

Covid-19 vaccine research does not need foetal cells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complicity and conscientious objection

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

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

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

The original act is ‘deeply immoral’

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

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

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

What if the cells were created long ago?

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

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

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

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

Catholic responses

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

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

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

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

What about boycotts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Are Late Abortions Performed?

By 

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

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

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

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

Why Do Women Have Late-Term Abortions?

What Abortionists Say

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

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

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

The Statistics

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

statistics analysis graph chart data

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

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

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

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

The Quick Slide to Infanticide

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

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

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

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

newborn-sleeping beautiful infant baby boy

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Dr. Grace Morrison of the Vitae Foundation says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Business of Birth Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

The little lives being saved by Covid

by Helen Watt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot

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

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

Sign the petition to ban the abortion pill here.

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

Bill Gates

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

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

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

Warren Buffett

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

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

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

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

David Packard

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

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

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

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

George Soros

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

George Soros and family are top donors to Planned Parenthood Votes

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why NFP is not just ‘Catholic contraception’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ‘quiverfull’ movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanae Vitae

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

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

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

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

What serious reasons are serious enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The benefits of NFP for marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEVEN ERTELT

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

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

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

But the vaccine is not without ethical concerns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural Family Planning

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

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

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

2020 NFP Awareness Week

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

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

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

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

Expanding access to the abortion pill poses health risks to women

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Prenatal genetic testing for eugenic purposes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what he said in full:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Paul Smeaton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She explained that an egg would one day travel down one of our tubes like a marble, and if that egg wasn’t fertilized by sperm, “it” would happen. “It,” the teacher made clear, was an unstoppable part of life. The train was bearing down upon us and there was no way to unstrap ourselves from the track. Carnage—ahem, menstruation—was inevitable.

We also watched a sappy video produced under the mistaken assumption that all tween girls long with their whole hearts to get their periods, grow breasts, and most of all, be noticed by boys. I was in no hurry to grow up, and I experienced the same feeling of loneliness I got from reading Judy Blume novels. The girls in the video, like the characters in the Judy books, seemed anxious and very unhappy, so I was glad their problem was not my problem. Still, was there something wrong with me? Should I be worried that I wasn’t worried about eggs and tubes and bras?

Unless you were very lucky, you can probably tell a similar story about your first sex-ed experience. It was probably strange, awkward, and not what you needed. Can you imagine another way? What if the way kids learned the “facts of life” was positive, useful, and even feminist?

Fertility awareness has been grabbing headlines recently as women discover one of medicine’s best kept secrets—that they can plan their families without being chained to a pill bottle. But fertility awareness is not, at its core, about avoiding pregnancy. It proposes the radical notion that women are people with bodies that deserve to be studied, understood, and appreciated. I spoke with three women helping lead the fertility awareness charge to find out what that looks like with teenagers.

Sex ed that teen girls actually want to learn

Cassie Moriarty is a women’s health dynamo based in New York City—she’s a certified breastfeeding counselor, a trained DONA postpartum doula, and knows multiple methods of natural family planning. She’s also a certified teacher for FEMM, a comprehensive women’s program that helps women understand how their cycle intersects with their health.

“I got involved with TeenFEMM when I was training with FEMM,” Moriarty says. “I saw it as such an opportunity. I view sex ed as something that happens periodically throughout one’s life rather than a conversation that happens once; sex ed should happen even throughout your twenties. The idea of teaching teens about fertility awareness sets a great foundation for young girls with their bodies.”

Moriarty works with clients of all ages, usually in small groups or in one-on-one sessions, sometimes even with OB/GYNs alongside teens who are dealing with hormonal disorders. Regardless of the setting, the material hits home.

“Honestly teens are some of my best students!” says Moriarty. “For one, they are in the swing of learning. They are used to having homework and pop quizzes. Almost everyone I have taught has been bright, mature, curious, and excited . . . they are usually more intrigued than embarrassed. I joke that the couples I work with who are getting married sometimes act more squeamish than a 13-year-old girl.”

I asked Moriarty what young women can learn from fertility awareness that they may never discover otherwise.

“The biggest most obvious piece is cervical fluid. That is something virtually every teen girl experiences, and just about all of them aren’t taught about it in their public school sex ed. A lot of young girls, like myself at that age, experience shame about a totally normal bodily function,” she told me. She also says that students benefit from hearing “a different angle” than simply “Don’t get pregnant!”

I remember as a 13-year-old feeling like pregnancy wasn’t even close on my radar . . . but I did want to know more about that strange bleeding I was experiencing. And headaches and cramps.

“Sex ed is usually built upon the message of ‘here’s how pregnancy happens, here’s how to avoid it’ rather than ‘here are these amazing (and sometimes annoying, strange, and intrusive) things your body is doing.’ I hardly even talk about pregnancy in the first few classes. I talk more about mental health, hormonal health, and cycle health.”

Your body is feminist

Leah Jacobson had been working with young people and moms for more than a decade by the time she founded the Guiding Star Project in 2011. She saw a deep, unmet need for an initiative to bring together whole-woman feminism and women’s health. Guiding Star Centers around the country offer a variety of location-specific health-related services like childbirth education, breastfeeding support, postpartum care, and family planning to help women achieve or avoid pregnancy. It also includes fertility awareness outreach to young girls.

“The core of these programs and our philosophy on fertility, is that there’s nothing wrong with our fertility. It’s a really beautiful part of who we are,” Jacobson says. “It’s our belief that by giving [young people] the tools and the education to understand their bodies, they’re going to make better decisions that are in line with avoiding risky behaviors. They’re going to care for their dignity and the dignity of their partner.”

In our culture, which regards a woman’s fertility as an obstacle or a potential threat to her success and happiness, Jacobson has seen first hand how women have lost touch with their bodies.

“It’s sad; we have had women come in for the first time to learn how to chart their cycle, and you explain to them more than once that they have to come off the Pill to chart,” Jacobson told me. “They don’t understand, because they somehow think that they have a natural cycle, when what they actually have is withdrawal bleeding [when they take the ‘inactive’ drugs in their pill pack]. That’s an incredibly shocking and alarming situation for women to be in. They feel empowered, they feel like they’re ‘doing something’ because they’re taking the Pill. But for them to not even know that they’re not ovulating and that they don’t have a cycle . . . that’s disturbing, because it means they don’t at all understand the function of these drugs that they are [taking].”

For so many of us, that confusion starts at the very beginning, with that first period. Almost as a rite of passage, many moms take their daughters to the doctor, who may perform a pap smear but who almost certainly will want to discuss medication to “treat” and control her new, risky state of natural fertility.

The result is that thousands of children are prescribed synthetic hormones. It’s clear many kids are never told how the Pill works, nor are they routinely screened and warned about the Pill’s links to depression and breast cancer. Some girls stay on the drug for decades, until they decide to have children—only to confront the reality that they know virtually nothing about what to expect from their bodies once the medication leaves their system.

This is even more so the case if girls complain of symptoms like cripplingly painful periods or irregularity. Few OB/GYNs make the effort to find out what is wrong when hearing of period symptoms.Take for example endometriosis, a painful condition that affects one in every ten women and can destroy a woman’s quality of life and fertility. Even though it is one of the most common diseases affecting women’s health, it takes a woman an average of seven years of suffering, begging, and doctor-shopping before she can get a diagnosis. Because hormonal contraception covers up the symptoms of diseases like endo, doctors often employ birth control as an easy fix for any potential reproductive problem—as if passing the buck to the next doctor to figure out whatever it may actually be. One study from the Guttmacher Institute found that more than 80 percent of teens on the Pill had been prescribed contraceptive meds for non-contraceptive reasons.

“What is our health-care system doing? This is a complete act of paternalism,” Jacobson says. “It’s dignifying to tell girls the truth about themselves. It should be the core of feminism. Feminism that fails to acknowledge the female body does not have women’s best interests at heart. All it is, is a facade for a male normative culture. Fertility is a liability to how success is currently defined in [that culture].”

Authentic feminism, according to Jacobson, will “redefine the worldview—not just accept the male normative world and say we have a right to fit ourselves into it. It’s confusing to tell our daughters, your breastfeeding is good, you should breastfeed, but your fertility is dangerous, you should suppress that. We have to have a consistent narrative. It’s all good.”

Each Guiding Star center has different programs, ranging from the Guiding Star Cycle Show—a five-hour, interactive, hands-on experience for young girls—to offerings that can be accessed online, particularly useful in the era of coronavirus. Jacobson specifically points out that the programs are science-based and secular. “Our presentations don’t have a religious aspect. . . . We want every girl regardless of any religious affiliation to understand this applies to her,” she says. They’re already used in public schools in Germany, China, and the United Kingdom.

China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/29/china-forces-birth-control-uighurs-suppress-population/

The Chinese government is allegedly taking forceful measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, according to an alarming new report on aggressive birth control policies in China’s Xinjiang province.

The report by China scholar Adrian Zenz, released on Monday, has prompted a coalition of leading international politicians to call for an independent United Nations investigation into human rights abuses in Xinjiang, to prevent the further suffering of the Uighur people.

A statement by the interparliamentary alliance on China (IPAC) cites “a body of mounting evidence” of alleged “mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labour, and the destruction of Uighur cultural sites,” as the basis for action by the UN General Assembly.

Professor Zenz’s new research suggests that the sudden fall in Uighur birthrates coincides with reports of a Chinese state policy of intrusive birth prevention, including female sterilization.

“This may indicate that the Chinese government is pursuing and enforcing a coordinated policy to reduce the population of minority groups. The world cannot remain silent in the face of unfolding atrocities,” said the statement by IPAC, a cross-party international group of politicians, including Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.

The findings by Professor Zenz, an independent contractor with the nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, shows that population growth rates fell by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, declining further in 2019.

The report links the drop to state-driven efforts to forcibly suppress Uighur birthrates relative to the numbers of ethnic Han Chinese, using measures that include mandatory birth control, family separations and sterilisations.

“Since a sweeping crackdown starting in late 2016 transformed Xinjiang into a draconian police state, witness accounts of intrusive state interference into reproductive autonomy have become ubiquitous,” it claims, adding that anecdotal accounts have been confirmed for the first time through “a systematic analysis of government documents.”

According to the research, “documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in “training” camps” and “reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilisation in rural Uighur regions, targeting married women of childbearing age.

Among the conclusions, it claims the project targeted southern Xinjiang and continued in 2020, likely aiming to sterilise women with three or more children.

“Budget figures indicate that this project had sufficient funding for performing hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilisation procedures in 2019 and 2020, with least one region receiving additional central government funding,” it reports.

It adds that by 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80% of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries -IUDs or sterilisations – and reveals that in 2018, 80% of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang.

“This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs,” Mr Zenz told the Associated Press.

The practice of forced birth control is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to the AP’s own investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor.

They include women like Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh, who was ordered by the government to get an IUD inserted after she had her third child.

Four officials in military camouflage also came knocking at her door to threaten Ms Omirzakh, the penniless wife of a detained vegetable trader, with a $2,685 fine for having more than two children. Failure to pay, they warned would result in her incarceration in an internment camp.

“To prevent people from having children is wrong,” Ms Omirzakh told the newswire. She fell deep in debt to scrape together the money and later fled to Kazakhstan. “They want to destroy us as a people.”

Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines.

The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang has prompted some experts to call it a form a form of “demographic genocide.”

The interviews and data reportedly show that women are even subjected to forced abortions, and that the hundreds of millions of dollars the government pours into birth control have transformed Xinjiang from one of China’s fastest-growing regions into one of its slowest in just a few years.

One former camp detainee, Tursunay Ziyawudun, said she was injected until she stopped having her period and kicked repeatedly in the lower stomach during interrogations. She now can’t have children and often doubles over in pain, bleeding from her womb, she said.

Ms Ziyawudun said women at her camp were made to undergo gynecology exams and get IUDs, and their “teacher” told them they would face abortions if found pregnant.

Zumret Dawut, a Uighur mother of three, said after her release from an internment camp in 2018, authorities forced her to get sterilised. If she didn’t, they told her she’d be sent back to the camp. “I was so angry,” she said. “I wanted another son.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinjiang government have not responded to the reports. However, Beijing has said in the past that the new measures are merely meant to be fair, allowing both Han Chinese and ethnic minorities the same number of children.

‘Silver bullet’ for the virus.

ODESSA, Texas — The inhaled steroid Budesonide is being hailed by one West Texas doctor, Richard Bartlett, as the ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19.

Midland Memorial Hospital seems to disagree with him, telling us Tuesday that there is no such thing a ‘silver bullet’ for the virus.

But Bartlett’s patients credit the treatment for saving their life. He has treated well over a dozen patients and has had a 100% success rate.

Even with patients who have preexisting conditions.

 “I’m in my 60s, I’m living with two different types of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Kathy Lollar, Dr. Bartlett’s patient and COVID-19 survivor, said. “In fact I’m on daily chemo.”

Lollar is one of many at-risk patients Bartlett has treated.

“I’m 48-years-old, I’m diabetic and I’m a bit overweight,” Eric Rodriguez, another one of Dr Bartlett’s patients and also a COVID-19 survivor, said.

When they were diagnosed with the virus, they both thought the worst-case scenario.

“I was scared, fearful, desperate,” Rodriguez said. “I starting thinking about my children without a father.”

Rodriguez lost his 31-year-old brother, who had no preexisting conditions, to the virus in June. For that reason, Rodriguez sought a different treatment and reached out to Dr. Bartlett for help.

He started taking Budesonide twice a day.

The inhaled steroid Budesonide is being hailed by one West Texas doctor, Richard Bartlett, as the ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19. Midland Memorial Hospital seems to disagree with him, telling us Tuesday that there is no such thing a ‘silver bullet’ for the virus. But Bartlett’s patients credit the treatment for saving their life. He has treated well over a dozen patients and has had a 100% success rate. Even with patients, like the ones I talked to, who have preexisting conditions.

“The difference? It’s life and death right now,” Rodriguez said.

As for Lollar, she believes it would have been a different outcome if it were not for Dr. Bartlett.

 “I would have been at the hospital on a ventilator,” she said. “Trying the Budesonide I could tell improvement. It wasn’t a miracle but I was improving.”

Dr. Bartlett tells us budesonide works well if COVID is diagnosed early like it was for Lollar and Rodriguez.

He also tells us he is not taking any more patients. He suggests people ask their own physician to see if Budesonide can work for them.

Supreme Court backs Little Sisters of the Poor against Obamacare mandate

By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The US Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Wednesday in a decision siding with the Little Sisters of the Poor and their bid to stop being forced to distribute abortifacient and contraceptive drugs to their employees.

The Obama administration had first mandated that employers subsidize the provision of contraceptives, including abortifacient drugs, to their employees under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic institution that provides support for the elderly poor, refused to comply, as did other religious employers, sparking years of litigation.

In November 2018, the Trump administration announced two final rules to protect Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plan, one to cover conscience objections on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” and another for small businesses and nonprofits with non-religious moral objections.

In January 2019, multiple federal judges granted injunctions to several liberal states that had challenged the Trump rule, preventing it from taking effect.

According to the religious-liberty firm Becket Fund, the federal government admitted that it broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide contraception in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs. The government issued a new rule in October 2017 that protected the religious exemptions of the Little Sisters and others.

Despite the announcement,  the state of California sued the federal government to eliminate the religious exemption. California has numerous contraceptive programs of its own, and it never filed suit over the much larger secular exemptions created by the Obama administration for corporations such as Pepsi and Chevron, according to Becket, that applied to tens of millions more people than the religious exemption. Also, the state has not identified a single person who had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of the new rule.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments to this effect in May of this year, which ultimately won the day. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer joined the majority, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ judgement that federal agencies had no authority to exempt the Little Sisters in the first place “was erroneous,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his majority opinion. ‘We hold that the Departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”

In a concurring opinion, Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch went a step further and argued that not only were the Departments allowed to exempt the Little Sisters, but the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) actually “compels an exemption for the Little Sisters and any other employer with a similar objection to what has been called the  accommodation to the contraceptive mandate.”

While ultimately voting with the majority, Kagan explained in a concurring opinion that while she believed the relevant departments did have “statutory authority to exempt certain employers from the mandate,” she also believes the accommodation made for the Little Sisters was broad enough that it could still be invalidated under the federal Administrative Procedure Act. So while the ruling is a major victory the Little Sisters and other opponents of compulsory birth control coverage, Kagan’s opinion also provides ammo to a potential future challenge.

“The Supreme Court was right to, in the face of outrageous legal challenges from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, allow the Trump administration to protect the freedom of these religious nuns and so many other religiously affiliated groups,” Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ryan Anderson said. “This case stemmed from mandates that the Obama administration promulgated that put unreasonable demands on employers to cover potentially life-ending drugs, contraception, and sterilization. Hopefully, this brings an eight-year ordeal for the Little Sisters of the Poor to a close and they can focus entirely on ministering to the poor in our communities.”

This ruling, and the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of religious schools’ right to judge their own educators’ understanding of the faith, represent significant victories for religious liberty, and may help reassure conservatives stung by the court’s recent pro-abortion ruling in Louisiana that there remain significant differences between the judicial nominees of President Donald Trump and the type who would be appointed by former Vice President Joe Biden.

God put me here for a reason’: Soccer star with limb difference meets very special fan

 

As a defender for the Orlando Pride women’s soccer team, 26-year-old Carson Pickett is no stranger to the spotlight. But last year, a photo of her went viral not for her athletic achievements, but for her meeting with a very special fan.

Pickett was born missing her left hand and part of her forearm, and after one of her games in April she met a young fan with the exact same disability. The Orlando Pride shared a video from their meeting on social media, and it generated so much positive support that some called it the 2019 Picture of the Year.

Even though Joseph Tidd was not yet two years old at the time, Carson told USA Today that “Literally within five minutes of me meeting him, we had an instant bond. It’s interesting, though, because for a kid that young, I didn’t expect him to connect the way he did. Even though we both have the same [birth defect], it was amazing to me that it felt like he realized why we were bonded.”  She added, “I know I might be seen as his role model, but he’s also mine. It’s just a gift to feel so much emotion from a little boy who understands you in a way other people can’t.”

In an interview with CBS Evening News, she shared, “”Seeing him gives him and me just as much joy as seeing my best friends.”

The two met as part of Carson’s partnership with the Lucky Fin Project, which raises awareness about the 2,500 children born with limb differences in the United States each year. Groups like the Lucky Fin Project ensure that children who are born missing limbs grow up in a different world than Carson, who didn’t know anyone who looked like her as a child. Joseph Tidd’s parents are part of that effort, maintaining his Instagram account to continue supporting children like him.

A year later, Joseph Tidd is still raising awareness for children with limb differences.

Commenting on her ongoing friendship with little Joseph back in 2019, Pickett said, “When I was younger and I didn’t know how the world works, it was hard. My parents always tell me that God put me here for a reason. The biggest thing I’d want Joseph (and others) to know is that even if people see you as different, it’s what’s in your heart that counts.”

In late May of this year, Pickett told Just Women’s Sports, “I want [people] to ask me what happened because then I can educate more people about limb difference. It’s not that I want to stand out, but I want to help people who are like me. And I know I’m also reaching people who have both of their hands, but who may be struggling with other problems. Everyone has their own story, everyone is different, everyone has gone through struggles and has weaknesses. It’s how you use that story and those weaknesses and the struggle to best help people in the world. Now that I’m able to reach so many diverse groups, it’s really become more of a blessing.”

New investigation shines light on China’s forced abortions and sterilization of minority women

 

A recent investigation from the Associated Press (AP) is finally opening the world’s eyes to the genocide against Uighur Muslims in China. In addition to the concentration camps holding an estimated one million Uighurs, the AP investigation revealed that the Chinese government is taking “draconian measures” to prevent Uighurs from having children – including forced birth control and abortion, sterilization, and even ripping infants away from their mothers while they breastfeed.

The AP’s sources for what it has labeled a “demographic genocide” include government statistics and documents, as well as interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members, and a former detention camp instructor. Uighur women, along with other Chinese minorities, are regularly subjected to pregnancy checks by government officials. They are also being forcibly sterilized, are forced into intra-uterine device (IUDs) insertion, and are even forced into abortions. The AP estimates that this affects hundreds of thousands of people. Women who do not comply with government demands are sent to a concentration camp.

READ: United Nations gives China seat on Human Rights Council, despite abuses and genocide

 

Gulnar Omirzakh spoke to the AP about her experience as a victim of China’s communist regime. After having a third child, she was ordered to have an IUD inserted and to pay a $2,685 fine, though her husband was already detained and she was struggling financially. She was threatened with imprisonment if she did not comply. “God bequeaths children on you. To prevent people from having children is wrong,” Omirzakh told the AP tearfully. “They want to destroy us as a people.”

Uighur birth rates are drastically falling in comparison to nationwide Chinese birth rates, making Xinjiang —a Uighur majority area—one of China’s slowest-growing areas. Just a few years ago, it was one of the fastest-growing. “This kind of drop is unprecedented… there’s a ruthlessness to it,” explained Adrian Zenz, a China scholar and expert in the country’s minority regions. “This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs.”

The Chinese government denies these claims, as it has denied the existence of concentration camps and torture. Yet experts refuse to accept their explanations. “It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” Joanne Smith Finley, who works at Newcastle University in the U.K., told the AP. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”

It is estimated that the targeting of Uighurs began in 2017, with people thrown into camps simply for praying or traveling abroad. Government officials went door-to-door, looking for pregnant women and children. All minorities were required to attend flag-raising ceremonies each week, and women were forced to take pregnancy tests afterward. Abdushukur Umar was one of the people who fell victim to this terror; the father of seven children, he was put into a camp in 2017, sentenced to a year in prison for each of his children.

“How can you get seven years in prison for having too many children?” Zuhra Sultan, Umar’s cousin, said to the AP. “We’re living in the 21st century — this is unimaginable.”

READ: Trump signs legislation to hold China accountable for human rights abuses

Leaked data obtained by the AP revealed that one of the most common reasons for detainment was having “too many” children.

In the camps, women have been forced to get IUDs and “pregnancy prevention shots,” although they have never been explicitly told what the shots are. After being released, many have later discovered only they could no longer have children. Dina Nurdybay, one of the women forced into a camp, said married women were separated from the unmarried women. Those who were married were forced to get IUDs. An official who stopped by her cell one day insulted the women, saying, “Do you think it’s fair that Han people are only allowed to have one child? You ethnic minorities are shameless, wild and uncivilized.”

Nurdybay was eventually transferred to a facility which also had an orphanage, with hundreds of children separated from their parents. “They told me they wanted to hug their parents, but they were not allowed,” she said. “They always looked very sad.”

 

Tursunay Ziyawudun, another detainee, told the AP she is now sterile. While in the camp, she was repeatedly kicked in the stomach and was given numerous injections. One of the pregnant women who was detained with her disappeared. Gulbahar Jelilova, another detainee, said pregnant women were forced into abortions there. Jelilova also told the AP that one woman’s infant was cruelly taken from her, and she was still leaking breastmilk. The mother did not know where her baby had gone or what had happened to her.

Gulzia Mogdin, another victim, was forced into an abortion at two months pregnant. “That baby was going to be the only baby we had together,” Mogdin told the AP. “I cannot sleep. It’s terribly unfair.”

Zumret Dawut was put into a camp simply because she had an American visa. Later, she was forcibly sterilized. “I was so angry,” she said. “I wanted another son.”

Congress and the Trump administration recently worked together to pass legislation to hold the Chinese Community Party responsible for the genocide against the Uighurs, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wasted no time responding to this latest revelation, calling it “horrifying” and “an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity.” In a statement to Reuters, he said, “We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses.”

A lesson in human dignity from stone age Ireland

by Michael Cook

Five thousand, two hundred years ago, long before Stonehenge, long before the Pyramids, farming communities in the Boyne Valley of Ireland built a gigantic passage tomb, called Newgrange. It covers 4,500 square metres, or more than one acre, of ground. The builders heaped alternating layers of stone and earth until it was 12 metres high.

Every year, on the winter solstice, a shaft of sunlight pierces a passage formed by gigantic stone slabs which illuminates a chamber 19 metres within. Archaeologists have found human remains, some cremated, in the passage.

Newgrange, in County Meath — older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids

Newgrange is just the best preserved of a number of Neolithic tombs scattered across the Irish landscape. Another is the Poulnabrone portal tomb, in County Clare, on the other side of the island, which was probably built before Newgrange, between 4200 and 2900 BC. The remains of 22 people – 16 adults and six children — were discovered beneath it by archaeologists in the 1980s.

Who constructed these monuments? Why?

Whoever they were, they left no written records, just elaborate art motifs scribed into sandstone or limestone slabs. But genetic detective work just published in the journal Nature opens a window onto the human drama of these ancient peoples.

First of all, the skull of a male interred at Newgrange’s inner chamber points to first-degree incest: he was the offspring of brother and sister or perhaps parent and child. For the archaeologists this was an amazing find.

Inbreeding is a near universal taboo across continents and centuries. It only happens among ruling elites – typically within a deified royal family. It was customary in Hawaii, the Inca Empire and ancient Egypt. By breaking the rules, archeologists hypothesise, an elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and thereby legitimizing its power. Extravagant monumental architecture often co-occurs with dynastic incest. A faint echo of this is found in the mediaeval Irish name for one of the passage tombs, Fertae Chuile, or “Hill of Sin”.

Second, and more relevant to our own times, is the genetic analysis of the people buried in Poulnabrone. Previous investigations suggested that they, too, were members of an elite. Judging from the manpower and organisation required to build a portal tomb, they must have ruled over a numerous and fairly sophisticated society. Even so, their lives were tough. Only one adult had lived past the age of 40. They suffered bouts of infection and malnutrition. They lived with violence. One individual may have died after being struck by an arrow; another had a crushed skull; still another a rib broken by an aggressive blow.

It sounds like Thomas Hobbes’s classic description of the lives of men in a state of nature: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

Don’t believe that old cliché. These Neolithic people could teach us a thing or two about human dignity – as the archaeologists discovered when they examined the genome of PN07.

PN07 – we’ll never know what name his mother gave him – was a male infant with Down syndrome. He is, the archaeologist proudly report, “the earliest definitive discovery of a case of Down syndrome”. Up until now, the earliest remains of an individual with Down syndrome dated from the 5th or 6th Century in France. Furthermore, genetic analysis reveals that PN07 had been fed from his mother’s breast.

What does this suggest?

The lives of these Neolithic people were harsh beyond our comprehension. Every day was a struggle to survive. They battled wild animals, disease, injuries, rival tribes, the weather, hunger. A Down syndrome boy must have been a heavy burden on their scarce resources. His tribe or clan must have known that he would never be a warrior and that he would not live long. Yet they nurtured him as best they could. They made him feel loved. And when he died they treated his body with the dignity due to the child of an elite household.

If the true measure of a society is to be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, the Poulnabrone people were civilised.

Indeed, they compare favourably, very favourably, with us. We abort at least 90 percent of all of our Down syndrome babies – even though research shows that 99 percent of parents with Down syndrome children love them and 97 percent are proud of them.

Perhaps we can learn something from the 5,000-year-old tenderness of PN07’s mum.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

Helen Alvaré

Today, by a vote of 5 to 4, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their practice. The opinion in June Medical Services v. Russo is quite fractured and legally technical. It does not bring the pro-life movement any closer to overthrowing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey; but it does not likely move us further away from that end either. More litigation to that end is still required.

In June, a plurality of Justices (Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan) voted to strike down the Louisiana law on the grounds that the burdens it imposed upon women were greater than its claimed health benefits, just like the Texas admitting-privileges law struck down in the 2016 case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Chief Justice John Roberts provided the fifth vote for the Court’s holding in a concurrence in which he disagreed with the plurality’s standard for striking the law down, but agreed that the law was unconstitutional under the standard established by the Court in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh dissented, with only Thomas using his opinion as an occasion to also declare Roe v. Wade an unprincipled decision that should be overturned.

June Medical raised several legal questions with important implications for the future of abortion law: first, whether or not abortionists have what is called “standing” to challenge laws that were enacted in order to better vet abortionists to ensure that they provide safe medical services to women. “Standing” requires that the party challenging a law has or will suffer an actual injury to a legally cognizable interest. This question is important because the vast majority of cases seeking to overturn abortion restrictions are filed by abortion doctors and clinics, not by individual women. It is also important because of the obvious conflicts of interest in cases like this one, where abortionists are seeking to quash a law that could make abortion safer for their patients.

The five justices in the majority concluded that the abortionists and abortion clinics had standing, even though abortionists do not have any sort of “right” to practice abortion that the Louisiana law burdens.

The plurality claimed that the state of Louisiana had “waived” the problem of third-party standing in the two lower federal courts that had heard the case. But they also noted that abortionists had previously generally been permitted to sue to defeat abortion restrictions, and that they should be permitted to challenge a law that might “indirectly” harm women’s interests in obtaining a convenient abortion.

Three of the dissenters (not including Kavanaugh) agreed that abortionists and clinics lacked standing to challenge the Louisiana law. In lengthy treatments of Supreme Court precedents about the importance of standing in order for the Court even to have the authority to hear a case under its Article III powers, Justices Thomas and Alito forcefully pushed back on the majority. Alito and Gorsuch spoke particularly fervently about the dangerous conflict of interest in allowing doctors to overthrow laws designed to safeguard the patients in their care. Gorsuch penned a detailed portrait of the dangers that abortionists in Louisiana pose to their patients. He noted the extraordinarily lax reviews the clinics conduct prior to hiring abortionists, reporting that abortion clinics had previously allowed ophthalmologists and radiologists to perform abortions! He also pointed to the “dozens” of ethical and safety violations that Louisiana abortion clinics had committed in the past.

The next important question the Court considered is the appropriate standard for reviewing abortion laws. The plurality justices stood by the standard that the Court (then including Justice Anthony Kennedy) adopted in Whole Woman’s Health. It allows the Court to conduct the kind of test that legislators use when they evaluate whether or not to pass a law: whether the benefits of the law outweigh the burdens the law imposes, considering the law’s object. This test differs from the one announced in the Casey decision. There, the Court did not claim a right to balance benefits and burdens; rather, it analyzed whether the effects of an abortion restriction constituted a “substantial obstacle” or “undue burden” upon a woman’s access to legal abortion.

Which test the Court adopts matters a great deal. The Whole Woman’s Health test allows the Court to perform a legislative task forbidden to it under Article III of the Constitution. It allows the Court to pick and choose what evidence it wants to highlight on benefits and burdens and give almost no deference at all to state legislatures’ findings. This is equivalent to (in a famous legal phrase about cherry picking) “looking over the crowd and picking your friends.” It means more state abortion restrictions become subject to the whims of the Court’s reigning majority.

Five justices, including Chief Justice Roberts and the four dissenters, rejected the Whole Woman’s Health test. But because Roberts believed that the Louisiana law would constitute a substantial obstacle to abortion for a large fraction of Louisiana women, he voted to strike down the law, even as he disagreed with the test the majority employed to do it!

The third important question June Medical considered concerns whether or not the law makes abortion too difficult to obtain for a large number of Louisiana abortion clients. The majority held that it did. Employing detailed geographic and doctor-specific details (and even maps, printed in the opinion), the Court concluded that the vast majority of doctors and clinics would go out of business were the admitting-privileges law to stand, leaving many women without a sufficiently-close-by abortionist.

This part of the plurality opinion extended tremendous deference to the claims of the abortionists and the clinics, regarding how hard they had tried to obtain admitting privileges, and what would happen if they failed. On this matter, Justices Alito and Gorsuch were particularly appalled. Justice Alito — continuing his theme of abortionists’ conflicts of interest — pointed to the doctors’ lackluster efforts. He highlighted emails from one of the abortionists revealing that during his alleged “good faith” search for admitting privileges, he took into consideration that a denial of privileges would best support a victory for his side of the case. Justice Gorsuch noted that one Louisiana doctor already had such privileges, that one hospital was already changing its admitting-privileges rules in order to make it easier for abortionists to succeed, and that privileges requirements applied to other types of ambulatory surgical centers (for, e.g., colonoscopies, Lasik eye treatments) had not diminished the number of those centers able to continue operating.

Furthermore, even while objecting to the majority’s “balancing test,” Justice Gorsuch wrote a detailed summary of all the health benefits of the law attested by experts testifying before the Louisiana Legislature. In addition to those described above (ameliorating lax clinic rules for licensing doctors, improving clinics’ ethics and safety records), Gorsuch highlighted the testimony of women abandoned by their abortionists to seek follow-up care, after the doctors had botched their abortion procedures.

Finally, only Justice Thomas took direct aim at Roe and Casey. In memorable language, he referred to the reading of the Constitution on which it is based as “legal fiction” and the “putative right to abortion [as] a creation that should be undone.” He wrote that it is “farcical” to imagine that the legislators who created the 14th Amendment’s “due process” language intended it to protect a procedure nearly completely banned in every state and territory in the U.S. at the time it was passed. He called Roe a “demonstrably erroneous” decision.

On this subject, Gorsuch, Alito and Roberts only noted that no one had asked for a reconsideration of the constitutional right of abortion. Roberts, instead, opined that the work before the Court involved only the application of existing precedent — in this case Whole Woman’s Health and Casey — to the question of the constitutionality of the Louisiana law before it.

Helen Alvaré is a professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

For decades, the U.S. has sent unsafe contraceptives rejected by the FDA to developing nations

 

An eye-opening article from the November/December 1979 issue of Mother Jones suggests that for decades, the United States has had a “double standard” when it comes to “dumping” unsafe contraceptives in developing countries.

IUDs

Throughout the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of dangerous Dalkon Shield IUDs were distributed in 42 developing nations, despite the growing list of documented serious or life-threatening side effects experienced by U.S. women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, sepsis, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, uterine perforations, and hemorrhage. Even after the Shields were taken off the U.S. market in 1975 (after at least 17 deaths were attributable to their use), the IUDs continued to be “dumped” overseas by the United States International Agency for Development (USAID) as well as NGOs like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) that it funded.

Just as disturbing, many of the IUDs were unsterilized, provided in boxes of 1,000 with only a few applicators and instructions that were not in the language of the people administering or receiving them. This lack of standards was considered acceptable in developing nations because the IUDs were cheaper and aided the goal of population control in order to maintain U.S. economic interests, so USAID officials turned a blind eye. Women seeking care at family planning clinics in Paraguay, Israel, Tunisia, Pakistan, India, and 37 other countries were left to deal with the disastrous consequences.

High dose birth control pills

But Dalkon Shields were only the beginning of unsafe contraceptive “donations” by USAID to developing countries, writes Mother Jones. After that came the “contraceptive inundation program” in the 1970s, which ” disseminat[ed] contraceptives through any outlets, to any and all takers.” USAID and its NGO partners distributed birth control pills to countries like Bangladesh where it was available without a prescription or any medical oversight. Additionally, after U.S. health officials recommended that birth control pill dosage be decreased from 80 mcg to 50 mcg because of health risks, the 80 mcg pills became much cheaper to obtain and were distributed en masse overseas instead of their safer but more expensive counterparts.

Depo-Provera shots

The next phase of the contraceptive inundation program was a population control advocate’s dream. Depo-Provera, an injectable medication that provided contraception for three to six months at a time, did not require any effort or maintenance by users. As an added bonus, many users associated injections with “safe, effective, modern medicine.” But as Mother Jones noted, “The overseas consumer of Depo [didn’t] know that the ‘latest research’ is what prevented the contraceptive from being approved for use in the United States, and that [was] why it [was] being dumped.”

Risks

In research on animals, the shot caused breast nodules and reproductive system cancers. In humans, the shot caused severe bleeding, increased susceptibility to infection, long-term or permanent sterility, and birth defects when given accidentally to pregnant women. In breastfeeding women, it appeared to decrease their breastfed children’s susceptibility to diarrheal illness, a leading cause of infant mortality in impoverished nations.

FDA rejects for U.S., but shot distributed among poor women in other countries

On March 7, 1978, the drug maker’s manufacturer Upjohn received a letter from the FDA stating their decision not to approve the drug for use in the U.S. Despite this, Depo-Provera was distributed for “research” purposes to 8,000 poor women in San Pablo Autopan, Mexico, as well as 120,000 women in Sri Lanka, some 250,000 women in Bangladesh, and hundreds of thousands more in Thailand. One report noted that at an International Planned Parenthood-sponsored clinic in Thailand, each woman was given only 60-90 seconds for “the time to make her ‘free choice’ and have the injection….”

Though the U.S. was not the only Western nation pouring contraceptives into developing Countries, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), to its credit, decided in 1980 to stop distributing Depo-Provera overseas. SIDA found that “[t]he use of Depo-Provera needs continuous medical follow-up by health staff in a well-functioning health system. We know this is lacking in many of SIDA’s programme countries. Without a good health infrastructure, there are risks that the clients are not given enough information to make an informed choice of contraceptive method.”

Safety of shot has not improved

Given that Depo-Provera is now widely used in the United States, one might expect that its safety has drastically improved since the 1970s. This is not the case. Since 2004, the shot has had a black-box warning (used by the FDA to highlight special concerns about a drug) about the shot’s potential to decrease bone density when used long-term in young women. Decreased bone density can lead to bone fractures, and to osteoporosis later in life. This risk is logically compounded in already malnourished women living in less developed nations. These effects may not be reversible after the drug wears off.

Depo-Provera use has also been associated with an up to 40% increased risk of HIV infection, as well as increased risk of contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia, just as it was associated with increased susceptibility to infection almost 50 years ago. As a previous Live Action News article noted, “More than half of the 36.7 million people living with HIV reside in eastern or southern Africa, and DMPA [Depo-Provera] is the primary birth control used in sub-Saharan Africa. It is used by over 50 million women around the world.”

Whereas American women have ready access to treatment options if they experience significant side effects from the Depo-Provera injection or other forms of birth control, women in developing countries continue to suffer to this day from the “beneficence” of Western nations.

Facing a falling birth rate, Italy passes law to encourage families to have children

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In an effort to increase the birth rate and repair the stalled economy, Italy’s parliament passed a bill last week to encourage couples to have more children.

“The Family Act” will provide a universal monthly allowance for children to be paid to families beginning in the seventh month of pregnancy until the child turns 18, which may be in the form of a direct payment or a tax credit. These payments will be on a sliding scale based on the income of the parents. Fathers will be given ten days of mandatory paternity leave and there will be salary supplements for mothers returning to work. Each parent has the choice of taking an additional two months of leave. The government will also triple the amount of money spent to help parents pay for daycare from €1,000 to €3,000 a year depending on the parents’ income, and there will be additional allowances for children with disabilities. These changes will take effect in the next two years.

“We have approved the Family Act to support parenting, combat the falling birth rate, encourage the growth of children and young people, and … help parents reconcile … family life with work, especially for women,” said Premier Giuseppe Conte after the law’s passage.

In 2018, Italy had its lowest birth rate on record with just 464,000 births, the lowest in all of the European Union. “If Italians don’t start having more babies, you have to wonder what Italy will look like in the next few decades,” said Francesco Scalone, a demographer at the University of Bologna. Last year, the Italian government said it would begin building a plan on how to combat this issue.

While Germany and Scandinavian countries offer new fathers weeks to months of paternity leave, 10 days is double what Italian fathers had been given previously and meets the 10-day minimum paternity leave requirement of the EU. Other countries, including Singapore and Hungary, have taken similar steps to encourage couples to have more children to reverse their declining birth rates and aging populations as well. Despite the common societal belief that overpopulation is a serious threat, it is actually a decline in population that is causing problems for the economies of many nations, including the United States.

The Environmentalist Roots of the Population Control Movement

By 

Concern for our environment is the most altruistic of the several primary motivations which drive the activities of the population control movement.  Unfortunately, the leaders of many population control groups think that the best way to preserve our natural surroundings is to decrease the number of people in the world by whatever means are available.

Environmentalism and Population Control

Environmentalism has led to many drastic measures in the name of population control.

For example, we have witnessed forced abortion and sterilization programs in China, Vietnam, Peru and many other countries, partly in support of programs to preserve the environment.  There have been vast numbers of women sterilized or fitted with IUDs without their knowledge or consent for the same reason.1  Animal rights activists and environmentalists have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage with arson and sabotage, and have tried to murder researchers and loggers with nail bombs and tree spikes.  They have also published many “how-to” guides with titles such as:

  • Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching
  • Setting Fires with Electrical Timers
  • How to Sink Whalers, Driftnetters and other Environmentally Destructive Ships
  • Killing People to Save the Animals and the Environment.2

Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring is widely credited with launching the modern environmentalist movement.  Carson’s book focused on documenting the detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, with a particular emphasis on birds.  One of the deadliest impacts of this book was the banning of DDT, which was effectively used to hold down mosquito populations all over the world.  This led to a dramatic increase in the incidence of malaria, typhus and dysentery, resulting in tens of millions of additional deaths and unspeakable suffering, mostly among Africans.3  Despite this terrible tragedy and scant evidence that DDT causes harm to birds, most radical environmentalists today continue to lobby for the continued ban on the pesticide, essentially meaning that they hold bird eggs in higher esteem than the lives of poor Africans.

african boy black and white

Six years later, in 1968, Zero Population Growth founder Paul Ehrlich kicked off the modern population control movement with his atrociously-researched book The Population Bomb.  He predicted that more than 90% of the population of the United States would die of starvation and radiation sickness by 1999 in an event he called the “Great Die-Off.”4  Every one of the other major predictions he made in his book did not even come close to being fulfilled.

Despite the glaring failings of Carson’s and Ehrlich’s books, population controllers found “cover” for their activities by claiming that they were acting in the best interests of the environment, and therefore humanity at large.  Many influential people began to advocate measures that completely disregarded the most basic of human rights.  For example:

  • In 1969, Bernard Berelson, President of the Population Council, recommended punishment for large families and a widespread program of “involuntary fertility controls.”5
  • Also in 1969, Frederick S. Jaffe, Vice-President of Planned Parenthood-World Population, recommended that the United States government “encourage increased homosexuality;” place “fertility control agents in water suppl[ies],” and “require women to work and provide few child care facilities.”  He also recommended “compulsory abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies;” “compulsory sterilization of all who have two children,” and “stock certificate type permits for children.”6
  • In his 1971 book The Case for Compulsory Birth Control, Professor Edgar Chasteen proposed a stringently-enforced two-child law for the United States, with every child being immunized against fertility at the age of ten.7
  • Even the United States Postal Service jumped on the bandwagon, releasing an eight-cent stamp in 1972 showing a perfectly-groomed, white, “gender‑balanced” family joyously embarking on the wide and smooth road to the Brave New World.  The USPS proudly declared, “The new stamp will serve as a reminder for all members of our society of the current world environmental situation and the need for planning to have a better America and a better world.”8

Thanks in large part to Carson and Ehrlick, a misguided concern for the environment has led to the suggestion of drastic population control measures.

Government Response

United States Capitol

It did not take long for these views to insinuate themselves into government agencies and documents.  The 1972 Report of the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future (“The Rockefeller Report”) is larded with scores of statements and recommendations for holding down the population of the United States for the sake of the environment.  The foundational document of the United States international population control program, the 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200, echoes much of what the Commission said.

Many influential people still hold these views.  John P. Holdren, Obama’s “Science Czar,” has never repudiated the views he expressed in his book Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, which he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in 1977.  He called for seizure of all illegitimate children from their mothers, forced abortions and sterilizations for unmarried women, mandatory implantation of a reversible infertility drug in all adolescent children, a national two-child policy, and the addition of sterilizing agents to the water supplies of our nation (so long as they did not affect livestock or pets).  Most appalling of all, Holdren and the Ehrlichs recommended a United Nations-run “Planetary Regime” that would control population by whatever means necessary.

Others recommended even more extreme measures.  In 2006, Professor Eric R. Pianka of the University of Texas said that we should manufacture and then release the Ebola virus, thereby killing 90% of the world’s population in order to preserve the environment.  Pianka does not seem to care that Ebola sufferers die an agonizing death over several days as their internal organs slowly liquefy.  He said:

We’ve got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans.  Killing humans.  Think about that….We’re no better than bacteria!…And the fossil fuels are running out, so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people….You know, the bird flu’s good, too.  We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth.”9

As always, we cannot eliminate a class of people until we dehumanize them.  Hitler called the Jews “vermin,” racists called blacks “animals,” and pro-abortionists call preborn children “blobs.”

In order to eliminate people in general, we now have to dehumanize ― ourselves.

In 1966, the United States Department of State declared, “Mankind is the cancer of the planet.”10  Since that time, hundreds of influential leaders have repeated this view until it has become a virtual mantra of the environmentalist movement.11  Some have suggested that we excise this “cancer” by whatever means are available.  For example, Jacques Cousteau, said, “Our society…is a vicious circle that I compare to cancer….In order to stabilize world population we must eliminate 350,000 people a day.”12

Final Thoughts

We must not make the mistake of dismissing these people as mere cranks.  The first step towards implementing any idea, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at the time, is to talk about it.  And talk about it.  And talk about it.  This leads first to outrage among the people, then irritation, and finally indifference as they become desensitized to the message.  Twenty years ago, people laughed when radicals talked about homosexual “marriage,” but now it is being rammed down our throats while its opponents are being silenced, punished and persecuted.

You can find bumper stickers online that say “Humans are a Pestilence,” or which show the outlines of two people and say “Worst Species Ever.”  This depressing worldview is in total opposition to the Christian view of Man, who is made in the image and likeness of God.

woman hope sun

St. Paul wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?  You did make him for a little while lower than the angels, you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet” (Hebrews 2:6-8).

We must care for our natural surroundings without violating the rights of humanity.  Evangelium Vitae says:

As one called to till and look after the garden of the world, man has a specific responsibility towards the environment in which he lives, towards the creation which God has put at the service of his personal dignity, of his life, not only for the present but also for future generations.

Losing sight of this balance means the inevitable proliferation of horrible human rights abuses all over the world.

 

Endnotes

[1] Just one of these programs sterilized thousands of women in the area around Cebu City in the Philippines.  A “Safe Motherhood” program funded by the West promised to give all women in the area free pelvic examinations.  While doing so, the doctors placed IUDs in all of the women without their knowledge.  Years later, the Dominican sisters in the area, who are also qualified as medical doctors, ran clinics to remove these IUDs, many of which were impacted or had migrated into the abdominal cavity (witnessed by Brian Clowes in November 1996 in Cebu City).

[2] These books are definitely not “for entertainment purposes only.”  For electronic copies of these books, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.  The liberal establishment has defended the publication of all of these manuals under the banner of free speech; but try to imagine how they would react if somebody published a guide on how to blow up an abortion mill (oh, wait, they already screamed in outrage when someone published the anti-abortion “Army of God Manual”).

[3] Dr. Henry Miller, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Gregory Conko Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  “Rachel Carson’s Deadly Fantasies.”  Forbes Magazine, September 5, 2012.  A 1970 study by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences found that “to only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT.  In a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable.”

[4] Zero Population Growth (ZPG) founder Paul R. Ehrlich.  The Population Bomb (New York City: Ballantine Publishers), 1968; Paul R. Ehrlich.  “Looking Backward from 2000 A.D.”  The Progressive, April 1970, pages 23 to 28.

[5] Bernard Berelson.  “Beyond Family Planning.”  Studies in Family Planning (Publication of the Population Council), February 1969, pages 1-16.  For a PDF copy of this article, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[6] February 11, 1969 memorandum from Frederick S. Jaffe (Vice-President of Planned Parenthood-World Population) to Bernard Berelson (President of the Population Council) found in “Activities Relevant to the Study of Population Policy for the U.S.”  Table 1, “Examples of Proposed Measures to Reduce U.S. Fertility, by Universality or Selectivity of Impact.”  For a PDF copy of this Table, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.

[7] Edgar R. Chasteen.  The Case for Compulsory Birth Control (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice‑Hall), 1971, back cover.

[8] United States Postal Service (USPS) comments on its 1972 eight‑cent stamp.  Shown in “Family Planning Gets ‘Stamp of Approval’ from U.S. Postal Service.”  Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood newsletter, February‑March 1972, page 4.  The USPS unveiled its new “Family Planning” stamp at the winter meeting of the Planned Parenthood‑World Population Board of Directors in New York City on March 17, 1972.

[9] Professor Eric R. Pianka, University of Texas lizard expert and evolutionary ecologist, during a speech before the Texas Academy of Science.  He received an enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation for his remarks, and five hours later, the President of the Texas Academy of Science awarded him the title of 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.  Reported by Forrest S. Mims III.  “Meeting Doctor Doom.”  The Citizen Scientist, March 31, 2006.

[10] “U.S. Presents Views on Population Growth and Economic Development.”  Department of State Bulletin, January 31, 1966, page 176.

[11] Some examples of famous people referring to mankind as a “cancer:”

  1. Third-trimester abortionist Warren Hern (“Anthropologist Symposium Calls Human Beings a Cancer Infecting Planet Earth.”  Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) Friday FAX, January 1, 1999).
  2. Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, in a November 1991 UNESCO Courier interview.
  3. Environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki (Victoria Branden.  “The Abortion Merry‑Go‑Round.”  Humanist in Canada, Autumn 1989, pages 14 to 15).
  4. National Park Service Research biologist David Graber (“Mother Nature as a Hothouse Flower.”  Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 22, 1989, page 10).
  5. Dr. Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachusetts, coauthor of the “Gaia Hypothesis” (“Anthropologist Symposium Calls Human Beings a Cancer Infecting Planet Earth.”  Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (CAFHRI) Friday FAX, January 1, 1999).
  6. Ingrid Newkirk, Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who famously said, “We [humans] have grown like a cancer.  We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth” (Charles Oliver. “Liberation Zoology.”  Reason Magazine, June 1990, pages 22 to 27).

[12] Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau in a November 1991 UNESCO Courier interview.

Documentary filmmaker and guest discuss birth control’s ‘anti-Black history’

 

A recent Instagram discussion between documentary producer Ricki Lake (“The Business of Being Born” and the forthcoming “The Business of Birth Control” slated for release later in 2020), and Chelsea VonChaz, co-founder of #HappyPeriod, centered on “The Anti-Black History of Birth Control.”

During the discussion, VonChaz admitted that ‘birth control has this kind of dark connection with eugenics, population control, and just the feeling of superiority, or feeling as if this specific intelligence or this specific trait—physical trait—is superior over the other….” She added that “because of racism… so many individuals… in the past used fake news, fake science, fake research to uplift the narrative that whites are better and Black is not.”

And this philosophy—that Black women were ‘less than’—led to human atrocities. “… [A] lot of individuals who [were] men, specifically, white men… spent a lot of time experimenting on Black bodies and Black female bodies, and using their research findings as a means to push the narrative [of racism] in the healthcare system,” added VonChaz.

Lake responded, “So when was this happening? Because I know that Margaret Sanger has a complicated history.” But here, Lake is being much too generous with Sanger, a staunch eugenicist who believed the “unfit” should not reproduce and who stacked her American Birth Control League (which later became Planned Parenthood) with white supremacists and fellow eugenicists.

While VonChaz had not referenced Sanger, she immediately referenced Sanger’s work in the 1920s and 30s—and in particular, the Negro Project, which she said gave Sanger “a lot more success within the Black community, claiming that “when [Sanger] and her group went to the South… they saw that in the 30s pretty much everyone was suffering.” She continued, “So they just felt like ‘ok, well, since they are famished, since a lot of their babies are dying because they don’t have good diets, maybe it’s solely because they are the lesser race, the weaker race, and maybe they really don’t want to have kids, maybe we should figure out how we can “empower” them in a way.’”

But the Negro Project had nothing to do with empowering Black women, and everything to do with finding a way to halt their reproduction. And VonChaz seemed to have a sense of this, because she added an immediate caveat:

I actually—to be honest with you—I’m really iffy with Sanger because there’s really no proof to what her intention was when it came to [the Negro Project]…. Is she for the “advancement” of whiteness or was she really for women in general? Especially when they started the Negro Project. That was when they went into Black communities, they told Black mothers, “Hey, take this pill, take this powder [birth control was originally developed as a powder]…. This will help you….”

This was a way of them connecting with women and connecting with communities and they would also even use organizations like churches to get the word out, but there was nothing as far as going back into the community and building the community, so of course all of the funding would go back into Sanger or into the Negro Project. Nothing would go towards aiding the women at the time.

Rather than addressing malnutrition and other causes of high infant mortality in the Black community at the time, Sanger’s “solution” was birth control and more birth control – and later, Planned Parenthood pushed for the legalization of abortion. Little has changed; today, Planned Parenthood still offers only abortion as a “solution.” As a result, Black women have 38% of all abortions in the U.S. even as Black Americans make up just 12% of the population.

VonChaz added that this “project” bled over into other projects through the decades where the “Black body was the subject, the Black body was the guinea pig” for medical research, and “unfortunately, some women were sterilized without even knowing it.”

She was referring to the trials of the early birth control pill on “women of color across the diaspora, from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, the majority of the studies being in Puerto Rico, where women used this product and they ended up being sterilized. A lot of them also ended up being very, very sick and actually did not know why they were sick.” As Lake noted, informed consent for these women was virtually nonexistent, and they were left alone in an impoverished U.S. territory with no resources to deal with the consequences.

As she made clear near the end of the Instagram video, VonChaz does not consider herself pro-life, specifically stating, “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, she’s anti-birth control. She’s anti-choice.’” But as she also made clear during the video, with a little research, anyone can come to understand the racist origins of birth control.

NIH approves 70 new human embryonic stem cell lines for use in federally funded research

By Paul Smeaton

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved 70 new embryonic stem cell lines for use in projects eligible for federally funded research.

The new cell lines, which come from human embryos created and destroyed in a laboratory, were approved by the NIH last month. The new cell lines come from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel.

Despite President Donald Trump’s many pro-life accomplishments, pro-lifers have expressed concern about NIH director Francis Collins, an Obama appointee who has defended research using tissue from aborted babies. In 2018, the March for Life and Live Action called for Collins to be ousted.

Collins’ replacement should be “someone who recognizes that children who are killed by abortion should be mourned, not experimented on,” Live Action President Lila Rose said at the time.

President George W. Bush’s administration banned public funding of research involving the creation of new stem cell lines through the destruction of new human embryos. In other words, he stopped taxpayer funding of the creation of new human beings in laboratories whose sole purpose for being created was so they could then be destroyed for research.

During Bush’s presidency, private funding of such research was not prohibited, and research using existing stem cell lines was permitted to continue.

But in 2009, shortly after he first assumed office, via executive order, President Barack Obama reversed Bush’s ban on public funding for research involving new stem cell lines created through the destruction of new human embryos.

Last year the Trump administration removed funding from some projects using human fetal tissue from aborted babies. The administration also instituted a policy which had the effect of making it more difficult for projects which use fetal tissue from aborted babies to receive federal funding. However, federal funding applications for projects using embryonic stem cells or embryonic cell lines were not impacted and the policy specifically excluded them in its definition of research involving human fetal tissue.

Pope John Paul II: Abortion is an “Evil” That Denies “The Basic Value of Human Life”

MARIA GALLAGHER   JUN 22, 2020

The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of an incredible document defending the sanctity of human life.

Evangelium Vitae [“The Gospel of Life”] by Pope John Paul II has definitely stood the test of time. Its powerful arguments are as relevant today as they were two-and-a-half decades ago.

The Pontiff issued this warning about attacks on human life:

…not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

In contrast, Pope John Paul II offered his “Gospel of Life”:

…the splendour of truth which enlightens consciences, the clear light which corrects the darkened gaze, and the unfailing source of faithfulness and steadfastness in facing the ever new challenges which we meet along our path.

The Pope also presented a powerful Biblical rationale for preserving and protecting life from the very moment of conception.

The New Testament revelation confirms the indisputable recognition of the value of life from its very beginning. The exaltation of fruitfulness and the eager expectation of life resound in the words with which Elizabeth rejoices in her pregnancy: “The Lord has looked on me … to take away my reproach among men” (Lk 1:25). And even more so, the value of the person from the moment of conception is celebrated in the meeting between the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth, and between the two children whom they are carrying in the womb. It is precisely the children who reveal the advent of the Messianic age: in their meeting, the redemptive power of the presence of the Son of God among men first becomes operative.

The Gospel of Life is available online here. In these difficult days, reading or re-reading this classic work can help give you the strength you need to speak out boldly and convincingly for the sacredness of life.

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Gallagher is the Legislative Director and Political Action Committee Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

Sacred Heart of Jesus: A Pro-Life Heart!

By Dr Jeanette Pinto

June is the month devoted to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It reminds us of the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of God’s revelation of Himself to us. Not too long ago the Holy Father Pope Francis declared: “Mercy is the Lord’s most powerful message.” Where does this mercy come from? You guessed right- from the loving Heart of Jesus. He truly has a Pro-life heart.

With the Indian summer just coming to an end everyone braving the monsoon with the wind and rain which is welcoming and soothing. It is like welcoming the sight of an oasis in a desert. The heat of the sun and the humidity can be exhausting and life ebbing. A person exposed to this bears a tired body which languishes for nourishment and the sagging spirit deeply desires to be uplifted; that is exactly when a person longs for the sight of an oasis.  Truly then the month of June is welcome as it becomes joyful, life giving and exhilarating. It is also exciting after a long vacation to look forward to a new season and routine for children and family.

We have all been babies once upon a time. Babies have hearts that radiate love like the sun in the tropics. But as we grow up, the bumps and bruises, and hardships of life gradually force us to layer our heart with toughness and defensiveness locking the love inside and disallowing the love of people from entering. The common factors that close the heart are Fear, Resentment, Unsolved grief, Jealousy, Pain, Attachments, and Ego. This leaves us with a closed or cluttered heart. Only selfless people can keep their hearts always open like Jesus, Mother Mary and extraordinary human beings like Mother Teresa. The radiance of their open merciful, compassionate hearts is likened to a ‘pro-life mystery.’ They are fully life-giving.

If anyone wants to have a pro-life heart then kindness is the key to unlock the Love, Compassion and Forgiveness present in this mysterious heart.  When your heart is filled with love, you feel happy and peaceful for no external reason. The basic energy is the loving, life-giving energy of the heart. Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to reach out, help another and soothe his pain.  It literally means “to suffer together”. In order to cultivate compassion in others, we should start modelling kindness and show love first in the family, where each person can experience very deeply and intimately the love of Jesus. It can be quite contagious and spreads to friends, neighbours and others around.

Resentment which is past anger is normally built over months and years; it is the junk that clogs the free flow of love in and out of your heart. It also forms a crust over the heart like plaque making it hard and perhaps diseased. In that situation forgiveness is the only universal solvent that washes the crust away. When you open your heart and allow yourself to fill it with love, you will feel the clouds around your heart wafting and dispersing. When you ask for forgiveness you are saying, “Please take me back into your heart.” Imagine how you would feel when slowly the layers of resentment and pain peel off with forgiveness. Many gifts and blessings will follow and be bestowed upon you.  When we make this our motto in life it will help create a unique society. We need to reach out to others as channels of mercy and compassion.

The life of Jesus is rooted in love; all the miracles he worked were the result of his Pro-life heart. His love is total and unconditional; His heart is sensitive and responsive to the needs of all his people. His love is universal, embracing all, the rich, the poor, the dregs of society, the prostitute the sinner et al.  He does not refuse anyone. Jesus’ love is persevering and enduring to the end. His love unites and binds together in community. Truly His Sacred heart is patient, forgiving, active, practical and efficacious to the end.

As we rejoice in His glory we remember the gifts of His Heart and feel drawn us closer to His love. May the Prolife heart of Jesus bring all humankind into His kingdom of justice, peace and love.


Dr Jeanette Pinto, an educator for the past 5 decades, headed the Department of History was Vice Principal of St. Xavier’s College Mumbai, and retired as Principal of Sophia College, Mumbai.  She is a counsellor and conductor of Personal Enrichment Programmes for students and teachers.

She set up the Human Life Committee in the Archdiocese of Bombay.  As a sex educator she has given talks on Human Sexuality in India and abroad. In 2014 she received the Rachana Outstanding Woman of the Year for her Pro-life work presented by the Diocese of Mangalore.  She has attended many National and International Pro-life conferences and given talks at other fora on various women’s issues.

She is author of a couple of books, her most recent ones are titled: I’m Pro-Life Are you? & Sex Talk: Parent to Child. She has also written a number of articles on a variety of themes and subjects, which have been published in research journals, The Examiner and other Catholic publications.

Scientists Edited Genes of Unborn Babies. When the Experiment Failed, They Killed the Babies

MICAIAH BILGER

An experiment that involved editing the DNA of unborn babies at their earliest stage of life and then destroying them ended in disaster, scientists in London reported this month.

Medium reports the research by biologist Kathy Niakan and her team at the Francis Crick Institute is being widely regarded as a warning sign about the dangers of trying to create a genetically modified human being.

Niakan used the CRISPR gene-editing technology to experiment on 25 human embryos, all less than 14 days old, according to the report. Although the embryos were in their earliest stage of life, they already were individual human beings with their own unique DNA.

According to the report, the London scientists used CRISPR to remove a gene known as POU5F1 in 18 of the embryos. Afterward, when they examined the 18 embryos and compared them to the seven that had not had their DNA edited, the scientists said about half had major DNA abnormalities that they did not intend.

Though the full impact of DNA editing is unknown, the scientists predicted that the abnormalities could cause birth defects, cancer and other problems, the report states. It also is unknown how DNA edits could affect any future children of those children.

Here’s more from the report:

The researchers then used sophisticated computational methods to analyze all of the embryos. What they found was that of the edited embryos, 10 looked normal but eight had abnormalities across a particular chromosome. Of those, four contained inadvertent deletions or additions of DNA directly adjacent to the edited gene.

A major safety concern with using CRISPR to fix faulty DNA in people has been the possibility for “off-target” effects, which can happen if the CRISPR machinery doesn’t edit the intended gene and mistakenly edits someplace else in the genome. But Niakan’s paper sounds the alarm for so-called “on-target” edits, which result from edits to the right place in the genome but have unintended consequences.

After the experiment, the scientists said they destroyed all the embryos.

Genetic experts at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania reacted strongly to the research and warned other scientists about moving forward with similar experiments.

Professor Fyodor Urnov at UC Berkeley said the disastrous results should be regarded as a “restraining order for all genome editors to stay the living daylights away from embryo editing.”

Kiran Musunuru, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said the experiment suggests DNA editing is much more complicated and dangerous than initially thought.

“What that means is that you’re not just changing the gene you want to change, but you’re affecting so much of the DNA around the gene you’re trying to edit that you could be inadvertently affecting other genes and causing problems,” Musunuru said.

For pro-life advocates, the experiment is troubling on multiple levels. The destruction of human life, no matter how early, is always wrong. From the moment of conception, unborn babies are unique, living human beings. Yet, their bodies are destroyed and used for experiments in laboratories across the world.

Genetic editing also has many concerned about the possibility of “designer babies,” or children whose genes have been edited to produce desired traits, such as height, hair color and sex.

In late 2018, a Chinese scientist caused international outrage after he announced that he had successfully changed the DNA of twin girls Lulu and Nana when they were embryos. The experiment involved editing a gene associated with HIV infections to make the twins resistant. One of the problems with the experiment, however, is that no one knows the effects of genetically altered DNA on human beings or their offspring.

In December, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported the scientist, He Jiankui, was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally practicing medicine and fined 3 million yuan (about $430,000).

Meanwhile, international health agencies are considering international guidelines for genetic editing.

Research Supports Educating Men in Fertility Awareness

https://www.factsaboutfertility.org/research-supports-educating-men-in-fertility-awareness/

Overview

This randomized controlled trial done in Sweden assessed whether the fertility awareness counseling tool known as Reproductive Life Plan (RLP) could increase men’s fertility awareness. The authors sought to address the limited awareness many people have about the factors that affect their fertility. They noted this lack of fertility awareness was especially problematic for men, at least partly due to the general paucity of attention directed at men’s reproductive health both in terms of education and research.

Background

The Reproductive Life Plan provides a structured format for people to consider whether or not they are interested in having children in the future. It is intended to motivate individuals to reflect on their reproductive goals and create a plan to achieve them. Additionally, it creates the setting for a conversation with a health care professional, during which patients can discuss factors that affect their fertility. RLP-based counseling has been shown to have positive results with women. However, prior to this research, it had not yet been studied in men.

Methodology

This trial included 201 men ages 18-50 who visited one of two sexual health clinics in Sweden for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. All 201 men received the care and STI testing for which they presented to the clinic. Additionally, 101 of them (the intervention group) received oral and written RLP-based information about fertility and lifestyle factors that can affect fertility. The RLP-based counseling was carried out by nurse midwives who, in Sweden, are responsible for much of the sexual and reproductive health care for healthy young adults.

During the RLP-counseling session, the nurse midwives consulted a list of fertility facts as a guideline and checked off any topics that were discussed. Furthermore, they emphasized relevant fertility information and lifestyle recommendations based on a predetermined checklist. After the counseling session, participants were sent home with a brochure about male fertility and lifestyle.

Assessment

The authors assessed any change in the men’s fertility awareness by administering a questionnaire before the intervention, and comparing the results via a telephone survey administered three months later. The initial questionnaire included general background questions, six open-ended questions about reproduction, and two open-ended questions about lifestyle factors relevant to fertility. The questions sought to assess the participants’ general knowledge about male fertility and reproduction. As an example, one question stated, “How long does sperm usually survive in the uterus/fallopian tubes after intercourse?”

The follow-up phone survey occurred three months after the RLP-counseling session, and the participants were asked the same knowledge questions as they had during the initial assessment. All the answers were given a score of 0-2 points based on a correction template, with the maximum possible total score being 12 points.

Results

In terms of participant characteristics, many had STI’s (75% had Chlamydia), one out of three (33%) had been involved in at least one pregnancy, and most of those resulted in induced abortions. 71% of participants wanted children in the future and, for the intervention group, the number of men who stated they wanted children increased from 58% before the intervention to 76% at follow-up.

Regarding the six general fertility questions, men in the intervention group increased their average score from 4.6 to 5.5, whereas there was no improvement in the control group. Regarding the two questions about lifestyle factors, men in the intervention group increased their average number of accurate lifestyle factors listed from 3.6 to 4.4, while the control group had no improvement.

As for feedback received about the RLP-counseling, some participants suggested a mobile application would be helpful. Three out of four participants (75%) noted they would likely make a pre-conception lifestyle adjustment if planning for a pregnancy.

Discussion

This research suggests RLP-based counseling targeted toward men can increase fertility awareness and ultimately help men adjust lifestyle factors that may impact their fertility. Given the fact that the recruited participants were all seeking STI testing, an important next step will be to determine if this research is reproducible with a larger, more diverse patient population.

Editor’s Note: It is encouraging to see this type of research taking place during a time when many couples are seeking healthier, safer, and more natural alternatives for family planning. The research by Bodin et al uncovered limited knowledge in the population studied concerning potential impact of age, weight, STI’s, and chemicals known to affect the endocrine system. It also identified and attempted to rectify misinformation about factors the men thought impact fertility, yet studies have shown they do not. We hope future research will incorporate more strategies to provide pre-conception counseling to educate men about modifiable lifestyle factors impacting their fertility.

Resources
[i] Bodin M, Tydén T, Käll L, Larsson M. Can Reproductive Life Plan-based counselling increase men’s fertility awareness? Ups J Med Sci. 2018;123(4):255‐263. doi:10.1080/03009734.2018.1541948.

Moral, Social Damage Done By Pill Still Disturbing

By FR. GEORGE WELZBACHER

Forty years have passed since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first authorized physicians to prescribe a drug that would subvert the institution of motherhood. May 9, 1960, was the day on which the authorization was granted; it was, by ironic coincidence, the day after Mothers’ Day. The drug, of course, was Enovid, a/k/a “the pill.”

Developed by Dr. Gregory Pincus and Dr. John Rock and manufactured by the Searle Pharmaceutical company, “the pill” was hailed by feminists at the time as a great liberator, providing women for the first time in history with a level playing field, allowing women as equals to compete with men in the work force and in the pursuit of sexual pleasure. For women who preferred a more formal and lasting commitment rather than the one-night stand, marriage itself, so went the prevailing wisdom, would be transformed by the new freedom from the encumbrance of unwanted children.

Every child would henceforth be a welcomed child and the fear — or the reality — of unwanted children would no longer put marriages under stress.

There were, to be sure, certain naysayers who did not line up promptly to salute the pill as an unmixed ‘benefaction. The Catholic Church, after careful study, found oral contraceptives to be nothing more than a more sophisticated method of frustrating God’s plan for the upbuilding of mankind.
Even certain secular thinkers were expressing concern at the likelihood of the collapse of sexual guidelines that had proved to be beneficial over time. Some political economists were fretting in public about the pill’s potential for catastrophic reduction in population levels, though such were gainsaid by the larger throngs of alarmist “experts” who feared that the Earth had already far too many people for the planet’s limited resources to sustain. And some physicians could be heard muttering in the corner about the pill’s potentially deleterious effects on women’s health.

But these demurrers were in the minority. The crowd was shouting: “Three cheers for the pill!”
Looking back from our vantage point today, we can see that there was reason indeed for second thoughts about the pill. In its original form, the pill had a dangerously high concentration of synthetic variants of progesterone and estrogen. That such was the case is attested by the fact that current forms in use today have less than a hundredth of the estrogen dosage found in the original form of the pill. Even at the time of the pill’s introduction, astute observers took note of the fact that while many physicians were assuring the public that the pill was perfectly safe, not a few of those physicians were loath to recommend the use of this medication to their own wives.

In a commemorative article in The New York Times (May 9 issue), Health reporter Jane Brody writes, “For the first time millions of young, healthy women were taking a potent drug every day, raising legitimate concerns about the drug-induced health risk. . . . And, as predicted, serious, even fatal, complications did occur among users of oral contraceptives, especially among women who smoked or were over 35 and those who used the early high-dose pills. These problems prompted a host of warnings and stimulated research that resulted in safer products containing far smaller hormone doses.”
Brody goes on to comment, however, that even the mini-doses available today are by no means utterly risk-free. “The pill today is sold with an insert mandated by the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) and filled with . . . facts, figures, and warnings that . . . women . . . should know if they wish to avoid becoming a statistic. Blood clots, which can result in heart attacks, strokes, thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, or vision-impairing eye damage, are the most common serious side effects and are most likely to occur in women who smoke and in older women. A smoker in her middle to late 20s is seven times as likely to die as a non-smoker from the pill-related clots, and the older the woman, the more smoking increases her risk if she also takes the pill.

“Women who have already had a clot-related disorder are advised not to take the pill. Women who have had cancers of the breast, lining of the uterus (endometrium), cervix, or vagina are advised not to take the pill, since it is possible that the hormones it contains could stimulate the growth of such cancers. . . . While there is at present no clear evidence that the pill increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, women taking the pill who have strong family histories of breast cancer or those who have had breast nodules or abnormal mammograms should be monitored closely by a doctor.”
Thus the risk to a woman’s physical health present in the use of oral contraceptives is by no means negligible even today. But the moral and social and even economic damage wrought by the pill is equally disturbing. Today every nation in Europe is rapidly aging as the number of children drops well below — in the case of Russia, drops far below — the number needed just to preserve the numerical status quo, let alone to maintain a vigorous growth in the economy.

What masks the situation in the United States is massive immigration. On the moral front, the pill has vastly popularized the “playboy philosophy” among men. So many men in the age of the pill now look upon women as little more than casual accomplices in sensual satisfaction, accomplices to be nonchalantly discarded as fresh accomplices come upon the scene. A woman’s dignity as potentially a mother, to be revered by her children and by her faithful husband, is swept away.
And if, against expectation, a child is conceived from such casual liaisons, this turn of events is now thought to be the woman’s “fault”; it is accordingly her responsibility to provide a “solution” for the “problem,” either by aborting the child or by rearing it on her own.

The liberated male admits no obligation: “If you had taken the pill we wouldn’t have this problem” is his likely retort as he heads out the door.

The moral harm wrought by the pill within marriage has been similarly calamitous. Our national divorce rate of 50 percent is the predictable outcome of the prevailing mindset in which, thanks to the pill, the humble and complete gift of oneself to one’s spouse is replaced by exploitation of the other in self-centered satisfaction in the impeded marriage act. Living side by side with another person soon becomes intolerable in the absence of mutual respect. And when one regards one’s partner as mainly a means to one’s own selfish ends, mutual respect will wither and die.

To regard another person as a means to an end is to reduce that person to the status of a thing, an instrument to be manipulated for one’s own advantage. One can offer another person no greater insult. That is precisely what contraception does. Accordingly contraception erodes the foundations of a stable and happy marriage.

The most destructive impact of contraception, however, is what it does to one’s relationship with God. The pill frustrates the natural order by telling a biochemical lie. The hormonal content of the pill sends a woman’s body a false signal to the effect that she has already conceived. Nature being thus deceived, ovulation is suppressed and actual conception becomes impossible as long as the false signal is maintained. Thus the basis of the pill’s effectiveness in frustrating the natural order is cleverly orchestrated mendacity. As such, it carries the family features of the “Father of Lies.”

To reject in any fashion the natural order governing human relations is to reject the order’s author, Almighty God. To reject that order in a serious matter is to separate oneself from God. Since human life is preeminently sacred, to misuse the sources of human life is to sin in a serious matter, i.e., to commit a mortal sin. Contraceptive misuse of sexual power is accordingly seriously sinful. In thus separating the soul from God, contraception empties the soul of grace and of that fullness of peace that is the companion of grace, the peace that God wishes each soul to possess, to possess already in this life.
Far worse, contraception, in separating the soul from God, places the soul in danger of losing God for eternity.

Taken all in all, and in each point severally, the Age of the Pill has been a disaster.

Women need to understand the Effects of Birth Control on Their Bodies and Hormones

Most American women use some type of contraception in their lifetimes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 13% of women aged 15 to 49 are currently on the pill, while about 10% use an intrauterine device or contraceptive implant.

Those birth control options are often touted as safe and effective methods for preventing pregnancy or addressing hormonal imbalances.

But Dr. Jolene Brighten suggests that isn’t the whole story. Dr. Brighten, a naturopathic physician and women’s health specialist by training, explores the effects hormones can have on women’s health.

That’s why she wrote the book “Beyond the Pill: A 30-Day Program to Balance Your Hormones, Reclaim Your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill,” to delve deep into the issues that can arise with the use of the pill.

“I wanted to provide women with a user’s manual for their bodies and give them the information I wish I’d been given early in life,” Dr. Brighten said.

If women are diagnosed with a hormonal issue, they’re often offered the pill as the first — or sometimes only — solution. But Dr. Brighten seeks to educate women about the effects hormone imbalances can have on their well-being. The book also offers advice to remedy these imbalances through lifestyle changes, supplements, and nutritional modifications.

Some women experience side effects when they start birth control, including hair loss, lagging libido, extreme fatigue, and chronic infection. And those issues aren’t always taken seriously by their doctors. But women may not realize that they don’t have to live with those problems. Dr. Brighten discusses in her book how to locate the root cause of hormonal issues, attain a pain-free, manageable period free of cramps, acne, stress or PMS, and how to support liver detox, among other helpful topics.

“The book also provides them with tools to have a more productive conversation with their doctors and monitor and support their health if they do choose hormonal birth control,” Dr. Brighten said.

In addition to books, her website, www.drbrighten.com, has articles and resources to help women identify their symptoms and have more informed interactions with their doctors.

Birth Control May Not Be Right for Every Woman

Dr. Brighten said she doesn’t think women always have the right tools to understand their own bodies. Instead, she believes that women are often recommended birth control without clearly understanding its risks.

Birth control can lead to a variety of issues in women, including thyroid dysfunction, adrenal problems, loss of libido, menstrual irregularities, PMS, and anxiety.

Women don’t always link these problems to birth control or hormones, however. Until they read Dr. Brighten’s writings or consult with her, many believe they have to live with these symptoms.

“We serve women all over the world who are struggling and feeling dismissed by doctors about their concerns,” Dr. Brighten said.

But Dr. Brighten said she doesn’t think that birth control is inherently bad. Instead, she said she believes that women should have all the information about it when making choices about what to put in their bodies.

Nutritional Advice and Supplement Guidance Promote Hormonal Health

In addition to reaching a global audience with her writing, Dr. Brighten is also a clinician who works with clients.

In her clinical practice, she focuses on teaching women to make better choices that support their wellness. Often, that focus turns to diet and supplement changes to promote hormonal balance.

Dr. Brighten’s expertise on the connection between women’s hormones and nutrition informs those recommendations. She also shares that nutritional healing advice on her website.

“As both my family and myself leverage supplements, I wanted to have a line of the highest quality products I could trust to give to my family and take myself. One of our core values is to think about our customers like our family,” Dr. Brighten said.

Trump Admin Fights UN, WHO Efforts to Use COVID-19 to Spread Abortion

In April of this year, President Trump temporarily halted funding from the World Health Organization over concerns that it had grossly mishandled the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, he has threatened to make the decision to withhold funding permanent.

For the WHO, the loss of U.S. funding is no small thing: The U.S.’s contributions of some $400-$500 million per year to the WHO amount to approximately 14 percent of the organization’s operating budget.

However, for pro-life Americans—and indeed pro-life individuals globally—the Trump administration’s decision was welcome for a reason completely separate from the organization’s missteps on the pandemic. The WHO has long been one of the most pro-abortion organizations on the planet, using the ostensibly humanitarian nature of its mission as cover to promote the killing of preborn babies throughout the world.

The same is true of a number of departments and organizations associated with the United Nations. The UN was founded as a political body intended to protect peace and uphold human rights around the world, yet large segments have been hijacked by radical pro-abortion activists. Disturbingly, the UN’s pro-abortion agenda has been on prominent display throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as various agencies—including the WHO—have attempted to promote abortion access as somehow being a crucial part of the response to the pandemic.

Trump Admin Opposes Hijacking COVID-19 for Abortion Advocacy

Thankfully, the Trump administration has been at the forefront of the efforts to get out ahead of this anti-life agenda.

In a letter dated May 18, John Barsa, the acting USAID administrator, blasted the United Nations’ drafted “Global Humanitarian Response Plan.” The Global HRP is supposed to be the UN’s formal reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, laying out a united global plan for how to respond. However, instead of putting a laser focus on the pandemic, the statement included troubling and divisive language promoting abortion.

In his letter, Barsa urged the UN not to use the pandemic “as an opportunity to advance access to abortion as an ‘essential service.’” “Unfortunately,” Barsa continued, “the Global HRP does just this, by cynically placing the provision of ‘sexual and reproductive health services’ on the same level of importance as food-insecurity, essential health care, malnutrition, shelter, and sanitation. Most egregious is that the Global HRP calls for the widespread distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and abortion supplies, and for the promotion of abortion in local country settings.”

Barsa made it clear to UN Secretary General António Guterres that the U.S. will—quoting President Trump’s address to the UN—“never tire of defending innocent life.” “Indeed, the UN should not intimidate or coerce Member States that are committed to the right to life,” he continued. “To use the COVID-19 pandemic as a justification to pressure governments to change their laws is an affront to the autonomy of each society to determine its own national policies on health care. The United States stands with nations that have pledged to protect the unborn.”

Amen. I will never tire of seeing the leadership of our country stepping forward and boldly defending the dignity and right to life of the preborn on the global stage.

Just last week, the Trump administration also rejected another attempt to insert pro-abortion language into a UN document. In a statement entitled the “U.S. Mission to the United Nations,” the administration said that it would not sign on to the proposed resolution for the 2020 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment at the UN, specifically due to the inclusion of the terms “sexual and reproductive health care services” and “sexual and reproductive health.” These terms are understood by many UN bureaucrats to include not only contraception, but legalized abortion.

“The United States rejects any interpretation of international human rights to require any State Party to provide access to abortion,” the U.S. statement said bluntly.

Austin Ruse, the head of the pro-life organization C-FAM, which lobbies at the UN, said in response: “This is a great victory for pro-lifers around the world who are justifiably concerned that COVID funding would be used to promote abortion in humanitarian assistance. We thank the Trump administration for taking this strong stance in favor of true humanitarian assistance and in favor of the unborn child.”

The WHO’s Extensive Abortion Advocacy

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his dismay that international organizations were using their clout to promote abortion, particularly in third world nations. He wrote:

Some non-governmental organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific healthcare policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favor of its juridical recognition.

The Holy Father wrote movingly of the ills that NGOs are guilty of when they promote abortion instead of authentic development. “Openness to life is at the center of true development,” he said. He continued:

When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.

Unfortunately, as one recent in-depth study makes clear, the WHO—which should, by virtue of its name, be promoting health—is one of the leading organizations promoting the “suppression of life” rather than an “openness to life.” In a white paper entitled The World Health Organization’s Abortion Overreach, Dr. Rebecca Oas exposes how the WHO is lobbying to legalize abortion throughout the world and strives to make abortion more prevalent by promoting the use of dangerous abortion drugs, including those taken without medical supervision. She also exposes how, in some cases, the WHO has trained doctors in pro-life countries to perform abortions and promotes “comprehensive sexuality education” that includes pro-abortion propaganda aimed at children. In addition, her white paper explains how the WHO’s abortion advocacy has distracted the organization from addressing the actual healthcare needs of women and infants.

Dr. Oas traces many of these shady activities to the WHO’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (SRH). Behind the SRH is a group of wealthy, pro-abortion Western nations and nonprofits—including the Ford, MacArthur, and Packard Foundations—as well as (unsurprisingly) International Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, in the latest records available (2016-17), the United States was also listed as a donor to the SRH.

Another outsized influence, observes Dr. Oas, is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the second largest donor to the WHO, second only to the United States. Dr. Oas notes that the influence of this foundation is troubling, since it “derives its influence from the wealth of a single family, and is not subject to the norms that govern the UN and its agencies, such as the need for global consensus.” While the Gates Foundation carefully massages its messaging to focus on contraception rather than abortion, it also donates huge sums of money to leading abortion organizations, like Marie Stopes International and International Planned Parenthood. With the Gates Foundations’ deep pockets and enormous influence at the WHO, it’s unsurprising that the WHO has increasingly openly promoted abortion, despite the opposition to abortion held by many UN Member States.

In the end, the clear picture that emerges from the evidence presented by Dr. Oas is that the WHO is diligently working to give a veneer of credibility to abortion by calling it “essential health care” and then using its considerable wealth and power to impose abortion—in flagrant violation of the law if necessary—in developing nations. The same is true of other UN agencies, including the UN Population Fund, UN Women, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). With a $50-billion-a-year budget, the UN is arguably the biggest engine of the Culture of Death today. That is why pro-lifers everywhere can celebrate the Trump administration’s decision to halt funding to the WHO as well as to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with its horrific history of supporting coercive abortion and sterilization.

However, as Dr. Oas argues, it is time to go further. Until the UN and WHO stop meddling in the affairs of pro-life nations and pushing the killing of innocent human beings under the guise of “health care,” they should never again receive another dime of U.S. taxpayer money.

Your heart on birth control

Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Heart Health

The two primary female reproductive hormones are estrogen and progesterone. When estrogen zigs, progesterone zags. They are like foil characters that have important balancing characteristics. We see the impact of this balancing act on our bone health, mood stabilization, and even our libido. We also see it in our heart health: recent research has found a connection between cardiac functioning and our natural monthly cycles of endogenous estrogen and progesterone, and it has also indicated a relationship between our cycles and heart disease risk. As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for post-menopausal women, it is crucial to understand why and how Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs) can help.

The estrogen-dominant phase of the menstrual cycle is often referred to as spring and summer: Libido is high, the endometrium proliferates and grows, brain cells are stimulated, and bone mass is built. Following this is the progesterone-dominant phase, which is often compared to fall and winter: Libido drops, moods are stabilized, the endometrium maintains, and brain cells restore and repair, as does bone mass.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, taking charge of your fertility, know more about your body, understanding fertility, understanding fertility health, improving fertility health, improving women's health, natural birth control, heart health, reasons women need periods, women need menstrual cycles, women need periods, heart health and menstrual cycle, periods and heart health, ovulation and heart health, fertility and heart health, estrogen and heart disease, progesterone and heart disease, hormones and heart diseaseAs these hormones have an effect on our brain, bones, libido, and moods, it should come as no surprise that even our heart is affected by them, too.

Your heart loves your hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone)

Recent findings show that resting heart rates follow distinct patterns across the menstrual cycle. Resting heart rate is slower in the menstrual and follicular phase (the first half of the cycle, when estrogen dominates), while it is significantly faster in the ovulatory and luteal phase (the second half of the cycle, when progesterone dominates).

We also know that estrogen has a preventative effect on coronary artery calcification (CAC). CAC can cause blood vessels to narrow and lead to the development of heart disease, but estrogen helps prevent the buildup of calcium in the arteries. Estrogen also positively influences myocardial contractile reserve, which gives the heart the ability to pump harder when it needs to, and to rest easier when it doesn’t.

Progesterone plays an important role in cardiovascular health, too: it decreases blood pressure through vasodilation and decreases angiotensin-II vaso-responsiveness. Vaso what? Angiotensin-II is a blood vessel constrictor that increases blood pressure, and progesterone helps moderate that response. See? Zig and zag.

When you pair these effects of estrogen and progesterone on cardiovascular functioning with other research that connects reproductive factors and incidence of heart failure, the importance of the cyclical effects of these hormones for optimal heart health becomes even more striking. In a 2017 paper, researchers found that a “shorter total reproductive duration [defined as the time from menarche to menopause] was associated with a higher risk of incident total heart failure hospitalization in post menopausal women.”

More research is needed to determine the exact relationship between endogenous (that is, naturally occurring) progesterone and estrogen exposure, but these results seem to indicate that a longer reproductive lifespan seems to reduce one’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease and/or having a cardiovascular event later in life: according to the study, “a total of 1494 women (5.2%) were hospitalized for adjudicated incident heart failure, with women who had fewer total menstrual cycles having a greater risk for incident heart failure at 1 year.”

Your heart on birth control

But reproductive duration isn’t necessarily measured in time alone. It’s what is actually happening during those cycles throughout those prime years of reproductive potential that matters the most.

So what should be happening during those prime reproductive years? Well, ideally, you’d be ovulating and menstruating in a predictable, healthy manner. But if you are on hormonal contraception of any kind, you are not ovulating or cycling at all. This, by definition, means shorter time of potential fertility. Even though the same amount of time is passing than would be off the Pill, your reproductive duration is shortened because there is no exposure to biological cycles—the zig-and-zag of your naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone.

When a woman takes hormonal birth control, instead of ovulating and experiencing the cyclical effects of her naturally occurring sex hormones, the menstrual cycle is suppressed, and the heart is no longer experiencing this beneficial balancing act. And, in case you’re wondering whether the synthetic forms of estrogen or progesterone found in hormonal contraception have this same beneficial effect, the answer, unfortunately, is “no.”

It is commonly known that smokers and women over 35 are not good candidates for hormonal contraception, but women with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol are also at higher risk for developing coronary heart disease, which makes hormonal contraception a riskier family planning choice for them, too. Hormonal contraceptive use itself has been linked with increased risk of blood clots, and their associated cardiovascular events like stroke and heart attack.  High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are all associated with hormonal contraceptive use, too.

Healthy cycles for a healthy heart

Of course, even if you aren’t on birth control, cycling alone is not enough to reap the benefits of your hormones’ balancing act for optimal heart health. Similar to our discussion with Dr. Prior on bone health and ovulation, we know that healthy, ovulatory, and functional cycles are needed for our bodies to reap the benefits of our cycles.  Hormonal disorders—which usually correspond with irregular, anovulatory, progesterone deficient, and/or estrogen dominant cycles—can mess with this delicate balance, even if a woman is not on birth control.

Good nutrition and regular, moderate exercise can go a long way in balancing hormones, but they are not the *only* variables—sometimes more interventions may be needed to find balance. This is where charting cycles with a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) can be a vital tool in assessing a woman’s overall health. Healthcare providers who understand how to use the biological information gleaned from a woman’s menstrual cycle can diagnose and treat the hormonal disorders that may be affecting a woman’s health—from her fertility, to her immune functioning, to her bone and heart health, and everything in between.

What’s happening to my heart if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Obviously, pregnancy is a time of anovulation (that is, when ovulation does not occur). Women who are breastfeeding also may not see a return to fertility for weeks, months, or even years. But whether you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or both, those are the only times (except for puberty and pre/post menopause) when it is considered biologically normal to go without the zig-and-zag of progesterone and estrogen that cause the regular cycle of ovulation and menstruation. And your body—savvy as it is—has a fix for that! The incredible amounts of endogenous progesterone and estrogen that a woman is exposed to throughout her pregnancy more than recoup for the effects of anovulation due to pregnancy or breastfeeding. Further, prolactin (better known as the lactation hormone) has indirect, beneficial effects on the new mom’s heart. Prolactin actually modulates neural pathways in the brain to decrease stress, which decreases cortisol. And as we all know, cortisol is that greedy stress hormone that (when left unchecked due to chronic or long term stress), can rob your body of estrogen and progesterone, and raise your risk for heart disease.

It is true that pregnancy is a time of complicated risk factors for heart disease—and pregnancies before age 20 especially seem to increase one’s risk for heart disease. But this is where it comes in handy to have had those years of protective exposure to endogenous hormones prior to pregnancy. Just another reason why teens and young women need a (regular, functional) period! It’s also another big point in favor of FABMs, which allow women to cycle naturally whether they are trying to achieve pregnancy or not.

Women need periods

If we haven’t already convinced you how important menstruating (and ovulating) is for your heart health, consider that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for post-menopausal women. While more research is needed to determine the exact effects of progesterone and estrogen on the heart, the decades of natural, cyclical, endogenous hormone exposure throughout a woman’s reproductive life could have an important impact on her heart disease risk. It’s certainly something to take into account when considering your family planning options.

The more we learn about feminine health, the more reasons we encounter why #womenneedperiods. Regular and functional ovulation benefits the development and maintenance of your immune system, the building and protecting of your bone mass, and the functioning and preservation of your heart. As hard as it may feel to appreciate at times, your period actually does a lot of good for you.

 

Why do black lives ‘matter’? Not because they’re black, but because they’re human

By Seth Gruber

June 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Many of the greatest defenders and proponents of stay-at-home orders and Black Lives Matter protests are rabidly pro-abortion, yet their responses to COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd reveal staunchly pro-life principles.

The entire narrative built by politicians and the mainstream media following the government’s stay-at-home orders was that we had to temporarily sacrifice our lifestyle and freedoms in order to protect the vulnerable. We were told every day that we didn’t have the right to endanger the health and lives of others.

Similarly, if every other form of bodily rights can or should be temporarily restricted in a pandemic to save lives, why shouldn’t abortion, which always ends a life? Many politicians and pundits argued that social distancing and stay-at-home orders illustrated that your right to bodily autonomy should be regulated if your actions risk harming others. Regardless of whether those orders were justified, this is the exact case pro-lifers make for protecting the unborn: A pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy ends the moment that exercising that autonomy harms or kills others.

Obviously, pro-lifers maintain there is a difference between unintentionally infecting a vulnerable person at Disneyland and having an abortion, which always involves the direct and intentional killing of a human being. But this only strengthens the case for regulating bodily autonomy when it comes to abortion.

It is not unreasonable for the government to temporarily restrict a pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy to protect the health and life of her vulnerable child.

Then, after two months of stay-at-home orders, a police officer in Minneapolis brutally mistreated and killed a black man named George Floyd, whom he held down on the street with his knee placed directly on Floyd’s neck for a full eight minutes.

This incident incited protests and riots all around the country. While there is a clear distinction between peaceful protestors truly angered by Floyd’s murder and the criminals using his death to “justify” their looting and burning, the protests were nearly all called Black Lives Matter, which quickly became the trending hashtag on social media platforms.

Putting the question of systemic racism in the police force aside, it is obvious that Americans are united in calling racism evil. We all believe that Black Lives Matter, not because they’re black but because they’re human beings with intrinsic dignity. Everyone agrees that intentionally harming or killing innocent human beings without proper justification is wrong.

But if Black Lives Matter because they’re human beings, then they matter from the moment they ARE human beings. If systemic racism is true and Gayle King at CBS This Morning is right that there is an “open season on black people,” such that we need to initiate systemic change to correct injustice, then how can we continue to tolerate the injustice of abortion, which quite literally is “open season” on black people?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans account for 13.4 percent of the population but obtained 36 percent of the country’s abortions in 2015. That means that Planned Parenthood alone kills more black lives in two weeks than the KKK lynched in a century. The most dangerous place for an African American to be is not in an altercation with a white police officer. It’s in the womb!

While the claim that there is systemic racism in America’s police force targeting black lives is not verifiable, it is proven that the abortion industry targets black lives because of their race. Fully aware of the disproportionate amount of abortions that black America obtains, Planned Parenthood strategically places their death camps in black neighborhoods. A study by Protecting Black Life found that “79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are strategically located within walking distance of African and/or Hispanic communities.”

If Black Lives Matter, then ALL Black Lives Matter, both born and pre-born. There is no greater assault on black lives than the one the abortion industry wages, as they specifically target black babies to increase profits.

Both the COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter responses reveal the self-evident nature of the pro-life position: Human beings have intrinsic dignity and value that should be respected and protected.

Unfortunately, after decades of pro-abortion propaganda, that self-evident truth is not as self-evident as it used to be. While recognizing this truth as it applies to born people, too many of our countrymen still don’t believe it applies at the beginning of a human being’s existence!

The Abortion Pill is Not Safe for Women

JEANNE MANCINI

Those who really care about women’s health and safety should be deeply concerned about the latest push to expand chemical abortion via telemedicine and look for ways to communicate the serious risks involved.

The use of chemical abortion was already on the rise in the United States, but calls to expand access have become even louder during the coronavirus pandemic. In October, the Guttmacher Institute (originally the research branch of Planned Parenthood) reported that the use of chemical abortion over the past two decades has ballooned. “Medication abortions increased from 5% of all abortions in 2001 to 39% in 2017, even while the overall number of abortions declined,” reads the report. In 2001, there were approximately 71,000 chemical abortions; in 2017, this number climbed to 340,000. It will very likely increase during the pandemic.

Billed as safe and effective by the abortion industry, chemical abortion is arguably much harder on women’s health than surgical abortion — and there’s certainly less medical oversight. A study out of Finland showed that women are four times more likely to suffer severe complications as a result of chemical abortion than they are as a result of surgical abortion.

Chemical abortion is grueling and takes a nasty toll on a woman’s body, in addition to ending the life of her unborn child. It is a two-step regimen. The first step requires a woman to take a drug called mifepristone, which blocks progesterone and prevents an unborn baby from receiving vital nutrients, effectively starving the baby to death. The second drug, misoprostol, causes strong uterine contractions that expel the unborn baby from the uterus. With both drugs come vaginal and abdominal bleeding and cramping, according to the Mayo Clinic, and the clinic advises that anyone who has an at-home chemical abortion to get access to a doctor and emergency services.

The use of telemedicine only to prescribe a chemical abortion eliminates critical medical oversight afforded by an ultrasound. Ultrasounds should always be performed to determine the gestational age and location of the baby; if not, chemical abortions can pose potentially fatal risks to women. Perhaps the most dangerous possibility of all is if a woman uses chemical abortion when she has an ectopic pregnancy — that is, when the baby has attached to her fallopian tubes rather than the uterine wall. It’s a life-threatening situation that ultrasound can either rule out or accurately diagnose.

The gestational age is also important because, for safety reasons, the Food and Drug Administration has approved chemical abortion only up until 10 weeks into pregnancy. And an ultrasound is generally needed to date a pregnancy accurately because many pregnant women aren’t certain about the date of their last menstrual period.

peer-reviewed study from 2015 on the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of self-administered abortion pills through 70 days showed that almost 30% of the 40 women taking chemical abortion did so after the FDA-approved time frame of 63 days. Very sadly, 62% of these women had incomplete abortions. Surgical evacuation was required for 68% of these patients, and 23% of these women had a failed abortion. For 12.5% of them, they received surgical evacuation with blood transfusion. The authors concluded that “unsupervised medical abortion can lead to increased maternal morbidity and mortality.”

When chemical abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, the drugs required a “black box warning” because of mifepristone’s known ability to suppress the immune system and issues with bleeding. In the years since chemical abortion was approved, the FDA has reported adverse events, the latest information shows that at least 24 women have died as a direct result of chemical abortion in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, and there have been thousands of serious adverse event reports submitted to the FDA including hospitalizations and blood transfusions. With increasing numbers of women using telemedicine to obtain a chemical abortion, the number of complications and deaths caused by chemical abortion will very likely increase.

In light of the many risks associated with chemical abortion, it is profoundly troubling that anyone would advocate for telemedicine abortion — or demand that the FDA relax the policies designed to mitigate those risks. No one claiming to champion women should prioritize “access” above their health and safety.

How Charting My Cycles with Fertility Awareness Saved My Life

posted on June 3, 2020 by Nia Husk

How Charting My Cycles with Fertility Awareness Saved My Life

When I was in college was when I first heard about Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) and about six months before I was to be married, I learned how to chart a specific method.

A few months after we were married, we went on a trip to Guatemala, and while we were there I was charting out my cycles and noticed that something was bizarre. I was trying to figure out the days that I was fertile and infertile, and wasn’t able to do so. At that point, though, I had no other symptoms and so I ended up calling my instructor to see if she could guide me.

My instructor told me, after taking a look at my charts and my cycles, that she agreed that something odd was occurring and she referred me to my fertility awareness doctor who was trained in the specific method that I had learned.

When I saw my doctor, she took a look at my chart; she agreed with me that it was definitely strange that I couldn’t tell when I was fertile or infertile.

And so she decided to do an exploratory ultrasound just to figure out if there was something we could be missing.

So we did the ultrasound, and she told me she found a six-centimeter tumor on my left ovary.When I heard that information from my doctor, it was very shocking, and I remember entering into her office and just feeling like the world around me was going in fast motion–but I was still stuck in slow motion, almost as if I was in a movie.

After the surgery, they did a biopsy of the tumor and found that it was a borderline tumor. A borderline tumor is one that is a slow-growing nonmalignant cancer. And I remember that as the surgeon was explaining to me about this that my husband had asked her, “what would have happened if we had waited two months to find out?” And the surgeon replied back to him, “honestly I wouldn’t have wanted you to wait another two weeks to have this removed.’

Many women are put on birth control for irregular menstrual cycles– but if I had been using an artificial means of birth control, I may not have found out that I was sick.

That was four years ago, and I am happy to report that I’m healthy—that all is well. Originally I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to conceive with one ovary, but we were able to have a child two years ago; and so we have our little Gigi, and our life is very blessed.

Ultimately it was charting that saved my life. I have no other symptoms, and it was only by charting the natural signs of my cycle that I was clued into there being anything wrong. If I had been using an artificial means of birth control, I may not have found out that I was sick.

Since then I have spoken to many people who have found out about health problems solely through charting, and I am very passionate about getting the information out there about these methods, so much so that I now teach a Fertility Awareness-Based Method myself.

Fertility awareness is learning the signs of your body and charting them out to be able to achieve or avoid pregnancy, and ultimately to know your reproductive health.

My hope in sharing my story is to really empower women to not be afraid to learn the natural signs of their bodies, and to learn these methods that can truly be beneficial to their lives and their health.

Shrinking Populations Represent Shrinking Future

By 

Many millennials and gen-z-ers never had the experience of “going out to play” in generally safe neighborhoods without constant parental supervision. High divorce rates and the rising influence of the Internet deprived them of this particularly formative part of their childhoods. Their schools reinforced the idea of constant supervision by an education philosophy that is long on ideology and short on truth.

Not only do the newer generations have difficulty going out to play but they have fewer playmates. Fewer couples are having children. Statista relates that 49.5 million families in the U.S have no children under the age of eighteen, 14 million have a single child, 12.8 million have two children, and only 7 million have three or more. While these figures do not reflect homes where children are grown, the trend is undeniable. Children are vanishing in America.

The Long Term Trends

The fertility rate in the United States has been on a steady decline since 2007. It is now at an all-time low. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Vital Statistics System, “The general fertility rate was 59.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 2% from 2017 and another record low for the United States.”

The Hill presented the overall picture as it rolled out over time. “[T]he TFR (Total Fertility Rate) hovered above 3.0 in the early twentieth century; declined to replacement levels of about 2.1 in the 1940s; reached a peak of 3.7 in the post-World War II baby boom; and then declined rapidly to relatively stable low levels in the seventies. Declines in fertility have accelerated since 2010 — raising questions about the economic and public policy implications if this latest trend continues.” The Washington Post pegs the current fertility rate at 1.73.

Reasons for the Decline

The reasons for this decline are well-known. Contraception is more common and available everywhere. Couples wait longer to get married, and then delay childbearing until they consider themselves more financially secure. The costs of raising children – especially daycare and education – continue to rise faster than the general cost of living. Many couples simply decide never to have children.

The influence of culture and government also contributes to this trend. Many schools and other public agencies promote contraception and abortion among the young. Such efforts are often done in tandem with Planned Parenthood. Under Obamacare, contraception drugs are mandated for all health insurance packages. The United Nation’s World Health Organization actively promotes abortion and contraception worldwide. Much of the environmental movement favors fewer people since the mere existence of humanity is the source of the coming global collapse.

This depopulation trend has massive social and economic consequences.

Children and the Family

Neighborhoods that once crawled with children are now relatively quiet. Rather than neighborhood games of tag, baseball, or other games, which could go on for hours, the now-common “playdate” is more likely to be indoors and have a set end time. The playdate is tailored to the dwindling number of children that now must play by appointment only.

The playdate is a poor substitute for the neighborhood. The limits on the parents’ time make these occasions relatively rare, which makes forming lasting friendships more difficult. The pool of children is limited and thus makes it more difficult to develop social skills with groups that should develop naturally.

When the playdate has to be called off or postponed, the most available alternative is “screen time.” That screen might be attached to a television, a computer or a video game, which is a poor replacement for human interaction.

Can A Shrinking Society Support Itself?

Most couples who delay or limit childbirth cite economic reasons. They may not realize that a shrinking society carries severe economic costs.

Euromonitor International reported on the global impact of an aging consumer base. Its study is ominously titled Developed Cities with Lower Birth Rates Forecast to Register Slower Real GDP Growth by 2030. The report finds that “While new opportunities will certainly arise in light of a growing elderly demographic,… continuously low birth rates will inevitably lead to a drop in total consumption in the future as overall population will begin to decrease.”

Euromonitor also reported on the negative impact of a decreased number of workers. “The shrinkage of the working-age (15-64) population is the single biggest danger for the economic health of cities. This age category is the main supplier of productive labour for businesses, which means the working-aged are also the taxpayers and the care providers for the age-dependent.”

Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research also described this impact in March 2019. “[L]ower fertility has serious consequences:  a smaller future workforce will result in slower overall economic growth and higher tax burdens to support pay-as-you-go programs such as Social Security.  According to the 2018 Social Security Trustees Report, a total fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman instead of 2.0 would increase the program’s 75-year deficit by 0.41 percent of taxable payrolls or a present value of almost $2 trillion.”

Eventually, the Social Security System may collapse or be restructured as a taxpayer-subsidized welfare program. Of course, there will be fewer taxpayers.

European and Asian Situations Are Even Worse

While American population trends are troubling, the situation is far worse in Western Europe and parts of Asia. Figures compiled by The World Bank find that no European Union nation hits the population replacing 2.0 fertility rates. Malta’s rate is lowest at 1.2. Cypress, Italy and Spain are at 1.3. France is the highest at 1.9.

Japan has not replenished its population since 1975 and currently sits at slightly under 1.4, according to the website Macrotrends. Even the liberal New York Times acknowledges that China’s low birth rate has “undesirable side effects” stemming from its tyrannical thirty-five year “One Child Policy” that was slightly changed in 2015. “It upended traditional structures for supporting older adults and led to a widening imbalance in the number of men and women, one that could sow social unrest.”

Indeed, the present generations are too selfish to reproduce.  Like most selfish behavior, it is short-sighted. Individuals and families think they are short-term advantages to having small families. However, these “advantages” will come to haunt them as they age and the smaller generations that follow struggle to keep society running.

“There is No Right to Abortion”

MARIE SMITH   JUN 1, 2020

During the recent virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly-the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO)-the US submitted its written Explanation of Position (EOP) on the COVID-19 Response Resolution, disassociating itself from a number of paragraphs, including two related to “sexual and reproductive health”.

The US statement expressed regret at the failure to achieve consensus language in all areas of the resolution and explained:

“The United States dissociates from operative paragraphs 7.5 and 9.4. The United States strongly supports women reaching the highest attainable outcomes for health, life, dignity, and well-being throughout their lives. We champion access to high-quality health care for women and girls across the lifespan. However, we do not accept references to “sexual and reproductive health,” or other language that suggests or explicitly states that access to abortion is included in the provision of population and individual level health services. The United States believes in legal protections for the unborn, and rejects any interpretation of international human rights (such as General Comment 36 on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) to require any State Party to provide access to abortion. As President Trump has stated, ‘Americans will never tire of defending innocent life.’

Each nation has the sovereign right to implement related programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies, free from external pressure. There is no international right to abortion, nor is there any duty on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion. Further, consistent with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our global health assistance.”

UN “Experts” Object to US States’ Right to Decide Abortion Policy

Pro-abortion activists serving on the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls attacked US states for not treating abortion as “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis. In the release, United States: Authorities manipulating COVID-19 crisis to restrict access to abortion, issued by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the activists target Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

According to Elizabeth Broderick, Vice-Chair of the Working Group, “We regret that the above-mentioned states, with a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, appear to be manipulating the crisis to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights.

“This situation is also the latest example illustrating a pattern of restrictions and retrogressions in access to legal abortion care across the country. We fear that, without clear political will to reverse such restrictive and regressive trends, states will continue pursuing this pattern.”

The Working Group also expressed its opposition to USAID’s letter to the UN Secretary General which requested the removal of references to “sexual and reproductive health and its derivatives” from the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on COVID-19.

Broderick said, “We reiterate that sexual and reproductive health services, including access to safe and legal abortion, are essential and must remain a key component of the UN’s priorities in its responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

PNCI notes that the Working Group disregards UN consensus agreed to in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action which states in 8.25 “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process”. State legislators are the ones to determine state policy on abortion, not abortion activists who are appointed by the Human Rights Council to serve on Special Procedures.

What do declining fertility rates tell us about a society’s future?

by Marcus Roberts

Over at National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty recently discussed the latest fertility figures from the United States. Once again, they were in decline: in 2019 the total fertility rate (the number of children each woman on average is expected to have over her life) dropped to 1.7. This is well below the replacement rate of 2.1 and means that, absent large scale immigration, the USA’s population will start to naturally decline.

This fertility rate is the lowest on record and marks about the twelfth year in a row in which it has declined (from just before the GFC). This is now a trend which has reduced the USA’s position as the outlier among western nations – for many years America had a fertility rate closer to replacement than its East Asian and West European competitors and allies.

Dougherty worries about the atomisation that this trend will bring. Family trees will collapse inwards: there will be fewer siblings, aunts, cousins and uncles. As he puts it “more people in the future will grow up with shrivelled kin networks, fewer relations with people who are obliged to socialise and network with each other”.

This reduces our sense of comfort and confidence in the world: the school and support which the family provides to us all will be weakened, especially in its role as the first of the independent civic associations that undergird society.

Without a strong family network, society loses a bulwark against the forces of social conformism. (I’m not sure about the States, but this is something desperately obvious in New Zealand – the last few weeks have shown us comprehensively that we are a nation of conformists.)

More generally, low fertility societies are low confidence societies: too few are investing in the future by investing in the next generation. They also tend towards suspicion and paranoia: immigrants aren’t seen as reinforcements to the nation’s mix, but replacements of the nation’s natives.

A large part of the decision to delay having children, or forgo doing so at all, is due to concern that we have material prosperity sorted before bringing children into the world.  We need to have finished our education, have a secure job lined up, and preferably be on the property-owning ladder before we feel settled enough to have children. Even if all of these material goals are met, having children is pushed back into the late 20s or early 30s. Making child rearing dependent on material security also means that fertility rates are depressed by economic downturns and recessions.

But even when the economy is growing, the lack of extended family trees and social networks in which more than two children are the norm means that it is hard for a society to increase its fertility rate. There are fewer social support networks available: older parents means older grandparents who can contribute less to the raising of grandchildren.

What can be done? Is this a problem which merely requires policy tinkering like maternity leave or increased day care? Are we instead witnessing something greater: the beginning of the end of our current economic/social/culture milieu as we fail to replace ourselves? And if so, what will replace us?

If a society is not even guaranteeing its future through replacement generations of children, then it is a failing society. We need to start acknowledging this.

Born for each other: How family planning and porn keep company

by Carolyn Moynihan

You can tell something about a person by the company she keeps, and the same applies to organisations. Marie Stopes International, a high profile British birth control non-profit, was outed in The Mail on Sunday recently for receiving cash and goods worth 7.5 million pounds from American porn tycoon Phil Harvey over the past 15 years.

Harvey himself has been a direct player in the international “reproductive health” game since the 1970s, funding his own and other charities through Adam & Eve, a business that sold 60 million pounds worth of sex toys and pornographic film in 2019.

What does this say about Marie Stopes?

At best that it suffers from poor taste. It also has a strange attitude to women. MSI touts its contraceptive and abortion services as empowering “women and girls all over the world to choose when or whether to have children.” Yet it works hand in glove with an industry that disempowers women by making them sexual playthings, if not facilitating sexual assault and human trafficking.

Harvey’s sex business offers an array of pornographic material including female sex robots which promote the fact “her inflatable body is also practical if you need to store her or take her on journeys.” An huge list of pornographic films is also flaunted on his sex website.

But by peddling contraception and abortion to vulnerable women in developing countries, MSI, like Planned Parenthood and the rest of them, is handmaiden to every man who would sexually exploit a woman. Yet it is blasé about the connection.

Its response to the Mail on Sunday was: “Phil Harvey has spent his life defending sexual and reproductive health rights, and played a significant role in expanding access for women across the world. We are proud that he continues to contribute to the organisation.”

Harvey, 82, is not the only unsavoury mogul to cosy up to the birth control industry. Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, used his magazine to campaign for legalised abortion. Harvey Weinstein apparently posed as a cheerleader of Planned Parenthood. It makes sense: the women they used or encouraged other men to use might need the odd abortion, and it goes down well with the liberal crowd.

However, Phil Harvey’s US$9 million equivalent over a decade or two looks paltry compared to what Marie Stopes gets from other sources every year. The UK government alone gave them £48million last year which helped them deliver around five million abortions and pay its CEO £434,000 – among other things. Harvey’s position as a board member of MSI signals that he is much more important to the organisation than his cash grants.

profile of him in Mother Jones magazine back in 2002 reveals that the relationship between Harvey and Marie Stopes goes back more than 50 years, to when he was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health, on a Ford Foundation fellowship (Ford being one of the main powerhouses of the population control movement). There he worked with a young British doctor, Tim Black, who went on to rescue the bankrupt Marie Stopes Foundation in 1975 and turn it into a “social business” with its current name.

Both Harvey and Black had spent time in developing countries and were convinced that what the poor of the world needed more than food was fewer babies. As part of their thesis work they came up with a plan to test social marketing of contraceptives in the American marketplace. With a university grant they began a mail order business, running clever ads in college newspapers and selling condoms to students. Next they added other merchandise and eventually struck gold when they threw in sex magazines. This was the genesis of Adam & Eve, which under Harvey surfed the wave of the home video boom in the 1980s and survived efforts to shut it down under the Reagan administration.

But Harvey and Black hadn’t forgotten the poor: perhaps social marketing of condoms would work in the developing world as well. To this end they set up a dual venture: a profit-making arm called Population Planning Associates, and a separate nonprofit, Population Services International (PSI), which by 1975 was running condom-marketing programmes in Kenya and Bangladesh. PSI remains one of the big guns of population control alongside International Planned Parenthood.

Harvey left PSI in the late 1970s and focussed on his porn business, but a few years later he founded another non-profit, DKT International, to take up marketing and supplying cheap condoms to the poor again.

In 2017 DKT launched a “WomanCare” platform “to dramatically increase the use of high-quality contraceptive, safe abortion, and reproductive health products.” In 2019, DKT WomanCare sold 222,123 manual vacuum aspiration abortion kits, 1.8 million cannulae and 1.4 million implants (linked with high rates of HIV in some African countries) in 90 countries. The organisation’s homepage currently features an example of its social marketing in the form of an article headed, “5 People Share Why Their Abortion Was Beautiful”.

This seems to be the real value of Phil Harvey to MSI and the whole international birth control industrial complex. As an entrepreneur he will use some of his own profits from porn to boost the supply of something like manual vacuum aspiration kits where, say, the British foreign aid agency or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the UN Population Fund might hold back until the product is more acceptable to recipient governments.

Perhaps in somewhere like Kenya, where, although Marie Stopes says it only does abortions where they are legal, it more or less openly flouts the country’s highly restrictive law, and cloaks its activity with the saintly garb of “after abortion care” – that is, cleaning up after illegal abortions, which MSI dramatises (and inflates?) in order to push its abortion rights barrow.

On its home turf in Britain, MSI has had to clean up its own operations after unannounced official inspections. A highly critical Care Quality Commission report found major safety flaws at MSI clinics, with more than 2,600 serious incidents reported in 2015. A follow-up report in 2017 found there were 373 botched abortions in just the first two months of that year. MSI had issues with infection control and staff at one clinic complained of a “cattle market” approach with incentives for putting through as many abortions as possible.

No doubt there was some kind of idealism driving the founders of MSI and PSI/DKT, as there may be among those working for the organisations today – an actual belief that preventing births is a real favour to women and to the world in general. After all, the rich and respected of the world, the Fords, the Hewletts, the Gates and others have thought and continue to think so.

But the pornography connection that has helped so many of their projects along shows the true character of the birth control enterprise. Harvey told Mother Jones in 2002 that in the early days he was “terrified that, because of Adam & Eve, we were going to lose support for some of our programs.” Then he added: “But it never happened. I think part of the reason was that the key people in charge of family planning overseas, even in conservative governments, are not the types who are likely to be upset by sex products. After all, they’re in the sex business themselves.”

Yes, sex boils down to business for the so-called family planning establishment. A business requiring certain products to make it “safe” if not enjoyable for all concerned. And porn is one of those products, nearly as important as the condom itself, and often more effective since it removes the need for any human contact whatsoever. In that way, however, the pornographers could drive MSI and company out of business, ending a beautiful friendship, as beautiful as abortion.

Does hormonal contraception use negatively affect bone health?

by Cassie Moriarty

When you think about cycling and menstruation, you don’t typically think about your bone health. But important research has emerged in the last few decades linking the natural cycle of women’s reproductive hormones to their bone health and development. That’s right, yet another thing your cycles are good for, is protecting your current and future bone health–which is especially important for women. Just another reason why, yes, you do “need” a period!

How bones work

We often think of our skeleton as a fixed structure, just there to hold our bodies upright. But the truth is that our bones are anything but static; they have a life cycle that involves building up, tearing down, and rebuilding tissue constantly. Kind of like construction at the LaGuardia airport.

Kimberly Reda-Wilson is a four-year apprentice in the program Bones For Life, which offers classes that “explore movement intelligence of bone strength and weight-bearing posture,” as a preventative measure against osteoporosis. Reda-Wilson explains, “Bones are living tissue. They have blood vessels and are made of living cells, which help them to grow and repair themselves. They are just as alive as your heart or brain or lungs.”

There are two main types of cells that comprise bone tissue: Bone forming cells and bone resorbing cells. The types of cells that form bone are called osteoblasts and osteocytes. The type of cells that resorb bone are called osteoclasts. Bone also contains nonmineral matrices of collagen and noncollagenous proteins called osteoids, as well as mineral salts. The higher your bone mineral content, the denser your bones are—which, as you might guess, is a good thing. The denser your bones, the less likely you are to experience fractures. Low bone density can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become dangerously porous and fragile, increasing their risk of fracturing.

Hormones, cycles, and their roles in bone health & development

It is well established that estrogen plays a role in bone formation. The major physiological effects of estrogen are to inhibit bone resorption and to promote bone growth. For years, researchers have surmised that post-menopausal bone loss is attributed to the lack of estrogen that occurs after menopause. But estrogen isn’t the only thing post-menopausal women lack. After cycles cease, progesterone is low as well. Mounting research indicates that bones need progesterone just as much estrogen.

In this 2010 research paper co-written by two of the leading researchers on reproductive hormones and bone health, Dr. Jerilynn Prior and Dr. Vanadin Seifert-Klauss, it was confirmed that “In vitro studies of human osteoblasts in culture, prospective studies in adolescent, premenopausal, perimenopausal, and post-menopausal women all indicate that progesterone—likely working through bone formation pathways—plays an active role in maintaining women’s bone and in osteoporosis prevention.”

Dr. Jerilynn Prior is the director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) and her life’s work has been researching and educating about progesterone’s relationship to bone health.

“You need ovulation, as well as normal cycles, for healthy bones,” Dr. Prior told me in a virtual meeting. “Women spend the first 25 years of their lives building bone mass. If they are ovulating normally, they should be able to keep that bone mass throughout their reproductive life and beyond.”

That means post-menopausal bone health is decided by hormone processes that occurred decades earlier. “The story that everyone hears is that it’s estrogen deficiency that causes post-menopausal bone loss. But in reality, it’s the long time of pre-menopausal bone loss that’s silent if you’re not cycling regularly over the course of your reproductive years,” Dr. Prior explains.

In other words, if you’re not ovulating during your prime reproductive years, your bone density will be negatively impacted, and those effects will manifest in your post-menopausal years.

So, how we can support bone health for post-menopausal women? Dr. Prior says plainly, “You need to put bone mass in your bank in those [prior] critical years—and the only way to do that is by ovulating [regularly and functionally].”

Progesterone: the “heal and repair” hormone

Considering what we know about the effects of estrogen and progesterone in the body, Dr. Prior’s message makes intuitive sense.

We know that estrogen and progesterone have complementary effects on our reproductive and general health. Estrogen proliferates the endometrium and breast tissue, elevates blood sugar, dilates blood vessels, stimulates brain cells, and gives women a general boost of energy and feeling of well-being. Progesterone, estrogen’s alter ego, maintains endometrium tissue, relaxes blood vessels, normalizes blood sugar, maintains and heals brain cells, and promotes mood stabilization. We need both. Can you imagine being stimulated all of the time without the heal-and-repair mode?

So it should come as no surprise that the same is true of our bones. In this paper by Dr. Prior, she explains that, “when menstrual cycles are normal length and normally ovulatory, estrogen and progesterone are balanced and bone mineral density is stable. However, clinically normal cycles commonly have ovulatory disturbances (anovulation, short luteal phases) and low progesterone levels; these are more frequent in teen and perimenopausal women and increased by everyday stressors: energy insufficiency, emotional/social/economic threats and illness.”

Dr. Prior claims that the main contributor to ovulatory disturbances these days is … drum-roll … stress. “Women are expected to perform in the workplace the same as men. Yet, they’re also doing all the traditional things at home with little to no help. Women have an incredible burden today.” It’s true, women are under great demands emotionally, socially, culturally, financially, and physically in a fast-paced world. You could argue that women don’t get a “heal and repair” mode both hormonally and literally in their daily lives.

Synthetic hormones are not created equal

“Great,” you may be thinking. “I’m on hormonal contraception, and doesn’t that contain a form of progesterone? That should be good for my bones.” Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

Hormonal contraception contains an artificial form of progesterone known as progestin. There are six different compounds of progestins used in hormonal contraception. But Dr. Prior warns that progestins do not have the same positive effect on our bone health (nor on our general health, either) as natural or bio-identical progesterone does. “Progestins do not have a class effect except for two things that are signified in their name,” Dr. Prior says. The first effect is “to preserve an existing pregnancy, and the other is to transform the proliferative effect of estrogen on the endometrium to a secretory one. Those are the only two things all progestins do.”

So, progestin in birth control may send a negative feedback signal to the part of the brain that wants to start a new cycle (the same thing that preserves an existing pregnancy), but it does not do anything to preserve your bones. In fact, it could actually be robbing them of a crucial opportunity to build bone mineral density.

Does hormonal contraception use negatively affect bone health?

Remember the ovulatory disturbances Dr. Prior talked about? As it happens, another huge correlation to ovulatory dysfunction is hormonal contraceptive use. One third of women who go on the Pill do so for solely gynecologic reasons, such as irregular or painful periods. These are usually glaring symptoms of an ovulatory dysfunction, which then goes untreated as a woman is prescribed birth control that masks the underlying dysfunction without actually doing anything to resolve it.

When I asked Dr. Prior if hormonal contraceptive use affects bone health, she gave a resounding “Yes!” After all, hormonal contraception creates an “ovulatory dysfunction” itself, in that it prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. Ovulation is the only thing that can produce progesterone, so if there is no ovulation, then—you guessed it—there is no progesterone. And we’ve already talked about how vital progesterone—the real stuff, not synthetic progestin—is for bone health and development!

It’s especially problematic for their future bone health when teenagers and young women start birth control. Since the teenage years are so critical for building bone, it is that much more important for adolescent girls to have normal menstrual maturation undisturbed by artificial hormones. “Birth control use in adolescent girls has been shown to be significantly negative for spinal bone gain,” says Dr. Prior. “That’s something everyone needs to know.” The detrimental effects of progestin on bone health for adolescent girls was confirmed in a 2001 study that focused on Depo-Provera use. The Depo shot, which comprises one high dose shot of medroxyprogesterone acetate (a progestin) every 3 months, also happens to be the highest progestin dose of all hormonal contraceptives. And, as shown by the study, it also happens to significantly decrease bone mass density (BMD). This is just one more reason why women, and teenagers especially, need a (regular, post-ovulatory) period.

Cycles and stress-management: Keys to good bone health & preventing osteoporosis

So what does this mean for women hoping to maximize their bone health and maybe even evade osteoporosis?

Dr. Prior makes the point that perimenopause and menopause—and the bone density loss they come with—are very normal parts of life. If a woman has had the opportunity to cycle normally through puberty and onward, she should be well-equipped to withstand the natural loss of bone density that occurs in those years. And Dr. Prior makes it clear that while estrogen is important, progesterone deserves its 15 minutes of fame, too. “Although the dominant osteoporosis paradigm for women is, and should remain, centered on estrogen, progesterone is emerging as an important partner hormone that collaborates with estrogen,” she says.

Kimberly Reda-Wilson’s work with Bones for Life focuses on women in the post-menopausal years, and the things women can do to combat osteoporosis as they age. “While there are common denominators (diet, exercise, and stress management) among bone loss prevention programs, each one seems to emphasize a different component,” Reda-Wilson explains. “Originally the Women to Women’s program (now Women’s Health Network) emphasized an alkaline-based diet, exercise, supplements, and stress management. The Save Our Bones program also emphasizes an alkaline-based diet, exercise, supplements and stress management,” she says.

There it is again . . . the word stress! Both Reda-Wilson and Dr. Prior agree that stress management is a huge component in osteoporosis prevention. Of course, not all stressors are within each individual woman’s control—in fact, many stressors could be systemic, cultural, and political. But healthy stress management is certainly something healthcare providers should prioritize discussing with their patients. If women can bring down the stressors in their life, cycle naturally, and minimize ovulatory dysfunctions, it is quite reasonable to expect their bone health to benefit.

So there you have it. Having a period improves your immune system (as we discussed last week, here), and it also improves your bone health. These are two pretty darn good reasons women need their cycles–that is, they need to ovulate and have periods–for optimal health, and why Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), which allow women to cycle naturally while planning their families with high effectiveness rates, are far superior to contraception when it comes to safeguarding women’s health while preventing pregnancy.

Stay tuned for more in our “Reasons Women Need Periods” series in the coming weeks.

 

Kidney disease kept her from becoming pregnant – until her father saved her life

 

When she was a teenager, Angela Retchless was told she should never become pregnant. But thanks to an incredible gift from her dad, she was able to have the family she had always dreamed of.

Diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of nine, a doctor gave her devastating news as a teenager: it would be too dangerous for her to ever have a child. “I was only 16, but I’d always imagined that one day I’d be a mother,” she wrote for That’s Life!, an Australian magazine. “Glancing over at my mum, Julie, I could tell she was heartbroken for me too.” With her diagnosis, Retchless was told that her kidney function would continue to worsen until she would need to go on dialysis, and eventually, need a transplant. Her father, Leon, promised that he would give her one of his.

At 23, Retchless said she met her future husband Luke and had to break the news to him that she couldn’t have children; though she said he took it well, she knew deep down he wanted a family as she did. And after getting married, she had to deal with the pain of constant questions from people wanting to know when they would have kids. At first, Retchless thought her only option was IVF.

“[I]t was distressing to be asked when I knew the odds were stacked against us,” she said. “About a year after we were married, my doctors gave us the green light to try IVF. Then, my kidney function dropped to 40 per cent. Cross that off the list, I thought, devastated.” A friend offered to be a surrogate for her, but her kidney function was so dangerously low, that even egg retrieval was too dangerous. Meanwhile, she began to feel worse and worse.

“My head throbbed constantly and I woke up exhausted. To make sure I had enough energy to go to work on a Monday, I’d have to spend all Sunday resting,” she wrote. “‘If you don’t get a transplant, you’ll be on dialysis by the end of the year,’ my specialist said.”

But then, her dad stuck to his promise to give her a kidney — and even better, he was a perfect match.

“The 12-month recovery was tough. But almost instantly, with Dad’s kidney inside me, I felt better,” she said. “Before, I didn’t have the energy to go to the gym at all – now I was working out four times a week! And Luke and I were able to go on lovely weekends away.”

 

After she began feeling better, she and her husband decided to try IVF. But she needed to take a pregnancy test before they could get started. “What?! I thought, shocked, as two pink lines appeared,” she wrote. “That can’t be right, I decided, going outside to hang up some washing. Walking back inside, I half expected the lines to have disappeared. But they hadn’t.”

When she broke the news to her husband, it was an understandably emotional moment. “I was bawling,” she recalled. “‘Are you okay?’ he asked, worried. ‘I’ve got a baby in my belly!’ I sobbed even harder. Doing two more tests, together, both came up positive too! After eight years of trying, we’d fallen pregnant naturally.”

But that wasn’t the only surprise for the happy couple. At 13 weeks, she had an ultrasound and found out even more exciting news.

“As the sonographer slid the wand over my belly, I could see two little moon-like shapes on the screen,” she said. “‘There’s two, isn’t there?’ I asked. ‘Yes, you’re having twins,’ she said.” Doctors made sure to monitor her carefully, and Retchless said she had a “dream pregnancy.”

At 31 weeks, she successfully gave birth to her twin boys, Wyatt and Morgan. Each weighing less than four pounds, they were premature but still healthy. “[T]hey were tiny but perfect,” Retchless said. The twins are now three years old, and “best of mates.” And she said she will always be thankful for the gift her dad gave her.

“Each year on our transplant anniversary, Dad and I have a special outing for coffee and cake to celebrate,” she said. “I’ll never stop thanking Dad for the gift he gave me. Without his kidney, my body wouldn’t have been able to sustain a pregnancy. He gave Luke and me our beautiful twins!”

‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control

By 

Breast cancer. Cervical cancer. Depression. Mood disorders. Suicide. Multiple sclerosis. Ulcerative colitis. Venous thromboembolism. Inflammatory bowel disease. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Cystitis. Crohn’s disease. Urogenital effects. Cardiovascular events. Increased chance of HIV transmission.

Your doctor rattled off those words like he was calling roll in a classroom. But each one made you cringe a little more than the last. You could feel your eyes widening as the list grew. Side effects—for a drug you don’t even need, for a drug not designed to alleviate a sickness. You look at him dubiously, as if maybe he’s joking. These can’t all be side effects from one drug, you think. But the look on his face tells you that he is not joking. In fact, he is very serious. And luckily for you, he cares enough about you to tell you what could happen if he prescribes the drug you’re asking for. You start to think to yourself: I don’t want to do that to my bodyI value my health too much. I respect my body more than that.

You wonder why you never heard any of this before, and you realize you’re going to have to rethink your desire for hormonal birth control.

The Petition

In June 2019, 10 doctors and researchers who had formed a Contraceptive Study Group published a document entitled Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives. This document evaluated existing literature and synthesized studies on hormonal birth control in order to present information on their side effects in one comprehensive document. The Contraceptive Study Group’s goal was to not only warn potential users, but also to petition the government to add black box—or warning—labels onto the boxes of contraception and to include warnings on patient-related information so that women know and understand the risks of the chemicals they put into their bodies. This article serves as an overview of just some of the major findings and of the information this group desperately wants to put forward for all to know.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group understand the damage hormonal contraceptives do to women, to the babies they may carry, and to the families who love them. That is why they undertook the daunting task of reading, interpreting, compiling, and then disseminating the information they found. In all, this petition cites 230 outside sources—not counting those related to the environmental impact. This petition was not only a labor of love and compassion for their fellow human beings but also serves as a wake-up call to people who unknowingly—or knowingly—ingest these harmful chemicals.

Millions of women take hormonal birth control or receive contraceptive injections without any idea about the poison they’re putting into their bodies. According to the petition, “Based on data from the Guttmacher Institute, a conservative estimate of 11 million women aged 15-44 in the US take some form of hormonal contraceptive each day. A 2015 study reports that about 21 percent of women of reproductive years are using some form of hormonal contraceptive, which equates to about 13 million women (Daniels 2015).”

In addition, millions of babies die when these contraceptives thin the lining of the uterine wall, thus preventing the baby from implanting.

Hormonal contraceptives have been on the market for over 50 years, yet the scope of the devastation and health ramifications they have caused can never be known. Some women don’t even realize that the causes of the health problems they face may be contraception. If this petition succeeds in its intent, pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose these side effects.

The petition begins by listing the side effects of combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives (COCs). Many are mentioned in the first paragraph above. COCs include oral, intravaginal, and transdermal formulations. The petition lists the brand names of all of these—in six pages.

According to the team, progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs) “have not been extensively studied, but one large registry study did show a significantly increased risk of breast cancer with use of POCs.”

Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies COCs as Group I carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer in humans.

Recommendations

The petition recommends that the government “remove from the market the injectable contraceptive Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA; Depo-Provera) based on conclusive evidence that it facilitates the transmission of HIV from men to women.” It then recommends that black box warnings should be added for the following diseases and conditions: breast cancer, cervical cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, depression and suicide, venous thrombosis, and cardiovascular events. In addition, safety information should be added to advertisements and patient-related materials about multiple sclerosis, bone fractures, body mass effects, and urogenital problems.

Countless women suffer the side effects of hormonal contraception. Countless women feel duped by healthcare providers, by pharmaceutical companies, and by organizations that tout the benefits of COCs. Rarely do they hear of these side effects—side effects that can appear after long-term use, after a few months, or even after just a few short weeks.

In conjunction with the petition, the public is asked to post comments or stories to this site in order to encourage the government to add warnings to contraceptive labels. Many of these comments reference tragic and heartbreaking stories of loss—loss of life, loss of health, and loss of autonomy.

You might wonder why many physicians don’t warn their patients about these side effects.  Dr. Ken Stone offers some insight:

It is common practice that physicians do not discuss any significant adverse effects of oral contraceptives or require an informed consent. Some colleagues have said to me that they do not want to say anything that would deter them from using the pill. Standard adverse effects in formularies for prescribed contraceptive medicines usually do not mention the most severe ones like pulmonary embolus, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, etc.

This petition for removing certain contraceptives from the market, listing those adverse effects that should have black box warnings in prescribed contraceptives, and those that need additional safety warnings in prescribed contraceptives provide[s] more than adequate research data to require the actions requested. As a family practice physician for the past 41 years, I believe the scandal of not informing women of the known side effects of contraceptives is an egregious injustice and needs immediate correction.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group believe that the public should know the truth. Throughout the next several pages, we will discuss some of the findings and data they presented regarding many of the major side effects of hormonal contraception. To read the petition in its entirety, and to see the comprehensive list of side effects, visit the petition’s site.

HIV Transmission

Depo-Provera, or DMPA, is an injectable contraceptive that is administered quarterly. However, according to the study group: “Evidence began emerging in the 1990s, which has become compelling in recent years, that DMPA is unique among contraceptives in its property of facilitating the transmission of HIV.”

How is this so?

According to research, DMPA has an immunosuppressant quality. It binds to the glucocorticoid receptor of human leukocytes, which, in layman’s terms, means that it represses the woman’s innate immune responses and allows for an increase in HIV replication. Thus, when an infected man has intercourse with a woman taking DMPA, her compromised immune system cannot fight off the disease.

Because of this, the authors want DMPA taken off the market.

Breast Cancer

According to the petition, there are 1.7 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer among women in developed countries and accounts for 20% of cancers in females.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies COCs as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer in human beings. Studies have long shown the link between breast cancer and COCs. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 that found that COCs increase the risk of breast cancer. That same year, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic) published a meta-analysis that confirmed the findings that COCs increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

 

According to the Contraceptive Study Group, “Studies that looked at recent use (within 1–5 years) or current use of COCs in premenopausal women showed the most dramatic increased risk for breast cancer.” The most significant study found that women between the ages of 20-49 who had used COCs “within a year had an increased risk of breast cancer.”

Other studies corroborate these findings as well. Most found that women who used COCs for a year or more had a higher risk of breast cancer. A Danish study found that a woman’s risks increased even after she discontinued use if she had used COCs for five or more years.

The comments site offers many stories from women who have suffered from breast cancer and from the doctors who have treated them. Included among them are these:

Anthony Vigil, MD, FACS, says:

As a general surgeon, me and my partners ask our breast cancer patients about OCP [oral contraceptive pills] use since our best cancer textbooks describe an increased risk of breast cancer with OCP use. It is ethically imperative that women are made aware of the risks of ingesting hormones into their bodies.

Anna Poynter says:

At age 31, I found a small breast lump. I went to more than one doctor, but the last one I saw was the head of the UCSD Cancer Institute, a Dr. Barone, in San Diego, where I lived at the time. He told me that it was small, movable and I didn’t have any pain but that I should GET OFF THE PILL. 19 years later that very same lump grew and became malignant, and I ended up having a mastectomy.

An anonymous writer says: “Recently diagnosed with breast cancer; I was on the pill for 10 years.”

The authors recommend that a black box warning be included with COCs, along with warnings on patient-related materials, so that women understand the risks they face.

Cervical Cancer

According to the petition, approximately 260,000 women in the United States have cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that there will be about 14,000 new cases this year alone. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of cervical cancer associated with COCs and that the risk increases for women currently taking hormonal birth control. In addition, the risk increases with the length of time the woman has taken the COCs.

The risk also increases if the woman has tested positive for HPV—the human papilloma virus.

The authors recommend both a black box warning and a warning on patient-related materials.

Depression, Mood Disorders, Suicide

 According to the study group, “The largest study of incident depression and use of anti-depressant medication (Skovlund 2016) indicates significantly increased risks for both COCs and POCs for both outcomes. The same group studied for suicide attempts and suicides (Skovlund 2018). Elevated risks were seen, and this was the case for both COCs and POCs. The recent NCHA study (Gregory 2018) showed a similar trend.”

The authors claim that their research has shown an “increased risk for depression, suicide risk, and suicide within 3 months of beginning to use the drugs and tapering off after 6 months, partly due to attenuation of symptoms, partly due to discontinuation due to adverse effects.”

depressed woman

The comments section of the website paints a dismal picture and offers evidence that these hormones cause new mental health problems and exacerbate existing or latent ones.

Julie Baltz, a family practice clinician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, states that she has seen the psychological harm caused by hormonal contraceptives. She wrote:

Even more subtle and more underreported are the psychological effects. These patients simply state “I didn’t feel right” and often think that there something wrong with them that they don’t tolerate this type of medication. I’ve seen insomnia, anxiety, depression, anhedonia, anorexia, and poor libido directly improved within my clinical office by discontinuing a combined OCP.

Another person, known only as TF, wrote in to say:

In 2011 I was prescribed hormonal birth control to “fix” a very irregular cycle. Three months later I started to struggle with crippling fatigue, loss of appetite and disinterest in everything except sleeping. I was shortly after that diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and still to this day have to be on medication to remain functional. I still struggle with my energy levels, unfortunately medication can’t cure depression and make it disappear. My doctor and I both believe that the hormonal birth control was likely a trigger to a predisposition for Major Depressive Disorder.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous stated:

In my early twenties I was prescribed birth control pills. The first cycle I took the pills as prescribed. I began to feel depressed, anxious, crying daily, with mood swings. Prior to beginning the oral contraceptive pills, I had none of these symptoms. After completing the first 2 weeks of the medication packet, I called the nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN clinic that I originally got the prescription. She told me that the changes in my mood, depression, and anxiety among others, could not be due to the new medication, that it must have just been life. She changed me to a lower dose contraceptive pill. After three weeks of taking the second prescription pack as directed I decided to discontinue use of oral contraceptives due to the side effects. I had gained 15 pounds and felt terrible.

The site is filled with story after story of people who have suffered—mentally and physically—because of these drugs. The authors want a black box warning about this side effect and warnings on patient-related materials.

Body Mass

While studies have varied regarding weight increase in women who use COCs, the strongest data found that levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs do, in fact, affect body mass. The authors stated that “a significant increase in % fat mass with a corresponding decrease in % lean body mass was observed in both studies where these were measured.”

Women have found this side effect all too real. For example, a woman who wishes to be anonymous said:

When I was taking hormonal birth control (HBC) I underwent a massive weight gain. From 120 lbs. to 155 lbs. That’s almost adding 30% to my body weight! I also suffered with severe stomach cramping, constant discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed it at IBS. I was only on HBC for 8 months and got pregnant while taking it. I stopped taking it upon pregnancy and have never touched the stuff again!

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

woman standing on scale

Urogenital (Urinary and Genital) Effects

The authors found evidence of several different kinds of urogenital problems in women. These include interstitial cystitis (a condition that causes bladder pain and pressure), bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vaginal dryness, female sexual dysfunction, and more. They state that the risk increases for adolescents and if the woman uses COCs for at least two years.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous experienced a whole host of problems, including urogenital. She said:

I was put on birth control by my parents when I was only 15 years old after a sexual assault incident. I then continued it for another 5 years before I began to question it. In that time frame I experienced extreme weight gain and loss from one pill to another, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my manic depression and severe mood swings (I am not bipolar), experienced a miscarriage, developed cysts in my breasts, had continuous pregnancy symptoms (including morning sickness every day), and had frequent UTIs and yeast infections. No one ever associated any of my problems, other than the breast cysts, to my birth control pills. It wasn’t until I discontinued the use once learning of the cysts that I began to feel normal and realized the association between my symptoms and the pill.

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

Venous Thromboembolism, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Events

 Venous Thromboembolism

A venous thromboembolism (or VTE) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein, most often in the leg, arm, or groin, and then lodges itself in the lung. This is an extremely dangerous health problem that can cause death. Even the American Heart Association website agrees that COCs can cause a VTE: “In women, pregnancy and the use of hormones like oral contraceptives or estrogen for menopause symptoms can also play a role.”

The comments regarding this side effect address the tragedies that have befallen women and families as a result of hormonal birth control. For example, Carol Pepin wrote about the loss of her daughter:

My 19-year-old daughter Shelby Pepin . . . died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke, and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing. Shelby had been on the NuvaRing for 18 months.

Joseph West has a similar story:

Our daughter died at age 29 in the Intensive Care Unit of her local hospital where she had been transferred after presenting herself at her local walk-in clinic. Her death was five weeks to the day after getting married and one day before [her] scheduled departure on a delayed honeymoon cruise. The autopsy report stated that she had “bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli” with a thrombus present in the left popliteal fossa. She had been using NuvaRing at the time of her death [which] had been removed at the walk-in clinic prior to transport to the hospital. . . . The [ICU] doctor stated that she believes that hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to the death of our daughter.

Kimberly Phipps-Nichol shared her personal story of survival:

Last year, at the age of 46, I was hospitalized with a cerebral thrombosis that was literally caught right before causing a stroke. The ER docs told me that if it had not been for the fact that the people I was with at the time of the event were trained to recognize the signs of stroke and called 911 for a stroke paramedic unit that arrived quickly, I would have been somewhere between a vegetative state and severely disabled. After countless CT scans and MRIs, along with a thorough study of my family history, the neurologist and hematologist teams determined it was the oral contraceptives that I was taking that had caused the thrombosis.

Diagram of thrombosis blood clotting

Diagram of thrombosis

An anonymous family physician claims to have seen the negative side effects of contraceptives firsthand and tells of several cases, including her treatment of a young woman in her late 20s who went into a coma brought on by a pulmonary embolism. The only known risk factor was that this woman was taking hormonal birth control. In addition, a medical colleague of this doctor suffered a pulmonary embolism that was attributed to OCP.

Nancy Brockoff wrote to say that she had four friends, who were all young mothers, who died of blood clots related to hormonal birth control.

Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by plaque. Arteries clogged with plaque lead to heart problems. Even as long ago as 1982, researchers understood and took interest in the fact that vascular disease and COCs were linked. According to the petition, these researchers “found that combination oral contraceptives (COCs) caused ‘greater cell proliferation and incorporation . . . in both human arterial smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts.’ Smooth muscle cell proliferation is an integral feature of all atherosclerotic lesions (Bagdade 1982). In 2007, a presentation at the American Heart Association meeting described a study of 1,301 Belgian women, which showed that women had a 20 to 30 percent increase of plaque for every decade on COCs (Rietzschel 2007).”

Furthermore, the Danish Heart Association “released the results of a 15-year historic cohort study looking at thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, which observed over 1.6 million women. The results demonstrated that women taking COCs with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 [micrograms] had a risk of arterial thrombosis that was 0.9 to 1.7 times higher than non-users, while those taking a dose of 30 to 40 [micrograms] had a 1.3 to 2.3 higher risk” (Lidegaard 2012).

The current black box warning about thrombotic events mentions smoking and age, which the authors believe misleads the consumer into thinking she’s safe if she doesn’t smoke or if she’s younger than 35. They want the warning amended to read: “Warning: Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including blood clots.” Additionally, they request warnings on all advertising and patient-related materials.

Environment

The synthetic hormones that women take are continually released from their bodies through their waste products. When researchers noticed changes in the aquatic environment—especially in fish—they began conducting studies to determine the cause of these changes. What they found astounded them.

The Contraceptive Study Group explained:

EE2 [the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol] is metabolized in the liver undergoing first pass metabolism, but ~6% of the administered dose appears as untransformed EE2 in the urine and ~9% in the feces (Stanczyk 2013)….Even at low concentrations, these compounds can act as potent endocrine disruptors, affecting the growth, development, and reproduction of exposed aquatic organisms (Tyler 1998, Larsson 1999).

While wastewater treatment plants have the ability to filter out many chemicals and pollutants, they cannot filter out EE2.

Studies have found that these synthetic chemicals cause changes in male fish. A 1995 paper found that male fish in nearly 30 rivers throughout Britain had become “feminized” by these pollutants.

The Contraceptive Study Group also referenced a seven-year long study of the effects of EE2 on Canadian lakes. In that study, researchers approximated the amount of EE2 that would reach the waterways from a town of 200,000 people. They immediately saw the feminization and transgendering of male fish and a “near extinction” of the population of the fathead minnow there. Once the researchers stopped adding EE2 to the water, the population of minnows returned to normal.

We find further evidence in a study that looked at the fish populations near three Colorado sewage treatment plants. There, researchers found a significant difference between the fish upstream of the plant and those downstream. They stated:

The fish in the upstream locations enjoyed a balanced 1:1 female-to-male sex ratio. Downstream there were five female fish for every one male, and twenty percent of the reduced male population demonstrated intersex characteristics, such as eggs in their testes and the presence of vitellogenin, an egg yolk protein normally found only in fertile females. The consequences also appeared to ascend up the food chain in a measurable way, specifically with the feminization of trout, mink frogs and green frogs (Parke 2009). Both the predicted and the measured concentrations of EE2 in the US, including effluent of waste water treatment plants, surface water, or ground water, exceeds the predicted no-effect concentrations on fish populations (Kostich 2013).

fish under water

Conclusion

In addition to these diseases and the pollution in the environment, the economic costs from these side effects and their resultant diseases/health problems to the patient and to the community are in the billions.

This article touched upon some of the most egregious side effects. To read the full list of side effects and the studies referenced, to read all of the comments, or to add your own comment, visit regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2019-P-2289-0001.

This health crisis affects us all. Whether you are male or female, elderly, middle aged, young, a mother, or a father, hormonal birth control does affect your life in some way because these hormones affect your wives, your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your best friends, the environment, and even your dinner table. It’s time to speak up and tell the government that women must know the truth. It’s time to help women understand that their health is more important than a drug that can alter their body and mind. Synthetic hormones and their deleterious effects leave a lasting impact and crush our society.

Abortion is ‘easier to justify’ when society views children as ‘uninvited guests’

 

In a recent podcast, 40 Days for Life president and CEO Shawn Carney and two other 40 Days for Life directors — Steve Karlen, and Robert Colquhoun — tackled the topic of contraception and how it relates to abortion in society.

Historically, children were viewed as a gift

Steve Karlen, director of North American Outreach for 40 DFL, noted that our current cultural mindset represents a major shift from centuries past, saying, “Throughout all of human history, children have been viewed as a blessing,” adding, “We all know this to be true, and at the same time we have this schizophrenia where we have mass use of contraception that says ‘no, we don’t really want children around here.’”

Karlen further characterized contraception as “contrary to human nature” because he believes human beings “have this innate longing to bring children into the world and to love them and to make the world a better place for them.”

A contraceptive mentality increases abortions

40 DFL CEO Shawn Carney defined a contraceptive mentality as one that divorces the idea of babies from sex, primarily via hormonal birth control that acts against (“contra”) conception.

Because we expect contracepted sex to be sterile and for the purpose of pleasure only, when a child does result, as Karlen pointed out, we tend to view him or her as “an intruder, an invader, an uninvited guest. And that makes abortion so much easier to justify at that point.”

Robert Colquhoun, director of International Campaigns for 40 DFL, said many people believe “if we just use birth control, we can reduce abortions.” In actuality, he said, increased use of contraceptives correlates with increased rates of sexual activity. When the contraceptives fail, as some inevitably do, there’s an increase in unintended pregnancies accompanied by an increase in abortions to “deal” with them. He added, “Planned Parenthood wouldn’t be handing out contraceptives if they knew that they led to a decreased abortion rate.”

 

Some contraception may cause abortions

As Karlen, Carney, and Colquhoun noted, the science behind contraceptives acting as abortifacients is not complicated. Contraceptives act in several ways to prevent ovulation, but they also thin the lining of the uterus, making implantation of an embryo much more difficult. Once fertilization occurs, a genetically unique human being is created. Preventing implantation, then, would mean that a child dies.

Contraception’s negative impacts on society

Karlen said, “Contraception is not good for our relationship with children in the womb” because it leads to a classification of children as “wanted” or “unwanted” depending on whether their parents intended to get pregnant or not.

As Shawn Carney recalled, decades ago, the Catholic Church was considering whether to change its longstanding prohibition on contraception, and Pope Paul VI released a 1968 document called Humanae Vitae. In that document, he made three predictions about what would happen if contraceptive use became widespread: 1) a rise in divorce, 2) a decreased respect for the wellbeing of women, and 3) governmental coercion of human reproduction (i.e. China’s One Child Policy and the forced sterilization of thousands of U.S. women between the 1920s and 1970s). These predictions have sadly come true.

Life of chastity brings ‘great peace, great hope’

Carney noted that while 40-50% of couples who contracept reportedly divorce, the divorce rate among couples who use fertility awareness-based methods is only 3-5%. Carney believes this is due to a fundamental difference in mindset among those using NFP — one that values the woman as a whole person and doesn’t pathologize her fertility, and which views children as a blessing and a joy rather than a burden.

For those struggling with infertility, natural family planning could be the answer

 

When Amanda Nichols and her husband Charlie were trying to become pregnant, Natural Family Planning (NFP) led them to the discovery of the causes of their infertility. And when Tara Horesowsky and her husband Bryan were ready to start having children, they were able to use NFP to know on which days they were most likely to conceive. NFP has been belittled by the fertility industry and birth control industry for years, with doctors telling women that it simply doesn’t work — but this couldn’t be further from the truth, and recent studies have shown how incredibly effective it is. NFP isn’t the rhythm method our grandmothers used, but rather a way of understanding one’s own personal fertility and making decisions based on each body’s unique rhythm.

After using their chosen method of NFP, the Horesowskys learned when they had reached peak fertility, and within a couple of months, they were expecting their first child.

“It was the most incredible news and it was so clear to us that NFP helped us prevent pregnancy when it wasn’t the right time, and helped us achieve pregnancy when we felt that calling,” Horesowsky told the Catholic Messenger.

There are a variety of ways to practice NFP, and every couple can choose for themselves which works best for them.

Types of NFP

The Billings Method/Cervical Fluid. By observing changes in cervical (cervix) fluid, a woman can notice when she is infertile and when she is near peak fertility as well as when she reaches peak fertility. Used in combination with basal body temperature reading, understanding cervical fluid can help a couple achieve pregnancy. The Billings Method uses cervical fluid to help women chart their cycles.

The Couple to Couple League/Sympto-Pro Method. Examples of the Sympto-Thermal Method are the Sympto-Pro Fertility Education and the Couple to Couple League methods. Through these, couples can combine the cervical fluid and basal body temperature methods in order to achieve pregnancy. By using a thermometer that measures her basal body temperature, a woman can take her temperature each morning before getting out of bed. Before ovulation, her temperature will be at her lowest and after ovulation, her temperature will rise about half a degree and remain elevated. By observing and charting these changes together, a woman can better track fertility and interpret her unique chart to find her most fertile days. Women who have irregular cycles can do well with this method as it is based on their own unique fertility.

The Marquette Model. With the Marquette Method of NFP, couples can use modern technology to monitor fertility. By using urine fertility biomarkers, along with the observation of cervical mucus or basal body temperature, couples use a fertility monitor that shows them when certain hormones have been detected in the woman’s urine which indicate ovulation is about to occur. It is easy to use and understand and when using the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor, women can look back on their cycles for the last six months to determine their personal fertility patterns or issues with their cycle.

The Creighton or FertilityCare Method. This method not only helps women understand their cycle, but is the basis for NaProTECHNOLOGY, a revolutionary method of achieving pregnancy for couples struggling with infertility. The Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS) is built off of the Billings Method and requires the participation of both spouses. NaProTECHNOLOGY has helped couples who have been struggling with frequent miscarriages, premature births, abnormal bleeding, and ovarian cysts, as well as other fertility problems.

Couples who use NFP aren’t sitting on the sidelines of their fertility. They have taken control and are therefore able to know when is not only the best time to conceive but when to refrain from sex if seriously trying to avoid pregnancy. Over 6 million women in the United States struggle with infertility. In Vitro Fertilization is expensive, highly controversial, and has a success rate only as high as 30 percent per cycle. NaProTECHNOLOGY, however, has up to an 80 percent success rate for couples struggling with infertility through the use of charting along with medical or surgical restorative treatments that address the cause of infertility.

Nichols and her husband were struggling to become pregnant when they reached out to Dr. Monica Minjeur, who is trained in CrMS. Minjeur used NFP to help identify why the couple was having trouble conceiving because Nichols had been charting her cycles. Minjeur noticed that Nichols’ temperatures were lower than normal which was a sign of a thyroid condition. She was able to diagnosis Nichols with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as well, which explained infrequent ovulation. In addition, low progesterone was determined to have been the reason that they weren’t able to conceive even when she did ovulate. With changes in her diet and the addition of progesterone supplements, the couple was able to become pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl.

NFP has been disparaged by industries built on making money off of women’s bodies and fertility. But in reality, a woman’s ability to gain understanding and knowledge of her body and her unique cycle is empowering, allowing her to be freed from the constraints and health risks associated with hormonal birth control.

‘We brought light into the world’: Laura chose life and left behind her addiction

 

At 27 years old, recovering drug addict Laura Amoretti discovered that against all odds, she was pregnant. She had only been sober for 90 days and her sister pressured her to have an abortion, kicking Amoretti out of her home when she refused.

“I began having problems with drugs and alcohol at 19 after an abusive relationship and serious depression left me broken, lost, with an overwhelming sadness and dislike for myself,” she wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “As my addiction progressed, I found myself 27 years old with a crippling heroin addiction and I hadn’t gone a day in 8 years without drinking. I was a master at hiding my addiction from family and friends but when I was alone, I was an absolute mess. I cried myself to sleep every night and woke up in full blown withdrawal almost every day. When I wasn’t falling asleep smoking cigarettes I was escorting or partying.”

After finally telling her family the truth, they helped her quit drugs and get through “the most painful and debilitating withdrawal.” Amoretti also found support in a fellow-recovering addict, until one day he was tragically robbed and killed. His death nearly sent her back to drugs, but instead, she found herself at a meeting for recovering addicts. “… I spoke and told everyone what happened and told them I was so distraught I couldn’t think of what to do but to go back to addiction,” she said.

A week later, after her friend’s funeral, Amoretti texted her dealer and set up a time to meet him. “[I]n that exact instant I received a different text that I believe saved my life. A guy from that meeting texted me asking if I was ok, how was I doing. I stopped and made a decision right there not to use drugs that day. It was GOD was showing me there was something else waiting for me if I just stayed sober,” she explained.

The two soon began dating, and two months later – only 90 days sober – Amoretti learned she was pregnant. She was shocked. At 13 years old she had been told it would be nearly impossible for her to become pregnant because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. But there they were — two recovering addicts expecting a baby. Her sister, with whom she was living, insisted that she abort, but Amoretti refused. “I was soon forced to leave her house because she didn’t agree with my decision and in a scramble and with almost nothing to work with, me and him found the tiniest guesthouse to live in. We both found jobs and slowly but surely created a modest life to bring our baby into.”

Abortion isn’t the solution

Unfortunately, this sort of treatment is common toward women dealing with unplanned pregnancies, and it’s even worse for pregnant women battling addiction. Rather than helping women, abortion has been tied to an increased risk of drug and alcohol use. One study found that women who aborted unwanted pregnancies were “270% more likely to report subsequent alcohol abuse or dependence.” And post-abortive women are more likely to become addicted to drugs than women who choose life (15.8 percent vs. 5.3 percent). Based on this, abortion could certainly send a recovering addict into a downward spiral.

As for babies conceived while their mothers are addicted to drugs, they do not deserve death. When we help the mother, we help the child in the womb as well; the focus should be on assisting women in overcoming their addictions. The effects on the child depend on the type of drug abused during pregnancy, and killing a child through abortion is not a morally acceptable response to the fear of a substance’s effect on that child’s body.

While society’s “solution” of aborting a child is often cloaked in a misguided sense of compassion and a desire to avoid suffering, eliminating the sufferer is surely not a proper way to avoid life of potential suffering. After all, “suffering is not evil,” noted the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles in a recent video. “Actually, suffering is morally neutral…. What is good or evil is how you react to suffering. You can react in a way that is ennobling, dignified, and good. Or you can react in a way that is selfish, wicked, evil, and wrong.” Reacting with killing — abortion — is wrong.

Coercion isn’t the solution

Other individuals, such as Barbara Harris, believe that the best way to help women who are addicted to drugs is to coerce them into sterilization. Harris travels the country in an RV, offering cash to women struggling with addiction in exchange for being permanently sterilized. “Nothing positive comes to a drug addict who gives birth to eight children that are taken away from her. This is a win-win for everybody,” she said. Harris has reportedly paid more than 7,000 women to be sterilized.

While on the surface, this might seem reasonable, it isn’t. Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, says Harris’ method of assistance isn’t morally acceptable. “[Harris] perpetuates really destructive and cruel myths about pregnant women and their children,” she said. She sees Harris as operating under the false narrative that the children of drug addicts have no hope and that drug addicts themselves have no chance at recovery. This is far from the truth.

For many addicts, becoming pregnant actually saves them from their addiction, as they feel a new sense of responsibility and purpose in life.

Leilani is one woman who discovered she was pregnant while she was homeless, addicted to drugs, and had already been in jail for stealing. She chose life for her baby and for herself with the help of Ventura County Pregnancy Center. She was able to continue her education, find a job, and be the mother she wanted to be, all because she said yes to life and had the support to do so. Another drug addict, Kailee, was dating and living with her dealer when she learned she was pregnant. He and her stepfather both wanted her to abort, but she knew she wanted her baby. Still, they told her she “would be doing [her] baby a favor” with abortion, and that taking her child’s life “would be the best thing for me.” They told her she would be a terrible mother. But a pregnancy center helped her choose life and Kailee was able to go to rehab. Her baby’s father also quit drugs and got a job. The two married and have since had two more children.

As for Amoretti, she and her boyfriend also overcame addiction and welcomed a baby boy. They work hard to stay sober for his sake. Amoretti says that together they are “sober, stronger, and happy as can be.”

“The odds were fully stacked against us,” she said, “but we both stayed sober and in a mountain of grief and chaos we brought light into the world.”

Babies are a light in the world and a miracle in the darkness of addiction.

Author’s Note: If you are pregnant and living with addiction, contact OptionLine for help in your local area. 

Supreme Court once again hears why Little Sisters of the Poor don’t want to fund contraceptives

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor, pro-life nuns who care for the elderly, are once again part of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Their goal is to stop the government from forcing the Catholic community to participate in the provision of contraceptives and life-ending drugs to their employees.

The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments at 10:00 a.m. EST. Given the coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings, everything is set to take place remotely by phone.

“The Court will provide a live audio feed of the arguments to FOX News (the network pool chair), the Associated Press, and C-SPAN, and they will in turn provide a simultaneous feed for the oral arguments to livestream on various media platforms,” the Supreme Court announced.

Preceding the oral arguments, there was a “virtual” rally to support the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Leaders from around the country will offer messages of support for the Little Sisters of the Poor as they head (virtually) to the Supreme Court,” the organizers stated.

The rally closed with a rosary prayed by different religious communities.

The Obama administration had first mandated employers to participate in or help facilitate the provision of contraceptives, as well as abortifacient drugs, to their employees. The Little Sisters of the Poor refused to go along with the new policy, as did Hobby Lobby and other religious entities.

If the Little Sisters of the Poor – pro-life Catholic nuns – were forced to provide contraceptive and life-ending drugs and devices, they would explicitly contradict their mission of respecting the dignity of every human life.

On October 6, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services came out with an updated, broad religious exemption protecting communities like the Little Sisters of the Poor from having to provide goods and services that would violate their conscience.

Thus, the Trump administration admitted that the federal government broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide services like the week-after-pill in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, the state of Pennsylvania went on to sue the federal government, arguing the religious exemption should be removed.

“Pennsylvania admits that it already has and already uses many government programs to provide contraceptives to women who need them,” wrote Becket Law, the religious liberty law firm representing the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“Pennsylvania never challenged the Obama Administration for creating much larger exceptions for secular corporations – exceptions that covered tens of millions more people than the religious exemption,” Becket pointed out. “Pennsylvania does not even have its own contraceptive mandate at all. And Pennsylvania’s lawsuit does not identify a single real person who previously had contraceptive coverage but will lose it because of the new Rule.”

If Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, prevails before the Supreme Court, and the sisters refuse to comply, they would be forced to pay millions of dollars in fines.

Beginning in November 2017, Becket intervened on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor in California and Pennsylvania, working its way through the court system.

Countless groups, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus, as well as many legislators, have filed amicus curiae briefs, supporting the Catholic nuns in their fight.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg phoned into oral arguments from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where the 87-year-old underwent “non-surgical treatment for acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition” on May 5, according to the Court.

New report reveals Catholic Relief Services promoted sex ed and contraception

By Michael Hichborn

BALTIMORE, Maryland, May 4, 2020 (Lepanto Institute) — A sixth investigative report on Catholic Relief Services projects, published by the Lepanto Institute, shows that CRS both implemented and promoted comprehensive sexual education curriculums that include pornographic images and the promotion of contraception.

The first curriculum profiled by the Lepanto Institute, called Go Girls!, was linked to directly by a CRS copyrighted document about its DREAMS/4Children project in Lesotho titled, “TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS TEN.” The CRS-produced document says that the Go Girls! curriculum was adapted for use by CRS Lesotho, and a footnote referencing the curriculum provided a link directly to it.

“The Go Girls! curriculum not only pushes contraception and promotes masturbation, but has a pornographic illustration that actually demonstrates the genital use of a condom,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “Why on Earth would someone at CRS ever think this curriculum would be acceptable on any level? The leadership at CRS needs to ask why a morally acceptable curriculum wasn’t used, because CRS paid for this immoral curriculum and provided it to a vulnerable community.”

The Lepanto Institute’s report also showed that CRS had implemented a curriculum called Aflateen, and maintains a close relationship with Aflateen’s parent company, Aflatoun. Not only does the Aflateen curriculum clearly promotes the use of contraception, but Aflatoun publicly signed a statement announcing its support for the abortion-funding initiative called “She Decides.” But despite this, CRS has been found to be promoting the curriculum to other agencies.

“Curriculums like this have to be paid for when they are implemented, which means that even if CRS claims to have implemented a sanitized version of them, they still paid for them,” said Hichborn. “These curriculums might as well have been created by Planned Parenthood; would CRS purchase curriculums from Planned Parenthood with the intention of using only the morally acceptable portions? If the answer is no, then CRS is guilty by purchasing and distributing these curriculums.”

The report can be viewed at the link, here: https://www.lepantoin.org/pornographic-contraception-promoting-curriculums-used-by-catholic-relief-services/

“For the last two months, we have been issuing heavily documented proof that there are serious problems with Catholic Relief Services projects, and despite an initial promise to investigate and respond, CRS has yet to address a single concern,” Hichborn added. “It is for this reason that we continue to call upon the bishops of the United States to conduct an independent, third-party investigation of CRS, and to withhold their support for the agency until such an investigation is convened.”

A petition asking bishops to conduct an investigation of CRS can be found here: https://lifepetitions.com/petition/stop-catholic-relief-services-condom-promotion-now

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

UK judge orders woman with disability be forced to use long-term birth control

 

A woman living with a disability in the United Kingdom will be forced to receive a long-term contraceptive implant against her will, thanks to a court ruling from a judge.

According to Metro, the woman, who was not named, is in her late twenties and has had children before, all of whom were taken away from her and placed into child protective services. She is currently pregnant and did not want to receive an implanted birth control device.

The woman arrived to testify on her own behalf for the Court of Protection and explained that she was willing to use birth control — specifically, the birth control shot, which lasts for three months at a time. “It’s my body and it’s my life,” she said. “I should have the choice on what I want.” Yet Justice Gwynneth Knowles disagreed, and ruled that when the woman undergoes a c-section, the implant should be put in anyway. Knowles said that she lacks the mental capacity to make the decision for herself.

In addition to ignoring the woman’s willingness to use birth control, Knowles’ justification for her decision highlights an inherent problem in her logic. If the woman in question is not capable of making the decision for herself on what kind of birth control to use, then she does not have the ability to consent to sex, meaning that every sexual encounter she has had has been rape. Yet it doesn’t seem that there is much concern for finding the men assaulting her — as long as she isn’t getting pregnant, it doesn’t seem to matter. On top of that, the issue also seems to be that she’s having children, raising the question of how Knowles would have responded if the woman was having multiple abortions, rather than giving birth to living children. Would she be considered capable if that were the case? There are also alternatives to forcing her to be on a method of birth control she does not want, like providing her with liaisons or aides to ensure her safety.

People with disabilities are routinely mistreated in the United Kingdom. It’s far from the first time that someone with a disability has been forced onto birth control there, and around the world, forced sterilization, abortions, and birth control for people with disabilities are common, both throughout recent history and in the present day. Even a Paralympian felt compelled to speak out after she was pressured to have an abortion because of her disability. The country’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has found “deeply concerning” evidence that people with disabilities there routinely face abuse, mistreatment, bullying, and exclusion. And yet, when these people come forward to report the abuse they face, authorities don’t believe them. Doctors in the United Kingdom have also been known to issue DNRs for people with intellectual disabilities — without their or their families’ knowledge or consent. Other families report receiving substandard health care for their loved ones with a disability.

This kind of decision should be troubling for all people because ultimately, it sets a disturbing precedent: that at any time, a judge can decide that someone isn’t capable of making decisions for themselves, and thereby be forced into birth control, abortion, or sterilization. Yet what makes this worst of all is that because cases like these involve people with disabilities, next to no one will step forward and say that this is wrong.

Why pro-lifers should question the agenda of the World Health Organization

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) proved itself to be an advocate for abortion and sexual liberation after it declared abortion to be an essential service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Health officials with the organization said the possibility of a woman being infected with the virus should not impede her ability to access abortion, and if she lives in a state with restricted access to abortion, the woman should seek an at-home, do-it-yourself abortion. This is not only dangerous, but it exposes the radical agenda behind a group that is supposed to prioritize the health and well-being of individuals.

WHO has partnered with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in the past to promote abortion and various sexual practices. This collaboration has included promoting the idea that programs geared towards encouraging sexual abstinence are harmful to “young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.” WHO and IPPF’s programs encourage impressionable youth from 9-12 years of age to masturbate in private, discourage teenagers from 15-18 years of age from holding their parents’ views on sex, and teach kids from ages 12-15 how to derive pleasure from sexual acts without risking pregnancy.

But these combined efforts to enforce comprehensive sex education also include educating adolescent girls about ‘abortion rights’, as well as information about using emergency contraception. While advocates for Plan B, Ella, and the Morning After Pill insist these pills merely prevent pregnancy without acting as abortifacients, this is misleading. In an effort to capitalize on the normalization of hormonal birth control, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) altered the definition of conception.

Instead of life being recognized as beginning at fertilization, in 1965, the ACOG contended that it began at implantation, which enabled the marketers of emergency contraception to claim that it did not cause abortions. But in altering the lining of a woman’s uterus, emergency contraceptives like Ella or Plan B can create a hostile environment for a developing embryo, preventing as a secondary action the implantation of the new life that has already begun. While the Morning After Pill may not always induce an abortion, it can function in this way if ovulation is not prevented.

Another reason to be concerned about WHO’s agenda is that hormonal birth control and emergency contraception can dramatically alter women’s bodies. It’s especially concerning when hormonal contraceptives like this are promoted to young girls, as they can not only change their reproductive systems in unhealthy ways, but in the case of emergency contraception, a woman may find herself at an increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy.

Recently, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that funds originally directed towards WHO would instead be directed to the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse in order to combat COVID-19. This comes at a time when, based on WHO recommendations, the United Nations has attempted to push a $2 billion spending plan for the virus that includes funding for abortions.

Pro-Life Feminist documentary now available to watch free online

  

The documentary “Pro-Life Feminist,” originally released in 2018, was recently made viewable for free online via YouTube.

Aimee Murphy, founder of Rehumanize International, a nonprofit best known for its “consistent life ethic” approach, opens the film commenting on an unfortunate contradiction in the modern-day feminist movement. “There are some who say that equality for the preborn is contrary to the liberation of women. You know, that perspective is really pitting women against their children.” She also notes in the film, “Feminism is about human equality. You can’t just leave some humans out.”

 

Viewers also meet Christina Marie Bennett, a writer for Live Action News who worked for years at a Connecticut pregnancy center and now works for Family Institute of Connecticut. She too understands the abortion issue as part of a larger framework – the struggle for human rights for all humans. “I’m not ok with injustice in any way, shape, or form…and so I came to this realization that I am a feminist. And it’s okay. It’s okay, because I am going to redefine [feminism]. To think that, because we value the littlest women of all, just as much as any other woman at any other stage in her life, means that we are against womanhood, or that we are disconnected to the reality of the pains and struggle and trauma associated with being a woman…are not we women? Do we not hurt and ache in the same way?”

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa is also featured in Pro-Life Feminist. She founded New Wave Feminists because of her son, whom she had at 16. The organization received significant media attention due to its inclusion in and then subsequent exclusion from the Women’s March on Washington in 2017 because of its pro-life position. From her perspective, “The pro-life side, a lot of times, they see one person, they see the unborn child. And the feminist person, they see one person. The woman. But pro-life feminists see two people. We want to protect two people.”

Aimee, Christina, and Destiny’s pro-life feminist stories make clear that the old stereotype of pro-lifers as a bunch of old white men imposing their religious beliefs on women’s uteruses is just as much a relic of the past as the chilling accusation from the Roe v. Wade audio recordings that opponents of abortion want to “force” women to continue pregnancies. On the contrary, far from “forcing” anything on anyone, these three women seek justice, freedom, and equality for all. And they’re shaking up both the pro-life and feminist movements in the process.

Abortion pill reversal saved her baby. Now she’s pro-life

By Katie Franklin

April 23, 2020 (Pregnancy Help News) — Rita and her fiancé were in the midst of a three-hour car drive home when she began hemorrhaging. She was eight weeks pregnant and had just left an abortion facility where she had begun a chemical abortion.

As Rita would later recall, she was bleeding “so severely it was dripping like a faucet that wouldn’t turn off.”

Rita’s fiancé rushed her to the hospital where she was given a blood transfusion and monitored for the next three days.

“I was in so much pain it felt like I was being ripped apart internally!” she said.

Despite the terror of those few days at the hospital, Rita discovered something that would bring her immense happiness: She was still pregnant and her baby still had a heartbeat.

With that news, Rita was able to find a life-saving treatment known as abortion pill reversal. To Rita’s joy, it worked.

Now, nearly two years after that fateful day on the road, Rita is the mother to a happy one-year-old boy.

“He’s 15 months old now and is the sweetest, happiest and most beautiful little boy I have ever laid my eyes on!” she wrote on a Facebook post made by pro-life advocate Laura Klassen. “God was truly with me, and now I see why, my son’s my biggest blessing.”

So impactful was the experience on Rita’s life that today she is outspokenly pro-life.

According to a message she sent to Klassen, that wasn’t always the case.

Rita explained that she grew up believing that abortion was a “choice” and that an unborn child in the womb wasn’t a human life. Her own mother had two abortions.

But because of the transformative experience of saving her baby, Rita was able to help her mother become pro-life, as well.

“I should have never been able to take my son’s life,” Rita wrote to Klassen. “And seeing him here today is such a blessing! He’s a radiant soul with a happy, laughing, and smiley energy that radiates a room! He, like all other babies, deserves life!”

That’s exactly what the team at Abortion Pill Rescue is hoping to ensure. The group — a network of more than 800 medical providers run by Heartbeat International — has helped save more than 1,100 from in-progress chemical abortions since it launched more than a decade ago.

“Many women regret their abortions and often that regret sets in right away,” said Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International. “Many women contact the APR hotline as soon as they get to their cars in the abortion clinic parking lot. Or, like Rita, regret already begins on their way home from the clinic. The realization sets in that they are ending the life of a child and they want to know if they have options.”

A chemical abortion — often referred to as the “abortion pill” or RU-486 — actually involves two drugs. The first, which Rita took, is mifepristone, a drug that destabilizes the pregnancy by blocking progesterone receptors. The second, typically misoprostol, triggers contractions, forcing the woman’s body to expel her baby in very premature labor, often at home.

If a woman changes her mind after taking the first drug, she may be able to save her baby with help from the Abortion Pill Rescue Network. By calling the 24/7 helpline (877-558-0333), she is connected with a local medical provider who offers the treatment.

Brown says that even in seemingly dire cases — like Rita’s — babies have been rescued.

“Many assume that some bleeding after taking mifepristone means it’s too late to save the baby,” Brown said. “But that isn’t necessarily true.”

She said that mifepristone is known to cause fever, heavy bleeding, abdominal pain and nausea.

“The FDA states that cramping and vaginal bleeding are expected with mifepristone and warns that one in one hundred women who have taken just the mifepristone will have bleeding so heavy they will require a surgical procedure to stop it,” she said.

When combined with the second drug, misoprostol, the effects of a chemical abortion are more alarming still.

“I’m very concerned about the abortion pill because aside from the fact that it’s killing babies, it’s being marketed heavily to young women as ‘easy’, and ‘safe’, and that you can ‘do it in the comfort of your own home,’” Laura Klassen told Pregnancy Help News in an email. “But I am hearing the horror stories regularly.”

Some of those she posted recently on Facebook.

“What I have come to find is that the RU-486 pill is much more bloody and painful than the abortion industry portrays it,” Klassen said. “What I am hearing is that women are often sent to the hospital during the process because of hemorrhaging, or else they’re having to go weeks later to have surgery because parts were left inside.”

Brown says the Abortion Pill Rescue Network hears similar accounts.

“The medical staff of APR hear from women who are scared, alone and bleeding heavily,” she said. “Because chemical abortion is often advertised as ‘inducing a period,’ and because abortion providers often describe the bleeding as spotting, many women are shocked by the amount of pain and bleeding the abortion pill causes.”

Yet if a woman contacts the Abortion Pill Rescue hotline soon enough after taking the first drug, she may not suffer the same experience.

In cases where an ultrasound can still detect a baby’s heartbeat — even a faint one — the abortion pill reversal treatment can begin. To initiate that process, a medical provider prescribes bioidentical progesterone, such as Prometrium, to the pregnant woman. The hope is that by flooding her body with progesterone, they can restabilize the pregnancy.

“It works to outnumber and outcompete the mifepristone for those receptor sites in the uterus and placenta and is successful about 68 percent of the time,” Brown said, referring to a study by physician George Delgado, one of the founders of the Abortion Pill Rescue Network.

With more and more babies being rescued by the treatment, Brown says the protocol is an important form of empowerment for women.

“APR empowers women with real choice,” Brown said. “No woman should ever feel pressure to complete a medical procedure she no longer desires.”

Published with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

‘Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives’: The Real Effects of Hormonal Birth Control

By 

Breast cancer. Cervical cancer. Depression. Mood disorders. Suicide. Multiple sclerosis. Ulcerative colitis. Venous thromboembolism. Inflammatory bowel disease. Systemic lupus erythematosus. Cystitis. Crohn’s disease. Urogenital effects. Cardiovascular events. Increased chance of HIV transmission.

Your doctor rattled off those words like he was calling roll in a classroom. But each one made you cringe a little more than the last. You could feel your eyes widening as the list grew. Side effects—for a drug you don’t even need, for a drug not designed to alleviate a sickness. You look at him dubiously, as if maybe he’s joking. These can’t all be side effects from one drug, you think. But the look on his face tells you that he is not joking. In fact, he is very serious. And luckily for you, he cares enough about you to tell you what could happen if he prescribes the drug you’re asking for. You start to think to yourself: I don’t want to do that to my bodyI value my health too much. I respect my body more than that.

You wonder why you never heard any of this before, and you realize you’re going to have to rethink your desire for hormonal birth control.

The Petition

In June 2019, 10 doctors and researchers who had formed a Contraceptive Study Group published a document entitled Petition on Hormonal Contraceptives. This document evaluated existing literature and synthesized studies on hormonal birth control in order to present information on their side effects in one comprehensive document. The Contraceptive Study Group’s goal was to not only warn potential users, but also to petition the government to add black box—or warning—labels onto the boxes of contraception and to include warnings on patient-related information so that women know and understand the risks of the chemicals they put into their bodies. This article serves as an overview of just some of the major findings and of the information this group desperately wants to put forward for all to know.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group understand the damage hormonal contraceptives do to women, to the babies they may carry, and to the families who love them. That is why they undertook the daunting task of reading, interpreting, compiling, and then disseminating the information they found. In all, this petition cites 230 outside sources—not counting those related to the environmental impact. This petition was not only a labor of love and compassion for their fellow human beings but also serves as a wake-up call to people who unknowingly—or knowingly—ingest these harmful chemicals.

Millions of women take hormonal birth control or receive contraceptive injections without any idea about the poison they’re putting into their bodies. According to the petition, “Based on data from the Guttmacher Institute, a conservative estimate of 11 million women aged 15-44 in the US take some form of hormonal contraceptive each day. A 2015 study reports that about 21 percent of women of reproductive years are using some form of hormonal contraceptive, which equates to about 13 million women (Daniels 2015).”

In addition, millions of babies die when these contraceptives thin the lining of the uterine wall, thus preventing the baby from implanting.

Hormonal contraceptives have been on the market for over 50 years, yet the scope of the devastation and health ramifications they have caused can never be known. Some women don’t even realize that the causes of the health problems they face may be contraception. If this petition succeeds in its intent, pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose these side effects.

product liability word cloud

The petition begins by listing the side effects of combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives (COCs). Many are mentioned in the first paragraph above. COCs include oral, intravaginal, and transdermal formulations. The petition lists the brand names of all of these—in six pages.

According to the team, progestogen-only contraceptives (POCs) “have not been extensively studied, but one large registry study did show a significantly increased risk of breast cancer with use of POCs.”

Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies COCs as Group I carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer in humans.

Recommendations

The petition recommends that the government “remove from the market the injectable contraceptive Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA; Depo-Provera) based on conclusive evidence that it facilitates the transmission of HIV from men to women.” It then recommends that black box warnings should be added for the following diseases and conditions: breast cancer, cervical cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, depression and suicide, venous thrombosis, and cardiovascular events. In addition, safety information should be added to advertisements and patient-related materials about multiple sclerosis, bone fractures, body mass effects, and urogenital problems.

Countless women suffer the side effects of hormonal contraception. Countless women feel duped by healthcare providers, by pharmaceutical companies, and by organizations that tout the benefits of COCs. Rarely do they hear of these side effects—side effects that can appear after long-term use, after a few months, or even after just a few short weeks.

In conjunction with the petition, the public is asked to post comments or stories to this site in order to encourage the government to add warnings to contraceptive labels. Many of these comments reference tragic and heartbreaking stories of loss—loss of life, loss of health, and loss of autonomy.

You might wonder why many physicians don’t warn their patients about these side effects.  Dr. Ken Stone offers some insight:

It is common practice that physicians do not discuss any significant adverse effects of oral contraceptives or require an informed consent. Some colleagues have said to me that they do not want to say anything that would deter them from using the pill. Standard adverse effects in formularies for prescribed contraceptive medicines usually do not mention the most severe ones like pulmonary embolus, stroke, breast cancer, liver disease, etc.

This petition for removing certain contraceptives from the market, listing those adverse effects that should have black box warnings in prescribed contraceptives, and those that need additional safety warnings in prescribed contraceptives provide[s] more than adequate research data to require the actions requested. As a family practice physician for the past 41 years, I believe the scandal of not informing women of the known side effects of contraceptives is an egregious injustice and needs immediate correction.

The members of the Contraceptive Study Group believe that the public should know the truth. Throughout the next several pages, we will discuss some of the findings and data they presented regarding many of the major side effects of hormonal contraception. To read the petition in its entirety, and to see the comprehensive list of side effects, visit the petition’s site.

HIV Transmission

Depo-Provera, or DMPA, is an injectable contraceptive that is administered quarterly. However, according to the study group: “Evidence began emerging in the 1990s, which has become compelling in recent years, that DMPA is unique among contraceptives in its property of facilitating the transmission of HIV.”

How is this so?

According to research, DMPA has an immunosuppressant quality. It binds to the glucocorticoid receptor of human leukocytes, which, in layman’s terms, means that it represses the woman’s innate immune responses and allows for an increase in HIV replication. Thus, when an infected man has intercourse with a woman taking DMPA, her compromised immune system cannot fight off the disease.

Because of this, the authors want DMPA taken off the market.

Breast Cancer

According to the petition, there are 1.7 million cases of breast cancer diagnosed every year. It is the most common form of cancer among women in developed countries and accounts for 20% of cancers in females.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies COCs as Group 1 carcinogens. That means they can cause cancer in human beings. Studies have long shown the link between breast cancer and COCs. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2006 that found that COCs increase the risk of breast cancer. That same year, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic) published a meta-analysis that confirmed the findings that COCs increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

woman about to take birth control pill

According to the Contraceptive Study Group, “Studies that looked at recent use (within 1–5 years) or current use of COCs in premenopausal women showed the most dramatic increased risk for breast cancer.” The most significant study found that women between the ages of 20-49 who had used COCs “within a year had an increased risk of breast cancer.”

Other studies corroborate these findings as well. Most found that women who used COCs for a year or more had a higher risk of breast cancer. A Danish study found that a woman’s risks increased even after she discontinued use if she had used COCs for five or more years.

The comments site offers many stories from women who have suffered from breast cancer and from the doctors who have treated them. Included among them are these:

Anthony Vigil, MD, FACS, says:

As a general surgeon, me and my partners ask our breast cancer patients about OCP [oral contraceptive pills] use since our best cancer textbooks describe an increased risk of breast cancer with OCP use. It is ethically imperative that women are made aware of the risks of ingesting hormones into their bodies.

Anna Poynter says:

At age 31, I found a small breast lump. I went to more than one doctor, but the last one I saw was the head of the UCSD Cancer Institute, a Dr. Barone, in San Diego, where I lived at the time. He told me that it was small, movable and I didn’t have any pain but that I should GET OFF THE PILL. 19 years later that very same lump grew and became malignant, and I ended up having a mastectomy.

An anonymous writer says: “Recently diagnosed with breast cancer; I was on the pill for 10 years.”

The authors recommend that a black box warning be included with COCs, along with warnings on patient-related materials, so that women understand the risks they face.

Cervical Cancer

According to the petition, approximately 260,000 women in the United States have cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that there will be about 14,000 new cases this year alone. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of cervical cancer associated with COCs and that the risk increases for women currently taking hormonal birth control. In addition, the risk increases with the length of time the woman has taken the COCs.

The risk also increases if the woman has tested positive for HPV—the human papilloma virus.

The authors recommend both a black box warning and a warning on patient-related materials.

Depression, Mood Disorders, Suicide

 According to the study group, “The largest study of incident depression and use of anti-depressant medication (Skovlund 2016) indicates significantly increased risks for both COCs and POCs for both outcomes. The same group studied for suicide attempts and suicides (Skovlund 2018). Elevated risks were seen, and this was the case for both COCs and POCs. The recent NCHA study (Gregory 2018) showed a similar trend.”

The authors claim that their research has shown an “increased risk for depression, suicide risk, and suicide within 3 months of beginning to use the drugs and tapering off after 6 months, partly due to attenuation of symptoms, partly due to discontinuation due to adverse effects.”

depressed woman

The comments section of the website paints a dismal picture and offers evidence that these hormones cause new mental health problems and exacerbate existing or latent ones.

Julie Baltz, a family practice clinician who has practiced medicine for over 20 years, states that she has seen the psychological harm caused by hormonal contraceptives. She wrote:

Even more subtle and more underreported are the psychological effects. These patients simply state “I didn’t feel right” and often think that there something wrong with them that they don’t tolerate this type of medication. I’ve seen insomnia, anxiety, depression, anhedonia, anorexia, and poor libido directly improved within my clinical office by discontinuing a combined OCP.

Another person, known only as TF, wrote in to say:

In 2011 I was prescribed hormonal birth control to “fix” a very irregular cycle. Three months later I started to struggle with crippling fatigue, loss of appetite and disinterest in everything except sleeping. I was shortly after that diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and still to this day have to be on medication to remain functional. I still struggle with my energy levels, unfortunately medication can’t cure depression and make it disappear. My doctor and I both believe that the hormonal birth control was likely a trigger to a predisposition for Major Depressive Disorder.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous stated:

In my early twenties I was prescribed birth control pills. The first cycle I took the pills as prescribed. I began to feel depressed, anxious, crying daily, with mood swings. Prior to beginning the oral contraceptive pills, I had none of these symptoms. After completing the first 2 weeks of the medication packet, I called the nurse practitioner at the OB/GYN clinic that I originally got the prescription. She told me that the changes in my mood, depression, and anxiety among others, could not be due to the new medication, that it must have just been life. She changed me to a lower dose contraceptive pill. After three weeks of taking the second prescription pack as directed I decided to discontinue use of oral contraceptives due to the side effects. I had gained 15 pounds and felt terrible.

The site is filled with story after story of people who have suffered—mentally and physically—because of these drugs. The authors want a black box warning about this side effect and warnings on patient-related materials.

Body Mass

While studies have varied regarding weight increase in women who use COCs, the strongest data found that levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs do, in fact, affect body mass. The authors stated that “a significant increase in % fat mass with a corresponding decrease in % lean body mass was observed in both studies where these were measured.”

Women have found this side effect all too real. For example, a woman who wishes to be anonymous said:

When I was taking hormonal birth control (HBC) I underwent a massive weight gain. From 120 lbs. to 155 lbs. That’s almost adding 30% to my body weight! I also suffered with severe stomach cramping, constant discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. My doctor diagnosed it at IBS. I was only on HBC for 8 months and got pregnant while taking it. I stopped taking it upon pregnancy and have never touched the stuff again!

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

woman standing on scale

Urogenital (Urinary and Genital) Effects

The authors found evidence of several different kinds of urogenital problems in women. These include interstitial cystitis (a condition that causes bladder pain and pressure), bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, vulvovaginal candidiasis, vaginal dryness, female sexual dysfunction, and more. They state that the risk increases for adolescents and if the woman uses COCs for at least two years.

A woman who wishes to remain anonymous experienced a whole host of problems, including urogenital. She said:

I was put on birth control by my parents when I was only 15 years old after a sexual assault incident. I then continued it for another 5 years before I began to question it. In that time frame I experienced extreme weight gain and loss from one pill to another, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder because of my manic depression and severe mood swings (I am not bipolar), experienced a miscarriage, developed cysts in my breasts, had continuous pregnancy symptoms (including morning sickness every day), and had frequent UTIs and yeast infections. No one ever associated any of my problems, other than the breast cysts, to my birth control pills. It wasn’t until I discontinued the use once learning of the cysts that I began to feel normal and realized the association between my symptoms and the pill.

The authors believe that all patient-related materials and advertising (print, radio, etc.) should convey information about this risk to the consumer.

Venous Thromboembolism, Atherosclerosis, and Cardiovascular Events

 Venous Thromboembolism

A venous thromboembolism (or VTE) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein, most often in the leg, arm, or groin, and then lodges itself in the lung. This is an extremely dangerous health problem that can cause death. Even the American Heart Association website agrees that COCs can cause a VTE: “In women, pregnancy and the use of hormones like oral contraceptives or estrogen for menopause symptoms can also play a role.”

The comments regarding this side effect address the tragedies that have befallen women and families as a result of hormonal birth control. For example, Carol Pepin wrote about the loss of her daughter:

My 19-year-old daughter Shelby Pepin . . . died. Shelby was very athletic, did not smoke, and had no history of a blood disorder. The coroner’s report confirmed that Shelby had died from a pulmonary embolism. She had a DVT [deep vein thrombosis] behind her left knee that traveled to her lungs causing her bilateral embolism. The coroner also confirmed that her DVT was caused by her birth control the NuvaRing. Shelby had been on the NuvaRing for 18 months.

Joseph West has a similar story:

Our daughter died at age 29 in the Intensive Care Unit of her local hospital where she had been transferred after presenting herself at her local walk-in clinic. Her death was five weeks to the day after getting married and one day before [her] scheduled departure on a delayed honeymoon cruise. The autopsy report stated that she had “bilateral pulmonary thromboemboli” with a thrombus present in the left popliteal fossa. She had been using NuvaRing at the time of her death [which] had been removed at the walk-in clinic prior to transport to the hospital. . . . The [ICU] doctor stated that she believes that hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to the death of our daughter.

Kimberly Phipps-Nichol shared her personal story of survival:

Last year, at the age of 46, I was hospitalized with a cerebral thrombosis that was literally caught right before causing a stroke. The ER docs told me that if it had not been for the fact that the people I was with at the time of the event were trained to recognize the signs of stroke and called 911 for a stroke paramedic unit that arrived quickly, I would have been somewhere between a vegetative state and severely disabled. After countless CT scans and MRIs, along with a thorough study of my family history, the neurologist and hematologist teams determined it was the oral contraceptives that I was taking that had caused the thrombosis.

Diagram of thrombosis blood clotting

Diagram of thrombosis

An anonymous family physician claims to have seen the negative side effects of contraceptives firsthand and tells of several cases, including her treatment of a young woman in her late 20s who went into a coma brought on by a pulmonary embolism. The only known risk factor was that this woman was taking hormonal birth control. In addition, a medical colleague of this doctor suffered a pulmonary embolism that was attributed to OCP.

Nancy Brockoff wrote to say that she had four friends, who were all young mothers, who died of blood clots related to hormonal birth control.

Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by plaque. Arteries clogged with plaque lead to heart problems. Even as long ago as 1982, researchers understood and took interest in the fact that vascular disease and COCs were linked. According to the petition, these researchers “found that combination oral contraceptives (COCs) caused ‘greater cell proliferation and incorporation . . . in both human arterial smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts.’ Smooth muscle cell proliferation is an integral feature of all atherosclerotic lesions (Bagdade 1982). In 2007, a presentation at the American Heart Association meeting described a study of 1,301 Belgian women, which showed that women had a 20 to 30 percent increase of plaque for every decade on COCs (Rietzschel 2007).”

Furthermore, the Danish Heart Association “released the results of a 15-year historic cohort study looking at thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction, which observed over 1.6 million women. The results demonstrated that women taking COCs with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 [micrograms] had a risk of arterial thrombosis that was 0.9 to 1.7 times higher than non-users, while those taking a dose of 30 to 40 [micrograms] had a 1.3 to 2.3 higher risk” (Lidegaard 2012).

The current black box warning about thrombotic events mentions smoking and age, which the authors believe misleads the consumer into thinking she’s safe if she doesn’t smoke or if she’s younger than 35. They want the warning amended to read: “Warning: Increased risk of serious cardiovascular events including blood clots.” Additionally, they request warnings on all advertising and patient-related materials.

Environment

The synthetic hormones that women take are continually released from their bodies through their waste products. When researchers noticed changes in the aquatic environment—especially in fish—they began conducting studies to determine the cause of these changes. What they found astounded them.

The Contraceptive Study Group explained:

EE2 [the synthetic estrogen ethinylestradiol] is metabolized in the liver undergoing first pass metabolism, but ~6% of the administered dose appears as untransformed EE2 in the urine and ~9% in the feces (Stanczyk 2013)….Even at low concentrations, these compounds can act as potent endocrine disruptors, affecting the growth, development, and reproduction of exposed aquatic organisms (Tyler 1998, Larsson 1999).

While wastewater treatment plants have the ability to filter out many chemicals and pollutants, they cannot filter out EE2.

Studies have found that these synthetic chemicals cause changes in male fish. A 1995 paper found that male fish in nearly 30 rivers throughout Britain had become “feminized” by these pollutants.

The Contraceptive Study Group also referenced a seven-year long study of the effects of EE2 on Canadian lakes. In that study, researchers approximated the amount of EE2 that would reach the waterways from a town of 200,000 people. They immediately saw the feminization and transgendering of male fish and a “near extinction” of the population of the fathead minnow there. Once the researchers stopped adding EE2 to the water, the population of minnows returned to normal.

We find further evidence in a study that looked at the fish populations near three Colorado sewage treatment plants. There, researchers found a significant difference between the fish upstream of the plant and those downstream. They stated:

The fish in the upstream locations enjoyed a balanced 1:1 female-to-male sex ratio. Downstream there were five female fish for every one male, and twenty percent of the reduced male population demonstrated intersex characteristics, such as eggs in their testes and the presence of vitellogenin, an egg yolk protein normally found only in fertile females. The consequences also appeared to ascend up the food chain in a measurable way, specifically with the feminization of trout, mink frogs and green frogs (Parke 2009). Both the predicted and the measured concentrations of EE2 in the US, including effluent of waste water treatment plants, surface water, or ground water, exceeds the predicted no-effect concentrations on fish populations (Kostich 2013).

fish under water

Conclusion

In addition to these diseases and the pollution in the environment, the economic costs from these side effects and their resultant diseases/health problems to the patient and to the community are in the billions.

This article touched upon some of the most egregious side effects. To read the full list of side effects and the studies referenced, to read all of the comments, or to add your own comment, visit regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2019-P-2289-0001.

This health crisis affects us all. Whether you are male or female, elderly, middle aged, young, a mother, or a father, hormonal birth control does affect your life in some way because these hormones affect your wives, your mothers, your sisters, your cousins, your best friends, the environment, and even your dinner table. It’s time to speak up and tell the government that women must know the truth. It’s time to help women understand that their health is more important than a drug that can alter their body and mind. Synthetic hormones and their deleterious effects leave a lasting impact and crush our society.

While Africa asks for ventilators and PPE during COVID-19, groups send abortion kits instead

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The BBC recently reported that African countries do not have enough ventilators to treat people affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization’s Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated that “the issue of ventilators is one of the biggest challenges that the countries are facing.” Other concerns include limited personal protective equipment (PPE) and a lack of access to soap and clean water. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough supplies for every country in the continent, as the Associated Press detailed how one major shipment included “more than 400 ventilators… for sharing among all 54 countries.”

So how did the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) respond to the crisis African people are facing? While they created a $2 million aid plan, the money is not going towards these urgent medical needs. Instead, Sida plans to use the $2 million to fund abortion kits for the continent.

“Our program is especially important for vulnerable women and girls in the region. We need to address the effects of COVID-19 quickly to have their human rights safeguarded, so they are able to decide for themselves when and with whom they will have children,” Sida Director General Carin Jämti.

Sida will send funding to DKT International, an organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that provides products such as manual vacuum aspiration kits and abortion drug kits. On its webpage, DKT boasts that about 8 million pregnancies have been “averted” because of its services. The kits Sida obtains from DKT International are to be sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.

 

The agency will also allocate funds towards the education of local health care workers, community leaders, and individuals. Instead of providing African countries with the equipment necessary for saving lives, Sida is focused on promoting a radical abortion agenda.

Pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha has spoken extensively about this attempt by Western societies to force abortion and contraception into African culture. According to Ekeocha, the beliefs of most African women do not align with the radical views pro-abortion groups are trying to push on them.

“I don’t know many African women who would choose contraception over everything else,” Ekeocha said in a statement printed at Catholic Digest. “Africans cherish babies and celebrate motherhood even in the midst of poverty.”

Ekeocha has detailed how pro-choice organizations sneak their agenda into Africa under the guise of philanthropic work. While their intention is to push young girls to have abortions and take contraceptives, Ekeocha says these groups disguise their goal by claiming their actions are part of a “maternal mortality reduction” program.

Now, as Africa is suffering in the midst of COVID-19 due to a lack of medical equipment, Sida — through DKT International — is attempting to do the same thing. Despite claims that abortion is necessary healthcare, more than 30,000 American doctors have refuted this point, calling it “medically irresponsible” to allow such procedures to continue during a global pandemic.

Instead of saving lives, groups like Sida are dedicating funds towards ending them.

Pro-Life Leaders Call for Coronavirus Vaccine Without Abortion Ties

Catholic News Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Development of an effective, safe and widely available vaccine for the novel coronavirus is deeply important, but its development should avoid unethical links to abortion, said pro-life leaders in a letter to the Trump administration.

“It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience,” said the April 17 letter to Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines,” it continued.

The letter’s signers include Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities; the heads of three other bishops’ conference committees; and leaders of many other Catholic and non-Catholic groups.

The letter comes after the release of the Trump administration’s gradual three-phase plan to remove restrictions on economic and social life while seeking to contain the coronavirus spread, especially spread to vulnerable populations. A coronavirus vaccine, if effective, could help prevent infection and speed economic recovery.

The letter’s signers “strongly support” vaccine development “as quickly as possible.” At the same time, they urged the federal government to “ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

“We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies,” signatories said.

They cited the case of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc, which has a “substantial contract” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is working on a vaccine produced using “ethically problematic cell lines.”

The letter encouraged other vaccine development that uses cell lines not linked to these “unethical procedures and methods.” These are in development by companies like Sanofi, Pasteur, and Inovio, they added, while also noting the work of the Iowa-based John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

The letter was copied to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar, II.

Besides Archbishop Naumann, other bishops signing the letter are Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chair of the Committee on Doctrine; and Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette, chair of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues.

Signers include Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Michael Parker, president of the Catholic Medical Association; Joseph Meaney, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center; Ellen Gianoli, president of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A.; Marianne Linane, director of the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses; Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Michael P. Farris, president, CEO and general counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom; Travis S. Weber, vice president for policy and government affairs at the Family Research Council; Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life America; and Lila Rose, president and founder of LiveAction.

Catholic teaching acknowledges the right to well-formed conscientious objection to many legal mandates and medical procedures, while also emphasizing vaccination as a matter of public responsibility.

A 2005 document from the Pontifical Academy for Life considered the moral issues surrounding vaccines prepared in cell lines descended from aborted fetuses. The Vatican group concluded that it is both morally permissible and morally responsible for Catholics to use these vaccines.

The pontifical academy also noted that Catholics have an obligation to use ethically-sourced vaccines when available, and have an obligation to speak up and request the development of new cell lines that are not derived from aborted fetuses.

The 2008 Vatican document Dignitatis Personae strongly criticized aborted fetal tissue research. However, as regards common vaccines, such as those for chicken pox and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), that may be derived from cell lines of aborted babies, the Vatican said they could be used by parents for “grave reasons” such as danger to their children’s health.

In a 2017 document on vaccines, the Pontifical Academy for Life noted a “moral obligation to guarantee the vaccination coverage necessary for the safety of others… especially the safety of more vulnerable subjects such as pregnant women and those affected by immunodeficiency who cannot be vaccinated against these diseases.”

Contraception cut us off from God’s grace. His Divine Mercy restored us

By L.J. Helferty

Editor’s note:  L.J. and Joan Helferty believed they had every good reason to use contraception in their Catholic marriage. But then everything started falling apart. Their story, published exclusively on LifeSiteNews, is one of the best testimonies about the spiritual blindness that follows the sin of contraception and about the mercy of God that follows true repentance. 

April 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Sunday Dec 10, 2000.  About 7:00 a.m.  A cold crisp cloudy Sunday morning.  I was the first one awake and out of bed. That was normal.  I usually stoked the furnace and got our farmhouse warmed up before calling everyone.  Mass was at 9:00.  There would be just enough time to get ready.  We had eleven children, nine at home and two older ones away at post-secondary institutions.

I had slept in this morning.  We had installed a new furnace that weekend and I was exhausted by the time we were finished on Saturday evening.  When I went downstairs into the kitchen on my way outside to the furnace, I noticed a hand-written note on the table, at the place where our 15-year old son Matthew usually sat for family meals.

Curious, I glanced at the first line.

“By the time you are reading this, I’ll already be dead.  Hey, it’s Matthew.  You’ll find my body in the front field…”

I froze. “Not possible,” I thought. This boy had everything going for him – brilliant, thoughtful, lots of friends,…  “Okay, this has to be some sort of terrible joke or experiment, because it just isn’t possible.”

I ran upstairs to his bedroom.  The bed was neatly made up.  It hadn’t been slept in. I awoke my wife and told her to call 911 and ran outside, shouting his name, hoping that he would be sitting somewhere, not able to go through with his plan. I was too late – only by minutes – he had used a hunting rifle in one decisive act.

When I returned to the house with the heart-breaking news, my wife Joan made the necessary phone calls while I sat on the kitchen steps in disbelief.

When she got off the phone, she came over to me and said, “It’s because of the tubal.”

I couldn’t believe she was saying that.

After our eleventh child was born, we had secretly arranged for Joan to have a tubal ligation.  We hadn’t told anyone because we had always professed to be in union with the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the use of the natural cycles to limit the size of your family, if there was a serious reason to do so.

We seemed to lack the discipline to make that work for us, and we thought that we were at the point where we needed to stop having children, so we opted for tubal ligation.  Both of us went to confession afterwards, but the sacrament can’t help you much if you don’t have contrition and don’t plan to make satisfaction for the damage you have done.

The thoughtfulness and generosity of our parish priest, the police, our parish members, friends, and our funeral director became manifest as soon as the terrible news spread, and helped to sustain us through the coming days, weeks and months.  It is impossible to describe the impact suicide has on each family member, especially the parents and the closest siblings. Thankfully, in His generosity, God gave us several consolations, allowing us to be confident that Matthew’s eternal salvation was assured.

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In Loving Memory of Matthew Helferty SOURCE: Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

After the wake and funeral, I became driven, attempting to understand how we had lost our son in such a terrible manner.

Eventually, it became evident that Matthew had descended into deep depression and that he was listening to music on his personal CD player that would further contribute to his depression and offer the ultimate solution.  He had also been playing violent video games and a card game called ‘Magic: The Gathering’ with some of his friends. But… this explanation was incomplete.  Lots of kids listen to this terrible music and play those games and have depressing lives, but they don’t commit suicide. Matthew was part of a loving family, and we hadn’t even noticed that he was depressed, until we looked back and saw some of the obvious signs.

I was not convinced.

To settle the matter, we decided to visit our former spiritual director and family friend, Father Jim Duffy of Madonna House. He had called us on the day of Matthew’s death, to offer prayers and condolences.  He was perplexed that this had happened.  I agreed that I would accept that the tubal was the explanation, if Father Jim said so.  It was Divine Mercy Sunday, 2001.  When we arrived at Madonna House in Toronto – it’s a 4-hour drive from our home – Father Jim offered mass for our intentions in their chapel, then we went to a nearby restaurant & park for lunch.

When Joan told him that she had undergone a tubal ligation, he stopped eating and his countenance dropped.

He gravely explained that our experience was simply the re-telling of the stories of the Old Testament.  When the Jewish people strayed from the ways of God, when they rejected His teachings, they experienced suffering and loss.  When they realized their faults and turned back to God, their lives were restored.

I was devastated.

But, I knew that Father Duffy, a devout and holy priest, with many decades of experience, would not mislead us.  During the drive home, we decided to arrange for a reversal of the tubal ligation and to confess this sin again, this time with true contrition.

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Divine Mercy Image

We realize now that when we had the tubal ligation, we cut our family off from many of God’s graces and guidance and protection.  We were blind. Matthew was the one that suffered the most, and we didn’t even notice.  We are convinced that if we had been living within God’s order, either the perfect storm of circumstances and events that plunged Matthew so quickly into such deep depression would not have occurred or we would have noticed the seriousness of his condition and been able to save him.

Since the reversal and confession of that sin, our family has been blessed tremendously.   There are still lots of challenges, but sincerely attempting to live within God’s order provides spiritual protection and peace of mind that we treasure dearly.

After the reversal of the tubal ligation, we were hoping for more children, but each pregnancy ended in miscarriage. We have accepted that when you tamper with the natural law, there are natural consequences.  Nineteen years later, several of our children are married and we currently have close to 20 grandchildren.  One of our sons is a priest and one of our daughters is a Sister.  All of these things bring great joy to Joan and me.

The consequences of our sin were severe, but God has restored our lives miraculously. Deo Gratias!

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We hope that by sharing our experience, we will help others to avoid the sins related to artificial contraception and sterilization. We have learned that God’s way is the best way, regardless of how difficult it may seem at the time.  Please observe the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding family planning in Humanae Vitae.  Our son’s death on December 10, 2000 was the worst day of our lives.  Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001 was indeed the day our lives were restored.

Mom put on ventilator for COVID-19 at 34 weeks pregnant wakes to find she’s given birth to healthy daughter

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(NRL News Today) When Angela Primachenko told Sheinelle Jones on the TODAY show this morning,” I feel like I’m a miracle walking,” she was not exaggerating. Consider…. The 27-year-old respirator therapist from Vancouver, Washington, who was 33 weeks pregnant, had among other symptoms a fever, and was tested for COVID-19 on March 24, Scott Stump of NBC/Today reported.

Eight days later she… was fighting for her life on a ventilator while in a medically induced coma.

At the same time, she gave birth to her daughter after doctors at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center induced labor to give Primachenko more of a fighting chance while also protecting her child. …

Primachenko was taken off the ventilator on April 6, and one look down at her body told her that her baby must have been born.

“Obviously nobody expected that I was going to get that sick, so no, absolutely not, I did not expect to deliver my child,” she said. “After all the medication and everything I just woke up and all of a sudden I didn’t have my belly any more. It was just extremely mind-blowing.”

 

Stump explained that Primachenko, who was released from the hospital Saturday, has not been able to hold daughter Ava who is in neonatal intensive care. Fortunately, neither her husband David nor their 11-month-old daughter, Emily, have tested positive for COVID-19, so they are able to hold the newest member of the family. Primachenko has had to content herself with FaceTime.

Another blessing: Ava has tested negative for COVID-19.

NBC/Today detailed the loving contributions of Primachenko’s supportive family and friends.

Her twin sister, Oksana Luiten, had been keeping family and friends updated through Primachenko’s frightening ordeal, asking for prayers on Instagram for a “miraculous healing.”

Primachenko also had a moment she’ll never forget when she was wheeled out of the intensive care unit in her bed.

“Everyone did a standing ovation and just clapped me out of the ICU, which is so amazing and such a huge thing to be able to leave the ICU and go to the floor — it’s just the grace of God,” she said.

Washington state has been hit hard by COVID-19. Primachenko said she “is hoping her story can send a positive message during a difficult time.”

“That there’s hope,” she said. “That even in the hardest days and the hardest times that there’s hope and you can rely on God and people and community. The amount of community and people that were praying for me is just unbelievable. I was blown away, and I’m so incredibly thankful.”

Giving her daughter the name Ava also has a special meaning, particularly after everything that mother and daughter have endured.

“It means ‘breath of life,”’ Primachenko said. “So she’s our new little breath of life.”

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

Is your birth control putting you at greater risk for an STD?

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Birth control is touted as one of the greatest medical advancements ever made for women, allowing them to take charge of their sexuality without worrying about unplanned pregnancies — or so the narrative goes, anyway. But birth control has risks that go along with it, and those who use it should weigh those risks before taking it. Unfortunately, many women aren’t properly informed of the risks beforehand. For certain kinds of birth control, those risks include an increased susceptibility to getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

DEPO PROVERA

Depo Provera is a birth control injection given four times a year, and is intended for women who don’t want to take a pill every day. It works by suppressing ovulation — preventing ovaries from releasing an egg — and thickening cervical mucus, so that sperm are less likely to reach an egg, should one be released.

However, Depo Provera has been found to possibly increase the chances of contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. It’s not clear why this happens, but it should serve as a warning to women who choose Depo Provera. “These findings underscore the need to counsel all sexually active women who use DMPA and who are not in a mutually monogamous relationship to use condoms consistently and correctly,” Dr. Charles Morrison, the first author of one of the studies that found this increased risk, said in a press release. “For sexually active women not in a mutually monogamous relationship, limiting the number of partners may also help to reduce the risk.”

It should be noted that limiting one’s number of sexual partners always reduces one’s risk of getting an STD.

COPPER INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)

IUDs have become popular in recent years, as they’ve allegedly become safer (although there are still plenty of horror stories) than in past decades. The copper IUD is considered a non-hormonal contraceptive device, and works by triggering an inflammatory reaction from the copper wire coiled around the device. The copper is toxic to both sperm and eggs. It can be left in place for up to 10 years, and can be removed at any time, making it seem like a very attractive option for women.

Yet there are questions being raised about whether it may make women more susceptible to contracting STDs. KQED noted that along with the rise of IUDs in California, STDs — including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — also drastically skyrocketed, and the “why” behind this is still unclear. “These are things that are happening at the same time and in tandem, but we can’t necessarily say there’s causality between them,” Stephanie Arnold Pang, director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, told KQED.

Meanwhile, a medical paper posited that a potential risk might exist between using copper IUDs and HIV, specifically in women who have copper sensitivity. It’s because in these women, the copper IUD causes severe dermatitis; this, along with the excessive menstrual bleeding women sometimes experience, could put them at higher risk. Other studies, however, found no difference in HIV risk between copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs.

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES

The birth control pill, or oral contraceptives, was the first modern birth control method created. It works by preventing a woman’s egg from fully developing each month, and therefore, unable to accept sperm and become fertilized. The pill also thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach any egg that might be released. However, birth control pills are notorious for their side effects. One of the lesser known side effects is an increased chance of STDs.

The Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, published a study showing that women who used oral contraceptives were more likely to get chlamydia and vaginal candidiasis, compared to women who don’t use them.

Women should be aware that there are effective, risk-free natural methods available for them, should they choose to forgo artificial birth control methods. Women deserve to know what they’re risking before they take birth control, whether it’s an increase risk of pulmonary embolism or STDs. True empowerment comes when women are given all the information they need beforehand so they can make informed decisions.

Is the Culture of Death being undermined?

by Paul Murano  •  ChurchMilitant.com

The Wuhan virus pandemic has begun to attack the very foundation of the Culture of Death.

Media reports show the pandemic is causing the shuttering of some abortuaries as well as the canceling of “gay pride” events.

But the effect on contraception has been largely ignored.

The Wuhan pandemic is causing supply shortages for pharmaceutical companies around the world, creating shortages of chemical contraceptives.

Likewise, restrictions on doctor visits is also diminishing access to contraception.

The normal protocol of getting an exam, blood test and consultation before obtaining a prescription has been curtailed. And without a prescription, one cannot purchase or refill contraceptive pills, which act as abortifacients.

Further, Malaysia-based Karex Industries, responsible for 20% of the world’s condoms, has shut down factories in China and India due to government lockdowns, slowing the distribution of condoms worldwide.

The United Nations is warning of “devastating” consequences.

Even Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania has announced it has dropped all birth control services during this time.

Faithful Catholics are hoping diminished access to contraception and abortion will force young people to reflect on the importance of chastity, the sanctity of marriage and the dignity of human life; and that God will use this to lead many souls back to Him — and, perhaps, save Western civilization in the process.

Italy, the Coronavirus Pandemic and Demographic Winter

Heartbreaking stories have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. Hospitals are too full. Doctors are overworked. People die alone. Coffins pile up. The Pope walks through empty Roman streets, praying alone.

The coronavirus has created these scenes. Yet, behind the scenes of the crisis is another one. Slow-moving, largely hidden, yet destructive both physically and socially, a problem people prefer to ignore. I am speaking of demographic winter: the worldwide fertility decline. This problem aggravates the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus is especially lethal for the elderly. The death rate (deaths per number of cases) is 15% for people over 80, 8% for people in their 70s, 3% for people in their 60s and less than 1% for people under 50. The countries with the highest number of cases and fatalities per capita are countries with a large percentage of elderly people. For instance, Italy’s fertility rate is now 1.33 children per woman, far below the replacement level of 2.1. As a result, Italy has a rapidly aging population. Almost a quarter (23%) of Italy’s population is now over 65 years of age. In 2019, the median age was 46.3, projected to rise to 51.4 by 2050. An aging population is creating and will continue to create rising costs for both pensions and health care.

But beyond the dollars and cents are the human costs. Low fertility rate means fewer young people to take care of the increasing number of older people. Even if the fear of contagion had not prevented family visits, more and more people have no young relatives to come visit them. Even without coronavirus, for example, Japan has so many childless elderly people who die alone that the culture has developed a special term: “lonely death.” People die in their apartments, alone, sometimes undiscovered for days or more, sometimes much more. The first person to whom the term was applied, evidently, was a man who was discovered three years after his death.

We are so accustomed to hearing about “overpopulation” and “The Population Bomb” that we scarcely consider the opposite problem of underpopulation. Yet the fact is that birth rates in most of the world are well below replacement rates. And the problems are becoming harder to ignore and harder to solve.

Political scientist Nicolas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute stated in a depressing article entitled, Growing Old the Hard Way:

“Left unaddressed, the mounting pressures that population aging would pose on pension outlays, health care expenditures, fiscal discipline, savings levels, manpower availability, and workforce attainment could only have adverse domestic implications for productivity and economic growth in today’s affluent societies.”

These pressures have been pretty much “left unaddressed” during the 15 years since Eberstadt penned those words. Public policy around the globe still emphasizes the need to slow population growth. The problems created by population decline never seem to get the same attention.

Did you know that most college educated women end up with fewer children than they originally wanted?* Most people don’t know this. Yet this is the case in pretty much every rich country. The “fertility gap” is highest in Southern European countries, such as Italy and Spain, where the coronavirus just happens to be the most virulent.

There is no world overpopulation crisis. The bigger problem is that we don’t have enough people. We cannot solve this problem overnight. There is nothing we can do today to increase the number of 40 year-olds we have tomorrow. Sure, we could increase immigration. But that is neither a global, nor a long-term solution.

In fact, we know today with absolute certainty the maximum number of 40-year-olds there could possibly be in the world in April 2060. (Demography is predictable that way.) We can’t do anything about that. But we can do something about how many 40 year-olds there will be in January 2061 because we can do something about how many babies we have in January 2021.

The COVID-created enforced “social isolation” could well result in a baby boom. Some “experts” offer you a free abortion as a “solution” to your “unwanted” pregnancy. I offer a different suggestion: Have the baby. Pull yourself together to take care of that baby, even if you didn’t “plan” it. Lots and lots of people who didn’t “plan” their babies will tell you later they don’t regret having them.

We baby boomers were, frankly, idiots on this point. We thought we were so smart, putting off our pregnancies and “planning” our families. We planned ourselves right into the personal heartbreak of infertility and the social crisis of demographic winter.

Of course, we as good Christian citizens must do our best to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But we must also understand the role of demographics in making us more vulnerable to this pandemic. A nation without children has no future, no matter what diseases may emerge.

For the love of God and all mankind, be not afraid! Have the baby! With any luck, and by the grace of God, Italy and all of us, will experience a post-COVID baby boom.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the author of  

The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

She is the founder and president of The Ruth Institutean international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

 

*See figures 1-3 of the linked article, which states on page 527, “Highly educated women generally show the largest gap between intended and realized fertility.”

Our Lady of America Warned Us

With the country grinding to a halt, it’s time to consider Our Lady of America’s words and take them to heart.

Our Lady of Fatima cautioned us and gave remedies. So did Our Lady of Akita. So did Our Lady of America.

But instead, the heedless world has been in the hot pursuit of what Cardinal Arinze pointed out as the three major “P’s” — Pleasure, Power, Possessions. A lot of that has come to a halt in the last few weeks.

Most aren’t familiar with Our Lady of America and what she said. Beginning in late 1956, Our Lady came and identified herself as Our Lady of America to bring warnings and solutions. I desire that my children honor me, especially by the purity of their lives, she told Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil), a cloistered nun in Ohio. I desire to make the whole of America my shrine by making every heart accessible to the love of my Son.

Our Lady wished America to be the country dedicated to my purity. The wonders I will work will be the wonders of the Soul. They must have faith and believe firmly in my love for them. I desire that they be the children of my Pure Heart.

I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations. Let them come to me with confidence and simplicity, and I, their Mother, will teach them to become pure like to my Heart that their own hearts may be more pleasing to the Heart of my Son.

Our Lady said she was coming to us children of America, as a last resort. I plead with you to listen to my voice. Cleanse your souls in the Precious Blood of My Son. Live in His Heart, and take me in that I may teach you to live in great purity of heart which is so pleasing to God.

Here’s a mother pleading with her wayward children to please listen and then do what she’s telling them. If they don’t? In January 1957, Our Lady did not mince words.

The hour grows late. My Son’s patience will not last forever. Help me hold back His anger, which is about to descend on sinful and ungrateful men. Suffering and anguish, such as never before experienced, is about to overtake mankind. It is the darkest hour.

We know Jesus is merciful, more than we could imagine. Earlier he told St. Faustina “before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy.” Again, “I never reject a contrite heart. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul.”

Our Lady told Faustina, “I am Mother to you all, thanks to the unfathomable mercy of God.” One of her titles proclaims her Mother of Mercy. She is that also — and refers back to Fatima too — as she appeared as Our Lady of America and continued: But if men will come to me, my Immaculate Heart will make it bright again with the mercy which my Son will rain down through my hands. Help me save those who will not save themselves. Help me bring once again the sunshine of God’s peace upon the world.

There’s great hope because Our Lady said mercy is ready and waiting. Remember, this was back 63 years ago. When life was simpler, and on Sundays, churches were filled. Look at society’s downhill race since.

Next, Our Lady of America requested, Reform of life is what I ask as the sign and proof of my children’s love for me. God looks at the heart, and if it resembles the Heart of His Divine Son, it is with the greatest pleasure He regards it…But to make your hearts grow more and more like to the Heart of the Son, you must go to the Mother, whose heart is most like His. From this Pure and Immaculate Heart you will learn all that will make you more pleasing to the Divine Heart of the Son of God.

Again, the message is similar to Fatima’s. Now 40 years later people still hadn’t listened enough. Our Mother was again trying to get our attention. Come to me, my children, come to me and learn. There is much I would teach you. It is for your own happiness and eternal salvation. Do not disregard the voice of your Mother. It is the voice of love trying to save you from eternal ruin.

She said her Immaculate Heart desires to see the kingdom of Jesus established in everyone’s heart. Now I have pleaded with my children to open their hearts to Him, but most are cold and indifferent.

Three months later Our Lady again warned: Unless my children reform their lives, they will suffer great persecution. If man himself will not take upon himself the penance necessary to atone for his sins and those of others, God in His justice will have to send upon him the punishment necessary to atone for his transgressions.

But her children were stopping their ears and hearts.

On Aug. 22 (the feast of the Queenship of Mary), she said, What am I to do…when my children turn from me? The false peace of this world lures them and in the end will destroy them. They think they have done enough in consecrating themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is not enough. That which I ask for and is most important many have not given me. What I ask, have asked, and will continue to ask is reformation of life…I will work my miracles of grace only in those who ask for them and empty their souls of the love and attachment to sin and all that is displeasing to my Son.

Oh, what grief my children have caused me!

 

Another Message for America

Then on the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, Oct. 7, Our Lady, holding a rosary, gave a warning, and still another avenue of hope. [W]hat I am about to tell you concerns in a particular way my children in America. Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and thus reform their lives, God will visit them with punishments hitherto unknown to them.

My child, there will be peace, as has been promised, but not until my children are purified and cleansed from defilement, and clothed thus with the white garment of grace, are made ready to receive this peace, so long promised and so long held back because of the sins of men.

My dear children, either you will do as I desire and reform your lives, or God Himself will need to cleanse you in the fires of untold punishment. You must be prepared to receive His great gift of peace. If you will not prepare yourselves, God will Himself be forced to do so in His justice and mercy.

Let’s be honest. Look how in the last few decades the world has speeded up turning Genesis upside down — declaring as good something that was unheard of and would shock the people during that 1950’s message.

Oh, if you knew the punishments I am holding back from you by my pleading and intercession on your behalf! Will you do as I wish at last, my children? she continued.

Repent. Stop sinning. Live according to God’s commandments, not man’s. She taught,

Making the Rosary a family prayer is very pleasing to me. I ask that all families strive to do so. But be careful to say it with great devotion, meditating on each mystery and striving to imitate in your daily lives the virtues depicted therein. Live the mysteries of the Rosary as I lived them, and it will become a chain binding you to me forever. They who are found in the circle of my Rosary will never be lost. I myself will lead them at death to the throne of my Son, to be eternally united to Him.

Earlier the next year, Our Lady assured, My Immaculate Heart will win in the end, and the Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of men. Those in whom this Spirit is not found will be condemned to eternal hell-fire.

She then reminded that because nothing is accomplished without pain there needed to be preparation to suffer much. She showed the sword she suffered in her own heart. It is also the sword of grief plunged therein by my children who refuse to let me teach them the true way. There is only one true way to the Father, my child, only one way to eternal union. That, she affirmed, is through her Son Jesus.

But my children will not heed; they will not listen. Every other way they will take, but not this one.

Did people finally listen and change? A year later, in 1959 Our Lady said, I come again to warn and to plead. Oh, penance, penance! How little my children understand it! They give me many words, but sacrifice themselves they will not. It is not me they love but themselves. Oh, what blindness, sweet child, what blindness! How it pierces my heart!

See, I weep, but my children show me no compassion. They behold the sword in my heart but will make no move to withdraw it. I give them love; they give me only ingratitude.

Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away.”

At the time she also said she had a great interest in America’s young people, for them to become the next leaders of renewal.

 

Plans for the United States

Obviously, things didn’t get better. On the day after the feast of St. John the Baptist, June 25, 1967, Our Lady of America came once again because people didn’t change. Their sins cry to heaven for punishment. I hold out help, but they will not receive it…they only spurn the efforts of my love.

Then on Nov. 22, 1980, a Saturday, Our Lady came with a message specifically for the United States:

It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that he brought with Him from heaven in His birth as a man in the little town of Bethlehem…

Unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven, and yet fails tin the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or co-operate then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall.

The warning ramped up on Jan 23 (the old feast of the Espousal of Joseph and Mary).

The world was paying no attention to what Malachi (2:17) said — “You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, ‘How have we wearied him?’ By saying, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.’” — and what Isaiah (5:20) made clear — “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”
Our Lady of America reminded us of this on Holy Saturday in 1981, saying, Evil is so insidious it often passes for good. The simple and pure of heart alone can detect the difference. Many good works and many a good person or persons are thwarted or destroyed by apparently good people who are manipulated by the powers of evil because they do not possess that finer sense of being able to detect a false spirit form a true one.

In the next two years she again repeated, O my children, you still aren’t listening. I see the destruction coming but you do not believe me…The Divine Spirit is there but you are continuing in your blindness and so blotting out the Divine Light and closing your ears to eternal truth. I beg of you to heed my voice or there will be no more time for you to turn back the Divine Wrath. I weep for you because I love you and wish, my dear children, to spare you this terrible suffering.

Hope Remains — A Chance Too

In 1984, on Jan. 3 (the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), Our Lady of America gave a Final Message:

If my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and their outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war.

There must be much more good then evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching.

Yet I tell you, my daughter, even should such destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant — untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives.

These will renew the earth win the power and light of the Holy Spirit. These faithful ones of my children will be under my protection and that of the Holy Angels, and they will partake of the life of the Divine Trinity in a most remarkable way.

The choice is clear. Listen to Our Lady. Do what she says. Never lose hope. Pray.

 

Planned Parenthood begs for protective equipment to do abortions as coronavirus rages

By Norman Fulkerson

April 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Planned Parenthood is begging supporters for protective equipment and other supplies while other doctors and nurses go without as they try to save the lives of coronavirus patients.

Sue Dunlap, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, wrote a message to the abortion giant’s mailing list asking for “all of the same supplies you are hearing about on the news.”

“In order to keep our patients, staff, and sites moving through this emergency, we need all of the same supplies you are hearing about on the news,” she wrote.

“As gloves, masks, and medications run low, we are doing all that we can to procure supplies for the essential care our community is depending on us to provide.”

Like the World Health Organization, Planned Parenthood considers the killing of unborn human life “an essential service,” and abortion businesses remain open in most American states while other elective services, like dental care, are suspended. Nevertheless, Planned Parenthood is asking not only for scarce medical resources, but also for extra funds for its “almost-500 coworkers in order to help them cover groceries, child care, or any other expenses they are incurring while working and supporting Planned Parenthood patients through this difficult time.”

Much of California, including Los Angeles, is under lockdown, and social distancing between households is being encouraged. Hundreds of daycares have been shut, so it is unclear whom Planned Parenthood employees are paying to care for their children.

Planned Parenthood Keystone, which operates in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, is also asking for supplies to continue aborting children during the pandemic. In late March, it asked for donations of “hand sanitizers, home sewn masks, shoe covers, and surgical hats.” According to National Right to Life News, Planned Parenthood Keystone is providing only abortions, and no other services, during the national health emergency. Meanwhile, the government of Pennsylvania has suspended all elective surgery in the state.

Catholic writer John Zmirak said Planned Parenthood’s determination to keep harvesting human beings even during the pandemic shows the organization for what it is.

“Planned Parenthood wants masks and gloves? Fine. Send them Halloween masks, since they’re a pack of ghouls,” Zmirak told LifeSiteNews via social media.

“Send them baseball gloves, since they only play at providing health care. What they are is a murderous cult, little better than the Manson Gang,” he continued.

“The fact that they want us to divert life-saving surgical masks and gloves away from real health care providers, so they can go on stealing organs from tiny Americans and selling them, tells us all we need to know. These people belong in prison cells.”

Selene Cerankosky of Students for Life of America told LifeSiteNews that Planned Parenthood’s days of insisting that abortion is only part of what they do are over.

“I think they can never again be defended as an organization who ‘does more than abortion,’ considering they are defaulting to this ‘service’ over any other during this time,” she said via social media.

“They are so dead set on profiting over caring for women that they’ll attempt to rob women suffering from the coronavirus of essential supplies,” Cerankosky added.

“Why not ask for supplies to perform pap smears,” Cerankosky wondered, “or STD tests? It’s because they’re well aware abortion is their most profitable engagement, and they’ll leave everything else they do unaddressed in order to cash in on ending lives.”

Radical liberal group: Corona panic perfect time to abolish the family

March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — I’ve always been close to my family, but the coronavirus pandemic and the requisite social distancing have reminded me not to take them for granted. Never again will I “just drop by” my parents’ place without being reminded that it is a blessing to be able to do so. My toddler daughter is so fed up with not seeing her extended family that she frequently demands that we video-call her grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Like everyone else, I worry about my elderly grandparents. In the midst of the panic, many of us are feeling profoundly grateful for the families we have been blessed with.

But if you are a certain type of progressive, this global upheaval presents an opportunity. Open Democracy, for example, published an essay this week with this headline: “The coronavirus crisis shows it’s time to abolish the family.”

Open Democracy’s motto is “free thinking for the world,” and I certainly hope nobody is paying for that garbage. But the group’s essay is a good reminder that many progressives see this crisis as an opportunity to further their political agenda, especially as large swathes of the population are at this point willing to accept massive government oversight of their lives in order to flatten the curve and protect the elderly and the vulnerable. This crisis has taught us that our families are essential and that our elderly are valuable, and I hope we remember these lessons when this is all over.

But if you’re one of the clowns over at Open Democracy, the crisis is leading you to entirely different conclusions — conclusions such as the fact that we must get over “the mystification of the couple-form; the romanticisation of kinship; and the sanitization of the fundamentally unsafe space that is private property.” And why do we have to “get over” the idea of marriage and cease “romanticizing kinship,” whatever that means? Because of “the power asymmetries of housework (reproductive labor being so gendered) … of patriarchal parenting and (often) the institution of marriage.” One genuinely wonders what the author of this gibberish had to suffer in order to produce such twisted nonsense.

Homes, Open Democracy informs us, are fundamentally unsafe: “[q]ueer and feminized people, especially very old and very young ones, are definitionally not safe there: their flourishing in the capitalist home is the exception, not the rule. It follows that, upon closer inspection, both terms — ‘social distancing’ and ‘sheltering in place’ — appear remarkable as much for what they don’t say (that is, what they presume and naturalize) as what they do. Sheltering in what place…and in whose? Distance from whom…or everyone but whom?”

Obviously, domestic abuse is an enormous issue, and the sad fact is that some people will feel trapped in their homes. But I would argue that family breakdown has contributed to abuse rather than lessened it, and that the idea of getting rid of the family to eliminate domestic abuse would exacerbate the problem rather than mitigate it. But according to Open Democracy, “the pandemic is no time to forget about family abolition.” In fact, even when homes are safe, the author theorizes, they are still awful and should still be abolished:

[E]ven when the private nuclear household poses no direct physical or mental threat to one’s person — no spouse-battering, no child rape, and no queer-bashing — the private family qua mode of social reproduction still, frankly, sucks. It genders, nationalizes and races us. It norms us for productive work. It makes us believe we are ‘individuals.’ It minimizes costs for capital while maximizing human beings’ life-making labor (across billions of tiny boxes, each kitted out — absurdly — with its own kitchen, micro-crèche and laundry). It blackmails us into mistaking the only sources of love and care we have for the extent of what is possible. We deserve better than the family. And the time of corona is an excellent time to practice abolishing it.

I suspect that there is as much of Freud as Marx in all of that, as the logic of attempting to contain a pandemic by collectivizing and moving us into large group homes escapes me. Perhaps it escapes the author, as well, as I see that this essay is long on abolishing things and short on what, exactly, those things will be replaced with. (Smart Marxists always remain fuzzy on the details.) But I think this crisis, whatever else it brings, will be doing precisely the opposite of what the progressives over at Open Democracy hope. Yes, there are genuinely tragic situations occurring. But for most of us, our families are the silver lining in all of this. Trying to figure out where all of this is headed and to plan for the future is stressful, but all of that can vanish the minute your two-year-old tugs on your sleeve and says: “Hey, Daddy. Wanna snuggle for a minute?”

Ohio abortionists ask courts for exemption from coronavirus hold on elective ‘health care’

Providers have challenged being included in the suspension of elective procedures, arguing that their work is ‘essential’ and ‘vital.’

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – As states order suspensions of non-essential medical procedures in order to conserve resources and contain the spread of the coronavirus, abortion facilities in Ohio are calling on the courts to step in and allow abortions to proceed as usual.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have advised healthcare facilities to reschedule non-urgent appointments and elective procedures, both to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to free up time and resources to focus on patients afflicted by COVID-19 (the illness caused by the coronavirus).

Compliance with this guidance has been mixed, leading numerous states to mandate that facilities temporarily halt “non-essential” procedures, with Ohio among them. On Monday, state abortion centers, including Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, filed a motion demanding that the Ohio Department of Health be blocked from applying the order to them, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The abortion centers argue that abortion should be deemed “essential” because it’s time-sensitive in nature, even when sought for economic or lifestyle reasons rather than medical ones.

“As leading medical groups have recognized, abortion is essential and time-sensitive health care,” said attorney Elizabeth Watson of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “We hope the court will recognize the urgency of this matter and grant relief for our clients so that they can continue the vital work of providing care to their communities.”

“The idea that all abortion care is essential is overblown,” responded Ohio Right to Life executive director Stephanie Krider. “If a woman needs an abortion for some sort of life-saving situation, she’s not going to Planned Parenthood for that abortion. She is going to a hospital.”

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are also suing Texas over a similar suspension in that state.

Pro-life medical professionals have assailed the notion that the abortion industry should get a pass from the same standards currently being applied to every legitimate field of medicine.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) says that while “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’” it “does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”

“Elective abortion, both surgical and drug induced, also generates more patients to be seen in already overburdened emergency rooms,” AAPLOG continued. “Most abortion providers instruct women to go to an emergency room if they have any concerning symptoms after the abortion. Approximately five percent of women who undergo medication abortions will require evaluation in an emergency room, most commonly for hemorrhage. Surgical abortions can also result in hemorrhage. Emergency room personnel – who are already struggling to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be further strained to provide care to these women.”

 

SPECIAL MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 AND ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

 

SPECIAL MESSAGE ABOUT COVID-19 AND ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

How many times have we thought – or heard someone say: “I don’t want to be kept alive by a machine.”

As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, the public is learning about the importance of mechanical ventilators in providing temporary breathing support for many of those infected.  Ventilators are saving lives!

A false understanding of respirators and ventilators has become commonplace in recent years. Many people think that these and similar machines’ only role is prolonging the dying process. The widely publicized treatment of COVID-19 patients is helping to dispel that myth. Many patients rely on machines temporarily every day for any number of reasons and go on to make full recoveries.

Unfortunately, many individuals have completed advance health care directives stating or suggesting that they do not wish to receive breathing assistance through mechanical ventilation.

Please take the time to review any advanced medical directives (including POLST forms) signed by you or your loved ones to make sure they are clear that mechanical ventilation is not among the forms of care that are refused. If there is any ambiguity, you may want to consider writing, signing, and dating an addendum specifying that mechanical ventilation is authorized.

If you have not already done so, we also encourage you to think about preparing an advance health care directive—especially if you are in a high-risk group. It is important to be sure your documents indicate that you want mechanical ventilation in the event you are unable to express your health care wishes. Click here for Life Legal’s guidance on advance health care directives, which includes a link to state-specific advance directive templates.

If you or someone you know is having trouble receiving life-sustaining medical care, please contact us at info@lldf.org or 707.224.6675.

Christ, Celibacy and Contraception

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The new book From the Depths of Our Hearts by Cardinal Sarah and Pope Benedict XVI continues the Church’s ongoing discussion about clerical celibacy, but it seems to me that the whole topic has been kicked into a new category by the invention of artificial contraception.

What has contraception to do with celibacy? The quick-witted might observe that celibacy is the most effective “contraception.” It’s also a sure fire way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

However, that’s not the point of the headline. Instead I’ve been thinking about the way artificial contraception has radically changed the whole idea not only of sexuality, but of celibacy, and especially of the celibate priesthood.

Artificial contraception has changed celibacy because it has separated sexual activity from procreation, and once it separated sexual activity from procreation it follows that sexual activity might  just as well also be separated from marriage, for marriage is not only for the support and love of the spouses, but also for the security and well-being of children.

The secularist might argue that if sex is not about procreation it is not necessarily about marriage either.

Artificial contraception has made sex into recreation rather than procreation, and therefore the meaning of marriage has also changed. Marriage is intended to be a sacrament of self-sacrifice. Now for the majority of Americans it is a sacrament of self-gratification.

Consequently, celibacy has also lost its meaning. Celibacy only has meaning within the context of marriage. Marriage is a lifelong commitment within which two people grow into the maturity of love and (ideally) do so within the natural dynamic of a large and loving family. Celibacy reflects that love, because when the celibate person sacrifices marital love and family love to make their own lifelong commitment to the greater love of God and others.

The husband and wife love one another and their children completely and fully win a lifelong commitment. The celibate loves God and the human family of his parish and church as fully and completely as he can in a lifelong commitment. Contraception, however, reduces the fullness of marriage and family life to unlimited sexual gratification and thus pulls the meaning out from under marriage and not only pulls the meaning and purpose out of marriage but also pulls the meaning and purpose out of celibacy.

Because artificial contraception turns marriage into little more than sex it therefore turns celibacy into little more than “not having sex.”

Both celibacy and marriage, however, are far richer and deeper and more beautiful than “just sex” or “not having sex.”

Artificial contraception has not only degraded marriage, but it has completely altered the popular conception of marriage. This, as a result, has changed totally the conception of the celibate priesthood.

Let me explain with a practical example. Before artificial contraception, marriage was a sacrament of self-sacrifice. For the vast majority of men and women, marriage meant a large family, long hours of hard work to support that family and a difficult, but rewarding life of sacrifice, work, trials, tribulations, joys and sorrows. To be a celibate priest was also a rewarding life of self-sacrifice but by a different path.

Think for a moment of the choice a young man would have had in a Catholic community in a place like Philadelphia in the 1940s.

He would have seen his uncles and father and older brothers who had chosen marriage. Perhaps they lived in a little row house with a wife and half a dozen kids. The man would work long hours to support his large family. He and his wife had a joyful but hard life of self-sacrifice.

The young man might be considering the priesthood, and for him the celibate life was not so bad. He got an education. Maybe he had the chance to travel. He lived in a big rectory with three or four other priests with a nice Italian grandma to cook for them and look after them. In the extended family in his part of the city he had mom and pop and brothers and sister and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews. He served them as “father” in the way his brothers served their own kids. It was also a way of self-sacrifice, and compared to his brother’s big family it has equal joys and sorrows of its own.

The choice between celibacy and fatherhood was between one way of total sacrifice and another way of total self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice as a father and husband or self-sacrifice as a father-priest.

Now think of the choices facing a young Catholic man today: the models he has for fatherhood are mostly men who have used contraception to have two or maybe three children. The wife works. Double income. Trophy house. A good retirement plan. Kids in private school. Not much suffering or difficulty at all. It seems to him like the modern American Dad has it all because contraception has provided the way for him to “have it all.”

The young man who is considering the priesthood is likely to face a life living alone in a big rectory, being suspected of being a pedophile and working long hours for little reward or recognition. His celibacy seems like a curse not only of loneliness, but a reminder that he has given up everything the suburban man takes for granted. Contraception has not only given the suburban man endless child-free sex. It has given him access to a previously unimagined level of wealth.

Marriage has therefore become not a sacrament of self-sacrifice, but a sacrament of self-gratification. Whereas, for our grandfathers marriage was a way to give all, for us marriage is a way to get all.

No wonder the celibate may think from time to time that it is all very unfair. Not only does he give all, but the very meaning of what he is giving is pulled out from under him because the meaning of marriage (in which the meaning of celibacy is rooted) has been destroyed. Conversely, while marriage gives celibacy meaning, it may be now that celibacy may begin to give meaning back to marriage.

This could be reversed, however. The self-giving service of the celibate priest may start to remind people of the true meaning of marriage. The true meaning of marriage is that it is a sacrament of self-sacrifice and service. Married people may observe the self-sacrificial sacrifice of the priest and be reminded that as the priest is “married to the church” in loving service, so too, they are to be married to their spouses in a lifelong commitment of loving service.

This is why the Catholic Church will soon become the sole defender of marriage: because it has continued to be the sole defender of celibacy.

Sisters of Life continue to expand outreach out to abortion-vulnerable college students

By Anne Marie Williams
“Every single person is made by God for love. Every single person is made for a great and beautiful purpose.” Since their founding in 1991, the Sisters of Life, a vibrant order of Catholic religious sisters, have been sharing this message with women experiencing unplanned pregnancies or suffering in the aftermath of an abortion.

What started out as a local ministry to women near their New York City convent spread over time to missions in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Toronto. Then, five years ago, they began bringing this good news to college campuses in Colorado. Live Action News spoke to Sr. Maris Stella, one of the sisters living at the Denver convent, about why they are called the Sisters of Life, what brought them to minister on college campuses, what a day in their life looks like, and how their work is building up a culture of life.

While all religious sisters take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Sisters of Life take a fourth vow “to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.” Sr. Maris Stella said that this vow flows from their understanding that “every person is good and valuable, and their life has meaning.” While the sisters have been inviting pregnant and post-abortive women to accept this radical love for years, Sr. Maris Stella told Live Action News that she and her fellow sisters in Denver undertook “a mission of evangelization on college campuses because this population is most vulnerable to abortion. Oftentimes, a pregnant woman in college feels that the only way to preserve her dreams is to end the life of her child.”

The sisters in Denver aim to meet women in this place of overwhelming uncertainty and fear with another option: “You can make choices that will help your life flourish.” The Sisters have found that “when people experience being loved for who they are, they thrive, live in joy, and dream about their futures.”

Five school years ago, the sisters launched their ministry on three college campuses. Now, the Sisters minister monthly to six campuses, five in Colorado and one in North Dakota. They typically travel in teams of several sisters, and occasionally all six together, for three days at a time to each place. Their schedules usually include hosting a women’s night, composed of a dinner, a talk on some aspect of God’s plan for life and love (often as part of a semester-long series), and a holy hour of Adoration.

The sisters also engage in “tabling,” setting up a table and engaging students in high-traffic areas of each campus. Sr. Maris Stella shared a story from a recent project where the sisters passed out stickers with messages like, “Created by God: Irreplaceable.” One young woman walked by the group, head down, and a sister called out to her, offering her a sticker. The woman looked up with a hostile expression and refused. The sister said, “it just says ‘you’re irreplaceable.’” The woman stopped in her tracks and received the sticker.

In a completely different tone of voice, the young woman said, “Thank you. I needed to hear that because I have been feeling very replaceable lately.”

The sister said, “She left believing something different about herself and her identity.”

The sisters also spiritually mentor 150-180 young women each month. The goal listed on their website is “to accompany students in discovering their beauty, value, and uniqueness. We want you to know, deep down, that your life is a gift, full of meaning and purpose. We are here to walk with you as you come to discover your inner greatness and the gifts that you are destined to share with the world.” Sr. Maris Stella commented that this can serve “as a point of integration for all aspects of their lives.”

While the Sisters may not always speak directly to abortion-vulnerable women, through their evangelistic efforts they can reach the people these women are likely to turn to in times of crisis: their roommates and friends.

Overall, the Sisters’ most important “task” is to pray for four hours each day. All of their work flows from this primary relationship with Jesus Christ. Having first been loved by Him, they can then “bring a maternal presence” to the college campuses, a presence that includes a listening ear and a warm, open heart that accepts and welcomes the other person in. This unconditional love builds up a culture of life.

Researchers demand aborted babies’ bodies for coronavirus experiments

By Doug Mainwaring

March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –– Scientists who are now claiming that the Trump ban on fetal tissue usage is blocking coronavirus treatment research are using the current pandemic opportunistically to reinstate the usage of tissue derived from aborted babies at government research facilities.

“A senior scientist at a government biomedical research laboratory has been thwarted in his efforts to conduct experiments on possible treatments for the new coronavirus because of the Trump administration’s restrictions on research with human fetal tissue,” blared the lede in a Washington Post article.

Kim Hasenkrug, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, told the Post that he has been arguing for a month that the pandemic “warrants an exemption to a ban imposed last year prohibiting government researchers from using tissue from abortions in their work.”

‘Humanized mice’

U.S. scientists had found last year that “mice could be transplanted with human fetal tissue that develops into lungs — the part of the body the new coronavirus invades,” according to the Post report.  These “humanized mice” are seen as important by some because they “could then be infected with coronaviruses — to which ordinary mice are not susceptible — closely related to the one that causes the new disease, covid-19.”

The fetal tissue to create the  “humanized mice” that researchers like Hasenkrug would like to access would have to be provided by women undergoing elective abortions.

Hasenkrug, who works at an NIH research lab, has been prohibited from using aborted baby body parts since Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last year that it had changed its policies concerning the use of fetal tissue.

“Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,” an HHS statement explained.

Playing on people’s fears

“Those who advocate experimentation using body parts harvested from aborted children are shamelessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic, playing on people’s fears at a vulnerable time so that a select few can continue to use aborted fetal tissue in their research,” declared a statement released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) in Washington, D.C.

“The fact is that there are modernsuccessful alternatives available,” continued the CLI statement. “Already, over 60 potential treatments are under investigation — none of which need aborted fetal tissue to fight coronavirus.”

“Instead of wasting precious time listening to these dishonest claims, we should continue to focus our attention on successful, ethical alternatives that don’t require the exploitation of baby body parts, taxpayer dollars, and public sentiment that just wants a swift and compassionate end to this crisis,” said CLI.

Last month, CLI criticized claims made in a USA Today opinion piece by San Francisco–based professors Irving Weissman and Joseph McCune. The pair made an appeal similar to Hasenkrug’s, asserting, “People will suffer and die for lack of adequate treatments,” because aborted fetal tissue could not be used for research.

In December 2018, CLI’s vice president and research director, Dr. David Prentice, and senior fellow in life sciences Dr. Tara Sander Lee testified before Congress regarding the array of ethical alternatives to experiments using aborted baby parts and that fetal tissue research is medically unnecessary.

Sander Lee explained that less than 0.4 percent of the NIH’s budget is currently going toward research involving fetal tissue; that “after over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue”; and that researchers have access to a wealth of ethical sources for human tissue, including cells that can be given the coveted quality of pluripotency, or the ability to become other types of tissue.

The CLI scholar went on to detail how the original polio vaccine was first developed with monkey kidney cells; how vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella can be produced with cell lines from chicken eggs, human placentas, human kidney cultures, monkey cells, and chick embryo fibroblasts; how the vast majority of the research currently being done on the Zika and Ebola viruses does not use fetal tissue; and how even the vaccines currently being produced in the United States with fetal tissue are using cell lines from the 1960s rather than newly obtained tissue from abortions.

Ethical alternatives currently available to researchers “include, but are not limited to, fresh human tissues from adult and pediatric populations, donated and discarded biopsies and surgical specimens, from both living and post-mortem individuals,” she continued. “There are numerous examples of investigators successfully using these ethical alternatives for research and clinical trials for studying the most complex processes, such as brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders, immune response to pathogens, and stroke.”

Sander Lee is an associate scholar with the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, studied molecular and cell biology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and has 20 years of experience with both academic and clinical medicine.

‘Incompatible with life’? People with Trisomy 18 are proving doctors wrong

 

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, has been labeled as “incompatible with life” by some doctors. Those doctors will often advise expectant parents to terminate their pregnancies when babies are determined to have the condition. But, as difficult as it might be, there are people living their lives every single day with the condition, and proving that Trisomy 18 and life are not incompatible when they are given a chance.

Faith Smith

Trisomy 18

Faith. Photo courtesy of Smith family.

When Faith Smith’s parents Brad and Jesi were told by doctors that there was no hope for her survival and that they should undergo amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis so they could abort, they refused. Doctors said Faith would destroy their finances and ruin their marriage, but the couple insisted that they would not end their daughter’s life.

After Faith was born, she was officially diagnosed with Trisomy 18, and her parents did everything in their power to get her the care she needed. They often had to fight doctors — and even an ethics committee — to ensure Faith was cared for. It paid off. Faith is now 11 years old and just underwent spinal surgery for scoliosis and kyphoscoliosis in February.

“She is now several inches taller, back to walking in her gait trainer, and playing her keyboard with such great posture that our family is encouraged to sit straighter too,” Jesi Smith told Live Action News. “She has somehow gained extra sympathy from her siblings due to the surgery and has us all trained to give her back rubs. Really, with as much attention and love she gets from all of us her life is enviable.”

Melody Thenhaus

trisomy 18

Melody practicing walking with her monkey bars built by her dad. Photo courtesy of Thenhaus family.

Melody Thenhaus wasn’t diagnosed with Trisomy 18 until after birth. She had just one marker for the condition during pregnancy, and doctors weren’t concerned. Her parents, Jennifer and Andrew, named her Melody partly because of how she loved music even while in the womb. But at birth, she did not open her eyes, cry, or move.

“That evening my husband decided to play music from the Eden String Quartet on his phone. All of a sudden we saw movement in Melody’s little isolette,” her mom Jennifer Thenhaus recalled. “Little toes wiggled, hands moved, and then eyes popped open. […] This incident was a significant gift from the Lord that gave us a glimmer of hope.”

Melody is now seven years old! “She is healthy, happy, and full of personality,” her mom told Live Action News. “She is extraordinarily charming. It is not uncommon for someone who works with her on a regular basis to exclaim that she is the sweetest child on the planet. She is exceptionally lovable. Melody currently has no health issues. Although Melody has delays in her development, she has been making remarkable advances lately. She loves to read books, play, cuddle, and drive her pink Porsche.”

Kayden McClanahan

trisomy 18

Photo: Marta McClanahan Facebook

Now almost 19 years old, Kayden has been defying the odds for nearly two decades. His parents were told he wouldn’t survive to see his first birthday, but last year, he graduated from high school, pushed across the stage by his big brother. On his 18th birthday, his mother Marta Johnson McClanahan shared photos of him throughout his life, saying he had lived “an amazing 18 years full of LOVE, happiness and lots of fun!”

“Drs talked about no quality of life does this look like no quality???” she wrote.

McClanahan told Live Action News that Kayden underwent open-heart surgery this year and is doing well. He is looking forward to receiving a new adaptive bike. Kayden lives a happy life and is adored by his family.

Bella Santorum

trisomy 18

Photo: Bella Santorum via Karen Santorum Facebook.

Bella Santorum is the 11-year-old daughter of former Senator Rick Santorum and his wife Karen. Doctors predicted she wouldn’t survive long enough to be discharged from the hospital, but she has proven them all wrong.

“When I think of being pro life, an image comes to my mind,” Bella’s sister Elizabeth Santorum Marcolini wrote on Facebook. “It’s not a baby in a womb or a mother in distress, it is my 11 year old sister. Bella was born with a rare genetic birth defect called Trisomy 18. According to medical textbooks, she is ‘incompatible with life,’ but from where I’m sitting, that’s the biggest lie we were ever told. Bella is full of life.”

Marcolini describes Bella’s “beautiful giggle, her joy, her sweetness” and considers how many children like Bella are missing from the world because of abortion. Her mother calls her “the happiest little girl in the world.”

While Trisomy 18 is a very serious health condition and not everyone who has it will survive as long as these individuals, what’s important to realize is that each of these lives is precious and deserves to be lived to the fullest. Even if a baby with Trisomy 18 lives for only hours after birth, his or her life is a gift and should be honored with love rather than tossed away through abortion.

Catholic health care model with pro-life principles is coming to the United States

 

In 1940, an Italian Catholic priest known as Padre Pio announced his plans to found a “Home for the Relief of Suffering” (Casa Sollievo Della Sofferenza), a hospital that would serve as “a haven of relief from suffering for all of God’s children in pain in body or soul.” The Casa’s doors opened in 1956, with 300 beds. At the same time, Padre Pio developed a worldwide prayer ministry to support the work of the Casa. Today, the Casa is a thriving 1,000+ bed hospital facility, considered “a model of community of Catholic Christian health delivery.” All this is despite its location in “one of the most remote, desolate and poorest parts of Italy,” some four hours from Rome.

Fifty-three years later, Padre Pio is a canonized saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and in October of 2009, the administration of the Italian Casa entered into formal agreements with the administration of Catholic Healthcare International to bring the Casa model to the United States.

 

In early 2020, Catholic Healthcare International announced that it is actively moving forward with plans to break ground in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. According to the CHI website, the Casa USA has a three pillar vision: 1) a medical school faithful to the teachings of the Catholic faith, to be called the School for the Relief of Suffering; 2) a Casa USA hospital; and 3) a Catholic physician practice network.

A recently released bulletin also listed a worldwide prayer ministry, an on-site perpetual adoration chapel, and planned collaboration with the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network to “establish a safe-haven center” for “patients with traumatic brain injuries” like Schiavo’s. There will also be a partnership with the Christ Medicus Foundation to include a National Center for Public Policy on-site. According to the CHI flyer about the project, the Casa USA will serve as a “‘Beacon
of Light’ of faithful Catholic health care delivery for all Catholic providers of care and medical education in the US.”

Image result for casa usa pillar

Far from having implications for Catholic health care professionals alone, the Casa USA endeavor bears watching for all pro-lifers in health care. In a culture increasingly desensitized to the innate dignity and value of human life, the Casa model represents hope for ethical health care for all of us.

Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy Does Not Pass from Mother to Newborn

Coronavirus Infection During Pregnancy Does Not Pass from Mother to Newborn

The results of a small study in China that followed four pregnant women infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy, suggest that the viral infection doesn’t pass from mother to infant at birth. All four mothers in the study, which focused on the health of their newborns, gave birth at Wuhan’s Union Hospital. The report, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, is the second to come out of China within a month to find that mothers infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus did not infect their babies.

“Importantly, we found neither SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic positivity nor immediate evidence of symptomatic COVID-19 among these infants born to symptomatic, test-positive mothers,” commented Yalan Liu, PhD, at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and colleagues in their Frontiers in Pediatrics report, which is titled, “Infants born to Mothers with a New Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Liu also works in the Department of Pediatrics at Union Hospital.

The study by Liu and colleagues follows on from a report by researchers in China, and published in The Lancet in February on the results of a study in nine pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia. This report had also concluded that there was “… currently no evidence for intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy.”

Liu et al. followed four pregnant women who presented with symptomatic COVID-19 infections during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Four full-term infants were born. Cesarean sections were performed for 3 patients in the acute phase of the disease, and the fourth patient underwent a vaginal delivery because of the onset of labor. The nine mothers followed in the prior study in The Lancet had all undergone Caesarian sections.

“To avoid infections caused by perinatal and postnatal transmission, our obstetricians think that C-section may be safer,” Liu said. “Only one pregnant mother adopted vaginal delivery because of the onset of the labor process. The baby was normal. Maybe vaginal delivery is OK. It needs further study.”

None of the four infants in the latest study developed any serious symptoms, such as fever or cough, which are associated with COVID-19, although all four were initially isolated in neonatal intensive care units and fed formula. Three of the four tested negative for the respiratory infection following a throat swab, while the fourth child’s mother declined permission for the test. “ … we found neither SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic positivity nor immediate evidence of symptomatic COVID-19 among these infants born to symptomatic, test-positive mothers,” the investigators noted.

One newborn did experience a minor breathing issue for three days, and this was treated using non-invasive mechanical ventilation. Two babies, including the one with the respiratory problem, exhibited body rashes that eventually disappeared on their own. The team acknowledged it’s not possible to conclude whether there’s a connection between these other medical issues and COVID-19. “We are not sure the rash was due to the mother’s COVID-19 infection,” said Liu. All four infants remained healthy, and their mothers also fully recovered.

In previous coronavirus outbreaks, scientists found no evidence of viral transmission from mother to child, but SARS and MERS were both associated with “critical maternal illness, spontaneous abortion, or even maternal death,” according to Liu.

The authors said further investigations into other aspects of potential COVID-19 infection in newborns and children are needed. For example, the sensitivity of the current diagnostic test for detecting the virus is about 71%, they noted, and its reliability should be evaluated in children. “Further study for viral infection in placenta, amniotic fluid, neonatal blood, gastric fluid and anal swab, and the viral depending receptor on children will be detected in future,” they further commented.

Abortionists push online access to abortion pills amid coronavirus panic

 

(MRC-TV) Amid mass panic over the seemingly inevitable coronavirus outbreak sweeping the country, some in the abortion industry are using the widespread alarm to tout the importance of…abortion.

Why? Well, that’s unclear, given that abortion has nothing at all to do with the coronavirus. Even still, several abortionists and abortion advocates have taken to Twitter to stump for the public’s “right” to access abortion pills via telemedicine (i.e., an online consultation without having to physically see a doctor).

Dr. Dustin Costescu, an OBGYN, associate professor and “sexual medicine specialist” at McMaster University, tweeted that “self-managed abortion is safe” and “avoids in person appointments,” inexplicably predicting that telemedicine abortion “will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.”

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

is a good time to remind you that Self-Managed abortion is safe, avoids in person appointments, and will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.

After claiming that at-home abortions via the abortion pill are “safe,” Costescu seemingly contradicted himself by adding that “Systems need to be prepared to respond to possible complications from failed self-management, including ectopic pregnancy and bleeding.”

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

Pregnant patients with low risk of ectopic pregnancy and with reasonable certainty of their last period being within 8 weeks can safely use mifepristone followed by misoprostol with over 95% probability of successful completion without medical intervention.

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

Systems need to be prepared to respond to possible complications from failed self-management, including ectopic pregnancy and bleeding.

But abortion by telemedicine or self management are safe and effective strategies to reduce visits during the outbreak.

15 people are talking about this
“But,” he simultaneously said, “abortion by telemedicine or self management are safe and effective strategies to reduce visits during the outbreak.”

Dr. Daniel Grossman, another vocal abortionist with a large Twitter following, retweeted Costescu’s statements, adding that the coronavirus is “a reminder of why we must expand telemedicine to patients, including for medication abortion.”

“Patients should have access to healthcare, whether they are able to make it to the clinic or not,” he wrote. “Self-managed abortion and telemedicine can ensure they receive care.”

This is also a reminder of why we must expand telemedicine to patients, including for medication abortion. Patients should have access to healthcare, whether they are able to make it to the clinic or not. Self-managed abortion and telemedicine can ensure they receive care. https://twitter.com/BirthControlDoc/status/1237177485336416258 

Dr. Dustin Costescu@BirthControlDoc

#COVID2019 is a good time to remind you that Self-Managed abortion is safe, avoids in person appointments, and will be necessary to address the increased incidence of unintended pregnancies that will result from self-quarantine.

The drug centers on two drugs. Mifepristone, or “Mifeprex,” is a synthetic steroid. When taken in conjunction with misoprostol, the combination carries a 95 percent success rate of forcing a woman’s body to miscarry. Because of its function, it’s recommended that the drug only be taken up until the 10th week of pregnancy. The roughly five percent of children who survive the process are at much greater risk of birth defects.

While abortion supporters say the medication carries a low risk of complications, the FDA warns against women with certain conditions taking these drugs, as side effects can include uncontrolled bleeding that requires surgery, sepsis, flu-like symptoms and even death. The FDA added it has “received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex, including “one case of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal; and a single case of non-fatal heart attack.”

Editor’s Note: This article was published at MRC-TV and is reprinted here with permission.

‘Game changer’: High school students see the miracle of life through live ultrasounds

 

A pro-life ministry in Omaha, Nebraska, has found an innovating new way to reach the next generation. Heart of a Child Ministries has been using ultrasounds to show people the humanity of preborn children within the womb. Founded by Bernie and Nikki Schaefer in 2012, the ministry offers ultrasound presentations, along with pro-life prayer pillows, to help build a culture of life.

One of their recent presentations at a Catholic high school was highlighted in a story in the Omaha World-Herald. Haley Lubeck, who is 24 weeks pregnant, sat for an ultrasound conducted by Angela Himmelburg, a professional sonographer who graduated from the University of Jamestown and University of Nebraska Medical Center. Himmelburg narrated throughout. “Can you see the eyes?” she asked, then pointing out, “Here’s an arm right here… there’s a foot digging into the placenta.”

Focus on the Family has also used ultrasounds to try to change hearts and minds, and even hosted a live ultrasound presentation in Times Square last year. Approximately 20,000 people watched what Paul Batura, vice president of communications for Focus on the Family, described to the Omaha World-Herald as a “game-changer,” explaining that the ultrasounds serve as “a window on the womb.”

Along its ultrasound presentations, Heart of a Child Ministries also gives scientific information about fetal development. The group’s goal is to fully illustrate the indisputable humanity of children in the womb.

Each presentation is tailored to the specific age of the students attending. “My kids loved it. I felt like they did a great job explaining things at their level,” a first grade teacher said in a testimonial on the ministry’s website. A third grade teacher added, “The students were totally entranced with the presentation and the live ultrasound. The ‘props’ (seeds) made it so much easier for the kids to understand. The small groups were phenomenal and explained everything so well. And who doesn’t like gifts?… rosary, baby, brochures. Wow! So awesome! GREAT presentation!!”

The subject of abortion is not brought up until seventh or eighth grade, in specific middle school presentations.

“Seeing the live ultrasound made me want to cry,” said Liv, a seventh-grader, in a testimonial on the website. “It is so undoubtedly amazing how something only 17 weeks old is circulating its own blood, has working organs, and continuously moves around. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat is the most amazing thing. It shows that it is more than just a lump of tissues and cells. It is a baby and it is fully alive.”

 

In addition to school presentations, the group offers presentations for adults as well, often hosted by Nikki Schaefer, who has a master’s degree in social work. Schaefer has also worked for pregnancy resource centers, as well as in art therapy and parenting groups with pregnant and parenting teens. During adult presentations, she focuses on seeing the heart of each child, and what the ministry calls “the three pro-life calls of prayer, action and truth.”

Showing young people the truth of humanity of the preborn is a unique, powerful, and positive way to help create a new generation of pro-life activists.

Could the Pill be sabotaging your success?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health

Hormonal contraceptives such as the Pill could be sabotaging women’s success, a study suggests.

Women were found to give up quicker than those who were not on contraceptives when presented with both simple and difficult problem solving tasks.

This in turn caused them to score worse, and it could have implications for their performance at school, college and work, the researchers at Texas Christian University said.

Previous research has shown a link between hormonal contraception and altered brain function in areas responsible for motivation, emotion and attention.

PhD candidate Hannah Bradshaw and colleagues set out to explore how hormonal contraceptives affect perseverance on tasks using the brain.

Studies show the ability to persevere, even if a task is challenging, can predict a person’s success in many areas of life.

However, evidence is emerging the hormonal contraceptives may negatively affect this trait.

Ms Bradshaw said:  ‘A growing body of research suggests that HC use may be associated with important structural and functional differences in brains areas important for executive function and the cognitive control of behaviour.

‘Research suggests that HC use may also have effects on women’s brain structure and function.’

The team recruited college students from a university in southern US. It compared women who had either been using a HC for two months, or off them for at least three months.

The first study asked 149 women, of which 73 were on HCs, to do a simple ‘spot the difference’ task using an image from the film Frozen.

Naturally cycling women who were not on HCs spent significantly more time on the task than women on HCs, 81 seconds compared with 67 seconds.

Analysis showed that women on HCs performed worse because they gave up quicker, the researchers said.

The second study, consisting of 175 female undergraduates, 89 of whom were on HCs, involved more challenging tasks.

First, women had to solve eight mathematical tasks with the help of a calculator.

Results show naturally-cycling women spent 97 seconds on the task compared with women on HCs who spent 78 seconds on it, who also performed worse.

Next, women unscrambled jumbled letters – an anagram – to make words. Some were ‘fake’ because they were unsolvable.

In both the real and fake anograms, women who did not take HCs spent more time trying to figure them out.

The researchers said timing how long participants took on each task relative to how well they scored was a measure of their perseverance.

Concluding their findings, the authors wrote: ‘These results suggest that HC use may affect women’s perseverance on simple and challenging tasks.’

The study did not attempt to uncover why HCs may alter cognitive performance, but Ms Bradshaw and colleagues suggested some reasons based on previous research.

HC users have been shown to have decreased connectivity in the brain’s executive control network, responsible for paying attention, organising and planning, initiating tasks, regulating emotions and keeping self-control.

Additionally, oestrogen levels, which are generally lower for HC users, are found to play a key role in hippocampal function, also involved in emotion control as well as motivation.

The authors said: ‘While additional research in humans is needed to evaluate these possible mechanisms, the current results provide compelling evidence that differences in perseverance during cognitive tasks exist between women who take HCs and those that are naturally-cycling, which can lead to decrements in performance.

‘It is, however, important to note that HC use can also aid in women’s educational attainment by allowing them to prevent unintended pregnancies, which can be an insurmountable barrier for those who wish to further their education.’

Approximately three million women in the UK take the contraceptive pill, and a further 11million women in the US use hormonal contraceptives.

10 risks of hormonal birth control that every woman should know

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In July 2019, 20-year-old Ally Givens got out of bed to use the bathroom, collapsed, and died. She was just two days shy of her 21st birthday. Her boyfriend said she fell to the floor and he quickly called 911, but Givens was unable to be revived, and died from a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots that formed when she began using the NuvaRing for birth control. Sadly, Givens isn’t alone. Many women have suffered the consequences of hormonal birth control — including death — after believing it was safe.

1. Pulmonary Embolism

Though pulmonary embolism is rare, it is deadly for one-third of the people who are not immediately diagnosed with blood clots that can move from the other parts of the body to the lungs. Combination birth control pills including Yasmin and Yaz carry a risk of pulmonary embolism, especially for women who have pre-existing factors, which they may not even realize. Even when women are told of the risk of blood clots, they may not know their complete family history or what the signs of blood clots are until it is too late. Before taking birth control, it is vital that a woman knows any family history of blood clots and it is important that she understands the symptoms so that she can get help if and when she needs it.

2. Heart Attack or Stroke

Just as with pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and strokes can occur when blood clots form. A review of different studies found that compared to women who don’t use oral contraceptive pills, there is a 1.6-fold increased risk of a blood clot in an artery that obstructs blood flow to major organs — including the heart and brain — in women who do use contraceptive pills. The risk is twice as high for women taking pills with higher doses of estrogen.

3. Breast Cancer

The risk of developing breast cancer is greater for women who use hormonal birth control compared to women who have never used it. Higher estrogen levels are linked to birth control, and The New York Times stated that for every 100,000 women, hormonal contraception use causes an additional 13 cases of breast cancer each year. According to Cancer.gov, women who are currently using oral contraception have a 24 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer. That risk declines when oral contraception use is suspended.

4. Cervical Cancer

According to Cancer.gov, women who have used oral contraception for five or more years are at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer than women who have never used oral contraception. And the longer women use oral contraception, the higher the risk. One study found a 10 percent increased risk when oral contraception was used for less than five years. A 60 percent increased risk existed for women who used oral contraception for five to nine years. And the risk doubled for women using oral contraception for 10 or more years. The risk dropped after women stopped using oral contraceptives.

5. Depression

Another major side effect of hormonal birth control is depression, especially in teens. A study from Denmark found that “women taking the combined oral contraceptive were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and those using progestin-only pills (also known as the ‘mini-pill’) were 24 percent more likely.” Teens had an 80 percent increased risk of depression when taking the combined pill and double the risk with the progestin-only pill.

6. Alterations in the Brain

Research released in 2019 found that women using birth control pills had “significantly smaller hypothalamus volume” compared to women who do not take the pill. The hypothalamus is at the base of the brain and is responsible for producing hormones, and helps to regulate things like body temperature, mood, appetite, sex drive, sleep cycles, and heart rate. The study also found greater anger and symptoms of depression among women using hormonal birth control.

7. Implant Migration

Implanted birth control is a long-acting device put into a woman’s body; however, in some cases, these devices can migrate in the body, even breaking into pieces that move in separate directions. A study from July 2019 shared the story of a 31-year-old woman whose birth control implant migrated from her arm to her lung. Another woman suffered major health issues when her IUD migrated from her uterus to her stomach, then to her liver, and then broke into as many as five pieces. She developed sepsis after surgery, eventually had to have her ovaries and uterus removed, and lost her toes.

8. Increased Risk of HIV

Hormonal contraception, most notably the injectable birth control Depo-Provera, has been linked to an increased risk of HIV transmission. This is said to be due to biological changes caused by hormonal birth control, including changes to the cells that line the vagina and cervix.

9. Infertility

The use of hormonal birth control carries an increased risk of short-term infertility among women who take birth control for two years or longer. Fifty-four percent of women who try to become pregnant after using condoms as birth control delivered a baby within a year, compared to just 32 percent of women who used hormonal birth control. Women who used an IUD for more than six years had the highest rate of infertility.

10. Rare Brain Tumors

A Danish study found that the use of hormonal birth control can increase a woman’s risk of developing a rare type of brain cancer called a glioma. Women under age 50 who were diagnosed with glioma “were 90 percent more likely to have been using hormonal contraceptives for five years or more, compared with women from the general population with no history of brain tumor,” according to the study leader Dr. David Gaist. The risk appeared to rise according to the length of time women were on birth control.

Unfortunately, these are just some of the risk factors that are associated with the use of hormonal contraception. For decades, women have been told that hormonal birth control is safe and has remained ill-informed of the risks to their health as well as the risk of unintended abortion that can be caused by birth control.

Birth Control in Teens – Why Not? The Breast Cancer Link

https://www.drsusancaldwell.com/post/birth-control-in-teens-why-not-the-breast-cancer-link

By Dr. Susan Caldwell

In the last post, we explored how the hormones in birth control interfere with the normal process of maturation of the reproductive system in a teen girl. Doctors may have good intentions when they prescribe these medications, but most do not realize the potential harmful effects that may develop as a result of taking this medication, such as significantly increasing the risk of breast cancer later in life. For this and many other reasons, we must be cautious when considering prescribing birth control to teens.

There is no disputing the fact that the hormones found in the birth control pill are classified as carcinogens. Not just mild carcinogens but the most dangerous type – Group 1 carcinogens[1]. This is the same category where you would find nicotine and asbestos. The hormones in birth control increase the risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancers. The link between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer is significant. I was skeptical when I first heard this until I studied the mechanisms by which this can occur.

Breast cancer is an epidemic in the United States. One in every 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has significantly increased in the last 50 years since the birth control pill was introduced. Although there are many factors that have likely contributed to this increased incidence, we must consider birth control as to be a major contributor given its effect on breast tissue. Many newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have told me on the first visit after their diagnosis, quite defensively, that they could no longer take any hormonal contraceptives due to the breast cancer diagnosis. They frequently lamented that they took birth control pills in the first place.

Whether a woman’s breast cancer risk is increased by hormonal birth control or not depends on when in her life she is exposed to the hormones in birth control.

Let’s look at the natural process of breast maturation. Prior to a woman’s first full-term pregnancy, her breast tissue remains in a very immature, fragile stage of development. At this stage, her breast tissue is much more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of birth control. For example, the estrogen-like component in hormonal birth control (ethinyl estradiol) mimics natural estradiol but is not the same hormone; therefore, its effects on the breast, and other organs, are different, and in many cases, toxic. All hormones are not created equal, remember.

credit: Breast Cancer Prevention Institute

Breast tissue becomes fully mature during pregnancy/breastfeeding, and only then becomes much less vulnerable to carcinogens compared to the breasts of adolescent girls. Breast tissue is made of lobules, where milk is made, and ducts, the passageways through which milk flows to the nipple. Consider the analogy of an oak tree. When an oak tree is young, its leaves and branches are tiny and vulnerable to damage from storms. However, when that tree is decades older, it is much more likely to withstand the weather. Breasts are similar in that over time, maturation occurs so that breast tissue is much more resilient and less likely to be harmed by carcinogens. For a woman, this maturation occurs when she becomes a mother during pregnancy due to the continued high levels of estradiol, progesterone, and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormones. The further the woman’s first pregnancy continues, the more mature (cancer resistant) the breast tissue becomes.

Interestingly, if a pregnancy is terminated (by abortion or pre-term delivery) before the breast tissue has become significantly mature (at about 32 weeks gestation), her risk of developing breast cancer increases. If a pregnancy is interrupted by abortion or pre-term delivery, the natural process of tissue maturation is suspended and the developing cells are then more vulnerable to carcinogens. [2]

You may have heard that women who have never been pregnant are at higher risk of breast cancer. This makes since if you understand the process of breast tissue maturation. These women have breast tissue that has remained in an immature state that is more susceptible to carcinogens.

Bottom line: Having babies is good for breasts, birth control is not.

If you would like to read more about this topic, here are some resources:

Book – Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill by Chris Kahlenborn, MD

Website – Breast Cancer Prevention Institute – www.bcpinstitute.org

[1]https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/general-info/known-and-probable-human-carcinogens.html

[2]Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill by Chris Kahlenborn, MD

Birth Control in Teens – Why not? Part 1

https://www.drsusancaldwell.com/post/birth-control-in-teens-why-not-part-1

Dr. Susan Caldwell

In recent years, the birth control pill has become a very common medication prescribed to adolescent girls for a number of apparently good reasons. It appears to help with irregular periods, acne, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, and (of course) pregnancy prevention. I took birth control as a teen and I prescribed birth control to teens – until I stepped back to consider what this medication is actually doing to these girls. In medical school and residency, I was taught that this was a rather innocuous medication that may have some side effects but I was told that the side effects were rare and that the benefits of birth control outweighed the risks. This is simply not true. Let’s take a look at why.

In this post, we will consider the physiology of a teen girl’s developing reproductive system and how the hormones in birth control disrupt this development. This is the case whether we are using birth control to “treat” a symptom or to prevent pregnancy.

Mothers of teens should be well informed before making the decision to allow their daughters to take birth control.

My hope is that this information would be used to help make better decisions.

In the years after a woman’s first period, her body is working hard to establish healthy communication between the brain and the ovaries that is critical to healthy ovulation. There are two glands in the brain – the hypothalamus and pituitary – that are trying to connect to the ovaries via hormone messengers in order to direct the ovaries to make estrogen and progesterone each cycle through the process of ovulation. Think of this as a sort of symphony. Just like an actual symphony, it takes time and practice in order to get it right. This practice can take up to ten years in adolescents in order to establish a healthy system of brain-ovary communication that results in regular periods and healthy hormone production. The idea is that by the time the system is perfected, the woman might have gotten married and then, if everything works well, a baby might be welcomed sooner or later.

As a result of normal process of maturation, it is normal for girls to have irregular periods during their teen years. They may bleed too frequently or too infrequently. Either way, moms get worried and bring their girls to the doctor. Doctors might be too busy to explain the information above so they quickly offer a prescription of birth control to “regulate” the periods. The problem is that the pill does not fix the problem. Instead, it suppresses the “symphony” that simply needs time and practice to perfect itself. In most cases, irregular periods in teens are simply due to an immature hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis. In some cases, irregular periods are caused by a disease process such as an eating disorder, thyroid disease, a benign pituitary enlargement, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and/or other problems. Either way, the answer IS NOT to shut down the ovaries. We should look for a solution and support the HPO axis in the meantime.

This is my approach to irregular periods in teens:

1. Listen to the teen and her mother. I ask about her diet, sleep habits, stressors and family history of period/fertility problems.

2. If there are any worrisome symptoms – very heavy periods, severe cramps, etc., then I may order tests or I may prescribe natural progesterone to aid the HPO axis as it struggles to get healthy (this really works). We talk about possible causes for her symptoms such as endometriosis or PCOS. Sometimes I recommend supplements or pain relievers that have been researched to be effective for certain symptoms.

3. I ask the teen to start tracking her periods using an app on her phone or paper calendar.

4. I explain to her how her reproductive system works and how she can help it to function well so that she will feel her best.

5. Together with mom, we come up with a personalized strategy to help ease this most beautiful (but challenging) transition from girl to woman.

If you would like to learn more about restoring cycles (and treating other problems) without birth control, I highly recommend the book Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, ND.

What about using birth control in teens for, well, birth control? I can’t wait to share my thoughts on that in future posts but for now consider this fact:

Hormonal birth control is the only medication in the history of medicine that is given to a healthy person with the intention of making them unhealthy.

Sounds crazy, right? A woman who is ovulating normal is healthy (remember the symphony analogy?). The hormones in birth control are designed to deliberately disrupt this state of health. This disruption causes dysfunction in the woman – physically, emotionally and relationally. Stay tuned for more…

After two abortions and a tubal ligation, I hit rock bottom. I know abortion isn’t empowering.

 

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest submission are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Live Action or Live Action News.

As a pro-life activist, I have watched young women walk into abortion facility doors, and I weep, knowing when they walk out, they will no longer be the same. It might not happen immediately, but a change occurs. As the hole in the heart left by the lost baby grows larger, the soul darkens, and hope begins to evaporate.

How do I know?  I’ve been there. Twice. It was not long after Roe v. Wade became law that I had my first abortion. I was career-oriented and a die-hard, left-wing feminist. I believed the rhetoric about abortion being a source of empowerment – the power to choose what happens to my own body.

During what I now call my “dark days” (post-abortion), I made very bad choices… many of them encouraged by my best friend,  alcohol. Booze was a convenient way to mask all my emotions, especially the guilt and shame of my abortions.

Those choices caused many losses back then — relationships (including two marriages), respect of my family and friends, and a successful career in the government. But the most grievous loss was my fertility. Of all, this was the one that had the most impact.

You see, at the age of 30, I convinced a doctor to give me a tubal ligation. I lied to myself, saying I didn’t want to have any children, but the truth was I felt I didn’t deserve to have any. The guilt and shame of killing my two precious babies resulted in my never being able to conceive again.

I ended up a broken, drunk, and barren woman – because I believed abortion would empower me.

I eventually hit a suicidal bottom and ended up in a mental hospital. When I entered the facility, the psychiatrist asked me why I wanted to die, and for some reason, the first time in decades, I told the truth. I was already dead inside and wanted to finish the job. Through therapy and subsequent alcohol rehab, my head began to clear, but for some reason, I still felt empty, and it remained that way for many years … even with sobriety and continued therapy.

It wasn’t until I began going to church and heard a woman speak about how her abortion affected her life that I was able to connect the dots. I was still carrying regret and shame of my abortions and mourning the deaths of my babies and fertility.

I attended a healing retreat not long after and was able to come to terms with what I had done and finally understand why I sabotaged so much in my life and why my heart was still in pieces. After the retreat, I felt almost whole again. The pieces of my heart were put together by acknowledging my babies’ existence and welcoming them into my life, but the abortions still haunt me and probably always will. I also chose to see my tubal ligation as a blessing that brought me a son through foster care adoption, but the thought of never experiencing carrying a baby to term and giving birth still stings.

I can’t turn back the hands of time. All I can do is speak out and make it abundantly clear: abortion is far from empowering. It’s “unpowering.” It strips power from within and replaces it with years of guilt, shame, and self-loathing, and I want to prevent others from experiencing it all.

Bio: Patti J. Smith is the Assistant Director of Rachel’s Hope Healing Ministry and Regional Coordinator of ACTheals.

Promotion of contraception and condoms teens and children as young as 10

BALTIMORE, Maryland, March 3, 2020 (Lepanto Institute) — Following a year-long investigation into Catholic Relief Services (CRS) programs and documents, the Lepanto Institute has published the first of a series of reports showing that CRS was both, directly and indirectly, involved in the promotion of contraception and condoms teens and children as young as 10. CRS is the official overseas relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the first report, the Lepanto Institute provided links and screen-captured images of CRS documents that encourage young people to use condoms whenever they have intercourse, while indicating that condoms are effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and pregnancy.

“Catholic Relief Services has long-maintained that it never promotes condom use in its programs, but these documents prove otherwise,” said Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute. “Sadly, this isn’t even the worst of what we discovered in our year-long investigation.”

One document produced and copyrighted by CRS in 2017 says (in French), “Condom use should be correct and consistent for any occasional sexual intercourse or with a non-regular partner.” Another CRS-produced document from 2017 (also in French) says, “You can do a number of things to stay as healthy as possible … [such as] use a condom during sex to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and pregnancies” and then later adds, “For adolescents who need access to HIV prevention methods, such as condoms, it is important for them to know where to access them.”

“In March of 2019, we provided our initial findings regarding these documents to CRS officials and were promised answers,” said Hichborn. “Not only were we never provided answers, but several of the documents disappeared from the CRS.org website, while other condom-promoting documents appeared later in the year.”

A CRS-produced document that was published in December of 2019 indicates to a counselor that a core idea being taught to adolescents in a CRS-run program is, “Delaying sex, limiting the number of sexual partners, and always using a condom are good practices.”

This first report can be viewed at the link here.

“We’ll be revealing a lot more in subsequent reports, but this is one of the primary reasons we’re asking bishops of the United States to withdraw their support for CRS until there is an independent, third-party investigation of CRS, and CRS is forbidden from receiving federal money,” said Hichborn.

The petition asking bishops to withdraw their support from CRS can be found at the link here.

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

Scientists Defend Using Body Parts From Aborted Babies in Their Experiments

MICAIAH BILGER

Some scientists are not happy with the Trump administration for restricting the use of aborted baby body parts in their taxpayer-funded research.

Talking with The Scientist recently, they complained about the impact of the policy changes on their experiments, funding and future.

“The fetal tissue that we’re talking about—if we don’t use it for research, it will be discarded,” said University of California San Diego scientist Lawrence Goldstein, who sometimes uses aborted baby parts in his research. “That’s the choice. Discard the fetal tissue in the trash, or use it for valuable research.”

But that “tissue” comes from human beings, unborn babies whose lives were destroyed in abortions. Some states, prohibited from banning abortions under Roe v. Wade, are trying to at least provide dignity to aborted babies in death by requiring a proper burial or cremation.

The Trump administration also has been working to restore dignity to the unborn child by ending the unethical practice of using aborted baby body parts in taxpayer-funded research. Earlier this month, it announced the formation of a new ethics board to oversee the matter within the National Institutes of Health. Last summer, the NIH introduced new requirements for taxpayer-funded research grants, including detailed explanations from scientists about why they want to use tissue from aborted babies rather than ethically-obtained materials.

The rules apply to tissue and cell lines taken from baby parts from elective abortions only; human tissue donated from miscarried babies and other ethical sources are not subject to the rules.

Microbiologist Carolyn Coyne at the University of Pittsburgh expressed frustration about the future. She told The Scientist that she uses cells from aborted babies to study how viruses penetrate the placenta, but she is concerned about future funding for her research.

“It’s impacted almost all of the facets of the lab,” Coyne said.

Some scientists, like Thomas Reh, a biologist at the University of Washington, have found private donors to fund their research, according to the report. But other scientists noted that not all private foundations will fund research using aborted baby body parts either.

In California, politicians are trying to counteract the Trump policies with their own funding. According to the report: “In California, the state’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has provided funding for stem cell studies using fetal tissue since it was founded in 2004. That fund is about to run out, but a bill that would provide $5.5 billion in funding to CIRM will come before voters in November.”

Scientists have ethical alternatives, including cells from miscarried babies and pluripotent stem cells, which do not involve destroying human lives. The Trump administration also has been investing in alternative materials. In 2018, it announced a new $20 million grant for exactly that purpose.

But Anita Bhattacharyya, a stem cell scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Waisman Center, complained that tissue from miscarried babies is harder to get and often is not intact, according to the report. Bhattacharyya has used brain tissue from aborted babies in her research on Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome, the report states.

Mana Parast, a stem cell and placental biologist at the University of California San Diego, argued that pluripotent stem cells “are fairly new and not yet broadly accepted, it is still necessary to validate them with cells from human placentas,” the report continues.

Goldstein expressed concerns about the new NIH ethics board refusing grants for research using aborted baby body parts.

“[We’ll] see whether the administration is going to act in good faith and appoint a decent ethics review committee, or if they’re going to ignore the value of the scientific and medical research that needs to be done in this area and let ideology weigh out over logic,” he said.

But ethics in research is important, and other scientists contend that aborted baby parts are not necessary in scientific studies.

“We do not need fetal body parts from aborted babies to achieve future scientific and medical advancements. Very little research is actually being done that currently relies on abortion – derived fetal tissue,” said Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

In 2018, Sander Lee told Congress that cells from aborted babies never have been the exclusive means necessary for breakthroughs in vaccines and other medical advancements. She said parts from aborted babies have been used in research for more than a century, but “no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissue.”

Other scientific researchers also have said aborted baby body parts are unnecessary for scientific research.

Over the past several years, the Trump administration has been listening to pro-life leaders’ pleas to stop using taxpayer funding for research using aborted baby body parts.

In December, it ended a contract between the NIH and the University of California San Francisco that was using aborted baby body parts to create “humanized mice” for medical experimentation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also is conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to “ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”

In the past, the federal government has given hundreds of millions of dollars to fund research using aborted baby parts. Pro-life groups and conservative news outlets have been uncovering new details about government spending on this unethical research. Some of the government contracts have used tax dollars to pay for body parts of healthy, late-term aborted babies – including potentially viable unborn babies up to 24 weeks.

In 2018, a CNS News report shed light on how taxpayers’ money is being spent on these ethically troubling experiments. It exposed the NIH contract with University of California San Francisco for aborted body parts to conduct experiments involving “humanized mice.”

Aborted baby body parts used in the experiments were taken from healthy, later-term unborn babies. According to the report, the aborted babies were 18 to 24 weeks gestation from “women with normal pregnancies before elective termination for non-medical reasons.” Another article indicated aborted babies’ livers and thymuses also were used. They were between 20 weeks and 24 weeks gestation.

A 2017 journal article indicates researchers also used aborted babies’ intestines in their experiments.

Several years ago, the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigation raise concerns about potentially illegal sales of human body parts by Planned Parenthood. It also uncovered evidence of abortionists allegedly putting women’s lives at risk by altering abortion procedures to better harvest aborted baby parts. The investigators also found evidence of possible patient privacy violations.

Abortion Survivor Has Saved Tens of Thousands of Babies From Abortion

MICAIAH BILGER

Dr. Imre Teglasy’s life dispels the myth of “my body, my choice.”

Born in 1952 in communist Hungary, Teglasy survived multiple abortion attempts on his life. Today, he is a dedicated pro-life advocate who has helped to save tens of thousands of unborn babies from abortion.

Teglasy was one of 14 abortion survivors featured in the new Faces of Choice video campaign. He recently spoke with LifeNews about his miraculous survival, his relationship with his mother and his pro-life ministry in Hungary.

His parents’ circumstances were extremely difficult in 1951 when he was conceived. Teglasy said his father had been a major in the Hungarian army during World War II, but when the communists took over, he was declared an enemy.

Teglasy said his father, mother and older brothers were removed from Budapest and forced to resettle in a poor, rural area in northern Hungary. His father struggled to find work, and the family nearly starved.

“While in this sad plight, my mother realized she was pregnant. My father did not favor the abortion, but my mother did not want to carry me to term,” he said.

Desperate, his mother tried to find a doctor willing to abort him, but abortions would not become legal until five years later. Teglasy said she tried to throw herself against a desk, took hot baths and eventually took quinine pills to attempt to induce labor. Nothing worked, and, in 1952, he was born.

The relationship between mother and son was strained, though Teglasy did not know why for many years.

“When I was a little boy of 3 years old, I kept looking for my ‘real’ mother since I could not accept … that she was my mother,” he said.

He remembered how his godmother treated him with more love and care than his birth mother did.

“As a child, I could not ask her about the strange relationship we had because I simply did not know about her abortion attempts,” he said.

Then, one day when he was about 12 years old, he accidentally overheard his father talking to a relative about the abortion attempts, Teglasy said. It was not until his mother was on her death bed, decades later, that the two finally reconciled.

“Only then at the end, I felt I could draw close to her,” he told LifeNews. “The experience of reconciliation was so bittersweet … I hope she experienced forgiveness in the sense of knowing herself guilty of serious offenses but throwing herself on God’s mercy.”

In those final moments together, Teglasy said he also realized that he had been wrong to resent his mother. At her bedside, he said he cried and asked God to forgive both of them.

Teglasy believes his life is a “miracle,” and he has dedicated it to helping others in need. He envisions a future where pregnant mothers view their pregnancies “not as burdens or curses but rather as an expecting, joyful and glorious stage of their motherhood.”

Since 1956, more than 6 million unborn babies have been legally aborted in Hungary, but were it not for Teglasy, there could have been many more.

He began working with Human Life International after meeting Father Paul Marx, the founding president of the pro-life organization, in 1992. Four years later, Teglasy formed his own pro-life organization, Alpha Alliance, which has provided support for approximately 43,000 mothers and babies to date.

Of his participation in the new Faces of Choice organization, Teglasy said he was impressed by the talent of young founder Lyric Gillett. Watch him share his story with Faces of Choice here.

“I am truly thankful to her since she, by her brilliant talent, made me and many thousands of good, willing people to understand the deeper dimensions and meaning of our own tragedies,” he said.

Faces of Choice has been helping to shed light on the reality of abortion through the stories of abortion survivors. Despite ultrasounds and other modern medical advances, Teglasy said people are still deceived by the myth of “choice.”

“We live in a time when, in spite of all the highly developed technical advances, abortionists usually turn away the screens of their ultrasound machines to conceal the reality of children before birth from the eyes of their parents,” he said.

“This means that they have fear of admitting that children before birth are real persons and faces of mankind,” he continued.

“We have the mission of encouraging all the modern followers of Doubting Thomas by saying this to them: Open your ears and hearts to the heartbeat of ours,” Teglasy said. “Put your finger on our face. Take our hands and not our lives. Touch the wounds of our bodies and souls. Stop doubting and believe.”

Doctors Offered Mother of Twins a “Selective Reduction,” But She Refused to Abort Her Babies

MARIA GALLAGHER

What drives your commitment to promoting the sanctity of innocent human life? Was there an eye-opening moment when a life-changing incident forced you to come to grips with the tragedy of abortion?

For Tracy, a candidate for the Pennsylvania state legislature, the defining moment occurred when she was pregnant.

As Tracy wrote to me, the life issue came up front and center—and she could not avert her eyes.

“This issue is very close to my heart,” Tracy noted.

“I was offered a ‘selective reduction’ when carrying my twins, based on a non-confirmed diagnosis.”

“Selective reduction.” Code words for aborting a living preborn baby, while allowing her twin to live.

Tracy would have none of it. She was determined to give birth to both her girls.

“My daughters were born at 28 weeks,” Tracy said. “Emily passed (away) shortly after birth, but we were given time to hold her and say goodbye.”

As for the other twin?

“Alyssa graduates from college in May,” Tracy stated.

This incident is just one more example of the beauty of respecting life—even when circumstances look bleak. Imagine what Tracy’s emotional pain would have been if she had agreed to the abortion? She never would have had that profound peace that came with holding her baby in her arms.

Tracy is one of the many women who courageously resist a doctor’s call to abort their offspring. They choose the path of life—and they are grateful for it. Tracy is eternally thankful that she had the opportunity to spend time with Emily…to embrace her…and to love her before the twin passed into eternity. She received a sense of closure that an abortion would not have given her.

How about you? Was there one particular incident that propelled you to defend human life? Sharing that personal story may be just what is needed to save an innocent, unrepeatable human being!

LifeNews.com Note: Maria Gallagher is the Legislative Director and Political Action Committee Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and she has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.

New analysis: Comprehensive sex ed in schools may actually be harming students

 

The review found “little evidence that [comprehensive sex education] programs are effective at producing positive impact on their participants.” Of 103 total sex education studies, only six had evidence of “real effectiveness” without negative effects after 12 months. Yet even in these six studies, there was no evidence that these six successful studies led to increased consistent condom usage, teen abstinence, fewer instances of sexually transmitted diseases, or fewer teen pregnancies. Meanwhile, 16 studies actually showed negative effects on teen sexual behavior and sexual health, including increases in teen sexual activity and other risky behaviors.

The negative behaviors found included increased pregnancies, STDs, and sexual activity including oral sex, more sex partners, increases in forced sex/rape, and increases in paid sex. Meanwhile, there were decreases in condom use. Part of the problem, according to the review, is that certain factors dealing with sexual behavior aren’t addressed in the classroom.

“[M]any factors outside the classroom influence adolescent sexual behavior — factors related to the home, peer, social media, and cultural environments,” the review noted. “Significant and lasting increases in sexual risk avoidance may be amplified by a multi-pronged prevention strategy that addresses these various factors directly.”

Comprehensive sex education, as defined by Planned Parenthood, takes place in grades K-12, and is “high quality teaching and learning about a broad variety of topics related to sex and sexuality, exploring values and beliefs about those topics and gaining the skills that are needed to navigate relationships and manage one’s own sexual health.” Organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all support comprehensive sex education in schools.

And despite the growing trend of comprehensive sex education in schools, it’s not just this one analysis that has found problems. Even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that the number of sexually transmitted diseases are growing, with cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reaching an all-time high. Newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis are also increasing, which the CDC says is a direct result of the STD “epidemic.”

Proper sex education is vital for young people. But comprehensive sex education may not be the answer that society has been led to believe.

New Poll Asks Catholics What They Believe About Abortion

Matt Hadro/CNA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the Catholic Church teaches that procuring an abortion is always immoral, a majority of U.S. Catholics do not believe abortion is intrinsically evil and say it should be legal in all or most cases.

According to a RealClear Opinion Research poll sponsored by EWTN and published on Monday, 47% of Catholics in the U.S. believe abortion is “intrinsically evil,” while a 53% hold otherwise.

A majority — 51% — say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 31% saying it should be legal except for late-term cases and 20% saying it should always be legal.

The poll of 1,512 Catholic registered voters was conducted between Jan. 28 – Feb. 4, 2020, and surveyed U.S. Catholic opinion on a range of subjects, including political affiliation, preferred presidential candidate, the morality of abortion, and religious practices.

U.S. Catholics were slightly less likely to support legal abortion than Americans overall. According to 2019 Gallup polling, 25% of Americans think abortion should be “legal under any circumstances,” while 20% of Catholics take that position, according to Monday’s poll.

But while 21% of Americans believe abortion should be “illegal in all” circumstances according to the Gallup poll, only 11% of Catholics think so.

Michael New, a visiting professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America, told CNA that religious practice, not self-identification, is the strongest predictor of opinions on abortion.

“What is a much stronger predictor” for Catholics, he said, is “attendance at Mass.”

Among Catholics attending Mass at least weekly, the majority, 55%, answered that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

More than one-third of weekly Mass-goers, 35%, said abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or “to save the mother’s life.” Twenty percent said that abortion should always be illegal. Meanwhile, 20% of weekly Mass-goers said abortion should be legal in all cases, and 22% said it should be legal except for late-term cases.

Among Catholics who say they accept everything the Catholic Church teaches, and that their lives reflect Church teaching, a substantial number 27% said that abortion should be legal in all cases, and 15% said it should be legal except in cases of late-term abortion. A majority said that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

While they remain divided on the question of the legality of abortion, a far greater number of Catholics in who attend Mass weekly or say they accept everything the Catholic Church teaches also believe abortion to be “intrinsically evil,”

More than seven-in-ten Catholics, 71%, who say they accept all the Church’s teachings believe abortion is intrinsically evil. 66% of “weekly-plus” Mass attendees answered the same way—far more than the 47% of Catholics overall who answered this way.

“The term ‘intrinsically evil’ isn’t used all that much” in society, New told CNA, and thus this term might seem “unnecessarily harsh” to describe abortion if Catholics are not well-versed in the language of moral theology.

Catholics of other demographics did not vary with great significance in their answers on the morality of abortion. Catholics of generations X, Y, and Z were only slightly less likely than Catholics of the Boomer and Silent generations to believe abortion is intrinsically evil.

Hispanic Catholics offered perspectives on abortion similar to Catholics overall; 21% said abortion should be legal in all cases, and 32% said it should be legal except in late-term cases. Only 48% said abortion is intrinsically evil.

Beliefs about abortion vary significantly among political party affiliations. Catholics identifying as Republicans were more likely to say abortion is intrinsically evil, with 63% answering thus. In this subset, only 37% said it should be legal all or most of the time while 61% said it should be illegal all or most of the time.

Two-thirds of Catholics identifying as Democrats said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to just 37% of Republicans. Meanwhile, just 36% of Democratic Catholics said that abortion is intrinsically evil, compared to 63% of Republican Catholics who said it is.

New study: Higher number of sexual partners linked with increased cancer risk

February 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – People who had more sexual partners throughout their life have a higher chance of being diagnosed with cancer, according to a study published in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

“Compared to women who reported one partner or none, those who reported 10 or more were 91% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer. Similarly, men with 10 or more partners were 64% more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer compared to men with one partner or none,” Reuters reported on the findings of the study.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, an international organization that defends the family, was not surprised by the results of the study.

“Goodness! A big expensive study to tell us that having multiple sexual partners is unhealthy! Who knew? I’ll tell you who knew: Your grandma, the Church and what used to be called ‘common sense,’” she remarked to LifeSiteNews.

Morse is also the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along.

Lee Smith, one of the co-authors of the study, speculated on the reason for the higher risk in women. “This may be because the link between certain [sexually transmitted infections] and cancer is stronger in women, such as HPV and cervical cancer, compared to HPV and penile cancer,” she told WebMD.

The study was based on data provided by 2,537 men and 3,185 women over 50 who had participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. This study tracks a certain number of people for a longer time, creating a better opportunity to observe changes in the participants.

As the study published by BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health explains, the participants stated the number of sexual partners during their lifetime. They also provided “self-rated health and self-reported limiting long-standing illness, cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke.”

Reuters broke down the numbers: “Among men, 29% reported one or zero sexual partners, 29% had two to four, 20% had five to nine and 22% reported having 10 or more. Among women, just under 41% had one or zero sexual partners, 36% reported two to four partners, 16% reported five to nine partners and 8% said they had 10 or more.”

“Indeed, a higher number of sexual partners means greater potential exposure” to sexually transmitted infections, the director of research at the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University in England summarized.

While the study shows an association, it cannot prove that having more sexual partners throughout life directly causes a greater likelihood of having cancer. However, a more promiscuous lifestyle often goes hand in hand with other behaviors known to increase the risk of cancer.

“Those who reported a higher tally of sexual partners were more likely to smoke, drink frequently, and do more vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis,” inews wrote.

Pro-abstinence organization Love Facts offers a chart that allows people to calculate the extent of their sexually transmitted disease (STD) exposure based on their number of sexual partners. According to the chart, a person who had 10 sexual partners, each of whom also only had 10 partners, will have been potentially exposed to the STDs of 1,023 others.

Robert Edwards, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told Reuters that “smoking and alcohol consumption amplify the risk for cancer with certain sexually transmitted diseases.”

Lee Smith emphasized the need for using “appropriate protection,” reducing “the risk of related cancers going forward.”

However, STDcheck.com, a service that facilitates STD testing, explains that many STDs can be transmitted even if a condom is used during intercourse. The website lists, among others, HPV, genital herpes, syphilis, and pubic lice.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a federal agency and the leading national public health institute of the United States, is equally cautious.

“However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”

Morse provided different advice. “As a happily married woman, I have an ‘active sex life,’ but absolutely zero ‘risky encounters.’ These researchers should be telling people to get married, stay married and only have sex with the person you are married to. That would solve a lot of problems, including health problems.”

Attention Pro-Life Americans: Keep Fighting and Praying to End Abortion

FATHER FRANK PAVONE   FEB 19, 2020

LifeNews Note: Priests for Life recently hosted a meeting with pro-life leaders and activists. They released the following statement to encourage pro-life Americans to continue fighting and praying to end abortion:

A Statement of Encouragement for the Pro-life Movement

Having gathered in Titusville, Florida for a national strategic summit meeting, we, as leaders in the pro-life movement, want to issue a word of encouragement and a call to action.

The year 2020 brings us to a momentous and pivotal point in the effort to end abortion and to restore protection to children in the first nine months of their lives, as well as to protect vulnerable people from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing another case regarding abortion. The outcome of this case could make it easier for the states to protect mothers from the devastating actions of an unregulated and unscrupulous abortion industry.

We call on our brothers and sisters in this movement to inform themselves about this case, discuss it with others, and pray for a favorable outcome. Many members of Congress have expressed to the Court their support for the pro-life side of this case, and we should thank those who have done so. Numerous mothers who suffer from a past abortion have also let their voices be heard in this case; we should listen to and spread their testimonies to all our fellow citizens.

This year 2020 also brings us to national, state and local elections which will shape our courts for decades to come, decide the fate of tens of millions of children, determine whether we will continue to fund the abortion industry, and impact how much longer it will take to end the violence of abortion in our land.

We urge our fellow citizens to be active and informed voters, to see the right to life as the most fundamental electoral issue, and to educate and mobilize other voters to do the same. Likewise, we urge everyone to pray for our nation as we elect our leaders.

Thanks to the perseverance, faith, and tireless efforts of a very large and diverse pro-life movement for five decades, we have saved countless lives, changed countless minds and healed countless hearts. We have passed numerous laws, prevented the abortion industry from doing even more damage than it has done, and brought our nation closer to the fulfillment of its creed of equal justice under law.

Grateful for all these efforts, we look forward to our continued progress and encourage all in our movement to redouble their efforts on behalf of our youngest brothers and sisters and their mothers, and to redouble their confidence that those efforts will succeed.

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director
Priests for Life

Janet Morana
Executive Director
Priests for Life

Evangelist Alveda King
Civil Rights for the Unborn
Priests for Life

Jor-El Godsey
President
Heartbeat International

Bradley Mattes
President
Life Issues Institute

Kristan Hawkins
President
Students for Life of America
Students for Life Action

Allan E. Parker, Jr.
President
The Justice Foundation

Thomas Glessner
President
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates

Joe Langfeld
Human Life Alliance

Shari Richard,RDMS
Unborn.com

Connie Eller, Founder
Missouri Blacks For Life

Joel Brind, PhD
Member, Medical Advisory Council
Heartbeat International

Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath
Director of Ministry Engagement
Douglass Leadership Institute

Larry Cirignano
Children First Foundation

Chris Slattery
Founder and President
Expectant Mother Care-EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers

John J Jakubczyk
Southwest Life & Law Center

Bryan Kemper
President – Stand True Youth Pro-life Outreach

Ann Lauren Rooney Morris
Florida Director
National Life Chain

Matthew and Cathy Connolly
Red Rose Rescue

Jeff White
Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust

Cheryl Conrad
Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust

JoAnn Gerling
Coalition on Abortion and Breast Cancer

Rev. Patrick Mahoney
Christian Defense Coalition

Dr. Michael New
Pro-life Researcher

Brendan H. O’Connell
Life Matters TV and Media, Inc.

Elise Rose
United Prayer Vigils for Life

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Chris Slattery
Expectant Mother Care

Brandi Swindell
Stanton International

Removing My IUD Removed My Depression

https://naturalwomanhood.org/removing-my-copper-iud-removed-my-depression-and-saved-my-life-2020/

by Szilvia

My name is Szilvia. I am a 40-year-old quality manager and mother of two little children, living in Germany.

Not long ago, I found the Natural Womanhood site when searching birth control side effects while on the copper IUD. I found so much important information on the copper IUD and copper toxicity in an article by Kathleen Taylor, who cited the podcast of Julie Casper on the topic.

I can say from lived experience that what was published in that article is 100 percent true.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, taking charge of your fertility, know more about your body, understanding fertility, understanding fertility health, improving fertility health, improving women's health, natural birth control, IUD and depression, copper IUD and depression, copper toxicity, IUD removal, heavy bleeding, racing thoughts, palpitations

After having two children, my partner and I decided to use a non-hormonal form of birth control, and my gynecologist told me about the copper IUD. Regarding side effects, the only thing she said was that the copper IUD can cause heavier bleeding; that was the only side effect I heard. I had to undersign it that I was aware of the possibility for heavier bleeding; I received no information about other possible side effects.

A Dark Period

After the insertion of my IUD, my monthly bleeding did become heavier, but I experienced other changes as well. My period cycle became much shorter and my hair became thinner—about one-third the volume it was before. But this was not the worst of it; I experienced immense depression. I had all the symptoms: depressed mood, anger, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, rage, racing thoughts, palpitations, and suicidal thoughts.

I was prescribed pills for depression and sleep at night, but they didn’t help my depressed days.

I started to take notes about when exactly I had the worst days. A trend emerged: the days when I experienced the worst moods were precisely the days during the bleeding. It was not a dip in mood before the bleeding, as in premenstrual syndrome (PMS); instead, my worst depressive symptoms persisted for the whole length of my bleeding phase.

Once I realized the timing of my mood changes, I decided to search online to see if other women noticed this. I found reports of women all over the world who claimed the same connections between having the copper IUD and depression. It finally clicked: my depressive symptoms were a result of the IUD. Only after hearing the experiences of other women in testimonials did I see clearly enough to make the decision: I had the IUD removed, and this was the first step in my recovery.

A New Day

Now that my IUD is removed, my symptoms have completely changed: I have no mood swings, no depression at all. I wish I had never had these experiences, which almost destroyed my life and that of my family.

Thanks to articles that shed more light on this, and testimonials of women revealing their bad experiences, I can say today that I am healed.

Women need to speak up about their IUD side effects. It makes a big difference! Only by listening to women’s experiences—by spreading information, by standing up—do others have the chance for healing. Before starting my own investigation, I was never informed of any correlation between all the mentioned symptoms and the copper IUD. Here in Germany, there is not much information about the IUD and possible side effects.

I am one of the lucky ones because I got the information. Without it, I might have taken antidepressants my whole life, and I would not understand why this dark cloud became a persistent part of my life.

My experience has led me to view the pharmaceutical industry with skepticism. I no longer believe it is in the interest of the pharmaceutical industry to make us healthy—quite the contrary; it is their interest to keep us in a state that requires medication. They can sell their products, not only the IUD, but also the antidepressants and other pills we get prescribed after developing adverse symptoms.

With my copper IUD removed, I am feeling 100 percent myself again. Most importantly, my little family has their mum back, as I was before: a shining woman with a lot of energy, funny, and optimistic.

I do not wish to bring attention to myself in writing this. My aim in writing this is to warn others. We women have to stick together.

A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center Sponsoring the First Ever Free Tubal Reversal Surgery Contest

As of January 1st 2020, A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center is offering free tubal reversal surgery by sponsoring the first ever Free Tubal Reversal Surgery Contest. This opportunity to have free tubal ligation reversal surgery is the first of its kind.

Dr. Charles Monteith is a sterilization reversal surgeon who is responsible for sponsoring the contest. He is the Medical Director of A Personal Choice Tubal Reversal Center, which is a specialty surgical center located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The center exclusively offers patients affordable, outpatient sterilization reversal for both women and men. Those who enter the Free Tubal Reversal Surgery Contest will have a chance to win a sterilization reversal surgery valued at up to $8,000. Each year, Dr. Monteith will select up to four (4) lucky winners who will be eligible to win either tubal ligation reversal surgery or vasectomy reversal surgery at no cost to them. This is the first time free sterilization reversal surgery has been offered in the United States.

Tubal ligation and vasectomy are very popular forms of permanent birth control. Each year approximately 700,000 tubal ligation surgeries (female sterilizations) and up to 500,000 vasectomy surgeries (male sterilization) are performed each year in the United States. Medical research has demonstrated up to 30% of women who have tubal ligation and 10% of men who have vasectomy will regret their sterilization procedures and desire to have more children. Their options for having another child are limited to adoption, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and sterilization reversal. All of these options are expensive and none of them are guaranteed.

Adoption can cost up to $50,000 and up to 15% of adoptions will not be successful. A single cycle of IVF can cost up to $15,000 and a single IVF treatment cycle is approximately 30% successful. Sterilization reversal surgery is not guarantee but can be more successful than IVF. Sterilization reversal surgery can be up to 95% successful for men and up to 80% successful for women. Costs of sterilization reversal surgery range from $7,000 to $30,000 depending on where the surgeries are performed. Unfortunately, most health insurance plans consider surgeries to reverse self-imposed sterilization as non-essential, elective medical treatments and most plans will not cover the cost of either reversal surgery or IVF. This leaves many couples having to pay out of pocket for the treatment of their regret.

Many couples will quickly realize sterilization reversal surgery can be the most affordable option providing the best chance of pregnancy success. Despite sterilization reversal being more affordable, many who choose sterilization reversal will have to spend their life’s savings, borrow from their retirement plans, or endure high surgery financing interest rates in an effort to afford reversal surgery. Dr. Monteith continually receives requests from couples in despair because they can not afford the high cost of reversal surgery. These couples asking if he would consider performing free or probono reversal surgery on their behalf. Many will tell him they are not able to afford the surgery and inquire if there are research trials offering free infertility treatment. After years of continually receiving these request, Dr. Monteith decided he could help a few of these couples each year by sponsoring a reversal surgery contest.

Applications are already rolling in! Within the first two weeks, Dr. Monteith has already received over 800 contest entries. Some of the statements made by those entering the contest are truly heartbreaking and revealing of the many different reasons people regret their sterilization surgery.

One contestant wrote on her application, “Thank you so much for offering this contest. I lost my children in a house fire and have been emotionally devastated. I looked into IVF and was not able to afford IVF. My local fertility doctor quoted me over $20,000 for reversal surgery. Your contest is giving me hope that I can one day be a mom again.”

Another contestant wrote, “I was in an abusive relationship and the victim of domestic violence. I had my tubes tied so I would not be further trapped with my abuser by having more children with him. I have since divorced and now I am with a man who is the love of my life. He supports me, is not abusive to me, and is a real father to my children from my previous relationship. Tubal reversal surgery would allow me the chance to give him a child.”

Another entry read, “I was advised to have a tubal ligation after being diagnosed with a potentially deadly heart condition. I have never had children. My health has dramatically improved over the last 10 years. I have spent over $30,000 on three IVF treatments and have not become pregnant. Although tubal reversal may not work…at least it will give me hope and a chance…”

Although it can be easy to blame those who chose sterilization and easy to have a “that is what you get” attitude, one can easily see by reading the above comments submitted by contestants that the decision to have sterilization and the decision to reverse sterilization are influenced by many different life circumstances. Dr. Monteith has extensive experience in the field of reproduction and understands the complexity of his patient’s lives. This is why he chose to offer the first contest giving away free tubal reversal surgery and offering couples hope and a chance of becoming new parents again.

For more information and/or to enter this contest, please visit https://www.tubal-reversal.net/free-tubal-reversal-surgery-contest-applications/

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

A St. Valentine’s Day Miracle

by Pat Wittkop

I received the most wonderful gift on St. Valentine’s Day a few years back. It made me so happy, I wept tears of joy. My friend Kathy and I were fulfilling our commitment to pray every Thursday outside the Planned Parenthood Center in St. Paul, Minn. We had been there about three hours.

We prayed for Kim, the pro-life sidewalk counselor with the warm smile and outstretched hand as she offered literature to a young woman, listing alternatives to abortion. We heard her say, “Hi, I’m Kim. Here’s some information for you.”

The Planned Parenthood escorts tried to distract the woman from Kim by placing themselves between her and Kim. They talked continuously to the young woman.

Nonetheless, Kim persisted: “You do have other choices. There is a Life Care Center right over there,” she said, pointing to a nearby building. The escorts brought the woman inside the clinic, and the door slammed shut.

All we could do was wait and hope that something Kim said would sink in, and that God’s grace would touch someone’s heart inside the center. Kathy and I continued to silently pray. Shortly after, three people from the Legion of Mary came by and prayed a Rosary and The Divine Mercy Chaplet.

We saw the escorts leave. This meant all the women were inside for their abortions. Soon, two women came out carrying little brown bags of medications and other things needed after an abortion.

How my heart aches when I see them come out. Many of them are alone, clutching the brown bag with one hand and holding their stomach with the other. They look sad and bewildered. There are no escorts with them when they come out.

Often, we give them a list of post-abortion counseling centers or at least shout the 1-800-WECARE number. At that number, they can talk to someone who’s had an abortion and who knows what they are going through.

On this Valentine’s Day, I dreaded the “brown paper bag” scenario. Each brown bag means a little life lost. It means a wounded mother who will grieve her lost baby and never be able to bring the child back. It means death chosen over life. It means a feeling of failure for me.

I had difficulty focusing on my prayers, feeling grief-stricken. I decided to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet again after having prayed it several times. In the middle of the prayer, the clinic door burst open. Out hurried two young women in tears. Neither carried a brown paper bag!

One got on her cell phone, sobbing as she talked: “I didn’t do it. I couldn’t go through with it.”

My heart leaped for joy, and tears fell freely as I hollered across the parking lot to her: “There is a Life Care Center right on the corner just beyond that flag. There are lots of people who want to help you.”

I stood there crying and thanking God for the women’s courage, for His grace, and for all the people I knew who were praying and fasting for the protection of the unborn. What they would give to see the miracle I saw on St. Valentine’s Day at Planned Parenthood.

Pat Wittkop is a mother of seven and a freelance writer. She volunteers as a sidewalk counselor for Pro-Life Action Ministries, St. Paul, Minn.

Pro-Life Movement Needs Its Own ‘Seamless Garment’

Jennifer Roback Morse

Committed pro-life activists are often accused of being too focused on abortion: “If you really cared about babies, you would also care about Issue X!”

True, children need many things to survive and thrive, and pro-lifers should work on those issues as well as the abortion issue. But the “Seamless Garment,” as a rhetorical strategy, is often perceived by pro-lifers as a subtle or not-so-subtle attempt to undermine them. All too often, these suspicions are well-founded. So my next statement may surprise you: The pro-life movement needs a Seamless Garment of its own. Let me explain.

The Ruth Institute conducted a survey of pro-life student opinion at the Students for Life Pro-Life Summit on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 people attended this summit the day after the 47th-annual national March for Life. Nearly 10% of the attendees stopped by the Ruth Institute booth and took our survey. Their ages ranged from 12 through 76, with an average of 28. The respondents were 71% women and 77% Catholic.

We asked them: “What other related issues concern you? Check all that apply.” Of the 305 people who answered, the following percentages flagged these issues:

  • 83% said they were concerned about euthanasia.
  • 83% said they were concerned about the decline of marriage.
  • 66% said they were concerned about contraception.
  • 59% said they were concerned about comprehensive sexuality education.
  • 50% said they were concerned about surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation.
  • 47% said they were concerned about the worldwide decline of fertility.

True enough, these are not the issues that advocates of the Seamless Garment generally mention. Back when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago popularized the Seamless Garment, the issues included government programs supporting the material needs of children.

Today, the issues are more apt to be climate change or immigration, but the subtle accusation is clear enough: “If pro-lifers really cared about children, they would care about them after birth.” So let us look at our survey of the Students for Life participants through this lens of children’s needs after they are born.

Of course, everyone knows that children need food and shelter and clothing. But children also need love. The “failure to thrive” syndrome shows that, in some way, the non-material needs of children are more important than their physical needs. Children who “fail to thrive” have their material needs met. They have food, shelter, clothing and medical care. But they do not grow. They may even die. The commonly accepted explanation for failure to thrive is that kids need more than food. They also need to be fed and nurtured, by a person who holds them, rocks them, looks into their eyes and loves them.

In other words, kids need their parents. Mom rocks the baby. Dad supports Mom while she rocks the baby. She can’t get it done alone.

I conclude that authentic care for children must include care for their need to be loved by both their parents. We should provide systematic social structures to ensure that as many kids as possible get to grow up with their own parents who love them and each other. Children have a birthright to their own parents. That means a stable relationship with their biological parents wherever possible and stable, child-centered provision for adoption where the biological parents are permanently unavailable.

What might those structures look like? Adult society affirms that people should be having sex only with the person we are married to. We get married before having sex. We stay together unless someone does something really awful. We cut out petty criticism of our spouses. We have a social norm of patiently bearing with our spouse’s faults.

In other words, the most reliable systematic plan for ensuring that kids get to have the love and attention of both their parents is lifelong married love, supported by traditional Christian sexual ethics. The respondents to our survey at the Students for Life Summit seem to be quite well aware of this. “The decline of marriage” option comes in at the top of the list of their concerns, with more than 80% support.

Two-thirds of the activists mentioned contraception as an area of concern. Only an idiot can overlook the connection between the constant promotion of the contraceptive ideology and people’s casual choices of sex partners. If you care about kids, you should make it easier, not harder, for people to make good decisions about the identity of their child’s other parent.

Nearly 60% of the respondents were concerned about comprehensive sexuality education. This, too, shows that these activists are sensitive to the needs of children. Much of what passes for sex education amounts to propaganda for the sexual revolution, inflicted on small children, too young and impressionable to defend themselves.

Schools, public and private alike, convey to children that sex is a recreational activity: They safely can partake of it, as long as they use a condom every time. This message has no place in a Seamless Garment that treasures the rights of children to their parents, and therefore demands self-control from adults.

Half the survey participants were concerned about third-party reproduction issues. Is this because children of donated sperm or eggs are cut off from one of their biological parents? Or are these respondents mainly concerned about all of the death-dealing that goes on in the infertility industry, by discarding or freezing unwanted embryos? Either way, these pro-lifers’ care for babies extends well beyond the abortion issue.

When we conceived the idea for this survey, we just wanted to get an idea of where these participants at the Students for Life Summit stood on the Ruth Institute’s issues. Viewing the results reveals something more.

The pro-life movement really has matured from a single-issue battle, fought in a single way, to a multi-issue movement. The most committed participants in the movement understand that we need to defend the rights of children and parents to be in stable relationships with each other. Children have a birthright to their parents, as well as a birthright to be born in the first place.

And this survey also shows us that we are closer than we realized to having a pro-life Seamless Garment of our own.

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute. She is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and How the Church Was Right All Along. She first wrote about the failure-to-thrive syndrome in her book Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, originally published in 2001

‘Opening the door to purity and closing the door to vice’

ROME, February 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The seventh annual Rome Life Forum will bring together pro-life, pro-family Catholics from all over the world to discuss “authentic purity” as the way to counter “attacks on human life, the family, and our faith.”

Rome Life Forum 2020 will take place on May 20-21, introducing two more days of pro-life activities leading up to the 10th annual Rome March for Life on May 23. The Forum will be held in the world-famous Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum.

The theme this year is “Opening the door to purity and closing the door to vice.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Willem Eijk, and prior emeritus of the Monks of Norcia, Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, will be among the speakers.

Another of this year’s speakers, John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), told LifeSiteNews that this international gathering is a “unique opportunity” for Catholic pro-life leaders to gain strength from one another.

“The Rome Life Forum provides leaders within the pro-life and pro-family movement, united in their love for the Church, with a unique opportunity to strengthen one another in fidelity to the truth, and in working to restore a truly Christian civilization worldwide,” Smeaton told LifeSiteNews.

SPUC’s chief executive noted that Forum participants have come from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Philippines, Romania, Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Albania, Malta, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, India, Portugal, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Hungary as well as other countries.

“One thing which unites us all is a clear understanding that the pro-life movement cannot win the pro-life and pro-family battle on their own,” Smeaton said.

“The Church must recover her teaching authority to save her children. And at this time of trial, the faithful at all levels of the Church Militant must mobilise to fight for her.”

Rome Life Forum a ‘foretaste’ of heaven

Past speaker Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, told LifeSiteNews that going to the Rome Life Forum is like a “foretaste” of heaven.

“I’ve been to the Rome Life Forum every year since 2014, and each one is better than the last,” he said enthusiastically.

“It’s like a mini-retreat for me, and the reunion of so many good friends is like a foretaste of the reunion we’ll enjoy for eternity in heaven.”

Hichborn said “the wonderful thing” about the Roman Forum is that anyone can attend ― and all faithful Catholic should.

“Those Catholics who wish to have a solid understanding of the current rebellion in the Church should attend,” he said.

“Over the course of three days, faithful Catholics will not only be able to hear brilliant presentations, but have one-on-one access to various Catholic leaders from around the world.”

‘A wonderful sense of fellowship’

Canadian Catholic journalist Deborah Gyapong told LifeSiteNews that the Forum is an excellent networking opportunity.

“Nowhere else have I experienced such an international gathering of pro-life and pro-family leaders and experts from as far away as New Zealand, from all over Europe and the UK, and from North and South America,” Gyapong said.

“There is a wonderful sense of fellowship and joy at the Forum, a gathering of happy warriors. For me as a journalist, it was a forge for ideas and source of contacts.”

Gyapong told LifeSiteNews that she believes the Rome Life Forum is a “huge encouragement and chance to share victories and strategies” for pro-life leaders and activists.

“For young people who attend, it’s a great chance to find mentors.”

Margaret Akers of SPUC Scotland is one of the younger pro-life leaders participating in the Rome Life Forum 2020. She told LifeSiteNews that she very much enjoyed talks given last year by Fr. Linus Clovus and Cardinal Raymond Burke, both of whom will be speaking again at the Forum this May.

“I was particularly struck by the talk given by Fr. Linus Clovis, who spoke beautifully about the role of Our Lady in the Church and our lives; it was incredibly moving,” Akers said.

“I am always pleased to hear Cardinal Burke and last year’s conference was no exception,” she added.

He framed patriotism and commitment to one’s ‘fatherland’ in a way one doesn’t often hear in an age of globalism, and it was inspiring.”

Akers said she believes this year’s theme, “Opening the door to the virtue of purity,” is particularly necessary today.

“I look forward to hearing how each of the speakers chooses to expand on this topic,” she said.

Dr. Joseph Shaw, chairman of the UK’s Latin Mass Society, will be speaking at the Roman Life Forum for the first time this year. While pondering the theme of purity, Shaw told LifeSiteNews that intellectual honesty is key.

“It is very evident today that much thinking about theology and morality is conditioned by the need to justify certain conclusions — conclusions justifying or permitting lifestyle choices which one does not wish to confront or reconsider honestly,” Shaw said.

“Whether the problem arises from one’s own past decisions, or those of people one loves, or those accorded value by one’s circle, true intellectual honesty is a real risk, an adventure in which one faces the possibility of losing friends, status, and career.”

Shaw said intellectual work that is constrained by these worldly considerations is “worthless.”

“We must rediscover our love of the truth, and a true commitment to it, because it is in the truth that we find God, who is Truth, and not in some sordid intellectual compromise,” he concluded.

‘The food is always great at the Forum’

A five-day trip to Rome uses up one’s vacation time, but Gyapong argued that the location and the price of the Rome Life Forum have been right.

“The food is always great at the Forum,” the journalist said.

“The price is really modest, and you can’t beat the location ― Rome,” she added.

“Participants find opportunities to worship together at daily Mass, the city is wonderful, and the weather is just right in May. Participants in the Forum also join the Italian March for Life, another joyous occasion that has grown substantially over recent years.”

The Rome Life Forum is also a chance to make a spiritual pilgrimage. Hichborn told LifeSiteNews that his fondest memory of the Rome Life Forum is from his first trip there.

“My wife and I attended with our (then) four-month-old daughter, Maria Faustina,” he recalled.

“We landed in Rome on the very day St. Faustina was being canonized, and we happened to walk into the church where St. Catherine of Siena is buried. We were able to actually touch her tomb and pray there. While we were at the Forum, Cardinal Raymond Burke gave a blessing to all three of us. For me, this memory will always signify what the Rome Life Forum is.”

The full price of the Roman Life Forum registration is £110/€130 (approx. $143 US). A one-day ticket is £65/€75 (approx. $84 US). To register and see the complete schedule, please visit voiceofthefamily.com.

Together, baby; forever, baby

Kristin Collier

The science of pregnancy gets more and more fascinating. To think of the mother simply ‘hosting’ her baby is so, well, 1973. What’s going on in the womb is really a marvelous co-operative venture that may last a lifetime, as Dr Kristin Collier, an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, explains in the following interview with MercatorNet.

* * * * * *

MercatorNet: For most of us, Pregnancy 101 means there’s a baby developing inside the mother, attached to the placenta by the umbilical cord. And, thanks to ultrasound and the photographs of Lennart Nilsson, we know what that looks like. But there’s a lot more to this inside story, isn’t there – could we start with the placenta?

Dr Kristin Collier Yes! There is so much more to the “inside story.” Since you asked about the placenta, let’s spend some time exploring this organ, as part of the “inside story.” The placenta is amazing. Why you might ask? Well, for one, it is the only organ made in cooperation by two people. It is made from the growing baby’s tissue and the mother’s tissue together. Therefore, the placenta is known as a ‘feto-maternal’ organ. It is the first time that mother and baby come together to do something in cooperation.

The placenta, as many of your readers know, is the organ through which the baby and mother interface. This name ‘placenta’ is derived from the Latin word for a type of cake, as it is a flat organ and averages about a pound in weight. It is attached to the wall of the mother’s uterus and is connected to the growing baby by his or her umbilical cord. The placenta is the only purposely transient organ in human beings.

It also is amazing because it functions as many organs in one. The placenta helps the prenatal child get rid of waste, helps provide nutrition and also produces hormones and protects the baby against infection. The placenta is acting like a lung, kidney, gastrointestinal tract and the endocrine and immune system. Pretty amazing for this one organ to have so many important functions.

In New Zealand, the indigenous Maori people have treated the placenta with reverence, traditionally burying it in ancestral land, which reinforces a link between people and land. Their intuitions seem to prefigure the importance of “the afterbirth” that science has discovered…

This information is beautiful to hear. It sounds like these indigenous people recognized the importance of the placenta even before modern science started to take a deeper interest. As you mentioned, the placenta has long been called the ‘afterbirth’ as it is delivered after the baby. This ‘afterbirth’ often got short-shrifted in attention as an ‘afterthought’. But no longer.

In fact, the placenta is so important, that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has a research arm dedicated to the placenta called the Human Placenta Project (HPP), and on its website says ‘The placenta is arguably one of the most important organs in the body.’ A healthy placenta is not only crucial for healthy development of the prenatal child, but also affects the health of the child and mother for years to come.

On a side note, it sounds like the Maori people were into the field of human ecology even before the field had its formal name. This is unsurprising as these fields of study are often just a way to give a formal name to something that has been there the entire time, often practiced authentically by indigenous peoples and only recently fractured by modern life and technology.

Is there more to discover about this ‘transient organ’?

Yes, there is always more to discover. One goal of the human placenta project is to better understand the placenta with the ultimate goal of improving maternal and child health. One interesting thing we know now about the placenta, although the full extent of this knowledge is not fully understood, is that along with functioning as many organs as one, there is a unique transfer of cellular material that happens across the placenta.

In science, microchimerism refers to the presence of a small population of genetically distinct and separately derived cells within an individual. In pregnancy, small amounts of cells travel across the placenta. Some of these cells are the prenatal child’s cells that travel from the baby into her mother, and some cells also pass from the mother into her child. The cells from the prenatal child into her mother are pluripotent, which means they haven’t yet differentiated into the type of cell specific for one organ or tissue in particular. These cells find their way into mother’s tissue and start acting like the tissue in which they find themselves. This process is known as feto-maternal microchimerism.

That is fascinating! In what ways can these fetal cells protect the mother in later life – or put her at risk?

Their full impact is still being understood, but some of these cells have been hypothesized to help mom in the time after birth and also for years to come. For example, these cells have been found in Caesarean sections incisions helping to make collagen to help mom heal after a surgical delivery. These cells have also been found in the maternal breast and have been hypothesized to help reduce mom’s risk of breast cancer in her later years.

The ’gift’ of these cells from the baby, entering into mom’s body and helping her heal and protecting her from cancer, is amazing to think of and really challenges our ideas of people as autonomous beings. In reality, many human beings carry remnants of other human beings in their body. These cells may even play a part in how future siblings are spaced.

What is also interesting, these cells that enter the mother are allowed to survive and are not attacked by the mother’s immune system, even though they are somewhat ‘foreign’. This again speaks to a cooperation, at the cellular level, between mother and child. And it would be one thing if these cells were inert and existed as a gift of sorts, from the child in the mother, but to think of these cells in some ways benefiting the health of the mother really speaks to a radical mutuality at the cellular level between two people that only serves to enhance our understanding of the maternal-child bond.

And what are the implications for involuntary pregnancy loss?

Miscarriage can be a devastating event in the life of both the expectant mother and father. I’ve heard from many women that they felt, even after they lost their baby, that their baby was somehow always still with them in a way. And now, through the knowledge of the science of microchimerism, we know that this is true. Many women do have the presence, in their bodies, of a biological piece of their child and this cellular material may be aiding and assisting her not only now but in the future in ways we are only beginning to understand.

Obviously this science throws new light on the abortion debate, in particular on a woman’s autonomy when it comes to ending a pregnancy. She would be ending an irreducibly cooperative venture rather than a ‘kidnap’ (as Judith Jarvis styled it) and harming herself as well, would she not?

Every dehumanizing ideology succumbs to the same temptation – to see the undesirable other as a non-person. In the abortion debate, as in similar debates around marginalized vulnerable populations, language is used when describing the undesirable other that is dehumanizing. In the abortion debate, the prenatal child is referred to as a ‘clump of cells’ or even as a ‘parasite’.

As my friend Charlie Camosy writes in his book Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People, we must resist appeals to individual autonomy that detach us from our duty to aid others, and resist language, practices and social structures that detach us from the full reality and dignity of the marginalized. A radical view of autonomy that leads to the end of another human life is one that is anti-life and oppresses the rights of another in the name of ‘freedom’.

So yes, the language that should be used to highlight the beautiful cooperation that exists in the dyad of the mother-prenatal child relationship instead has been perverted to one that brings to mind a cancer, an infection or a crime (like a kidnapping or hostage situation). Those of us who feel called to stand up for the vulnerable and marginalized among us, should call out such language not only in the abortion discourse but also in the discourse involving other marginalized vulnerable populations.

In a world focused on avoiding pregnancy it’s not surprising that we have heard little or nothing about these amazing pregnancy facts. Are there other reasons?

That is an interesting question. I don’t know why this information isn’t more widely known. One reason is that there are so many other ‘practical’ things to know when you are pregnant that these other details of awe and wonder get marginalized.

Having had four pregnancies myself, I remember getting inundated with information around things to expect in pregnancy regarding my body – physical changes, symptoms etc. I remember reading in a book about what my baby was doing and looking like at each week of gestation, but I don’t remember getting information that exceeded the ‘practical’ domain.

Pregnancy and childbirth are wondrous, miraculous events! In my opinion, using language that reflects awe and wonder doesn’t discredit us in medicine, but only legitimizes the emotions and feelings the pregnant mother is likely already feeling.

What are the theological implications of these scientific insights, in your view?

I am not a theologian, however in talking with those who are, I’ve come to think of biology now, more generally, in a relational sense that mirrors the nature of God. The scriptures speak of a God who is in relationship with his people. We then would only expect that God, being the author of biology, would create our bodily nature in a way that was also relational – even down to the level of the cell.

And in particular, when I think of the science of fetomaternal microchimerism, I think of the theological implications of cells from the incarnate word of God, Jesus Christ, in his mother, the Virgin Mary. We can say that Mary not only carried the Son of God in her body when he was in her womb, but that she likely carried his cells in her body throughout her life in a way that further magnifies her position as the glorious Theotokos. This highlights Mary’s glorious position as the Mother of God in a way I had never thought of before.

Kristin Marguerite Collier is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School where she practices general Internal Medicine. She serves as an Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and is the Director of the Program’s Primary Care Track. In addition, she is the Director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health, Spirituality and Religion. She was interviewed by Carolyn Moynihan, Deputy Editor of MercatorNet.

Harrowing film on forced abortion in China nominated ‘Best Documentary’

By Reggie Littlejohn

**CORERCTED**February 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – One Child Nation won the Grand Jury Award at Sundance in 2019. **It did not win Academy Award. **The film is a harrowing expose of the devastation caused by the womb police who enforced China’s One Child Policy. But the film goes beyond that. It is a scorching indictment of Communism itself.

First, a caveat. The film begins with the statement that China ended the One Child Policy in 2015, making it seem as though the film serves as a memorial to a tragic era gone by. The film does not mention, however, that forced abortion continues under the Two Child Policy. The new rule is that every couple is allowed to have two children. Single women and third children are still forcibly aborted. In its recent report, released January 8, 2020, the Congressional Executive Commission on China stated: “Local-level officials reportedly continued to enforce compliance with family planning policies using methods including heavy fines, job termination, and coerced abortion.”

The atrocities described in the film continue to this day, and the battle to stop them must continue until all coercive population control in China has ended.  We cannot explore China’s dark past and ignore China’s dark present.

Nevertheless, the film is remarkable in the intimacy of the portraits it paints, while at the same time giving rise to agonizing conclusions regarding the world’s most massive social engineering experiment gone shockingly awry.

The Chinese Communist Party has boasted that it “prevented” 400 million births through its One Child Policy. This statistic is mind-numbing, inconceivable. The filmmakers, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, shows us how this was accomplished in Wang’s village.

Wang returned to China after having given birth to her son, to learn what her family and community experienced under the One Child Policy. The interviews Wang records are heartbreaking in their candor. Here we meet the uncle who left his infant daughter in a marketplace, hoping that someone would take her in. No one did. Over several days, he watched as she slowly starved to death.

We meet the family planning official who said that women with illegal pregnancies were tied up and dragged “like pigs” for forced abortions. We see one of the local “womb police” – a midwife personally responsible for more than 50,000 forced abortions and sterilizations – who now seeks to atone for her “sins” by helping infertile couples conceive. We meet the artist who, devastated at finding full-term babies in trash heaps, lovingly preserved and photographed them as a testimonial to the lives that could have been. Wang was courageous in keeping the disturbing images in the film, though doing so caused the film to be rated “R.”

Wang asks those she interviews if they think the One Child Policy was a good thing, worth the sacrifice. Astonishingly, the answer is an overwhelming yes – it was necessary to fight the “population war.” This view is consistent with the collectivist attitude of Communism and its powerful propaganda machine: sacrifice the one for the good of the many.

Do those interviewed really believe that the policy was a good thing, despite the excruciating pain it has caused them personally? Or did they merely say so, because they were being filmed and knew that their statements could get back to the Chinese government, resulting in persecution if they defied the Chinese Communist Party on one of its central policies?

When asked why they did not take measures to save their babies, the overwhelming answer is, “We had no choice.” This is the hallmark of Communism: the peacetime killing of its own citizens. The true face of Communism is never more clearly seen than in the faces of the Family Planning Police, dragging women out of their homes, strapping them to tables, and forcing them to abort babies they want. Anyone who thinks that Communism is a good thing must see this film.

I asked a pro-life friend if he had seen One Child Nation.  He replied, “No, I would never see a film that advocates for abortion.” He was referring to the filmmaker’s statement at the end of the film that she thinks it ironic that she has left a nation where women are forced to have abortions only to come to a nation that restricts abortion, evincing an ill-conceived moral equivalency between China and the United States.

It is unfortunate that the filmmaker, having made a film of unparalleled power regarding the brutality of forced abortion in China, chose to take a wholly unnecessary stand on the America abortion debate. The filmmaker’s comment is a non sequitur. Ignore it, and see the film.

You can watch the trailer here and rent the film on Amazon Prime here.

Reggie Littlejohn is the President of Women’s Rights Without FrontiersA video on her work to stop forced abortion in China can be viewed here.

‘Strings Attached’ documentary exposes how Western abortion culture is hurting Africa

 

The 50-minute documentary “Strings Attached,” produced by Culture of Life Africa founder and president Obianuju Ekeocha exposes the funding pipeline from Western countries to African nations, specifically for abortion and contraceptive “services,” and shares first-hand accounts of the harm countless women have experienced at the hands of global abortion giant Marie Stopes International.

In the fall 2019 issue of American Life League’s Celebrate Life magazine, Ekeocha said that the documentary’s title “Strings Attached” is meant to “capture[] the nature of the ‘gifts’ of some of Africa’s wealthiest donors.” In the documentary, Ekeocha explains how she came to become a vocal pro-life advocate after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced in 2012 that it would dramatically increase its “family planning investment” around the world, including across the African continent.

 

The documentary reveals how, following President Trump’s reversal of the Mexico City Policy — a move that abortion advocates call the ‘Global Gag Rule’ — European nations came together to pledge hundreds of millions of dollars to “make up for ” the funds diverted from abortion providers. The Organization for Economic Aid and Development reported in 2014 that “Africa received more funding for population programs than for education, healthcare, water and sanitation.”

Screenshot from Strings Attached documentary

Marie Stopes International Provides Sub-Standard Care

The documentary chronicles Marie Stopes International’s (MSI) troubling history of providing substandard medical care, as documented in European countries. In December 2016, the UK’s healthcare regulator Care Quality Commission issued what one UK physician called “a very critical, some might say, a damning report of Marie Stopes” due to 2,634 incidents of  “serious breaches of practice” between 2015 and 2016. A year later in 2017, the doctor reported, “nearly 400 botched abortions were carried out in just two months.” He asked the next logical questions: “What about in developing countries where the health service is not as good, where there’s not a regulator, where people aren’t carrying out inspections? If [Marie Stopes International] is not following instructions here, what are they going to do in an unregulated situation [like in African countries]?”

“They Ruined My Life”

“Strings Attached” exposes the harm African women have experienced from illegal abortions and dangerous contraceptives provided by Marie Stopes International. Multiple women went on record describing horrific experiences of illegal abortions thanks to abortion pills dispensed and surgical abortions performed by staff of Marie Stopes International (MSI), which has clinics in 37 countries globally.

Jacqueline Gandhi was an MSI employee in Kenya who staffed a hotline for women trying to obtain abortions, even though abortion is illegal in Kenya. She personally had four abortions during her eight years working for MSI. She said that in its reporting, MSI reports abortions as “post-abortion care.” She also said, “Clinics got bonuses if they surpassed their targets [for number of abortions].” She personally knew of multiple “cases where we heard that ladies died because of abortions done by Marie Stopes.”

Another woman Ekeocha interviewed, Akeech Aimba, experienced an unplanned teenage pregnancy, and a trusted friend referred her to MSI for a second-trimester surgical abortion. She said, “I was not put under any anesthesia. The doctor went on and on, and I remember screaming and crying and trying to crawl out of that bed…. And after the procedure, he showed me the pieces of my baby.”

A third Kenyan woman shared her medication abortion experience anonymously, reporting tremendous pain during the procedure, and saying that afterwards she suffered from “post abortion stress syndrome. I’m still trying to recover from it. They [MSI] ruined my life.”

A fourth woman reported “there was no counseling or anything. They just did it.”

Ekeocha also secretly recorded a call placed to the Eastleigh, Kenya, MSI clinic by a woman purportedly seeking an abortion. The MSI employee she spoke to over the phone offered her her choice of an in-clinic abortion or “we deliver the pills at your place.” A second call placed to a different Kenyan MSI clinic several months later yielded the same offer for an illegal abortion.

Dr Seyoum Antonio, an Ethiopian surgeon, told the story of a 16-year-old girl “who has gone to Marie Stopes International to get abortion, where she sustained uterine perforation, and then she had a serious infection. She was brought to the hospital and a hysterectomy was done, at the age of 16.”

 

“Even if You Refuse, This is the Best”

Ekeocha told American Life League that “nothing prepared me for the deep wounds inflicted on African people and communities by Western donors. Some of the women I interviewed had such painful stories about their experiences. I believe that they’re victims of human rights abuses by Western pharmaceutical companies in collaboration with organizations like Marie Stopes International.”

Anna-Theresa Amo was one of 12 women from her village who visited a MSI facility and was pressured to have IUDs implanted. Through a translator, Anna-Theresa said that when the women objected, requesting some other form of contraception, staff told them, “even if you refuse, this is the best” and then locked the women inside the room and inserted the IUDs. The women experienced terrible abdominal pain and infections — side effects they were never warned about.

Other women Ekeocha interviewed received the Norplant contraceptive implant years after it had been taken off the market in the United States due to disturbing side effects. One woman she interviewed described “abdominal pain, paralysis in hands and legs, vaginal discharge, and severe headache on one side” caused by the implant. Another woman said that when she requested removal of the Norplant, she was told that it would cost her the equivalent of a week’s worth of food for her family to do so.

Dr. Anthony, a physician in a small, rural Ugandan clinic reported seeing “as many as one hundred women every week” due to serious side effects from Norplant, including “heavy vaginal bleeding, some of them come complaining of headache, severe headache. Some of them have a lot of pain. Some patients come here and they are saying the husbands beat them up because there is a loss of libido. So the man thinks the woman’s going out hitching around.”

He reported one case where a woman had had an IUD in place for 12 years, a not uncommon experience in rural parts of Africa where followup to contraceptive insertion or implantation is nonexistent. He said the woman was “rotting up there,” and that “some patients do die, by the way.” While American women received financial settlements from the makers of Norplant, Ekeocha did not know of a single African woman who had been compensated for damage caused by a contraceptive from a Western country.

“These organizations say that they’re empowering women, but they are abusing the Africans, especially the ones in the most rural areas who don’t have access to a doctor,” Ekeocha said. “The African people are treated as sub-humans.”

What Africans Really Want

Speaking of her travels to 10 African countries and 20 African cities, Ekeocha said “none of the women are telling me how much they want contraception. None of them are telling me how much they want abortion. Every time I’m speaking with, especially, young African girls, they tell me that some of them want to be doctors. They want to go to med school, they want to go to law school, they want to go to engineering school. These are the dreams that I hear the African girls speaking about.”

“Strings Attached” is available for rental or purchase on Vimeo and Amazon. Ekeocha’s book, “Target Africa: Ideological Neo-colonialism of the Twenty-First Century,” is available on Amazon.

Rescued by abortion pill reversal, Isaiah is celebrating his first birthday

 

(Pregnancy Help News) On a spring day in 2018, Sarah walked into a Planned Parenthood under immense pressure. Already a single mother of three children, she was pregnant with her fourth, and the baby’s father had one thing in mind: an abortion.

Against her better judgment, Sarah took the first drug in the chemical abortion regimen, returned home, and began to cry.

“I couldn’t look at my other three children in the face without breaking down and telling myself this baby deserves love just as much as these three in front of me,” she said.

With that thought in mind, she decided to act, turning to the internet to see if there was any way she could save her unborn baby.

In that moment, Sarah, like hundreds of other women, discovered a fast-growing treatment known as Abortion Pill Reversal. She quickly dialed the 24/7 Abortion Pill Rescue helpline (877-558-0333) and was put in touch with one of the network’s 800-plus medical providers.

Once she was at the doctor’s office, the baby’s heartbeat was detected and Sarah was able to begin the Abortion Pill Reversal treatment.

Used as an antidote to the abortion drug mifepristone (otherwise known as the “abortion pill” or RU-486), the reversal protocol works by flooding a woman’s body with progesterone, the natural hormone that is needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy. If administered within 72 hours of taking the abortion drug, progesterone has a 68 percent success rate in saving unborn babies.

“I prayed for God to help me through,” Sarah said. “I wanted to try whatever I could to reverse the worst decision I had made.”

Today, Sarah’s life looks vastly different from the heartache she faced earlier that spring day. That’s because the little baby she thought was aborted is alive and well, having recently celebrated his first birthday.

To Sarah’s immense joy, the Abortion Pill Reversal protocol worked. Her baby boy Isaiah has become an integral member of her family and has stolen the hearts of his aunts, grandparents, cousins, and siblings.

“Isaiah is starting to walk,” Sarah wrote in a message to Heartbeat International, the group that manages the Abortion Pill Rescue Network. “He’s starting to babble more and is always hungry. He is a ham and knows it. He loves jumping in on the action when his siblings are playing.”

The miracle of her child’s life is not lost on Sarah. Since the experience of rescuing Isaiah from abortion, she has been overcome with unshakable gratitude and the desire to share her story with others.

“All my children bless me daily,” she wrote. “Each one taught me lessons, but Isaiah began my new life. This morning when he woke up and smiled at me it touched my soul. I will forever be  grateful that there are people out there who hold life in the highest regard.”

“I am ashamed I went for an abortion for my son,” said Sarah, “but I will forever be humble that God broke through my life and saved his life and mine with the aid of selfless, caring individuals.”

“One day, we will end abortion,” she continued. “And no woman will ever have to feel that regret and shame again and will either get to look with love at their child, or gift a couple with the blessing they have been praying for. I want everyone who works for APR to know just how much we appreciate their work!!”

Christa Brown, who oversees the Abortion Pill Rescue Network for Heartbeat International, says the feeling is mutual. She is encouraged by Sarah’s willingness to share her experience in the hopes of helping other moms who regret their abortions. She is also struck by Sarah’s perseverance and grace as a mother of four.

“As a single mom, we know this last year has been difficult at times for her, but we are so proud of Sarah,” she said. “She is so beautiful inside and out. As a loving mom, she accepts every challenge willingly in order to provide the best life for her little family.”

Brown says that Sarah has become an ardent champion of pregnancy help centers and other pro-life organizations and that her faith in God has been renewed. Later this spring, Sarah will return to school to pursue further education.

As Sarah prepares for that new chapter, Brown can’t help but reflect on the rippling effects of Sarah’s decision to change her mind and rescue her baby from abortion. Not only has Sarah been restored as a mother and Christian, but her family has also experienced profound renewal.

“They all love Isaiah dearly and couldn’t imagine life without him,” she said. “Abortion impacts so many and seeing the joy Isaiah has brought to this entire family makes the saving of his life even more miraculous.”

Editor’s Note: This article was first published at Pregnancy Help News and is reprinted here with permission. 

 

Australian doctor shuns involvement with contraception and abortion, and politicians are furious

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Doctor showing his palm.

Politicians and medical professionals alike are calling for Australia to make conscientious objection to things like abortion and contraception illegal — and one doctor in particular seems to be at the middle of the controversy. Dr. Hong Nguyen, who works at Torquay Medical Health and Wellness Clinic near Melbourne, recently posted an announcement saying she would no longer prescribe contraception or consult for abortion or IVF. When a local politician noticed, he set off a firestorm after posting the photo.

Andy Meddick posted a photo of the announcement on Twitter. “Shocked to see this in my town. Yes, legal. But likely emboldened by Religious Discrimination Bill,” Meddick wrote. “Federal MPs must vote it down – or lives and safety will be at risk. This is reproductive healthcare and nobody should ever be denied it.”

Photo shared on Twitter

The image was retweeted over 500 times, and hundreds of people chimed in to express their outrage. And Meddick has further spoken out about it, arguing that people with a religious objection to things like abortion shouldn’t be involved in health care.

“I think it’s absolutely appalling. It’s disgraceful and incredibly concerning,” he said in an interview with Yahoo News Australia. “If this particular doctor is making this decision based upon religious beliefs it should be reversed because religious decisions don’t have a place in reproductive healthcare. Nobody should ever feel ashamed to see a doctor and it’s a vulnerable time.”

Currently, the Australian government is considering a religious discrimination law which would allow conscientious objection in health care to be protected. But Meddick isn’t the only one who opposes it; Chris Moy, president of the Australian Medical Association, opposes the legislation too, according to The Sun:

When you sign up to be a doctor, we have a code of ethics and professional standards – and one of the key things is having responsibility for our patients. Now the problem is this legislation is a crude tool. We have this law that says you have this consent but the legislation now says “I can walk away” if you have an objection to something like a deeply religious belief. [But] it confuses and creates a lower bar when compared to professional standards and ethics, and the flow and affects in terms of how the fabric of the current health system where there is a balance between doctors’ rights to conscientiously object, and their requirement to always be there for the patient.

We have an obligation to the patient and not abandon them. We actually have to be able to make sure that we don’t impede their care, and to facilitate them. We’re pretty unhappy about [legislation]. What AMA is concerned about is how the conscientious objection is undermining the professional standards. Patients trust me as a doctor so I’m not going to let them down.

However, what is ignored by people like Meddick and Moy is that patients are not actually being deprived of any care.

Torquay Medical Health and Wellness Clinic released a statement addressing the controversy, and pointed out that other doctors within that very clinic offer the services Nguyen doesn’t want to. “We do support women’s health and the rights of women to make their own health decisions,” the statement read, adding, “Our practice sits in the middle, a group of people who are medical practitioners, nurses and reception staff that together between all of us provides care to EVERYONE who needs it, regardless others beliefs, religion or political views or cultures. We are a diverse team that between us cares for everyone who uses our clinic.

The clinic said it has received so many abusive comments that it had to shut down its social media page.

It is disturbing that people are arguing that medical professionals should be forced to violate their own beliefs and principles or be banned from practicing medicine altogether. The idea that a child in the womb of a human mother is also a human is a scientific factnot a “religious belief.” As the clinic itself pointed out, other doctors there were still willing to provide contraceptions or abortions. However, to those who seek to promote abortion, it isn’t enough. Instead, they demand that all doctors in Australia support abortion, or be forced out of the profession.

That’s a chilling mindset, and if the legislation doesn’t protect doctors like Nguyen, it’s a worrying sign of what the future may hold for pro-life health care providers in Australia.

New measure in Spain aims to stop the forced sterilization of persons with disabilities

 

An advocacy group for the rights of disabled persons in Spain has introduced a measure that would end the current practice of forced sterilization of the disabled. Shockingly, under the current law, even those with what are considered “high-functioning” disabilities such as Asperger’s or other mild forms of autism, can be forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent, or with diminished consent under severe pressure from family or other authorities.

The regressive policy has come under fire from international human rights organizations in recent years. According to article 156 of the Spanish criminal code, all that is necessary to carry out this act is a judge’s authorization and acknowledgement of the “incapacity” of the individual in question. A 2018 report from the European Disability Forum showed that, from 2010-2013, 400 women — whom doctors deemed as having some form of disability regardless of mental capacity — were forcibly sterilized in Spain. The report highlights the story of a deaf woman who was sterilized without her consent.

“And these are just the cases we know about,” a report in Equal Times points out. “Far more often, forced sterilization procedures don’t leave traces in official records because doctors typically go it alone, performing sterilizations on women with no due process.”

When Ciudadanos party MP Sara Gimenez brought the issue to public consciousness in a tweet in January, Euronews illustrated the problem with the story of Cristina, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18. Her parents immediately pressured her to undergo tubal ligation.

“They kept telling me that it would be irresponsible to have sex because I could get pregnant; that I was not going to be able to take on the responsibility of being a mother,” she told EuroNews. “That, as I was Asperger, my children would also be born Asperger; and this insistence fixed in my mind the idea that I was not capable of having children.”

The pervasive societal belief at the heart of the policy is that persons with disabilities cannot be good mothers, or that the disability would be passed on and the resulting child would be a “burden,” both on the family and on the state which sometimes lacks appropriate resources. In some cases, the forced sterilization is also portrayed as being for the good of women, “protecting” them from potential future pregnancies due to possible abuse.

Achieving Christendom Is America’s Best Chance at Overthrowing Abortion, LGBT Reign of Terror

John Horvat II

Grave moral problems are tearing the country apart. For many, this is apparent in the form of broken homes, procured abortion, shattered communities and lost Faith.

Many people get it right when pointing out the problems. However, they get it wrong when looking for solutions.

Some get it wrong because they look for solutions that address symptoms, not causes. Others search for a way out that involves the least possible effort. In these politically correct times, people are told not to offend anyone by their proposals. Thus, they automatically exclude the only real solution, which is a return to Christendom. They are willing to consider any other solution, no matter how absurd or improbable—anything but Christendom.

Christendom! It may seem shocking since its days seem long past. We are supposed to be in a post-Christian era. However, the urgency of our times call for it. We need a Christian civilization if we are going to overcome the present crisis. It needs to be at least considered.

A Rejected Proposal

Because our problems are moral, our solutions must also be moral. The rich treasury of Western thought and traditional Church teaching prove that the natural law and Christian morality are the norms that are best suited to our human and social nature. We find our greatest happiness inside institutions and social structures that take us to the end for which we are created—God.

Thus, we should naturally tend to favor Christendom. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, finds the best conditions for prospering inside a family of nations that facilitates virtue and promotes social harmony in this vale of tears.

But everyone avoids this conclusion. We have long been conditioned to reject this line of thought. This Anything But Christendom (ABC) Syndrome curiously applies alike to the political left, right and center. It embraces both secular and religious America. The most rigid tyranny bars anyone from thinking outside the materialistic box.

The ABC Syndrome and the Political Spectrum

Each political sector has its reasons for denying Christendom.

For radical liberals, the ABC Syndrome makes sense. They resent any moral limits to their acts and do not care if there are harmful consequences. Individual pleasure reigns supreme regardless of self-destruction or the death of babies. Thus, a Christian moral code represents an unbearable restriction on their desires to do, think and be whatever they want. Their variant of the ABC Syndrome is to allow Everything But Christendom. Use any letter of the LGBTQ+ alphabet, but never use C for Christendom.

Those on the right have a different approach. We find Christians who truly desire a Ten-Commandment-based moral code, for example. However, they dare not propose Christian morality because the people and media who oppose it appear to be numerous. For them, it has no chance of winning. Thus, they subscribe to the Anything But Christendom approach on how society should be run. Every concession must be made to accommodate others who refuse to accommodate them. Christians dance around all the issues touching on Christendom, but no one dares say the word.

And then there are the radical moderates who want to appear non-radical. In their radicalism, these extremists purge all moral references from the debate. They prefer to tweak the status quo, hoping to avoid the Christendom issue altogether. As society falls apart, this effort proves elusive and ineffective.

Imposing the Christian Will Upon Others

Three main fallacies are used to justify the ABC Syndrome. The first is the mistaken belief that proposing Christendom imposes the Faith on non-believers.

Liberals think that establishing any moral limits means imposing Christianity on others. And yet they have no qualms whatsoever with imposing their anti-Christian will on Christians, on Christian feast days such as Christmas, and the Little Sisters of the Poor. They have no scruples about stuffing a Drag Queen Story Hour world of perversion down the throats of society, despite protests from concerned parents.

Christians cannot impose their Faith on those who do not believe because Faith is a gift from God. It cannot, by its nature, be imposed. However, Christians can and should enact reasonable laws based on the natural law that call for moral restraint to form a just and harmonious society.

Since Aristotle, moralists taught that this natural law is valid for all times, places and peoples. By advocating such moral limits in the law, Christians merely obey the nature of all law, which restricts what individuals might do for the sake of the higher common good.

In proposing Christendom, we are not imposing but returning to an order that conforms to our human nature and which favors our development and sanctification. In submitting their Everything But Christianity agenda, the left imposes on society a destructive system that brings it to ruin.

Hopelessly Outdated

The second fallacy is that Christendom is so far removed from society’s current state that it is impractical to propose it. The Christian agenda is hopelessly outdated for postmodern times, it is falsely claimed.

There is nothing more outdated than today’s anti-Christian agenda. As Catholic thinker Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira notes, there is nothing new about divorce, procured abortion, nudity, and moral depravity. Most “modern” proposals are merely recycled pagan vices from antiquity. Moreover, what could be more foreign to our American Christian heritage than the sudden appearance of transgenderism or the current mainstreaming of Satanic movements?

Indeed, most Americans identify with a return to our Christian roots. They have problems adjusting to the latest barbarisms proposed by a neo-pagan culture. The debate should not be centered on the age of the ideas proposed but their merits. The automatic exclusion of ideas because some claim they are outdated is foolish and wrong. The only thing that matters is if they are true or false.

A Long Time Frame

Finally, there is the fallacy that it is impossible to change society quickly, especially when most people seem to subscribe to the opposite of a Christian civilization. At best, a Christian restoration is a futile effort, they erroneously claim.

Again this argument sidesteps the merits of ideas. It focuses on the practicality of implementing them. However, this fallacy is as flawed as the other two.

Captivating ideas like homeschooling, for example, have drastically changed individuals and families in a short time. As the last elections have proven, voters will change their positions when convinced of the need to change.

Societies, too, can quickly and radically change. Consider the Sexual Revolution. Within the space of a decade, the sixties radically changed the mores, fashions and manners of that generation and all those that followed. Most people in the fifties were not hippies, but many adopted hippie ways in the seventies as these became mainstream.

The history of the Church is full of fervent missionary efforts in which whole peoples, burdened by their paganism, were quickly converted to the Faith by the efforts of men and the action of grace. These peoples changed their lives wholesale, adopting Christian ways in a short time.

People change their ways when times are empty, and ideas are exhausted. Indeed, it is in times like ours that grand ideas like Christendom have their greatest appeal.

Where Christ Is King

Thus, the time is ripe to debate Christendom. It should be done openly, unapologetically and enthusiastically. Many do not know what Christendom is. Indeed, the ABC Syndrome represents old liberal prejudices that distort the true nature of a Christian society. For too long, our shallow, materialistic society has suppressed the notions of wonder, sublime, and the sacred that correspond to the deepest desires of the human soul.

By engaging in the debate over Christendom, we address the emptiness of our nihilistic society that finds no meaning or purpose in life.

Above all, the failure to debate Christendom is fatal since it means the continued descent into an anti-Christendom of anarchy and unrestraint. This anti-regime is already seen in the dark yearnings of Antifa, anarchists and Satanic movements that call for a world without morality. They advocate the destruction of our nation and the persecution of those who keep the Faith.

These topics need to be discussed. We should not be afraid to proclaim our desire to see Christ as King. Numerous popes have described this Christian society as one that affirms the social Kingship of Christ. In his encyclical Quas Primas, Pius XI says that “Once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will, at last, receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”

Only Christendom can be a truly just society for all.

Assisted Suicide and the Macabre ‘Logic’ of the Culture of Death

By 

Even many people in the pro-life and pro-family movements do not fully appreciate the deep threads that tie together many seemingly disparate social issues. Contraception, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, pornography, same-sex “marriage”, and gender ideology (to name some of the big ones) are not isolated social or spiritual problems. Rather, they are deeply interrelated, and, more importantly, they feed off one another.

There is an interior logic to the Culture of Death, if not short-circuited by a return to perennial truths, that causes it to eat its own tail, so to speak, with death leading to more death, and loneliness and isolation to further loneliness and isolation. This dynamic is something that Human Life International’s founder Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, was keenly aware of. As he wrote in From Contraception to Abortion, “In every country, bar none, contraception has led to abortion, and once abortion, to infanticide, the prelude to full-blown euthanasia. Once the purposes of sex are torn loose from procreation and the family, the homosexual thrust rears its ugly head.”

The Demographic Alarm

One of the most underappreciated areas where we see this perverse logic at work is in the relationship – alluded to by Fr. Marx – between the contraceptive/anti-natal mentality, and the growing demand for legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Many anti-life campaigners believe that they are advocating for legalized euthanasia because they believe in the principles of “freedom” and “autonomy”. What they don’t realize is that in fact they are responding to pressure to find a “solution” to a growing problem that exists in large part only because their ideology created it in the first place – by demolishing the supporting structure of the family and by promoting an anti-natal mentality that has robbed families and society of the children they so desperately need.

Even many mainstream publications and liberal politicians are beginning to wake up to the slew of problems caused by the demographic winter that was conjured by the dual forces of overpopulation alarmism and the sexual revolution. Consider this recent article in Canada’s Globe and Mail, a far-left, but widely-read newspaper. In it, author John Ibbison warns about the financial and social tsunami that is looming on the horizon, thanks to that country’s rock-bottom fertility rate.

As the teaser below the headline handily summarizes: “Every generation is having fewer children than the one before it, leaving fewer and fewer people to care for us in our increasingly long lives. It is a crisis we ignore at our own peril”. This crisis is a simple matter of mathematics: many of our social and financial structures have been built upon the presupposition that there will exist a large and healthy population of young people to enter the work force, pay their taxes, and support their aging parents and relatives. But, as it turns out, those young people are no longer there.

Fertility rates in Canada (and throughout the Western world) began to plummet in the early 1960s. From a peak of nearly four children born per woman during her lifetime in the late 1950s, the rate rapidly fell in Canada to the current 1.5 or so. According to Statistics Canada, the last year during which Canada’s fertility rate was at replacement level was in 1971. For nearly five decades, then, the country has had below-replacement-level birth rates. The only thing keeping the country’s population stable is immigration. As Michael Nicin, executive director of Ryerson University’s National Institute on Ageing, told the Globe, “This is a fundamental, paradigmatic shift in society, and for too long we’ve buried our heads.”

As Ibbitson notes, the decrease in fertility has coincided with an increase in longevity, with a result that we now have an aging population of retirees that is also living longer than ever before. Already there are a growing number of couples hitting retirement age and beyond, many of whom (as Ibbitson notes) have not saved nearly enough money to pay for their living expenses and health care until their deaths. Furthermore, they don’t have any children that they can rely on for financial assistance or (much more importantly) the kind of personal care and companionship that are so vital for their happiness and overall well-being. And finally, since everybody else has also stopped having children, neither will there exist the workers and associated tax revenues that will make it possible for the government to pick up the tab for their long-term care.

Enter Euthanasia

Is it any surprise, then, that Canada legalized euthanasia a few years ago?

The pro-euthanasia advocates will deny this link, of course. As mentioned above, they think they’re advocating for what’s right based upon a dispassionate principle. They think the “right to die” or “death with dignity” is a human right, and they are the selfless crusaders willing to go the distance to pressure government to protecting that right. In reality, they are merely putting the nails in the coffin of the Culture or Death.

A healthy society does not seek to find ways to ensure that its most venerable and elderly citizens have the easiest path possible towards offing themselves. In a healthy society, there wouldn’t even exist any such demand for euthanasia or assisted suicide, as there now does. In a healthy society, the elderly live out their final days in dignity, surrounded by families and loved ones, embedded within a loving community of relationships that has supported them through life, and is there to support them as they pass on to the next life. Few people in such humane circumstances give much thought to whether and how they should kill themselves.

However, within a society that has built itself on the principle of radical autonomy, explicitly repudiating the centrality of relationships of dependence and love, above all those that exist within the family, the inevitable result is a growing number of isolated, lonely, embittered, and suffering elderly. If that society has also enthusiastically embraced utilitarian and consumerist values, in which the worth of a life is judged by its levels of pleasure or social utility, then the result is that those same elderly become viewed as – and even more pernicious, view themselves as – dead weight, costing others money, time, and mental energy that they don’t have to spare. In other words, if there is now a demand for euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is only because the Culture of Death first created that demand, by embracing contraception, anti-natalism, abortion, and divorce.

Nobody that I know of is explicitly pushing for euthanasia and assisted suicide as a cost-saving device. However, in those nations where euthanasia has been legalized, there are a myriad of macabre tales of elderly individuals being pressured into opting for euthanasia, often by overwhelmed and underpaid long-term care staff who are fighting for limited pools of government funding. It’s the logic of the thing. A single elderly patient could end up costing the government hundreds of thousands of dollars if they happen to pull through this current health crisis and go on to live for another five or ten years; why not just encourage them to put an end to their suffering once and for all right now, and sign on the dotted line?

As I wrote in this same column last year:

During a papal audience with Pope St. John Paul II in 1979, Fr. Marx offered his insights with the saintly pope saying that “once contraception is widespread, the rest is predictable. In every country contraception always leads to massive abortion.” He further emphasized that “once you have contraception and legalized or widespread abortion, birthrates fall; nations collapse; young people follow their parents in the abuse of sex, and increasing numbers live together without the benefit of marriage.” As if capable of looking into the future, Fr. Marx also discussed the intimate link between contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. For “if you can kill before birth, why can’t you kill after birth? So, euthanasia is inevitable.”

The Slippery Slope

Not only is euthanasia in some sense “inevitable”, or at least the logical consequence of embracing contraception and anti-natalism, so too is the gradual expansion of euthanasia once accepted. The “slippery slope” phenomenon has been well attested to in the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been extended even to people suffering from mental illnesses. In the Netherlands it would be illegal for a severely depressed person to shoot themselves, but perfectly legal for him to give himself a lethal injection if the poison is provided by a licensed doctor at taxpayer expense. This is the double-think we are increasingly called upon to blithely accept.

Pro-euthanasia activists always claim that they only wish euthanasia to be legal in a select few, “extreme” circumstances; but if recent experience is any indication, those “extreme” circumstances turn out to be very many indeed. Already, a court in the Canadian province of British Columbia has ruled that a requirement in the recently-passed Canadian euthanasia/assisted suicide law that patients requesting euthanasia be facing a “reasonably foreseeable” death is unconstitutional. It was only in 2016 that the Canadian Supreme Court suddenly “discovered” the right to assisted suicide and euthanasia in the constitution. And now, just three years later, another court has somehow discovered a “right” for people who aren’t dying to ask doctors to help kill them! Unless pro-life and family Canadians and disability advocates mount a strenuous opposition, this will undoubtedly only be the beginning: it will only be a matter of time before those suffering from depression, dementia, and other non-terminal illnesses will be deemed “eligible” for, and (subtly or not-so-subtly) pressured into euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Speaking of the macabre interior “logic” of the Culture of Death: it turns out that in Canada there has been a big boom in the number of organ “donations”. And who are these organs coming from? From people who have legally killed themselves or been killed by doctors. The mainstream media thinks this is a wonderful thing. In reality, however, this the monstrous outcome of the Culture of Death: elderly or ill patients who, according to utilitarian standards, have outlived their “usefulness”, being told they can do something “positive” by helping another person with their organs if they would just put a premature end to their miserable existences. And, of course, it is a great benefit that the organs in these cases are so wonderfully “fresh”. This is the Culture of Death in action. Death leads to death.

Pro-Life Beliefs Into Practice

VIRGINIA AABRAM

A former NFL star who shunned an invitation to the White House in 2013 to protest President Barack Obama’s embrace of Planned Parenthood says he’s pro-life in part because of the mothers of his two adopted children.

In remarks to the National Pro-Life Summit in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 25, Matt Birk, who played that year for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens, urged his audience of mostly high school and college-aged pro-life activists to combat the celebration of abortion and to rejoice in life.

Birk, the father of eight, made headlines in June 2013 after the Ravens’ victory in his 14th and final season in the NFL. Because of his pro-life beliefs, he declined to take part in the team’s invitation to the White House, saying Obama had said “God bless Planned Parenthood” about six weeks earlier.

According to a CBS Sports report at the time, Obama had concluded a speech to the organization’s national conference in April 2013 with “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America.”

“I wasn’t ready for what happened next,” Birk told his audience of more than 3,000 at the Marriott Marquis hotel. “All of a sudden, I got introduced to the 24-hour news cycle.”

Birk explained why he held pro-life convictions strongly enough to say no to an invitation from the president, noting that his Catholic faith and his own family played into those beliefs.

“I am pro-life because God is the originator of all life, and my life has dignity, not because my mother said so, but because I am a child of God,” said Birk, who played 10 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings and four with the Ravens and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Birk, 43, said his family owes its existence in part to two women who chose life.

“Two of my eight children are adopted, and I cannot tell you the gratitude that I have to their birth mothers,” he said. “They committed the greatest act of love I have ever witnessed in my life—to give a child up for adoption.”

He says that fact informs his belief that abortion is wrong.

“You’ll never see a woman walking out of an abortion clinic with a smile on her face, because there’s nothing to celebrate,” Birk said. “You’ll never hear someone say, ‘Here’s my daughter. She’s two years old, and I wish I had aborted her. This means only one thing—that abortion must be evil.”

Birk said that while he was always pro-life intellectually, he started “doing pro-life” after he got a call from the Catholic archbishop of Baltimore in 2012, asking him to speak at the Maryland March for Life, where his eyes were opened to the harsh reality of abortion.

“I was so shocked by the hundreds of women who had an abortion who regret it, and are still hurting from it. And they don’t want other women to make the same mistake,” he said.

Birk concluded by urging the audience to pray and to show up for pro-life events, but not to be discouraged.

“It’s not our job to win this fight, but it is our job to try,” he said. “We are a movement rooted in truth. We don’t have to defend the truth, because the truth is like a lion that you just have to let out of its cage.”

Brazilian gov’t promotes chastity to teens

Abortion proponents not surprisingly object to sex education that doesn’t promote artificial contraception.

By Martin M. Barillas

BRASILIA, Brazil, January 29, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Damares Alves, Brazil’s Minister for Women, Family and Human Rights, recently asked parents to consider telling their teenage children to wait until adulthood to have sex, thus unleashing a rash of negative comments from leftists in the South American republic.

Minister Alves responded to the growing rate of sexually-transmitted disease and teenage pregnancies by promoting sexual abstinence among adolescents. She is collaborating with a campaign sponsored by evangelical Christians, dubbed “I Choose to Wait,” that fosters traditional Christian teachings about sexuality, chastity, and marriage. Alves is a leader in the evangelical Christian community in Brazil and one of the most visible cabinet members in the current government.

Pro-abortion and LGBTQ advocates denounced the campaign, citing fears that it is effectively a merger of Church and state. According to The New York Times, Brazilian law professor and abortion activist Debora Diniz said that program will have “terrible consequences” and lead to further cases of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Diniz claimed that abstinence doesn’t work. Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood and advocates such as Guttmacher Institute also regularly discredit delaying sex as a method of avoiding pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases among adolescents.

The I Choose to Wait campaign states that it is “centered on the importance of living a life in holiness and purity based on the Holy Scriptures.” According to Daily Wire, Alves said of underage sex, “Our young people, by and large, are having sex as a result of social pressure. You can go to a party and have lots of fun without having sex.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has accused his leftist rivals of encouraging teenage sex. He stopped a campaign to address homophobia in schools that leftist predecessor Dilma Roussief had begun before her sudden departure from government. He said it amounted to a “homosexual kit” that intended to “pervert” children.

Bolsonaro’s campaign and subsequent actions in government have won him friends among conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians, the latter of which is a growing sector in political importance.

In an essay published in the daily Folha de São Paulo, Alves insisted that she was not diminishing the use of contraceptives and condoms to minimize teenage pregnancy and STI.

“We are cooperating with all of the ministries to offer additional material at each step when people make decisions,” she wrote, adding that this does not mean her government is imposing anything, but is “informing, through which autonomy is reinforced.”

Alves said her critics use the term “abstinence” in order to discredit the program. Recently, she said previous programs have not worked, given the fact that teens are having sex at an earlier age than in previous years. She also pointed out that teens are further endangered by a bill now before Brazil’s congress that would lower the age of consent to 12, which she said would thus legalize pedophilia.

After being named to Bolsonaro’s presidential cabinet, Alves said she wants to rescue women and children from abortion. “The greatest human right is the right to life … I am against abortion,” she said. “We want a Brazil without abortion. How? A Brazil that prioritizes public policies of family planning, where abortion is never seen as a contraceptive method.”

She went on to say that women don’t want abortion, but they exercise this option when they believe there is no other alternative, adding that while “pregnancy is a ‘problem’ that lasts only nine months, abortion is a burden you carry your whole life. We will always fight to save two lives: the woman and the child.”

The abstinence program is slated to kick off next month. Alves wrote that abstinence programs in the United States have been successful in limiting teenage pregnancy.

In an email response to LifeSiteNews, Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the pro-life American College of Pediatricians, applauded the Brazilian government’s move. According to Dr. Cretella, a board-certified pediatrician specializing in adolescent health, the “so-called comprehensive sex education (CSE) programs” in U.S. schools have not shown long-term effectiveness at increasing sexual abstinence among adolescents, nor have they been shown to increase long-term condom and contraceptive use among sexually active youth.

“This should come as no surprise since CSE programs send a double message to teens,” Dr. Cretella said in the email. “In contrast, school-based sexual risk avoidance (SRA) curricula, traditionally known as abstinence education, focus on the primary public health principle of risk avoidance’ and thereby uphold the highest attainable standard of health for all students.”

She said SRA programs have significantly delayed sexual activity among teens. “The American College of Pediatricians,” Dr. Cretella said, “recommends the adoption of sexual risk avoidance (SRA) programs by all school districts in lieu of curricula described as comprehensive sex education (CSE).”

Having a large Christian family is an awesome lifestyle choice that’s easier than you’d think

January 29, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The basic outlines of the Church’s teaching on family life, in terms of what we must on no account do, are clear, but we need to beware of the more subtle ways our thinking has been warped by our contraceptive culture. This is a hugely complex topic and I want to look at just one aspect of it: the attitude to large families.

It has become a joke, albeit a boring one, that many people can’t see a family of more than three children without having a dig at the parents. My lifestyle does not expose me to much of this but I did get a “You should get a TV” from a stranger recently, which was intended as light-hearted. (Actually, I’d rather have the children.) Such comments can be particularly upsetting when they come from fellow Catholics. No less annoying is the counter-pressure occasionally found in those pockets of Catholic society where larger families are more common. It is such a stupid thing to ask mothers if they are going to have another baby. Who knows what has been going on? Just don’t do it.

These opposing remarks have something in common, which is the odd way they hold parents to account for having or not having children, and see a certain family size as the right one for everyone: whether is it two children, six, or none. This is obviously absurd in ignoring the particular circumstances of different families, above all biological factors which are of no concern to complete strangers. But it also puts an artificial limit to family size, whether the limit small or large.

One motive for this is a concern about the environment, or the supply of food. Without going into too much detail, the Netherlands, one of the richest countries in the world, has a population density of 521 people per square kilometer, and enormous national parks; China has a density of 153. There is no shortage of space, nor, now vertical farming technology has rendered calculations about arable land irrelevant, need there be any shortage of food. It is impossible to escape the impression that some environmentalists just don’t like people very much, and see the coming demographic winter in developed countries, and the projected decline of the world’s population, as a cause for rejoicing.

(Here’s a fun fact. When will or did the world population growth rate begin to slow? 1968.)

A more pervasive motive, however, is the question of “what I (or you) can cope with”. Not, you understand, a concern about health problems for the mother or actual malnutrition among the children: I mean, in relation to what we might call lifestyle expectations.

People who have never experienced a large family often assume that they must be proportionately more chaotic than a smaller family. ‘It is must be mayhem at your house at Christmas!’, my butcher cheerily informed me, no doubt based on an experience of two or three children extrapolated to six or eight. Obviously, things don’t work like that. Large families have their challenges, but the biggest challenge is keeping the mayhem under some kind of control with just one child.

The same goes for estimates of the cost of “raising a child”. This page, based on US government figures, talks about the enormous cost of one child, and makes no reference to the marginal cost of additional children. The implication is that readers should double the cost of one child if they are considering two, and to quadruple it for four, which would be an obvious mathematical fallacy. Indeed, it is silly to invite people to consider if they can afford the average cost of a child. This average is composed of super-wealthy parents going to all sorts of non-essential expenses with their children, and the rest of us not doing so. What has the average cost got to do with what it will cost you, if you are relatively poor? No-one is going to force you to buy every child an iPad.

I would like to invite young people starting or considering a family to set aside not only this kind of demonstrable nonsense, but also the more realistic worry about maintaining the expectations associated with small families, such as children not having to share a bedroom. Similarly, in large families there tends to be more wearing of cast-off clothes, and flying with the whole brood can become very expensive (no sibling discount there). There are many things which need to be adjusted, gradually, as the head-count increases. There may be typical middle-class things you could do if you have only two children and can’t do if you have six. There’s no denying it, and having a large family in this sense is a real sacrifice. You know, however, exactly what you are getting instead. Children.

St Augustine wrote that Christian mothers, as well as consecrated virgins, should be praised, because they bear children for the Church (De Virginitate). This is the end, the goal, of the vocation of marriage. Don’t place too many limits on God’s generosity.

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

Jennifer Roback Morse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion: New Colonialism, New Slavery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The study — like all research — includes some limitations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heard on All Things Considered

Rob Stein

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

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

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

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

But others denounce the research as unethical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several researchers told NPR the research could be valuable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan. 22 National Sanctity of Human Life Day

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birth control isn’t answer; not even close

By Roxane B. Salonen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The troubling terminations you’ve never heard of

Paul Sullins

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the significance of your finding about substance abuse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accusing me of anti-abortion bias because I am Catholic reflects a shallow ignorance of the Catholic enterprise.  Many scientists today do not even believe in objective truth, and so cannot imagine someone who does not approach scientific topics with anything more than a narrow ideology to propagate.  It is very true that my faith strongly affects my research, but not in the manner critics think.  The principles of the Catholic faith, out of which modern