News & Commentary

Moms are turning ‘extra’ embryos into jewelry. It’s not just barbaric, it’s demonic

Judie Brown

May 9, 2017 (ALL) — The latest fashion news from Australia is truly demonic: “Human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, as well as other bodily parts and fluids, can be transformed into jewelry.”

Baby Bee Hummingbirds, the company manufacturing these trinkets, is known for creating keepsakes containing such things such as breast milk and umbilical cords. Its latest product, the “leftover” human embryos from a couple’s IVF cycle, is, according to company founder Amy McGlade, a work of art. McGlade stated: “I don’t believe there is any other business in the world that creates jewelry from human embryos, and I firmly believe that we are pioneering the way in this sacred art, and opening the possibilities to families around the world.” McGlade says that this pioneering art of embryo jewelry is her way of giving couples “the everlasting tangible keepsake of a loved one that you can have forever.”

Naturally, many people find this disturbing. Writer Simcha Fisher is as disturbed about this latest Australian fad as we are, and in response to McGlade’s sentimental query “What a better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child, than through jewelry?” wrote:

Well, you could let him live, I suppose. You could allow him the basic dignity of spending time in the womb of his mother, to live or not, to grow or not, but at least to have a chance. You could celebrate the life of your child by giving him some small gift of warmth and softness, however brief, rather than letting him travel in an insulated pouch from lab to lab, frozen and sterile from beginning to end. You could conceive a child so as to give him life, and you could rise like a human should above the blind proliferation of biology.

Precisely!

Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network expressed her disgust as well: “It’s so undignified that these embryos have been destroyed to become jewelry. . . . I thought, ‘My gosh, it really has hit rock bottom.’”

But what many people apparently do not see is that the floor—or should I say the underside—of rock bottom where the synergies of evil reside is the practice of IVF itself. That is where the lack of respect for the dignity of human beings actually begins.

The Catholic Church has long held that, from a merely humane view of the child, we must realize that nobody has a right to a child. We must also understand that every child has the right to be procreated within a marriage and to have a stable family from the beginning. And certainly no child should ever be strung around someone’s neck in a piece of jewelry.

During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the document Dignitas Personae in which it stated: “The Church moreover holds that it is ethically unacceptable to dissociate procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act: human procreation is a personal act of a husband and wife, which is not capable of substitution. The blithe acceptance of the enormous number of abortions involved in the process of in vitro fertilization vividly illustrates how the replacement of the conjugal act by a technical procedure—in addition to being in contradiction with the respect that is due to procreation as something that cannot be reduced to mere reproduction—leads to a weakening of the respect owed to every human being.”

There is no doubt that the progeny of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies has done nothing to restore respect for the dignity of the human person. On the contrary, it has contributed to a cultural attitude that the human embryonic child is a thing, a possession, and a biological sample that can be accepted, destroyed, or frozen in time in a piece of jewelry.

Business enterprises like Baby Bee Hummingbirds gain traction in society because the bearing of a child has become nothing more than a mechanical function. And that, my friends, has taken the jewelry business to a new hellish low.

Reprinted with permission from American Life League.

 

Why was Our Lady of Fatima so concerned about Russia?

John-Henry Westen

May 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — As I’ve been researching Fatima for several speaking engagements this year, I was confronted over and over again by Our Lady’s insistence on Russia’s consecration. That after it was done, as well as the practice of the First Five Saturdays of reparation, Our Lady promised Russia would be converted and a period of peace would be given to the world. If not, the Queen of Heaven warned, Russia “will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” She added, “The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she said. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Of course, St. Pope John Paul II entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart in 1984, but we still await that period of peace. We have seen more war, massacres, martyrs, and abortions in the last half century than ever before. Ominously, we have not yet seen the annihilation of various nations. But what does all this have to do with Russia?

Russia, in the minds of most people, is the originator of communism – thought mainly to be an economic system competing with capitalism. However, when we really comprehend communism, the spread of Russia’s errors becomes recognizable.

“The Naked Communist” is the most concise and straightforward source outlining communist goals and ideology. It was written by W. Cleon Skousen, a former FBI agent who used many original sources, and the best intelligence of the FBI during its investigation of communist infiltration into the United States. The book is recorded in the Congressional Record and President Ronald Reagan commented on it saying: “No one is better qualified to discuss the threat to this nation from communism.”

A selection of the goals of communism listed by Skousen serve to illustrate its spread to all nations, especially the West:

  • Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  • Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion.
  • Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
  • Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation, and easy divorce.
  • Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute ”prejudices, mental blocks, and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.”

Beyond communism, however, another of Russia’s errors has spread throughout the world – abortion. Abortion was first legalized in Russia in 1920. To this day, Russia has the highest abortion rate in the world per capita. With a population of 143 million, there are 1.2 million abortions per year.

There is no doubt Mary’s predictions and promises will come true. Our Lady of Fatima predicted the Second World War and even noted a warning sign that would precede it. She warned of the massive plague of impurity that has infested the planet. She gave the faithful tasks to fulfill in order to see the Triumph her Immaculate Heart and she will be faithful to those prophecies too.

So, as we honor our own mothers this month, let’s examine again the requests of Our Blessed Mother and put them into practice. She asked for prayer, particularly the Holy Rosary and the devotion of the Brown Scapular. She urged reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against God’s Grace and blasphemies against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, especially with the practice of the First Five Saturdays. And finally, she asked for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both on a personal basis and, publicly, that of Russia by the Pope and all the world’s bishops.

Almost all of those matters are within our personal control. There is no better time than this year, especially during the season of the Resurrection, the season of Easter, to implement these practices in our lives. Let us take up the weapon of the rosary – our umbilical cord to Our Heavenly Mother. Let us make the First Five Saturdays devotion and teach them to our children. Let us consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart as St. Louis de Montfort taught and St. John Paul called “indispensable to anyone who means to give himself without reserve to Christ and to the work of redemption.”

Mother Gives Birth to Healthy Conjoined Twins After Refusing Abortion

  MICAIAH BILGER   APR 27, 2017   |   11:42AM    WASHINGTON, DC

When doctors told Chelsea Torres that she was carrying conjoined twins, they warned her that the babies probably would not survive past the first trimester.

Doctors encouraged Torres and her husband, Nick, of Blackfoot, Idaho, to consider having an abortion, The Daily Mail reports. They refused.

The Idaho parents now are so thankful that they did not listen to their doctors’ advice. Their twin girls, Callie and Carter, were born in January, and they are doing well, according to the report.

Here’s more from the report:

Callie and Carter are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which make up less than five per cent of conjoined twins.

This means they have just two legs and one pelvis between them, but have two separate torsos that face each other.

The girls do not appear to share any vital organs.

Today, the girls are three months old and healthy. The family said Callie and Carter are doing so well that doctors do not recommend separating them.

Daily living is more difficult with conjoined twins. The twins require a lot of custom-made things, like car seats and clothes. Chelsea said she sews clothing together to fit the twins.

She said a few people stare when they see the twins, but most are very supportive.

“I’m so happy I didn’t terminate Callie and Carter, they are amazing,” their mother told the Mail. “I knew termination would not happen and I’m glad that little speck of thought I did have, I pushed away.”

Research from the University of Maryland indicates that between 40 percent and 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn.

But the length of a child’s life inside or outside the womb should not justify killing them. Too often, parents are pressured to abort their unborn babies because of a disability or a short lifespan.

In the case of Callie and Carter, the odds were against them; but because their parents chose life, they are alive and well today. Stories like the Torres family’s demonstrate why every unborn baby deserves a chance to live.

Newborn Clutches the Contraceptive Coil Meant to Prevent His Birth

MICAIAH BILGER MAY 4, 2017 | 10:15AM MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Baby Dexter was not supposed to be.

His mother, Lucy Hellein of Fort Mitchell, Alabama, was using a supposedly highly effective birth control device when doctors believe she conceived Dexter, according to the Daily Mail.

And when Dexter was born on April 27, the IUD coil that was supposed to prevent his life from being conceived came out, too. A photo of the newborn grabbing the contraceptive device has been catching people’s eyes on the internet. More than 70,000 people have shared it on Facebook, the report states.

Mirena, the contraceptive coil, or IUD, that Hellein used, is advertised as 99-percent effective.

According to the Mayo Clinic: “A T-shaped plastic frame that releases a type of progestin, Mirena thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. Mirena also thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation.” Some think the IUD also may act as an abortifacient by preventing a newly-conceived unborn baby from attaching to the womb.

Hellein told the Metro that she had the Mirena inserted last August, and then discovered she was pregnant with Dexter in December. Doctors said she likely conceived him just a few days after she had the device inserted.

“I assumed I was only a few weeks along, but the ultrasound confirmed that I was already 18 weeks along,” she said. “My Mirena was nowhere to be found on ultrasound so my OB assumed that it had fallen out, but I wasn’t convinced.”

The news of an unplanned pregnancy often is followed by suggestions of abortion, but Hellein chose life for her son.

“Dexter was definitely meant to be,” she said. “Although he wasn’t planned, my family and I feel incredibly blessed.”

When Dexter was born last week, doctors found the IUD behind Hellein’s placenta, according to the report.

It is believed that nurses posed newborn Dexter with the contraceptive device in the hospital to highlight his unplanned — but not unwelcome — life. Hellein later shared the image on Facebook, where tens of thousands of people have viewed it.

Pro-lifers take varying positions on artificial contraception. Some argue that birth control can help reduce abortion rates by preventing unwanted pregnancies, while others argue that it leads down a slippery slope to abortion.

No matter what their position on birth control, pro-lifers agree that every baby’s life, planned or unplanned, is worth celebrating.

Why birth control affects some women more than others

Scientists discover estrogen-heavy pills hamper memory and increase anxiety in females with a certain gene variant

  • Estrogen alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant
  • When women’s estrogen levels were maniupulated, there was activity in the hippocampus while performing a working memory task
  • However, during such tasks, activity in this area is typically suppressed
  • The researchers say this explains why women are affected differently by the pill as well have differences in their menstrual cycles

Birth control pills can seem like a lottery.

Some say it gives them mood swings, stress and even depression. Others insist it clears their skin and balances their emotions.

According to a new study, it could all boil down to your genes.

Although studies have long shown estrogen-heavy pills ease depression symptoms, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found it has the opposite effect in women who carry a certain gene variant.

Brain scans revealed modified activity was linked to changes in the sex hormone in women with the gene while they performed a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task).

The researchers say their findings not only shed light on individual differences in the menstrual cycle but also mechanisms underlying differences in the onset, severity, and course of mood and anxiety disorders.

A new study has revealed that the hormone estrogen - found in many oral contraceptives - alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant, while performing a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task)

A new study has revealed that the hormone estrogen – found in many oral contraceptives – alters a memory circuit in women with a gene variant, while performing a working memory task (the ability to hold memories for a short time while performing a separate task)

The authors, from the National Institutes of Mental Health in Maryland, say that prior to the study, there was little evidence from research that might account for individual differences in cognitive and behavioral effects of sex hormones.

‘Why do some women report that estrogen replacement improved their memory, whereas large studies of postmenopausal estrogen therapy show no overall improvement in memory performance?’ they wrote.

The study hypothesized that estrogen alters circuit function by interacting with a gene that codes for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a key protein in brain plasticity and acts on certain neurons to help support the survival of existing neurons and promote the growth and development of new ones.

Researchers experimentally manipulated estrogen levels in healthy women with one or the other version of the BDNF gene over a period of months.

Brain scan showed activity in the hippocampus, or the brain’s memory hub, in response to estrogen in women performing a working memory task – if they carried the gene variant.

However, activity in this area is typically suppressed during working memory, causing the researchers to conclude that the gene-hormone interaction affects thinking and behavior.

There is mounting evidence that sex steroids, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, play an important role in a number of serious mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Women who have episodes of depression associated with reproductive events (premenstrual or postpartum) are prone to them because of a heightened sensitivity to intense hormonal fluctuations.

While estrogen is an ‘upper’ when released naturally during the menstrual cycle, at high doses it has the opposite effect, according to Dr Deborah Sichel, a psychiatrist specializing in female mood disorders.

Estrogen induces side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, headaches and lower libido.

‘Women may not notice their negative mood because they have been on the pill for so long, they don’t know what their mood would be like if they were off hormones,’ Dr Sichel told Shape.

‘These are all real biochemical disorders that can and should be treated.’

 

Catholic Psychiatric Hospital is Planning to Allow Patients to be Euthanized

MICHAEL COOK   MAY 2, 2017   |   5:45PM    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

One of the last substantial barriers to increasing the number of euthanasia cases for non-terminally-ill psychiatric patients in Belgium seems to have crumbled.

A religious order in the Catholic Church, the Brothers of Charity, is responsible for a large proportion of beds for psychiatric patients in Belgium – about 5,000 of them. The international head of the order, Brother René Stockman, is a Belgian who has been one of the leading opponents of euthanasia in recent years.

Nonetheless, in a surprise move this week, the board controlling the institutions of the Brothers of Charity announced that from now on, it will allow euthanasia to take place in their psychiatric hospitals.

In a statement posted on their website the Brothers of Charity explain the policy shift. “We take seriously unbearable and hopeless suffering and patients’ request for euthanasia. On the other hand, we do want to protect lives and ensure that euthanasia is performed only if there is no more possibility to provide a reasonable perspective to treat the patient.”

Euthanasia for psychiatric patients has already happened dozens of times in Belgium. But from now on it will probably be easier for people suffering from schizophrenia, personality
disorders, depression, autism, or loneliness to access it. In fact, it will be hard to find an institution in Belgium where euthanasia is not being offered as an option.

Brother Stockman was stunned. “We deplore this new vision,” he told the media.

Nursing homes and hospitals opposing euthanasia have been under even more pressure after a court fined a Catholic nursing home a total of €6,000 last year for blocking a resident from accessing euthanasia.

However, Stockman felt that this was not an open and shut case. “I am confident that we have the right to refuse euthanasia,” Stockman told De Morgen. “We want to take seriously the needs of the patients, but the inviolability of life is for us an absolute. We cannot accept that euthanasia is carried out within the walls of our institutions. “

The leading figure in Belgian euthanasia, Dr Wim Distelmans, was delighted. Fifteen years after legalisation, he wrote in a newspaper op-ed, the Brothers of Charity have finally admitted that they had excluded the democratically approved policy of euthanasia from their institutions and forbidden doctors to follow their conscience and professional judgement.

Rubbing it in further, a member of the Belgian Parliament, Jean-Jacques De Gucht, summed up the situation: “the last relics of the paternalism of the shepherd have been replaced by individual self-determination”.

The chairman of the board, Raf De Rycke, an economist who has worked with the Brothers of Charity for years, denied that the ethos of their hospitals had changed “We have not made a 180 degree turn,” he told De Morgen newspaper. “It is not that we used to be against euthanasia and now suddenly are for it. This is consistent with our existing criteria. We are making both possible routes for our patients: both a pro-life perspective and euthanasia.”

Although this seems odd for a Catholic group, especially when the Pope has been outspoken in denouncing euthanasia, De Rycke believes that the inspiration of the Belgian Brothers of Charity fundamentally remains the same. “We start from the same basic values: the inviolability of life is an important foundation, but for us it is not absolute. This is where we are on a different wavelength from Rome.”

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet where this story appeared.

 

 

17-year-old ballerina’s death caused by birth control pill, doctors believe

MANCHESTER, England, April 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Maria Santa, a healthy and gifted 17 year-old ballerina from Romania, died unexpectedly from a blood clot that doctors believe was caused by taking oral contraceptives.

Maria, who was studying in England on a scholarship at Manchester’s famous Northern Ballet School, went to a walk-in medical facility complaining of severe headaches, her father Robert Santa explained.  No testing was done to see what was wrong, and Maria was sent home with antibiotics.

But Maria only got worse “day by day,” her father said.  A second visit to the doctor did not help, either.

Maria began vomiting every hour, without eating or drinking.  Going to the healthcare center for the third time last fall, she said she found it difficult to stand or sit;  all she wanted to do was lie down.  She was again given pills and sent home.

Two days later, on November 11, Maria complained that it felt like her head was going to explode, and she couldn’t feel her right leg.  She was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Mr. Santa shared that when the doctor came into her hospital room, Maria “could speak, then when he came back and asked where the headache was, she couldn’t speak.”

“The doctor told us not to worry because she was tired,” Mr. Santa said.  “She didn’t speak any more, and she needed help with everything.”

Later that morning, Maria’s boyfriend found her unconscious at their apartment.

Maria was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital, but never regained consciousness.  She died two days later.

The doctor who treated Maria at the hospital, Dr. Jonathan Greenbaum, said, “She was a fit, young woman, and the only risk factor was being on the oral contraceptive pill.”

He explained that the risk of blood clots with oral contraception is “very low, but if you take the pill then your risk is slightly increased.”  He said identifying a medical risk is difficult, “because it’s so rare and the symptoms can be non-specific.”

Maria’s case, he said, was “just unfortunate and bad luck.”

“In Greater Manchester, I would guess we would see three or four patients a year with this problem,” Dr. Greenbaum estimated.

Dr. Piyali Pal, a pathologist, said Maria’s cause of death was blood clots in the brain.

“Causes could be dehydration, malnutrition, blood clotting disorders or somebody who had taken oral contraception pills. There was no underlying pathological cause,” he said. “It’s very very rare for someone so young to have this condition. One woman who was a similar age was also on some form of oral contraception.”

Coroner Simon Nelson recorded Maria’s cause of death as “natural causes.”

Mother Makes Ultimate Sacrifice for Unborn Child

DAWN SLUSHER   MAY 1, 2017   |   5:39PM    WASHINGTON, DC

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”

In a society where preborn children are treated as disposable property, and disregarded in the name of cold, sterile, euphemisms such as “reproductive rights” and “choice,” it’s rare to find a mother who actually does the opposite of putting herself above her child.

But in April 27th’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, we got to see that rarity played out in a heart-wrenching yet inspiring storyline.

Patient Veronica is in the ER at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital for back pain. She’s almost 35 weeks pregnant and her body is riddled with cancer. She decided to forgo cancer treatment because, as she put it, “I didn’t want to microwave the baby.”

The storyline is a continuation from earlier this season when Veronica refused to abort her baby despite pressure from Doctor Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) to kill her child to begin treatments for her terminal pancreatic cancer. (See previous article for factual information on cancer during pregnancy as well, as this episode did not accurately reflect the truth on the effects of chemotherapy and radiation on a preborn baby.)

The prognosis isn’t good, as was expected, and as Veronica planned for. The doctors give her two months at best left to live, as the cancer has spread even further and is compressing her spinal cord. And they tell her that they must deliver the baby that day..

“All right. Let’s cheer up, everybody. We’re having a baby,” Veronica announces optimistically, looking forward to having two months to spend with her baby and the baby’s father.

But during the C-section, things take a turn for the worst:

Amelia: Heart rate’s up to 130. Veronica, how’s your breathing?

Veronica: It’s fi– um, it’s a little tough.

Jeremy: What’s happening? What’s going on?

Veronica: Hey, Jer, come on. Look at him. He has the sweetest eyes.

Arizona: Her sats are dropping. She’s persistently tachycardic.

Amelia: Let’s put her back on high-flow oxygen. It could be an embolus.

Veronica: Time to get him out of here.

Alex: Yeah, in a minute.

Arizona: If it’s an embolus, we don’t have a minute.

Alex: She did all this so she can meet the baby. Just give them another damn minute.

Veronica: Jer, can you take him?

Alex: He needs to go to the NICU now.

Jeremy: And, uh, what — what about Veronica?

Alex: She’s in good hands. She’ll be just fine. I’ll take good care of her.

Veronica: Jer, you stay with him. You promised. I’m counting on you.

Jeremy: But I don’t —

Veronica: Go on. Stay with him. I’ll see you in a little bit.

Amelia: Are we pushing heparin or going straight to thrombolytics?

Arizona: Thrombolytics are contraindicated. We need to do an embolectomy, and let’s get an ivc filter.

Amelia: Veronica, you’ve thrown a blood clot, and it’s traveled all the way to your lungs. It’s very serious. We need to remove it immediately, so we’re gonna need to put you under and open up your chest.

Veronica: Is that… Uh… Uh, will that work?

Amelia: The procedure will only last about a half an hour.

Veronica: Will it work?

Amelia: There’s no guarantee you’d survive it.

Veronica: And what if we didn’t do anything?

Arizona: Veronica, we need to do this procedure. If we don’t, you might not make it off this table today.

Amelia: Okay, pressure’s dropping. Get a cart ready!

Veronica: No. I signed that dnr for a reason.

Arizona: You can rescind. Let us help you.

Veronica: I did what I wanted. My baby’s…okay. It — I’m so tired.

Amelia: I know. I know.

Too bad Dr. Miranda Bailey wasn’t around to see that beautiful baby alive and well thanks to his mother not listening to her pro-abortive advice.

Later, we see Veronica in her last moments and realize even further what an amazing mother she was to give up her own life for her child’s:

Amelia: What do you want? What do you need right now?

Veronica: I’m so cold.

Amelia: I’ll get a warming blanket.

Veronica: No! No. Can you — Will you just hold me? We did good? The baby’s good?

Amelia: Baby’s good.

Yes, Veronica, you did good. And your baby is so very good because of your beautiful sacrifice.

LifeNews Note: Dawn Slusher writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared.

greysanatomy

FDA Reports 10,000 Essure Injuries and 30 Deaths

Elizabeth Bradley on April 21, 2017

The FDA received 5,016 medical device reports involving Essure in 2016, plus another 6,176 reports in 2015, and 30 reports of deaths. The deaths include four adult women, 18 pregnancy losses, two infants who died after they were born, and a possibly stillborn baby.

 

Many reports listed multiple side effects. The most common problems with Essure included:

Pain/abdominal pain (10,746)
Heavier menstrual bleeding or irregularities (5,377)
Headache (4,396)
Fatigue (3,560)
Weight changes (3,270)
Patient-device incompatibility, such as nickel allergy (2,402)
Pregnancy (1,113)
Migration of Essure (1,485)
Broken Essure (617)
Pregnancy losses, ectopic pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage (474)
Essure difficult to remove (304)
Malposition of Essure (261)

The FDA update also provides new details on an ongoing Essure safety study that will compare 1,400 women who are sterilized with Essure against 1,400 women who have a traditional “tube tying” sterilization.

So far, the study has not shown any new safety problems or an increased risk of problems since Essure was approved. The researchers are investigating side effects like chronic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, allergic reactions, hypersensitivity to nickel in Essure, autoimmune diseases, follow-up surgery, pregnancy, and effectiveness.

However, other recent studies have already shown that women who choose Essure are 10-times more likely to need another surgery compared to women who have a laparoscopic tubal ligation.

Essure is a metal coil that is permanently implanted in a woman’s fallopian tubes, where it causes irritation and scar-tissue growth. Essure is supposed to block the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. Instead, many women got pregnant or developed severe side effects.

In November 2016, the FDA added a “Black Box” warning label to Essure, which is the strongest label the FDA can require on a device. The FDA also created a checklist to better inform patients about the potential side effects.

The problem is that Essure is marketed as a 30-minute non-surgical outpatient procedure for busy women, with less pain and a faster recovery time than tubal ligation. Lawsuits have been filed by women who accuse manufacturers of downplaying risks and violating approval requirements to get Essure on the market without adequate safety studies.

Source: Reviewing Ongoing Clinical Study to Gather More Information on Essure Benefits and Risks

Study finds the birth control pill has a pretty terrible impact on women’s wellbeing

https://www.sciencealert.com/major-study-finds-the-pill-has-a-pretty-crap-impact-on-women-s-wellbeing
FIONA MACDONALD
20 APR 2017

A new study has reinforced what many women have been saying for years – the oral contraceptive pill is associated with reduced quality of life and wellbeing in healthy women.

The double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial found that healthy women reported reduced quality of life, mood, and physical wellbeing after taking a common birth control pill containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel for three months.

The findings reinforce earlier research and anecdotal claims that women are struggling with the side effects of the contraceptive pill.

But there was no significant evidence that the contraceptive increased depressive symptoms in the latest study… so, there’s that.

Surprisingly, this is one of the most rigorous studies to date to look into the impact of the pill on women’s quality of life.

“Despite the fact that an estimated 100 million women around the world use contraceptive pills we know surprisingly little today about the pill’s effect on women’s health,” said lead researcher Angelica Lindén Hirschberg from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

“The scientific base is very limited as regards the contraceptive pill’s effect on quality of life and depression and there is a great need for randomised studies where it is compared with placebos.”

To fix that, her team took 340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35 and gave them either placebo pills, or contraceptive pills containing ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel over a three-month period.

Ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel-containing pills are among the most common form of combined oral contraceptive pills around the world because they’re the least associated with a risk of blood clots, and they include brand names such as Levlen, Microgynon, Portia, and Alesse.

The study was double blind, which meant that neither the researchers giving out the pills or the women taking them knew whether they were getting a placebo or not.

At the start of the study, the women had their general health measured, including weight, height, and blood pressure.

They also filled out two well-known surveys on general wellbeing and depressive symptoms – the Psychological General Wellbeing Index and the Beck Depression Inventory.

They then went through the same tests at the end of the three months so the researchers could compare the results.

The women who were given contraceptive pills reported that their quality of life was significantly lower at the end of the study than those who were given placebos.

This was true for general quality of life and also specific aspects of wellbeing, such as self control and energy levels.

No significant increase in depressive symptoms was observed.

While it’s an interesting first step towards better measuring the pills’ side effects, the researchers caution that the changes were relatively small so we can’t read too much into them just yet. And we can only apply these findings to ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel-containg pills.

Also, the study only looked at women over three months – it will require longer monitoring to get a more accurate idea of how the contraceptive pill affects women.

“This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills,” said one of the researchers, Niklas Zethraeus.

“This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunction with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception.”

With recent research also providing insight into why periods can be so damn painful and heavy, it seems scientists are finally starting to take women’s reproductive health and contraceptive side effects seriously.

And we’re getting some male options too – scientists are making progress with a hormonal contraceptive injection for men, as well as a reversible, condom-free gel that blocks sperm.

More research is needed before we can identify more accurately how the pill impacts women, but these early results are reassuring for many women who’ve struggled with side effects while on the pill.

The research has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Cardinal Sarah: Church is facing ‘grave risk’ of schism over morality

NEW YORK, April 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Robert Sarah warned that the Church’s unity is being threatened by influential leaders within the Church who “insist” that national churches have the “capacity to decide for themselves” on doctrinal and moral matters.

“Without a common faith, the Church is threatened by confusion and then, progressively, she can slide into dispersion and schism,” he said.

“Today there is a grave risk of the fragmentation of the Church, of breaking up the Mystical Body of Christ by insisting on the national identities of the Churches and thus on their capacity to decide for themselves, above all in the so-crucial domain of doctrine and morals,” he added.

Catholics profess every Sunday in the Nicene Creed that the Church is “one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.” These are often called the four “marks” of the one true Church.

Sarah, who comes from Guinea, made the comments when asked in an April 18 interview with the charitable organization Aid to the Church in Need about the relationship between the “African Church” and the “Universal Church.”

The Cardinal, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said that, strictly speaking, there is no such reality as the “African Church.”

“The Universal Church is not a sort of federation of local churches,” he said. “The Universal Church is symbolized and represented by the Church of Rome, with the Pope at its head, the successor of Saint Peter and the head of the apostolic college; hence it is she who has given birth to all the local churches and she who sustains them in the unity of faith and love.”

Sarah’s remarks will be seen by some as opposing a push by Pope Francis to give bishops’ conferences in individual countries more power, even to settle doctrinal and moral disputes.

In his 2013 Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis called for a “conversion of the papacy” that would help him “exercise” the Petrine ministry. He criticized in the same document “excessive centralization” of power in the office of Peter, suggesting that bishops’ conferences should be empowered with “genuine doctrinal authority.”

Francis also wrote about a decentralized Church in his 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. He wrote: “I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium…Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs.”

According to Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, the Pope told Polish bishops last year that a decentralized Church would be able to interpret papal encyclicals and to solve contentious issues, such as giving Communion to civilly divorced and remarried Catholics.

In the interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Cardinal Sarah said that the Church will grow throughout the world only if it is united by “our common faith and our fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, in union with the Pope.”

“As Pope Benedict XVI tells us: ‘It is clear that a Church does not grow by becoming individualised, by separating on a national level, by closing herself off within a specific cultural context, by giving herself an entirely cultural or national scope; instead the Church needs to have unity of faith, unity of doctrine, unity of moral teaching. She needs the primacy of the Pope, and his mission to confirm the faith of his brethren,’” he said.

Later in the interview, Sarah said the Church would be “gravely mistaken” to think that social justice issues such as combatting poverty and helping migrants were her real mission.

“The Church is gravely mistaken as to the nature of the real crisis if she thinks that her essential mission is to offer solutions to all the political problems relating to justice, peace, poverty, the reception of migrants, etc. while neglecting evangelisation,” he said.

The Cardinal said that while the Church “cannot disassociate herself from the human problems,” she will ultimately “fail in her mission” if she forgets her real purpose. Sarah then quoted Yahya Pallavicini, an Italian and former Catholic who converted to Islam, to drive home his point: “If the Church, with the obsession she has today with the values of justice, social rights and the struggle against poverty, ends up as a result by forgetting her contemplative soul, she will fail in her mission and she will be abandoned by a great many of her faithful, owing to the fact that they will no longer recognize in her what constitutes her specific mission.”

Serena Williams Writes to Her Unborn Baby: “I Can’t Wait to Meet You”

Although many in the media praise abortion, some Hollywood and sports stars are starting a new pro-life trend: celebrating their unborn babies on social media.

Serena Williams is the latest to join the team. On Monday, world-famous tennis player posted an Instagram picture of herself lounging at the beach. In the caption, the 35-year-old penned a heartfelt message to her unborn baby:

My Dearest Baby,
You gave me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you…. once again today. On @alexisohanian bday. from the world’s oldest number one to the world’s youngest number one. -Your Mommy

By “@alexisohanian,” Williams meant her fiancé, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian.

Last week, Williams revealed her 20-week pregnancy on social media platform Snapchat. As her fans calculated, that means Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant with baby number one.

What a wonder woman.

LifeNews Note: Katie Yoder writes for Newsbusters, where this originally appeared.

A vending machine at the UC Davis campus dispenses Plan B

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) Students at UC Davis can now press A4 for Plan B.

A new vending machine in a University of California Davis study room traded the usual Hot Cheetos and Red Bull for condoms, tampons, pregnancy tests, Advil, and the morning after pill (or Plan B). They call it the “Wellness To Go” Machine.

Stocking contraception rather than caffeine may seem out of place in a study area, but to former UC Davis student Parteek Singh it makes total sense.

Although the Wellness To Go machine was installed in early April, Singh spent two years working to make it happen.

“The more skeptical and negativity I got from people like ‘oh it’s not going to happen,’ kind of pushed me more,” Singh told CNN affiliate KTXL.

Plan B and other contraceptive methods have had their ups and downs. In 2013, Plan B was made available to women without a prescription. But the Trump Administration has threatened funding for Planned Parenthood.

With a nation divided on the issue comes a campus divided as well.

“It is promoting like ‘Oh hey, go and have unsafe sex because then you have a backup option and it’s gonna be cheaper than if you just wanna go to a drug store,'” UC Davis student Jordan Herrera told the affiliate.

But other students come to its defense.

“It’s a great thing for women,” student KC Cui said.

CNN has reached out to UC Davis and is waiting on a response.

Fatima is the solution to the mayhem in the Vatican today

(Editor’s note: The following is a slightly edited version of the editorial of the April issue of LifeSite’s Faithful Insight magazine. Those interested in subscribing to the monthly Catholic news magazine may do so here.)

April 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Mayhem. That’s the only word to describe what is taking place in the Church today. Remember the archbishop who released a scandalous Vatican sex-ed program at World Youth Day in Krakow? He was appointed as the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Rome’s John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. Both institutions have now been stripped bare – the Academy of all its members and the Institute of its most conservative faculty.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia recently gushed praise for one of Italy’s leading proponents of abortion, same-sex “marriage” and restriction on religious freedom. More than that, prior to his Vatican post he commissioned a homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in which he had included an image of himself.

Another Vatican bishop in charge of two Pontifical Academies is responsible for bringing into the Vatican, to speak at his conferences, some of the most anti-life, anti-family people in the world. Those supporting forced abortion and forced sterilization are finding themselves at home in a new Vatican where the lovers of life and family are increasingly alienated and ostracized. A Vatican where fear among the orthodox rules and in the words of retiring Archbishop Luigi Negri – the only Italian bishop to go to the Rome March for Life – those who are normally papal critics, “for a time have become hyper papists for their own ends.”

The only solution to this mess is Divine intervention. And in this year of the 100th anniversary of Fatima, it is time to beg for that intervention and to do what we can to bring it about.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI himself hoped that such an intervention would happen shortly. “May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity,” he said in a homily on May 13, 2010. “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete,” he said.

The October 13, 1917 Fatima miracle of the dance of the sun was witnessed by 70,000 people with coverage in all the secular papers at the time. It was the most spectacular public miracle of all time. What was it that heaven was trying to communicate with this stupendous event?

Our Lady showed the three shepherd children hell. “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go,” she told them. “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

What did Our Lady ask for to bring about the triumph of her Immaculate Heart? First prayer, most particularly the Holy Rosary, and the devotion of the Brown Scapular. Second, she called for us to make reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against God’s Grace and blasphemies against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Thirdly, she asked for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both on a personal basis and, publicly, that of Russia by the Pope and all the world’s bishops.

Our Lady warned that if Russia was not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. We have seen atheistic communism spread throughout the world. But most don’t realize that legalized abortion began in Russia and this global atrocity has cost more lives than all wars combined.

Our Lady warned specifically that if Russia was not consecrated there would be “wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”

She predicted the Second World War, and it happened. She predicted “fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Woe to women lacking in modesty.” And it happened like never before in the history of the world. She predicted wars, and there have been more wars in the last 30 years than ever before. We have not yet seen whole nations annihilated.

Many have said her wish for the consecration of Russia was accomplished in 1984 when Pope St. John Paul II entrusted the world to Our Lady. Let’s skip the debate over it and do it again, but this time mentioning Russia specifically, as was requested by Our Lady. Poland was blessed greatly each time they consecrated their nation to Our Lady.

“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she promised. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” We await that peace eagerly both in the world and in the Church.

But Our Lord warned Sr. Lucia in a vision in 1931, expressing dismay that the Pope would not carry out the consecration of Russia as requested. “Like the King of France, they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread its errors in the world.” He added, “Make it known to My ministers, seeing that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My demand, they will also have to follow him into misfortune.”

That warning has a severe implication for our days. The mention of the King of France by Our Lord refers to the request He made of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. On June 17, 1689, He asked her to have the King of France consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. For 100 years, the Kings of France failed to make the consecration.

On June 17, 1789, 100 years to the day of the request, the King of France was stripped of his legislative authority and four years later executed.

Let us play our part in hastening the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Let us pray the Rosary, wear the Scapular, make the First Saturdays devotion and request the explicit consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

An Agonizingly Cruel Death Sentence

Physician assisted suicide legislation has been making the news recently. Legalized euthanasia in Canada, Netherlands, Belgium and other European nations have also generated headlines.

However, a silent, rampant killer is intentionally claiming lives of far more patients each day in America’s medical facilities.

This quiet, legal killer is taking the lives more Americans than all the assisted suicide deaths combined. It’s the withdrawal of food and water from patients whose lives are deemed “futile” by hospitals, nursing homes and hospices throughout the nation.

Food and water delivered by tube instead of mouth was once deemed “basic and ordinary care” but is now viewed as “extraordinary medical treatment.” Further, it’s legal in all 50 states to withhold food and water when it will directly result in the death of a patient.

Terri Schiavo was denied food and water. It too her 13 days to die.

So how many patients is this likely affecting? According to the American Hospital Association and the Centers for Disease Control, there are nearly 35,000 hospitals, nursing homes and hospices operating in the USA — 1.3 million patients in hospice alone. After doing the math it’s easy to assume that every day patients are being “put down” using an agonizingly cruel, drawn-out death sentence.

Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network and brother to Terri Schiavo, saw this horror play out in a very personal way with his sister. It took her 13 excruciating days to die. A time period he appropriately describes as a nightmare for Terri and her family.

“My sister’s lips were horribly cracked to the point they were blistering. Her skin became jaundice with areas that turned different shades of blue. Terri’s breathing became rapid and uncontrollable. Her moaning, at times, was raucous, which indicated to us the insufferable pain she was experiencing. Terri’s face became skeletal, with blood pooling in her deeply sunken eyes and her teeth protruding forward. What will be forever seared in my memory is the look of utter horror on my sister’s face when my family visited her just after she died.”

Death with dignity?

How did a compassionate and progressive nation like ours resort to such a barbaric practice in the name of medicine? So-called bioethicist Daniel Callahan planted the seeds of what can be considered “medical cleansing” in 1983. “A denial of nutrition may in the long run become the only effective way to make certain that a large number of biologically tenacious patents actually die. . .it could well become a non-treatment of choice.”

Brutal and prophetic.

Don’t think you’re immune to the risk of death by dehydration. Laws in 46 states already allow the medical provider—not the patient or family—the right to refuse life-saving or sustaining treatments, including food and water.

Over the years laws have quietly been enacted that prioritize the financial standing of insurance companies and medical facilities over patient autonomy and well-being. Ending the life of a costly patient by dehydration and starvation is an economic no-brainer in this day and age of demanded profitability within medical care. Obamacare has expedited this process.

We have seen examples of patients like Stephanie Packer, California mother of four, denied life-saving treatment where physician assisted suicide is legal, while being offered coverage for a lethal prescription to end her life.

Hospital ethics committees routinely assume full decision-making authority over the treatment of patients when family members disagree on how to proceed. And medical facilities have effective methods of “treatment” for the biologically tenacious who simply refuse to die.

Ethicist Wesley Smith calls it “termination without request or consent.” It involves offing “futile” patients via the denial of food and water or by using terminal sedation, which administers a heavy dose of morphine or other pain killer, whether it’s needed or not, to slow respiration and cause an early death.

Bobby says the best way to protect yourself is to have a legally designated advocate as your power of attorney who will vigorously fight for you. Visit our website for free resources that can help protect you and your family.

Defending innocent human life,

Bradley Mattes
President, Life Issues Institute

Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education. For 25 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

Vatican’s doctrinal chief: Church hasn’t changed teaching against contraception, divorce, homosexuality

April 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Church under Pope Francis has not changed her teaching on the immorality of cohabitation, adultery, divorce, or homosexuality, and she has certainly not opened the door for civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, said Cardinal Gerhard Muller in a new book-length interview published April 1.

Muller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in the 240-page book, titled The Cardinal Muller Report, that Catholics must not fear “confessing our faith.” The book was dedicated to Pope Francis.

In the interview, conducted about a year ago but only made available in English this month, the Cardinal said that it would be a “false concept of God” as well as a “false interpretation of mercy” to allow civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Communion.

In “immoral relationships” such as cohabitation and divorce-and-remarriage, he said, “the seeds of the Word [of God] do not abide in [these] sinful situations.” In these situations, he added, “despite the fact that it might seem otherwise, there can be no authentic dynamic of love but, rather, only a serious obstacle to the ability to grow in humanity.”

Muller said that the 2015 Synod on the Family insisted that “given the intimate nature of the sacraments and the character of the indissolubility of marriage as divine law, it is not possible to admit to the Eucharist divorced people who have remarried civilly.”

Any pastoral accompaniment for those in irregular situations, he said, must “always be rendered according to conscience and the teaching of the Church.”

“Saint John Paul II warned that being pastoral does not mean a compromise between the doctrine of the Church and the complex reality of daily life but, rather, leading individuals to Christ,” he added.

The Cardinal said that Pope Francis’ much used statement that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” is often mistakenly interpreted. He maintained that it does not mean that “anyone can come to receive the Eucharist even though he is not in grace and does not have the required state of mind, just because it is nourishment for the weak.”

He noted that access to the Eucharist comes with necessary preconditions.

“Certainly access to Eucharistic Communion presupposes a life of grace, presupposes communion in the Body of the Church, and also presupposes a life ordered in conformity with the Body of the Church so as to be able to say the ‘Amen’ to which you referred before. Saint Paul insists that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord,” he said.

To go to Communion without being in the required state of grace and with the assumption that God “grants me privately the forgiveness of my sins” is a “false concept of God; this is tempting him,” he added.

Muller said that Pope Francis’ famous statement “Who am I to judge,” often repeated by those who are hoping to see a “change of direction” in the Church on homosexuality, does not mean the Church has suddenly become “less dogmatic” on the issue.

“The concept of the intrinsic disorder of homosexual acts, because they do not proceed from a genuine emotional and sexual complementarity, stems from Holy Scripture,” he said.

And yes, he said, the Church “with her Magisterium, has the power to judge the morality of specific situations,” such as sexual acts.

“This is an undisputed truth: God is the only judge who will judge us at the end times, and the pope and bishops have the obligation to present the revealed criteria for this Last Judgment which our moral conscience already anticipates. The Church has always said ‘this is true, this is false,’ and no one can live by his own subjectivist interpretation of God’s commandments,” he added.

The Cardinal warned against “new anti-family ideologies” that have arisen that “attempt to redefine what is human, based, not on the truth, but on individual feeling and social utility.”

He specifically mentioned the danger of “gender ideology.”

This ideology, he said, “does not respect the reality of things and that ultimately denies the Creator and man’s condition of having been created.” It “affirms that man’s identity does not depend on nature, with a body that is limited to a masculine or feminine sexuality” and “makes use of medical advances to use the body as an area of experimentation, viewing a change in sex as a simply biological operation,” he said.

Muller said that lurking behind gender ideology is the manmade “idol” of “our own liberty, of our own wish, proposing to be, ourselves, those who determine what is good and bad.”

“Was this not the substance of the first temptation of Adam and Eve? Is it possible to build a society without respecting the fundamental difference between a man and a woman?” he added.

The Cardinal concluded his interview by proposing how the Church can help modern man find “peace and reconciliation with himself.”

“There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today,” he said.

Other topics Cardinal Muller addressed in his interview (paragraphs not necessarily linked in original): 

Islamist terrorism

More deeply, I believe that we have here a path out of the phenomenon of Islamist terrorism: we should not favor a separation of society as a whole from God, but should instead, on the contrary, harness the power of religion as a social relationship that reinforces living together, peace, and therefore progress for all.

Priestly celibacy

Priestly celibacy, which is being challenged so much today in certain ecclesiastical quarters, is rooted in the Gospels as an evangelical counsel, but it also is intrinsically related to the ministry of the priest.

We cannot break unilaterally from the series of declarations by a long line of popes and councils and from the steady and continuous adherence of the Catholic Church to the image of the celibate priest.

Women priests

This is not a legitimate issue, because it touches on a subject that has already been decided. Pope Francis has made it clear, as have his predecessors: in that connection, I remember that Saint John Paul II, in number 4 of his Apostolic Exhortation Ordinatio sacerdotalis of 1994, reinforced with the use of the royal “we” (“declaramus”), the only document in which that pope uses that verb form, that it is a definitive doctrine infallibly taught by the ordinary universal Magisterium (CIC, can. 750 §2) that the Church does not have the authority to admit women to the priesthood.

It is the province of the Magisterium to decide if a question is dogmatic or disciplinary: in this case, the Church has already decided that this proposition is dogmatic and that, because it is divine law, it cannot be changed or even reviewed.

[Male-only priesthood] can be supported with many reasons, such as fidelity to the example of the Lord or the normative nature of the centuries-old practice of the Church.

I would not want to leave it unsaid that there is an essential equality between male and female, in nature and also in the relationship with God through grace (see Gal 3:28). The priesthood, however, implies a sacramental symbolism of the relationship of Christ, the Head or husband, with the Church, the Body or wife.

Married priesthood (viri probati)

A vocational crisis cannot be dealt with by addressing only its symptoms and not its real cause. What has given rise to the vocational crisis? I believe I can say that it is a matter of a crisis of faith, which in turn is a result of a long secularization that has dried up what was once fertile soil and has scorched the earth.

Are we aware that a massive inclusion of viri probati, which is especially foreseeable in countries where Catholicism is expanding and there are not many priests, would unquestionably mean the end of celibacy?

We cannot solve such big problems through compromise solutions or half-measures.

Catholics and Protestants

Strictly speaking, we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the date that is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture in Western Christianity. If we are convinced that revelation has been preserved, in its entirety and unchanged, through Scripture and tradition in the doctrine of the faith, in the sacraments, in the hierarchic constitution of the Church by divine right, founded on the sacrament of holy orders, we cannot accept that there are sufficient reasons to separate from the Church.

Indissolubility of Sacramental marriage

We therefore have to take as our premise that she will never have the authority to dispense with the divine commandments, in the name of a supposedly compassionate and loving vision, in situations that do not conform to the Word of God. She cannot, for example, grant a second marriage while a first spouse of a sacramental marriage, consummated or unconsummated, is still alive. In certain difficult family situations, the Church can allow an interruption of marital life together, but she cannot break the sacramental bond.

Population control

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Based on catastrophic predictions that have never been borne out, rooted in neo-Malthusianism (for example, Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb), some international organizations have recently exacerbated the problem, proposing a “responsible parenthood” that implies reducing the birthrate, by whatever means, for a better distribution and optimal use of resources.

In that regard, we must clearly denounce as having no scientific basis the claim that the alleged current population explosion has caused global economic impoverishment: if two thousand years ago the world had an estimated two hundred million inhabitants, and it took fifteen centuries to double that population, in the last two centuries the world population has multiplied by six, surpassing six billion inhabitants, while real GDP worldwide has multiplied by fifty. It is no surprise, then, that the anti-birth theories based on the myth of population’s geometric progression while the means of subsistence have grown only in arithmetic progression (Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population), should be more and more discredited among the scientific community, which now leans more and more to the conclusion that people, when they are seen clearly, unclouded by erroneous ideological distortions (Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit), end up resolving the problems themselves thanks to human creativity.

Anti-birth policies are nothing but another ideological proposal that hides the unmentionable: the attempt to maintain, unfairly, the privileged status of a few, at the expense of blocking access to wealth by broad layers of the population. Actually, as we have just explained, we know that hunger in the world is not at all the consequence of overpopulation and that abortion does nothing to contain population growth, serving only to satisfy our hedonism.

Large families

Large families are an expression of the superabundance of love. They are a great yes to life. Several children are a great gift not only for their parents but also for the Church and all of society. Lumen gentium (no. 11) speaks of Christian parents as those who in a certain way bestow their children on the Church.

Humanae Vitae / Contraception

The encyclical Humanae vitae had many difficulties in its reception, as much for its underlying anthropology— especially regarding its proposal on the experience of love and sexuality—as for its clarification of the intrinsic morality of the methods of birth control. The indiscriminate attacks to which it was subject from the outset caused it to be marginalized and forgotten, despite its richness in inventively and prophetically posing the reality of love, of marriage, and of the beauty of married life.

Today, almost fifty years later, we see much more clearly that Pope Paul VI was right in everything that at the time he had the courage to make clear. Ahead of his time, this humanist pope had the courage to offer this document to the Church and to society, denouncing with an accurate analysis what ended up happening. Are we not, indeed, witnessing a pandemic of divorce? Have we not, just as unmistakably, turned sex into a trivial reality devoid of feeling? And is it not as patently clear today that Western societies, having radically separated the unitive function from that of procreation, have a true problem in their birthrate? The situation is one of authentic demographic involution that carries grave consequences, considered both synchronically and diachronically, if we examine the present moment and the foreseeable possibilities for the near future.

But the problem, I repeat, is not only demographic but rather, above all, one of meaning: I mean the question of the identity and vitality of marriage. Perhaps five decades ago it was not so evident, since the institution of the family was still strong: in fact, it was not yet foreseen that there could be so many broken marriages in our own families, with so many children who could not enjoy a father and a mother living under the same roof or so many adolescents initiating themselves at a young age in a life of frivolous sex. Yes, we are much more able today to grasp the negative impact of a mistaken conception of sex, valued only for the gratification it brings and not for the gift that it makes possible. We understand better today the perverse effects of artificial birth control, as a simple means toward the worry-free enjoyment of sex, without wanting to see the consequences for physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Moral problems demand moral solutions. We must humanize sexuality, which is at the service of the personal union of spouses, making it possible for each to be a gift to the other and not only a means for satisfying their desire. We must explain to new spouses the goodness, for example, of natural methods that, based on abstinence from sexual contact during the fertile days, foster dialogue, mutual respect, and understanding in the couple.

Divorce

In the East, for example, after the separation of those ecclesial communities from the Cathedra Petri, an increasingly liberal praxis or “right of consuetudinary origin” was accepted, under which—after a period of penitence—a second marriage was allowed, even in the case of a valid first marriage and with the first spouse still living, and participation in Communion, as a life preserver that enabled “salvation”, was allowed at the same time. As a result, the Orthodox Churches, by the principle of oikonomia or pastoral condescension (called the “pastoral approach of tolerance, clemency, and indulgence”) went on to justify a multitude of reasons for divorce. Considering the words of Jesus concerning the indissolubility of marriage, I do not see how this practice can be derived from the will of God.

The Church lives by God’s truth and therefore is responsible to man for it. She bears witness to it with humility and with the strength that the Lord gives her, without allowing herself to be cowed by the world’s accusations. On marriage and the sexual morality that she has received from God, she must remember the substantial unity of man in spirit, soul, and body, his relationship with the community, the truth about the totality of the gift required for sexuality to be human, the intergenerational responsibility, the identity as man and woman in their essential mutual reference.

These principles are not just an ideal, because love is never just an ideal, or even just a beautiful concept; it is instead a concrete dedication of life and the deep-rooted availability that opens the horizon of hope in individuals’ daily lives.

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater closeness to and mercy toward the sinner.

We know, for example, that marriage is indissoluble, that the union of a man and a woman has “forever” as an essential and unforsakable characteristic, and that spousal love is therefore so deep and so beautiful. So in a traumatic situation where a woman has been abandoned by her husband, in the context of a sacramental marriage, whether consummated or unconsummated, it would not be permissible to say “let us be merciful and allow her to contract a new marriage with another man.” This would not be true mercy but, instead, a failure to take her personal travail seriously, besides favoring sin and mocking God and his commandments.

Sex-education / parental rights

Throughout my years of priestly ministry, however, I have been able to see that what young people want is precisely to discover the meaning of sex, its relationship to love, its opening to the future. For that reason, emotional-sexual education is a duty that begins at the first moment of the child’s life and that, unavoidably and definitively, falls on the parents. They can be supported, but they cannot be supplanted, by school and other educational institutions like the parish.

Mercy

I said before that mercy cannot consist in relativizing God’s commandments but must, rather, make possible the encounter with God’s love, which renews and changes our life. Mercy consists in recognizing that the truth, the truth of love, will make us free (see Jn 8:32).

All of us know that we are sinners and that it is in the sphere of sexuality that human weakness obviously manifests itself. But this does not mean that the sexual morality taught by the Church is an unattainable ideal. The biggest scandal of which the Church is capable is not that there should be sinners in her, but that she should stop explicitly calling the difference between good and evil by name and that she should relativize that difference, stop explaining what sin is, or try to justify it by a supposedly greater close- ness to and mercy toward the sinner.

I think, first, that sacramental confession is the most paradigmatic expression of God’s mercy.

Hell

Hell, certainly, is not just a rhetorical and pedagogical tool with which to frighten sinners: it is a real possibility.

The Cross

How can modern man find peace and reconciliation with himself ? There is only one way open to us: compunction or repentance for the evil committed. The Cross of Christ is the only path. There is no other path for evangelization today.

Pro-Life Victories: Several Bills Attempting to Legalize Assisted Suicide Have Gone Down in Defeat

Eric Metaxas   Apr 12, 2017   |   11:42AM    Washington, DC

A funny thing happened on the way to our supposed brave new world of assisted suicide.

 Proponents of assisted suicide would have us believe that legalized killing is an unstoppable freight train and that those who oppose it are going to get run over. And no wonder. Last year Colorado and the District of Columbia legalized it, while California enacted a bill that had been passed in 2015. They joined Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Montana where this great evil is now legal.

That’s why I’m very pleased to tell you that reports of the demise of a culture of life have been, to borrow a phrase, greatly exaggerated. We’re starting to win again. No, this doesn’t mean we can relax, but it’s really good news—and frankly, we could use some.

Bills to legalize euthanasia “have done very poorly” in 2017, Rita Marker, executive director of the Patients Rights Council, told Baptist Press. “That has been a shock to those who are in favor of it because they thought that all of [a] sudden the dam had burst and everything would happen for them.”

So far, that has not happened. Bills to advance the idea that some lives aren’t worth living have gone down to defeat in Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Tennessee. Also in New Mexico, the state senate voted 22-20 against a bill to legalize assisted suicide for people expected to die within six months. It was a bipartisan vote, with 7 Democrats joining 15 Republicans.

Similar bills stalled in Hawaii, Maryland, Utah, and Wyoming, Marker said, although it’s always possible they could be brought back. In Hawaii, a House of Representatives committee unanimously decided not to advance a proposal allowing physicians to prescribe lethal drugs on the same day a patient is diagnosed as terminally ill.

Eva Andrade of the Hawaii Family Forum said that Hawaiians should “say a prayer of thanksgiving” while remaining vigilant—because when it comes to assisted suicide bills, death is never final. “Although this may seem like the battle is over, please be advised that the battle is not over until the last day of session,” Andrade said. “And even then, the bill is still alive for next session. Even now, proponents are most likely regrouping.”

Dauneen Dolce, executive director of the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico, told the American Family Association that assisted suicide legislation likely will be introduced next year. Therefore, she said, those opposing the culture of death must remain “actively involved in some way,” by “educating yourself, or giving support to the organizations that are educating others, or [being] involved in the political arena. If you don’t do that,” she added, “you are handing over our state [and] our laws, and the culture of death will come to us—and that’ll be from apathy.”

The job is immense. According to a 2016 survey by LifeWay Research, 67 percent of Americans say it is morally acceptable for terminally ill patients to ask their physicians to help them end their lives. We must not only work to change—or block—laws in the political and legislative realms. We must also work—and pray—to change hearts and minds in our neighborhoods, in our social and work circles, and across society.

Apparently most Americans see pain and suffering as the ultimate evil and personal autonomy as the highest good. What I can only call this “sub-Christian worldview” completely misses the truth that God can and often does use the things we’d rather avoid in our lives—even at the end of life—to draw us closer to Himself.

Remember, when it comes to assisted suicide, apathy is deadly. So let’s educate our fellow Americans about the beauty and dignity of life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Remember as well: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

LifeNews Note:  Eric Metaxas is best known for two biographies: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce. He also wrote books and videos for VeggieTales.

This column originally appeared at Breakpoint.

 

 

Pope will canonize Fatima visionaries in May

VATICAN CITY, April 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Jacinta Marto and Blessed Francisco Marto, the two siblings who witnessed the Virgin Mary’s appearances at Fatima, during his upcoming visit to the site of the apparitions on May 13.

The pope convened all of the resident cardinals of Rome on Thursday to officially establish the canonization date for more than three dozen new saints, according to Rome Reports, including two of the three child seers of Fatima.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recounted some aspects of the Fatima siblings’ lives for the gathering.

“They attended little school, and they were practically illiterate,” he said. “They learned the catechism at home, along with their cousin Lucia.”

Pope Francis announced the date of the canonization in Latin, as prescribed by ecclesiastical tradition.

“May the Blessed Francis and Jacinta Marta be canonized on May 13, 2017,” he said.

Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to the Fatima shrine in Portugal on May 12-13 for the centenary celebration of the 1917 apparitions of Our Lady.

The April 20 announcement took place in the course of an Ordinary Public Consistory, a meeting of the pope, cardinals and promoters of sainthood causes that formally concludes the sainthood process.

A year after the Fatima apparitions, both Marto siblings became ill during a European flu epidemic. Francisco died April 4, 1919, at age 10, and Jacinta died almost a year later on February 20, 1920, at age 9.

Francisco and Jacinta’s cousin, Lucia Santos, became a Carmelite nun and passed away in 2005 at age 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and has advanced to the Vatican for study.

The pope also announced at Thursday’s consistory that he would canonize 34 others on October 15.

Among them are:

The 30 martyrs of Natal, Brazil, including Jesuit Father Andre Soveral; diocesan Father Ambrosio Francisco Ferro; and layman Mateus Moreira, along with 27 others murdered in 1645 by Dutch soldiers;

The child martyrs of Tlaxcala, the first martyrs of Mexico, named Cristóbal, Antonio and Juan, who died in 1527 and 1529;

The Spanish Piarist Faustino Miguez, who founded the Daughters of the Divine Shepherd Institute in 1855, a school for girls;

Religious priest Father Angelo da Acri (formerly known as Luca Antonio Falcone) of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood

Tightening of laws in other countries fuels U.S. market, but not all states are relaxing statutes OSV Newsweekly

Landscape shifts for surrogate motherhood  Modern technology for nearly two decades has made it possible for infertile couples to use the wombs of other women, known as surrogates, to have their biological children. But cultural changes, a crackdown in international surrogacy and high-profile endorsements from celebrities experiencing fertility issues, including Kim Kardashian and Tyra Banks, have resulted in increased demand for surrogacy in the United States.

Surrogacy involves contracting with a woman to carry a child conceived through artificial means, such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. Many fertility companies recommend gestational surrogacy, where couples have their own IVF-manufactured embryo implanted into a surrogate mother, in order to decrease her likelihood of forming an attachment to the child she carried.

Patchwork of laws

International surrogacy arrangements have been popular because of the inexpensiveness of the procedure, compared to the United States. Whereas a surrogate pregnancy can cost $100,000 or more in the United States, similar arrangements would cost a third or less in countries like India or Thailand. In 2012, an estimated 20,000 children were born through international commercial surrogacy.

But beginning in 2015, the most popular countries for international surrogacy banned the practice: Thailand, Nepal, India and Mexico all issued instructions to prevent foreigners from using their citizens as surrogates. As these countries enacted new regulations, though, other countries, like Cambodia, become hubs for surrogacy tourism.

But the uncertainty of international surrogacy has made the United States a more attractive location for couples, despite the high price tag for an American surrogate. Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, told Our Sunday Visitor that the closure of other countries to international surrogacy has “most certainly” led to an increase of the industry in the United States, because “we have very favorable and friendly laws here.”

Church’s Concern For Those Seeking Parenthood
The suffering of unanticipated childlessness is real. Spouses may feel they have somehow failed, that they are inadequate in a basic aspect of their marital life. Their pain may even be aggravated by regret or guilt over past contraceptive use, sterilization, abortion, or other factors that can contribute to infertility. The sight of other couples’ children may make them yearn for a child all the more and add to their distress. Infertility can affect a couple’s sexual relationship and the stability of their marriage. It may even affect relationships with parents and in-laws who express disappointment at the absence of grandchildren. Catholic couples may feel this pain even more deeply as they hear the Church praise family life and teach that children are “the supreme gift of marriage” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 50).

In addition, Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a right to marriage for same-sex couples, has removed in many states the barriers to these couples being listed as legal parents of a child, and many fertility clinics target their services to gay men looking to hire a surrogate.

The domestic fertility market, which the investment bank Harris Williams & Co. estimated at a value of $3-4 billion, lacks a coherent legal framework in the United States. In contrast to other western nations, there is little federal or state oversight of the industry, and laws vary among states.

“The surrogacy laws around the country are kind of a patchwork quilt,” Jason Adkins, executive director for the Minnesota Catholic Conference, told OSV. While some states like Indiana or New York prohibit surrogacy agreements because they are contrary to the public good, others like California enjoy a booming business in surrogacy.

Other states have recently passed legislation allowing for gestational surrogacy. Last year Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who identifies as pro-life, signed legislation recognizing surrogacy contracts for married, heterosexual couples. New Hampshire has passed even less restrictive legislation, as has the District of Columbia.

Fertility clinics thrive in states where surrogacy agreements giving all parental rights to the contracting couple can be enforced in court. In such an arrangement, the contracting couple are listed as the parents on the birth certificate, and not the surrogate mother who delivered the child.

Pushing back on surrogacy

In states like Minnesota, where the law has not explicitly guaranteed the parental rights of a contracting couple, the fertility industry has repeatedly sought “enabling legislation, not regulations of surrogacy,” Adkins said.

If states “create a legal mechanism by which contracts are honored and enforced, it really creates a legal framework for the surrogacy market to flourish and grow.”

As states continue to pass legislation supportive of surrogacy, Minnesota represents a rare bright spot for those opposed to contracting women to carry children. Adkins credits the state’s success to stepping back from an emotionally fraught legislative environment.

“You’re not going to have rational discourse in the context of a heated legislative environment in which people need to take votes,” said Adkins.

The state created a bipartisan commission to hear evidence on the issue during several months of meetings, and it issued its report in December 2016. While a bill to enforce surrogacy contracts was sponsored in the 2017 legislative session, it died in committee.

Adkins told OSV that while “the moral teaching is clear” from the Church on surrogacy, the issue fails to attract the same attention or coordination of resources as abortion and assisted suicide do, even though abortion frequently plays a role in surrogacy, through selective reduction of implanted embryos or requests by parents to abort children with birth defects.

“Sometimes we overlook the key life and bioethics questions that aren’t directly related to abortion,” he said, “and that’s a significant deficit in the national Church.”

Pastoral care needed

The desire to have children propels the surrogacy industry, which presents the Church with the challenge to do more to recognize and address the particular role that infertile couples have. Timothy O’Malley, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and founding editor of Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization, told OSV that the Church is not providing enough pastoral care in this area.

“If you’re infertile as a couple, the only advice you’re going to get is from your doctor. No one in the Church is there for you, except for a couple of resources you might find online,” he said.

For O’Malley, infertility can serve as a charism of authentic marriage because “in the Catholic imagination, marriage is not reducible to having children, but is really a conjugal bond of love shared between husband and wife.” While children are often a gift of that love, “there are a variety of gifts that are not reducible to having children, and the infertile can have these gifts whether or not they have children.” O’Malley said that parishes and dioceses can value the marriages of the infertile in the pulpit, but also address their needs through diocesan support groups.

“It’s not just saying, well, let’s fix it for you, it’s saying that not being able to have children can become a particular icon of love for the Church, and it can lead to adoption, it can lead to foster care, but it can also lead to other spiritual gifts and renewal that can take place.”

Nicholas W. Smith writes from New York.

Be men and women of life, Pope Francis says Easter Monday

.- On Easter Monday, Pope Francis stressed that Christ’s resurrection calls each of us to bring the message of Easter – a message of hope and life – to the world.

“There is life!” the Pope said April 17. Now, following the Resurrection, “we will be resurrection men and women, men and women of life.”

We are called to show solidarity, welcoming, and peace to people “in the midst of events that afflict the world – there are many today – in the midst of worldliness that is distant from God,” he said.

These are only human signs that we can give, he continued, but “inspired and sustained by faith in the Risen Lord,” we can gain effectiveness “well beyond our capacity.”

Pope Francis gave his message Easter Monday before leading pilgrims in the Regina Coeli prayer from a window overlooking St. Peter’s square.

It is customary for the Pope to lead this traditional Marian prayer on the Monday following Easter Sunday, also sometimes called the “Monday of the Angel” for the angel which announced Christ’s resurrection to the women at the tomb.

During the fifty days of Easter, the Regina Coeli will replace the usual recitation of the Angelus on Sundays.

In the message of the Angel to the women on Easter morning, “Go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead,’” we hear our directions as well, Pope Francis said. The angel invites us as well to “act quickly” and to go “proclaim to the men and women of our time this message of joy and hope.”

This message is hopeful because on the dawn of the third day, Jesus was risen from the dead, therefore “the last word is not death, but life! And this is our certainty. The last word is not the grave, is not death, it is life!”

And our Mother Mary can help us to live this out, Francis said.

“The Virgin Mary, silent witness of the death and resurrection of her son Jesus, helps us to be clear signs of the risen Christ among the events of the world.”

“Those who are in distress and difficulties,” he explained, can “find in us so many brothers and sisters who offer them support and consolation.”

“And this is so because Christ is alive and active in history through his Holy Spirit, redeems our miseries, reaches every human heart and gives hope to anyone who is oppressed and suffering,” he said.

“Our Mother, help us to believe strongly in the resurrection of Jesus: Jesus is risen, he is alive here, among us, and this is a wonderful mystery of salvation with the ability to transform hearts and lives,” he prayed.

“And intercede in a particular way for the Christian communities persecuted and oppressed as they are today, in many parts of the world, called to a difficult and courageous witness.”

Catholic Cardinal Robert Sarah Calls Abortion the “Greatest Tragedy of Our Time”

A leading Catholic Cardinal says abortion is “the greatest tragedy of our time.”

The comments from Cardinal Robert Sarah came during an event commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the death of Dr. Jerome Lejeune. He was the physician responsible for discovering the genetic chromosome that leads to Down syndrome. Dr. Lejeune was a pro-life advocate who believed that life begin at conception and his opposition to aborting babies with Down Syndrome ultimately cost him a shot at a Nobel Prize.

Cal Catholic has more on Cardinal Sarah’s comments concerning abortion and how he calls it a life-and-death battle that pits the spiritual forces of God and Satan against each other.

Cardinal Robert Sarah says abortion is the “greatest tragedy of our time,” and the pro-life cause is “part of the final battle…between God and Satan.”

In the worldwide battle against abortion, what is at stake is the “survival of humanity itself,” Cardinal Sarah said.

“The ‘infernal red-fire dragon with seven heads’ — a prototype of the culture of death denounced by St. John Paul II in his teaching — stands before the pregnant woman, ready to devour her child at birth,” he said.

“Yes, it is a battle … of life or death,” he said.

He pointed out how the battle rages against even the smallest of human beings, the tiny embryo, an “innocent and defenseless” human life, that he said must be protected if civilization is not to revert to “barbarism.”

Loss of the “sacred respect of human life,” said the cardinal, coupled with advances in the science of genetics, has led man to the false notion that he is now the master of life who can “manipulate” it as he pleases.

Awesome pro-life ad from major financial corporation attracts over 1.5 million views

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A poignant pro-life message from an unexpected source in a recent television commercial has grabbed some attention.

The one-minute “Graduation” spot from Principal Financial Group shows how an unexpected pregnancy doesn’t have to mean life isn’t worth living. It is moving and effective, and has more than a 1.5 million YouTube views.

The ad chronicles the story of a young couple that meets, start a relationship, become unexpectedly pregnant, and then make life changes to keep their baby. It quite successfully captures the struggles and joys of parenthood and life in 60 seconds.

A key component is the child’s father forgoing school to support the family. The commercial ends with a touching payoff for the viewer.

“Life doesn’t always go according to plan,” Principal’s ad states at the end. “We can help you plan for that.”

Incorporating a pro-life message in its marketing strategy isn’t hurting the global financial investment management company’s stock returns, Media Research Center’s NewsBusters pointed out in a recent article.

MRC links to a NASDAQ report on Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal shares having just under a 60 percent gain in the last year.

This isn’t the first time Principal has employed a pro-life message in its advertising.

Another Principal commercial released last year was titled “Adoption” and took a similar approach. That ad had also topped one million views.

National Hotlines Helps 28,000 Women in March With Abortion Alternatives. Here’s One of their Stories

For the second time in the past three months, Option Line—a 24-7 pregnancy helpline operated by Heartbeat International—is celebrating a high-water mark, having reached 28,414 women with life-affirming help in the month of March.

Far outpacing the previous single-month record of 24,000, set in 2008, over half the women and men who reached out to Option Line during March did so over the phone, connecting with a professionally trained consultant in real time.

In January, Option Line’s 23,660 contacts marked the highest single-month total since 2008 and what was then the second-busiest month in the helpline’s 14-year history.

While virtually everyone who contacts Option Line is encouraged to contact a specific pregnancy help center, medical clinic or nonprofit adoption agency near them, Option Line consultants were able to directly schedule appointments at local centers for over 300 women throughout the month.

“We celebrate each of those women and men who contact us for help” Nafisa Shamsher, Option Line’s director, said. “We have every confidence that they’ll be in the best position to make a true choice with the support Option Line and pregnancy help organizations in their own communities.”

One woman, “Sarah,” was in hysterics when she called Option Line’s toll free number (1-800-712-HELP) for help during her unexpected pregnancy in March. Sarah already has a son, and she’s recovering from drug addiction.

Though she’s remained sober since she was pregnant with her first son, the new pregnancy threw Sarah into a panic. By the time she called Option Line, she felt that abortion was her only option—particularly since she’s unemployed and having trouble making ends meet as it is.

On the phone, the Option Line consultant listened as Sarah said, between sobs, that she didn’t have the strength to go through another pregnancy. The Option Line consultant then reminded Sarah of all that she’d been through, pointing out that she’d already shown so much courage, and assuring her she was strong enough to overcome this new challenge and welcome a new child into the world.

Finally, the Option Line consultant referred Sarah to a local pregnancy center, where she was able to find the information, help and support she needed.

“An unexpected pregnancy is such a vulnerable, sensitive time in a young woman’s life,” Shamsher said. “What most women need, and what Option Line offers, is another person to help them sort through their thoughts to make a safe, healthy decision.”

Overall, more than 2.6 million women and men have contacted Option Line since 2003, while OptionLine.org has attracted upwards of 4 million visitors during that same timeframe.

Option Line is the first and only fully staffed 24-7 helpline in the U.S., and answers an average of 650 direct contacts each month.

LifeNews Note: Jay Hobbs writes for PregnancyHelpNews, where this originally appeared.

 

How Can Anyone Think That Roe V. Wade Is “Settled”?

Clarke Forsythe
Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life

It’s a tragedy for the Supreme Court and the American people that Supreme Court confirmation hearings have been so terribly skewed for 45 years by undue emphasis on one case, Roe v. Wade.  We should hope that one day Roe v. Wade is overturned, and the abortion issue returned to the people, so that the range of important constitutional and federal issues can be given proper treatment in the assessment of Supreme Court nominees. But that is not where we are today.

In her opening statement on day one of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) singled out Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion for any reason, at any time, in every state—as the most important Supreme Court decision that she wanted the judge to keep, saying it was “super precedent” because it had been affirmed in 39 cases.

That false claim cobbles together cases in which Roe was merely cited or applied, not reaffirmed on the merits. (The actual number of decisions in which Roe was “reaffirmed” is 3, not 39.)  More importantly, Senator Feinstein’s claim ignores many other factors that show that Roe is the most unsettled constitutional decision of the past 50 years.

Roe is unsettled by the Justices’ own inconsistency in their application of Roe’s abortion doctrine, and its detailed standards, over the past 44 years. That, in turn, has sown inconsistency and confusion among the lower federal courts.

In fact, Roe 1.0—the original opinion including the original rationale for Roe—is defunct, discarded in the Casey decision of 1992.   The historical rationale for Roe—the legal justification for its connection to the Constitution—was replaced by a new sociological rationale created in Casey—the assumption that women have come to rely on abortion as a back-up to failed contraception.

Roe is unsettled because the original opinion and rationale have never been persuasive. The Court abandoned the original rationale by 1989.  Abortion-rights activists have spent the past 44 years looking for a new constitutional hook for Roe—the equal protection clause? the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the vote in 1920? Or (my favorite) the cruel and unusual punishment clause?

Roe is unsettled in public opinion.  Public opinion polls periodically show majority “support” for Roe, but only when Roe is intentionally distorted and mischaracterized as only legalizing abortion in the first three months of pregnancy.  A majority of Americans oppose abortion after the first trimester.

A February 2017 poll, commissioned by the Human Family Research Center and conducted by the Polling Company, found that Americans were almost evenly divided when they were told that overruling Roe would leave the abortion issue to the states (45% reconsider, 49% continue to follow, with 5% undecided).

The abortion rate, according to 2014 figures, has dropped to its lowest level since 1973.  Women still seek approximately 900,000 abortions or less a year, but more than half of these are repeat abortions, and millions of women haven’t had an induced abortion and never will.  If women “rely” on anything, it’s contraception, not abortion.

Roe is unsettled in medical practice.  Ultrasound came on the commercial market a few years after Roe and permanently changed medical practice and public understanding.

Roe is unsettled because American doctors have abandoned abortion.  Few will do it. Women go to an abortion provider for an abortion but another gynecologist for everything else.  It’s long been a myth that abortion is “between a woman and her doctor.”

Roe is unsettled by its extremely narrow focus.  It has nothing to do with contraception (which is independently protected by other decisions of the Court) or with women’s health care.  It’s about a “right” to “terminate pregnancy” and nothing more.

Roe is unsettled by state protection for prenatal human beings in property, prenatal injury, wrongful death, and fetal homicide law.  Despite Roe, the states have moved ahead with state legislation and judicial decisions that treat the unborn child as a human being from conception, creating considerable schizophrenia.   Twenty-five states now have a fetal homicide law that treats the killing of an unborn child (outside the context of abortion) as a homicide—from conception.

Roe is unsettled by a growing body of international medical data finding increased risk of pre-term birth, mental trauma, and breast cancer after abortion.   And, in recent years, statistical studies from Ireland and Chile have provided evidence that abortion prohibitions do not compromise women’s health and that legalizing abortion does not positively impact women’s health.

Roe is unsettled because the Justices cannot perform their self-appointed role as the national abortion control board, created when the Justices in Roe drafted a new, detailed national abortion law, which binds every state and local government in the country.

Roe is unsettled because other nations have not followed its sweep.  The U.S. is one of only 4 nations of 195 across the globe which allows abortion for any reason after fetal viability, and one of only 7 that allows election abortion after 20 weeks.

The mere passage of time does not settle a Supreme Court decision. Roe is 44 years old.  But Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) (which affirmed racial segregation) was 58 years old when it was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Several other decisions were older when they were overturned.

Roe is unsettled in politics.  One major party has opposed the decision in its party platform since the 1970s.  And just last year, the nation elected a presidential and vice-presidential candidate who promised to appoint “pro-life” justices and to “overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Dozens of other decisions by the Supreme Court were not mentioned during the Gorsuch hearings because they are so unquestionably settled that no one needs to raise the question. To ask the question, “Is Roe settled?” is to answer it.

Clarke D. Forsythe is Acting President & Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life and author of Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade (Encounter Books 2013).  

False Abortion Scare: Only 10% of Pregnant Women With Zika Had Babies with Disabilities

Micaiah Bilger   Apr 5, 2017   |   10:55AM    Washington, DC

New evidence about the Zika virus and the potential link to defects in unborn babies came out this week.

A new Centers for Disease Control report found about 10 percent of pregnant women who showed signs of the Zika virus had unborn babies with neurological defects linked to the virus.

The CDC tracked more than 1,200 cases involving pregnant women in the U.S. who showed signs of the virus. However, the cases with laboratory-confirmed evidence of Zika were much smaller.

The CDC confirmed 250 cases of a likely Zika infection with laboratory testing, and 10 percent, or 24 unborn babies, in those cases had birth defects.

Researcher said women infected with Zika during the first trimester of pregnancy appear to be at a greater risk of having a child with birth defects. In the cases of 60 babies whose mothers had confirmed evidence of Zika during the first trimester, 15 percent had birth defects, according to the CDC.

Almost all of the cases in the CDC report involved women who contracted the virus outside the United States.

TWC News reports more about cases in Texas:

Here in Texas, at the end of March, 181 pregnant women had shown signs of a possible Zika infection — 67 of those babies were born.

According to the Department of State Health Services, seven babies were born with birth defects that could be Zika-related.

Three of those seven are confirmed cases of the virus.

That’s about 10 percent of those babies have shown signs of possible Zika infection which is on par with the national average.

Abortion has become a major issue related to the Zika virus because of the possible link to birth defects. Abortion advocates have been using the virus as an excuse to push for more abortions on babies with disabilities. Some pro-abortion groups even have been scaring women into aborting their unborn babies without knowing if they have Zika or if their unborn baby has a disability.

The most common defect linked to Zika is microcephaly, a brain disorder that causes babies’ heads and brains to be abnormally small. The condition has a range of severity. Some people who have microcephaly require daily care, while others live independently and have jobs.

Some have speculated that other factors may be responsible for the disabilities, rather than the virus. Some research suggests the virus may not be to blame for the uptick in birth defects in certain areas of South America affected by Zika; however, research is on-going.

The Associated Press previously reported on various research estimating between 1 percent and 15 percent of pregnant women who contracted Zika in the first trimester had babies with birth defects.

Scientists also are working to develop a vaccine for Zika. In Mexico, university researchers developed a 3D printed valve to help treat unborn babies who develop microcephaly, one of the birth defects linked to the virus.

However, some research efforts were blocked by Planned Parenthood supporters in the U.S. House and Senate last year. The pro-abortion legislators blocked an aid bill for Zika prevention and research because it did not give money to a few Planned Parenthood facilities in Puerto Rico.

The abortion chain has been heavily involved in Zika-related politics in the U.S. Last summer, Planned Parenthood sent staffers to knock on women’s doors in Miami, Florida to talk about the Zika virus, according to the Miami Herald. They also gave pregnant women “Zika kits” and informational fliers.

Last spring, a Planned Parenthood activist said women who are pregnant and contract the virus ought to be able to abort their potentially disabled babies. The abortion activists called killing such babies a “human right.”

 

 

Tulsa Teen Comes Home From School With Contraceptive Implant

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In a shocking case coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mother who consented to what she was told was a “field trip” discovered that her 16-year-old daughter had been taken — by representatives of a local clinic and with the consent of school officials — to receive the Norplant contraceptive implant.

The girl — whose name is being withheld because she is a minor — is a student at Langston Hughes Academy, an arts and technology charter school located in North Tulsa. Her mother, Miracle Foster, told FOX23 that she was blindsided when her daughter came home with the implant. “Had I known that this field trip was to get that done, I would not have allowed her to go,” Foster said, adding, “I just feel like my rights as a parent were violated.”

While it is obvious to any right-thinking person that Foster is correct in her assertion that her parental rights were violated, the overreaching federal guidelines in the Title X Family Planning Program serve to give Uncle Sam’s stamp of approval to that violation. Because of the overreach of the federal government — and the acquiescence of state governments addicted to federal monies — parental rights have come under increasing attacks in the past few decades. According to interpretations of Title X, children as young as 12 years old are allowed to receive contraceptives without a parent’s consent.

While the report from FOX News makes it appear this was a recent event, Foster’s daughter actually received the implant in November. When her daughter told her about it that evening, Foster cried. In an interview with The New American, Foster said, “It’s like they take the parental control away. These are children who cannot make decisions.” She added that children need their parents “to nurture them” and “to protect them.” She also said that by taking the place of the parent, the government school system deprives those children of that nurturing and protection.

At least one Oklahoma state legislator agrees with Foster. Dr. Mike Ritze spoke with The New American about the issues surrounding this case. Dr. Ritze is well qualified to speak to this issue. He is a family physician who has delivered around 2,000 babies. He is also the chairman of the Oklahoma House Public Health Committee and a ranking member of the Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee. He told The New American, “If the mother [had given her] permission, I would disagree with her, if she was not properly informed of the dangers of Norplant,” adding, “Norplant can cause strokes, blood clots, migraine headaches and other side effects.” But since Foster did not consent to her minor daughter receiving a hormonal implant, Dr. Ritze pointed out the duplicity in the way the law deals with this issue. “A school official cannot give a [minor] student an aspirin without the parent’s consent, but can take them out of school to get contraception.” Or an abortion.

Dr. Ritze said it may be “legally wrong” for the school to have allowed the student to be taken to the clinic to get the implant without her mother’s consent. He added that — either way — it is certainly morally wrong. “The government shouldn’t have anything to do with promoting anything but abstinence,” he said. He added that abstinence is not just the best method for avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; it is the only method that always works. But because government schools have been drinking at the poisoned well of of progressive liberalism, Dr. Ritze said the attitude of the government schools seems to be “We know students are going to be promiscuous — like monkeys — so let them go out there and use a condom or other birth control or get an abortion if they get pregnant.” He added, “The truth is that they (the students) are not monkeys; they are people, made in the image of God, and when they are given the right information about their choices and the consequences, they can make better choices — like abstinence.”

Those are some pretty serious risks for a 16-year-old girl to take — especially since it seems that she was never even made aware of them. Foster said her daughter was not given any information about the dangers of Norplant. She said her daughter told her “the lady told her about the different choices she had” but did not discuss side effects or risks.

Foster knows her daughter. Granted, her daughter made a decision without talking it over with her, but that seems to be a mark of teenagers. This writer asked Foster if she thought her daughter would have had any type of medical implant — for any reason, contraception or otherwise — that carried those risks if she had been educated about them. “No, no. She would not agree,” she said, “I think that would have scared her. I know for sure she would not have.” She added, “I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how much information they gave her. I don’t know if there was pressure there — I don’t know.”

And because the government school system and the clinic can hide behind Title X, Foster may never know. After all, the only reason she knows about the Norplant implant in the first place is because her daughter told her.

Laws are supposed to protect minors. Because society recognizes that young people do not always have the best judgment, they are protected from those who would prey on them. That is why minors cannot enter into many legal contracts without parental consent. For instance, minors in most states are protected from incurring debt by not being able to get credit cards. But the way Title X is interpreted, as soon as a child is at “reproductive age” (as young as 12), he or she can be exploited by the contraception industry.

Let that sink in: A person whose judgment is rightly considered underdeveloped to the point that he or she cannot make decisions about the ramifications of incurring debt is considered wise and experienced enough to make decisions about having sex, receiving contraception, or getting an abortion. The parent cannot object because the parent doesn’t even have to be told.

Oklahoma’s government school sex-education curricula (like all government school curricula in the state) has to be approved by the legislature. Currently, it favors an approach toward teaching abstinence. But as Dr. Ritze explained, “What is happening with the advent of Planned Parenthood and some of the other more progressive and liberal elements is that they have tried to introduce legislation year after year” to include what he called “how-to” education. “It’s like the failed DARE program [which ostensibly was a drug use prevention program] that turned out basically to be a ‘how-to’ course on drug experimentation — teaching kids how to use drugs.”

In fact, a bill “masquerading as a bill about HIV and STD prevention”— authored by Representative Emily Virgin — introduced this legislative session would have placed sex education curricula under the control of the State Department of Education. Dr. Ritze said, “several of us rose to the concern in the debate that that was morally wrong and something we couldn’t agree with because that is our job as legislators to spell out what they should do and not do in education on such a critical subject.” The progressive liberals in the legislature objected, saying that the legislature didn’t have the expertise to address those issues. “I rose again to remind them of my credentials — and there’s another physician in the House who has credentials on teaching all about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Dr. Ritze said that while speaking out against the bill on the floor of the House, he asked Representative Virgin about what kinds of condoms she would want to recommend to students, since her bill would have allowed that to be taught as part of the “how-to” sex education class. He told The New American, “She said, ‘Well, that’s a very sensitive subject. I don’t think we should be discussing that.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute. You’re wanting to teach children — seventh graders and on — how to use condoms, but you don’t want to discuss that amongst adults on the floor of the House and let parents know what we’re going to be teaching?’ and she got embarrassed and didn’t want to go any further when she realized the bill was headed for defeat.” The bill was defeated, but it — or something much like it — will likely return.

Reintroducing bills — time and again — seems to be a favorite tactic of those whose agenda it is to reshape the very fabric of American society by attacking basic morality. And schools seem to be one of their favorite points of attack. Even as they seek legislation on the one hand, they rely on overreaching — and largely unknown or misunderstood — interpretations of federal guidelines on the other hand.

That can be illustrated by Foster’s experience. She told The New American, “The day it happened, I contacted the school.” She spoke to Assistant Principal Mario Choice. “He said he was going to contact the organization that picks up the children and that he would call me back.” Because this was the week of Thanksgiving break, she didn’t get that call until the next week. She said Choice told her that the representative at the clinic — Youth Services of Tulsa — that he spoke with said that because of Title X, “the kids didn’t have to have consent to get any type of birth control.” Foster added, “To me that just didn’t sound right, because I’ve never heard that before. Like I said it was a school field trip, so I didn’t know anything like this could happen. Had I known, I wouldn’t have given consent for her to go on the field trip.”

Foster said she thought the reason for the field trip to the clinic was to get information that her daughter could bring home for them to discuss as mother and daughter. “We have our own doctor. We have a relationship with our doctor.” She added that contraception is something she and her daughter have discussed. “In October we talked about birth control.” But because Foster — as a parent — wanted to be a part of that decision, she was shocked to hear that the school and the clinic had circumvented her parental authority and responsibility by removing her entirely from that decision-making process.

A statement released by the school echoes Choice’s words to Foster:

This was not a field trip. Youth Services of Tulsa does an annual in-service on Sex Education. They offer students an opportunity to contact them on their own for more information. The parent gave her child permission to leave the school. Under Title X once young people are at the clinic and are of reproductive age, they can make decisions on their own without parental consent. As you can understand this situation involves a minor and we do not release information about students. Nevertheless, the student was well within their rights of Title X which is a federal guideline that provides reduced cost family planning services to persons of all reproductive age.

Next, Foster reached out to the school board. She told us, “I went to the school board before I went to the news.” She added that the school board admitted to being ignorant of the situation. “The school board didn’t know about it.” She said the school board asked questions — such as “How did this happen?” and “Was the disclosure out there?” and “Who is this organization?” — of the school principal, Dr. Rodney L. Clark. She said the principal “didn’t know that this could be a possibility for them [the students] to get anything done” at the clinic.

But in the end, the only answer Foster got was that — because of Title X — no one had any obligation to get her consent or even to inform her. When asked how she feels about it even all these months later, she told The New American, “I’m p***ed! Quote that. I’m p***ed off.”

And, who can blame her?

Because the girl is a minor, the school is legally obligated not to “release information about” her. This magazine is not publishing the girl’s name out of a moral responsibility because of her age. It is a bizarre situation when everyone seems to agree that the girl — based solely on her age — deserves to be protected by not having her name and information published, but the school and school board cannot see that she needed protection from being exploited by the contraception industry.

Foster is not alone in her concern about the direction government schools are taking to supersede the authority of parents. Casey Polczynski, who lives in Central Virginia, is a mother of two children. Last year, her daughter — who, at the time, was in kindergarten and not yet six years old — came home and announced she wanted to marry her friend when she grows up. Her friend is also a girl. Polczynski asked her daughter why she thought she could do that. She said her daughter told her, “My teacher said boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.” Polczynski explained to her daughter that the teacher was mistaken.

This year, because of that episode opening her eyes, Polczynski is taking a more proactive approach. While visiting the school last week, she asked the school nurse about any programs that may be coming up that she would need to know about. She told The New American, “I asked what programs I needed to know about to make sure my rights as a parent were being protected.” She said the nurse was taken aback by the question and answered that Polczynski’s son’s fifth grade class would be having the “boys talk” but there was nothing to worry about because “this is not the sex education talk, it’s just about things like hygiene and wet dreams.” If classroom discussion about “wet dreams” is not “the sex education talk,” one wonders what subject matter will be taught in sex education.

Polczynski told the nurse that she would not want her son in that class and was informed that a consent form would be sent to her and unless she signed it, he would not be in the class anyway. If that is true, it’s likely because her son is shy of his 12th birthday and not yet considered of “reproductive age” by the prevalent interpretation of Title X. Next year, Polczynski will probably not be involved in that decision. In fact, if the trend continues, her son may well be taken off campus to a contraception clinic and sent home with a box or three of condoms.

As the government school system continues down into the sewer, concerned parents who care about their children’s moral formation are seeking solutions. As Dr. Duke Pesta, Director of FreedomProject Academy, explained in an interview with The New American:

For years, we at FreedomProject Academy have been fighting this [the immoral agenda of the government school system]. I’ve given hundreds of talks all over the country about this. What’s happening here — and this is a symptom of a larger problem — the federal government has taken control over America’s public schools. And they have decided that the primary purpose of public schools is to serve as surrogate parents. It is not to educate your kids; it is not to make your kids college-ready; it is not to prepare your kids to be entrepreneurs or business owners. The primary purpose of America’s public schools now is social justice education. That means that teachers, school nurses, school administrators, are assuming almost every aspect of parental responsibility — from your kids’ health-care to your kids’ birth control choices to how young they’re going to teach your kids about sex and homosexuality.

Dr. Pesta added, “They are doing this whether you want them to or not.” When asked what parents whose children are in government schools can do to fix this, Dr. Pesta said, “There’s no way you’re going to fix this because control has now been ceded to the federal government.” As Foster’s story illustrates, Dr. Pesta is correct. Local, city, county, and state schools and school boards will simply hide behind Title X and keep on keeping on with the immoral agenda of — as Dr. Ritze said — treating kids like promiscuous monkeys.

‘Matty was dead, and now he’s perfect:’ Incredible story of a toddler brought back to life

BAKER CITY, Oregon, March 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Matt and Elsa Cunningham thought they’d lost their young son in a drowning accident earlier this month. But 22-month-old Matty made it through the terrible ordeal with no medical complications.

The toddler should not have survived. His case has defied the laws of nature and science. And the Oregon family wants to share the joy of their miraculous experience, which they attribute to the power of prayer.

“Our Catholic faith is at the center of our lives,” Matt Cunningham told LifeSiteNews. “But I never knew that we’d be blessed this richly. It’s more than we could have ever asked for.”

Elsa expressed confidence that her son’s survival is due to a miracle, and how his very presence every day is an even greater testament to the miracle of life than it was before.

“Because you know when you wake up and he’s alive,” she told LifeSiteNews.
It couldn’t happen without God

Many human hands helped to save Matty, and the Cunninghams are grateful to them.

But it was also a stream of apparent Divine Interventions that led to Matty’s survival.

They are grateful to God, to the venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen and St. Joseph, Matt’s late mother and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The couple prayed to God and His saints throughout Matty’s plight, but especially upon the horror of finding him in the water. And it was Archbishop Sheen, the revered pioneer of modern evangelization, that Matt thought to turn to at that moment.

“Archbishop Sheen was the one I screamed to,” Matt recounted in describing the 911 call, which was a mingling of his cries to Heaven to save his son and communicating with EMS.

The family had been praying a morning devotional with Archbishop Sheen each day in the month leading up to the accident. They were enamored of the prospective saint’s teaching. He has stood out among those they invoked to intercede on Matty’s behalf, and they think he had a hand in Matty’s survival.

“The Church is our life,” said Elsa. “If we could give credit to one saint, it would be Archbishop Sheen, but there were so many.”

“The crazy part is, Matty was dead, and now he’s perfect.”

Without knowing whether their situation would ever qualify for a miracle, the Cunninghams nevertheless now feel an affinity with the family whose child is at the center of the first approved miracle in the cause for Archbishop Sheen’s canonization. The stillborn baby was resuscitated after medical professionals worked on him for just over an hour.

“I feel for those parents who waited for 61 minutes for their child to come back,” Elsa said.
What happened that day

Thursday, March 9, was a mild late winter day that found the Cunninghams anticipating spring and working in the yard of their home seven miles from Baker City.

The homeschooling family had recently seen the first bluebird of the season, so Elsa was cleaning out a birdhouse for the birds to nest. The family had a litter of a couple-months-old puppies, and Matt was building an extension to their dog kennel.

Their oldest, Johnathan, 17, was inside working on school. Shane, 14, was not at home. The rest of the kids, Daniel, 11, Isabel, 9, and Abigail, 7, were outside helping their parents, along with Matty.

They don’t know when, but Matty wandered away on his own. They think he may have been following one of the puppies and fell into the pond about 100 yards from where they were working.
A string of miracles begins

But the pond is on a neighbor’s property behind a tightly spaced barbed wire fence that Matty shouldn’t have been able to get through. So it didn’t dawn on them at first to even check the pond, but as they realized he was missing, something took them there.

“The Holy Spirit led us, we believe,” Matt said.

The first miracle was not just that they were led to him, he said, but also that Matty was floating on the surface instead of sinking, despite his being dressed in a heavy winter coat and boots.

Elsa went through the barbed wire fence, tearing her clothes, and Matt went over the top.

“Whatever we had to do,” Matt told LifeSiteNews. “Elsa dove in with all her clothes on. Every second counted.”

Elsa started chest compressions and Matt performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
A parent’s worst nightmare

No one knows how long he’d been in the water, but they thought for sure they’d lost him.

Matty was blue, unresponsive, not breathing.

“We thought he was dead,” Matt said. “There was no movement in his limbs. He looked like he’d been there all winter.”

“Every parent knows the terror we felt,” he said. “It was pure hell.”

Still, Matt said they would try to resuscitate him “until they pried him away from us.”

Matt screamed to the 911 dispatcher on the phone as they also cried out to God. The other children immediately fell on their knees and prayed, Cunningham told LifeSiteNews, and John called 911 too.

Archbishop Sheen was on the tip of Matt’s tongue when it came time to beseech God to save Matty. He can be heard invoking him on the 911 tape.

He is grateful for the family’s daily devotional to the venerable prelate.

“I believe that was the Lord’s way of preparing us for that morning,” said Matt.

He remembers jumping out of the way as soon as the EMTs touched his shoulder, knowing they needed to work.

They detected a faint heartbeat at the scene, but Matty was still not breathing.
A friend jumps to action

Local sheriff Travis Ash, a family friend, had arrived on the scene apart from EMS, having also heard the call.

Ash instinctively ran to the ambulance, ahead of everyone else running, and jumped in to drive. Matt Cunningham doesn’t know why, but it’s another thing he considers the foundation of a miracle.

Ash was compelled to action, taking the driver’s seat, and driving such that the EMTs told him to take it easy. Ash continued at top speed, and the ambulance made it across the nearby railroad tracks in time to avoid a train that would have cost them valuable time.

“His haste gave Matty precious moments of needed care in the hospital,” Matt said. “It was all hands on deck, something that restores your faith in humanity.”

When Matty got to the ER at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City, an estimated 17 minutes after the first 911 call was placed, his body temperature was 84 degrees.

Matty’s initial blood work was that of a dead baby in Baker City, Matt told LifeSiteNews.

The staff had to administer two bone IVs in his calves because he was too cold to get a regular IV started. They performed blood work and other tests to assess his condition, the implication being there would be permanent damage assuming Matty survived.

They intubated Matty with a mobile ventilator and tried to warm him.

As the staff worked, Elsa prayed quietly to herself, Matt said, “I just spent most of the time on my knees.”

During this time, he had an experience that convinced him that Bishop Sheen was interceding on their behalf for Matty.

As he prayed, Matty cried out every so often while the hospital staff tried to revive him.

“Every time I kept imploring Archbishop Sheen, those were the two or three times I heard him cry,” Matt said.

He’d been told it was likely just a physical reaction his son had been making. The sound had him alternating between hope and fear.

People that they knew, and many they didn’t, stood in prayer in the parking lot, Matt recalled.

Everyone who was either at the scene or in that hospital knew how hopeless and tragic the situation was, he said, “how it was sure to end later that day with the planning of our son’s funeral.”

Matty was then airlifted the 125 miles to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise and would later be transferred to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, also in Boise.
A mother’s plea to God

Elsa rode in the helicopter as Matty was life-flighted to Boise. Matt followed by car with a family friend.

“I had the 50-minute helicopter ride from hell,” she told LifeSiteNews.

It was raining, there was turbulence, and she needed an airsickness bag handy nearby.

“But I’m just praying,” Elsa said, praying that God will allow her to keep her son.

Elsa, like many women, has miscarried, in her case three times.

Naming one of her other babies, she told LifeSiteNews that she thought as she prayed, “He has Michael (and the others).”

She prayed to God in the helicopter, “I want this one. I don’t know if we can live through this” (losing Matty).

Another sort of miracle Matt described was when they raced past a highway patrolman on the normally two-plus-hour drive to Boise, the officer simply waved at them, despite their speed.
Care, with prayer

Then, the experience with first doctor they encountered out of the helicopter at St. Alphonsus, Dr. Adrian John Curnow, also seemed in line with their impending miracle.

Curnow was willing to pray for their son.

“He grabbed me by the shoulder and told me, “God loves your son more than you do, and he’s going to be OK,” said Matt.

Curnow wasn’t the only medical professional to pray.

“All along the way, person after person and physician after physician prayed with us, and over our son,” Matt said. “This doesn’t happen in a secular world, but again, God allows small miracles to form the foundation of one large miracle.”

The doctor explained to the Cunninghams how Matty’s temperature would come up and then could spike, which would be dangerous.

He had a line put in through Matty’s nose to the boy’s stomach, and with a large syringe, taking water in and out of the line, he moderated Matty’s core temperature.

Curnow then rode in the ambulance with the Cunninghams to St. Luke’s, continuing the water-cooling procedure and staying with them after they arrived at the new hospital.

Matty remained heavily sedated there, until he could have an MRI to determine damage from the accident.

As the family waited the few days for Matty’s MRI, fellow parishioners at the Cunninghams’ parish of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Baker City and many others prayed.

Their doctor at St. Luke’s was another beacon of faith, Matt told LifeSiteNews.

Between his manner, praying and using scripture with them, Dr. Derrick Dauplaise really embodied Christ to them, Matt said. He always came to them in a reassuring way, no matter what.

“He laid hands on Matty and prayed,” Matt recalled. “He then said God was going to take care of all of us.”

“He was the doctor to us just as much as Matty,” he said. “He was so loving, this man, we could just tell God was with us.”
An outcome with no medical explanation

The MRI took longer than expected, and likewise, the wait for results was difficult. The staff was taken aback by what they found. They wanted to be sure before they brought the Cunninghams the news.

Matty’s MRI results were absolutely normal, defying medical explanation.

When the Cunninghams were told there was no sign of brain damage, despite the specifics of Matty’s case, they couldn’t believe it.

“We just wept,” said Matt, “and I just fell on my knees and prayed to God. Thank you God, Archbishop Sheen and all the saints and angels.”

Prayer had been the key, prayer in the face of fear, and faith in God’s plan, no matter what, where or when.

At one point in the middle of the night during Matty’s hospital stay, Matt said, he wanted to pray the rosary, but he’d forgotten his rosary at home in the rush for the hospital.

So in the quiet of the night in Matty’s room, Matt used his son’s 10 toes in place of the 10 Hail Mary rosary beads to pray for the Blessed Mother’s intercession for his son.

“So I used his toes,” he said. “I just thought it was a great thing to do.”

After the MRI, things went quickly. Matty’s sedation was stopped and his breathing tube removed once he came to.

Within an hour, he knew who everyone was and called his siblings by name, Matt said. “He was just perfect.”

The first sound Matty actually made when he awoke was barking like a dog, as if nothing had happened.

“It was the greatest thing he could have said,” his father stated. Matty had been often mimicking their puppies before the accident. And this was just him picking up where he’d left off.

Matty didn’t skip a beat after waking up, Elsa recalled, and he was running around in no time.

Elsa stayed with him that night in the barred hospital crib before Matty was released the next day to go home.

Photos of Matty from the time of his waking show a healthy, happy child.
There’s more

The miraculous events didn’t end with Matty’s physical revival.

After they began to settle in at home, Matt and Elsa came together at one point, each wondering, “Have you noticed anything different about him?”

The couple had individually seen the same things; Matty’s eyes were brighter, almost as if they were bigger, and he was using bigger words.
Image
Matty heads home.

Matt said his son was always beautiful and bright-eyed, but now Matty is just more so. He doesn’t know how else to explain it.

“They’re just wider and brighter,” he said of Matty’s eyes. “He’s just wide-eyed and bright.”

Elsa can tell as a mother.

“You know when we’re smiling at him,” she said.

“We firmly believe it’s because he’s seen the Lord,” said Matt.

Matty was a late talker as compared with his siblings, they said, and since the accident he has been using phrases they’d never heard from him before.

An example of this, which also suggests a miracle, involves a photograph that hangs in their house of Matt’s mother, who died shortly before Matty was born.

Virginia Cunningham’s love for her children was unmatched, Matt said, and the example she gave through her suffering makes her the closest thing to a saint without a formal declaration. Matty only knows his grandmother from the picture and when they talk about her.

One day soon after he was home from the hospital, as they happened to be contemplating the picture of her in the hallway, they asked him, “Have you seen Grandma?”

Matty replied matter-of-factly, “Yes, I have.”

“He’s never said, Yes I have, ever,” Matt explained. “We firmly believe this has a miraculous explanation.”

Another instance involved an appointment the Cunninghams had scheduled before Matty’s accident with a buyer for one of their dogs. It had been set for soon after they returned home from Boise with Matty. Elsa said that despite the timing they went ahead and kept it since it would be easier to follow through than to cancel.

She explained to the wife of the couple who’d driven 2 1/2 hours to buy the dog how they’d been tied up with Matty’s situation and were just getting settled.

The woman shared that they had a similar experience with their son, who was now 10 and doing fine as well. She told Elsa she’d been thinking her husband didn’t need another dog and wanted to discourage the purchase.

But if she had done so, the two women would not have met.

The woman advised Elsa that it will take awhile for things to get back to normal for them. A happy miracle is not necessarily without some human fallout.

This paralleled the doctors’ advice, which cautioned the Cunninghams against being overprotective of Matty, and to monitor themselves for Post Traumatic Stress. It was especially powerful, though, coming from another family who had experienced it.

“God put her there for me,” Elsa told LifeSiteNews. “I know the stress is real, and I know Jesus will carry us through.”
“It’s a miracle”

Matty’s main doctors from the Boise facilities have said his case is a miracle.

Elsa recounts what Dauplaise told them the day they took Matty home.

“If you’re not open to the fact that it’s a miracle, then you can’t receive the gift,” he said.

Curnow called Elsa’s cell phone a little more than a week after they brought Matty home.

Elsa remembers, “He said, ‘Matty was beyond what we could do. This was a miracle. God must have great plans for him.’”

Curnow also told Elsa they should read Psalm 112, verses 1 and 2.

“He said that they remind him of our family,” she recalled.

The Scripture verses state:

“Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! His descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

Elsa found the implications with Matty’s experience to be powerful, stating, “It’s awesome and heart wrenching at the same time.”
Life goes on

The family continues to get back to normal. Matt has since spoken to a Catholic men’s group to share their experience. Elsa said Matt’s witness stirred the emotions of the men there.

Matty will turn two years old on April 26, 10 days after Easter.

The Lord’s death and resurrection will have additional significance this year for the Cunninghams.

The Baker City Herald ran a letter Matt wrote about Matty’s ordeal, which he titled “A love letter to the city with a heart of gold.”

In it, Matt wrote:

“Our son has been raised from the dead. Thanks be to God, and to all of you for begging and helping him on our behalf. He, in His mercy, heard and answered, and we will never be able to thank you enough.”

The family maintains their devotion to Archbishop Sheen and they are convicted in the belief he interceded on Matty’s behalf.

“I know he was involved,” Matt said. “I know it.”

“The Lord is the Lord of life, and life just perpetuates itself,” Matt continued. “God is bringing us more life with him than we could have hoped.”

“God is amazing,” Elsa told LifeSiteNews. “He’s so good.”

“The biggest thing is this wasn’t just a miracle just for us,” she said. “He answered everybody’s prayers.”

The (still) unexplained breast cancer epidemic

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/the-still-unexplained-breast-cancer-epidemic/19577

Carolyn Moynihan | Mar 30 2017

Yesterday the Planned Parenthood Federation of America arranged a Pink Out Day on social media to promote their brand in the face of calls to defund the organisation and an unsympathetic Trump administration. What impact their noon “thunderclap” had is not clear, but there is no doubt that PPFA has many supporters who defend its claim to be an important women’s reproductive health provider.

However, the literal meaning of “reproductive health” is incompatible with two of Planned Parenthood’s main activities: abortion and the provision of hormonal contraception. For at least two decades researchers have been tracing a link between these birth control methods and the rising incidence of breast cancer – a link denied or ignored by the scientific and medical establishment.

But the international evidence continues to mount. A new British study by Patrick S. Carroll and colleagues, using readily available data on breast cancer and abortion from British official sources, shows that the lifetime risk of breast cancer for women in the UK keeps increasing: it is now around 1 in 7 women for malignant tumours and 1 in 6 for in-situ lesions, which also need treatment and therefore should be planned for. And this increased risk cannot be explained by increased screening – the usual explanation — on its own.

Here is one reason: women do not enjoy being screened. It’s an uncomfortable business and there is always the thought in one’s mind that repeated x-rays may themselves cause trouble. So the raising of the cut-off age for screening from 65 to 75, as the UK has done, is unlikely, say the study authors, to increase the response rate among women who were screened between ages 50 and 65.

Another explanation of the risk trend is that childlessness has increased since the 1970s. It is widely acknowledged that a younger age at the birth of her first child reduces a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, as do further full term pregnancies and longer breastfeeding of each of her infants. However, the authors find that neither childlessness nor increased age at first birth by themselves can predict breast cancer risk.

Baby boomer women and their daughters, of course, have had ways of delaying or avoiding childbirth that were not generally available to earlier cohorts, and these may bring their own risks. The authors state:

“Although still contested, there is significant literature that demonstrates that induced abortion, particularly of a woman’s first pregnancy, as well as hormonal contraceptives and HRT [hormone replacement therapy], also raise the risk of developing breast cancer.”

The reasons why this would be are now familiar. Abortion, especially of the first pregnancy, not only removes the protective maturing of the breasts during pregnancy and lactation, but actually leaves them in a more vulnerable state, while the estrogen in hormonal contraceptives increases cancer risk. A new study from Finland this month finds further evidence of a link between hormonal contraceptives (the IUD) and breast cancer.

British data, in fact, show a high positive correlation between abortion rates and breast cancer in women aged 50-54 (abortion was liberalised in the UK in 1967). This also seems to reflect the advent of hormonal contraception, say the authors. “When women were first having large numbers of induced abortions, their contemporaries were also starting to make extensive use of hormonal contraceptives.”

A remarkable social gradient

There is a further interesting angle on these links in the study – a “social gradient”. Data from the 1990s shows that women in the higher socio-economic groups have more breast cancer than those down the social scale. A possible explanation:

“Upper-class women and women who achieve upward social mobility are known to have children later and to make more use of hormonal contraceptives, and when they have pregnancies at a young age they are more likely to opt for nulliparous abortions. Lower-class single parents, who score highly as to deprivation, often have benefited from the breast cancer protection afforded by their first pregnancy taken to full term at a young age.”

No serious scientist is claiming that these factors are the only, or even the main cause of breast cancer, but the likelihood that they explain part of the largely unexplained current epidemic of the disease should at least receive some acknowledgement. Yet, as the authors point out, “While doctors are now more reluctant to prescribe HRT for reasons of the breast cancer risk they continue to prescribe hormonal contraceptive on a massive scale.”

It’s true that these doctors can cite some studies reporting no additional risk 10 years after a woman has ceased to use hormonal contraceptives. However, say Carroll and colleagues, “this risk is quite long-term and not apparent within such a time interval. Breast cancers discovered after age 50 are more reflective of these events in a woman’s reproductive history.”

The lack of official explanation for aspects of the epidemic such as the remarkable social gradient is a failure of public health education, of a piece with neglect of breast cancer prevention programmes, they conclude.

Indeed, women should be informed and the authorities should plan for an increasing breast cancer burden on the health system based on all known risk factors and not just politically correct ones.

Yet there is solid resistance to such moves in the UK. Patrick Carroll, who is neither a doctor nor a medical scientist but an actuary with the (UK) Pension and Population Research Institute, seems to have had no competition in using first class resources for a neglected, or rather, deliberately sidelined area of cancer research. However, getting his work published in medical journals is another matter.

Having failed on previous occasions, he submitted the paper discussed here to the (British) Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health last year. They sat on it for several months, he told MercatorNet, “offering no intelligent comments nor constructive criticism. They said they read it with great interest but found it unsuitable for their audience! They then suggested I try another of their journals, BMJ Open. Even though the editorial staff of the two journals are in the same building they did not offer a short process for submission to the second journal.”

Warned by another researcher that BMJ Open would inflict another delay of several months, he sent it to the independently minded Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) who published it – as they had a previous paper — in their journal.

The reasons for the establishment’s defensive attitude is not difficult to discern. Carroll and colleagues describe the situation in the UK in their published paper:

“Each prescription for hormonal contraceptives has a doctor’s signature. Every abortion notification form (HSA1), as required by the 1967 Abortion Act, needs two doctors’ signatures. In the UK, claims under medical professional liability insurance are largely in the area of obstetrics and gynecology. If women who experience breast cancer could make claims against doctors for prescribing hormonal contraceptives or approving induced abortions, there would be many more claims. For this reason it is understandable that British medical journals are reluctant to publish papers that report a link of breast cancer to induced abortions.”

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Planned Parenthood has tried selling itself as the household name that millions of women “turn to” for — guess what? — mammograms. In fact PPFA does not do mammograms but refers a small percentage of its clients (less than one percent) to specialised services after doing simple, routine breast checks.

But the irony of its claim only increases with this latest evidence that, even if it did do mammograms, it would be largely as a result of making its own work through the much more lucrative lines of abortion and contraception. And that applies to a significant part of the health sector internationally.

It must be time for a class action suit on this front.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

Doctors said I had cancer and needed to abort my son to save my life. Instead, I received a miracle.

March 29, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — Being pro-life was always something that came easy for me. I was raised by a mother who was part of the generation that began protesting and praying outside of abortion clinics. As a teenager I wrote letters to my senators to end abortion. I volunteered at crisis pregnancy centers.

This is not to give myself a pat on the back by any means; I just did it because it was the right thing to do. These issues were so black and white to me.

The only “gray area” I struggled with were the exception cases: rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Politicians and the media told me these were the only situations in which abortion was necessary and needed. It was okay in those instances. Wasn’t it? It seemed heartless to argue otherwise.

So when I found myself in one of those situations, with a swollen belly full of tiny kicks and movement and a doctor telling me I would most likely die if I continued the pregnancy, I had to come to grips with what exactly I believed about those “gray areas.”

Image
Eli as a newborn

I was 20 weeks pregnant with my son, Eli, when we got the news. We were there for a routine anatomy scan to find out the gender. One moment we were elated and hugging, rejoicing that we were going to have a second son, and the next our world came to a complete halt.

“Your son isn’t going to make it,” the doctor said.

We were told that Eli had a less than 1 percent chance of survival and they were surprised he was even alive at that point. He would most likely die within the next few days, we were told. Even if he did by some miracle survive, he would have a condition called triploidy. It was incompatible with life and most babies who made it to birth died immediately thereafter. So either way, we would lose our son.

My heart broke into a million pieces. My husband Chris and I just cried and held each other. We wanted this baby. We had already imagined him and his brother Rhett (who was 9 months old at the time) growing up and being best friends. We loved this baby.

Then the doctor continued speaking.

“My biggest concern is for your health right now.” She told me I was extremely at risk. I had a partial molar pregnancy and this meant that I had cancer in my placenta that would spread to my brain, lungs, and liver the longer I carried Eli. I was at risk for seizures and strokes, blindness and ultimately death. She warned me that my symptoms could happen quickly and without notice.

She recommended I terminate the pregnancy immediately and start chemotherapy as soon as I could.

I felt like I had no choice.

It made sense and it seemed like the only logical decision. And you know what? I considered it for a half second. Me, the pro-life guru.

All I could think about was not losing the things I had. My husband and I hadn’t even been married for two years, he was the man I wanted to grow old with. Would we not get that chance? I had a 9 month old son who I loved with all of my heart. I wanted to see his first steps, his first birthday, his graduation, his wedding, my grandchildren. It all kept playing over and over in my mind. I don’t want to lose this.

But then I remembered those tiny hands and feet I had just watched dance around on the ultrasound screen. I remembered the kicks and the movement. That was my son too.

The words of Psalm 139:16 came into my head: “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.”

I knew the Lord had Eli’s days, however many they were to be, written in His book. Who was I to cut them short? My days were also in that book and nothing, not even cancer or a high risk pregnancy could end them unless the Lord allowed it.

I looked at my husband, he had the same determined look. We told the doctor, “No. That is not an option for us.”

The goal was to make it to 24 weeks. That was the earliest he would be considered viable at this hospital. Those 4 weeks felt like a lifetime. I was in the hospital at least 3 times a week for monitoring and blood tests. They ran out of places to draw blood because my arms were so bruised and my veins worn out.

It hurt when they wouldn’t acknowledge Eli as a baby. All they talked about was me and hardly ever referenced him. I know they probably did that to make it seem easier if I lost him, but it still hurt. I remember lying on an exam table, waiting on one of the doctors to come in and crying. “Lord, why does no one care about my son?! I feel like I am fighting alone here.” I felt His peace and was reminded that He, more than anyone else, cared about my son.

I made it to 24 weeks and they gave me steroid shots to help develop his lungs in preparation for his early arrival. I almost cried when one of the doctors finally mentioned the baby and how he needed to be monitored closely.

They did two ultrasounds a week and at each one they were amazed that Eli was growing normally and was still alive. But at 28 weeks they started to notice his growth was halting and that was due to the placenta slowly falling apart. I got another round of steroid shots and at 30 weeks his heart rate was dropping so we were scheduled for a c-section the next morning.

The doctor met with us that night to discuss the risks. We still didn’t know if Eli had triploidy because we didn’t want invasive tests to put him more at risk, and my fluid was so low anyway, we didn’t want to take any more out than necessary.

She told us she had blood ready for a transfusion because they had to cut through my placenta to get to Eli and I might bleed out. My placenta was 5 times the size of a normal one. I might have to have an immediate hysterectomy because there was a chance the placenta had grown through my uterine wall.

We went into the operating room, not knowing if these would be our last moments together.

On April 1st, of all days, our little Elijah Lewis Mitchell came into this world. He weighed 2 lbs 7 ounces and I was able to kiss his tiny little head that was covered in black hair before they took him back to the NICU.

My placenta came out easily and with no complications. It was sent off for testing. I remember crying and taking a deep breath for what felt like the first time in months. One of the nurses put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Just rest now, momma.”

When our doctor came into the recovery room, she told us, “I think we may have misdiagnosed you.” She said I was cancer free and a few weeks later Eli’s genetic tests came back NORMAL. We were both in the clear and healed completely! We were overwhelmed by all that the Lord had done.

Eli was released from the NICU 55 days later, weighing five pounds and drinking his bottles on his own.

Image
Eli today

The reason I share our story with you today is because I think we really need to look at these exception cases, and figure out what we believe. Because you never know when you, or someone close to you might be faced with one of these situations. I have no doubt, if it was not for the Lord and knowing what I know about life in the womb, I would have aborted my son that day. Doctors that I respected were telling me to. It made sense to.

So I have a newfound compassion for women in these circumstances. It is a HARD decision. It feels impossible. But I want them to know, it can be done.

You can give your baby a chance at life. I promise you, it will be a choice you will never regret.

I have a daily reminder of my choice: a wobbly little two-year-old who has the sweetest smile, the bluest eyes, and the heart of a fighter. His life blesses mine every day and I am so thankful I gave him a chance to live.

Courtney Mitchell blogs at TheCarolinaFarmhouse.com and can be found on Instagram @thecarolinafarmhouse.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

Study finds most women unable to track fertility

https://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/most-women-unable-to-track-fertility/19562

Shannon Roberts | Mar 28 2017

With infertility more common than ever and birth rates around the world at a record low, a crucial first step for couples trying to get pregnant is to clearly understand exactly when they are fertile.  Yet that is something just 13 per cent of women surveyed were able to identify according to a new study just published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which surveyed over 1000 New Zealand women.  That was despite a third of the women reporting that they monitored their ovulation.

The authors concluded that fertility knowledge needs to be better addressed among women intending to conceive.  Professor Wayne Gillett, a researcher at the university’s Dunedin School of Medicine and medical director at Fertility Associates Dunedin commented:

“When a couple are trying to have a baby, problems like age, endometriosis and male problems are always touted – but no one ever considers knowledge, and that’s one of the things we often see,”

Gillett said there was one enduring myth that the best time in the menstrual cycle to conceive was during, or even after, ovulation, when the reality is that the fertile window is pre-ovulation.  He expressed concern that even health professionals are not well-educated about a woman’s fertile window.
An article discussing infertility published in the New Zealand media this month comically writes “at high school we’re taught that if you so much as look at a girl strangely, she’ll get pregnant.”  Sadly many indeed carry this idea into adulthood after years of only being told how not to get pregnant.  However, given that interest in natural family planning continues to grow, it is hopeful that fertility knowledge will be better circulated, including the knowledge that fertility begins to reduce in a woman’s late twenties and more drastically after the age of 35.
One in six couples in Australia use IVF, and one in every 25 Australian children are now born as a result of IVF. In Denmark one in 15 children are IVF babies.  Yet it is questionable whether people are first given good advice about the other more simple and inexpensive options available to them – including accurate knowledge about their exact fertile window which is normally only 6 days long if not shorter.  To some, IVF services are a business and there is little incentive to first offer easier, cheaper options to couples.

John Aitken, Newcastle University laureate professor, Director of the University of Newcastle’s large 50-staff Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science, and the 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year,  recently commented:

“We should guard against recklessly marching into a future where we use too much assisted conception in order to compensate for our loss of fertility … It’s an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next.”

Family adopts girl born without limbs: ‘Loving her was what mattered most’

March 23, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — In a village in the Philippines in 2014, a little girl was born without limbs. At six months old she was placed in an orphanage for children with special needs, where she waited for a family to adopt her.

In October of 2014, when she was nine months old, the Stewart family saw a picture of the little girl and decided to adopt her. It would take months of paperwork and a trip to the Philippines, but a year later, Adrianne and Jason Stewart were bringing little Maria home to join their family of five, including two biological daughters and an adopted son.

“When we found our daughter we did not think we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most,” Adrianne Stewart wrote in a post for Love What Matters.

At about two years old at the time of her adoption, CNN reports Maria was unable to hold up her head and her parents knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. She now receives speech and occupational therapy and attends preschool in an inclusive classroom.

“She has given us far more than we will ever give her,” Maria’s mother wrote on Facebook. “She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of.”

Since sharing their story in hopes of inspiring other families to adopt, the Stewarts have received a lot of positive notes. However, they have also heard from mothers who have chosen abortion when their preborn children were diagnosed with conditions similar to Maria’s. These women express to the Stewarts their abortion regret. Adrianne Stewart hopes that Maria will help other expectant mothers choose life when faced with similar prenatal diagnoses.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Does the pill cause infertility? Yes and No

Let’s say you are 33 years old and got married a year ago. In the past ten years, you have been using a variety of hormonal birth control methods. Now you and your husband are looking forward to starting a family. You get off the pill, hopeful and a bit anxious as you know time is working against you. You try for eight months and nothing happens.

You start getting concerned, and you talk your doctor into putting you on Clomid, a drug to stimulate ovulation. This drug actually lowers your chances of conceiving, unbeknownst to you. A few months later, you get your first appointment at a fertility clinic where you discuss Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), bracing yourself for several months of treatment and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

But could all that anxiety, doctor visits and interventions be completely unnecessary?

The pill may not cause long-term infertility after discontinuation, but it can delay fertility by up to a year. The delay is caused by the pill’s impact on the production of cervical fluid, an essential component of conception. The delay can be critical as women tend to start their family much later in life now than in earlier decades, and may lead them to engaging into unnecessary fertility treatment.

It takes three to get pregnant

We were all taught in high school biology or sex-ed that it took and a sperm and an egg (an ovule) to make pregnancy happen. What is often left out of this equation is the cervical fluid, aka cervical mucus.

In order for the sperm to survive more than a few hours in the vagina, and then have the energy reserves to travel through the uterus all the way to the fallopian tubes and maybe wait for the egg to arrive, it needs good quality fertile cervical fluid.

Cervical fluid is secreted by the cervix; it changes in aspect and properties as ovulation approaches. At the time of ovulation, it becomes stretchy, almost like raw egg whites, and allows the sperm to go through the cervix into the uterus. Before and after ovulation, the fluid is thick and blocks access to the uterus, a wonderful mechanism to protect the womb from infection. It also naturally prevents fertilization during a major part of the cycle.

Without sufficient, good quality mucus, no baby.

The way hormonal contraceptives work to stop pregnancy

Hormonal contraceptives, as generally documented in scientific literature, don’t work merely by suppressing ovulation. Another mechanism is the effect on the production of mucus, thickening it consistently throughout the cycle, providing a barrier in case ovulation still takes place (which does happen).

How does it work? The cervix normally follows the marching orders of hormones. With the use of contraceptives, the synthetic hormones take over the natural ones and run the cervix in a non-natural way to produce consistently this type of non-fertile mucus.

So far so good. What’s wrong with a secondary barrier to make sure pregnancy doesn’t happen when that’s the reason why the woman is on the pill in the first place?

Here is how things get more complicated.

The impact of the pill on the production of cervical fluid

Professor Erik Odeblad is one of the first scientists to use MRI technology for a medical purpose. A Swedish physician, professor and researcher born in 1922, he spent most of his life studying and explaining the secretion of cervical fluid: the various types of fluids at different stages in a woman’s cycle and in her life, and their role and composition.

One of his discoveries was to show that there are different types of mucus[i], which he called G, L, S. Each has different roles and is secreted from different cervical crypts (the pockets lining the cervix) at different times. For instance,  right after puberty, a young woman has an abundance of S crypts, and as she ages, the number decreases and are replaced by L crypts. S mucus is the type of mucus that is essential to fertilization: it allows passage and then transports and nourishes sperm.

What Dr. Odeblad found was that “for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” He explains that: “If a woman takes the Pill for 10-15 years and then ceases taking it in order to achieve pregnancy, she may encounter some difficulties.”

In simple terms, a 20-year-old woman who stays on the pill for 10 years can end up with the cervix of a 40 year-old with 20% of S crypts instead of 40-50%. It can take a long time after a woman stops the pill for her cervix, and especially the S crypts, to function again. Her cervix may never recover some of those lost capacities.

To make matters worse, if she gets on Clomid, thinking it will increase her chance of pregnancy, it will do the opposite: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid. A thorough evaluation of both her ovulation and of her mucus production is needed.

Why it matters more today

Woman are waiting longer to start their families now that in the past. In 1970, most women had their first pregnancy in their early 20s. The average age of first child birth was 22. Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. More women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970 to almost one in three in 2014[ii].

If these women have been on the pill, as many have been, it’s no surprise that they would experience more difficulties getting pregnant. As the cervix may take up to a year to retrieve a functioning production of mucus, many couples may be directed to drastic medical procedures, such as IVF, a costly and emotionally difficult process. If they waited or found other ways to improve the production of their cervical mucus, they could resolve their problem. Some good news: a pregnancy will rejuvenate the cervix by 2 to 3 years.

Here is the scoop: as a result of being on the pill for an extended time, a woman may not be able to conceive for up to a year, leading her to think she’s infertile, when she’s not! Her fertility is certainly impaired, but medication to stimulate ovulation will actually aggravate the problem.

We find here yet another great reason why young women who are hoping to get pregnant one day should avoid hormonal birth control all together and use a Fertility Awareness Based Method. Not only will these methods preserve their fertility, but when the couple is ready to achieve a pregnancy, the knowledge gained through training in a FABM will help them reach that goal more quickly and easily.

Other readings on this topic:

http://www.naturalfamilyplanning.ie/effects-of-the-pill/

https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/about-atrophy-reproductive-aging-and-how-it%E2%80%99s-really-not-nice-to-fool-mother-nature-%E2%80%93-or-with/

[i] The Discovery of Different Types of Cervical Mucus and the Billings Ovulation Method, Erik Obledad, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, Sweden,  Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, 27 Alexandra Parade, North Fitzroy, Victoria 3068, Australia, Volume 21, Number 3, pages 3-35, September 1994.

[ii] First Births to Older Mothers, 1970-86 – NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349777/pdf/amjph00238-0089.pdf  and First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise , NCHS Data Brief No. 152, May 2014 by T.J. Mathews, M.S.; and Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db152.htm

 

Melanie and Madeline, changing the face of beauty

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/melanie-and-madeline-changing-the-face-of-beauty/19526

Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. Why? Because it is the 21st day of the 3rd month. The numbers represent the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Unhapply, about 90% of women who learn that they will give birth to a child with Down syndrome have an abortion. This barbarity is not just the mother’s fault. They receive so little encouragement — even from their doctor – and they are under intense pressure just to make the problem disappear. Society takes a very dim view of disability.

Mary Le Rumeur writes from France about two young women with Down’s who have made a splash in the media as a model and as a weathergirl.

Two beautiful young girls – one in France and the other from Australia – are showing the world a new face of Down Syndrome.

Mélanie had a dream; she wanted to present the weather report on television. So last month, 21-year-old Mélanie Ségard posted a message on FaceBook: “If I get 100,000 likes, I can be the weather girl.”

Within 10 days Mélanie had 200,000 likes, and several television channels contacted her. The choice was made to accept the spot offered by France 2 on its main evening news programme.

Mélanie spent four days at the TV channel’s studios in Paris, under the tuition of former weather girl Catherine Laborde. She had to learn her text by heart because she can not read or write. The current weather girl Anaïs Baydemir took her under her wing and they worked as a team.

On March 14 the final preparations were made with Melanie choosing her clothes and make-up. Finally, at 8.35 pm, she was on screen, wearing a little black skirt, pretty pink top, chic earrings and a confident smile. Mélanie was telling the whole of France that Spring weather was arriving: “ Thursday, cloudy in the north, sunny near Marseille…. ”

And to finish, “Happy feastday tomorrow to all the Louises.” Anaïs and Mélanie hugged each other, a big happy smile on both faces.

This project was initiated to mark Down Syndrome Day, March 21. (The 21st of the third month represents the extra chromosome at the 21st pair that causes trisomy 21.) An association of families with DS children was looking for a way to overcome the  “ invisibility ”of their children, especially on television. And they were very proud of Mélanie’s exploits.

“ Mélanie was natural and spontaneous. Her presentation was happy and confident. Mélanie gave the message that if society helps these young people, they can achieve many things, ” said the president of the association, Luc Gateau. “ We hope that schools will become more inclusive of children with handicaps, and the next generation will be more familiar with different handicaps and able to interact more easily. ”

Mélanie’s weather report gave France 2 a record audience of over 5 million and it was also watched more than 3 million times on internet. On Twitter, 12,000 people sent Melanie a message of congratulations.

 

Madeline Stuart, Facebook

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Madeline Stuart was launching her own fashion label – in the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, no less ! Since 2015 Madeline has made a special place for herself in the fashion world, modelling in New York, Birmingham, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and China.

“ Exuberance ” is the word for this 20-year-old Australian who watched a fashion parade one day in her home town of Brisbane, and said to her mother, “ Mum, me, model.” Her mother Rosanne took up the challenge, first helping her daughter to lose 20 kilos, by dancing and going to the gym. Maddie’s new silhouette inspired people around the world.

Then in September 2015 Madeline was on the catwalk for the first time, during the New York Fashion Week. You can see the video of her first parade, in a stunning black dress, on her website. Colours and zazzy patterns are the trademark of Madeline’s casual but chic ready-to-wear collection. Her label: “ 21 Reasons Why ”.

Madeline and her team assume with pride all her 21 chromosomes, and showcase a young woman who takes life full on, with her arms open wide, a toss of her long shiny hair, and a smile to reach your heart. In 2016 Madeline was nominated for the Pride of Australia and Young Australian of the Year.

In 2015 a United States group called Changing the Face of Beauty set out to find 15 retailers to commit to using models with disabilities in their advertisements – and wound up getting commitments from more than 100 companies. With television and fashion weeks coming to the party, the face of beauty is certainly changing.

Mary O’Neill Le Remeur writes from Angers in France.

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/melanie-and-madeline-changing-the-face-of-beauty/19526#sthash.32pllWF4.dpuf

Touching story: 26-week-old preemie reaches out to nurse with tiny hand in captivating photo

babypMarch 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 26-week-old preemie reaching out to touch a nurse’s hand affirms the humanity of the most fragile human beings.

The Daily Mail published the photo, found on a website for medical staff called Figure 1. It shows a tiny baby girl, born at 26 weeks’ gestation and weighing less than one pound, “seeking the comfort of human touch.”

The baby girl’s whole hand was only 3/4 of an inch.

“I was changing her nappy and she just held onto my hand,” the nurse explained online. “I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important.”

Scientists believe skin-to-skin contact is crucial to a child’s physical and psychological development.

Birmingham City University’s head of psychology, Professor Craig Jackson, explained that babies need skin-to-skin contact. They crave the type of relational and physical closeness they experienced in the womb.

A mother’s skin contact with her baby is known to stimulate the production of breast milk. Such contact also releases oxytocin, known to create interpersonal bonding.

The Daily Mail reported on a 20-year Bogota, Columbia, study of 250 babies on the effects of skin-to-skin contact. The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study tested “Kangaroo Mother Care” for low-weight newborns, which replaced the cautious incubator approach for the most fragile human beings with “strapping the baby upright to the mother’s chest in skin-to-skin contact” and exclusively breast feeding.

The study found that babies who were given close skin-to-skin contact were calmer, less hyperactive, less aggressive, more faithful to school attendance, more sociable, slept better, and grew more brain matter.

A major review of 21 studies and more than 3,000 babies concluded that the maternal skin-to-skin contact “was preferable to conventional neonatal care.” Fathers making skin contact led to positive results as well.

The nurse reported that the fragile little girl in the picture is now a “happy, healthy, 14-pound nine-month-old.”

“Premature babies are the definition of a miracle,” she said. “I have the best job ever.”

Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News opined, “If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, this is it.”

Scientists are Creating the First “Three-Parent” Babies in Britain Turning Children Into Spare Parts

threeparent3A Newcastle fertility clinic has been given a license by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to carry out the controversial “three-parent baby” technique.

It is the first time such a license has been granted in the UK. The next step in the two-stage licensing process will be to consider the application relating to an individual patient.

Children as commodities

Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC and author of Cloning and Stem Cell Research explains the news, saying:

“This depressing but entirely foreseeable development puts into practice a technique known as ‘pro-nuclear transfer’. This technique involves the gutting and destruction of two embryos to create a third ‘combined’ embryo – a clone of one of the first two who will have no genetic parents in the ordinary sense. Early human beings are treated by scientists as mere commodities, and the would-be parents, with their encouragement, are more concerned with ensuring ‘quality’ in any child born than with reverence for the gift of human life.

Embryos used for spare parts

“As so often with such developments, safety concerns, which bodies such as the HFEA claim to be paramount, are set aside. Actual interference in the germ-line, which could affect countless future generations, is now permitted in this country, where so many other countries sensibly restrict it.

“The granting of this license entrenches the idea that eggs can be bought from women who will be cut off from the children to whom they also will have some genetic link. It worsens the situation for embryos, who are merely valued as sources of spare parts for ‘improved’ embryos ‘designed’ for would-be parents – who are in fact the full genetic parents of the embryo who is cloned and destroyed. And of course, such procedures do not even attempt to treat the mitochondrial problems some dishonestly claim they do.”

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.

Pro-lifers took Peru’s capital by storm… for a dance party!

LIMA, Peru, March 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)—The pro-life movement in Peru has produced a video of startling vitality and youthful exuberance to promote what may be the world’s largest annual March for Life.

Staged as a flash mob in a spacious public square in downtown Lima, the video begins with a teenage girl doing a solo song and dance with “en la marcha por la vida” as its chorus. Soon the square is filled with hundreds of young men and women joining her in both the song and dance, with both closeups filmed at ground level and long shots taken from a drone. The video is followed by a second one that teaches the song’s four verses and accompanying movements.

The flash mob matches this year’s theme: “La Calle Es Nuestra: Defienda La Vida (The Street is Ours: Defend Life).” Not only are Peruvians the most pro-life population identified in a world survey conducted earlier this year by Ipsos, their yearly Marcha Por La Vida may be the world’s largest. It drew 500,000 in 2015 and 750,000 last year. The biggest U.S. march, in 2013, attracted 650,000.

Abortion is illegal in Peru except to save the life of the mother. An effort two years ago to extend decriminalization to abortions of unborn children conceived in rape failed.

#Ru486RuCrazy campaign warns women about the dangers of abortion drug

This is the second in a series of videos. The first is available here.

March 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Campaign Life Coalition’s awareness campaign against Canada’s newest abortion drug, RU-486 or Mifegymiso, included a video posted on International Women’s Day warning women about the hypocrisy of radical feminists who put abortion access above women’s health.

So far, eight videos have been produced in the #Ru486RuCrazy campaign and are being released every few days. Marie-Claire Bissonnette, youth coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, says more are in the works.

For more videos, check out Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube @CLCYouthProLife.

Bill and Melinda Gates ride a hobby horse

https://www.mercatornet.com/conniptions/view/talking-contraceptives-with-mom-and-grandma/19465#sthash.MNRKtrsw.dpuf

By: Carolyn Moynihan

video images

I don’t like to harp on about Bill and Melinda Gates, but, honestly, is propaganda for contraception the best they could do for International Women’s Day?

In my mail this morning (March 8, US time) was a newsletter headed “Talking contraceptives with mom and grandma”. You know, like, “Having scones and jam with mom and grandma,” or “Taking a walk in the park with mom and grandma.” As nice and feminine as that. Except that it isn’t nice and feminine.

Contraception is about sterilising yourself in different ways: overdosing on hormones or having a metal or plastic device poked inside you, for instance; practices designed to make your body like a man’s, unable to conceive, except for the times they fail and either destroy a new human life or present you with an unwanted pregnancy.

Now that would be something to discuss with grandma: “Dear Gran, if my contraception failed do you think I should go to Family Planning and get an abortion?” That’s if you wnt to completely spoil her day.

There’s a video with four grandmother-mom-daughter groups, but none of them had an abortion, although it would have been legal for a few of the younger women who had unplanned pregnancies. It makes you wonder why American women had to turn out in their hundreds of thousands in January to claim their abortion rights.

And the grandmothers are the only ones to talk about marriage and children in the same breath. Their daughters planned and used IUDs and things – and had the odd lapse (“my son was a big oops”). But for the youngest generation (still having unplanned babies occasionally) it’s all about education, careers, “being anything I want”, and, ideally, achieving all sorts of milestones, including home ownership, before children enter the picture. Being “in control” is big.

True, the stories start with an English grandma saying how wonderful it is to be a mother, “a privilege”, but the poor things really had no choice. And neither, according to Bill and Melinda, do 225 million women in developing countries who “want to time and space their pregnancies, but they don’t have access to modern contraceptives.”

(Really? That many? Did they ask them all?)

“Let’s work to give every woman the chance to lead a healthy and prosperous life,” say the Gateses. “When women can plan their futures, everyone benefits.”

No-one could disagree with that. But why, if contraception is the key to health, wealth and happiness – and goodness knows, it’s been around for 50 years –are there so many women in countries saturated with cheap, often free, “modern contraceptives” who are struggling in poverty to bring up kids on their own?

Has Melinda warned the women she talks to in Africa and India that this is what can happen? And does she tell them straight off that the backstop is abortion, advocated and/or provided by organisations that the Gates Foundation partners with through the Family Planning 2020 coalition?

That network, which up until now, at least, includes US and UK government aid organisations, also had something to advertise on IWD. It’s their own riff on international human rights agreements, although some of those “agreements” only exist in the reports of UN committees and not in international treaties.

Family Planning 2020: Rights and Empowerment Principles For Family Planning is an elaboration of the familiar “sexual and reproductive health” agenda. “Abortion rights” are implicit in projects like FP2020, which have an official aura about them, but are often boldly stated by groups like Planned Parenthood, which sponsored the Washington Women’s March.

Western governments are shelling out enormous amounts of money for this reproductive health crusade. Yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that it would be boosted by $650 million from his government – this, hot on the heels of a $20 million commitment to an international abortion fund.

As I’ve said before, Bill and Melinda do some great things – they also sent out yesterday a feature, Alive Under 5, highlighting the 50 percent drop in childhood mortality since 1990, which they have assisted. It’s a shame to spoil these achievements with a patronising and compromising role in the war on population.

 

 

“Day Without a Woman” Sponsors Ignore How We’re Without Millions of Women Who Were Aborted

If you want to understand why just one-in-five Americans self-identify as a feminist, look no further than today’s “Day Without A Woman” event.

The organizers already told about half of America’s women to get lost when they explicitly stated the preceding January’s Women’s March’s “platform is pro-choice” and “has been since day one” and participants will be “marching on behalf of individuals who share th(at) view.” Today is supposed to be the “part two,” if you will, to that event.

The Day Without A Woman website claims to stand for “the human rights of women,” and yet they side-step the reality that tens of millions of American women consider abortion to be an egregious human rights violation against hundreds of thousands of females annually and millions more globally.

Understandably, the organizers would probably prefer not to rename the event, “A Day Without Pro-Choice Women,” but even if they did, that would still be too broad. That still wouldn’t address the reality, for example, that poor women don’t have the same luxury as wealthy women of risking being fired in order to stand for left-wing ideologies, many of which help to keep women in oppression and poverty, such as advocating for legalized prostitution.

Advocating for legalized prostitution?

Yep. Amnesty International is a sponsor of the Day Without a Woman. Amnesty was last seen coming out in favor of decriminalizing prostitution, or “sex work” as they now call it. Amnesty’s policy shift comes at a time when the number of people living in human slavery, many of them as sex slaves, is at a record high. An estimated 35 million people today are living in slavery and one can easily draw a straight line between prostitution and the trafficking of human beings, most of them girls and women, for sex.

Planned Parenthood is also heavily invested in the Day Without A Woman. They were a sponsor of the Women’s March and are hosting various events across the country in conjunction with tomorrow’s events.

Planned Parenthood keeps trying to bill itself as a representative of women’s interests, but those efforts are sagging under constant exposes that suggest the abortion chain is more interested in its bottom line than it is in authentic women’s health. For starters, the organization has lobbied against even the most commonsense regulations on the abortion industry, such as higher safety standards for abortion centers or bills that would restrict late term abortion, bills that just so happen to have the support of the overwhelming majority of … women.

So you’ll forgive those of us women who opt out of an event that purports to be pro-woman, but feels instead quite out of step with the attitudes of plenty of women who don’t care to see our country legalize the sexual exploitation of women, kill our preborn daughters, or get us fired from our jobs and call it progress for women.

LifeNews Note: Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and the author of the new book, “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female” (Regnery Publishing, 2017).

How one family is sending 13 kids to college, living debt free — and still plans to retire early

 www.washingtonpost.com

Sam Fatzinger prowls the aisles of an Aldi grocery store with an engineer’s precision. Workers greet her, mostly by name.

She puts several trays of chicken into a huge cart. Then it’s on to fresh blueberries for $1.79 a pint, in February. And she recalls the time the no-frills store had a sale on potatoes: 10 pounds for 99 cents. She bought 60 pounds. Her husband loves them.

To get these best buys, “it’s just watching and waiting and knowing,” Sam says.“Every cent counts.”

At the cashier, her groceries fill every inch of the conveyor belt. My silent guess: $250 in all. The bill: $127, half of my estimate.

Very impressive. But not as impressive as this:

Rob and Sam Fatzinger, lifelong residents of Bowie, Md., lead a single-income family in one of the country’s most expensive regions. Rob’s income never topped $50,000 until he was 40; he’s now 51 and earns just north of $100,000 as a software tester.

They have 13 children. Which means they require things like a seven-bedroom house and a 15-passenger van. Four children have graduated from college, three are undergrads and six are on the runway.

Yet they paid off their mortgage early four years ago. They have no debt — never have, besides mortgages. And Rob is on track to retire by 62.

This family gets the gold medal for being frugal. This family is the Einstein of economical.

These days, frugality is not about clipping coupons. It’s about rethinking your finances, and maybe your life.

Rob’s philosophy: “Spend money on what makes you truly happy and on what you enjoy. … The thing that people need to understand is that we don’t feel deprived or poor. … We pick and choose carefully.”

The Fatzingers are getting it done.

Could you?

Frugality is hardly new. In 1789, George Washington wrote to Marquis de Lafayette, the French military officer who fought for the American Revolution: “Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people.” And we were a frugal people well into the 20th century. Then came the era of instant credit, rampant consumerism and record personal bankruptcies.

Recently, frugality has gotten a boost thanks to hundreds of personal-finance bloggers, and no thanks at all to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Many focus on FIRE, an acronym for financial independence/retire early.

Aspirants often strive to save at least 25 percent of their take-home pay over the years, or even twice that — or more — to feel financially secure or to pursue a new career. Others yearn to quit their jobs for the long haul, even in their 30s.

One leading blogger grew up on food stamps. Others learned about money from their parents, for good or ill. The best are innovative, funny and surprisingly philosophical as they chart a course for change and places unknown.

They’re about ideas and possibilities, not suffering. And millions are listening. Until a couple of years ago, Rob Fatzinger had a blog called Sardonic Catholic Dad, focusing on family, faith and frugality. Two of his hits: “College on the Cheap — How the Sardonic Family Does It” and “How to Retire Early With 13 Kids,” which he wrote as a guest post on the FIRE site Mad Fientist.

Frugalism is often about math, determination and thinking a bit differently. A few key principles: How much you save, as a percentage of your paycheck, will foretell when you’ll be able to build your own business or retire. Small financial changes can make a big impact. And it’s not really about your income; it’s about your savings, says Pete Adeney, a lapsed engineer from outside Boulder, Colo., who created the popular Mr. Money Mustache blog.

And then there’s the “miracle” of compounding interest, the gift that keeps giving as your investment’s interest spawns its own interest, time and again.

The Fatzingers would never claim to be financial magicians. But to outsiders, it might look that way.

After marrying 27 years ago, Sam and Rob started a small Christian bookstore in Crofton, Md., and soon had a daughter. Rob said the couple never earned more than $36,000 a year in the business. Still, they saved 10 to 15 percent of their earnings. By the time they shuttered the store in 2000, they had seven kids.

About 10 years ago, Rob got the job testing software. Earnings of $40,000 gave way to $60,000 and are now about $110,000, counting a few thousand from mowing neighbors’ lawns and other tasks.

Back in 2000, they bought a five-bedroom house out of foreclosure and later added three bedrooms. Nine children, including the youngest, who is 4, live there now.

The good news: The home cost $150,000. The Fatzingers paid down $50,000, saving interest on the 15-year mortgage.

The bad news: Sam said their priest, visiting to bless the new home, “walked in and said: ‘Should I do an exorcism on this house?’ ” The place was in serious disrepair.

“Relatives gutted it and made it livable,” Sam said. “Youth groups were over here, ripping up carpet, taking down walls.” Someone gave them a wood stove. A relative gifted them a used couch. Later, another couch was left on a curb for anyone to take. Score.

Years later, they enlarged the kitchen, using two zero-percent finance offers good for 12 months. Eleven months later, they paid off the loan, without paying any interest. The project cost $28,000, with family members doing much of the demolition, painting and decorating.

Now they have two refrigerators, two stoves, two dishwashers and a welcoming, comfortable home. (Even the clothes washer is a champ. Sam estimates that the family cleans 42 loads a week, but never on Sundays. The only children who don’t do the wash are the 4- and 6-year-olds.)

Since the mortgage was paid off in 2012, Rob and Sam have turbo-charged their savings rate, now investing about $3,000 a month. Even so, they don’t go without. Sam has a $10 monthly gym membership, and Rob and Sam go out for lunch on the 20th of each month, maybe at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews in Bowie, marking the day of the month they got married.

Occasionally, Sam and Rob are annoyed by strangers at the grocery store. “People still say, “Oh my God, you have so many kids!” said Sam, a devout Catholic, as is Rob. “I have this ‘Don’t mess with me’ reaction. I’m not your typical, quiet, passive woman.”

Rob, 51, is soft-spoken, a work-from-home dad and a former “American Idol” fan. A few years back, he finished a 50-mile trail run — and kept going to 54.

Sam, who is 48, home-schools the children through high school and is certified to do so. The kids also get outside tutoring. Her nonacademic lessons extend to the rules and responsibility of money.

“My kids all get jobs as soon as they’re old enough,” she says, and they “learn to discern between needs and wants. They pay for their cellphones, they pay for college, they pay for their own gas.” Allowances? Nope.

Daughter Barbara, 20, a rising senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, started babysitting at 11. She got her first “real job” at Rita’s Italian Ice. Babysitting, she noted, “paid way more than Rita’s.”

When she was 15, Barbara bought a 1994 Ford Escort with 30,000 miles for $2,600 from her savings. “It sat in the driveway until I got my driver’s permit,” she said. Five years later, “I still drive it.”

The family shops at sales or secondhand stores and checks out the Freecycle Network, a site for giving away belongings.

Friends and strangers also chip in. “We always have someone dropping off a bike,” Sam said. “We would get things and not even know where they came from.”

Someone stuck an anonymous $500 gift card on the Fatzingers’ front door. And a pair of size 3 white shoes for church wound up on the doorstep for a young daughter who could use them.

“Bowie just does that,” Sam said. A friend from church gave them a used car, and Sam’s sister gave her a used red Chevrolet Suburban. And later, an older white Suburban.

Fine. Except this is America. Surely the kids are seething cauldrons of Nike-deprived resentment.

Or maybe not. “I always had a ton of clothes,” Barbara said. “I would go with Grandma and buy any cute clothes I wanted.”

Older brother Caleb: “I can see how some people would think … we might have been deprived. It was never like that.” He played soccer at a small Christian school, was a counselor at a summer camp and swam at a community pool. The kids had cable TV and high-speed Internet. In community college, Caleb said, he “knew I didn’t have what some other kids had, but it was never out of control.”

As for the givers: Sam’s sister, Joan Salvagno, who is 11 years older than Sam in a family of nine, said her sister’s family “needed the car more than we did. … You don’t really think of them as gifts. … We’ve gotten more than we’ve given.”

These days, even the childless can be terrified of college costs, so just imagine having 13 kids. But the Fatzingers have a strategy, and it’s working. The plan: Start in community college, don’t expect a handout from Mom and Dad, and graduate debt-free.

So far, Alexandria, the oldest at 26, graduated at 21 with a master’s degree in social work. Joshua, 25, graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in kinesiology and became a missionary.

Caleb, 23, is in the last year of a doctoral program in physical therapy at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. And Lizzie, 21, graduated in May from the University of Maryland with a math major, while also cleaning houses and tutoring. All four graduated from college debt-free.

All five oldest Fatzingers have gone first to Anne Arundel Community College.

In Barbara’s first semester, her tuition, textbooks and gas money were covered by scholarships and other aid. In her second semester, she spent “probably $500” in tuition. The next year, she paid $700 to $1,000 per semester. After two years, she had paid about $2,500 at most. It came from savings and her job in a child-care center at a gym.

In September, Barbara started at UMBC, a public university with higher expenses. Her first year there cost about $15,000, after receiving a $5,800 scholarship based on grades and financial need. Money was tight. Again, she paid with her savings, which included money from a grandparent, who gives each child a one-time gift of $5,000 for college. Barbara used some of the gift money to stay in school, but she’s saving most of it.

She will soon begin her senior year at UMBC. She has a $7,500 stipend for tuition and five small scholarships “that will fill the holes.” In return for the stipend, she’ll work for a state child-welfare program.

Barbara has decided to live at home this year, which means she’ll be commuting and “won’t be spending at all,” she said in a text message. “And I WILL graduate debt-free.”

Next year, she’ll follow in oldest sister Alex’s footsteps, pursuing her master’s degree in social work at another school, which could take one or two years. A Maryland program will pay most of her tuition, and in exchange, she’ll work for a child-welfare agency for two or three years after she graduates.

In total, roughly speaking, Barbara has paid about $17,500 out of pocket for tuition, books, supplies and fees for four years of college.

Common mistakes you could be making for your retirement

 

The Washington Post’s Jonnelle Marte gives helpful tips to avoid frequent mistakes made by people while preparing for retirement. (Ashleigh Joplin, Jonnelle Marte/The Washington Post)

I asked if she had paid for all her expenses in her first year at UMBC. The $15,000, she said, “was all of my money that I’ve been saving since I was 8 years old!”

But even the Fatzingers can’t outrun the college-cost steamroller.

Caleb was fine in community college, where he paid “essentially nothing,” in part because of his good grades and aid. And he graduated debt-free at Towson University, a public state school, where he worked in the admissions office.

But when he began the doctoral program in physical therapy two years ago, he had to take out a loan. With aid more scarce in grad school, he said he’ll end up owing almost $90,000.

“I think about it a good amount,” said Caleb, who started working as a physical therapy technician at 18. “I try not to worry too much.” He hopes to pay off the loan in 10 years.

He has one more year to go. He works at the school gym some days at 5:30 a.m. and slips into class at 9:30. “I think I’ve done the best I can,” he says.

The Fatzingers’ recent challenge: Joshua, the oldest son, is getting married in November — in Arizona. Could they all get there?

There was considerable concern. With 13 kids, the need to be frugal never takes a vacation.

At the end, they got three plane tickets for free, using air miles. Then they bit the bullet and bought 10. They’ll all be at the wedding.

My advice: Never bet against the Fatzingers.

Erica Johnston, an editor at The Post, never knew she came from a “small” family of nine until she met the Fatzingers.

A fertility awareness app gets official nod – and fake news treatment

https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/a-fertility-awareness-app-gets-official-nod-and-fake-news-treatment/19415

Anna Migeon

Last week the Swedish app Natural Cycles made international news coverage with their breakthrough European certification. Among others, the online magazine Business Insider reported the event in a fairly extensive article on the topic. However, the magazine, which is read by over 70 million individual readers every month, tainted the announcement with partial and uninformed views, to a point that can mislead many readers to question the viability of FABMs.

Natural Cycles is an app that was designed by two physicists, Elina Berglund and her husband Raoul Scherwzil. The app is based on the user’s daily basal temperature (lowest temperature of the day, first thing in the morning), and it calculates her fertile window using a proprietary algorithm. The user and her spouse/partner can choose to abstain during that period if they would like to avoid pregnancy, or to have intercourse if they are trying to achieve pregnancy. Currently over 150,000 women in 161 countries already use the app.

The app was clinically tested and approved by the Tüv Süd, a German inspection and certification agency, allowing the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to recognize the app as a medical product. This is good news for the FABM industry as a whole, as it gives a more official place to FABMs within the family planning and women’s health sector.

The manufacturer conducted two rounds of extensive clinical trials. The second study collected data from over 4,000 women aged 18-45 and showed a perfect use effectiveness rate of 99.5% and a typical use effectiveness of 93%, which is equivalent to the pill (99.7% and 92.5% according to the CDC).

Business Insider related the news and treated the industry as a whole with great skepticism. The general stance of the article is that, while the apps received a great report, the usefulness of FABMs and such apps is extremely limited: “Problem is, they (‘fertility awareness-based’ methods) aren’t always reliable, because human bodies aren’t always reliable.”

Here is their argument, and our response:

  1. The effectiveness of Natural Cycles is “way better than traditional fertility-based awareness methods, which have an average failure rate of 24%, according to the CDC.”

It is true that the CDC officially cited this low effectiveness rate in a 2011 report. However, the report is based on a study that used a low quality research methodology[i]. In this retrospective survey, the research team asked pregnant women to recall the method of birth control they were using when they got pregnant. In a letter published in the American Family Physician, Dr. Marguerite Duane, co-founder of FACTS, explains that not only is recall a weak indicator, but any method that sounded like a periodic abstinence method, including the obsolete, ineffective rhythm method, was put in the “Fertility Awareness” group. “This lumping together of FABMs or NFP methods old and new masks important differences in their effectiveness” she writes. It’s as if they had put all physical devices like the IUD and the condom in the same category and classified them as having one lower effectiveness rate with typical use.

An article from the FACTS team published in May 2013 by the Osteopathic Family Physician Journal[ii] shows that the top three FABMs have a perfect use effectiveness of 98.1%-99.6% and a typical use rate between  90.5 to 97.8%. Those numbers are far from the 24% failure rate reported by the CDC.

 

The Natural Cycles app Photograph: Danijela Froki/Natural Cycles via The Guardian

  1. “Natural Cycles is inarguably one of the best forms of fertility-based awareness birth control that exists.”

While Natural Cycles offers a well-researched option of FABM, we would argue that methods like Sympto-Thermal, Billings or Creighton, all methods with extensive clinical trial that have also been evaluated by international organizations such as the World Health Organization[iii], have similar effectiveness rates. These evidence-based methods are also beneficial in health literacy. Women learn not only to track their signs, but also to interpret the data in order to calculate the fertile window on their own. That knowledge is invaluable. These methods also have worldwide networks of instructors that can assist women in the interpretation of their charts.

  1. The length of a woman’s cycle can vary for several reasons, including stress. For many women, this variability is the only constant thing about their periods. In this case, fertility awareness-based methods are generally a bad option, according to Planned Parenthood.”

With the exception of the Standard Days Method, which is effective only for women whose cycles fall consistently within a range of 26-32 days, all evidence-based Fertility Awareness Based Methods’ effectiveness rates apply regardless of the cycle irregularity. The physical signs used by these methods (cervical fluid, temperature, and/or LH level) are present even when their cycle is longer or shorter than usual or than a normal cycle and still enable women to calculate their fertility window.

  1. “Fertility awareness methods also aren’t advisable for women who have a sexually-transmitted infection (STI).”

This is not a limiting factor specific to FABMs. FABMs do not protect from STIs, but neither does the pill or most other contraceptives methods.

  1. “And Planned Parenthood suggests these methods ’may not work‘ for women who have any of the following: more than one sex partner; a sex partner who ‘isn’t as committed to fertility awareness-based methods as you are’; trouble keeping close track of ’safe days’; trouble abstaining or using another method for at least 10 ‘unsafe days’ during each cycle; or for women who take medicine that may affect reading any of the signs of these methods.”

While it is true that the partner must cooperate in order to achieve the effectiveness rate of FABM, one can argue for example that a partner can be convinced to cooperate as he learns about the reasons and the benefits of doing so. Couples who are motivated to avoid pregnancy manage to abstain. Once a woman acquires the habit of tracking her cycles, keeping track of safe days is scarcely more difficult than remembering to take the pill every day.  Evidence-based FABMs also have provisions for women who take medications that can impact their signs, so that the effectiveness rates remain high.

We congratulate Natural Cycles for this achievement of the certification and the hard work that went into it. We also recommend this article for anyone seeking to use an app, as not all of them provide the same level of effectiveness. Finally, for our friends in the media, we highly recommend referring to our medical colleagues and partners FACTS, who are experts in this field, and regularly select and publish authoritative research about FABMs.

[i] Trussell J. Contraceptive Efficacy. In Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson AL, Cates W, Kowal D, Policar M. Contraceptive Techology: Twentieth Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2011.

[ii] Manhart MD, Duane M, Lind A, et al. Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning: a review of effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy using SORT. Osteopathic Fam Physician. 2013;5(1):2–8.

[iii]  Family Planning, A Global Handbook for Providers, World Health Organization, 2011 http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44028/1/9780978856373_eng.pdf

Anna Migeon is the co-founder of Natural Womanhood, a MercatorNet partner site. 

– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/a-fertility-awareness-app-gets-official-nod-and-fake-news-treatment/19415#sthash.KXAYLQVI.dpuf

Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/08/birth-control-makes-women-unattractive-and-crazy/

The media never stops banging on about women’s health, particularly in the wake of the disgusting revelations about Planned Parenthood. They’re always telling us that “women’s bodies” and “women’s choices” should be paramount. But just how healthy are the solutions to unwanted pregnancy that they propose?

Ladies — I’d like you to imagine that you are Neo from the popular film franchise The Matrix. For the purposes of this thought experiment, I am Laurence Fishburne, except with really good hair, a charming personality, and of course I’m much blacker than he is.

In one hand I hold a pill that lets you see the truth, even if at it first it is very bitter. In the other I hold a pill that you have to take every day and it will keep you from getting pregnant at the low cost of turning you into a hideous monster.

Ask yourself before continuing: are you ready for the truth, or do you want to continue turning yourself into Gollum for the benefit of not having to practice any sexual responsibility at all? Okay, different movie franchise, but you get the idea.

God-fearing nutcases like me have long argued that birth control, like abortion (or “the murder of children,” if you prefer), is the work of the Devil. Like all things discouraged by the Bible, it leads only to misery and suffering — for young men as well as women.

Now, assuming you’ve chosen the right pill, I can prove with the power of science that religious folk were right all along and that science has a little-known but undeniable Roman Catholic bias.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU FAT

Let’s start with the grossest form: injectable birth control. IT MAKES YOU FAT. A 2009 study from the University of Texas found that women using DMPA gain an average of 11 pounds over three years, a 3-4 per cent increase.

Worse, this was abdominal fat, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, strokes and diabetes. 25 per cent of women on DMPA experienced “significant and potentially dangerous body composition changes.” Yes, that’s right. They became dangerously fat. On the bright side, they’re able to stop the injections at that point because being fat is the best form of birth control anyone could ask for.

So in other words, your birth control injection will add on pounds that will prevent the injection you really want — of man meat. This, in turn, will lead to depression and excessive ice-cream consumption, which adds on more pounds. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in what medical professionals call “a vicious cycle” but what I call FFAS, or “Female Forever Alone Syndrome.”

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOUR VOICE UNSEXY

It’s not just your body that will get less sexy. Your voice will lose its seductiveness too. Women sound most attractive to men when their estrogen levels are high, and their progesterone levels are low. Birth control lowers the former and raises the latter, making women sound as erotically appealing as Bruce Jenner giving a croaky acceptance speech.

If you think the man of your dreams will be eager to meet you after that first Skype call where you sound like a lumberjack, keep dreaming. Men trust their senses and will create a mental picture of you long before you meet. Do you really want to be labelled a pity lay, betrayed by your whacked-out hormones? No you do not.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU JIGGLE WRONG

Women on the Pill don’t look right and don’t talk right. What could be worse? Well, they can’t jiggle correctly either. A study from the University of Göttingen in 2012 gauged the attractiveness of female dancers. Men judged fertile women as more attractive dancers — and even walkers — than women in their non-fertile phase.

The researchers speculated that estrogen fluctuations during a woman’s fertile period can affect muscle, ligament and tendon strength, leading to subtle differences in movement. Fertile gals, in other words, have all the right moves.

The rougher elements in society will talk about a woman’s posterior — or mine — and describe the way a quarter might bounce off it. Birth control’s estrogen enroachment is liable to have that coin ricocheting off into someone’s eye or just slowly sinking in (see cottage cheese, below).

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG MATES

It’s already established that going on the Pill makes you less attractive to men. But it also affects who you’re attracted to as well. Healthy, fertile women seek out men who are genetically different to them. Women on the Pill do the opposite, seeking out men who are closer to their own tribe. That’s right, ladies: the Pill turns you into Lannisters. I understand lusting after close relations might be a positive thing in some locations, such as West Virginia, or Norfolk, so YMMV on this one.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU UNSEXY ALL THE TIME

Don’t be fooled into thinking that birth control only makes you stupid and unattractive during your fertile periods. Although studies have found that female strippers make an average of $70 an hour during peak fertility, versus $35 while menstruating and $50 in between, women on the Pill averaged $37 — just two dollars more than a menstruating woman — and obviously had no performance peak for periods of fertility. To put it as one of my beloved rappers might: to make Wall Street, you gotta be in heat.

If you’re dropping hints to a man who doesn’t even know you exist, it might be because according to his brain, thanks to your birth control, you’re as attractive as a post-menopausal cat lady.

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES YOU A SLUT

It’s well established that women lust after rugged, manly men during their fertile cycles, and prefer baby-faced “provider” types outside this period. Indeed, this alternating pair of desires is the leading cause of female infidelity. However, imagine how accentuated this process is with women on the Pill.

A single month of it would be enough to have even the most loyal woman deliberately tripping attractive men and falling on top of them… regardless of affirmative consent. Be aware lads, if she’s on the Pill, you’re probably getting cucked — unless you’re dating a polyamorous third-wave feminist, in which case you’re getting cucked no matter what birth control method is being used (and let’s be honest, it’s probably abstinence).

BIRTH CONTROL MAKES MEN UNMANLY

Birth control has a knock-on effect on men, too. During ovulation, women are more likely to be critical of unsexy men. This, of course, is vital to the health of masculinity. Female nagging is, of course, 90 per cent pointless noise, but the 10 per cent that occurs during an ovulation cycle is what men should listen to, because it could help them be more manly. Of course, if your woman’s on the Pill, you won’t hear it at all.

(This one is a stretch, I know, but I’ve added it for the sake of completeness. As far as I can tell most women are hysterical hypercritical harpies towards their boyfriends and husbands the vast majority of the time. Man am I relieved to be a fag right now.)

BIRTH CONTROL GIVES YOU COTTAGE CHEESE THIGHS

Cellulite is the stuff of nightmares. It’s the ugly, dumpling-like ridges you see on the thighs of overweight women. It’s true some fellows like thick girls these days, but cellulite will slam the brakes on any guy’s lust.

But did you know that cellulite didn’t exist before the Pill? According to The Scientific American, pictures of women with cottage cheese thighs are almost impossible to find prior to the 1970s. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Pill is responsible, of course: other factors like increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the rise of fast food might have been responsible.

Might have been. But the Pill is the most likely culprit, because cellulite is linked to estrogen imbalances. What causes estrogen imbalances? The Pill!

THE PILL MAY HAVE DESTROYED THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

Take a look at the graph below. It’s divorce rates in the U.S., overlaid with the rise of the pill.

divorce-pill

Exactly why there is such a close correlation between the rise of the Pill and the rise of divorce rates we can’t say with total certainty, but the relationship is stark. Possible explanations include: a lack of children leading to fewer reasons for couples to stay together, and… all of the items mentioned on the list above.

Of course, if your darling wife has been on the Pill for the last five years of your union, you’ve never actually met her in her true form. When she finally stops dosing, you will be faced with a woman who has spent the last half-decade not learning how to deal with the Twilight Zone insanity endemic to the female brain.

When she comes off the drugs, be prepared for all your worst nightmares to come true. You literally just asked an addict to go cold turkey.

Now, you may be asking what I would have women replace the Pill with, since it’s obviously so awful. Condoms? Vasectomies? The answer is: nothing. We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.

Tossing out birth control isn’t just kinder to women, it may be the only way to save civilization. Sorry, no offense, but it’s true. And hey! It’s what God wants, too.

My Submission to the AMA Opposing Neutrality on Physician-Assisted Suicide

Amid conflicting reports about whether or not the American Medical Association was going to consider a position of neutrality on physician assisted suicide, I was informed that the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs was collecting data, position statements, etc. for consideration of assisted suicide and other topics before the June AMA Annual meeting. The deadline for submissions was February 15.

The following is my submission titled “Neutrality on physician assisted suicide also hurts nurses”

Dear AMA,

I have been a registered nurse since 1969. After working in critical care, hospice, home health, oncology, dialysis and other specialties for 45 years, I am currently working as a legal nurse consultant and volunteer as well as spokesperson for the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses. Over the years, I have cared for many suicidal people as well as people who attempt suicide.

I have served on medical and nursing ethics committees, served on disability and nursing boards. I have written and spoken on medical ethics-especially end of life issues-since 1984.

The dangers of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide are especially acute for us nurses. Unlike doctors, we nurses cannot refuse to care for a patient  in a situation like assisted suicide unless another willing nurse can be found which can be impossible. If we do refuse, that is considered abandonment and cause for discipline and even termination. And we are necessarily involved when the assisted suicide act occurs in home health, hospice or health care facility even though the doctor is not required to be there.

marievalko

Marievalko Picture of Marie Valko 1979-2009

As a nurse and the mother of a suicide victim (see picture above), I am alarmed by reports that the AMA is considering a position of neutrality on physician-assisted suicide. I beg you to uphold the legal and ethical standard that medical professionals must not kill their patients or help them kill themselves. Suicide is a tragedy to be prevented if possible, not a civil right.

MY DAUGHTER KILLED HERSELF USING AN ASSISTED SUICIDE TECHNIQUE

In 2009, I lost a beautiful, physically well 30-year-old daughter, Marie, to suicide after a 16-year battle with substance abuse and other issues. Her suicide was like an atom bomb dropped on our family, friends and even her therapists.

Despite all of our efforts to save her, my Marie told me that she learned how to kill herself from visiting suicide/assisted suicide websites and reading Derek Humphry’s book Final Exit. The medical examiner called Marie’s suicide technique “textbook final exit” but her death was neither dignified nor peaceful.

Marie was not mere collateral damage in the controversy over physician-assisted suicide. She was a victim of the physician-assisted suicide movement, seduced by the rhetoric of a painless exit from what she believed was a hopeless life of suffering.

SUICIDE CONTAGION

Adding to our family’s pain, at least two people close to Marie became suicidal not long after her suicide. Luckily, these two young people received help and were saved, but suicide contagion, better known as “copycat suicide”, is a well-documented phenomenon. Often media coverage or publicity around one death encourages other vulnerable people to commit suicide in the same way.

STUDY SHOWS LEGALIZING PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE IS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE RATE OF TOTAL SUICIDES

A 2015 article in the Southern Medical Journal titled “How Does Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Affect Rates of Suicide?” came to these conclusions:

“Legalizing PAS has been associated with an increased rate of total suicides relative to other states and no decrease in nonassisted suicides. This suggests either that PAS does not inhibit (nor acts as an alternative to) nonassisted suicide, or that it acts in this way in some individuals but is associated with an increased inclination to suicide in other individuals.”

THE HEALTH AND ECONOMIC COSTS OF SUICIDE

My Marie was one of the almost 37,000 reported US suicides in 2009. In contrast, only about 800 assisted-suicide deaths have been reported in the past 16 years in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans in 2012, with “More than 1 million people reported making a suicide attempt in the past year” and “More than 2 million adults reported thinking about suicide in the past year.” The CDC estimates that suicide “costs society approximately $34.6 billion a year in combined medical and work loss costs”, not to mention the emotional toll on families.

Obviously our real health-care crisis here is a staggering and increasing rate of suicides, not the lack of enough assisted suicides.

BRITTANY MAYNARD

There was a media frenzy in October 2014 when Brittany Maynard, a young newlywed woman with a brain tumor, announced plans to commit physician-assisted suicide on November 1 and raise money to have physician-assisted suicide legalized in all US states. There was an immediate and unprecedented media frenzy surrounding Ms. Maynard’s tragic story that routinely portrayed her pending assisted suicide as “heroic” and even counting down the days to her suicide. Personally, I thought this looked like a crowd on the street shouting for a suicidal person on a window ledge to jump.

In the end, Brittany hesitated for a day before she went through with her pledge to take the lethal overdose.

Now, assisted suicide supporters even deny that physician-assisted suicide is suicide, insisting that media stories use euphemisms like “aid-in-dying” and “death with dignity” in cases like Ms. Maynard’s to make assisted suicide more palatable to the public. However, this defies common sense when the definition of suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life.

PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE AND MEDICAL DISCRIMINATION

I have been a registered nurse for 47 years, working in intensive care, oncology, hospice and home health among other specialties. Personally and professionally, I have cared for many people who attempt or consider killing themselves.

Some of these people were old, chronically ill or had disabilities. Some were young and physically healthy. A few were terminally ill. I cared for all of them to the best of my ability without discrimination as to their condition, age, socioeconomic status, race or gender. I will do anything to help my patients — except kill them or help them kill themselves.

Suicide prevention and treatment works, and the standards must not be changed just because some people insist their desire for physician-assisted suicide is rational and even a civil right.

Iowa Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions and Call Unborn Children Human Beings

An Iowa bill that would recognize unborn babies as people and protect them from abortion passed a state Senate committee on Monday amid heated debate.

Radio Iowa reports “a large and vocal crowd” attended the hearing on Monday to voice their support and opposition to the measure. The committee gave its initial approval of the bill, moving it to another Senate committee for consideration.

“The sovereign state of Iowa recognizes that life is valued and protected from the moment of conception,” the bill states.

The bill would recognize that human life begins at the moment of conception and ban abortions in the state. According to the Associated Press, it is unclear if the bill has enough support to pass the full state Senate.

Pro-life attorney Rebecca Keissling, who attended the hearing, was one of several pro-lifers who spoke up in support of the bill, according to the radio report.

“You’re providing the framework to recognize that the unborn child is a person and also to have a public policy that prefers childbirth over abortion,” Keissling said.

Abortion advocates criticized the legislation, claiming it pushes a “religious point of view” about when life begins, according to the report. Others indicated that there would be a lawsuit if the bill becomes law.

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Because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, the measure likely would be overturned in the courts. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings with a right to life.

Many pro-life groups think one of the keys to ending legalized abortion is to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, potentially would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty.

President Donald Trump promised to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, but he would need to nominate and the Senate would have to confirm several before there is a chance of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Trump’s nominee to replace Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, has taken the pro-life side in several important cases, including with pro-life Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood and with the Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby against the Obama Administration. Several pro-life groups also praised Gorsuch as a nominee.

Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Professor of Neurobiology: Human Life Begins at Conception, Fertilization

Maureen Condic, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah. She has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a distinguished group of physicians, scientists, and theologians from the international community whose mission it is to study questions and issues regarding the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective, since 2014. Dr. Condic is one of our nearly 40 associate scholars. In this interview, she discusses the beginning of human life and the moral status of the human being.

What can science tell us about when human life begins?

Condic: The question of when life begins has been addressed for a very long time by philosophers and religious thinkers—often without the benefit of detailed information regarding what actually happens during prenatal life. Consequently, this question has also been answered in a wide variety of ways, leading many to believe that the question simply cannot be answered.

The advantage of a scientific approach to the question of when life begins is that the answer is not based on opinion or personal values, but rather on direct observation. And in the modern age, we have very detailed observations, confirming beyond any reasonable doubt, that the cell produced by sperm-egg fusion (the zygote) is a human organism; i.e. a human being. We know this because immediately upon the binding and fusion of the gametes (a rapid event taking less than a quarter second to complete), the newly formed zygote enters into a sequence of molecular events that determine and direct its subsequent maturation and growth. The fact that the zygote autonomously initiates the process of embryonic development distinguishes it from a mere human cell and clearly indicates that it is a full and complete, albeit immature, member of the human species.

What can reason tell us about the moral status of the unique human being who comes into being at conception?

Condic: Similar to the question of when life begins, the question of when human beings have moral status and a right to life has also been answered in many ways. The three most common approaches are to confer rights based on 1) some aspect of form and/or function (ability), 2) social convention (or fiat) and 3) status as a human being (or nature).

Most of us reject linking rights to abilities as repugnant. It defies our basic sense of justice to envision a world where the strong, the beautiful, and the intelligent have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while the weak, the plain, and the slow are enslaved or killed. Similarly, most of us find repulsive the idea that a simple plurality of opinion can decide, as it did in Nazi Germany, who has rights and who does not.

The principles of liberty and justice form the basis of all civilized societies. The only way of viewing human rights that does not offend these principles is that rights are inalienable for all human beings; i.e. that we have rights only and always because we are humans. And this would apply equally to humans at all stages of maturity, including the zygote stage.

Why is it important that the right to life of the human being from conception until natural death can be established by scientific and philosophical, rather than revelation-based, arguments? Does this mean that religious arguments are somehow unimportant or should be excluded from the public square?

Condic: I don’t believe that the right to life of the human being can be established by a scientific argument. Science is simply a useful system for making accurate and neutral observations. As such, it does not speak to abstract principles like human rights.

In contrast, reason and logic are common to both philosophy and science. And the conclusion that all human beings have human rights is a logical, not a scientific conclusion. This does not mean that the truths revealed by religion have no place in formulating moral judgments. But I would argue that religious truths must be consistent with both reason and observation. For example, a religion that denies rights to people of a particular gender, race, or faith would have to reconcile this belief with scientific fact and place it within a logically consistent framework.

Why should the state not fund or promote embryonic stem cell research, and what alternative research should the state support?

Condic: As a matter of justice, no state should support, or indeed tolerate, research that involves the destruction of a living human being. While embryonic stem cells are scientifically interesting, research on stem cells derived from ethical sources (for example; animal’s stem cells, stem cells from mature tissues, and stem cells produced by cell reprogramming) are viable alternatives to human embryonic stem cell research.

Why are you pro-life? If you had 60 seconds to explain to someone why you have pursued the work that you have throughout your career, what do you tell them?

Condic: I have pursued scientific research because I am fascinated by how things work. And human development is an enormously complex, and therefore enormously engaging intellectual problem. It is also an astonishingly beautiful process; an elegant, intricate, and yet quite robust molecular dance. It seems to me that anyone who appreciates the beauty of human development and who has paused long enough to think through the logical implications, would inevitably have a profound respect and admiration for the beauty of human life.

Legal group fights policy forcing pro-life doctors to refer for abortion, euthanasia

TORONTO, February 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Calgary conscience rights group has joined Ontario Christian doctors in fighting a requirement that they refer patients for euthanasia and abortion — and perform both procedures in emergencies.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was granted intervenor status in a legal action launched by five Ontario Christian doctors, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS), and other doctors’ groups.

Their target is the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which controls the profession with the power to licence and de-licence doctors. In June, the Christian doctors will go to court in an attempt to have two new college policies ruled unconstitutional.

The first policy, according to CMDS executive director Larry Worthen, requires doctors whose consciences prevent them from performing a procedure to provide an “effective referral” to another doctor who will do it.

The second requires the same protections specifically with euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The College of Physicians and Surgeon’s policy becomes even more morally problematic in an emergency. If there is no other doctor available, the objecting doctor objection must do it anyway, even if it is an abortion.

“Our members can’t do an effective referral,” Worthen told LifeSiteNews. An “effective referral” is what a doctor provides when he believes a treatment is required but cannot do it himself. But Worthen’s members do not believe that assisted suicide, euthanasia or abortion are morally or medically justified.
As for doing these procedures in emergencies, “There is no definition of emergency,” Worthen pointed out.

The CMDS will focus on how the college’s requirements violate provisions in the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting freedom of conscience. However, The Justice Centre will take a different tack.

John Carpay, director of the JCCF, said his group will attack the college’s basic premise that Canadians have a right to a specific treatment.

“We make the point that there is therefore no Charter right to healthcare” in general, nor any specific treatment, “including MAID,” Carpay stated. 

“Further,” he added. “There is no right, Charter or otherwise, to demand that an individual doctor perform or provide an effective referral for a specific medical procedure or service that violates that doctor’s conscientious or religious beliefs.”

Other intervenors on the Christian doctors’ side include the Ontario Catholic Bishops Conference and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Seven other provinces have adopted ethical guidelines for euthanasia and assisted suicide that respect doctors’ freedom of conscience. Worthen said this should carry weight in court because it will undermine the defence expected from the college. It will contend its policy was the only one available to it to protect patients wanting so-called “medical assistance in dying” or abortion.

FROM THE PASTOR

February 12, 2017 by Fr. George W. Rutler

Europe and its contiguous lands were in a chaotic condition in 1240: the Mongols were destroying Kiev, the Novgorod army virtually wiped out the Swedes along the Neva River, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, was pillaging the Papal States using Islamic Saracens as his mercenaries. Pope Gregory IX’s attempt to rally a Crusade against the invaders failed, and his good friend Saint Clare was virtually bedridden as the Saracens besieged her convent at San Damiano. Her beloved Francis of Assisi had died fourteen years before. In this emergency, she left her invalid couch, went to the window and exposed the Blessed Sacrament in a silver and ivory ciborium, and the alien troops fled.

In northern Mexico until just a few years ago, drug- and gang-related violence had made Ciudad Juarez one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Following the example of Saint Clare, missionaries turned to the Eucharistic Lord for help. A perpetual adoration chapel was opened in 2013 when the murder rate was forty people a day, with soldiers and policemen joining the gangs. Increasing numbers of devotees urged the soldiers to join them in Holy Hours. Few now dismiss as only coincidence the fact that within five years the annual murder rate dropped from 3,766 to 256.

That rate is far lower than many cities in the United States now. With dismaying insouciance,
statisticians in our nation over recent years have coldly taken for granted its moral decay. Besides graphic violence in the streets, there are over 500,000 abortions each year. In many places, births out of wedlock are the norm, teenage suicide has doubled in little more than a decade, 40% of all children live in broken homes, school diplomas and college degrees have generally become meaningless, marriage has been redefined into surreality, and freedom of religion has been intimidated by false readings of constitutional rights.

Recent political shifts in our nation offer a faint glimmer of genuine promise for a change in all this, as more people realize that in the past they had placed their confidence in gossamer hopes and tinsel messiahs. But the ballot box is no substitute for the Tabernacle. A well-known Pentecostal preacher surprisingly admitted that most miracles happen in the Catholic Church because “Catholic people revere the Eucharist.” If more Catholics themselves understood that, there would be more miracles. Now, miracles do not contradict nature: they are God’s will at work at high speed. Christ promised to be with us “until the end of the world.” Eucharistic adoration is simply the recognition of his presence. Saint Clare prayed, “My Lord, if it is your wish, protect this city which is sustained by your love.” The Lord answered, “It will have to undergo trials, but it will be defended by my protection.”

Eucharistic Adoration—Our hope for a Culture of Life in America

Resolve Dropping Fertility in US: Have More Babies!

http://www.pattimaguirearmstrong.com/2016/08/have-more-babies.html

bath

God told us: “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. ” Genesis 1:28.  The latest birth rate numbers show we aren’t listening.

Instead, the U.S. fertility rate fell to the lowest point since the 1909 record keeping began, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the first three months of 2016, for every 1,000 women, there are now only 59.6 births. During the Baby Boom in 1957, the fertility rate was 122.9 births per 1,000 women.

The future goes to those willing to populate it.   Countries below replacement of 2.1 child per woman, are dying.  We’ve joined that crowd since 2007, although perhaps “crowd” is a poor word choice.  Right now, the rate in the U.S. is sitting at 1.87, as compared to Germany’s 1.38.

It’s noteworthy that there are sharp differences between religions.  According Pew Research Center, the average Mormon family has 3.4 babies while Jews, Catholics, and most Protestantism denominations have fertility rates ranging from 2 to 2.5.  Atheists average 1.6 kids, and agnostics, only 1.3.

Live Catholic!

As a Catholic, the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church has all the truth. But relativism has gummed up the works.  So has contraception.  If my husband and I had not gotten on board with all the teachings of the Church, our family would be minus one reversal and less 4 biological kids. (We had 8, adopted 2 more.)

Although the Church accepts working with a woman’s natural fertility to limit children, it can be abused if used with a contraceptive mentality.  The default marriage setting is to be open to the gift of life unless there are serious reasons dictating the contrary.

Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis encouraged married couples to be fruitful in our vocation of marriage. He said, “Fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness are the three characteristics of God’s love for his Church and should be the same three pillars of a Christian marriage.”

The Pope scolded couples that intentionally choose worldly comforts over children as a lack of fruitfulness and something, “Jesus does not like.”

Bad Reasons Not to Have More Children

I know the excuses.  But they are bad excuses. Mostly.  Some couples have valid reasons for not being open to life, so my list only applies to the people to whom it applies. Check with God to find out if you are on his list to receive more precious bundles with eternal souls.

* Hooked on contraception. Read On Human Life: Humanae Vitae. It explains why Catholic teaching against contraception is in our best interest.

*  I don’t want another baby. Be open to what God wants.  How many times have you been pleasantly surprised in life?

*  The world is a bad place to bring children into.  It’s just temporary. Heaven is our final destination

*  I gave away the maternity clothes. There are equally generous women out there.

*  I’m not ready. Then don’t have sex.

*  I’m too old. Menopause is the fertility finish line.

*  I’m not patient enough. Practice makes perfect and prayer helps.

*  Money. Mother Teresa used to say:  “God has all the money in the world.” Read this story about a one-income family of 15, (until age 40, the father never made more than $50,000) debt free, their house is paid off and all their kids go to college—some have masters and one is working on a doctorate.  And don’t put an earthly price tag an eternally priceless gift.

*  Our house is too small. Get bunk beds. Re-evaluate your need for space.

*  Overpopulation. It’s a major myth. Educate yourself.  Here’s an hour-long video and good 10-minute explanation that there is no overpopulation problem.

*  I don’t like babies.  God does. Find out why you don’t like what God likes. That’s a disturbing state of mind.

*  When is it going to be my time?   No one begrudges you time and space for yourself, but practice moderation.

Be Open
Sadly, 40 percent of women actually want more children than they have.  I say, have those desired babies.   Since love begets love, your family’s heart can grow bigger and you might end up wanting even more.

Babies are precious, their souls are eternal, and they make you a better, holier person.  Could you be closing yourself off to such a gift from God?

Posted by Patti Maguire Armstrong

Watch a 20-week baby in utero with new groundbreaking technology

London, England, Feb 8, 2017 / 04:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- When the fetal ultrasound gained popularity in the 1970s, it was hailed as a “window to the womb.” But now, new technology could offer a much more in-depth view of babies before birth.

Courtesy of a new multimillion dollar project based out of London, some parents are able to see clear scans of every movement and organ of their babies in the womb starting as early as 20 weeks, using advanced MRI technology.

“There is nothing quite as emotional as seeing your unborn child moving inside you, and these MRI scans are taking images to the next level,” stated Cathy Ranson, the editor of ChannelMum.com, a website that is distributing videos of the MRI scans.

“They are truly breathtaking,” Ranson continued.

Traditionally, ultrasounds are used during pregnancy to check in on growing babies in the womb using high frequency sound waves. Although useful, ultrasounds usually produce limited visual scopes of the womb and can vary in quality depending on various factors, such as age, weight, and position.

However, a curious team of medics pushed the limits of the ultrasound to find out if there was a better way to get in-utero scans.

Top minds from Kings College London, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Imperial College London, University of Firenze, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Philips Health were given £10 million from the Wellcome Trust and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to see if they could advance antenatal scans.

This team of medics composed a new series of algorithms and magnetic fields to go beyond the limits of the ultrasound. This new technology is allowing clear pictures of the entire womb, making details like a 20-week heart valve crystal clear.

A video, produced by the iFIND project, shows just how detailed the scans are: the baby is stretching, turning, and even playing with the umbilical cord. They also recorded the reverberations of the baby’s movements, which could be seen rippling through the mother’s belly.

In addition to creating the optimal scan, the MRI technology also has a mechanism that auto corrects any small movements to produce an overall smooth image.

Dr. David Lloyd, a Clinical Research Fellow at King’s College London, said the new MRI scans “can see the structures inside the body, regardless of whether there’s bone, muscle or fat in the way.”

“It is also one of the few imaging techniques that is safe to use in pregnancy,” Dr. Lloyd continued.

This new technology is more than just a great picture for excited parents to see. The MRI scans could also reveal complications or growth deficiencies earlier in the pregnancy, which could allow for advanced treatment even before the baby is born.

The MRI scans have already kicked up some debate, especially in the UK where abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. These new scans, showing how babies actively move around at 20 weeks, is making the current abortion limit even more questionable.

Moving forward, the iFIND project wants the MRI scans to become available for all pregnant women around the world.

The Most Important Chart (Phenomenon) in all of the Social Sciences

http://patfagan.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-most-important-chart-phenomenon-in.html

By now, regular readers of Faith and Family Findings are familiar with the data on family structure and its impact on everything important to a functioning society.  On every outcome measured, for adults and children, those in an intact family do best on all the positive outcomes we desire for ourselves and our children (education, income, savings, health, longevity, happiness, sexual enjoyment, intergenerational support) and have the least incidence of all the negatives we hope never afflict our children (crime, addictions, abuse both physical and sexual, poverty, illiteracy, exclusion, ill health, unhappiness, mental illness, lack of sexual fulfillment).

Thus family structure is exceedingly important to society and a return to intact marriage is a sine qua non for a nation or for families set on rebuilding themselves.

Given that, consider the implications of the following chart on the intactness of marriage at the end of the first five years of marriage:

What this chart shows is the probability of intactness of family after the first five years of marriage– given the number of sexual partners of the spouses have had in their lifetime. Using rounded numbers:  95% of those who are monogamous, that is only one sexual partner in their life time —i.e. only their spouse–95% are still in an intact marriage after the first five years. But for the woman (national average) who has had one extra sexual partner other than her husband (almost always prior to marriage) the percent drops to 62% and with two extra partners it drops almost to 50%.  Thereafter it plateaus.  For men it takes five sexual partners to reach the same level of breakup.

When I first saw this phenomenon in the 1995 data (the above is 2006-2010 data) my immediate reaction was “Those Mediterranean cultures that had chaperoning during courtship knew something about human nature, family life and intergenerational stability.” They ensured Mediterranean family was on the three-love diet.

Chastity and monogamy are foundational to the intact married family, and thus to the prosperity and success of a nation.  Hence my conclusion that this chart is the most important chart in all of the social sciences.

A culture of monogamy is critical to a thriving nation or a thriving culture.

A culture of chastity is foundational to a culture of monogamy.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture.  Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.

For the impact of monogamy at a more causative level check out the work of JD Teachman on Google Scholar  or his CV and you will be able to thread the impact of monogamy in an admirable corpus of cumulative scholarship that is one of the great contributions to research on the family.

Though the above chart is purely correlational – it is demographically descriptive of America, of what is happening between our couples who get married.  One chart cannot prove chastity is causative (go to Teachman and others to tease that out) but it sure indicates where causal strength (or weakness) can be found.

Astonishing Things Freud, Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and T.S. Eliot Said About Contraception

195. Astonishing Things Freud, Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and T.S. Eliot Said About Contraception

It was contraception that caused me to leave the Church as a teenager and it was contraception that brought me back into the Church in my 20s. I shared some of that story in my last blog. Here I want to share how discovering the predictions of some very prominent thinkers of the early 20th century helped open my eyes to what’s at stake.

I remember how surprised I was to learn that, until 1930, all Christian denominations were unanimous in their firm opposition to any attempt to sterilize sexual intercourse. That year, when the Anglican Church opened the door to contraception at its Lambeth Conference, it was the first Christian body to break with the continuous teaching of the early Church, the spiritual masters throughout the ages, and all the Reformers from Luther to Calvin and beyond. By the time the Pill debuted in the early 1960s, the historical Christian teaching, once universally held, had come to be seen by most of the modern world as archaic and absurd.

Only a few decades earlier, when Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger first started her global campaigns for contraception, there was no shortage of predictions that embracing contraception would lead to the societal chaos in which we’re now immersed. You might be just as surprised as I was to read what the following prominent thinkers of the early 20th century had to say about contraception and what they predicted would happen if we embraced it.

Sigmund Freud, for example, while he was clearly no friend of religion, understood that the “abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse,” he said, “if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it” (Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis, W. W. Norton and Company, 1966, p. 392).

Theodore Roosevelt condemned contraception as a serious threat against the welfare of the nation, describing it as “the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement.”  The “men and women guilty thereof,” he believed, exhibited a “dreadful” lack of character (State Papers as Governor and President, in Works XVII).

Mahatma Gandhi insisted that “there can be no two opinions about the necessity of birth-control. But the only [appropriate] method … is self-control,” which he described as “an infallibly sovereign remedy doing good to those who practice it.” On the other hand, “to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts” with contraception is a remedy that “will prove to be worse than the disease.” Why? Because contraceptive methods are “like putting a premium on vice,” he said. “They make men and women reckless … Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws,” he predicted. “Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints.” Hence, if contraceptive methods “become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result … As it is, man has sufficiently degraded woman for his lust, and [contraception], no matter how well meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her” (India of My Dreams, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajpal & Sons, edition: 2009, pp. 219-220).

When a committee of the Federal Council of Churches in America issued a report suggesting it follow the Anglican acceptance of contraception, The Washington Post published a stinging editorial with the following prophetic statement: “Carried to its logical conclusions, the committee’s report if carried into effect would sound the death knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous” (“Forgetting Religion,” The Washington Post, March 22, 1931).

Also in response to the Anglican break with Christian moral teaching, T.S. Eliot insisted that the church “is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized, but non-Christian, mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in waiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization and save the world from suicide” (T. S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth, Faber and Faber, 1931).

Perversity? National death? Moral degradation? The death of marriage as a holy institution? World suicide? Isn’t that a bit much to pin on contraception? It would certainly seem so, if it weren’t for the fact that so much of what these forecasters predicted has, indeed, come to pass. What did they understand that we have forgotten?

Meet 12 beautiful babies saved from abortion in 2016

Feb. 7, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — 2016 was a year filled with shocking news, too many deaths, and plenty of surprises. However, we can’t let the year go without also stopping to celebrate the lives that were saved and the people who were loved this year. There’s more than we may ever know, but let’s meet 12 beautiful babies who were saved from abortion in 2016:

1. Esther’s baby
Esther came to the United States from Nigeria and soon discovered she was pregnant. She had already gone through two abortions back in her home country and thought she would make the same choice again. However, Esther found Her Choice Birmingham Women’s Center, and they gave her love, support, and the truth. At the center, Esther watched the Abortion Procedure videos made by Live Action (including the one below), where former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes what actually happens in various types of abortion. Esther was shocked and saddened, and after seeing an ultrasound of her own baby at the center, she chose life.

2. This baby whose abortion was canceled
Late in 2015, mother Ester Garcia shared amazing photos of her daughter, Hope, who was miscarried at 16 weeks, with Live Action News. The article continued to be read all throughout the year, and during the summer, one commenter wrote that she canceled her abortion after seeing Baby Hope.

It is very likely that this baby would have suffered through a D&E abortion if her mother had not changed her mind, as that is one of the most common abortion procedures in the U.S. at 16 weeks.

3. Over 100 babies saved through abortion pill reversal
In May 2016, Dr. Matthew Harrison of Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) revealed that 100 babies were due to be born this year after their mothers successfully chose to reverse their abortions. As APR’s doctors work all throughout the year, this number has now grown well past 100 for 2016. Here is Dr. Harrison with one of the babies who was born after a reversal:

For anyone seeking information on abortion reversal for medication abortion or abortions involving laminaria insertion, including pregnant mothers, doctors or pregnancy centers who want to help, or other pro-life volunteers who are willing to man the phone line:
There are over 300 doctors across the country who are ready and able to help women stop an abortion. There are also doctors trained in 14 other countries. Women looking for help to reverse their abortion can call the 24 hour hotline (1-877-558-0333) to talk with a nurse, or visit the website (abortionpillreversal.com).

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4 and 5. These two babies saved when sidewalk counselors offered help in abusive situations (Click on “See More” in the Facebook post to read the whole stories.)

If you are a woman experiencing pressure to choose abortion, please see this guide for help. Here is another beautiful baby recently saved by Sidewalk Advocates for Life’s work:

baby_saved__400_533_55

6 and 7. These Christmas twins
Live Action writer and pregnancy center staffer, Christina Martin, was able to meet a beautiful set of twins she helped save from abortion in 2016. Their photo was spread all over social media, and thousands were able to rejoice that a new little brother and sister pair were here to celebrate Christmas.

Christina shared the story (in full here):
Sara told me that she had an ultrasound at her doctor’s office which revealed she was pregnant with twins. She had children at home and she felt she couldn’t have another baby, let alone twins. Her boyfriend had recently broken up with her and she was lacking significant family support.
Unbeknownst to me, she scheduled an abortion appointment on the weekend before she was scheduled to come to our pregnancy center. She had planned to go through with the abortion and we would have likely never seen her after that.
The morning of her appointment at the clinic, Sara felt an emotional weight upon her shoulders. She felt sick on the inside as she thought about her abortion. The intense feelings were a sign to her that she couldn’t abort her twins. In the quiet of her home, she made a decision to cancel her scheduled abortion. Sara told me as soon as she decided to cancel her abortion, a sense of relief washed over her. In an instant, all of the emotional weight was lifted off of her and she felt free.
The staff and volunteers at the ABC Women’s Center walked with Sara through her pregnancy. …

8. Michelle’s baby
In December, Live Action shared this story with some of its supporters in an email:
Your gift helps us save lives: Michelle is a young mother who almost aborted her child this year but chose life instead after learning the truth about abortion online. She wouldn’t have made that decision if it weren’t for Live Action’s Abortion Procedures videos showing the development of her preborn child and what abortion actually would do to kill that child.
Michelle just celebrated her son’s first Christmas all because YOU made those videos possible.

9. Baby Axton

Axton’s mom, Acacia, was planning on abortion when she walked into a pregnancy help medical clinic in Casper, Wyoming. Pregnancy Help News reports:
During the conversation, Acacia heard a life-changing statement.
“The advocate explained to me how God has a purpose for everybody, and a huge purpose of mine was to be alive if I was supposed to be dead a month before that [due to a terrible car wreck],” she said.
After learning her earlier positive pregnancy test was accurate, Acacia was given an ultrasound. She was too early to verify a viable pregnancy, so the clinic’s nurse scheduled her for a return appointment two weeks later.
That provided Acacia time to consider all her options, and to hear a message of life-changing hope.
“I sat there and listened and talked to her,” Acacia said. “She helped me realize that whatever I did choose would affect me the rest of my life, and that the obstacles I was facing at that time were temporary. She made me look at things from another point of view. I realized I did have a purpose, and even though I felt alone, I knew there would be other people there for me fully.”
Today, Acacia is living out that purpose. She decided to carry to term and parent, signing up for True Care’s long-term parenting program called Baby & Me. She met regularly with an advocate who helped guide her through parenting classes and has become a strong support throughout the first stages of Acacia’s motherhood.
In January 2017, Acacia brought Axton — who she says “saved my life” — to Washington, D.C., to participate in Babies Go to Congress.

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10. Baby Jude
Baby Jude is not born yet, but his parents have already rejected abortion, despite doctors’ counsel to terminate their son’s life. Jude has a condition that impairs his kidneys and threatens his life, but instead of aborting him, his parents, Josh and Kelli, have connected with doctors who are willing to treat their son in utero. Through amnioinfusion, Baby Jude is being given a chance at life and also may pave the wave for other children like him to be saved in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/kerryshook/videos/1464089220276870/

11 and 12. These twins whose mother walked out of an abortion facility
On her way to the abortion facility, this mom promised God that she would not have her scheduled abortion if she was pregnant with twins. To her surprise, the ultrasound showed two beating hearts and two little babies. She informed the staff that she changed her mind, but they reportedly locked her inside the facility for awhile and refused to refund all her money. You can read the rest of her harrowing account here, and if you or anyone you know is being pressured to go through with an abortion, see this guide here.

So, in 2017, how are you going to step out and save a life? How are you going to spread information, stories, and videos that will influence others to choose life and know there are support, love, and real facts available? Let’s do this together, and make 2017 the best year for LIFE yet!

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News

DR. MILDRED JEFFERSON

Happy Black History Month!

In 1951, Dr. Mildred Jefferson was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School with 28 honorary degrees. She dedicated her life to caring for the sick and exposing the evil of Eugenics. She co-founded the National Right to Life and is credited to bringing Ronald Reagan into the Pro-Life Movement.

Thank you, Dr. Mildred Jefferson!
Your work has paved the way for the Pro-Life movement.

Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Porn

Bishop Barron (Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of LA) joins Dave Rubin to discuss religion and his views on abortion, gay marriage, porn, and more.

Pope Francis: “Let Us Pray For the Babies in Danger of Being Aborted”

popefrancis52Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to pray for babies in danger of being aborted during a special pro-life message Sunday for the annual Day of Life in Italy

 Breitbart reports the pope spoke, as he often does, about the dangers of what he calls the modern “throwaway culture” and its effects on human life.

“Let us promote the culture of life in response to the logic of disposability and a declining population,” the pontiff said Sunday.

“Let us join together and pray for babies who are in danger of being aborted, as well as for people who are at the end of life. All life is sacred!” he continued. “Let no one be left alone and may love defend the meaning of life.”

The pope also recognized people who work and volunteer in pro-life causes, hoping that “they may be capable of building a society that is welcoming and worthy for every person.”

Pope Francis said he and the Italian bishops also jointly are calling for support of “bold educational action in favor of human life. Every life is sacred!”

In line with Catholic teachings, Pope Francis has been a strong advocate against abortion throughout the world. He repeatedly has condemned the modern “throwaway culture” that allows unborn babies to be killed in abortions.

In 2013, he told a group at the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Rome:

Unfortunately, in our epoch, so rich in many accomplishments and hopes, there is no lack of powers and forces that end up producing a throwaway culture (cultura di scarto); and this threatens to become the dominant mentality. The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people… who are in danger of being “thrown out,” expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs.

He also has been encouraging the Catholic Church to help individuals who are seeking forgiveness from a past abortion. In November, he encouraged priests to forgive the “grave sin” of abortion when people are repentant and seeking mercy.

“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” the pope wrote in the letter. “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”

Parents Reject Abortion After Ultrasound Shows Identical Twins Cuddling Each Other

twins34Doctors suggested that Hayley Lampshire may have to abort one of her unborn sons after they discovered the twins shared an amniotic sac and placenta.

The Daily Mail reports the twins’ rare condition put their lives in jeopardy; the survival rate is only about 50 percent. But selectively aborting one of them would have 100-percent denied one child a chance at life.

Lampshire and her husband said they were “heartbroken” when they heard the news, but their hopes were renewed when they saw an ultrasound image of their sons cuddling in the womb.

The British family chose life for their twin boys. Rowan and Blake were born on Aug. 25; they now are home and doing well, according to the report.

Lampshire said she learned about her Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins when she was 12 weeks pregnant. The condition is rare, but it can be deadly for one or both of the twins.

“Because the boys were in the same amniotic sac, their cords could get tangled if they moved around, which would cut off their oxygen and food supply,” Lampshire explained. “If that did happen then it would be likely that we wouldn’t know, we couldn’t do anything to prevent it which was the scariest part.”

Doctors said the boys would have a better chance of survival if they stayed still, and they did, the family told the Mail.

Ultrasounds of the twins gave the family hope. Lampshire said the images often looked like the boys were holding hands or cuddling inside her womb. She said they also stayed pretty still, another sign that gave her hope.

At 34 weeks of pregnancy, Lampshire said her doctors told her she needed to give birth. If the boys grew any more, their lives could be in greater danger, she explained.

“The boys were born 36 seconds apart, Rowan weighed 2.12kg and Blake weighed 2.05kg, and were taken straight to special care,” she said. “They had fluid on their lungs and were struggling to breathe on their own.”

The twins stayed in the hospital for three weeks before they were allowed to go home, the report states.

“The boys are now doing really well and are growing so fast, and Charlie and I know how lucky we are to have them both here,” their mother said. “When they get older we will tell them how special their bond is.”

She said her boys still like to cuddle, too.

“So far they have been good at sharing, after all it saved their lives, but I’m sure it will be a different story when they get older,” she said.

Lampshire urged other families to not give up hope if their baby or babies have been diagnosed with a risky condition. Doctors say the survival rate is increasing for Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twins, thanks to modern medical advancements.

“Charlie and I were terrified at first, but we want to share our story to reassure others that there is hope, something that we struggled to find when doing our own research,” she said.

Woman With Cancer Who Was Told She Couldn’t Have Kids Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Kayla Gaytan, who gave birth to quadruplets and is fighting cancer.

Kayla Gaytan, who gave birth to quadruplets and is fighting cancer.

A Tennessee military family received a huge outpouring of support recently after the mother was diagnosed with cancer while carrying quadruplets.

Sgt. Charles Gaytan and his wife, Kayla, welcomed the naturally conceived quadruplets into the world on Dec. 30, but their birth was bittersweet. Doctors delivered the babies early by cesarean section because their mother needed immediate cancer treatment.

The Daily Mail reports the Fort Campbell, Tennessee family is doing relatively well. Kayla currently is undergoing cancer treatments, and the four babies are in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Doctors said the four siblings should be well enough to go home in a few weeks.

Their story attracted national media attention, and a donation fund for the family has received more than $1 million to support them, according to the report.

“It renews my faith in humanity,” Kayla told People. “To know that people that don’t even know us just wanted to help our family is amazing.”

Before the quadruplets were conceived, Kayla was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the report. The young mother said she went through five months of chemotherapy and was in remission.

Not long after that, the couple was overjoyed to learn that they were pregnant – something doctors told Kayla might never happen. Not only that, but they had conceived quadruplets naturally. Later into her pregnancy, Kayla said she began noticing symptoms of cancer again. Doctors confirmed it, her Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned.

Though relatively treatable, the cancer can be serious if it returns, according to the report. Doctors gave the Tennessee mother a 50-percent chance of living five years, she said.

“With four babies on the way, I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could come back,” she said. “I thought I had beat it the first time.”

When she was 30 weeks pregnant, Kayla gave birth to her babies in an emergency C-section. The babies, Lillian, Victoria, Michael and Charles were born weighing between 2 pounds, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 2 ounces, according to the report.

Doctors immediately began Kayla’s cancer treatment. She said she will have a stem cell treatment and a 16-month round of chemotherapy.

The Gaytan family said they are not giving up hope. With the quadruplets and two older children to care for, Kayla said she and her husband are trusting in God to handle the situation.

“We know that He’s gotta have a different plan up there for us, and surely everything’s gonna work out in the end,” Kayla said.

Earlier this week, the family posted a grateful message on their fundraiser page: “Words cant not even describe how thankful we are. Not even in our wildest dreams could we have ever phantom the amount of support we have received. God Bless everyone of you. From the bottom of our hearts thank you from all the Gaytan family.”

Nearly 50 New Pro-Life Laws Have Been Introduced Since President Trump’s Election

donaldtrump47The year 2017 already is bringing strong hopes for future babies in the womb.

World News Service reports state legislators have introduced almost 50 pro-life bills already this year that would increase protections for unborn babies and moms. Pro-life leaders said the November election results kindled new hopes that these protections will pass state legislatures and be upheld in the courts.

“With the election of a pro-life president, with all of the gains that we made across the different states with last year’s election, I think we are very optimistic in passing laws that protect the unborn baby and their moms,” Ingrid Duran of the National Right to Life Committee told the news service.

LifeNews has reported on many of the new bills, including measures that would prohibit brutal dismemberment abortions and late-term abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates babies can feel pain. Other bills would defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

In Missouri alone, lawmakers introduced dozens of pro-life bills this year, including prohibitions on sales or donations of aborted babies’ body parts, according to the report.

Kentucky lawmakers used the first week of their legislative session to pass two pro-life bills into law. The two new laws prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require women to receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to see it prior to having an abortion. The ACLU is challenging the ultrasound law.

Arkansas is another example. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law last week that bans brutal dismemberment abortions that rip apart babies in the womb and pull them out in pieces.

Some states previously had Democrat majorities in at least one house that blocked pro-life measures; but in November, that changed. Voters in Iowa and Kentucky, for example, elected new pro-life Republican majorities to both houses, which means pro-life bills are much more likely to pass.

Here’s more from the report:

Last year, lawmakers approved 60 new pro-life laws across the country, and leaders expect more of the same focus this year, simply with more energy.

Eric Scheidler, director of Pro-Life Action League, told me the surge of pro-life bills is a reaction to years of “elitist cultural bullying.” He pointed to President Donald Trump’s choice of pro-life advisers: Vice President Mike Pence, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.

“It isn’t the person of Trump, but it’s the whole phenomenon and all the people around him and the people he’s appointed. That’s really what’s driving this optimism,” Scheidler said.

Denise Burke of Americans United for Life said there is a lot of hope that President Donald Trump will appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who will uphold these laws.

“I think there’s increasing confidence among many pro-life allies and legislators that Hellerstedt [the recent Supreme Court decision that struck down Texas abortion clinic regulations] may have a limited shelf life with the potential new Supreme Court,” Burke said. “So we’re seeing a lot of what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, but just with renewed vigor and enthusiasm.”

Trump is expected to announce his choice for the open U.S. Supreme Court seat on Tuesday. During the election, when asked what he would do to protect the “sanctity of human life,” Trump said it starts with the Supreme Court.

“I will protect it and the biggest way to protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people in the court — and actually the biggest way to protect is electing me as president,” he said.

Louisiana March is the Biggest One Ever as 9,000 Pro-Lifers Flood the Streets of Shreveport

louisiana9STATE ERIN PARFET JAN 31, 2017 | 2:44PM BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA

A cool, crisp morning did not stop thousands of pro-life advocates from flooding the streets of Shreveport, Louisiana in the second of three similar weekend events in the Pelican State, KSLA-12 News of Shreveport reported.

“We want to fight for the silent, the ones that can’t speak for themselves,” said Mary Britt, who supported the Louisiana Life March North.

The Shreveport event follows a similar event in Baton Rouge the weekend before, and there will be a third and final pro-life march in Alexandria this weekend. Some estimated the march drew as many as 9,000 pro-lifers to the streets to march in defense of unborn babies’ right to life.

However, abortion supporters also showed up at the event.

“The funny thing is that there are no babies involved in abortion,” stated Debbie Hollis, Vice President for Louisiana’s National Organization for Women, according to KSLA. “The fetus is not even viable until 24 weeks gestation. And we do have a ban at 20 weeks here in Louisiana. So, no one’s killing babies.”

But Hollis’s pro-abortion semantics hide the truth. Whether called a fetus or a baby, the human being in the womb is a totally unique, living human being who deserves a right to life.

A Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics study demonstrates how premature babies born at 22 to 23 weeks LMP (20 weeks post-fertilization) are surviving at a greater rate than ever before. These very premature babies, when provided “active” care, survived 67 percent of the time until hospital discharge after active care, and 85 percent of them survived without severe complications.

Data released by the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrates how percentages of premature babies dying shortly after birth decreased with mechanical ventilation. Furthermore, mechanical ventilation also decreased the extent of neurophysiological impairment in those babies born prematurely when reassessed at 18-22 months of age.

At 20 weeks, a baby’s heart is beating and can feel pain. At 21 weeks, a baby is capable of swallowing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hair becomes visible at week 22, and footprints and fingerprints at week 23, the Mayo Clinic continues.

“With intensive medical care, some babies born this week might be able to survive,” said the Mayo Clinic of babies born at 23 weeks.

Yet, babies at this stage still can be legally aborted for any reason in many states across the U.S.

“Women do die when they don’t have access to safe, legal abortion,” Hollis continued. “We all know the horror stories that our grandmothers told us before the ’70s.”

This also is a manipulation of the truth. Though the birth process has been the same since the beginning, standards of prenatal care and hygiene have improved since the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Blood loss and infection, childbed fever, and postpartum hemorrhage were more common causes of death in generations of yesteryear.

This isn’t to say that some women may not die during childbirth, with a rate of 24 deaths per 100,000 live births, up from 19 deaths out of 100,000 for the years 2000-2014, according to Time Magazine citing the medical journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology. However, the report continues in stating that the World Health Organization determined half of these deaths to be preventable.

There also is evidence that legalizing abortion does not reduce maternal mortality rates. In countries like Ireland and Poland that largely protect unborn babies from abortion, maternal mortality rates are lower than neighboring countries where abortion is legal. Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. A study from Chile also found that maternal mortality declined because of better access to health care, not changes in the country’s abortion laws.

In the case of abortion, a life is lost 100 percent of the time: that of the child.

“There’s just absolutely no need in it,” said Betsy Henderson who supported the pro-life march. “There’s other places a baby could go. There’s women that are hurting and they want to have babies.”

 

Birth Control and Heart Disease- Go Red for Women

go redDid You Know?

According to a Royal College of General Practitioners study, women using oral contraceptives have a five times greater risk of death from cardiovascular causes. 1

Five of the pill’s many deadly side effects are pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, hypertensive disease, heart failure and stroke.

In 2004, in the U.S., there were a total of:

  • 3,565 recorded female deaths from pulmonary embolism;
  • 8,065 recorded female deaths from cardiac arrest;
  • 16,445 recorded female deaths from hypertensive diseases;
  • 13,748 recorded female deaths from heart failure;
  • 22,658 recorded female deaths from stroke. 2

How many of these women were on the birth control pill? That’s a good question. By looking at the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death, it does not ask if the deceased was using any form of birth control. It does, however, ask if tobacco use contributed to death, so why not ask about the pill?

This is an example of what the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death should look like; currently it does not include a question about the pill being a cause of death. 2

There are serious problems that women face because of the pill, and we must TALK about it and DO SOMETHING about it!

If you are taking the birth control pill or other birth control products you may have…

Increased risk of heart disease
The Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies at the University of Udine, in Italy, conducted a study in 2008 that showed the pill increases the risk of heart disease. Women on the pill were over four times more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) and 3.9 times more likely to have levels of CRP high enough to cause an “intermediate risk” for heart disease. 3

Increased risk of breast cancer
In her talk on “A New Beginning” at the 2006 Humanae Vitae Conference, endocrinologist Dr. Maria Kraw discussed the pill’s serious side effects. “Looking at 54 studies of the pill, she observed that researchers found that it caused a 24 percent increased risk of breast cancer.” 4

Increased risk of cerbrovascular disease and cervical cancer
A woman taking the pill is 1.9 times more likely to die from cerebrovascular disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from cervical cancer. This came from a study that was published in 1999 in a British medical journal. “The 25 year follow-up study with 46,000 British women also notes that the enhanced risk of death lasts for 10 years after women have stopped taking the pill.” 5

Increased risk of plaque buildup in arteries
A study on 1,300 women aged 35 to 55 found that the women who take oral contraceptives may have more plaque buildup in their arteries. The study was done in Belgium by researchers at the University of Ghent. It was discovered that every 10 years of oral contraceptive use was connected with a 20–30 percent increase in plaque buildup. 6

Increased risk of raising your blood pressure
Studies done on 60,000 women, 35,000 of whom were taking birth control pills, showed that “a rise in blood pressure occurs in virtually all women who use OCs [oral contraceptives] for [six] months or longer.” The studies also showed an increase in heart attacks and strokes. 7

Increased risk of liver problems
Several cases of liver tumors were found in young women who had been taking oral contraceptives. These case studies took place in the U.S., Great Britain, Italy, South Africa and several developing countries, and they show a connection between tumors of the liver and the use of oral contraceptives. 8

http://www.thepillkills.org/pillkills_2.php

The 29 Most Lit Signs at the 2017 March for Life

http://22catholic.com/2017/01/the-29-most-lit-signs-at-the-2017-march-for-life/

On Friday January 27, well over half a million gathered in Washington to commemorate 44 years since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide. (2013 was 650,000 and regulars kept telling me this was the biggest crowd ever.)

Many people held printed signs with phrases like “I Am the Pro-Life Generation,” “Stop Abortion Now,” or “[Organization or Church] Supports Life.” But what always impresses me are the handwritten signs that show a personal conviction.

I spent much of the March taking pictures of homemade signs and posting them to Twitter. The morning after, I went through and found the best of those signs for this story.

Here are 29 that I think are totally LIT! Click any for full resolution.

MFL0

Unplanned Pregnancies can do great things!

MFL5

No excuse for killing a child

MFL4

The loving option…

MFL 10

Real social justice!

MFL1

Every group can be pro-life and this man is a great example of this. (And he shows intersectionality which is a very important concept now in social justice / rights.)

MFL 7

I’m with Both (mom & child).

MFL6

Whole life pro-life ethic.

MFL3

Another post with intersectionality pointing out the racist nature of current and historical abortion practice.

MFL2

Take your chances on life!

MFL 9

Simple.

MFL 8

These people came all the way from Scotland to March with us.

MFL 28

Jesus loves everyone, but the Gospels show a special love for those who’ve fallen.

MFL 27

Love all women!

MFL 26

A Down Syndrome diagnosis should not be a death sentence.

MFL 25

Every life is worth saving… from someone who is vocally pro-abortion.

MFL 24

People are willing to adopt.

MFL 23

Total Nerd. This is from Dr Who (a show involving time travel) if you don’t get it.

MFL 22

We are all former fetuses.

MFL 21

Here’s a real Feminist!

MFL 11

Let’s be there for every mother.

MFL 20

Women deserve better.

MFL 19

Protect all.

MFL 18

Every person is a person… no matter the size.

MFL 17

I am a CHILD.

MFL 16

Chick-fil-A almost got a product placement.

MFL 15

The true safe space.

MFL 14

This should be what people mean when they say All Lives Matter.

MFL 13

Accept the gift.

MFL 12

A prayer from John Paul II

To conclude, I want to make a few notes:

  1. I took every picture and I got permission for those of minors.
  2. Every picture is run through an HDR filter.
  3. You can reuse these pictures on a few conditions: you give me credit (@FrMatthewLC or Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC), send me a link via social media, and if you want to sell it or use it for advertisement ask me 1st as I want a cut.

Pampers’ astonishingly powerful new ad celebrating babies – born and preborn

(LiveActionNews) – This month, Pampers released a new ad: “A Newborn Journey of Firsts.” Pampers has been known in the past for its beautiful, visually stirring ads that broadcast a pro-life message. A previous ad called babies miracles who “deserve protection” and referred to a baby on an ultrasound screen as a “he” instead of an “it.”

This time, Pampers’s ad — which has already received over 860,000 views on YouTube — opens as a mother lovingly caresses her pregnant belly. The scene switches to an incredible ultrasound where a baby is moving in the womb and, as Pampers puts it, is giving her “first hello.”
Below the video, Pampers writes:

From the first scan to the first cuddle, every first is significant no matter how small they seem. For both baby and mom, it’s a journey full of firsts. And there’s nothing more rewarding than experiencing each and every one together.

And indeed, even though the moment of a baby’s first existence — fertilization — is so small that it can’t be seen by the naked eye, it’s incredibly significant. From that moment, a new, unique, living human being has been created. That human being will never exist again in a different body. All he or she needs is the opportunity to grow and develop. This is the same opportunity that a newborn, a preschooler, and an adolescent need.

Even the liberal Huffington Post agrees, in an article featuring the Pampers ad, that “as soon as fertilization occurs, your baby will begin undergoing thousands of changes over the next 40 weeks.” Note that “fertilization” is named as “your baby’s” first stage of life.

Celebrate, with Pampers, the journey of a baby’s firsts. And see the beauty of human life at its various stages. As the Huffington Post sums it up, “new parents and their babies are in this thing together.”
Yes, from the very first “first moment” of fertilization.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.

I had a plan and a baby wasn’t in it

A personal Testimony

Maria Garabis Davis
January 25, 2017

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/2017/01/25/i-had-a-plan-and-a-baby-wasnt-in-it/#sthash.YTLsXSnU.dpuf

After 10 years of charting my cycles, I was a natural family planning fail. And I was furious.

I think I took five pregnancy tests that day. Looking back, it may actually have been seven.
I was chasing a toddler at Mass that bright Sunday morning when I was suddenly hit with the realization that I was off schedule. And by off schedule, I mean, way off schedule. My heart was instantly in my throat and I was in full panic mode by the time we gathered my little chickadees into the car and drove the mile and a half home from church. I didn’t even leave the car, hastily explaining to my husband that I needed to run a quick errand, and I was off to the first of three pharmacies I would descend upon that day.

Each time the test blared neon-light positive, I stared down in disbelief and took another. With each one I found myself more urgently pleading with God that the tests were a fluke, some crazy cosmic joke that would somehow have a different ending. When I was finally defeated, I sat on my bed and cried and cried and I continued to cry for the next few weeks.

I couldn’t have thought of worse timing. I was in the middle of applying for local jobs so I could stop my weekly Ohio-DC plane commute, which had become more and more of a burden to my marriage and children. We were financially strapped. I felt underwater with the kids that I had. And worst of all, six weeks earlier I had lost my beloved mother to a sudden and unexpected brain aneurism. Her death had left me reeling. Not only was I scrambling to secure the childcare she had provided, but I had lost my biggest fan. She was an irreplaceable support in the day-to-day responsibilities of raising a family as a working mother. What would I do with another baby?

This unplanned and unexpected pregnancy crushed me. I was confused. I was heartbroken. I felt let down by God. After 10 years of successfully monitoring and charting my cycles, I was a natural family planning fail. And I was furious.

So I moped. And I was cranky. And I cried. And I felt incredibly and insanely guilty because I knew I had nothing really to mope, cry, and be cranky about. Unlike others in unplanned pregnancy situations, I had a job with great benefits, a husband who was excited for another baby, a house full of baby accessories, and no health problems. And I felt guilty that I felt so terribly bitter about having a baby when I had so many close friends and loved ones who bore the heavy, heavy cross of infertility.

My darkness only lifted when someone finally had the guts to say to the moodiest pregnant woman in the world, “Why are you so upset about this? Isn’t this the point of natural family planning anyway — to leave room for God to work so that he can plan your family?”

And I realized it was true. This pregnancy blindsided me because according to my chart it was simply not possible. It wasn’t part of my plan for my life. But nothing is impossible with God and he knew what I needed. Without knowing it, what I needed was this baby.

My Zelie, now two years old, is my greatest source of joy. She has filled a void we didn’t even know existed and established a unique and irreplaceable place in my family. And I simply cannot imagine my life without her.

Through her, I learned that it’s OK to not be excited about an unexpected pregnancy. Because in the end, that pregnancy is not a “pregnancy”: it’s a bright, sweet, bouncing baby with a name.

Every night when I put Zelie to sleep I tell her the same story: Once my heart was broken and God loved me so much that he sent you to heal my heart and fill our home with joy and laughter. She smiles. And I smile too, content with the realization that God’s plan for my life will always surpass all of my expectations.

Maria Garabis Davis holds a Juris Doctor degree and a BA in theology. A former youth minister and now a practicing attorney, she is the founder and co-owner of the greeting card company Pio Prints (www.pioprints.com).  Maria resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and four children. 

‘Life is winning in America’: Thousands join March for Life in Washington

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article129167314.html#storylink=cpy

‘Greatest genocide in history’: Groundbreaking report finds 1 billion abortions in past 100 years

January 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A billion is an almost impossible number to comprehend. It’s a thousand million, or a thousand, thousand-thousands. One mathematician speculated that if one billion children made a human tower, it would reach beyond the moon. Counting to a billion would take almost 100 years. A time-traveler going back about a billion minutes would find himself in the time of Jesus.

Researchers released a first-of-its-kind report today estimating that one billion babies have been killed by abortion worldwide in the past 100 years.

They say their findings reveal the “greatest genocide in history,” estimating that about 12.5 million babies continue to be exterminated every year by abortion.

“First motivated by the moral crisis and information shortage represented by abortion, the research quickly became a sobering and sacred task of tabulating how many babies have been exterminated in the greatest deliberate slaughter of human beings in history, far exceeding all wars and democides of what was already the bloodiest century in history,” the researchers state.

Titled “Abortion Worldwide Report: 100 Nations, 1 Century, 1 Billion Babies” the report is the fruit of years of tracking international abortion statistics by Dr. W. Robert Johnston, who began such tracking in 1983, and Mr. Thomas Jacobson, who began in 2002. The report begins with data from 1920 when the former Soviet Union became the first country in the world to legalize abortion. Data came from 136 nations that currently allow a mother to destroy life within her womb.

The report is extensive, covering the history of infanticide and abortion, national policies, a compilation of abortion data, methodologies for estimating missing year data, and fact-based abortion numbers.

Researcher Jacobson, who is the executive director of the Global Life Campaign, defended in a press conference today the use of the word “genocide” to describe the bloodshed against the preborn.

“This is targeting a specific group of people,” he said.

“It is time to end this genocide and become people and nations again who highly cherish and protect innocent human life, pre-born and born, girls and boys, pregnant mothers, and every person until natural death. It is time to change course from being death-loving cultures to life-giving cultures,” he added.

Researchers took issue with abortion estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group and former arm of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, that 56 million abortions occur worldwide annually. They said the numbers were far too high, and “lacking in credibility.”

Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International explained during a press conference today that abortion advocates deliberately inflate abortion numbers to compel leaders in developing countries to accept contraception handouts as a way to bring down abortion numbers.

“The money is not really in abortions,” he explained. It’s in big pharma companies doling out contraceptives to women in developing countries and making $500 a head, what amounts to a $60 billion industry, he said.

“We have to convince these countries using this weapon here, the Abortion Worldwide Report, [and] give them true and solid numbers on the numbers of abortions that are happening [so they won’t be pressured to accept contraception as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist],” he said.

Among their “general findings” related to the abortion data, they show that:

  • contrary to claims that legalized abortion can be “safe, legal, and rare,” “once a government authorizes abortion, it never becomes rare, unless they again prohibit or highly restrict it;”
  • contrary to claims that morality surrounding abortion cannot be legislated to effect change, “government policies, including both laws themselves and the level of enforcement, profoundly affect the level of abortion;” and
  • the highest levels of abortion ever recorded occurred in communist atheistic countries. In fact, the majority (73%) of known abortions were committed in such countries.

Researchers say the report will be useful in a number of ways.

It will help “nations who prohibit abortion, giving them an abundance of reasons why they should preserve their good policies protecting human life, and not make the same mistake as the United States and most other nations.” It will also be useful for nations that allow abortion, allowing them to see the wisdom in “restor[ing] lawful protection of human life from the moment of conception.”

The researchers make a number of recommendations, aimed at individuals, clergy, churches and synagogues, pro-life organizations, and the governments of nations. Some of these include:

  • Anyone who cherishes human rights and justice for all, even the least, should “seek to ultimately end abortion for all reasons except to save the life of the mother.”
  • Individuals should “encourage women who are considering abortion to cherish the life of the child within them. Many women are victimized by abortion, and do not adequately comprehend, at least until afterwards, that they actually took the life of their baby. Choosing life requires addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of women.”
  • Clergy should be “courageous to preach, teach, speak up, and stand for the sanctity of human life and for the protection of preborn children and pregnant mothers.” They should “deliver a sermon or message, or multiple ones, on these topics every year,” helping their “congregation to understand what the Bible says about the sanctity of life, the evil of abortion, [and] forgiveness available through Jesus Christ.”
  • Governments in nations banning abortion should “not yield to pressure from regional and international governmental organizations, and in every inter-governmental meeting, uphold the sanctity of human life and marriage whenever they are put to the challenge.”
  • Governments in nations allowing abortion should “recognize the innocent bloodshed on your land” and “reconsider your policy on abortion, abolish it, and restore your laws protecting human life [from] the moment of conception to natural death.”

Jacobson said that while it “may take many years, perhaps generations” to restore protection of preborn children and pregnant women in every nation, “that is the direction we should be moving.”

“The womb of a woman should be the safest place for a developing baby, not the most dangerous,” he added.

Trump didn’t just re-enact old ban on funding International Planned Parenthood – It’s now much stronger

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump’s newly reinstated ban on funding to foreign pro-abortion groups is not just a repeat of old Republican policy it turns out. In fact, it is vastly stronger.

The “Mexico City Policy” has been enacted by Republican presidents since Reagan, and subsequently overturned by Democratic presidents. It bars U.S. taxpayer funding to organizations abroad that perform or promote abortions.

But Trump’s version of the executive order goes even further. Not only does it ban funding to notorious abortion providers such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, but it could even be used to cut off the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and one of the world’s leading opponents of population control, said it is “absolutely” more comprehensive than its predecessors, for two main reasons:

  1. It now applies to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies”—i.e., not just USAID family planning programs; and
  2. It now covers “involuntary sterilizations” in addition to abortion.

“It’s a wonderful policy,” Mosher said. “Trump is not just reverting to the policy of previous Republican administrations, but is actually going well beyond it.”

He said if properly implemented, the Trump policy will save more lives than past Mexico City Policies.

Mosher, more than any scholar in the West, has exposed the ravages of China’s forced “one-child” policy and the Communist regime’s forced sterilization of women. Both have been funded through international “family planning” agencies like the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), which in turn are funded in part by U.S. taxpayer dollars, especially during Democratic administrations.

Thank President Trump for defunding International Planned Parenthood. SIGN THE PETITION. Click here.

Many lives at stake

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its member associations alone performed 964,325 chemical and surgical abortions worldwide in 2015, according to PRI research analyst Jonathan Abbamonte. He told LifeSiteNews that various abortion-friendly, international “family planning” agencies across the world “collectively received nearly $90 million from 2013-2015 in global health assistance funding from the U.S. Government.”

For its part, IPPF said yesterday that it “will lose $100 million USD” under the Trump policy, which it denigrates as a “Global Gag Rule.”

“Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement [of the Mexico City Policy] will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost,” said the IPPF statement.

Defunding more agencies means stopping more abortions

Mosher told LifeSiteNews that by expanding the Mexico City Policy to include all international “health assistance” programs, it becomes easier to stop funding of international groups pushing abortion and sterilization.

“So many health programs are compromised by ‘family planning,’” he said. He cited the theoretical example of an aid organization that offers to provide mosquito netting to a foreign country on the condition that its people take part in programs that incentivize sterilization or promote abortion as part of “family planning.” “Now we get the blanket prohibition on any program that promotes involuntary sterilization.”

PRI’s Abbamonte expanded on the significance of the more comprehensive Trump policy:

This means that the new [Mexico City Policy] not only applies to funding through USAID and the Department of State as it did under the Bush Administration but will now also include global health funding coming from other sources like PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief)—which President Bush had exempted from the [Mexico City Policy]—and various government departments like the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Mosher is bullish about Trump’s “very strong” Mexico City Policy defunding UNFPA, which he says has clearly promoted abortion and “involuntary sterilization” overseas, in places such as China and El Salvador. The UN agency, formed in the 1960s, has evolved into the world’s leading organization promoting liberal population control policies, including abortion and coercive sterilization.

“The UNFPA is telling El Salvador that they need to legalize abortion,” Mosher said, noting that this will disqualify it from receiving U.S. funds under the new Trump executive order.

Mosher said the new policy will also help stop abortion in situations where an international organization claims it does not promote abortion as family planning–so it can receive U.S. funds–when it actually does, which happened in the past with International Planned Parenthood’s Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR).

“They would not get away with it now,” he predicted.

Say good-bye to UNFPA?

Mosher explained how the comprehensive Trump Mexico City executive order essentially incorporates all the efforts by Republicans over the last 35 years to stop American funding of anti-life policies overseas. One of those reforms is the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, authored in 1985 by pro-life conservative icon Rep. Jack Kemp, R-NY, and Sen. Bob Kasten, R-WI.

Kemp-Kasten was a pro-life reform that banned U.S. foreign aid to any organization operating abroad found to be involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. The amendment essentially sought to correct loopholes through which coercive abortion and sterilization were funded through U.S. taxpayer funds.

From 1973 on, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has followed the Helms Amendment named after the late conservative stalwart Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC). It bans U.S. government funds for the use of providing abortions as a method of family planning worldwide.

Following the Clinton years, the George H.W. Bush administration determined that the UNFPA’s involvement with China’s abortion and sterilization practices under the Communist dictatorship’s “One Child” policy violated Kemp-Kasten, so Bush barred U.S. funding for UNFPA in 2002.

The renewed ban stood until Obama became president in 2009 and overturned the Bush policy, directing Congress to restore U.S. funding to the UNFPA.

But Trump’s beefed-up Mexico City Policy could end that funding, for at least four to eight more years.

“Kemp-Kasten [the 1985 pro-life appropriations amendment] is written into the [Trump] Mexico City policy,” Mosher said. “Now we have both in the same memorandum. I think this can be used to cut off [U.S.] funding  to the UN Population Fund.”

He added, “The UN is involved in [involuntary] sterilization policies everywhere,” citing China, Vietnam and North Korea as examples.

Pro-abortion fury

IPPF/WHR joined a pro-abortion coalition of nearly 140 groups in protesting the Trump Mexico City Policy and essentially swearing off U.S. funds due to the new restrictions.

IPPF/WHC complained that the new Trump policy “prohibits international organizations from receiving U.S. funding for contraception if they provide, counsel, refer or advocate for abortion services. The Rule prohibits these activities even if organizations carry them out with their own non-U.S. funding, and even if abortion is legal in their own country.”

The reinstated Trump policy retains abortion exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, according to PRI and other observers familiar with the history of the on-again, off-again Mexico City Policy.

Marie Stopes International, the UK-based “family planning” organization that admittedly commits illegal abortions in numerous countries, claimed NGOs could now be defunded merely for informing women that abortion is legal. They stated:

The Mexico City Policy, re-enacted today on ‘Day One’ of President Trump’s term of office, demands that all non-US international organizations in receipt of US Government funding neither perform nor ‘actively promote’ abortion. This effectively means NGOs forfeit all US aid if they so much as tell a woman abortion is a legal option in her country, refer her to another provider or advocate for abortion rights with their own alternative resources.

According to the organization’s financial statement, Marie Stopes received $1.6 million in non-UK and non-Australian “grants” funding in 2014, and $1.5 million in such grants for 2013. But those are classified as “other overseas” funding and do not reveal how much comes from the U.S. government.

“Exciting times”

Mosher, who sits on Trump’s Catholic Advisory Committee, said part of the reason the new president is bolder than other GOP leaders is that “he’s not afraid of anything,” including the media.

“These are exciting times,” he said. “Trump is going to govern as Trump. Who can get to him?”

Other pro-life advocates celebrated the quick action by President Trump to protect human life abroad, and set their sights on further pro-life reforms under the new administration, after an eight-year draught of abortion-affirming policies under Obama.

“Almost immediately, the Trump administration set to work building a different kind of wall: the one between taxpayers and abortion-on-demand,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C.

Perkins highlighted White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s strong pro-life remarks in his first press briefing. “Not only does this help tear down the financial stronghold that groups like Planned Parenthood have on other nations, but it also sends a message to the world that America recognizes that all human beings have inherent worth and dignity.”

President Trump signs executive order defunding International Planned Parenthood

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits federal funding from going towards foreign nonprofit organizations that promote or commit abortions. The action comes just one day after the 44th anniversary of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion-on-demand in America.

The policy, which was implemented by President Ronald Reagan, will effectively defund International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. Trump, who has made promises to defund Planned Parenthood and make permanent the Hyde Amendment, took an important step to halt America’s hand in bankrolling abortion overseas.

SIGN THE PETITION: Click here to add your name to the petition to defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Michael Burgess, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health, praised the move, calling it a crucial step in “advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

“Life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it. I applaud President Trump for taking this important action and look forward to continuing to work together in advancing pro-life policies and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

Although nonprofit organizations can keep their funding by complying with the Mexico City Policy, International Planned Parenthood Federation gave up tax dollars when former President George W. Bush reinstated the policy.

One-Third of Colorado Hospitals Refuse to Allow Doctors to Kill Patients in Assisted Suicide

One-Third of Colorado Hospitals Refuse to Allow Doctors to Kill Patients in Assisted Suicide

Erin Parfet   Jan 20, 2017   |   3:38PM    Denver, CO

Hospitals and clinics throughout Colorado are refusing to comply with Proposition 106, Colorado’s newly passed legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide, StatNews reported.

Medical, disability rights, pro-life and religious groups all campaigned against the deadly measure. The Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado actively campaigned against the initiative, a parallel of Oregon’s doctor-prescribed suicide law, spending upward of $1.6 million in their effort to protect lives, the report states.

However, in November, the suicide measure passed in the polls by a two-thirds to one-third vote, and “victory” was declared within an hour of polls closing, the report continued.

“We are deeply disappointed and concerned about Colorado legalizing doctor-assisted suicide,” Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University, told the Denver Post. “The fight is not over.”

Indeed the fight isn’t over on the ground, for several of the largest healthcare systems in the state.

Centura Health, the largest hospital system in the Centennial State operated by a partnership between Catholic Health Initiatives and the Adventist Health System, stated it would “opt out” of performing assisted suicides, according to StatNews.

SCL Health, Colorado’s second largest hospital system and rooted in the Catholic faith, issued a statement that patients requesting physician assistance in suicide “will be offered an opportunity to transfer to another facility of the patient’s choice.”

HealthONE, which is not affiliated with any religious groups, also said it will not allow doctor-prescribed suicides in its eight hospitals, according to the report.

The Colorado legislation permits doctors, nurses and pharmacists to decline participation in assisted suicide, euthanasia and similar practices, based on an individual’s conscience, the report continued.

It is noted by StatNews that one third of Colorado’s acute care hospital beds are under the umbrella of various Catholic-based health systems.

UCHealth and Kaiser Permanente allow physician-assisted suicide in their practices and clinics as permitted by state law, the report continued.

“This is a historic day for all Coloradans, and an especially tremendous victory for terminally ill adults who worry about horrific suffering in their final days,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, Compassion and Choices Action Network President in a statement reported by 9News.

“We are delighted the significant investment paid off and are proud to have lent the expertise and resources to empower the voters of Colorado. We congratulate Colorado for becoming the sixth state where more people have peace of mind at the end of life and fewer suffer unnecessarily.”

However, Alan Rastrelli, medical director for Divine Mercy Supportive Care, a non-profit hospice service, expressed different sentiments in an editorial in the Denver Post.

“The harm of physician-assisted suicide to patients and the healing profession of medicine was lamented in 400 BC by the Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates when he wrote: ‘The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of my patients … and not for their hurt or for any wrong. I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such,’” Rastrelli wrote.

He continued: “The healing profession, with hospice and palliative care, is entrusted with the sacred privilege of assisting their patients compassionately through the dying process, ensuring that patients have the comfort and dignity they deserve. With ‘intensive caring’ we strive to ease their suffering, their fear of death — and their fear of living.”

Rastrelli emphasized that care, not killing, is the answer to help people who are suffering.

“Patients can choose to forgo life-sustaining interventions that may excessively burden them or prolong the dying process,” he wrote. “They can choose to allow a natural death in the comfort of their home, surrounded by loving caregivers. This is the difference between blowing out the candle vs. allowing it to flicker out on its own. Physicians and nurses are to help the patients as their life is ending, not end their life by an unethical act.”

 

These 13 States Would Immediately Ban Abortions if Roe v. Wade is Overturned

Donald Trump’s vow to nominate “pro-life” justices to the U.S. Supreme Court has abortion advocacy groups scared.

Trump promised several times to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, while Vice President-elect Mike Pence said those justices could pave the way to consign Roe to “the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

But overturning Roe would not immediately protect unborn babies from abortion; instead, it would return the power to legislate abortion to the states.

A new report from the abortion advocacy group NARAL predicts that 13 states immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe.

“This report paints a grim picture of the current status of reproductive freedom in the United States, and if Donald Trump succeeds in appointing Supreme Court justices who overturn Roe v. Wade, our data shows that women will be even worse off,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.

The pro-abortion website The Frisky reports more:

The 50-state report points out that 11 states currently have laws on the books criminally banning abortion and two more have near-total criminal bans. That means if Roe is overturned after Trump puts an anti-choice justice on the bench, women seeking abortions in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia could be criminally punished.

This is just an estimate. Analyses vary about state abortion laws post-Roe. Back in 2012, NARAL itself presented a different estimate. Its 2012 report predicted that 17 states would ban abortions if Roe was overturned.

Another estimate by the Center for Reproductive Rights predicted that 31 states and the District of Columbia would ban abortions if Roe were overturned. But a third analysis by attorney Paul Linton in the journal “Issues in Law and Medicine” in 2012 put the estimate at between eight and 11 states, according to research by Dr. Michael New, a political science professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn.

Here’s more about the latest analysis:

Of course, the downfall of the law guaranteeing women have a right to abortion at least up until viability would drastically jeopardize women in every state’s access to the safe medical procedure, but these 13 states would be even worse. On top of just not being able to go to a clinic to end a pregnancy, women and doctors could literally be fined, go to jail, and/or have a criminal record if they attempt to get or perform the procedure.

This is only partially true. Historically, the pro-life movement and the U.S. legal system have not prosecuted women for abortions, even prior to Roe v. Wade.

While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement continuously has opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions. Current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.

The movement tends to view women, who frequently are pressured or coerced into having an abortion, as second victims of the abortion industry. That is how states viewed the issue prior to Roe v. Wade, too, according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.

In 2016, Forsythe wrote:

This political claim is not an abstract question that is left to speculation—there is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. To state the policy in legal terms, the states prosecuted the principal (the abortionist) and did not prosecute someone who might be considered an accomplice (the woman) in order to more effectively enforce the law against the principal. And that will most certainly be the state policy if the abortion issue is returned to the states.

He noted that California and 19 other states had statutes that technically made it a crime for a woman to participate in her own abortion; however, these were not enforced, and even historians who support Roe v. Wade admit this to be true.

 

The amazing true story behind viral photo of couple: ‘Our baby survived his abortion appointment’

January 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – You may have seen the viral photo on Facebook: a beautiful young couple with a baby that looks to be less than a year old, with the husband holding a sign that reads: “Our baby survived his abortion appointment.”

The photo was taken in 2014 at the West Coast Walk for Life, but went viral in the past few days on Facebook after LiveActionNews shared it on their Facebook.

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Clearly there is a powerful story behind the photo. Who is that couple? And how exactly was their baby snatched from the jaws of death?

There aren’t a lot of details available online, but a search found a video shot during the 2014 Walk for Life, with a brief interview with the couple. (The interview begins at about 5:22.)

The baby’s name is Cassius. His father is named Caesar, and his mother Selfa.

Caesar briefly recounted the story for the camera. “People tried to convince my wife to have an abortion and she almost did it,” he explained.

“She set an appointment, and the date that he was scheduled for his execution, for him to be aborted, she decided no, she didn’t want to do it.”

“So we continued on, and here we are, against abortion,” concludes Caesar. “This is our family. And we thank God for all the miracles and all the blessings.”

I’d love to find out more details about how Selfa was brought to decide to choose life.

However, theirs is a simple and powerful story of redemption. It is clear that Caesar and Selfa love their child. The evil advice of others, and the easy availability of abortion, could easily have led to a completely different outcome – one that left a dead baby, and bereaved and broken parents.

Hopefully their testimony will give courage and hope to others in similar circumstances. Don’t give in to fear! Don’t listen to the evil advice of others! Choose life. Choose hope. And you won’t ever regret it.

5 Facts Women Should Know About IUDs

http://verilymag.com/2017/01/what-to-know-about-getting-an-iud

iudAs a labor and delivery nurse, there are countless times I’ve talked with women about the dragging side effects of hormonal contraception. They agree that hormonal contraception is not the best choice, stating, “Oh, I don’t use hormonal contraception. I have an IUD instead.”

Yet the most popular implanted intrauterine devices—commonly known as IUDs—are actually laden with synthetic hormones, similar to the pill, that disrupt the body’s normal hormonal equilibrium and continuum. Copper IUDs also greatly alter the interior workings of the reproductive system.Women who use IUDs may only have a narrow view of the larger picture. Here are five facts about IUDs to know before making a decision that will greatly affect your health.

01. IUDs secrete copper or synthetic hormones into the body.

Let’s start with the basics. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is placed into the uterus by a trained health professional during an office visit. It provides continuous birth control for several years depending on which one is chosen.

There are two classes of IUDs: Copper (Paragard) and Hormonal (Mirena, Skyla, Liletta and the new Kyleena). These fall within a larger class of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). According to the CDC, use of these contraceptives have increased five-fold in the past decade among women aged 15-44 from 1.5% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2013.

Paragard is the only 100% hormone-free IUD. But don’t jump too hastily at this being good news. It works by constantly secreting copper into the uterine cavity. Paragard states that “it interferes with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and possibly prevents implantation” by creating an inflammatory reaction within the endometrial cavity of the uterus. The typical failure rate of a copper IUD is 0.8%.

Hormonal IUDs have a typical failure rate of 0.2%. According to Mirena’s website, it is the No. 1 prescribed IUD in the U.S. It is synthetically coated with 52 mg of the hormone levonorgestrel, a much higher dosage amount than the less popular Skyla that contains 13.5 mg. The newly launched Kyleena IUD contains 19.5 mg levonorgestrel and was created for women who have never had a child before. All three have several mechanisms to prevent pregnancy: thickening of cervical mucus to inhibit sperm passage and survival, and alterations in the endometrium (the lining shed during menstruation). It’s worth noting that the majority of levonorgestrel IUD users are affected by the same hormonal influences as women on the pill.

02. It’s a foreign object.

Our culture is obsessed with what we put in our bodies. From Non-GMO to organic, we all want to be fit, feel well, and be free from the threats of additives. An IUD is a foreign object inserted into the uterine wall that releases foreign chemicals. Most objects placed into the body are there to aid the natural processes of the body, like a heart pacemaker. But an IUD hinders the natural processes of a woman’s body: ovulation, fertilization and sometimes implantation.

Many women report discomfort upon the implantation—for some, it is severe. Cramping is considered par for the course, but in some instances women have reported nausea and dizziness or have even fainted. Another risk of using an IUD is infection. If the infection goes too long undetected, it could cause permanent damage like sterilization.

03. It triples the risk of mental illness.

In women who have had a child, most IUDs are inserted by the 6 week postpartum office visit. Mirena, for instance, is a popular IUD deemed compatible with breastfeeding. Postpartum depression (PPD) can be debilitating for a woman and her family. According to the CDC, about 1 in 8 women experience PPD. Some women struggling with PPD may really be suffering from the side effects of their IUD and may not know it.

Non-postpartum women are also at increased risk for depression. A recent Danish study concluded that “compared with nonusers, users of hormonal contraception had a 40 percent increased risk of depression after six months of use. Some types of contraceptives carried even greater risk. Women who used progestin-only pills more than doubled their risk, for example, while those who used the levonorgestrel IUD (brand name Mirena) tripled their risk.”

04. It creates a loss of hormonal equilibrium.

When asked about noticeable differences with an IUD, one Mirena user shares, “I mostly do not have periods with my IUD. In the rare occasions when I get a period, they are much lighter and shorter when compared to the flow and duration of my periods without the IUD. Pre-menstrual cramps are also much lighter.” The majority of side effects with levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs include changes in uterine and vaginal bleeding which occur about 52% of the time and cessation of menstruation which occurs at least 24% of the time.

Endometrium shedding (i.e., bleeding), increasing estrogen, ovulation, and rising progesterone are all necessary to our overall health. Estrogen, for instance, promotes bone growth while progesterone promotes bone maintenance. If these hormones aren’t reaching their optimal levels each month, over time, lack of estrogen and progesterone can lead to osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

05. The side effects of an IUD can mask underlying health concerns.

Sometimes IUDs are prescribed to “solve” heavy menstrual periods or debilitating cramps. But IUDs should not be the panacea for abnormalities because it doesn’t fix the underlying problems. Dr. Mary Kotob, a Board Certified OB-GYN in Newport Beach, California, specializes in gynecologic surgery. She has seen firsthand the side effects of IUDs in her patients.

Dr. Kotob notices the opposite outcome when using an IUD to alleviate period-related symptoms. She says “bleeding can increase and so can cramping with menses. I often see patients who have returned to their own doctor’s office requesting the IUD taken out only to be told by a nurse practitioner that they’re doing fine. No ultrasound is done. No labs. She is just advised to put up with it. The bleeding with an IUD can mask other problems such as pregnancy, thyroid disease, ovarian cysts, and precancerous lesions—further investigation is always warranted.” In fact, Human Reproductive Update found that many gynecologists concentrate on simply regularizing bleeding patterns without understanding the underlying hormonal environment.

A woman’s reproductive cycle is a collection of events that need sufficient quality and quantity to nurture and sustain her whole healthy self. It is interesting how gynecology is the only area of medicine where finding the root of the problem is the last answer and, instead, it is “cured” with unnatural remedies. All women deserve to know more about their cycle; only then will we be able to recover our health as it was intended.

Abortion: It’s a Sexual Crisis

23. Abortion: It’s a Sexual Crisis

In his letter The Gospel of Life, St. John Paul II’s “summa” of the Church’s prolife teaching, he took us to the root of the problem when he insisted that it “is an illusion to think we can build a true culture of human life if we do not … accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and their close inter-connection” (Gospel of Life 97).

In other words, it’s an illusion to think we will ever overcome the horror of abortion if we aren’t going to the root of the problem, and the root of the problem is that we simply have not “accepted and experienced” the true meaning of sexuality and love and how inter-connected they are with the whole of life.

At its root the abortion debate is not a debate about when life begins or the “rights” of women. At its root the abortion debate is a debate about the purpose and meaning of sex. The reason millions upon millions of children have had their lives ended in the womb is because we don’t understand the beauty and splendor of God’s plan for sex.

And I’m not just saying that the secular world “out there” doesn’t get it. The problem is right here in our own churches, in our own homes, in our own families, in our own lives. Polls of my audiences over nearly 20 years have shown only 1-2 percent of us have been raised with open, honest, normal, healthy conversation about God’s glorious, stupendous plan for sex. And when the hunger of our erotic desires is not fed from God’s banquet, we fill the void with junk food.

It’s time for a detox. It’s time for a new way of seeing, thinking and talking about sexuality. It’s time for healing and sexual redemption. This is why St. John Paul II gave us his Theology of the Body.

 

American College of Pediatricians warns: HPV vaccine causes ovarian failure

(NaturalNews) A new warning has emerged about the use of Gardasil, a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Gardasil (a four-strain HPV vaccine, or HPV4), is typically administered to both boys and girls as young as age 11 to prevent the sexually transmitted disease.

Developed by Merck, Gardasil received FDA approval in 2006. The disease did not become of concern until the 1980s, when research first suggested that there may be a connection between HPV and cervical cancer. However, whether this link actually exists has been a major point of contention. (RELATED: Learn more about the science fraud behind vaccine marketing at Vaccines.news)

As Natural News previously explained, the vaccine has reportedly been linked to severe complications such as cervical cysts, autoimmune diseases, and harm to women’s ovaries. Natural News has also detailed how one of the developers of the HPV vaccine has now disavowed the inoculation, given that that cervical cancer risk is extremely low in the U.S. and that 90 percent of all HPV apparently infections clear up on their own within two years.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix are all safe and effective.

The American College of Pediatricians apparently is apparently not so sure. In a statement primarily written by Scott S. Field, MD, the organization cautioned that there may be an association between the HPV vaccine and premature ovarian failure (POF), which is also known as premature menopause. The statement indicates that the POF cases are very rare, however.

“Since licensure of Gardasil in 2006, there have been about 213 VAERS reports…involving amenorrhea, POF or premature menopause, 88% of which have been associated with Gardasil,” the statement asserts. VAERS is the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation.

The statement also points out that family doctors are probably unaware of the possible link between HPV and premature ovarian failure and therefore may be not be reporting such cases to the CDC’s VAERS network, which could mean that the condition is more widespread.

The pediatricians’ organization statement also calls attention to the issue that before the vaccine was brought to market, “long-term ovarian function was not assessed in either the original rat safety studies or in the human vaccine trials.”

Another issue with Gardasil is a possible flaw in the pre-release safety trials in that the vaccine and the placebo both contained polysorbate 80. The placebo also contained aluminum adjuvant. “Therefore, if such ingredients could cause ovarian dysfunction, an increase in amenorrhea probably would not have been detected in the placebo controlled trials. ”

The College also noted that many of the young girls in the trials were on birth control, “which can mask ovarian dysfunction including amenorrhea and ovarian failure. Thus, a causal relationship between human papillomavirus vaccines (if not Gardasil specifically) and ovarian dysfunction cannot be ruled out at this time.”

The ACP statement calls for additional studies of the effects of Gardasil on rats, further CCD review of the appropriate VAERS reports, and alerting primary care doctors of the possible linkage between HPV and amenorrhea. The feds say that are monitoring the situation and plan to conduct additional safety studies.

As part of the draining the swamp effort, President-elect Trump has named Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vaccine skeptic, to a committee to study vaccine safety. The committee will have its hands full, in part because the mainstream media, or what Health Ranger Mike Adams calls the “fakestream media,” accepts everything from Big Pharma at face value.

Moreover, a movement appears to be underway for more states to require mandatory HPV vaccinations for pre-teens or teens. Against that backdrop, parents might be well advised to study the American College of Pediatricians statement and review the many articles here on the Natural News website to make an informed decision, along with their healthcare provider, as to what is best for their family.

Abortion rates plummet!

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The last time the CDC recorded a lower abortion rate was in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right for women to have abortions. Abortion was legal in some states at that time.

Full history HERE

Implanon Lawsuits Allege Serious Birth Control Side Effects

January 13, 2017, 10:30:00AM. By Heidi Turner

Boston, MA Women are used to being given a long list of side effects linked to their birth control, so hearing about alleged Implanon side effects is likely nothing new. Some birth control comes with alleged risks such as blood clots, others may increase the chances of pseudotumor cerebri, still others can increase the risk of depression. For its part, Implanon reportedly carries an increased risk of device migration. As a result, Implanon is just the latest birth control to face lawsuits alleging women were put at risk of serious side effects.

Implanon Lawsuits Allege Serious Birth Control Side Effects Because it is a birth control implant rather than an oral medication, Implanon’s alleged side effects are somewhat different from those linked to pills. According to lawsuits filed concerning Implanon, women who have the birth control implant are at an increased risk of having the device migrate, making it irretrievable. This is a problem because some women may use Implanon in the short term but decide to have children later and have the device taken out. Further, Implanon is only meant to be implanted for three years.

If the device cannot be found, it cannot be removed. That puts women not only at a risk of not being able to become pregnant for as long as the device releases progestin in their body, it also means those women could be at a higher risk of side effects linked to the extended exposure to progestin or linked to having a device moving through the body. Among those risks are a reported increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and a risk of vascular damage. Merck’s own Implanon documentation notes that implants have been found in blood vessels, “including a blood vessel in the lung.”

Other side effects linked to Implanon, according to Merck, are mood swings, weight gain, and depressed mood. The drug maker notes that some women may require surgery to remove the implant, if the implant is not found at the insertion site.

“If the implant is not removed, then the effects of IMPLANON will continue for a longer period of time,” the drug label notes.

Merck, maker of Implanon, faces a lawsuit filed by women who allege they were not properly warned about the risks associated with using Implanon. They further allege that Merck and Organon designed and manufactured a defective device, fraudulently misrepresented the birth control implant and breached their warranty.

At What Stage of Development Does an Unborn Child Receive its Soul?

January 14, 2017 By

“The soul is present the moment the active and passive principles of germination coalesce to form a definite entity. We therefore say that from the moment of conception, the soul is present. Our very doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary implies that doctrine. For we say that, from the moment of her conception, her soul was preserved immaculate, or free from any taint of original or inherited sin. Her soul, therefore, was created by God at the moment of her conception and long before human activity in the sense of discernible physical movement.”

“In St. Luke we read that, when our Blessed Lady visited Elizabeth, the latter cried, ‘for behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy’ (Luke 1:44). Even before his birth, St. John the Baptist was able to know by revelation of the presence of the also yet-inborn Christ. And the souls of others are also created at the moment of their conception. The unborn child possesses an ‘earthly existence’ every bit as much as the child lying in a cradle or romping in the streets. It is a living human being from the moment of conception.”

— Fr. Leslie Rumble (1892-1975), pioneer Catholic radio apologist

Excerpt from Radio Replies: Classic Answers to Timeless Questions about the Catholic Faith

 

Dangers of Birth Control Pills

5 Dangers of Birth Control Pills, Plus Side Effects & Alternatives

BirthControl-2-01-768x2107

1. May Contribute to Nutrient Deficiencies

Most people don’t know that in order for the body to metabolize the pill, the liver requires extra amounts of the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. This means that if a woman has been on the pill for years at a time (as many American women are, starting in their 20s or even late teens), she is creating a situation where nutrient deficiency is more likely. Deficiencies, such as iron deficiency or magnesium deficiency, are some of the primary contributors to most disease (others being factors like diet, genetics, stress and toxicity). If you take the pill, consuming a nutrient-dense, healing diet is key for maintaining gut health and preventing deficiency side effects, like fatigue, indigestion, muscle pains and sleep troubles.

2. May Cause or Worsen Candida

While yeast (candida albicans) generally makes its home in the digestive tract, common lifestyle choices like use of birth control pills, taking antibiotics, a diet high in refined grains and sugar, and high stress levels often lead to a candida overgrowth that infiltrates other parts of the body and leads to candida symptoms.

According to the Healthy Women Organization’s website, yeast overgrowth has been closely linked to estrogen dominance in a woman’s body, which is highly influenced by taking the pill. Women who use hormonal birth control (not just the pill but also a patch or ring) may have more yeast infections than those who don’t. (6)

Toxins from yeast overgrowth can lead to a host of other problems, presenting themselves in a variety of manners far beyond the common vaginal infection. For example, symptoms like migraines, infertility, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, psoriasis, PMS, depression and digestive disorders have all been linked to candida yeast overgrowth. The evidence clearly shows that when you address the yeast overgrowth, the symptoms improve or subside. If you do choose to use birth control pills, try an oral contraceptive that’s a progestin-only pill, since these are linked with occurrence of fewer yeast infections. (7)

3. Often Causes Moodiness (Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression)

Does taking birth control pills cause depression or simply worsen moodiness and existing symptoms? There’s evidence that with estrogen and progesterone levels in the body out of their natural equilibrium due to taking the pill, the brain’s response system is consequently altered, leading many to experience psychological side effects. A proportion of women express concern about low sex drive, lack of appetite, helplessness, disinterest and an overall sad disposition while on birth control pills — yet often their doctors tell them, “It’s all in your head.”

A study conducted in Denmark involving more than 1 million women found a notable increase in depression rates among women taking birth control versus women who were not. Progestin-only pills, the transdermal patch and the vaginal ring were all especially tied to higher ratio of depression diagnoses and antidepressant prescriptions. (8) To be fair, however, other studies, such as one published in 2012 in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, have not found the same correlation, so there seems to be individual differences in terms of the pill’s psychological effects. (9) Some evidence now suggests that most of the side effects of hormonal contraception may actually be a result of a psychological stress response to the practice of contraception (wanting to prevent pregnancy despite having sex). (10)

4. May Increase Cancer Risk

The National Cancer Institute tells us that the risk of developing breast cancer is around one in eight for the general public. (11) But studies done by doctors, such as Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., from Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Penn., indicate that “women who took oral birth control before having their first child have a 44-percent increased risk of developing breast cancer.” If this is true, that would bring your risk of developing breast cancer to one in five, a staggeringly high risk.

According to the Breast Cancer Organization’s website: (12)

“There are concerns that because birth control pills use hormones to block pregnancy they may overstimulate breast cells, which can increase the risk of breast cancer. The concern is greater if you’re at high risk for breast cancer because of: a strong family history of the disease, past breast biopsies showing abnormal cells, or you or someone in your family has an abnormal breast cancer gene.”

There is lots of ongoing debate about the breast cancer-depression link. For example, one study published in Cancer Research found a higher risk for breast cancer among women taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills. A review of 54 studies in 1996 found that women have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer while they’re taking birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin and during the 10 years after they stop taking the pills. And results from the 2010 Nurses’ Health Study found that use slightly increased risk, especially among women taking triphasic pills, which alter doses of hormones over three stages of the monthly cycle.

Why doesn’t your doctor tell you about this? “There’s tremendous vested interested — drug companies with a lot of money, government agencies who give a lot of money for contraception. It doesn’t make people look good when a study like this comes out,” Dr. Kahlenborn said.

5. Increased Risk for Blood Clots (Pulmonary Problems, Embolism and Thrombosis)

The link between estrogen use and developing blood clots in the veins (called venous thromboembolism) was identified more than 20 years ago. Extensive literature has now been published describing how the risk for embolism increases as estrogen dosages increase. (13) When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it’s called a deep vein thrombosis, and if that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it’s called a pulmonary embolism, which is a serious condition (10 percent to 15 percent of cases cause sudden death). (14) Estrogen seems to increase clotting factors in the blood, making clots more likely.

It’s been found that combination hormonal birth control pills that contain the progestin called desogestrel increase the risk of blood clots more than birth control pills that contain other types of progestin. Birth control pills containing drospirenone are some of the most popular types available and include such brand names as Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, Ocella and Zarah. (15)

Shortness of breath, chest pain (particularly with deep breathing), coughing up blood, persistent leg pain, or redness, swelling, or warmth in your lower legs are all signs of clots. The risk is highest among women with family histories of clots, those who smoke and those who are obese/sedentary — so if any of these apply to you, carefully discuss options with your doctor.

Abortion Advocates Call for Population Control in the UK, Tell Brits “Stop Having Children”

http://www.lifenews.com

Concerned about the impact of rising population numbers, a British environmentalist group is urging United Kingdom residents to have fewer children.

Breitbart reports a new report from Population Matters argues that the predicted population growth in the UK in the next 15 years will put a heavy strain on the economy. According to the environmental group, the expected 5.5 million-person surge could cost the UK billions of dollars for roads, infrastructure and more.

One of the group’s proposed solutions is to promote abortions.

Here’s more from Breitbart:

They claim drivers will waste an extra 12 hours a year on average in traffic delays by 2030, costing the average household £600 [ about $730] a year in lost working time, additional fuel, and the higher cost of delivering goods.

The group is lobbying the government to pour more public money into “family planning” to curb the population boom, including easy access to contraception and abortion. …

Reacting to the report, Chris Packham, the broadcaster and a patron of Population Matters, wrote in The Times:

“In the UK we already have the choice of how many children we have. If we want them to enjoy the natural world — to have a thriving, supportive natural world they will need to survive — we have to recognize that the more of them we have, the more difficult it will be for them to do that.

“We all need breathing room: animals, plants, human beings. We shouldn’t have to compete for it, and we don’t have to.”

Overpopulation fears have been around for hundreds years, coupled with dire predictions about huge populations depleting the world’s resources. These predictions largely have been proved untrue, but they still are being used as excuses to push abortions. In 2015, the New York Times even published an article admitting that overpopulation fears were unfounded.

Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute wrote at the time:

The article included a video interview with Paul Ehrlich, the author of “The Population Bomb.” He was the butterfly scientist from Stanford who scared tens of millions with the specter of overpopulation—and the population apocalypse that would supposedly result. He predicted that by the 1970’s the “population bomb” would explode—and hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in India and elsewhere. (India is still there, and doing quite well, thank you.)

But America’s “newspaper of record,” as it styles itself, failed to record the horrors themselves. It was woefully incomplete. There was no mention of the human costs when governments made population control a priority. No mention of the savage forced abortions and forced sterilizations that followed. No mention of the killing of baby girls through female infanticide and sex-selective abortion. No mention of the wasted money, the age and gender imbalances that continue to unfold and will take effect for years to come. No mention of how the overpopulation panic helped to fuel the rise of birth control use and abortion.

These horrors include coerced and forced abortions and sterilizations in China, India and other countries across the world.

Even if overpopulation was a problem, killing innocent human beings should never be the answer. The United States and the UK do not allow born children to be killed because of environmental or economic concerns, and they should not let children in the womb be killed either.

REVEALED: The most pro-life and most pro-abortion U.S. states. Where does your state rank?

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Oklahoma stands at the top and Washington ranks at the bottom of the Americans United for Life’s annual “Life List” released Tuesday that ranks the most pro-life and pro-abortion states in the U.S.

The rest of the top five behind Oklahoma, which was at the top for the second year in a row, in order, are Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona.

Washington remained the least protective state for the unborn for the eighth consecutive year. They are followed by California, Vermont, New Jersey, and Oregon.

2016 was a record-breaking year for pro-life legislation, with 43 states proposing more than 360 abortion restrictions, including tax funding for women’s health centers that perform abortions, limits on late-term abortions of viable babies, informed consent and ultrasound requirements, outlawing abortions on handicapped babies, banning aborted baby tissue trafficking, and prohibitions on sex-selection or race-selection abortions.

map

In a press release announcing the “Life List,” AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs Denise Burke denounced the abortion industry for “fighting the kinds of common-sense regulations that protect women.”

The “Life List” and its state-by-state details can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood-backed Guttmacher Institute gave a far more dismal year-end review. “2016 was a bad year for women’s health,” the Guttmacher report states, pointing out 50 new abortion restrictions in 18 states. “A total of 338 laws that restrict reproductive rights have been enacted since the Republicans took control of the majority of state governments in 2010.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights, while reporting on the pro-life gains, noted that the strongest pro-life bills were stopped by the courts. “State or federal courts ultimately blocked many of the onerous provisions, a circumstance that underscores how important the judiciary is in protecting women’s rights.”

The most devastating blow to pro-life laws in 2016 was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Texas’ safety regulations for abortion clinics, requiring emergency access, and hospital admission privileges.

Burke says, however, that the high court’s ruling is not insurmountable. “When the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ abortion safety standards, abortion advocates celebrated, but they ignored the fine print,” she said. “In fact, the Court found that such laws could survive a legal challenge if well-supported by medical evidence.”

AUL is working to provide that evidence, creating research statistics and pro-life resources for lawmakers to successfully make their case and win in court. The organization’s new and unique report, entitled, “Unsafe,” documents substandard conditions in abortuaries across the country.

“This groundbreaking report will equip legislators as they argue for better and more comprehensive pro-life protections,” Burke explained. Additionally, AUL has formulated model legislation for states that addresses the Supreme Court’s reservations.

The “Unsafe” report documents 227 abortion businesses in 32 states that were cited for more than 1,400 health and safety violations between 2008 and 2016. “Unsafe” also exposes more than 750 significant violations of state laws regulating abortion.

“Legislators … will be empowered in 2017 with new and updated model legislation, new analysis in Unsafe, and new tools for exposing substandard abortion care and remedying it through better inspections and more comprehensive health and safety mandates,” Burke said.  AUL has also drafted a model letter for lawmakers to call for inspections of abortion businesses in their states.

Ultimately, the tragic reality that abortion supporters will never view pro-life laws the same way those who value the sanctity of innocent human life do was summed up by Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky:

“The law does not value life,” the pro-abortionist said, “it (only) values birth.”

Parents wept as they pulled the plug, but now their daughter is thriving

CLACTON-ON-SEA, United Kingdom, January 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Bella  Moore-Williams is being hailed as “a Christmas miracle” by the headline-hungry British press. There is no question that the two-year-old’s survival last July is an answer to fervent prayer and has confounded medical expertise.

Now Bella is far enough along in recovery for her mother Francesca to tell The Daily Mail, “She made our family complete and it’s great to see how well she is doing.” Pictures show Bella standing on her own with a wide grin on her face, and beaming just as much in her parents’ arms. “When she says ‘Mama’ it just melts my heart.”

Diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in July after showing a steady decline in energy and motor ability, the second child of Francesca and Lee Moore-Williams of Clacton-on-Sea was first treated for asthma. But after the girl declined further while on a family holiday, doctors at a Colchester hospital told the parents their daughter had the degenerative genetic disease that would shortly lead to her death.

But mitochondrial disease is hard to identify, and an alternative diagnosis was proposed by staff – a long shot, but one with hope – which was that Bella had biotinidase deficiency. Only two cases a year happen in all of the United Kingdom, the family were told, but fortunately, one of the cases six years earlier was at Colchester and presented similar symptoms. The disease prevents cell growth.

The treatment was simple: injections of Biotin, or Vitamin H. After a month Bella was taken off her ventilator but had immediately to be reconnected. The treatment had not worked, making staff think that their original diagnosis was correct. “We were told three times that she’s not likely to survive, so every day we sat at her bedside praying,” her mother recalls.

The couple agreed to take no heroic measures to sustain their daughter and set the date of July 21 with hospital staff to take her off life support. The extended family gathered to say goodbye, one by one. On the appointed day, the Moore-Williamses posed with son Bobby for one last picture at their daughter’s bedside before giving staff the go-ahead to shut off Bella’s ventilator.

bella

bella_4Then came the answer to prayer. They thought they were watching her breathe her last breaths, and they wept. Instead, after 30 minutes, her oxygen levels were up to 100%, and she was doing it on her own. “It’s just amazing,” said Mrs. Moore-Williams. “It’s like we have won the lottery.”

The same hospital staff who had counseled them to prepare for Bella’s death now fought for her life. After three days, her energy was back to normal. After three weeks, she was ready to go home and after another nine to go off her infection-fighting medications. Now she takes four tablets of Biotin daily and will continue to do so, says her mother, “for the rest of her life.”

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Bella now

“She’s now learning to talk,” Mrs. Moore-Williams says, “and her hair is growing back and she’s even walking. She’s about eight months behind where she should be but doctors are confident she will pick up quite quickly. She’s at nursery and to look at her you wouldn’t think she’s been through what she has.”

Pro-Life Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

defundplannedparenthood5Congress approved legislation to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business last year only to see pro-abortion President Barack Obama veto it. Today, a leading pro-life me member f the House of representatives introduced a bill to yank taxpayer funding from the nation’s biggest abortion company.

This week a congressional investigation into the Planned Parenthood abortion business over its sales of body parts of aborted baby parts concluded. Lawmakers are suggesting that Congress defund the abortion company as a result of the problematic actions they uncovered.

New polling shows 56 percent of Americans in battleground states want Planned Parenthood defunded.

Pro-life Congresswoman a registered nurse and member of the recently concluded Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, reintroduced H.R. 354 today – the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017.

The legislation would prioritize preventive healthcare over elective abortion by placing a one year moratorium on all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, including its affiliates and associated clinics, until such time as Planned Parenthood certifies that it will not perform elective abortions or give funding to entities that do. The bill was introduced with the support of 127 cosponsors.

The legislation would instead redirect federal dollars to the more than 13,500 community health centers nationwide that provide a broader range of healthcare services to women (e.g., mammograms) and do not perform abortions. The bill provides $235 million in funding for community health centers, in addition to the funding that would be reallocated from Planned Parenthood.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately

Black released the following statement: “Planned Parenthood’s grand deception is quickly collapsing. For too long, this organization has cashed in on our tax dollars – to the tune of more than $550 million a year – all while performing more than 320,000 abortions during the same length of time. Abortion is not healthcare, yet it is the centerpiece of Planned Parenthood’s mission. What’s more, legitimate questions persist about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with federal law and regulatory guidelines, as evidenced by the work of our Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent decision to refer Planned Parenthood to both the Department of Justice and the FBI,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Our unified pro-life government is proof that Americans have rejected Planned Parenthood’s callous extremism. Now, it is our time to act. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards should consider the introduction of this bill as her notice: the days of her organization receiving a free ride from taxpayers and a blind eye from Washington are coming to an end.”

Black added,  “From my years on the frontlines of the pro-life movement, I know the scare tactics that Planned Parenthood will use when speaking about this bill, so let me be very clear: My legislation does not cut a single dime from public health funding. In fact, this bill provides an additional $235 million for our nation’s community health centers. For Planned Parenthood or others to claim that our legislation blocks access to preventive care is an outright lie. This is about promoting true women’s healthcare over elective abortion and honoring the conscience rights of American taxpayers who don’t want their tax dollars used to fund a scandal-ridden abortion enterprise.”

Leading pro-life groups that also support the reconciliation bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood include Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Family Research Council, March for Life, Concerned Women for America, Students for Life, Priests for Life, Operation Rescue, and American Life League, among others.

A new Congressional report finds that de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business — even for one year — would save “several thousand” unborn babies from the nightmare of abortion. The report also finds de-funding Planned Parenthood would save the federal government $235 million.

The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all eleven:

  • In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
  • In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
  • In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
  • In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
  • In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
  • In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
  • In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
  • In the eighth video: StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of” fully intact aborted babies.
  • The ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies — including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
  • The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies.The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.
  • Unreleased Videos: Unreleased videos from CMP show Deb Vanderhei of Planned Parenthood caught on tape talking about how Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliates may “want to increase revenue [from selling baby parts] but we can’t stop them…” Another video has a woman talking about the “financial incentives” of selling aborted baby body parts.
  • The 11th video: catches a texas Planned Parenthood abortionist planning to sell the intact heads of aborted babies for research. Amna Dermish is caught on tape describing an illegal partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term unborn babies which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must Investigate Planned Parenthood for Selling Aborted Baby Parts

The full, unedited videos have confirmed that revelations that some aborted baby remains sold by Planned Parenthood go to biotech companies for the purpose of creating “humanized” mice. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has been exposed as having sold body parts from aborted babies for as much as 15 years.

Newborn Baby Boy Saved After He Was Abandoned in a Laundry Basket Inside a Catholic Church

baby69A newly-born baby boy was rescued by a Catholic church employee on Wednesday shortly before mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, Fox9 News reports.

“I am profoundly grateful that this beautiful baby is healthy and safe and whomever dropped him off at the Cathedral felt that this was a safe place where he would receive the care he needs and deserves as a child of God.” Father John Ubel, leader of the cathedral, told local media.

The baby had been wrapped in a green fleece blanket and left in a plastic laundry basket in a hallway of the church, Fox9 News reported. His faint cries alerted a church employee to investigate the basket. The baby was subsequently transferred to the local children’s hospital, and will be released to country child welfare officials following his hospitalization.

While waiting for the police to arrive at the church, the child was christened “Nathan John” by the local congregation and baptized, according to the report.

Unfortunately, there is no database or organization tracking the number of babies surrendered via Safe Haven laws, according to Fusion. These laws allow parents who feel they cannot care for a newborn to leave the baby at a police station, fire house or hospital without fear of recourse.

However, grassroots activists and other volunteers estimate 3,000 babies have been saved since the inception of the law in Texas in 1999, which has since been ratified in varying forms in each of the remaining 49 states.

Indiana recently developed the concept of “baby boxes” where mothers can anonymously drop off their newborn children in approved locations at local fire stations as an extension of the already existing Safe Haven laws, according to NBC News. The boxes include protection from the climate and the surroundings, and allow the mother the opportunity to uphold the law without having direct conversation with emergency, hospital or law enforcement personnel.

The St. Paul Police state that no crime was committed in leaving the child at the cathedral, despite it not being a traditional drop off site under Minnesota’s Safe Haven laws, according to Fox9 News.

Furthermore, the St. Paul Police used the situation to remind and encourage parents to call 911 or go to the local hospital if there are any concerns with the ability to care for the welfare of their children.

Contraception & Humanae Vitae: Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching

Contraception & Humanae Vitae: Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching

Common Statement

This statement in support of Humanae Vitae, the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching on love, sexuality, and contraception, is entitled “Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.”  It was released at a press conference at the Catholic University of America on September 20, 2016.

We, the undersigned scholars, affirm that the Catholic Church’s teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception are true and defensible on many grounds, among them the truths of reason and revelation concerning the dignity of the human person.

Scholarly support for the Church’s teachings on the gift of sexuality, on marriage, and on contraception has burgeoned in recent decades. Moreover, institutes and programs supporting that teaching have been established all over the world. Even some secular feminists and secular programs have begun to acknowledge the harms of contraception.

These facts, however, seem to have escaped the notice of the authors of “On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives” (hereafter, the Wijngaards Statement) which urges the Catholic Church to change its teaching and issue an “official magisterial document [that] should revoke the absolute ban on the use of ‘artificial’ contraceptives, and allow the use of modern non-abortifacient contraceptives for both prophylactic and family planning purposes.” The Wijngaards Statement, unfortunately, offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception and, in fact, repeats the arguments that the Church has rejected and that numerous scholars have engaged and refuted since 1968.

The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church. Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. During the past half century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the Theology of the Body, personalism, and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships, and culture.

The Wijngaards Statement, rather than engaging recent scholarship in support of the Church’s teaching, misdirects the conversation from the start by claiming that the argument against contraception in Humanae Vitae is based primarily on “biological laws.” Humanae Vitae instead focuses, as it should, on the person’s relationship to God and to other persons.

The points below briefly outline the true basis of the Church’s teaching that contraception is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. It also responds to some of the erroneous claims found in the Wijngaards Statement.

1. God is Love

The God who made this beautiful and ordered world is a loving and good God. All of His creation is a loving gift to humankind. Even after the Fall, God continued to reach out to His people, gradually revealing Himself and the depths of his love and mercy. God the Father’s gift of His Son Jesus, whose life was poured out on the Cross, was the ultimate and complete self-gift. This great and radical love is borne out in Scripture where the biblical authors in the Old Testament often speak of God in the image of husband and His people as His wife, and in the New Testament where Christ is described as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. Throughout the history of the Church, many have seen this spousal imagery as a key to understanding God’s relationship to every human soul.

2. Made in God’s Image

Because God is Love – a communion of Divine Persons– He made men and women in His image: able to reason and to choose freely, with the capacity to love and to be in loving relationships.

3. Gift of Self

God invites all people to share in His love. Every person, therefore, is beloved by God and made to be in loving relationships; every person is created to make a gift of self to God and to others. The gift of self means living in a way that promotes the good of everyone, especially those with whom one is in close relationship.

4. Marriage: A Unique Communion of Persons

Marriage was designed by God to enable a man and a woman to live out humanity’s core identity as lovers and givers of life, to enable the two to become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) and for that one flesh to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Human sexual relations fulfill God’s intent only when they respect the procreative meaning of the sexual act and involve a complete gift of self between married partners.

5: God’s Law, not Man’s

“The doctrine that the Magisterium of the Church has often explained is this: there is an unbreakable connection between the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning [of the marital act], and both are inherent in the marital act. This connection was established by God and human beings are not permitted to break it through their own volition.” (HV12) The teaching that contraception is always against God’s plan for sexuality, marriage and happiness is not based on human law: “The teaching of the Church about the proper spacing of children is a promulgation of the divine law itself.” (HV 20)

6. Faith and Reason

God has revealed the truths about sexuality to human beings through the biblical vision of the human person and has also made it accessible to our reason. Several well-argued versions of “natural law” defenses support the Church’s teaching that contraception is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. Each begins with different basic truths and thus each constructs its arguments differently.

7. The Theology of the Body: Saint John Paul II’s Contribution

Saint John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (virtually ignored by the Wijngaards Statement) provides a powerful defense of the view that contraception is not in accord with the understanding of the human person as conveyed by Scripture and sacred Catholic Tradition. He speaks of the “language of the body” and has shown that to violate the procreative meaning of the marital act is also to violate the unitive (the “commitment-expressing”) meaning of the marital act. There he demonstrates that our very bodies have a language and a “spousal meaning” — that they express the truth that we are to be in loving and fruitful relationships with others.

8. Humanae Vitae as Prophetic

Humanae Vitae speaks against the distorted view of human sexuality and intimate relationships that many in the modern world promote. Humanae Vitae was prophetic when it listed some of the harms that would result from the widespread use of contraception. Abundant studies show that contraception, such as hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices, can cause serious health problems for women. The widespread use of contraception appears to have contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women, to declining marriage rates as well as to declining population growth in many parts of the world. There is even growing evidence that chemical contraceptives harm the environment.

9. A Practical Help to Husbands and Wives–FABMs

In order to live God’s design for married love, husband and wife need moral family planning methods. Fertility Awareness Based Methods of Family Planning (or FABMs, i.e., the many forms of Natural Family Planning) respect the God-given spousal union and the potential to procreate. FABMs are fully consistent with the Church’s teaching on marital chastity. Couples using these methods make no attempt to thwart the power of acts that could result in the procreation of new human persons. They respect God’s design for sexuality; they help individuals grow in self-mastery; they have the potential to strengthen marriages and respect the physical and psychological health of women. Moreover, science demonstrates that they are highly effective both in helping couples limit their family size when necessary and conceive when appropriate.

10. Respect for Cultural Values, Freedom

International organizations and governments should respect the values and beliefs of families and cultures that see children as a gift, and, therefore, should not impose—on individuals, families, or cultures—practices antithetical to their values and beliefs about children and family planning. Governments and international organizations should make instruction in Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning a priority. FABMs are based on solid scientific understanding of a woman’s fertility cycle, are easily learned by women in developing countries, are virtually without cost, and promote respect for women.

11. Christ provides grace

Because of Original Sin, men and women became subject to temptations that sometimes seem insuperable. Christ came not just to restore our original goodness but to enable us to achieve holiness. The Catholic Church invites married couples to participate in the life of Christ, to participate in the sacraments, especially in Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. The Church asks the faithful to deepen their relationship with the Lord God the Father, to be open to receive the direction of the Holy Spirit, and to ask Christ to provide the graces needed to live in accord with God’s will for their married lives, even the difficult moral truths.

We, the undersigned Catholic scholars, hold that the Church’s teaching on contraception is true and defensible on the basis of Scripture and reason. We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness.

 

Mother Gives Birth to Miracle Baby After Doctors Insisted on Abortion

Johanna Morton was 12 weeks pregnant when she went in for an ultrasound anticipating good news, only to find out her baby’s heart was malfunctioning, Catholic Online report.

“I was 12 weeks gestation when we were told something was wrong with my baby’s heart. I was told she will not survive. ‘You will miscarry.’ I left the office in tears and heart broken,” Morton said on Facebook. “My baby fought her way to 18 weeks as her heart beat slower and slower. With each new appointment seemed to come another diagnosis, another heartbreak and a waterfall of tears.”

Morton’s GoFundMe page elaborates on her daughter’s diagnosis: congenital heart defect (CHD) and heterotaxy syndrome including a full heart block, atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, and valve defects. The prognosis was poor, according to doctors, who did not expect the baby to live past 18-20 weeks gestation.

Congenital heart defects affect nearly 1 in 100 children, according to the John Hopkins Heart & Vascular Institute. Over 75% of babies with critical CHD prenatally will be “terminated for medical reasons,” The Federalist reports. The New York Times recently covered the story of a California mother justifying the late term abortion of her child missing half his heart.

As in many instances of pediatric heart defects, doctors pressured Morton to abort the child.

“I was told ‘She’s going to be stillborn, Save [sic] yourself the pain,” Morton said on Facebook.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you come back next week, and have her stillborn.’ There was little to no hope for my baby. Even the number #1 children’s hospital, had not seen a heart like hers.”

Yet, Morton opted to give her baby a chance to live.

Baby Clara Ray Morton was born at 37 weeks, and underwent open heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, Catholic Online reported. Clara was able to go home with her family soon after, and has been thriving.

Despite oxygen tubes taped to her face, many photographs circulating Facebook and the internet show Clara’s face smiling in delight as she enjoys the view of the snow falling outside the window.

“This is her seeing her first snowfall,” Morton wrote. “She absolutely loved it. I can’t explain the emotions we felt, as we watched that smile come across her face. Pure. Joy.”

Fatima visionary predicted ‘final battle’ would be over marriage, family

.- Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who witnessed the Marian apparitions at Fatima, died in 2005. But before her death, she predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be over marriage and the family.

So says Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who reports that the visionary sent him a letter with this prediction when he was Archbishop of Bologna, Italy.

This reported statement by Sister Lucia, expressed during the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, was revisited earlier this year by the Desde la Fe (From the Faith) weekly of the Archdiocese of Mexico, in the midst of the debate generated by President Enrique Pena Nieto, who announced his intention to promote gay marriage in this country.

The Mexican weekly recalled the statements that Cardinal Caffarra made to the Italian press in 2008, three years after the death of Sister Lucia.

On February 16, 2008, the Italian cardinal had celebrated a Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, after which he gave an interview with Tele Radio Padre Pio. He was asked about the prophecy of Sister Lucia dos Santos that speaks about “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan.”

Cardinal Caffarra explained that Saint John Paul II had commissioned him to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. At the beginning of this work, the cardinal wrote a letter to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her bishop, since he could not do it directly.

“Inexplicably, since I did not expect a reply, seeing as I had only asked for her prayers, I received a long letter with her signature, which is now in the archives of the Institute,” the Italian cardinal said.

“In that letter we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ Don’t be afraid, she added, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Then she concluded: ‘nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head’.”

Cardinal Caffarra added that “speaking again with John Paul II, you could feel that the family was the core, since it has to do with the supporting pillar of creation, the truth of the relationship between man and woman, between the generations. If the foundational pillar is damaged, the entire building collapses and we’re seeing this now, because we are right at this point and we know it.”

“And I am moved when I read the best biographies of Padre Pio,” the cardinal concluded, “about how this man was so attentive to the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of the spouses, even with justifiable rigor at times.”

CBA & Fargo Diocese file lawsuit against new mandates threatening religious freedom

fargohttp://www.lifenews.com/2016/12/29/obama-tries-to-force-catholic-groups-to-pay-for-abortions-now-theyre-fighting-back-in-court/

Yesterday, the Catholic Benefits Association and the Diocese of Fargo filed a lawsuit challenging federal rules that require Catholic hospitals and healthcare providers to perform gender transition procedures and abortions contrary to their own medical judgment and Catholic values.

The new rules also require Catholic dioceses, religious orders, and other Catholic employers to cover gender transition surgeries and their group insurers to cover surgical abortions in their health plans.  These rules are part of a multi-agency effort to redefine the term “sex” in federal antidiscrimination laws.

“For decades, Congress and the courts have understood the term ‘sex’ in federal law to mean biological sex – male and female,” explained Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA). “By redefining ‘sex’ to mean both ‘gender identity’ and ‘termination of pregnancy,’ the Obama administration is not only trying to sidestep Congress and impose radical new healthcare mandates on hospitals and employers, it is creating a moral problem for Catholic employers that must be addressed.”

Pope Francis has reiterated Catholic teaching on both the sanctity of life for all—including the unborn—and on the theories stating that gender is mutable or fluid.  Such “gender theory,” the Pope said last year, “does not recognize the order of creation.”

The lawsuit takes aim at regulations issued earlier this year by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring Catholic healthcare providers to ignore their own medical judgment and perform gender transition surgeries. Among the newly mandated procedures are a penectomy (removal of penis), metoidioplasty (creation of penis, using clitoris), vaginectomy (removal of vagina), and vulvectomy (removal of vulva).

“HHS’s own experts agree that these procedures can harm patients with gender dysphoria in ways that are often irreversible,” said Douglas Wilson, the CBA’s CEO, who spent decades in healthcare administration before joining the CBA last year. “So, even as HHS is requiring doctors to perform these surgeries, it has chosen not to mandate coverage of the same procedures in Medicare and Medicaid. This is blatant hypocrisy coupled with shoddy science.”

“Catholic hospitals provide compassionate care to everyone, regardless of status.  Patients experiencing gender dysphoria deserve no less,” Wilson said. “The prime ethic of any healthcare provider is do no harm.  These regulations do the opposite.”

Similar rules issued by HHS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) require employers to cover gender transition surgeries in their group health plans. None of the HHS or EEOC rules has a religious exemption or a grandfathered plan exemption.  This means that institutions across the Catholic spectrum–dioceses, religious institutes, private schools, colleges, hospitals, and closely held businesses–-are required to perform or pay for medical procedures that directly contradict Catholic teachings.

“This continued assault on religious freedom by the Obama administration is mystifying,” remarked Martin Nussbaum of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, CBA’s General Counsel, who is also representing the CBA in the lawsuit. “Even assuming the government has a sound basis for these rules – and it doesn’t – it can accomplish its objectives in other ways. HHS and EEOC shouldn’t be conscripting the Catholic Church to advance their political agenda.”

In the lawsuit, the CBA seeks to invalidate HHS regulations issued under Section 1557 of the Affordance Care Act and EEOC rules purporting to interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiffs assert violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and other federal laws. The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in North Dakota.

The Catholic Benefits Association is a group of employers committed to providing life-affirming health coverage consistent with Catholic teaching. Directed by seven archbishops and four laypersons, it consists of over 880 Catholic employers (including hospitals, colleges, religious orders, businesses, and over 60 archdioceses and dioceses,) plus over 5,000 parishes, together covering over 90,000 employees and their families.

Pope Francis Slams Abortion in His Christmas Message: Respect Those “Not Allowed to be Born”

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Hearkening to the birth of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis used his Christmas message to urge Catholics worldwide to express compassion for those “not allowed to be born.”

Speaking to tens of thousands of Catholics in Saint Peter’s Square, the head of the Catholic Church asked worshipers to celebrate “the fragile simplicity of a small newborn.”

“Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons,” he said.

Referring to the meaning of Jesus’ birth, Francis said: “Today this message goes out to the ends of the Earth to reach all peoples, especially those scarred by war and harsh conflicts that seem stronger than the yearning for peace.”

Earlier this  year, the Pope told the Polish people that “life must always be welcomed and protected. These two things go together – welcome and protection, from conception to natural death.”

During the pope’s speech, addressed to government authorities, Pope Francis encouraged the state to reach out and help expectant mothers.

“All of us are called to respect life and care for it,” he said. “On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the State, the Church and society to accompany and concretely help all those who find themselves in serious difficulty, so that a child will never be seen as a burden but as a gift, and those who are most vulnerable and poor will not be abandoned.”

During his visit, Pope Francis continued to demonstrated his pro-life convictions. On Friday, Pope Francis visited a children’s hospital. He met with 50 patients, their families and medical personnel at the Prokocim University Pediatric Hospital, according to Patheos.

During his brief address, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of government working to protect and help the disadvantaged.

“This is the sign of true civility, human and Christian: to make those who are most disadvantaged the center of social and political concern,” he said.

“Sadly, our society is tainted by the culture of waste, which is the opposite of the culture of acceptance. And the victims of the culture of waste are those who are weakest and most frail; and this is indeed cruel.”

In April, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s position on the sanctity of life for unborn babies.

On the subject of abortion, the document states the church’s commitment to its anti-abortion stance, adding that no woman’s “right to choose” over what happens to their own body can “justify terminating a life”.

It also states that healthcare workers in [facilities that perform abortions] should exercise their right to conscientiously object to abortion.

 

From an ultrasound technologist: the side I see

https://www.endthekilling.ca/blog/2016/12/19/ultrasound-technologist-side-i-see

Author anonymous due to workplace/patient confidentiality

I put my probe down, find the head, then slide down to the bum. Fortunately, the baby is in a good position. “It’s definitely a boy!” I tell the mom and dad, as they peer over my shoulder at the screen. I point out the very obviously displayed male anatomy. The dad’s face drops. “That sucks!” he exclaims. “I wanted to have a girl.” He continues to express his displeasure as I show them their child and take a couple more pictures for them to take home with them. He is still unhappy as I tell them I’m done and they can get the results from their doctor.

“Can we just end this and start over?” he says to his wife as they leave the room. She laughs nervously. He’s joking . . . I hope.

This is my both my least and most favorite part of my job as an ultrasound technologist. There is something indescribably beautiful about watching human life develop and grow at all of its stages. From the tiny flicker of the heartbeat at just six weeks’ gestation, to seeing the little bouncing 8-9 week old peanuts which (given a good scan) wave tiny little arms and legs. It only gets better from there on out as the baby gets bigger and is easier to see with my ultrasound equipment.

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There are also the fun opportunities of telling good news and watching mothers’ faces beam as they get to see their child for the first time. Then there are the good news stories that warm your heart and put a smile on your face. There is nothing quite like telling the mother who thought she had a miscarriage several weeks ago that she is in fact still pregnant and has a bouncing, healthy twelve-week gestation baby. Not to mention finding live twins in a patient who had just had an ectopic pregnancy removed.

But this is only the happy side of the story. There is a sad side too. Like the countless miscarriages that we see day after day. Nothing is quite so disappointing as finding no heart heat and then trying to keep a neutral expression for the rest of the scan, knowing that when they get the results from their doctor their dreams and hopes will be disappointed.

Even that is still not the worst part of scanning pregnant females. The absolute worst is the unwanted children that you see. There is nothing so heart wrenching as the feeling of scanning and seeing little miracles that have been sentenced to die by the ones who are supposed to support and love them.

Scanning early pregnancies only so that some abortion provider knows how to best stop that little heart beat is one example. Another is guiding the needle in an amniocentesis procedure, knowing that the results of the test will be the determining factor of life or death for the baby whose heart rate is carefully recorded to see that they don’t show adverse effects from the procedure.

Then there was the young woman who was already more than twenty weeks pregnant but had decided not to continue the pregnancy. I had to scan her that same day so her doctor could still send her to a hospital that would do abortions up to twenty-four weeks (in the same building where NICU teams fight to save babies born earlier than that). Her baby was a little girl.

I have no words that I can say to my patients. I am not allowed to share my views or offer support. I can’t suggest pregnancy resource centers or tell them how wonderful adoption is. I am not allowed to explain to them exactly what abortion is or tell them about the struggles that other patients have told me that they have had afterwards.

I am not allowed to be a voice for the silent ones. I only have my machine. I can turn my screen and show them that little beating heart and those tiny little arms and legs, fingers and toes. I can show them and hope that they are seeing the same baby, the same human, the same life that I do.

Scanning pregnant ladies has taught me that children in our culture are conditionally loved and conditionally valued. If they are planned and expected or wanted, then I see excited parents and smiling faces. When things don’t go according to plan then I hear disappointment. There are still those that will face the unexpected and make it work, but there are so many who just get rid of the problem instead of accepting and working with it.

That’s why we need people on the streets. We need people to hear and see the truth of what abortion is and what it does. We need to show our culture that abortion does stop a beating heart and that it ends a life. I can only show one side of the story, but people need to know both.

Beautiful: See Christmas as never before, as told by children with Down Syndrome

This brings the Christmas message vividly and movingly to life. Patricia Heaton tweeted this Saturday, and it’s quickly going viral. Here’s a pro-life message to stir the heart.

Keep a Kleenex handy. You’ll need it.

– See more at: http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/beautiful-see-christmas-as-never-before-in-a-pageant-of-children-with-down-syndrome/#sthash.6gZEFMcE.dpuf

Kasich Vetoes Heartbeat Bill, Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban

http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/kasich-vetoes-heartbeat-bill-signs-20-week-abortion-ban/37652

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After the general assembly sent two pro-life bills to Governor John Kasich last week, opponents of abortion and abortion promoters held their breath to see what he would do.

Today, they had their answer.

If the governor had done nothing, both bills (one banning abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected, the other banning abortion at 20 weeks) would have become law.

Today Gov. Kasich signed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act, the 20-week ban, and used his line-item veto authority to veto the Heartbeat Bill, which passed as an amendment to another bill.
Citing the probability of an expensive lawsuit over the Heartbeat Bill, Gov. Kasich wrote, “The State of Ohio will be the losing party in a lawsuit and, as the losing party, the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.

Furthermore, such a defeat invites additional challenges to Ohio’s strong legal protections for unborn life.”

Read the veto message here

I’ve done pro-life apologetics for years, but this time I realized it just wasn’t enough

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/bringing-beauty-to-berkeley

December 13, 2016 (Stephanie Gray) — On November 21 of this year, I returned to the University of California, Berkeley, to explain the pro-life view to one hundred students who signed up for the course, “Public Health 198.”  I would be presenting after their course’s sponsor teacher, Dr. Malcolm Potts (abortionist and first medical director of International Planned Parenthood Federation) gave his talk on why he believes abortion is right.

Having spoken to hundreds of his students the year prior, I listened to last year’s recording.  And when I heard myself, I felt I had relied too much on the intellectual case and not enough on stories that reach the heart.  So I began to pray about how I could better package the message this year.  Kneeling in one of my favorite chapels in Vancouver, I prayed for inspiration, and sensed that my message should focus primarily on beauty.

Without my notebook, I grabbed the next best thing—notepad on my phone, and began to type ideas.  I saw that on that same notepad entry, a couple weeks before while speaking in Guatemala, I had typed a note when I heard another speaker, Clay Olsen; he said, “Make it cool first and inform them second.”  That’s what I would do—share stories of beauty, of those who authentically live the pro-life message to show it is possible to do so, and only then segue into pro-life apologetics.

A beautiful family I met several years ago while in Denver came to mind—Brianna Heldt and her husband Kevin (whose story I share below).  I jotted that idea down.  I wrote, “They need Jesus”—which was a deep conviction I had while speaking to the students a year ago as I sensed a very broken and hostile crowd.  I further typed, “Give them Jesus in the faces of the HeldtsRyanLianna.”

In my 14-plus years of travelling the world, I have met the most incredible pro-life people whose inspiring life choices would move you to tears.  Having interacted with many hostile abortion supporters I have come to see that my experiences and theirs are very different.  They have not met the people I’ve met, not seen the things I’ve seen, not experienced the love I’ve experienced.  It is love and beauty that is at the heart of the pro-life message and this time at Berkeley I would introduce them to this other world.

After my opening, I addressed the “tough cases” people often raise to justify abortion.  I began with poor prenatal diagnosis and poured out the beauty: I told my story of meeting limbless inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic back in 2010, and spending time with him along with a then-2-year-old girl, Brooke, who was born without arms.  I talked about how Nick had contemplated suicide when he was younger, but he eventually realized that instead of focusing on what his disability prevented him from doing, he could focus on what it enabled him to do.  As this documentary shows, Nick lives a full and satisfying life, inspiring and motivating people all around the world.  I then told them about Brooke: her parents were offered an abortion when a routine ultrasound showed she had no arms.  But they rejected that, got connected to Nick, and now Brooke has also learned how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.  Abortion doesn’t have to be the answer; we can choose a better way.

Nick and Brooke’s lived experiences are really about perspective—that we can choose our response to situations we haven’t chosen. So I then shared the story of photographer Rick Guidotti who devotes his time and talent to use “photography, film and narrative to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences.”  I played a clip from this documentary featuring him, to illustrate a better response than abortion to poor prenatal diagnosis.

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Then I addressed the hard case of rape.  Besides playing the trailer of the powerful documentary “Conceived in Rape,” I told the story of my new friend Lianna, a fellow speaker I met in Guatemala.  I told the students that Lianna was raped at the age of 12 and became pregnant.  I read this portion of an interview with her:

“Lianna asked the doctor if abortion would help her forget the rape and ease her pain and suffering. When he replied ‘No,’ she realized that ending the baby’s life would not really benefit anybody.

“‘If abortion wasn’t going to heal anything, I didn’t see the point,’ she said.

“‘I just knew that I had somebody inside my body. I never thought about who her biological father was. She was my kid. She was inside of me. Just knowing that she needed me, and I needed her…it made me want to work, to get a job [to support her],’ she said.

“Rape caused Lianna’s life to become a living hell. No matter how many times she showered, she could not rid herself of feeling dirty. The idea of suicide seemed to offer the young girl instant release from so much misery, but she began to realize that she had to think not only about herself, but about the future of this little life that was blossoming within her body.”

I further told the students that Lianna says, “I saved my daughter’s life and she saved mine.”

But what if someone feels they can’t parent their child like Lianna did?  That brings me back to Brianna and Kevin, the couple I met in Denver a few years ago.  I infrequently speak about adoption, and decided to emphasize it in my talk at Berkeley.  When the Heldt’s first child was only one year old, they adopted two children.  They have since adopted two more children, both of whom have down syndrome and serious heart conditions, along with having 7 more biological kids (but tragically losing 3 of them to miscarriage).  Brianna wrote, which I quoted for the students,

“When we adopted my sons, we went from being a family of three to a family of five.  As one would expect, we got a lot of ‘Why are you doing that?’ and, when I became pregnant four months after my sons joined our family (taking us to a family of six), a lot of ‘Was this an accident?’  And when I answered no, a lot of dumbfounded looks.  What struck me most back then (and still does today) is that people were incredulous not so much because of the number of children we had, but simply because we were saying yes.  Being open.  Allowing love to grow and exponentially multiply, which it always does when a family is graced with new life. 

“Those early years of our marriage with four itty-bitty children were outright hilarious, but they were beautiful too.  If I could go back for a time, I would.  A three-year-old sister sneaking cookies from the pantry to distribute to two-year-old brothers.  Sloppy kisses and chubby hands welcoming a new baby sister.  Exhausted parents collapsing onto the couch at the day’s end, laughing at how ridiculously amusing our life was. 

“But there was love.  Always.”

I told the students that “suffering unleashes love” (one of my favourite quotes from St. John Paul II), and that while Dr. Potts is saying that the suffering in the world should unleash violence (i.e., abortion), I would like to propose—not impose, but propose (to borrow the phrase of the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus who I discovered was simply borrowing more great words from St. John Paul II)—that suffering unleash love.  I would like to propose that we follow in the footsteps of people who prove this is possible, people like the Heldt’s, Lianna, Nick, Brooke and her family, and Rick Guidotti.

There is much more that 50 minutes plus Q & A allowed me to share (that a brief blog post does not), but suffice it to say I sought to heed the words of Dostoevsky: “beauty will save the world.”

P.S., The good news?  One of the course organizers e-mailed me, “Based on our evals (we run a short iClicker evaluation) students overwhelmingly enjoyed your presentation. Since we didn’t have discussion sections due to the holiday, we weren’t able to get a full idea of their feedback, but students were happy to talk to us after and were very receptive to your message.”

Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony

Ohio Legislature Passes Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony


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Ohio has become the Fifth State in the past few years to strengthen protections in law from assisted suicide.

The Ohio Senate voted on House Bill 470, a bill that would make assisting a suicide a felony in Ohio on Thursday December 8. HB 470 had previously passed in the Ohio House last May by a vote of 92 – 5.
Jeremy Pelzer, reported for Cleveland.com  on November 7 before the vote that:

House Bill 470 … would make knowingly assisting in a suicide a third-degree felony in Ohio, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Currently, Ohio law only permits a court to issue an injunction against anyone helping other people to kill themselves.

If the Senate passes the bill on Thursday – expected to be the last day of the legislative session – it would head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. The measure passed the Ohio House 92-5 last May.
State Sen. Bill Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who authored HB 470, said the legislation mirrors Michigan’s 1998 ban on assisted suicide, which was passed in response to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s well-publicized campaign.

In the past few years Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, and Arizona have passed bills to strengthen protection from assisted suicide.

LifeNews.com Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.

11 reasons why large families are totally awesome

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/11-reasons-why-large-families-are-awesome

Hannah Kane

George Osborne’s ‘two-child policy’ made headlines this week, but it shows that a lot of people still don’t get why mums like me would choose to have more than 2 kids.
So, here’s my list of 11 reasons why large families are totally awesome:

1. You’ll all be healthier
Awesome fact #1: did you know that children with siblings have stronger immune systems? This means that your kids are better guarded against conditions like eczema and hay fever.
And medical research in recent years indicates that they may even be getting protection from food allergies, multiple sclerosis and some cancers!

2. Like, so much healthier
Major studies the world over show that children in a larger family grow up slimmer. That’s how to tackle child obesity! An US study even went so far as to calculate that each extra sibling meant that a child would be 14% less obese on average.
Likewise, children with brothers and sisters tend to enjoy better mental health. How cool is that?

3. Family team games are now a thing
Now you’ll always have enough people to play any game you want.
Football? Cricket? Touch rugby? Once you’re up to 4+ kids, suddenly all kinds of sports become possible.

4. It gets easier after the first one
Ok, so I’ll admit that having a baby for the first time can be tiring and stressful at times (although it’s definitely made up for by the new bundle of joy in your life)! But the weird thing you’ll find is that it gets easier for every new child you have.
After you have two children you’re already outnumbered, so why not go ahead and add a few more to the tribe?
In fact, as your kids grow up, it actually makes life easier – after all:

5. Many hands make light work
You’ll always have plenty of helpers around the house!

6. More birthdays = more parties!
And who doesn’t love a good party?

7. Learning to share
Let’s face it, when you grow up in a large family you have to learn how to share things from a very young age! All great training for later life – your kids will be perfect housemates at university.

8. Older children will learn to take care of their younger siblings
And that’s the coolest thing in the world.

9. You’ll never be bored again
Seriously, how could you ever be bored with jokers like these?

10. More children now = more taxpayers later
(That one’s just for you, George)

But most important of all:
11. You’ll always have friends
Reprinted with permission from Society for the Protection of the Unborn. 

Fatherhood: the antidote to the poverty problem

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/fatherhood-the-antidote-to-the-poverty-problem/19070

Timothy M. Rarick | Nov 29 2016 |
 United Nations officials have set a noble goal “to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030”—also known as Sustainable Development Goal #1.Is this goal well intentioned? Indeed. Is it attainable? That depends on how one makes sense of the problem,” says Dr Timothy Rarick in this essay from the e-book Family Capital and the SDGs, produced for the World Congress of Families. The second in this series on MercatorNet.

According to the World Bank, in the year 2015 the extreme poverty rate (less than $2/day) around the world allegedly dropped below 10% for the first time.1 Although this is good progress, extreme poverty, for 702 million people, remains an international crisis. We know that women and children are deeply impacted socially and academically by living in poverty.

Politicians, economists and other organizations have many ideas for solving this crisis. United Nations officials, for example, have set a noble goal “to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030”—also known as Sustainable Development Goal #1.2 Is this goal well intentioned? Indeed. Is it attainable? That depends on how one makes sense of the problem. Misdiagnosing the source of this poverty problem can lead to the wrong prescribed solution—no matter how well-intentioned.  

Symptoms vs infections

When a person is suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms it can be very difficult to discern the cause of these debilitating effects. Bacterial and viral infections can manifest very similar symptoms such as: coughing, sneezing, fever, inflammation, etc.3 However, the method for treating these symptoms largely depends on whether this is a bacterial or viral infection. Whereas cold or flu medicine can only treat symptoms, thankfully, antibiotics can rid your body of the bacterial infection, taking care of both symptoms and the problem.

In a similar way, we can approach the plague of poverty by setting goals and prescribing ideas that primarily treat symptoms . . . or we can see the bigger picture and find ways to root out the source of the problem. Some ideas may include simply raising the minimum wage and creating more stable, well-paid jobs—but they can only go so far in treating the symptoms of poverty. Besides, we need competent, educated individuals who can qualify for such jobs. The deeper poverty problem (or infection) may be rooted in the state of the family.  

The family: The cause and the solution

Renowned Russian developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner summarized his research, stating: “The family is the most powerful, the most humane, and by far the most economical system known for building competence and character.”4

Consider this powerful, evidence-based statement! Now consider how the current trends in out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce and cohabitation are threatening the power of the family unit. Furthermore, each of these threats produces a common result: fatherlessness. These infections, along with many others, have decimated stable homes and families for millions of children worldwide. Until we address the breakdown of the family— particularly the absentee father problem—there will never be a sustainable alternative to eradicating poverty.  

Fatherlessness

Current social science research powerfully asserts: “. . . there is a Father-Factor in our [world’s] worst social problems. In other words, for many of our most intractable social ills affecting children, father absence is to blame.”5 In the United States over 24 million children are growing up without their biological father; in the year 2014 nearly a quarter of children lived in father-absent homes.6 Dr. Pat Fagan writes: “The Index of Family Belonging for the United States is now just above 45%, which means that 45% of U.S. children on the cusp of adulthood have grown up in an intact married family.”7

This is, in large measure, due to the rise of divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births over the past 50 years. In 1960 only 6% of babies were born to unwed mothers in the United States.8 Thanks to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and the passing of no-fault divorce laws in many countries, that number has risen to over 40% today and continues to increase. Similar trends can be seen in countries around the world. Creating a worldwide culture that teaches sex is a deserved commodity and marriage is based in adult desires and emotions has done more damage to the family structure than almost anything else.

In the overwhelming majority of divorce cases in many countries, custody of the children is given to the mother.9 Although children who are victims of divorce still have a father, the severing of their parents’ marriage often severs the consistent influence from the father. This has had devastating effects—especially in the economic realm, as we will see in the next section.  

If one does not have a good grasp of economics and social science one might assume that poverty is driving the family breakdown rather than the other way around.

The vicious cycle of fatherlessness and poverty

 The positive impact that committed fathers have on women, children and society is staggering. For example:10

  • Infant mortality rates are nearly two times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.
  • Boys in households with a father present had significantly lower odds of incarceration than those in single-mother families.
  • Fathers raise their daughters’ chances of success in academics, earning potential and relationships when they are present and involved.11
  • Father involvement in schools is associated with greater academic success and achievement for both boys and girls.
  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44% of children in fatherless families.

Are we seeing the connection between fathers and poverty? Dads have the power to decrease the odds of poverty by over 30% and increase the earning potential for his children. One of the crippling effects of poverty is the cycle that is perpetuated throughout the generations.

This runs in parallel with the fatherless cycle. Just as children raised in poverty are likely to raise their own children in the same poor economic conditions, so it is with girls born to unwed mothers. Daughters born out-of-wedlock are much more likely to give birth to fatherless children.

The ‘Vicious Cycle’ diagram helps illustrate the connection between fatherlessness and poverty. Keep in mind, even though this cycle and its connections are based in research, it is important to note that none of these factors cause the others to happen. For example, a child who is born out of wedlock is not guaranteed to be poorly educated or live in poverty. Each preceding item simply makes the following factor much more likely to occur.

Education, skills and competence are keys to economic freedom and success. They are the antidote to poverty. A family headed by a married father and mother provides the best setting to not only succeed economically, but to raise confident, competent, well-educated children who can increase their earning potential and “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, . . . employment and decent work for all” (SDG #8). Social scientists claim:

An abundant social-science literature, as well as common sense, supports the claim that children are more likely to flourish, and to become productive adults, when they are raised in stable, married couple households. We know, for example, that children in the United States who are raised outside of an intact, married home are two to three times more likely to suffer from social and psychological problems, such as delinquency, depression, and dropping out of high school. They are also markedly less likely to attend college and be stably employed as young adults.12

Stable families will create a society and worldwide economy that is sustainable, because the intact family is the fundamental unit of society. As the families of the world thrive, so do the economies.  

Rethinking our approach to poverty

The first Sustainable Development Goal calls for governments to “help create an enabling environment to generate productive employment and job opportunities for the poor and the marginalized. They can formulate strategies and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth and reduce poverty.”13

This approach to government policy is necessary, to be sure. Job creation and government subsidies can help alleviate the symptoms associated with poverty, yet they cannot revive and sustain the socioeconomic status of an individual family—let alone a nation’s economy. Furthermore, girls — and by extension women — are much more empowered by having involved fathers than by any government policy or sexual rights agenda attempting to free them from the home. In addition to the SDG#1 proposal, we need governments to view everything through a “family-impact” lens in order to be effective over time.

In her book, Family Policy Matters, Professor Karen Bogenshneider put it this way:

Most policymakers would not think of passing a law or enacting a rule without considering its economic or environmental impact, yet family considerations are seldom taken into account in the normal routine of policymaking…Policymakers explain that they do not have the staff or time to gather all the relevant data on the complex issues that confront them. As a result, they rely on information from lobbyists and special interest groups that is often fragmented, parochial, biased, and less focused on family issues.14

Including creating an enabling environment for families to thrive, here are several ways to bring back fatherhood and promote sustainable economic growth for all:

  • Teach community programs to promote involved, responsible fathering. Research has shown if these programs are taught well and are evidence-based, they increase a father’s (both married and divorced) involvement substantially.15
  • Create educational and skill-based opportunities for fathers (and mothers) to get the training to lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.
  • Improve services and education related to: sexuality, caregiving, violence and parenting for boys and men.
  • Generate a true shift in policy (more than lip service) to focus on teaching all children from a young age about the value of, and their opportunity to be, both caregivers and professionals.
  • Utilize mass and social media outlets to produce and share positive messages about dads, rather than as the incompetent fools many television shows and commercials show them to be.
  • Inform the public about research on the harmful effects of pornography addiction. Porn has the power to destroy our most cherished relationships, thus removing fathers emotionally, physically and financially from the family.
  • Perhaps the most important of all: Re-establish marriage!

Graph: Marriage Foundation UK

The institution of marriage acts as culture’s chief vehicle to bind men to their children. The marriage gap between rich and poor exists in all 20 of the European countries. As Figure 1.2 indicates, 84% of parents who are in the top fifth of household income are married, as opposed to 42% of parents in the bottom fifth of household income. Marriage matters for men, women, children, and economies. But how do we re-establish marriage in the various cultures of the world?

Employers: Create policies and work environments that respect and favor the marital commitment.  

Social work: Within the limits of good practice, promote a culture of family formation.  

Marriage counselors: Begin with a bias in favor of marriage. Avoid being “value-free.”  

Teachers & education administrators: Minimize the implicit and frequently explicit anti-marriage bias prevalent in many schools’ curricula.16  

Strong fathers, strong economies: An auspicious cycle

Whereas fatherless children and poverty create a vicious cycle that perpetuates downward (see figure 1.1), the married, intact family with a hard-working, involved father creates an auspicious cycle that moves upward (figure 1.3).

Along with his wife, a father has the power to promote or increase the financial, academic, professional, and relational competence in a child. Being a responsible person is a matter of character, which is best built in the home. At a young age, boys can and should be taught by both parents—and the predominant culture—to be responsible with: their money, their education, their work, their sex drive and their future children. Boys and men need to learn there is more to life than self-centered, pleasurable pursuits. The values of hard work, integrity and responsibility will be perpetuated throughout generations and society.

Will this take time? Absolutely! Just as cold medicine gives immediate, temporary relief to symptoms, an antibiotic brings gradual yet permanent healing. Only with this kind of approach can the economies—and families—of the world be truly sustainable.

Let us bring back fatherhood and heal the plague of poverty.

Timothy M. Rarick is Professor of Family Studies at Brigham Young University – Idaho. His essay is reproduced with his permission and that of the editor of Family Capital and the SDGS, Susan Roylance.

Endnotes

1. Kottasova, Ivana. “World Poverty Rate to Fall below 10% for the First Time.” CNNMoney. October 5, 2015. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/05/news/economy/poverty-worldbank/.
2. “Poverty – United Nations Sustainable Development.” UN News Center. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/.
3. Ratini, Melinda. “Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: Causes and Treatments.” WebMD. April 10, 2015. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bacterial-and-viral-infections.
4. Bogenschneider, Karen. Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professionals Can Do. 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. page 52.
5. Mclanahan, Sara, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider, “The Causal Effects of Father Absence.” Annu. Rev. Sociol. Annual Review of Sociology 39, no. 1 (2013): 399-427. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071312- 145704.
6. Sanders, Ryan. “The Father Absence Crisis in America [Infographic].” The Father Absence Crisis in America. November 12, 2013. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.fatherhood.org/The-Father- Absence-Crisis-in-America. 7. Fagan, Patrick. “The Third Annual Index of Family Belonging & Rejection.” Marriage & Religion Research Institute. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://marri.us/index-2013.
8. U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.
9. Grall, Timothy. “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011.” United States Census Bureau. October 2013. Accessed July 10, 2016. https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60- 246.pdf.
10. “Statistics on the Father Absence Crisis in America.” Father Facts. Accessed July 14, 2016. http://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistics.
11. Nielsen, Linda. Between Fathers & Daughters: Enriching and Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2008.
12. Longman, Phillip and Paul Corcuera, Laurie Derose, Marga Gonzalvo Cirac, Andres Salazar,Claudia Tarud Aravena and Antonio Torralby, “The Empty Cradle—How Contemporary Family Trends Undermine the Global Economy,” The Sustainable Demographic Dividend, Social Trends Institute, 2010. http://sustaindemographicdividend.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SDD-2011-Final.pdf
13. “Poverty – United Nations Sustainable Development.” UN News Center. Accessed July 13, 2016. http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/.
14. Bogenschneider, Karen. Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professionals Can Do. 2nd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006. page 4.
15. Cowan, Philip A., Carolyn Pape Cowan, Marsha Kline Pruett, Kyle Pruett, and Jessie J. Wong. “Promoting Fathers’ Engagement With Children: Preventive Interventions for Low-Income Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 71, no. 3 (2009): 663-79. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00625.x.
16. Popenoe, David. Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society. New York: Martin Kessler Books, 1996.

Professor Warns IVF is Producing a Generation of Infertile Children Prone to Cancer

Life News

Micaiah Bilger   Nov 28, 2016   |   7:22PM    Washington, DC

invitro11

The controversial infertility procedure in vitro fertilization may lead to a greater risk of infertility and cancer in children conceived through the procedure, an Australian researcher says.

University of Newcastle laureate professor John Aitken, a world-renowned expert on male fertility, warned about the negative effects of over-using in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to conceive, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In the past decade, couples experiencing infertility or waiting until later in life to get pregnant have increasingly turned to IVF to conceive. The procedure involves harvesting sperm and eggs and using them to create living, human embryos outside the womb; the embryos then are implanted in the woman’s womb.

One of the problems with the procedure is that most couples have more embryos created than they will use. Sometimes the leftover embryos are destroyed or donated to research. Others believe the procedure has commoditized human life.

Aitken said the children conceived through IVF and born also are being impacted. He said the infertility procedure, which is used by one in six couples in Australia, is producing a new generation of infertile children. He also pointed to research showing that male children conceived through IVF to aging fathers were more likely to get cancer.

“There is a negative pay-off,” Aitken said, citing new research in Belgium about male infertility. “If you have a son from this process, it is possible that he too will have the same pathology that you had.”

Studies also have linked IVF to Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. A 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control found an increased risk of birth defects among children conceived through IVF. The Mayo Clinic reports it also can increase the risk of multiple births, which can have negative effects on the babies, including premature birth and low birth weight.

Aitken expressed serious concern at society’s heavy reliance on assisted conception through procedures like IVF. In Australia, one in 25 babies are now born after being conceived through in vitro fertilization, according to the report. The rate in which couples use IVF is increasing in the U.S., too. Aitken blamed the infertility industry for ignoring that male infertility problems often are to blame, and that IVF should not always be the solution.

“Its an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next,” he said.

Another bioethics concern with IVF is the screening of eggs and embryos for health problems, as well as qualities desired by the couple. Some fear that couples are using the screening to pick and choose their child’s traits.

 

Targeting Adolescents as “Progress”

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“For us to make real progress as a country, our interventions must target this group.”

— Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children, speaking of the need to target adolescent girls with contraceptives, at the opening of the Family Planning 2020 “Progress Report” conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this month.

Progress.

That is the word that the Honorable Ms. Mwalimu uses to outline the goal of getting Tanzanian girls under the age of 18 to start having sex and “protecting” themselves from its consequences with the drugs provided through the massive “Family Planning 2020” campaign. The stated goal of the Gates Foundation and its partners in this 2.6 billion dollar project is to get 120 million women in Africa and Asia to start using Depo Provera and other hormonal drugs. This, Ms. Gates told the New York Times again last week, will help women in developing nations “start to break the cycle of poverty.”

This is the technocratic case for “progress”: Get many millions of poor women with no doctors, no hospitals, no corner drug store, and little education and access to information to start using drugs that American women shun due to their serious health risks. And since Ms. Gates has such a knack for getting uncritical media coverage from such outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and even, sadly, the American Enterprise Institute, “FP2020” continues its philanthropic assault on millions of poor women who are literally being told that a shot in the arm is the key to getting out of poverty.

So FP 2020 is all about “progress” for poor women in poor countries. Hence, the great generosity of the Gates Foundation, Pfizer (the maker of Depo Provera, in which the Gates Foundation is a major stockholder), the United States and British governments, and a whole host of the usual suspects in the multibillion dollar “development” and “aid” industry. They’re here to help.

No doubt, Ms. Mwalimu does believe in the “health” initiative of FP 2020. But it is not her initiative. Nor was this massive project initiated in the dozens of other health ministries of African nations who have bought into this scheme. It was initiated in Seattle, New York City, Washington D.C., and London.

The New Colonialism

One of the great successes of the latest form of colonization lies in the redefinition of words like “progress” to mean something other than movement toward genuine human flourishing. Who could look at the last fifty years of “aid” to Africa and say that the goal was to secure genuine human flourishing? Who would dare say such a thing? No, if you want to see the goal of this “aid”, the “progress” it inflicted on Africa, look at the decrease in total fertility rate measurements over time, the only “success” of which this corrupt industry can boast.

To the “aid” industry, “progress” is getting Africans to internalize the corrupt values and priorities of powerful western elites, and lead their own people into further subjection, while thanking the donors for their generosity.

It is a massive export of the sexual revolution: get people to abandon traditional mores and have sex, supposedly without consequences. Break the natural, healthy, intrinsic link between sex and fertility and you have a people that are easy to control. Give them sex in their media, “comprehensive sex education” in schools that provide pornographic instruction with the façade of educational authority, and tell children they have the “right” to sexual pleasure. Then give them drugs and condoms to make them (here’s another word that has been redefined) “safe,” and when these things fail—as they do tens of millions of times per year around the world—you get a (demonic term) “unintended pregnancy.” Yes, their “education” leads to tens of millions of women every year to have “safe” sex and then wonder how they got pregnant and a sexually transmitted infection to boot.

Progress.

nocontroversy

Strategies at Home and Abroad

That’s what marketers call the “pull” strategy—create a demand for your product. Then there is the “push strategy”. For African adolescent girls, that means your governments and health ministers become advocates for dangerous drugs without ever mentioning the serious physical and spiritual side effects. Next comes abortion—something these ministers never saw themselves promoting even a short time ago. But once contraception is widespread, abortion becomes the next step in “reproductive health,” since behaviors and mores change, leading to many, many more unintended pregnancies.

This isn’t only in Africa; it’s well advanced here, as we well know. Thanks to the “progress” promoted in our schools and media by the “progressive” elite, our kids are regressing in intellect and maturity, and are increasingly reliant on the government for their basic needs and even their ideas. But they sure know how to put a condom on a banana, and their only marketable skill is throwing a tantrum, which apparently is a part time job for some lucky millennials in today’s progressive America.

We’re Not Enemies

I don’t say this to demonize health ministers or billionaire philanthropists. They are not the enemy. People can have good intentions that lead to bad things. Ms. Gates is a Catholic, and by many accounts a kind and generous person. There is a good chance she never heard a word from the pulpit about the Church’s beautiful and life-giving teaching on marriage and sexuality.

These health ministers and billionaire philanthropists are acting, one can imagine, in accordance with their consciences. They can mean well, even if what they mean to do is not at all good—that is, their consciences have not been formed in the truth. The fact that they follow the exact modus operandi of the racist eugenicists of the early 20th century probably has not occurred to them, nor do they think of themselves as participants in a new colonialism.

Still, even billionaires would have questions to answer if we had a functioning media industry.  When Family Planning 2020 was launched in July 2012 in London— exactly 100 years after the first London eugenics conference of 1912—Ms. Gates made it clear that Depo Provera was her preferred method of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). She said this despite the fact that her foundation had just funded a Lancet-published research project that again found that Depo Provera use correlated with a twofold increase in HIV transmission among women. Despite knowing this, as Ms. Gates must have, she and her collaborators pressed ahead with FP 2020, with Depo Provera as the primary method on offer.

Unusual Allies

Within the last several months, after more studies have been published supporting the case against Depo Provera, many organizations have surprisingly begun to distance themselves from the dangerous drug and its promoters. Pro-abortion and pro-contraception women’s health advocates have even publicly criticized the World Health Organization (largest funder: the Gates Foundation), for lowering rather than increasing its risk assessment of Depo Provera due to the growing amount of research pointing to its risks.

Well, if some women’s health advocates are starting to wake up, then that may be a step toward real progress. Again, many of these folks mean well, but were educated in an academic environment where sexual “health” and pleasure are the highest values, and pregnancy is a dangerous disease. We hope that Ms. Mwalimu and her fellow African health ministers start to ask questions. Among these should be questions about the true meaning of progress, and about whether those pushing destructive drugs as the key to poverty reduction have really thought things through.

Bill & Melinda Gates received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama, on 16 Nov 2016.

 

Terminally-ill teen girl chooses life for her preborn son

rihannaRihanna Truman is a young woman who will give birth in just one week to her first child. What makes her unique is not only that she is 16-years-old, but that she is also battling cancer.

At just 12-years-old, Truman was diagnosed with adamantinoma, a rare and slow-growing bone cancer. So rare that it only accounts for less than one percent of all bone cancers. She had the tumor removed from her leg, but the cancer never left her body. It is now in her lungs as well.

“Chemotherapy, radiation isn’t proven to work, so they’re trying to find a new drug so I can hopefully beat it,” Truman told NewsHub.

When she first discovered that she was pregnant, family and friends told her that she should abort her baby or place him for adoption. They were scared that having a child could kill Truman.
“Everyone was telling me to abort or adopt it out, but for me that was just not an option that I was willing to choose,” she said.

(Click here to watch video.)

“We got told that if I did have the baby that they don’t know what’s gonna happen to me by giving birth. So my family was quite scared that if I had this baby that I was gonna pass away. Ya know, I said that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I was scared, but now I’m not.”

Her baby has been growing as expected – a bit on the small side, likely due to his mother’s condition, but healthy. When he is born next week, he will have two parents who love him very much.
“If I die, I’m gonna die happy, and my son will hopefully be grateful that I chose to have him,” said Truman. “I want him to be proud of me as a mum.”

With the cancer having spread, Truman is living with holes in her lungs. In order to keep them from collapsing, her lungs have been essentially glued to her rib cage. Her fight to stay alive to raise her son is very real, but she is putting his life first.

“Before I was pregnant, every day I’d wake up and be like, ‘I don’t want to live here, I don’t want to be here,’” she said. “But ever since I’ve been pregnant, I knew that this baby was my reason for staying in this world.”

How to fix our broken sexual culture, according to Archbishop Chaput

By Matt Hadro

chaput

Baltimore, Md., Nov 16, 2016 / 05:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Infidelity, divorce, sexual violence, pornography, hook-up culture – all things that have both increased en masse in society over the last few decades, and have seared pain into the lives of individual men and women.

So how do we even begin to address the problem? By people – especially the youth – choosing to live in true, authentic and virtuous community with one another, says Archbishop Chaput.

“We’re getting a culture that’s just hugely preoccupied with sexuality, and being restrained sexually is not considered a virtue anymore, apparently. I think that’s very hurtful to everyone,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ working group on Amoris laetitia, told CNA on Monday.

The archbishop, who in a lecture in September noted a marked increase in the number and kind of sexual sins he had heard in the confessional throughout his priesthood, told CNA that young Catholics need virtuous relationships to live chastely in the midst of a promiscuous culture.

“I think it’s really important for us to encourage young people to form communities of young people, peers, who can give them support in the face of this culture of cheapening human relationships,” he insisted.

Archbishop Chaput spoke with CNA during the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14. He chairs the U.S. bishops’ working group on Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on love in the family.

The exhortation was the fruit of two synods on the family, which sparked controversy amid speculation over whether there would be a change in the Church’s practice that the divorced-and-remarried may not receive Communion.

Since Amoris laetitia was published, some of its vague language has inspired conflicting interpretations. Some have seen it as a break with the Church’s teaching tradition, others as not changing the Church’s teaching. Still others consider it a progression toward a new pastoral praxis, or that it need not be interpreted at all.

For his part, Archbishop Chaput noted in pastoral guidelines for his archdiocese that in putting Amoris laetitia into practice, “the Holy Father himself states clearly that neither Church teaching nor the canonical discipline concerning marriage has changed.”

Francis’ exhortation “should therefore be read in continuity with the great treasury of wisdom handed on by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church … and previous magisterial documents,” he said.

In his Sept. 15 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Archbishop Chaput had insisted that the task of rebuilding society comes from personal conversion, not politics. Even if presidential candidates might be unpopular and controversial, he noted, they came from a flawed culture and were nominated by the citizens.

As evidence of this cultural decline, he noted that over recent decades the number of sexual sins he heard in the Sacrament of Confession has increased, as well as their “scope,” “novelty,” “violence,” and “compulsiveness”:

“As a priest, what’s most striking to me about the last five decades is the huge spike in people – both men and women — confessing promiscuity, infidelity, sexual violence and sexual confusion as an ordinary part of life, and the massive role of pornography in wrecking marriages, families and even the vocations of clergy and religious.”

Even more women are now viewing pornography, he said.

All these sins “create human wreckage,” he added, and on a mass scale they bring about “a dysfunctional culture.” Thus, “as families and religious faith break down, the power of the state grows.”

However, given that President-elect Trump has said lewd and degrading things about women, how can the Church begin rebuilding the culture after this election season?

It starts with community, the archbishop said. “I don’t think anybody can be chaste alone, so you need to pick a spouse who helps you to be that way.”

These virtuous communities are “really what the Church should be,” he added. “It should be a community of people who think like Jesus and want to act like He calls us to act.”

“So in some ways, that’s the foundational purpose of the Church, to provide us companions in virtue and worship, and care for the poor. We’re supposed to be companions that call one another to all those things that are essentially part of being a Christian,” he added.

The government has a role in protecting this culture, he said, but has abandoned its duty to protect children and families from the effects of pornography by allowing it in the name of “personal freedom.”

Archbishop Chaput also discussed with CNA how Catholics should react to the recent presidential election – with both “gratitude” and “concern,” he said.

“One, gratitude to God for the opportunities it’s going to give us to protect the Church on religious freedom issues,” he said, noting anticipated changes to the HHS birth control mandate. “And also on the life issues, it seems like there’s openness to supporting the Church’s position on life that wasn’t present before.”

However, serious concerns persist on issues such as immigration, he added, with “the possible deportation of people that will undermine family life in a very serious way.”

“There are a lot of people in my diocese who are very much afraid because of the things they’re imagining that’s going to happen. And that can be hugely disruptive and destructive of the life of families,” he explained.

“Fear is not a good way to live your life. And intense fear for children is especially disruptive. So I think sometimes because of our excitement about the pro-life positive news, we can be naïve about the dangers that exist.”

Ultimately, Catholics should be open to working with the Trump administration on areas of agreement with Church teaching, but must also be vigilant for other areas of policy that oppose Catholic social teaching.

“I think it’s really important to do our best to give the new administration the chance to develop its plan and support it in the good things that it proposes, and to express our concerns about the things that are worrisome,” he said.

“But it’s important for us to pray for government officials. The Scriptures call us to do that.”

Chemical Abortions on the Rise among U.S. Women

Chemical Abortions on the Rise among U.S. Women

Ifeoma Anunkor

According to a recent report by Reuters, abortion in America has reached a new turning point: Nearly half—43 percent—of abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics are now medication-induced rather than surgical procedures. It’s a sharp increase since 2010, when Planned Parenthood ended 34 percent of pregnancies chemically. At some point, chemical abortions could exceed surgical ones nationally. They already do in Michigan, at 55 percent, and Iowa at a whopping 64 percent.

What precipitated this spike? In March 2016, the Food and Drug Administration caved to pressure from drug companies, changing prescription guidelines so that the abortion drug Mifeprex—use of which the FDA hadn’t permitted after seven weeks of pregnancy—could now be administered up to 10 weeks. The FDA loosened restrictions further by cutting the number of required medical visits and even allowing non-physicians to dispense the abortion pill.

“Of the more than 2.75 million U.S. women who have used abortion pills since they were approved in 2000, at least 1 million got them at Planned Parenthood,” Reuters reports. The number is likely to increase as a result of the new guidelines. This, “despite concerns about the drug’s medical risks, including blood, psychiatric, immune, respiratory, cardiac, reproductive, and more disorders, as well as a handful of deaths,” warns Live Action.

Add to the increase the fact that contraceptives such as the morning-after pill—also known as Plan B—and others act as abortifacients by inhibiting implantation of a newly conceived embryo in the womb. Countless abortions are therefore going unreported as it becomes easy for a woman to have an early abortion without going to a clinic or hospital.

Women on Web is a digital community where women from most parts of the world can order abortifacients Mifepristone and Misoprostol online. Reuters reports that Gynuity Health Projects, a private technical institute working in conjunction with clinics in New York and several other states, sends abortion pills by mail to pre-screened women.

Early this year, many pro-life advocates celebrated declining abortion rates in the U.S. But it is very possible that the decline is not as steep as has been reported. Not only because of the abortifacient nature of some contraception methods, and that women are now ordering their abortion pills online without ever going to a hospital, but also because several state health departments, including the most populous, California, do not even provide abortion data.

‘They’re already born, but they might not know it yet!’: amazing video of newborn twins goes viral

Talk about heartwarming! A video of a set of newborn twins being bathed by a nurse in France has taken Youtube by storm, earning over 4.2 million views in the space of just a few days.

The nurse, Sonia Rochel, says the babies were only a few days old when she gave them a type of immersive bath using warm water that she says causes babies to move as they would in the womb.
When these twins were immersed in the water, they clung to each other in a tight embrace, their eyes closed peacefully.

“They’re already born, but they might not know it yet,” wrote Today Moms, which interviewed the nurse. 
The video has strongly resonated with viewers.

“Sweet baby Jesus. Words can’t even begin to explain the beauty in this video,” wrote one commenter.
“It breaks my heart when I watch this clip. It’s beautiful!” wrote another.

Dayton Abortion Facility Denied License Again

http://www.ohiolife.org/dayton_abortion_facility_denied_license_again

dayton

COLUMBUS, Ohio–In September, a hearing examiner at the Ohio Department of Health recommended that the license of a Dayton-area abortion facility be revoked for failure to meet the department’s health and safety standards. This followed a hearing in April in which the abortion facility, Women’s Med Center of Dayton, requested to maintain its license and stay open. In addition, in October, the Ohio Department of Health denied the facility’s request for a variance from the law for the fifth year in a row.

“The abortion industry’s repeated failure to meet basic health and safety standards is a concern that should alarm every Ohioan,” said Devin Scribner, executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “Last summer, this same abortion facility performed an abortion on an incapacitated woman who was unable to consent. Enough is enough. Women’s Med Center’s repeated offenses need to result in its swift closure.”

Ohio law requires that all ambulatory surgical facilities, including abortion facilities, secure a written transfer agreement with a local hospital. If unable to obtain an agreement, the facility may seek a variance from the law. In June 2015, Women’s Med Center submitted a variance request to ODH. It cited three back-up physicians who would provide care in the event of an emergency and indicated that Miami Valley Hospital would continue to treat the facility’s patients through its emergency room. That same month, a woman exhibiting signs of recreational drug use arrived at Women’s Med Center for an abortion appointment. She was unable to walk or hold a conversation. Women’s Med Center consulted Miami Valley Hospital by phone. Despite the woman’s inability to provide consent, Women’s Med Center performed the abortion. According to the Department of Health’s hearing examiner, the following month, in a letter to the Ohio Department of Health, the president of Miami Valley Hospital objected to the use of its name in the agreement and requested that all references to its name be removed.

“As the traditional medical community rejects affiliation with this abortion facility, it’s time Ohio does the same,” said Scribner. “Women’s Med Center has failed to meet the Department of Health’s expectations for five years. In that time span, thousands of human children have lost their lives and the health of thousands of women has been jeopardized at this facility. If we take women’s health seriously, we simply cannot afford to have this facility continue operating in this reckless manner.”

Women’s Med Center of Dayton is operated by abortionist Martin Haskell who is known for popularizing the now-banned partial-birth abortion technique.

To view the hearing examiner’s report and recommendation to the Ohio Department of Health, click here.

To view the Department of Health’s 2016 denial of variance request, click here.

 

Hormonal Birth Control Is Too Dangerous To Dispense Without A Prescription

By Arina O. Grossu and Patricia Livengood

http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/10/hormonal-birth-control-dangerous-dispense-without-prescription/

bcp

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved hormonal birth control in 1960, it has been touted by some as the best thing since sliced bread. But a new landmark study has concluded that hormonal birth control carries significant mental health risks to women.

Newspaper headline writers appear surprised by the study, but they should not be. Hormonal birth control also has established physical health risks. Given what we now know about the health dangers of hormonal birth control, making it available without a prescription is a troubling public health policy driven by politics, not science.

Recall the Big Recent Study in Denmark

A recent Danish study at the University of Copenhagen revealed that using hormonal contraceptives, including the pill, injections, patches, rings, implants, and intrauterine devices, is correlated with clinical depression. This longitudinal study was conducted over the course of 13 years. Its subjects included one million women aged 15 to 34, pre-screened for depression and other medical and psychiatric disorders. Women who had a pre-existing condition of depression or were using anti-depressants were excluded from the trials.

These women were tracked for hormonal birth control use and psychiatric health. Results showed that the women on hormonal birth control were almost twice as likely to develop depression and be given a prescription to combat these symptoms. Teenage women, in particular, were most susceptible to these effects. Women aged 14 to 19 were 80 percent more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants, especially if they were on the combined pill containing both artificial estrogen and progesterone.

Given the findings of this newest study showing the correlation between hormonal birth control and depression, women who are already susceptible to depression and who use hormonal birth control could put themselves at greater risk for self-harm or suicide. While correlation does not equal causation, these statistics are startling and should not be ignored, especially since 62 percent (11 million) of women of reproductive age in the United States use contraception.

We’ve Known about Negatives for Years

In addition to the mental health risks, hormonal birth control has various established health risks. Common side-effects include nausea, vomiting, cramps, weight gain, and acne, to name a few. Serious side-effects of hormonal birth control include blurred vision; severe stomach pain or headache; swelling or pain in the legs; chest pain; gallbladder disease; increased risk of blood clots cutting off blood flow to the heart or brain, increasing the risk of cardiovascular arterial disease, heart attack, or stroke; increased risk of liver tumors that can turn malignant; increased risk of cervical cancer; and increased risk of breast cancer.

Citing increased risk of cancer, the World Health Organization has classified hormonal contraception as a definite group-one carcinogen along with other harmful substances like asbestos, tobacco, mustard gas, engine exhaust, and outdoor air pollution.

In addition, hormonal contraception can cause an abortion when breakthrough ovulation happens and the egg is fertilized. Hormonal birth control changes the lining of the uterus and can act as an abortifacient if fertilization occurs, since the embryo would not be able to implant and receive nutrients. This is called a pre-implantation chemical abortion.

The new Danish study’s findings along with the previously established health risks must be taken into account when considering some Republicans’ legislative strategy to promote over-the-counter birth control in a misguided effort to fight the Left’s “war on women” narrative. Senators Kelly Ayotte and Cory Gardner proposed a bill (S.1438) with other Republican senators that would require the FDA to make hormonal birth control available over-the-counter for those over the age of 18.

This legislation will harm women. Women deserve to know the real health risks of hormonal birth control from their doctor in order to make an informed decision, not from a size-eight font warning label in the supermarket aisle.

Contraception Use Increases Abortion Rates

Some argue that decreasing the cost and increasing the accessibility of hormonal birth control would reduce abortions and unplanned pregnancies and help low-income women. However, studies such as this 2011 study in the journal Contraception show that contraceptive use correlates with an increase in unplanned pregnancies and an increase in the elective abortion rate.

Contraceptive use encourages sexual activity by setting up the false expectation that contraception makes one “safe” from pregnancy. When contraception fails, women who end up in unplanned pregnancies often get an abortion. In fact, the Guttmacher Institute reported that “more than half of women obtaining abortions in 2000 (54%) had been using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.”

First, scientists are discovering health risks that suggest dangers to women’s health and safety. Second, there is the real concern that over-the-counter contraceptives will increase unplanned pregnancies and abortion. Third, making hormonal birth control available over the counter without the oversight and care of her doctor endangers a woman and deprives her of proper informed consent.

As part of informed consent, doctors should share the findings of these health risks with women who are considering hormonal birth control and share information about natural, healthier, organic alternatives in family planning. These include fertility-awareness based methods, alternatives that have been found to be equally or more effective than hormonal based birth control. These methods empower women to make more informed choices about family planning and to teach them how to monitor and understand their own reproductive health, instead of using harmful means to suppress it.

Our public servants should do all they can to protect women’s health and safety. Politicians who push for making hormonal contraception, a group-one carcinogen and a known abortifacient, available over the counter are playing Russian roulette with women’s health and safety for their own political gain. Women deserve better.

Trump’s Catholic Coalition Could Have “Very Positive Effect” on Presidency

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson, says the President-elect has been a “very good listener” at meetings with a Catholic coalition of advisers.

Edward Pentin

President-elect Donald Trump has been a “very good listener” during meetings of a Catholic coalition group that he set up to advise him on the faith during his presidential campaign.

This is according to one of its members, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson.
Nicholson told the Register Nov. 10 that the newly elected President is not only an “intent listener” who heeded their advice in the lead up to Tuesday’s ballot, but also “asks very good questions”. He therefore believes the group could have a “very positive effect on President-elect Trump”.

Trump formally set up the body of 34 respected Catholics in September in a bid to allay concerns about his candidacy among some in the Church, and to attract more Catholic voters. Part of the Trump Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee, it was viewed as evidence of his commitment to protecting religious freedom and moral values.

“I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic,” said Nicholson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See during President George W. Bush’s first term before being appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2005 to 2007.
Trump pledged to continue communication with its members if elected president.

Nicholson further pointed out that Trump “carries the Catholic vote which is a large number”, adding that he has “a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City.”

Catholics were crucial to Trump’s election: he won 52% of the Catholic vote, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45%. 

In addition to Nicholson, the Catholic coalition group’s members include former US Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Ambassador Francis Rooney, Nicholson’s immediate successor as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and now newly elected congressman in Florida; and Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights and tireless defender of life at the United Nations.
Also in his comments to the Register, Nicholson spoke about his hopes for relations between Trump, the Holy See and Pope Francis, despite clear differences.   

Here below is the full text of Secretary Nicholson’s remarks to the Register:
“Secretary Nicholson, what are your expectations regarding Trump’s relationship with the Holy See?
I think it will be a good relationship. I’m delighted with the Trump victory because it’s a victory for working class people, for underemployed people and unemployed people — people for whom the Pope has great concern. So they have a great amount in common in their priorities.
 
The Pope has often spoken of his concerns about capitalism. Could this be a problem going forward in relations with a Trump administration?

They have differences in views but a great deal in common. They have a mutual concern for poor, a mutual concern for the foundation of the Catholic Church which is life. Trump is adamantly pro-life, as is the Pope. I think on matters like their view of capitalism and the free market and of course immigration, we should acknowledge differences.

That is going to depend a lot on how effective the ambassador that Trump selects to represent him at the Holy See will be. If he gets a very good, articulate interlocutor to explain what he wants to do and what his thinking is to the Holy See and to the Holy Father, it will go along way, because the Pope respects the rule of law, he respects sovereignty. So that’s a very important issue in the immigration debate.

The Pope is also concerned for the humanitarian aspects of people, migrant people, so those are issues that need to be discussed openly, a common set of foundational values about the dignity of people, their welfare.

Trump and I agree with him on this – that the best thing you can do is help people get a job, help them get on their feet, and get back to dignity of having a purpose in life. That has got to be very consistent with the Pope’s values at a human level. How that’s done on an economic level, they might not agree, so that has to be dealt with. I think Trump has a healthy respect for the Pope, he recognizes his moral authority, and I think it could be a very enduring relationship.
 
Regarding the Catholic coalition of advisors, how much effect and influence could it have going forward?
It can have a very positive effect on President-elect Trump. He carries the Catholic vote, it’s a large number and he has a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City. I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic.

Was he listening to what the group had to say before the election?
He was. In fact he’s a very good listener. He had a lot of bravado regarding the external part of his presentation which served him well on the campaign but when he gets into a meeting with us, he’s a very intent listener and asks very good questions.
 
Does Trump respect the Pope’s authority do you think, given their clash earlier this year?
Trump had the dust up with the “wall” [when the Pope said on returning from Mexico that we should build bridges rather than walls and that anyone who wishes to build a wall “is not Christian”]. What I think the Holy Father should have said, more appropriately, was that’s not a Christian way to act, but instead he branded Trump as not being a Christian. Trump retorted pretty robustly to that. It’s a two way street. I think that both of the world leaders recognize the external challenges they have in common, growing secularism and terrorism. They’ll find they can do so much by working closely together, even though they may have certain differences.

As an example, George W. Bush, my president, and Pope St. John Paul II worked together in spite of a very stark difference over Iraq, but they had so much in common, a values system, life, taking care of people in Africa with disease and suffering, starvation. Bush visited the Vatican three times, the most times any president has visited a pope in Rome. I think they’re both smart men and they’ll realize that there’s a lot to be gained by them working closely together than by not doing so, by stressing the important priorities they have in common rather than some important things about which they don’t agree.”

Cardinal Burke: Trump’s Victory a Wake-Up Call to US Political Leaders

<> on November 9, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin.

<> on November 9, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin.


The patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said Catholics need to continue to make their presence felt in the election process.

Edward Pentin

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cardinal-burke-trumps-victory-a-wake-up-call-to-us-political-leaders

VATICAN CITY —Cardinal Raymond Burke has said Donald Trump’s election Tuesday is a sign that the United States’ political leaders need to listen more to the people and return to safeguarding life, marriage, the family and religious liberty.

In an exclusive interview with the Register Nov. 9, the patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta said he was confident Trump would be able to help heal divisions in the country, that he has a “great disposition” to listen to the Church’s position on the moral law, and hopes he will “follow the principles and dictates of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” However, aware of inevitable areas of divergence with Church teaching, Cardinal Burke stressed the importance of Catholics continuing to make objections known whenever necessary.

Your Eminence, what is your reaction to the news of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president?

I think that it is a clear sign of the will of the people. I understand that the voter turnout was stronger than usual, and I think that the American people have awoken to the really serious situation in which the country finds itself with regard to the common good, the fundamental goods that constitute the common good, whether it be the protection of human life itself, the integrity of marriage and the family or religious liberty. That a candidate like Donald Trump — who was completely out of the normal system of politics — could be elected is an indication that our political leaders need to listen more carefully to the people and, in my judgment, return to those fundamental principles that safeguard the common good that were so clearly enunciated at the foundation of the country in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.

You’d say the silent majority has spoken?
Yes, that’s clear.

Some are calling this a golden opportunity for the Church, particularly because of Trump’s position on life issues and religious freedom.

Exactly; what he has said about pro-life issues, family issues and also issues regarding religious freedom shows a great disposition to hear the Church on these matters and to understand that these are fundamentally questions of the moral law, not questions of religious confession. They are questions of the moral law, which religion in the country, as the Founding Fathers understood from the start, is meant to support and to sustain. The government needs the help of religious leadership in order to hold to an ethical norm.

Do you think he’s authentic when he talks about these issues? Recently, for example, some were concerned that he waved a pro-homosexual rainbow flag at a rally.

Of course, after any election, this is the big question: Will the candidate be true to his word, follow through? We have to hope and pray that he does that. One thing I heard about him is that he tends to associate himself with very sound advisers, and I would trust that he will do that.

He appointed 34 prominent Catholics during the campaign to advise him on Church issues.

Yes, some of them are well-known to me, and they are very fine people. It is a hopeful sign.

His election also means it’s practically inevitable that the contraceptive mandate that the Obama administration tried to impose on EWTN and other Catholic organizations will be overturned.

I certainly hope so, because that’s certainly a question of a fundamental right of conscience. I trust that he will address the many moral problems with the health care mandate that was pushed during these last eight years.

In the lead-up to the election, 35 prominent Catholics signed an open letter before he was nominated, saying that Trump is “manifestly unfit to be president of the United States.” They said: “His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country.” Should Catholics still be wary of these concerns?

Certainly, we must be alert to them, as we would be to any U.S. president, and be attentive to insist on what’s morally right. But I think a Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump because, in all that he said, at least there was a hope of advancing in some way the common good of the nation. But on these objectionable issues, when one votes in conscience for a candidate with whom one doesn’t share all the same moral principles, but certainly very important ones, then one makes clear his or her objections on positions that the candidate may have that are not correct.

But on the key one, the life one, although there were some earlier concerns (he had been pro-abortion rights in the past), he seems to be right?

Yes, on the life issue, he’s right on the money.

What about immigration, where his views diverge with the common position taken by U.S. bishops? Pope Francis also said, in comments perceived as criticism of Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican-U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants, that we should build bridges rather than walls.

I don’t think the new president will be inspired by hatred in his treatment of the issue of immigration. These are prudential questions — of how much immigration a country can responsibly sustain, also what is the meaning of immigration, and if the immigrants are coming from one country — questions that principally address that country’s responsibility for its own citizens. Those are all questions that have to be addressed, and, certainly, the bishops of the United States have addressed them consistently, and I’m sure they will with him, too. He has these Catholic advisers; and at least some of them, I know, are very well aware of these questions, and I can’t imagine that they’re not speaking up.

A Christian cannot close his heart to a true refugee, this is an absolute principle, there’s no question about it, but it should be done with prudence and true charity. Charity is always intelligent; it demands to know: Exactly who are these immigrants? Are they really refugees, and what communities can sustain them?

What is your opinion regarding other accusations of divisiveness and lowering the tone of political debate and culture? Some, particularly in the Clinton campaign, blamed Trump for that.

I don’t think that at all. I think the campaign itself, and that means both parties, contributed to that, and I believe, from what I’ve heard him say, although I didn’t hear his acceptance speech, that he will work to unify the country. But it has to be a unity that’s on a solid foundation, namely those moral principles that have to guide the life of a nation. So I believe that he will do that. I mean, you have to imagine, he’s not a stupid man; he realizes that it’s one thing to run for president, but it’s another thing to become the president, and that will certainly be in his mind — the heavy responsibility that he has, that’s on his shoulders.

Another fear that arose during the campaign, heightened by Trump’s opponents, was that giving him the nuclear codes would be dangerous.

I’m not afraid of this. I think the new president, in the long tradition of American presidents, will follow the way of cooperation and communication with foreign powers, and I highly doubt he will be able to take any unilateral action that would endanger the world. I am convinced he will deal with other countries on a wider variety of foreign-policy issues.

Overall, what are your hopes for this new presidency?

I hope that Trump will follow the principles and dictates of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — certainly, that he will turn out to be a good president and heal the divisions in the country (in fact, he has already said that it is a time not to be divisive) and that, therefore, there will be unconditional understanding, that is, unity among all American citizens.

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent

These Moms Found a Powerful Way to Give Unborn Children a Voice—and It’ll Stay With You

These Moms Found a Powerful Way to Give Unborn Children a Voice—and It’ll Stay With You

In the United States, when abortion became legal in 1973, the Supreme Court basically declared that unborn people don’t have constitutional rights like those of us that are out of the womb do. In further denying the “personhood” of unborn children, proponents of abortion insist on referring to a child in the womb as a “fetus” rather than a “baby” or a “child.” One of the great challenges of the pro-life movement has been how to give back this personhood to the little ones inside their mother’s wombs who have no voice that can be audibly heard yet.

In the powerful video below, you’ll see a group of women in Chile figured out a way to do just that. The pro-life femininist group Reivindica Feminist Movement staged a protest in Octobr to call attention to the personhood of unborn babies, and to let others hear “The Voice of the Heart.”

These women strapped fetal heart monitors with speakers to their pregnant bellies, then marched the streets of Chile with megaphones up to the monitors so that their unborn babies’ heartbeats – “the voice of the heart” – could be heard loud and clear by all nearby. They did not chant, cheer, or even carry signs as they marched together toward government buildings. They simply let their children’s voices, through their heartbeats, send a lesson about LIFE.

Unborn babies don’t get to choose whether or not they live or die. Although that is a decision that should only be left up to God, hundreds of thousands of expectant mothers make the choice to end their child’s lives before they are born each year. I love the powerful way that these feminists for life have chosen to speak out and show the world that they are carrying PEOPLE inside their wombs, not just “products of conception.”

If you believe in being a voice for unborn children, I hope you’ll share this post on Facebook!

WHY I AM VOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP AND URGING OTHER PRO – LIFE AMERICANS TO DO THE SAME.

Richard A. Watson, M.D

It has not been an easy decision. Many whose opinion I deeply respect have recommended strongly against my doing so. Not least among these are several members of my immediate family. My own children think that voting for Mr. Trump is, well, “deplorable.” Certainly, there are many reasons not to vote for Mr. Trump. I only wish that the man would not make a point of adding to them on an almost daily basis.

The option of either not voting at all or voting for a write in or for a third party candidate is a tempting alternative. Voting for a third party candidate or for any candidate that you truly respect is never “throwing your vote away.” It is a moral victory of one!

However, I have finally decided to vote for Mr. Trump on behalf of a special, undocumented American. She has not been in this country long enough to be allowed to vote. So I have decided to cast my ballot in her place.

Mr. Trump is, at his best, a very successful businessman and he certainly knows how to motivate a crowd. At his worst, he is huckster, a carnival sideshow barker. Hardly the ideal presidential candidate.

While Mr. Trump’s candidacy is dubious, Ms. Clinton’s presidency will be an unmitigated disaster. We have to choose between a clown and a cobra. As one pundit put it, “My trouble with Trump is that I do not know what he will do. The trouble with Clinton is that I know exactly what she will do!

Trump’s campaign consists largely of theoretical constructs. What he will actually do in Washington remains to be seen. Much of his rhetoric could be dismissed as bombast and vacuous campaign promises. On the other hand, there is nothing theoretical about the Clinton threat. The bloody reality of today is that 1.2 million abortions are now being performed in America every year. Ms. Clinton celebrates this reality and pledges to expand it to a spectacular extent. She envisions a single, federally mandated healthcare system in which tax funded abortion on demand will be freely provided universally. She has little patience with those in the healthcare system who have grave moral reservations. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals we, too, will have a right to choose either.

Beyond the transformation of our country into a power house of abortion on demand, Clinton envisions worldwide dominance of the abortion culture. Through the UN and through multiple US overseas programs, Ms. Clinton will ensure that abortion on demand is forcefully promoted and funded throughout the world. The rights of Catholic nations will be trampled just as surely as the rights of Catholics in the US will be disregarded. No one will long stand in the path of the Clinton’s pro abortion juggernaut.

Ms. Clinton declares that “deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.” The evil that President Clinton will achieve, even in four years, let alone in eight, will endure certainly past my lifetime. The appointment of pro abortion judges to the Supreme Court will insure that not even our Constitution will stand in the way.

The situation, with respect to the vice presidential candidate, is even starker from a Catholic standpoint. Mr. Pence is, by all measures, a soundly pro life Christian. Mr. Kaine is the worst of all possibilities. He is a proudly self declared Catholic and, at the same time, a 100% pro abortion advocate. He states that he is personally opposed to abortion. (However, it is not clear why he would be opposed “personally” to the exercise of an act that he believes to be a basic human right one which he now actively promotes as a US senator). More sadly still, Senator Kaine came into office as a prolife Democrat, but has since converted to the dark side. Planned Parenthood endorses his candidacy enthusiastically; he now has a 100% pro abortion voting record!

Senator Kaine was brought up as a Catholic and trained by Jesuits. He spent time working in a mission in Honduras. He took time out from that mission, in order to make a difficult pilgrimage to neighboring Nicaragua, where he met with a self declared Marxist priest, who was serving there as chaplain to a band of communist guerillas. Whatever inspiration Senator Kaine received from this Marxist guru, in terms of “liberation theology,” evidently did not extend to liberating from oppression the weakest and most defenseless of our little brothers and sisters those unborn children who are depending on us for protection in the wombs their mothers. It is bad enough to have an anti Catholic, such as Hillary Clinton, running for president. But to have a man, who claims to be a Catholic, teaming with her to turn America into an abortion powerhouse is truly deplorable. We have the possibility (albeit small) that Ms. Clinton would become the first president to be convicted of a felony. In any event, Vice President Kaine will be, for the next four years or more, one heartbeat away from becoming Commander in Chief. We would face the specter of a President who is, in this world, the most powerful Catholic on earth and, at the same time, the proud champion of the wholesale, murderous expansion of abortion on demand across America and throughout the entire world. Then we would face the possibility (albeit also very unlikely) of his becoming the first president ever to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Were that to happen, you could be sure that liberal Democrats and the media would lionize him for his courage the Patron Saint of Planned Parenthood. The Clinton/Kaine duo will truly mark our nation with the Sign of Kaine.

So there you have it. What a disaster for democracy this election seems to be! Two candidates for President of the United States in a mad race to the bottom! The goal for each of them seems to be, not so much to get their supporters to vote for them, as to convince supporters of their opponent to either stay home and not vote at all or to vote for a third candidate. The alternative is to “hold your nose” and vote for the less bad candidate. In ancient times, there was what was called the “War of Roses.” This election might be called the “War of Noses.

Well, I am not holding my nose. Rather, I am holding my breath in suspense and gasping at the thought of an America in which the Clinton presidency would cement and celebrate federally funded abortion on demand, worldwide, for the foreseeable future for the rest of my life and beyond. Whatever issues ‘The Donald’ has going against him, the issue of protecting all human life takes precedence. I guess you could So I am casting my vote for Mr. Trump for the sake of all America but especially for that undocumented American that I mentioned at the outset. Yes, as you have probably guessed, the undocumented young lady, on whose behalf I am voting, is a little unborn baby girl. Call me a radical, but I believe that dismembering her is wrong dead wrong! Where is the ‘women’s vote’ when this little lady really needs it? I am voting to safeguard for her a world in which being unwanted or inconvenient is no longer a death sentence, neither before nor after birth.

I will be casting my vote, not only for Mr. Trump, but also for all the other prolife candidates on the ballot. They will need support especially in this election. I will be voting, down the line, in full support of the Republican Party’s solidly prolife platform. Please join with me in doing the same.


Vote as if life depended on it because it does!

Is Resistance Futile?

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

resistance

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in “The Collective,” which acts in a hive mentality. They assimilate new species into the Collective thus adding the new acquisition’s intellect and abilities. As part of the Borg, those assimilated become a small part of The Collective, and lose all sense of individuality.

Sounds familiar? It should because this is the ultimate goal of the ideologies plaguing our culture today – individualism and cultural relativism.

The number of Catholics in the US hovers around 70 million. Many see the Catholic Church in the US as respected and influential precisely to the extent that we hobnob with the elite and get people to like us. That’s how we make ourselves relevant.

On this view, the goal is to “build bridges.” Anything distinctively Catholic and Christian can be set aside until later. Once we have enough influence and relevance, then we (someday) can bring Christ back into the conversation.

But after decades of this failed strategy, still many strive to blend into an increasingly hostile culture, and most Catholics have no idea what the Church believes anymore or what is distinctive about her. We have been assimilated, and our assimilation into “The American Collective” has been disastrous.

Supported by a steady and gradual death of conscience, Catholics in the US rationalize immoral behavior and the politics that flow from acceptance of this behavior that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and His Church. And still many are afraid to offend, setting Christ and His teaching aside in the search for relevance.

Over the last few weeks we have seen a number of articles from Catholic leaders concerning the upcoming elections. This is welcome and entirely appropriate, despite what some say. Yet, sadly, we are left trying to do in a couple weeks what many have set aside for decades and it will likely have little effect. We have done very little to influence the pool of potential candidates – Catholic and non-Catholic. Although there have been faithful and countercultural examples of courageous leadership in the Church all along, and it seems that pockets of resistance continue to grow, as a whole we have failed to authentically teach the Faith and reject assimilation into the culture. In the last few decades, Catholics as a bloc have become indistinguishable from non-Catholics, voting for some of the vilest opponents of Catholic teaching, especially concerning the sanctity of human life. Most notable was Barack Obama, who received a majority of Catholic votes in both presidential elections.

Catholics in the US are radically divided on the doctrinal and moral issues of contraception, abortion, same-sex unions, sex education, and gender ideology. Political candidates and their respective parties exploit this reality. Further exasperating the problem, many Catholics who rise to public service, instead of incorporating Faith into their leadership duties, have caused scandal and confusion by their dissent from Church teaching and endorsement of secular culture: Joe Biden, Anthony Kennedy, John Kerry, Tim Kaine, and Nancy Pelosi, just to name a few.

As a Catholic am I supposed to endorse the immoral laws and behavior of this nation carte blanche because we live in an imperfect culture among an imperfect people? Am I to ignore my identity as Catholic – a disciple of Jesus Christ – because it offends others? Am I to remain silent to the injustice done to the most vulnerable of our society – the unborn child – because my government says it is legal to kill the baby? Am I am to accept and pretend that the redefinition of marriage and gender ideology is morally sound?

It may seem at times that our efforts do not bear fruit. We see some victories, but overall it is clear that God is granting our nation its collective desire for a false “freedom” cut off from Him. But, my friends, resistance to evil and a refusal to be assimilated is never futile!

Consider a married Catholic couple I recently met. They told me they changed their circle of friends because their friends’ immoral behavior was harmful to their family life, especially for their children. At first they tried to patiently influence their friends, but when all attempts failed, they had to decide what was best for their family.

A medical doctor I recently met abroad was being persecuted because he will not write a prescription for contraception. He is being threatened with the loss of his license and potential livelihood. After numerous failed attempts to defend his freedom of conscience, he now is forced to move his family and practice to a new country.

Did this couple and the doctor make the right choices? Should the doctor have compromised – assimilated – and continued to partner with those he did not agree with because he could still do good work as a doctor – helping people in need? Should the married couple have maintained their friendship – assimilated – hoping that change would occur over time while tolerating the negative impact upon their children?

Keep watch over your manner of life, dear people, and make sure that you are indeed the Lord’s laborers. Each person should take into account what he does and consider if he is laboring in the vineyard of the Lord. – St. Gregory the Great

The command of the Lord Jesus, “You too go into my vineyard” is a universal call that echoes in every generation and is addressed to every one of us. Catholics in the US are not exempt from this duty in Christ, but as with every generation of disciples, the Lord Jesus is sending us out to the byroads and marketplaces to proclaim the Good News ­– Jesus is Lord and by His cross He has defeated sin and death!

We will shortly know the consequences of the elections, but no mater their outcome the task and challenge before us is clear – let us recommit ourselves to true and heroic discipleship, while at the same time defending life, family, the most vulnerable, and our Faith. Such a commitment allows God to raise people of virtue, good moral character, and skills worthy of leadership.

We have nothing to fear as long as we live and act with courage and in Faith. Resistance to evil is never futile; on the contrary, it is necessary.

 

Double Standard: Male Birth-Control Study Cancelled Due to Side Effects

by ALEXANDRA DESANCTIS

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/441632/male-birth-control-study-cancelled-after-side-effects

A new study shows that a hormonal birth-control shot for males could effectively prevent pregnancy in female partners, but further studies were cancelled after the men involved in the study experienced side effects, primarily depression. The decision to curtail the studies is ironic, considering the growing evidence that hormonal birth control has similarly negative side effects for women.

The latest example is a recent study of over one million women, which showed that the birth-control pill greatly increases women’s risk of depression, exponentially so among teenage girls. It’s generally accepted — especially after reviewing the evidence gathered over the 55 years since the pill was first approved — that 20 to 30 percent of women on hormonal birth control have experienced depression severe enough to require anti-depressants. Contraception bears negative consequences for a vast number of women, compared to the depression experienced by a mere three percent of the 320 men who received the trial birth-control shot.

And depression is not the only possible side effect for women who take hormonal birth control. A number of studies have shown that women on the pill have a higher risk for developing breast cancer; the World Health Organization has classified many hormonal contraceptives as class-one carcinogens. There are reports that Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive that can function as an abortifacient, necessarily causes systemic side effects in every woman who takes the drug. Hormonal contraception clearly poses terrible risks to women’s health, risks much more serious those experienced by the men in this study.

“If anything, this may wake us up to finding out better hormonal contraceptives for women, right?” said Dr. Seth Cohen, a urologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Because certainly, I know that a lot of young women don’t get the type of counseling that maybe they deserve when it comes to contraception. Just a [prescription] and a visit to Duane Reade is all they get, and that may not be enough.”

It is disgraceful that the medical community would abandon male contraception due to mild side effects while at the same continuing to prescribe and advocate even more harmful methods of birth control for countless women. If feminists and “pro-woman” medical professionals actually cared about women’s health — as opposed to unequivocally defending Planned Parenthood, insisting upon abortion-on-demand, and advocating ubiquitous, government-funded contraceptives — they would expose this clear double standard that favors men’s health over women’s.

Pro-life advocates have an historic opportunity on Election Day. Will we seize it?

prolifeNovember 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In 1979 I arrived, elated yet diffident, in the Chinese village that would be my home for the next year. Within a few months of my arrival, pregnant mothers were being rounded up by local Communist officials and marched off to abortuaries. China’s one-child policy had begun.

As a visiting scholar from America, I insisted on being present when one of these sobbing mothers was forcibly aborted at 7 ½ months. It changed my life.

I was horrified to see the military doctors who had been brought in to perform this butchery actually cut open the mother’s body to get at the baby. The poor baby — I think she was a girl — was of course already dead, having been injected with poison in utero two days before. As the doctor reached in to pull out her corpse, I fled the scene.

But not soon enough.

The sight of the dead girl’s limp body being pulled from the ruined abdomen of her mother is burned into my mind. It is a nightmarish vision that I will carry with me to the grave. I have been uncompromisingly Pro-Life ever since.

I returned to the United States determined to fight for Life. I joined the ranks of the millions of Americans who had been selflessly giving of their time and treasure since 1973, when the Supreme had authorized this modern-day slaughter of the innocents. In my naiveté I anticipated a speedy victory. After all, we had the most pro-life president in modern American history, Ronald Reagan, in office and on our side.

I was wrong. Today, almost four decades later:

  • Abortion continues to be legal in the United States up to birth.
  • Planned Parenthood’s industrial-sized killing fields continue in operation.
  • Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into Planned Parenthood’s coffers.
  • The U.S. State Department continues to coerce foreign governments into legalizing abortion.
  • USAID continues to vigorously promote and fund population control programs.

To be sure, over the years we have won some victories. Thanks to President Reagan, in 1984 we were able to put in place the Mexico City Policy. This requires non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive federal funding to certify that they will not perform, promote, or lobby for the legalization of abortion in other countries.

A year later, again thanks to Reagan, we were able to defund the UN Population Fund, an agency that was — and is — heavily involved in China’s program of forced abortions and sterilizations. I was proud of this victory. I provided much of the evidence.

We also cut back spending on population control and reduced Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies.

Yet with each new Democrat administration — first Clinton, and then Obama — these advances were undone. The pro-life movement was never politically strong enough to write these gains into settled law.

Legislative victories were few and far between, although there have been a few. We were, in 2003, thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Rick Santorum, able to prohibit a particularly horrific form of late-term abortion, partial birth abortion.

Moreover, we have been increasingly successful at the state level. After the Supreme Court in 1989 allowed states to pass reasonable restrictions on abortion, hundreds of pro-life laws have been passed by state legislatures. Dozens of states now mandate waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds and, in the case of minors, parental consent. Underlining the humanity of the unborn, dozens of states have also put “fetal homicide” laws in place.

Still, abortion remains legal throughout all fifty states. Decade after decade, the lives of more than one million unborn Americans continue to be wrongly snuffed out each year. This is without a doubt the greatest continuing human tragedy in American history.

Why have we not been able to stop this tragedy, which violates the very principles that America was founded upon? Why have we not been able to keep the promise of The Declaration of Independence that every American is entitled to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?

The answer lies in the brilliantly designed system of checks and balances bequeathed to us by our Founders. Those who drafted the Constitution did not want to escape one tyrant only to fall into the hands of one of their own making, so they carefully divided power between three separate but equal branches of government. The legislature would pass laws, the chief executive would carry them out, and the judiciary would look over the shoulders of both, making sure that neither overstepped their bounds.

This worked pretty well for a couple of centuries, then the unexpected happened. An abortion case came before the U.S. Supreme Court. And a majority of justices decided that they would write their own prejudices into their ruling. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion, was careful to concoct a tissue of rationalizations to hide the fact that he and his colleagues were legislating from the bench. But it was clear to legal scholars what they were about. As my friend Judge Robert Bork often remarked, “Roe v. Wade was an act of raw judicial tyranny.”

This infamous act could have been overturned by the Congress and the President, or by the Supreme Court itself. This hasn’t happened, primarily because the American people, in their wisdom, rarely give the same political party control over the House, the Senate, and the White House. Since our two main political parties are on opposite sides of this issue — the Republicans are the Party of Life, while the Democrats are in lockstep on abortion — gridlock ensues.

In the Eighties the House Republicans were checked by the Senate Democrats, and little pro-life legislation wound up on President Reagan’s desk. In the nineties, the situation was reversed. The Republican House refused to go along with proposals that the Democratic Senate and a pro-abortion president, Bill Clinton, would have signed.

The Party of Abortion and the Party of Life have been in a political stalemate for almost four decades, preventing a legislative remedy to our national tragedy of abortion from emerging from the Congress and the White House.

The Supreme Court has been equally divided, due in no small part to the carelessness with which pro-life presidents have made their judicial nominations, and the carefulness with which pro-abortion presidents made theirs.

Since before World War II, the Democrats have consistently appointed only ideological soul mates to the Supreme Court. Their appointees, like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, invariably believe that the Constitution is a “living document” and that the law is a “social construct.” Thus they can be counted upon to reinterpret the Constitution at will to justify whatever behavior the liberal prejudices of the day approve of, including gay marriage, assisted suicide and, in this case, unrestricted abortion.

The Republican record on nominations is much more spotty. In addition to nominating brilliant conservative justices like Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist, President Reagan also brought the unreliable Sandra Day O’Connor and notoriously quixotic Anthony Kennedy onto the Court. The first President Bush, himself a latecomer to the pro-life cause, had an equally mixed record. Clarence Thomas, one of Bush’s nominees, has been one of the great pro-life justices of all time. But he also gave us David Souter, who sailed through confirmation and promptly took up residence on the Court’s left wing, where he has been a reliable vote for abortion on demand ever since.

Not once in the last 43 years have we enjoyed a solid pro-life majority on the Supreme Court.

Not once in the past 43 years have we ever had a pro-life President and a solid pro-life majority in the Senate and the House at the same time. We have always fallen short in one respect or another.

That’s why this upcoming election is so important for pro-lifers.

On November 8th, for the first time in a generation, we have an opportunity to elect not just a pro-life House, and not just a pro-life Senate. We have an opportunity to elect a President who has promised to implement pro-life measures, and a Vice President with a solid and longstanding pro-life record.

If this happens, a number of very good things will happen quickly. Planned Parenthood will be defunded, and a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks will be passed and signed into law. U.S.-driven population control programs will be shut down, and the State Department will be told to get out of the business of trying to impose abortion and other aberrations on the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court will follow, albeit more slowly.

First the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia will be filled — the list of possible replacements has already been released. Then we must wait until another elderly justice or two steps down, at which time a solid pro-life majority will be created.

Then and only then, Roe v. Wade will be decisively overturned. The issue of abortion will be sent back to the states, most of which have laws protecting Life already on the books.

This happy scenario, of course, depends entirely on the outcome of the election.

By the morning of November 9th, we will know the fate of our movement. We will either be savoring our electoral victory and the prospect of pro-life victories in the Executive, in the Congress, and in the Supreme Court.

Or we will be hunkering down to fight a desperate rearguard action against the most rapidly pro-abortion administration America has ever seen.

One thing is absolutely certain: It took 43 long years for this historic opportunity to present itself.

If we let this opportunity slip by, it may not come again in our lifetimes.

In the meantime, millions of unborn Americans will die at the hands of Planned Parenthood’s abortionists. Overseas the death toll will be even higher. Tens of millions will perish, condemned to death by a U.S. foreign aid establishment that is hellbent on eliminating the poor.

Seize the moment. Vote Pro-Life.

The babies can’t wait.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of the forthcoming, The Bully of Asia (Regnery).

Catholic Bishop: Support for Abortion “Should Disqualify Any Candidate From Receiving Our Vote”

bishopLess than a week before Americans cast their votes for president, Catholic bishops are urging their congregants to educate themselves about the candidates’ positions on abortion.

The next president could make a huge impact on the future of abortion in the U.S. through his or her nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court and other policies. And Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton specifically is touting a radical pro-abortion agenda that would force Americans to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.

On Sunday, Catholic Bishop William Murphy, head of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, said in a letter at Masses that support for abortion “should disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote,” Newsday reports.

Murphy encouraged Catholics not to participate in the “division,” “mean spiritedness” and “intolerance” surrounding the presidential election. He urged them to make serious, educated decisions about who they choose as our nation’s next leaders, and he emphasized that abortion is the most “crucial” issue of all.

Murphy continued:

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, is the ultimate measure of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Every person is sacred and has inherent rights which political leaders must protect and serve. Those who do not are unworthy of our vote. Those who contradict themselves by saying one thing and doing another are unworthy of our vote.

Many issues are very important in our society today. But none of them can eclipse the centrality of human life, especially innocent human life in the womb or at the end of life. Above all and over all, the number one issue more fundamental and crucial than any other is abortion – that is the direct taking of innocent life, which is financed by government funds — the diversion of our tax dollars to abortionists like Planned Parenthood as well as government insistence that we Catholics like the Little Sisters of the Poor, violate our consciences to advance such programs.

Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote. Let me repeat that: Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive “personally opposed but . . .” line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote.

Murphy did not name names, but Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, is a Catholic who supports abortions while claiming to be “personally opposed.” Kaine has flip-flopped several times on whether he will support Clinton’s plan to repeal the Hyde Amendment and force taxpayers to fund abortions.

In an interview with CNN in July, Kaine said: “On Hyde my position is the same I support the Hyde amendment. I haven’t changed that. As the vice president I have to get comfortable with the notion that I can have my personal views but I’m going to support the president of the United States and I will.”

As a U.S. Senator, Kaine has voted against the pro-life position every chance he got. Kaine took his most extreme pro-abortion action yet with his recent co-sponsorship of the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S.217), known to pro-lifers as the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.”

Every year, more than 1 million unborn babies are killed in legal abortions in the U.S., and the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, gets half a billion of our tax dollars. Pro-lifers of all faiths and no faith should weigh these facts heavily before casting their vote next Tuesday.

The War on Marriage and Family

by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Contemporary culture is in a deep crisis regarding holy matrimony. Both the truth about the family and families themselves are being ripped a part by violent forces. Proponents of the Culture of Death know well the importance and centrality of the natural family; otherwise, why exhaust so much time, effort, and resources attacking it?

This doesn’t only weaken the family, it will weaken the nation. Indeed, throughout history, this has been a well known strategy for conquering opponents — attacking the most fundamental elements of language and culture. The renowned general, military strategist, and philosopher of ancient China, Sun Tzu (544-496 BC), laid out the strategy in The Art of War:

There is no art higher than to destroy your enemy without a fight by subverting anything of value in your enemy’s country.

Over time and with great diligence, promoters of sexual license, gender ideology, and the redefinition of marriage have radically changed the way we think of matrimony and family. Most no longer understand that basic truth that in its essence, marriage is one man and one woman in an indissoluble, exclusive, and fruitful union. Most people in our culture no longer understand the role of matrimony and family and are incapable of defending these sacred institutions, thus becoming easy prey to radical anti-marriage and family ideologies.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised that marriage and family are at the crux of the battle.

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head. — Sister Lucia, Visionary of Fatima

It has been so for nearly a century. On October 13, 1917, while the three seers of Fatima were joined by tens of thousands who witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, Russia’s October Revolution was underway. Its leader, Vladimir Lenin, was open about his attack on the family, and as prophesied by the Virgin Mary, Russia’s errors spread throughout the world, their destruction accelerated in part by how they have found purchase here in the United State.

The current US presidential and congressional elections are but one example of how the war on these institutions continues. With poisonous eloquence, political candidates and pundits defend same-sex unions, perverted sex education programs, sex and reproductive rights — contraception and abortion — and gender role confusion. These modern day pipers play their melodious tunes, leading all who listen to cultural and societal demise.

The attack on the family would not have so much success, even among Christians, without the misrepresentation of the role of conscience. The catchphrase “Follow your conscience” is used to justify one’s ability to do almost anything one chooses or believes is good. This misunderstanding of freedom of conscience is an exceptionally clever way of ending all discussion on what is morally good from evil: “Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot do?”

Try telling a judge or jury that your conscience allowed you to steal from your neighbor or kill your boss because he wouldn’t give you a raise. Try convincing a police officer that you ran the red light because you were “following your conscience.” It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous!

The weapons of this battle on marriage and the family, and our ability to use our conscience to do good, are the tools of propaganda and illusion aimed at transforming the minds and hearts. They use television, radio, film, the internet, and music as their primary media to promote a radical and distorted worldview. They further their grasp through perverted sex education programs imposed upon our youth, beginning as early as grade school. I recently witnessed an example of this in Guatemala City. One of the speakers showed a video depicting girls ages 6 and 7 being taught how to place a condom on a phallus. The video also showed young adolescents how to masturbate and be open to experimentation with other boys and girls. Under the guise of “comprehensive sex education”, these programs desensitize our young and pervert the moral and religious values being taught by their parents.

HLI’s global leaders see this all over the world. Emil Hagamu and George Wirnkar, our regional directors in Africa, have seen such programs firsthand. On a recent trip to Africa, I saw a textbook being used in many African countries to teach sex education. It was filled with pornography and images of children experimenting with different types of sexual activities. It taught African children how to use condoms and promoted gender role confusion.

The US government’s war on matrimony and family is upheld in its foreign policy. These policies demand and assure that any funding is directly connected to population control and the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights — contraception, abortion, sterilization, sex education programs and legalization of same sex unions. Through USAID and the UN’s Population (Control) Fund (UNFPA), such programs and policies are implemented. This directly influences cultures and their understanding of matrimony and family. The US does not use weapons of mass destruction to carry out its battle plans, but the destruction and devastation is the same, and its affects are generational.

Our nation, founded on the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is itself in crisis. We are divided because we no longer uphold objective truth. In his brilliant book God or Nothing, Robert Cardinal Sarah sheds a different light — the light of faith – on these same realities.

Without God, man builds his hell on earth. Amusements and pleasures can become a true scourge for the soul when it sinks into pornography, drugs, violence, and all sorts of perversions. There is great sadness in claiming to want to indulge in limitless pleasures, whereas the most beautiful joy is to remain simply with God, allowing him to clothe us in light and purity.

Our faith and resolve to bring about a cultural transformation is being tested.

What is our response to this war? Return to the Creator’s plan. Matrimony and family are God’s design, and as divine institutions they are not open to renegotiation or revision — there are no substitutions. Fundamentally, our global cultures and societies need a moral counter-revolution to replace the Culture of Death.

This is now up to us. Be Not Afraid!

You might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote right in November.

Fr. Michael Orsi

THE CATHOLIC VOTE IS SPLIT

Too bad. If united, Catholics could control the outcome of the election, protect the Church and move the country in a direction more attuned to the values of the Church. But we are split between Catholics who deem the sanctity of life as the pre-eminent issue (conservatives) and those for whom care for the poor, the vulnerable and the stranger among us is the more cogent concern (progressives). But there is an issue that should unite us. If ignored then both groups face persecution and neither will be free to carry out their mission.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING ACTUAL CASES

1) The Little Sisters of the Poor just want to take care of old people and practice their faith. Yet there are people in this country who would rather prevent them from doing the former than let them do the latter.
2) Catholic Social Services in Massachusetts took care of orphans for over one hundred years, but there are people who put them out of business rather than let them practice their faith which required not placing orphans with gay couples.
3) There are people who preferred to see Catholic Charities stop providing aid to refugees rather than let them do so without also providing contraception and abortion.
4) There are people who preferred to see a county clerk in Kentucky thrown in jail rather than figure out how to let her do her job in such a way as not to be cooperating with what she believed and what the Catholic Church teaches is grave sin.
5) There are people who have chosen to drive bakers in Washington out of business rather than allow them to commit the same “crime” of not cooperating with sin.
6) There are people who would rather see a military chaplain disciplined than let him provide spiritual advice that is not politically correct.
7) There are people who fired a football coach rather than let him pray voluntarily after a football game.
8) There are people who want men to be free to go into girls and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
9) And there are people who not only want to be free to kill babies until the moment of birth, and even during birth, but want all of us to pay for it.

A TWO PART PATTERN THAT’S HARD TO MISS

1) In each case above the Church and the faithful (both conservatives and progressives) are being prevented from carrying out their mission; and 2) The people who are taking away these freedoms all belong to the same political party. If you know which party that is, it proves the point.

Shouldn’t the issue of the freedom of the Church to carry out its mission and of the faithful to practice their religion in public be the preeminent concern for all Catholic voters and indeed all true Christians and Americans? We have every reason to unite in opposition to the easy to identify people who are perpetrating these injustices. If we don’t unite against these attacks by voting these people out of office, then we and our Church will soon no longer have the freedom to either battle the wanton destruction of human life called abortion, or to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the stranger among us.

YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE A CHURCH TO GO TO IF YOU DON’T VOTE THE RIGHT WAY IN NOVEMBER

Father Michael Orsi of St. Agnes Parish in Naples Florida and former chaplain of Ave Maria Law School, in reminding pastors that they are allowed to be political in church and in urging them to “speak truth to power”, told them, “You might not have a church to go to if you don’t vote the right way in November.” Was he exaggerating or was he right? Can we afford to vote the wrong way, or not vote at all, and find out?

Go to: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ news/priest-you-might-not-have-a-church-to-go-to-if-you-dont-vote-the-right-way

Clinton WRONG on Forced Abortion in China

Contact:            Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

Email:                  reggielittlejohn@gmail.com

Cell:                     310.592.5722

WEBSITE:              www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org

In the Presidential debate against Donald Trump tonight, Hillary Clinton made the following statement:

I’ve been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China . . . (emphasis added).

See, Trump, Clinton Spar Over Late-Term Abortions (at 1:00-1:05)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5177606697001/trump-clinton-spar-over-late-term-abortions/?#sp=show-clips

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “With all her experience as former Secretary of State, it is untrue and deeply disappointing for Hillary Clinton to put the Chinese government’s practice of forced abortion in the past.  If she thinks that China no longer forces women to abort babies, she should explain that to a couple, surnamed Zhong, who in August of this year were forced to choose between an abortion at eight months or the loss of both of their government jobs.   Or she should inform He Liping, who was forced either to pay an impossible “terror fine” of $39,000 or face abortion at six months.

Or perhaps she should read the May 4, 2016, BBC article entitled ‘Reinventing China’s Abortion Police,’ which discusses a small collaborative project by Stanford University and Shaanxi Normal University to repurpose 69 Family Planning Officials — apparently on the assumption that they are no longer needed now that China has moved to a two-child policy.” The article follows one Family Planning Official, Li Bo, who has been “reinvented” from “hunt[ing] down families suspected of violating the country’s draconian rules on how many children couples can have” into a rubber duckie squeezing, nursery rhyme singing “Chinese Father Christmas,” complete with “a bag full of toys and picture books.”

Has his job really been “reinvented,” or is he really a member of the womb police, masquerading as “Chinese Father Christmas” — the new face of China’s Family Planning Police?  Buried deep in the article is the following account of the dark side of Li Bo’s job – an important piece of original reporting by the BBC:

Since the start of 2016, all Chinese couples have been allowed two children.  But they can have no more than that unless they are from ethnic minorities – so Li Bo still spends some of his time working as a birth-control enforcer.  In the town’s health clinic he is busy screening local women.  All women of childbearing age have check-ups four times a year to ensure they’re healthy . . . and to see if they are pregnant. . . But Li is also a loyal Communist party official who believes the state knows best and society’s needs are greater than those of individuals.  So he is matter-of-fact about the unpleasant task of telling women who couldn’t afford the fine to terminate their pregnancies.  “People didn’t swear at us but they probably did behind our backs,” he says.  “It’s natural because we were carrying out the law and they were breaking it so it is just like the clash between a policeman and a thief.”  He adds that as long as restrictions are in place, such clashes will continue.

From these words, uttered by a Chinese Communist Family Planning Official, we learn that:

1)    Coercive pregnancy screening continues.  Under the Two-Child Policy, Family Planning Police continue to screen women of child-bearing age for pregnancy four times a year.

2)    Forced abortion continues.  It is still illegal for single women to have babies in China, and for couples to have third children.  It appears that some may be given an opportunity to pay a fine, but Li Bo tells “those who couldn’t afford the fine to terminate their pregnancies.”  In other words, if a woman is illegally pregnant and cannot pay the fine – which can be as much as ten times her annual salary – she is forced to abort.  Forced abortion, therefore, continues under the Two-Child Policy.

3)    Women pregnant without permission are considered criminals.  Li Bo’s statement that women who are pregnant without permission “were breaking it [the law] so it is just like the clash between a policeman and a thief” demonstrates that such pregnancies are still considered illegal; and illegally pregnant women are regarded lawbreakers deserving of punishment, just like thieves.

4)    Forced abortion continues to cause unrest.  Li Bo is correct in adding that “as long as restrictions are in place, such clashes will continue.”  This statement is an admission that these clashes – often resulting in forced abortion – continue to this day, due to the two-child restrictions.

Littlejohn concluded:  “The Chinese Communist Party has not agreed to get out of the bedrooms of the Chinese people, and Presidential candidates should not be stating or implying that they have.  We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated.”

Take action by signing WRWF’s petition against forced abortion in China.

Watch — Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women! Video (4 mins)

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/?nav=stop-forced-abortion

Related Links:

Reinventing China’s Abortion Police 5/4/16
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36203572

Guangdong Families Told to Have Abortion or Lose Job 7/22/16
http://www.sixthtone.com/news/guangdong-families-told-have-abortion-or-lose-job

Chinese Government Sources Admit Forced Abortion Continues Under Two-Child Policy  8/9/16

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/chinese-government-sources-admit-forced-abortion-continues-under-two-child-policy/

China:  Forced Abortion at Six Months; Pregnant Women Told They “Deliberately Broke the Law” 8/28/16

http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/blog/china-forced-abortion-at-six-months-pregnant-women-told-they-deliberately-broke-the-law/

Our choices end where another’s more fundamental right begins

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Our choices end where another’s more fundamental right begins

Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person.

In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged he was blessed with great Irish Catholic parents and grew up in a wonderful faith-filled family. He also mentioned proudly that he is a graduate of Rockhurst High School, crediting the Jesuits with instilling within him a desire for public service and a commitment to advocate for the poor. I wish that was the end of the story.

It was painful to listen to Senator Kaine repeat the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal. He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?

With regard to the imposition of religious beliefs, Senator Kaine appears to have no qualms with his public positions conforming with his religious beliefs with regard to such issues as the church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor. He appears not to be conflicted with our public policies mirroring the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.

The founders of our nation actually dealt with this issue 240 years ago in the Declaration of Independence, in which they articulate certain self-evident and inalienable rights that government does not bestow but has a responsibility to protect. Our founders actually believed that the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.

Of course, religion will speak about fundamental human rights issues. However, to understand that the government has a right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason. They do not require faith.

Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life? I hope in his science classes at Rockhurst he learned that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father.

It is difficult to imagine that Senator Kaine has not seen the ultrasound images of his children and grandchildren when they were in their mother’s womb. Is the senator unaware that abortion stopped the beating hearts of 60 million American children aborted legally since 1973?

If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin.

As far as Senator Kaine’s fear that if abortion is made illegal, our prisons will be teeming with post-abortive women, we actually have decades of legal history in our own country when this was certainly not the case.

Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.

Actually, I wish Senator Kaine would take the time to talk with some of the post–abortive women that are assisted by Project Rachel and other post-abortion ministries helping women and men find healing, hope and mercy after an abortion. Our current permissive abortion policies, placing the entire burden of responsibility for the abortion decision upon the mother, results in millions of women experiencing an inner imprisonment where the bars keeping them from freedom and happiness are the guilt and unresolved grief that inevitably ensues from abortion.

It is interesting that Senator Kaine expressed his personal anguish when as governor he enforced capital punishment sentences. He gave the impression that he attempted unsuccessfully to convince Virginians to abolish the death penalty. Yet, with regard to legalized abortion, I am not aware of Senator Kaine making a similar effort to convince his constituents to work for public policies that protect the lives of the unborn. Instead, he appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights.

It is ironic that Senator Kaine expressed such profound concern about imposing his religious beliefs on others, while supporting efforts: 1) to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans; 2) to put small business owners (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and 3) to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion.

This presidential election presents all Americans with a difficult choice. Both major political parties have nominated very flawed candidates. In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president. We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.

Finally, be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe. Unfortunately, the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fully embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.

New report reveals CRS/USAID dispensed millions of abortifacients and condoms

http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/catholic-relief-services-stored-dispensed-abortifacient-contraception-congo

WASHINGTON (Lepanto Institute) – An explosive new report by the Lepanto Institute reveals that the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops received and dispensed over 2.25 million units of abortifacient contraception and condoms for a government-funded project in Africa. From 2006–2010, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was an implementing partner for a USAID project called Project AXxes, and according to inventory reports contained in quarterly and annual reports for the project, CRS received, stored and dispensed millions of contraceptives, including condoms, oral contraceptives, injectable contraceptives, intra-uterine devices, and even surgical sterilization kits.

“The implications of this report could have far-reaching consequences for CRS,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute. “For the last six years, CRS has been dodging around revelations of its impropriety by telling bishops and faithful Catholics that it ‘never’ promotes, distributes or facilitates the distribution of contraception. We now have proof that CRS’s claim is completely untrue.”

The report by Lepanto Institute references section 3.4.1 of the Administrative, Financial, and Operations Procedures Manual for Project AXxes on physical inventory. According to the procedures manual, visual inventory was to be conducted each quarter, by “the administrator/manager of the project, the logistician and another member of the team,” and signed by each, as well as “by the owner and the person responsible for the inventory.”

“The most disturbing thing we discovered about Project AXxes is that the promotion of contraception was integrated into nearly every aspect of the project, even to the point that natural family planning was identified as an entry to introducing contraception,” said Hichborn. “And what’s really sad is that CRSintroduced this program to a people who had no previous access to methods of birth control.”

In relation to the report, the Lepanto Institute has launched a petition to the bishops of the United States asking them to forbid CRS from participating in any future PEPFAR or USAID programs. The petition can be found here.

Read the report: “Catholic Relief Services and the Distribution of Abortifacient Contraception in the Congo.”

The Misleading Promise of I.V.F. for Women Over 40

By JANE E. BRODY OCT. 17, 2016

Many young women were understandably seduced by the once widely publicized message that if they chose to delay pregnancy and were then unable to conceive, they could still have babies through in vitro fertilization, also known as I.V.F.

Miriam Zoll was one of them. Married at age 35, she thought she had plenty of time to start a family. After all, she said, “My mother had me at 40, and since 1978, the fertility industry has been celebrating its ability to help women have children at older ages.”

When at 39 she and her husband decided to start a family, they discovered that nature refused to cooperate. Four emotionally and physically exhausting I.V.F. cycles (and two attempted donor egg cycles) later, they remained childless.

“What the industry didn’t say is that the success rate for older women is consistently low,” she said. “It focused on the 20 percent of women who succeed, not the 80 percent failure rate. The industry avoided saying that the technology hasn’t worked for an estimated 20 million women globally during the last 40 years.”

Women who did not have healthy babies with I.V.F. are far less likely to speak openly about the procedure than those for whom the technique was successful.

Shocked by what happened to her and realizing that so many other women faced similar disappointment, Ms. Zoll, who lives in Conway, Mass., decided to write a book, “Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies,” to put assisted reproduction on a more realistic footing and counter the rosy picture of I.V.F.

Her story prompted me to check the latest federally mandated statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease and Prevention from the nation’s nearly 500 fertility clinics on I.V.F. procedures done in 2013. Using fresh (that is, not frozen) eggs or embryos from women trying to conceive, at age 40 fewer than 30 percent undergoing I.V.F. became pregnant and fewer than 20 percent gave birth to live babies as a result.

The success rate was somewhat better when I.V.F. was done with frozen embryos from a woman’s own eggs: about 42 percent became pregnant and 30 percent delivered live babies.

Dr. Mark V. Sauer, former director of the I.V.F. clinic at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center who has been using the technique for three decades, corroborated Ms. Zoll’s frustration with the industry’s self-promotion.

“Programs will brag that they are the best, with extraordinarily high rates of pregnancy even in women over 40,” Dr. Sauer said in an interview. “There’s hardly any age that the clinics now turn away.” He cited reports in both the lay and medical literature of even postmenopausal women giving birth through I.V.F.

On clinic websites, he said, “There’s a lot of massaging of the data, often combining data from several years to make the results look better. And clinical pregnancy rates do not necessarily reflect live birthrates. Live births are what really matter.”

Furthermore, he said, “The younger women are when they undergo I.V.F., the better the pregnancy rates,” adding that younger women are also more likely to have healthy pregnancies that end with the birth of healthy babies.

In a report he published last year in Fertility and Sterility, Dr. Sauer wrote that “advanced age” is a risk factor not only for female infertility, but also for “pregnancy loss, fetal anomalies, stillbirth, and obstetric complications.”

Although these risks have been known for centuries, “women are delaying childbearing to pursue educational and career goals in greater numbers than ever before,” he wrote. “Data from the United States demonstrate a dramatic rise in births to mothers once considered ‘elderly.’ This is particularly evident in women older than 40,” an age at which there is a significant rise in infertility, as well as higher rates of miscarriage among women who succeed in getting pregnant.

Dr. Sauer pleaded with doctors to “promote more realistic views” of the realities of pregnancy at advanced ages. He advised doctors to “actively educate both patients and the public that there is a real danger of childlessness if individuals choose to delay reproduction. It should be with guarded optimism that we promote delayed childbearing to our patients, because risks to both mother and child are invariably present; and because many failed attempts also occur, the risk of lifelong childlessness cannot be overstated.”

The doctor acknowledges the dilemma faced by women who seek higher education and want to become established in a career before attempting to start a family. And he realizes that “ideally pregnancy should also occur when they are settled with a life partner who will share the burden of raising offspring.”

Nonetheless, Dr. Sauer points out, the facts of biology are irrefutable. “Biologically speaking,” he wrote, “women are most fertile between the ages of 15 and 30.” Although from a career perspective, many are unwilling to start a family then, ages 35 to 45 represent the “terminal decline in normal fecundity,” as well as a greatly increased risk of producing eggs and embryos with chromosomal and other abnormalities.

Ms. Zoll’s devastating experience with I.V.F. changed her “from a trusting consumer into a person who now knows she has to do her own research — even before seeing the doctor — and has to ask lots of questions. I trusted what the doctors told me, and afterward was blown away by my own naïveté. Consumers should be saying, ‘Let me see the evidence.’”

After spending a significant amount of money (most, fortunately in her case, covered by insurance mandated by the state of Massachusetts) and seven years trying to have a baby, Ms. Zoll said she and her husband “moved very quickly into adoption, and within seven months of filing adoption papers, our son was placed with us.” She described their son, now 7, as “tenacious, smart and funny. I can’t imagine having anyone so close to my heart.”

Planned Parenthood’s 100th Anniversary: Cause for Celebration or Sorrow?

By Brian Clowes PhD

Planned Parenthood’s 100th: Cause for Celebration or Sorrow?

This Sunday, the glitterati will celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Senate Democrats have introduced a resolution honoring PPFA. One hundred Hollywood stars have signed a congratulatory letter to the organization. Hillary Clinton herself has spoken repeatedly about how much she adores the abortion business’s founder, eugenicist Margaret Sanger. And, of course, we see in the media hundreds of fawning editorials singing the praises of the most corrupt business in the history of this nation.

If the proverbial Martian visited our planet right about now, he would assume from such coverage that Planned Parenthood is an organization composed entirely of saints whose lives are dedicated to the ideals of freedom, choice and human happiness while struggling valiantly against woman-hating terrorists.

However, if the Martian had the capacity for rational thought took the time to dig a little deeper, he would be horrified by what lies below the surface.
Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger was not merely friendly to the idea of eugenics, she was a eugenicist to the core. She wrote that the mission of her organization was “To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children ― a stronger, healthier and more intelligent race.”[1] Sanger followed eugenic reasoning to its logical conclusion ― that charity is “dysgenic,” leading to a degradation of the human race:

We are now in a state where our charities, our compensation acts, our pensions, hospitals, and even our drainage and sanitary equipment all tend to keep alive the sickly and the weak, who are allowed to propagate and in turn produce a race of degenerates.[2]

Of course, then as now, if the lowly do not embrace the Utopian plans of the elite, they must be whipped into line by greater and greater degrees of coercion. Sanger herself said that “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.”[3]

Contributors to Sanger’s The Birth Control Review especially loathed the Catholic Church, but they had plenty of contempt left over for minorities. Julian Huxley, founder of the World Wildlife Fund, commented in a BCR article that “There is, first, the mere question of quantity of population, quantity of Americans in the world versus the quantity of Englishmen, versus the quantity of Africans, versus the quantity of Chinese. If you have one race whose population is going down and another whose population is going up, there is always the possibility of race suicide ….”[4]

In an article entitled “God’s Chillun” in the special “Negro Number” of The Birth Control Review, Walter Terpenning wrote that “Many of the colored citizens are fine specimens of humanity. A good share of them, however, constitute a large percentage of Kalamazoo’s human scrap‑pile … The dissemination of the information of birth control should have begun with this [Negro] class rather than with the upper social and economic classes of white citizens.”[5]

At least we cannot accuse the contributors to The Birth Control Review of being inconsistent in their racism, because they held everyone in contempt who did not measure up to their Nordic ideal.

On Puerto Ricans: “He lives literally in chronic starvation, crowding his filthy scarecrow body into a hut where his female counterpart and their numberless wretched children almost always share at least one of his diseases.”[6]

On Italians: “Look over ‘Who’s Who in America’ for Italian names. They are conspicuous by their absence. …”[7]

On the Polish: “Polish men are often immoral because they have been born of too young mothers or preceded by many born before.”[8]

On Southerners: “The southern woman is fifty years behind the rest of the women in the country. She has no mind, no individuality, no initiative, and without question accepts all the absurd conventionalities that hedge her about and keep her a charming and useless dependent on her husband.”[9]

The result is inevitable: A staggering one-third of African Americans have been aborted.[10]

The American Birth Control League led the way in the 1920s, and its successor, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America leads the way now. The organization’s highest award is named for its founder, and they defend her legacy without qualification to this day.

Planned Parenthood Today

Planned Parenthood has never lost sight of Sanger’s vision, pursuing it with a single-minded fanaticism that boggles the imagination even if the organization’s targeting of minorities is no longer so overt. PPFA’s clinics and affiliates now perform one out of three abortions in the United States. Its abortionists have snuffed out the lives of 7.6 million unborn American babies, disproportionately those of poor and minority women. To give this some idea of scale, this is the fourth largest genocide in modern history, ranking behind only Hitler, Stalin and Mao. PP’s income since 1999 has been 20 billion dollars, much of which has been our involuntary contribution through our tax dollars.

But these numbers, as stunning as they are, do not even begin to properly describe the true legacy of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Its legacy is reflected in the desperate face of the teenage girl whose PP-supplied birth control failed her, an unfortunately common occurrence that, if many former PP employees are to believed, was part of a strategy to create abortion clients. It is in the face of the sex-addict furtively glancing both ways before opening the door of a run-down, tawdry “adult book and novelty shop.” It is in the face of the poor single mother who has embraced the Planned Parenthood gospel of free (but “responsible”) sex, who has had several abortions of children conceived by different men who abandoned her, and yet has not achieved “empowerment.” It is in the face of the homosexual man dying of AIDS at the age of forty because he took PP’s advice to “have as much sex as you want, but have it ‘responsibly.’”

It is no exaggeration to say that the “free sex” mantra of Planned Parenthood has destroyed and stunted millions of lives.

This, then, is the legacy of Planned Parenthood — not freedom for women, but slavery. Not happiness, but sorrow and guilt. Not choice, but coercion.

It has covered up for sex slavery. Its `counselors’ have told child molesters how to avoid detection. It has sold the body parts of its victims for profit. It has even produced a cartoon that shows pro-lifers being blown up, drowned and decapitated.[11]

The fact that Planned Parenthood is turning 100 is an indictment against our nation, not cause for celebration. Though babies, minorities, and women have been targeted most directly by its unrelenting assault on life, we have all been harmed by its being allowed to grow its grisly business funded by our tax dollars and allowed by our indifference. Let this anniversary be a reminder to all of us to increase our efforts in prayer and peaceful activism to end Planned Parenthood’s reign of destruction.

Endnotes

[1] Advertisement in the Birth Control Review, Volume I, Number 1 (New Series, October 1933), page 8. Another advertisement in this vein said that “THE AMERICAN BIRTH CONTROL LEAGUE. Its Aim: To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children ― a stronger, healthier, more intelligent race … and in order that those who are physically and mentally unsound may use birth control to have fewer or no children” [Membership advertisement for the American Birth Control League. Birth Control Review, Volume XVI, Number 12 (December 1932), page 319].

[2] Margaret Sanger. “Birth Control and Women’s Health.” Birth Control Review, Volume I, Number 12 (December 1917), page 7.

[3] Margaret Sanger. “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, Volume V, Number 10 (October 1921), page 5.

[4] Julian Huxley. “Towards a Higher Civilization.” Birth Control Review, Volume XIV, Number 12 (December 1930), pages 342 to 345.

[5] Walter Terpenning. “God’s Chillun.” Birth Control Review, Volume XVI, Number 6 (June 1932, the “Negro Number”), pages 171 and 172.

[6] “Puerto Rico: Old Woman in a Shoe.” Birth Control Review, Volume IV, Number 5 (New Series, January 1937), page 6.

[7] Edward M. East. “The Fascisti on Birth Control; An Italian Problem: Reply to Count Cippico.” Birth Control Review, Volume IX, Number 9 (September 1925), pages 245 and 246.

[8] Rev. T.V. Jakimowitz. “A Priest on Birth Control.” Birth Control Review, Volume IV, Number 3 (March 1920), page 12.

[9] Bianca Van Beuren. “The Women of the South.” Birth Control Review, Volume II, Numbers 2 and 3 (February‑March 1918), page 7.

[10] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-19-04.XLS, “Analysis of United States Abortion Statistics, 1967-2013.”

[11] See “A Superhero for Choice,” available on YouTube.

Homily for October 2, 2016

27th Sunday OT (Year C) – October 2, 2016
HAB 1:2-3; 2:2-4; PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 TM 1:6-8, 13-14; LK 17:5-10

The Catholic Mass is broadcast live at 9 a.m. (Arizona time) each Sunday from
Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona
Homily- Fr. Lankeit

The Devil is a divider who will use almost any tactic to separate Christians from
Christ…except for one. He doesn’t typically come right out and say, “Deny Jesus
Christ!” because he knows that someone who loves Jesus would immediately reject
the suggestion. So, he tends to use more subtle means and subtle words. But more
on that later…

For now, let’s deal with something closer to home, and very much in the forefront of
many people’s minds: the 2016 presidential election. But let’s do so from a
Catholic perspective. Let’s consider the intersection of the practice of our Catholic
faith and the exercise of our civic duty, especially when it comes to voting.
Let’s first acknowledge that there has never been a political party in the United
States that is perfectly aligned with Catholic teaching on every issue. That does not
mean, however, that we are therefore automatically free to vote for either major
party, because one party can be much further from Catholic principles on the
most important issues than the other party. As a result of that, we are often faced
with the task of discerning which party and which policies are most in line with
Catholic teaching, and which ones aren’t.

So many issues are subject to the prudential judgment of Catholic voters. What
does that mean? It means that Catholics can legitimately disagree, for example, on
the best way to address issues such as racial injustice, education, the economy,
immigration and healthcare and still remain in good standing in the Church.
There are other issues, however, which touch on matters of intrinsic evil—actions
that can never, at any time, under any circumstances be committed, promoted or
even enabled by a faithful Catholic. But setting aside issues of intrinsic evil for
now, let’s consider some of the more common issues for which Catholics can
legitimately exercise prudential judgment.

One such issue is Affirmative Action. This program aims to eliminate perceived
disadvantages that minorities face when competing, for example, for admission to
college. In our nation, one party favors Affirmative Action to bring justice and
balance in our multiracial society. The other party holds that it penalizes high
achievers by giving limited spots in the college classroom to less qualified
candidates, while denying more qualified students access. One party sees affirmative
action as a matter of justice…while the other party sees it as injustice.
But, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal
for someone to kill a black person if that black person created a hardship for them
getting the education they desired.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate?
Another issue that falls under the category of prudential judgment is immigration.
One of the major political parties seeks to allow immigration with very little
restriction. The other party is concerned that unrestricted immigration leads to,
among other things, non-citizens taking jobs that could be worked by citizens.
One party favors open borders—the other favors “law and order”.
Now, suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal
for someone to kill a Hispanic person if the presence of that Hispanic person made
it more difficult to pursue one’s career of choice.

How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate?
Thank God we don’t have a candidate from either party who says that they condone
such policies. Nobody in their right mind would say such a thing—that we could kill
blacks or Hispanics—or anyone else—just for the sake of protecting personal
economic or educational interests.

Nobody would say it, but, as you’ll see in a moment…
There is a candidate, in this 2016 race for president, who along with that candidate’s
political party does, in fact, sanction the killing of blacks and Hispanics in the
situations previously described…under one…particular…condition:
That the black person or the Hispanic person is still in his or her mother’s womb.
Now, this candidate and party certainly won’t say it that way, not publicly
anyway. Instead, they use words like “choice” or “reproductive rights” or
“women’s health” or other sanitized statements in order to cover up what abortion
is and what abortion does.

Now, before we go any further in discussing the extremely sensitive issue of
abortion…I want to say a word to any woman in this congregation here today—or among
those watching or listening on TV or radio—who has chosen abortion:
God’s mercy is bigger than your sin and your pain. In ten years of priesthood, I have
often been blessed to welcome a woman back to the merciful embrace of God the
Father after she has admitted to, and repented of, her abortion in the Sacrament of
Confession. A priest in such a situation has the privilege of assuring the woman that
she has never lost the love of God the Father, nor her dignity as his beloved
daughter, no matter what she did. And so I say to these women today: You do not
have to hide from God any longer. I know it’s exhausting to pretend that your pain
is not real, that your loss is not immense and that your choice was not
devastating. But when you experience God’s loving mercy even after the abortion,
you will really come to know and experience that God’s love in forgiving our most
serious sins is even greater than his love in creating us. Your Father has been
waiting for you for a very long time. It’s time for you to come home!
So, now, having shared that important word with grieving mothers let’s return to
the subject of our duty as Catholics in the public square.

When we consider that a woman can walk into Planned Parenthood and have her
baby put to death because she doesn’t want to jeopardize her education or career,
we must acknowlege that the shocking scenarios described previously are not only
possible…not only real…but also among the most common reasons for abortion in
America.

Even the word “abortion” has been drained of its meaning—we treat it like nothing
more than a term that starts a heated debate rather than a procedure that stops a
heartbeat. Many want to treat abortion as merely one issue among many—but that
requires that a person pretend not to know what abortion is and what abortion does.
So let’s stop beating around the bush with regard to the current presidential race:

• Do you know which candidate and party in this election promotes abortion and
even promises to expand its availability here at home as well as abroad?
• Do you know that this candidate and party intend to make you and me pay for
other people’s abortions with our tax dollars—something that has always been
illegal?
• Are you aware that this candidate and party, which until recently, said that
abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” no longer even bothers to say that it
should be rare—but rather, that it must be available any time, any place, even up
to the last moment that the fully formed, full-term baby remains in the womb?

If you do not know which candidate and party I’m referring to, then you should not
even consider voting until you do know! Ignorance in this area is unacceptable,
because ignorance in this area costs millions of babies their lives and jeopardizes the
souls of many Catholics voters.

On the other hand, if you DO know which candidate and party want to promote and
expand abortion, and you still intend to enable them to continue their war on the
unborn with the help of your vote, then it is my duty as a priest to tell you that
your soul will be in grave danger, especially if you present yourself for Holy
Communion after casting such a vote with the full knowledge of what you’re
doing.

Every election season, when a priest addresses such topics from the pulpit, a certain
portion of the population complains that he’s preaching politics:
“A priest has no business discussing politics in church!”
That’s what some people say.
But what does God say to the priest whom he has designated to be spiritual father for
the people entrusted to his care?
The same thing he said to the Prophet Ezekiel: “…I have made [you] a watchman
for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give
them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die,
and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man
shall die in his [sin], but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the
wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his
[sin], but you will have saved your life. (Ez 33:7-9)

Another of the Devil’s tactics is to encourage us to make excuses for our
participation in really bad things by appealing to other good things that we support,
which we try to convince ourselves somehow “cancel out” the grave evil we enable.
Take capital punishment, for example. If you bring up abortion, some people will
say, “I’m against capital punishment…and if you’re against abortion, then you
should be against capital punishment!” Fair enough. What is the biggest
objection to capital punishment? That innocent people might be mistakenly put to
death. And it must be acknowledged that innocent people very well could be
unjustly executed due to the many flaws in our legal system.

And this very reason for opposing capital punishment is precisely the reason that
Catholics must never willingly support or even enable abortion with their vote.
Because, while some innocent people have no doubt been put to death mistakenly
through capital punishment, in abortion an innocent person is always put to death,
and never by mistake. It’s always chosen…always intended.

If a person is against capital punishment, then, they necessarily must be against
abortion because the intention of abortion is to knowingly and deliberately kill an
innocent boy or girl—each and every time.

What about war? People who vigorously oppose the wars in the Middle East, for
example, often quote statistics on the great number of innocent people accidentally
killed in the crossfire. “Collateral damage”—the innocent people killed in war—is,
perhaps the greatest tragedy of war. But if a person opposes the accidental killing
of innocent people in war, while enabling the intentional killing of the most
innocent human beings on the planet with their vote—well…this is hypocrisy of the
most extreme kind.

If a person opposes war because of the accidental, unintended deaths of innocent
people, they necessarily must oppose abortion because the killing in abortion is
neither accidental nor unintended, but always directly willed.
Sometimes we hear the stupendously deceptive claim that a candidate or party will
reduce abortions by improving economic or social conditions, while simultaneously
promoting abortion as a right worth protecting.

But let’s face facts: Abortion is not caused by economics or social conditions.
Economic and social factors are, no doubt, circumstances that affect a mother’s
decision in some cases, but they are not causes.
After all, if eliminating abortion were merely a matter of economics, or access to
healthcare, or other socioeconomic factors, then why do wealthy mothers also
abort their babies?

There are plenty of Catholics who, quite rightly, have criticized bishops and priests
in recent years for not having spoken out more forcefully against the sexual abuse
of children by priests.

Why, then, do many of these same Catholics want to silence bishops and priests
who speak out forcefully against killing innocent children?
Why is opposing sexual abuse of children a matter of justice, but opposing the
murder of children a matter of “preaching politics”?
Regardless of the resistance, a priest must follow the example of Peter and John in
the Acts of the Apostles when it comes to preaching difficult truths. To those who
sought to silence their proclamation of the Gospel these Apostles boldly responded:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you
must judge; for [I] cannot but speak of what [I] have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-
20)

A priest is not only protected by the 1st Amendment (at least for now).
He is also bound by the 5th Commandment—Thou Shalt Not Kill.
If a priest doesn’t speak up for those most vulnerable in our society, and if the
Catholic faithful don’t actively protect the most vulnerable in our society by
refusing to enable their deliberate destruction with their vote, then such Catholics
are condoning the killing by their cowardice.
And what did St. Paul say to Timothy about cowardice in today’s 2nd Reading?

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and selfcontrol.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord…but bear your share
of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God. (2 Tim 1:7-8)
Part of every Catholic’s share in the hardship for the Gospel is that we must repent
of our actions that are offensive to God and destructive to our brothers and
sisters. And we must oppose the threats to innocent life that are most real and most
urgent. Make no mistake! There is no single issue that threatens innocent human life
more directly, consistently and urgently than the deliberate killing of baby boys
and baby girls in their mother’s womb. No…issue!
In the time since this homily started, at least 30 children have been deliberately
executed in the womb in the United States—and that’s just the ones that are
reported.

Let me sum up with some very challenging words:
“We have a serious obligation to protect human life, and especially the lives of
the most innocent and vulnerable among us. Whoever fails to do this, when
otherwise able to do so, commits a serious sin of omission. They jeopardize their
own spiritual wellbeing and they are a source of scandal for others. Should they
be Catholics, they should not receive Holy Communion.” Catholics in the Public Square, 4th Ed., p. 25
Now, I hope you realize that it takes a lot of courage for a priest to communicate
such challenging words as these—reminding his people that some actions are so
gravely sinful that they render a Catholic unworthy to receive Holy Communion
until there is complete repentance.

A priest who is more concerned about the state of his people’s souls than they are
themselves, deserves the esteem of his people for his willingness to speak such
difficult truth to them with genuine love—to put the welfare of his people’s souls
ahead of his own reputation, popularity or comfort. Such a priest should receive
respect, admiration and support, rather than their resistance or criticism.
So please pray for, thank and encourage the spiritual father that God has appointed
for you and who loves you enough to tell you the truth.

Because the priest who said these particular words…is your bishop…and mine.

Voting as a Catholic in 2016

DC_10-08-16.indd

 

By Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila
Source: http://denvercatholic.org/voting-catholic-2016/

I have voted in every presidential election since 1972 and I have never experienced an election like this year’s. Both candidates are disliked, lack credibility, and have made comments that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The American public is fed up with politics as usual and with the establishment in both parties. So, what should Catholics do when we vote in November?

That question is one that I have been asked by the faithful more this year than in any previous election. Recently in a dinner discussion with a group of Catholics, the conversation turned to politics and became vigorous, as some at the table supported Clinton and some Trump. All eyes turned to me and one of them asked, “Archbishop, what do you think?”

First, I shared my aversion for both candidates. Then I said that they need to reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues. Everyone at the table knew well the teaching of the Church on life and the dignity of life. They knew that Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion.  All pretty much agreed that, when it comes to life issues, Catholic politicians on both sides of the aisle have put party ideology before their faith and living their faith in the public square.

This is the most important guidance I can give: allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions. I say this because we believe that the truth about ourselves and the world we live in is revealed in and through him. Our society suffers and has suffered for quite some time because too few people live an integrated life – one that does not divide “the personal” from “the public.”

This year there are some critical changes to the two major parties’ platforms that some at the dinner were not aware of.  Most important is that this year the Democratic party platform calls for the overturning of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that both parties have voted to include in the federal budget and on other spending bills for 40 years. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer money from being used for abortion. The platform is aggressively pro-abortion, not only in funding matters, but in the appointment of only those judges who will support abortion and the repealing of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the U.S. from supporting abortion availability overseas. Conversely, the Republican party platform is supportive of the Hyde Amendment and just this year strengthened its support for life by calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion and opposing assisted suicide.

Our conversation then turned to the understanding of the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience, and the ability for faith-based organizations like the Church to provide charity through shelters, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., without fear of government interference and the existence of a respect for religious values.

In that vein, the subject was raised of the Health and Human Services mandate. This regulation requires the provision of contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortifacients through employer’s health plans. Most surprising to me was that all at the table were practicing Catholics who are involved in their faith, and a couple of them had neither heard of the difficulty the Obama Administration has created for the Little Sisters of the Poor, nor the litigation that has occurred trying to force them to violate their consciences.

Catholic voters must make themselves aware of where the parties stand on these essential issues. The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.

The health of our nation depends on a deep respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the future of our society depends on how we protect that right. If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen.

Some, both in politics and in the Church, have stated that it is the Church that needs to change her teaching to include abortion, same-sex unions, and even euthanasia. Yet, in faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ. She would cut herself from the vine and only wither away, as promised by Christ. The further we move away from Jesus Christ and his teachings, the more will our churches empty.

We are where we are today because too many Catholics and other people of faith have embraced the ways of the world and not the ways of Christ. They have not served as leaven that transforms society, but rather have condoned evil and the throw-away culture that Pope Francis frequently reminds us to reject.

When we fail to do this, the government will step in to fill the void. Indeed, the government will become “god” and impose its beliefs on the citizens. One only needs to look to the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate, or the attempt by President Obama to force a transgender agenda onto public schools. We may even soon see the federal funding of abortion and the approval of physician-assisted suicide in Colorado. We are witnessing the dictatorship of relativism and the erosion of true freedom. And as Pope Francis often preaches, the devil gets in the mix quickly, especially when people no longer believe in God.

So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying. If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay.  Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.

For many, the presidential election will involve a choice between the lesser of two evils. On the Colorado ballot, we will also face the evil of physician-assisted suicide, known as Proposition 106. In conforming our hearts and minds with the Gospel and its clear teaching on life, all Catholics are called to vote “no” on this issue. A “yes” vote only furthers the throw-away society, and the culture of death. You will be hearing much more on this in the days and weeks ahead. Let us keep our country and state in our daily prayers, praying for God’s protection and blessings in these challenging, difficult times in which we live. And let us in charity pray for the conversion of those who support a throw-away culture of death!

The pill is linked to depression – and doctors can no longer ignore it

pill

A newly published study from the University of Copenhagen has confirmed a link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. The largest of its kind, with one million Danish women between the ages of 15 and 34 tracked for a total of 13 years, it’s the kind of study that women such as me, who have experienced the side-effects of birth control-induced depression first hand, have been waiting for.

Researchers 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 34% more likely. Teens were at the greatest risk of depression, with an 80% increase when taking the combined pill, and that risk is two-fold with the progestin-only pill. In addition, other hormone-based methods commonly offered to women seeking an alternative to the pill – such as the hormonal IUS/coil, the patch and the ring – were shown to increase depression at a rate much higher than either kind of oral contraceptives.

In recent years we’ve seen efforts from the NHS and family planning organizations to encourage teens to use these so-called LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives), primarily because they eliminate the need to remember to take a pill every day, but also due to the fact they’re commonly believed to have less severe potential side-effects than the pill. The new research suggests this practice is misguided. We already know that those with pre-existing depression may find the pill worsens their symptoms, and if teens were at greater risk of depression, then continuing this practice would be negligent.

The researchers note that, because GPs are less likely to prescribe the pill to women who already have depression and because women who do experience depression on the pill are more likely to stop taking it, this study probably underestimates the potential negative affect that hormonal contraceptives can have on mental health.

Having spent the past eight years researching and writing on the emotional and psychological side-effects of hormonal birth control, I initially felt elated to read this study. Not just for myself, but for the hundreds of women I’ve interviewed over the years. Mood changes are one of the top reasons many women discontinue using the pill within the first year. Finally, here was the kind of large-scale, long-term study I’d been told was necessary before we could seriously talk about this issue or make a change in how we prescribe hormonal contraceptives.

However, I was naive, because it seems that no study will ever be good enough for the medical community to take women’s experiences seriously. As soon as this research dropped, the experts lined up to deliver their usual mix of gaslighting and paternalistic platitudes. We’re told not to be alarmed, concerned, or deterred from continuing to use our hormonal contraceptives, mostly by men who have never and will never take them themselves (partly because the long-term, large-scale study undertaken by WHO on the “acceptability” of the male pill revealed it would negatively impact their emotional wellbeing).

This “pillsplaining” is specific to discussions of research into the side-effects of hormonal birth control. Usually, when the research is on the pill alone, we’re quickly informed there are many other hormone-based methods to choose from, but unfortunately this new study says those alternatives are even worse. One expert even tried to dismiss the link with depression in pill-taking teens as more likely the result of “teen heartbreak”.

So, why is it that we’re not supposed to take this study seriously? Considering that women are fertile just six days per menstrual cycle and men are fertile every single day, that the burden of avoiding unwanted pregnancy falls to us, regardless of the burden that might have on our health and wellbeing, is nothing short of sexism.

Yet, we’re reminded with one medical professional’s response to this new research that “an unwanted pregnancy far outweighs all the other side effects that could occur from a contraceptive.” If that’s true, why bother researching the side-effects at all?

It is important to remember that women are twice as likely to experience depression as men, reportedly due to “the fluctuation of progesterone and estrogen levels”, in other words our biological femaleness. It’s apparently acceptable to blame women’s depression on the fact that they’re women, but it’s not OK to claim a powerful medication formulated from synthetic hormones could be at fault.

To me, and many other women, these Danish researchers are heroes and criticism of their methods (such as, they should have tracked those women using condoms or the copper IUD as well – even though these options were not available to them; or that women were likely depressed because of menstrual cramps – which the pill is supposed to prevent), only highlights the incredible knots the medical establishment will twist itself into in order to deny there’s a problem with the pill.

One of the study’s authors, Øjvind Lidegaard, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, also brought attention in 2011 to the increased risk of blood clots associated with newer, and supposedly “improved” hormonal contraceptives such as the ring, the patch and drospirenone-containing pills. Lidegaard plans to focus next on researching the possible “association between taking hormonal birth control and attempting or committing suicide”. Researchers originally flagged up this potential link back in 1970 at the Nelson Pill Hearings, but the topic has not been touched since.

Depression and anxiety from hormonal contraceptives may not be the experience of every woman, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the experience of your friend, your daughter or your partner, and of many women out there, who, in reading about this could have their lives changed for the better.

The life-saving amendment

By Chris Smith – – Thursday, September 29, 2016
unborn

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Today marks 40 years since the life-saving Hyde Amendment was first enacted. This annual appropriations amendment stops taxpayer dollars from being used to fund most abortions and abortion coverage through government programs like Medicaid.

Thanks to new analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute we now know that as many as two million children — some much older now — are alive today because of the Hyde amendment.

Prior to enactment of Hyde, the Medicaid program paid for about 300,000 abortions annually. Research, including by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, has long shown that stopping taxpayer-funded abortion reduces the abortion rate. In an analysis released just this week, the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that the Hyde amendment saves as many as 60,000 lives each year.

I remember the day several years ago when my friend and author of the amendment, Henry Hyde of Illinois, first learned that about one million children were alive because of his amendment. He was overcome with joy knowing that a million mothers were spared the agony of post abortion pain, a million children were alive and well, growing up, going to school, playing sports, dating, marrying and having kids of their own. Today that number is estimated at two million — all because abortion subsidies have been prohibited by this law. Since the first bitter and protracted battles over this policy, the Hyde amendment has generally, if begrudgingly, been accepted as the status quo. President Bill Clinton — who supported partial-birth abortion — and President Barack Obama — who pledged to veto a bill protecting children born alive after abortion, both consistently signed the Hyde amendment into law.

Yet Hillary Clinton represents a new era of pro-abortion extremism.

Not only does she fall in party line with her opposition to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the ban on sex selection abortion, and the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, she will have an abortion litmus-test for every judge and justice. And in a new assault on innocent human life, she has vowed to decimate the Hyde Amendment and fund abortion on demand using taxpayer dollars.

In 1980 the Hyde Amendment narrowly overcame a constitutional challenge in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. If Hillary Clinton appoints just one justice, the Hyde amendment will be nullified.

Hillary Clinton is outside of the mainstream. Today, more Americans support the sanctity of life and oppose taxpayer funding for abortions than ever.

America has an ever-growing majority that believes our government should not fund abortion. A July 2016 Marist poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion — including 45 percent of those who identify as “pro-choice.”

The Hyde Amendment is not extreme. Hillary Clinton is.

Hillary Clinton is so extreme and outside the mainstream that when MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked her in an April 3 interview: “When, and if, does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” Hillary Clinton fired back: “unborn persons don’t have constitutional rights .” Mrs. Clinton acknowledges that unborn children are persons, but denies them their right to life and wants taxpayers to pay for their destruction.

When Hillary Clinton was awarded the Margaret Sanger award by Planned Parenthood in 2009, she said she was “in awe” of Margaret Sanger, the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood. Shockingly, its American affiliate alone claims responsibility for the death of over seven million babies.

In her 2009 speech Mrs. Clinton also said she admired Sanger for her vision and that Sanger’s work here in the United States and across the globe was not done. “Not done” means more abortions, paid for by the taxpayer, and an end to conscience rights for those who don’t agree.

If we lose the Hyde Amendment our country will be carrying out Sanger’s eugenic legacy — incentivizing the destruction of the poor and vulnerable by paying for their death.

There are nearly 60 million Americans missing from 43 years of legal abortion. That’s 60 million lives with potential that have been snuffed out by state-sanctioned killing.

Hillary Clinton poses an existential threat to the welfare and well-being of unborn children and their mothers in the United States and around the world. Rather than expand the culture of death and shred the Hyde amendment — as Hillary Clinton promises — women and men of conscience have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from the violence of abortion.

Chris Smith is an 18-term Republican congressman from New Jersey.

The Mighty Archangels

BY KATHLEEN BECKMAN, 29 SEPTEMBER 2016

The Office of Readings for the feast of the Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, offers a reflection by Saint Gregory, pope, “…Those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. Personal names are assigned to some to denote their ministry when they come among us. Thus, Michael means, “Who is like God?”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; Raphael is “God’s Remedy.”

We are beloved of God, and He provides us with angelic companions and protectors as the Catechism states, “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of the faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition” (328).
The Archangel Michael

Pope Gregory continues, “Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power. So also our ancient foe desired in his pride to be like God, saying, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven; I will be like the Most High. He will be allowed to remain in power until the end of the world when he will be destroyed in the final punishment.”

St. Michael is known to be the warrior angel who fights Satan and his demons from the beginning, and throughout the epic Christian pilgrimage, St. Michael is the great defender of the Church on earth.

I’d like to share an anecdote related to St. Michael. As I was exiting St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey Chapel after Mass, I noted 2 young boys standing in front of a nearby large white marble statute of St. Michael. I also stopped before the same statute to silently pray the St. Michael Prayer. I saw that the younger boy, approximately 5 years old, stood in awe of the impressive St. Michael statute as he inquisitively examined the details of the handsome sculpture. Suddenly he exclaimed to the older boy, approximately 12 years old, “Look, St. Michael is stepping on the head of the devil!” To which the older boy quickly replied, “Yes, that is what St. Michael does and he thrusts his sword into him too!” I thought to myself, “Bravo, St. Michael! Bravo, boys and bravo to your parents who taught you about the role of St. Michael!”

Since childhood, I have had a strong devotion to St. Michael, always perceiving myself under the protective canopy of his God-given power. So devoted am I to St. Michael that our first-born son was named after him and we enthusiastically encouraged him to have real devotion to his patron saint. In my new book I share how St. Michael dramatically helped to defend our family when all odds where stacked against us in a lawsuit by the F.B.I.—who lost their case. Recently when my car was broadsided by an eight-passenger van, I thought of St. Michael as I walked away without injury though my new sedan was totaled.

I often ponder how truly present and effective St. Michael is in the battle against the fallen angels who roam the earth seeking to tempt, vex, oppress or possess God’s children. During each official rite of exorcism that I have witnessed, the priest and team ardently summon the help of St. Michael throughout the ministry. St. Michael never fails to support the priest in his ministry of proclaiming Christ’s victory over evil. Victims attest that the evil spirits greatly fear St. Michael knowing that God has given him the power not only to expel them, but also to increase their torment. St. Michael is a reflection of God’s omnipotent love and His provision for the Church militant in all our struggles.
The Archangel Gabriel

Again, in the Office of Readings, Pope Gregory teaches, “…Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus, God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of heavenly powers, mighty in battle.”

Just prior to the coming of Christ, the Archangel Gabriel is sent to announce to Zachariah the birth of a son, John the Baptist, who would prepare the way of the Lord. “I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to you, and to bring you these good tidings.”

Probably the most joyful message ever given to an angel was the message brought by Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary—the message of the Incarnation.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel’s flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people. …Gabriel must overcome Mary’s reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his manner of salutation. He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: “Fear not, Mary, for you have found grace with God.” He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude for her perturbation. As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order “to prove that nothing can be impossible with God.”

Theologians think that Gabriel was probably given special charge of the Holy Family in Nazareth, and was probably the angel who brought good tidings of great joy to the shepherds keeping night watches over their flock on the night that Christ was born, and probably the angel who appeared to Joseph in his sleep to warn him against Herod and guide him to Egypt. Gabriel who is “the strength of God” may have been the angel in Luke’s gospel narrative of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane, “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” It seems fitting that the angel, who announced His birth, protected Him in infancy, and strengthened Him in the Garden, should be the first to announce his resurrection on Easter morning.
The Archangel Rafael

Pope Gregory’s homily continues, “Raphael means God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly called God’s remedy.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: “And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son’s wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, …who stand before the Lord.” In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias’ wife. (Angelophany is a term used to describe the visible manifestation of angels to mankind.)

Raphael seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ, in the pool called Bethsaida. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool: “An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had.”

Archangel Raphael’s healing ministry may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred shrines throughout the Christian world.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, mighty Archangels, graciously protect, guide and heal us on our journey to the Father’s house. Amen.

Shocking Report Reveals Scientists Have Created the Word’s First Baby With Three-Parents

A shocking new report claims the world’s first three-parent baby (pictured above) has been born. Children born through ‘three-person IVF’ would contain some genetic material from each of three different people.

There are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases (MCDs), which are passed on in genes coded by mitochondrial (as opposed to nuclear) DNA. They range hugely in severity, but for most there is presently no cure and little other than supportive treatment. The goal behind creating “designer babies” with three parents is to eliminate such diseases.

But there are good reasons for pro-life people to be concerned about the process and the eugenics-based reasons behind it.

Here’s more on the infant born from three parents:

It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal. “This is great news and a huge deal,” says Dusko Ilic at King’s College London, who wasn’t involved in the work. “It’s revolutionary.”

The controversial technique, which allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies, has only been legally approved in the UK. But the birth of the child, whose Jordanian parents were treated by a US-based team in Mexico, should fast-forward progress around the world, say embryologists.

The boy’s mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system. Genes for the disease reside in DNA in the mitochondria, which provide energy for our cells and carry just 37 genes that are passed down to us from our mothers. This is separate from the majority of our DNA, which is housed in each cell’s nucleus.

Around a quarter of her mitochondria have the disease-causing mutation. While she is healthy, Leigh syndrome was responsible for the deaths of her first two children. The couple sought out the help of John Zhang and his team at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City.
Dr. Peter Saunders, a pro-life physician in England, has commented on the ethical problems with three-parent embryos:

This is not about finding a cure. It is about preventing people with MCD being born. We need first to be clear that these new technologies, even if they are eventually shown to work, will do nothing for the thousands of people already suffering from mitochondrial disease or for those who will be born with it in the future.

Is it safe? This is far from established. Each technique involves experimental reproductive cloning techniques and germline genetic engineering, both highly controversial and potentially very dangerous. Cloning by nuclear transfer has so far proved ineffective in humans and unsafe in other mammals with a large number of cloned individuals spontaneously aborting and many others suffering from physical abnormalities or limited lifespans. Also, any changes, or unpredicted genetic problems (mutations) will be passed to future generations. In general, the more manipulation needed, the higher the severity and frequency of problems in resulting embryos and fetuses.

Is it ethical? No, there are huge ethical issues. A large number of human eggs will be needed for the research, involving ‘harvesting’ that is both risky and invasive for women donors. How many debt-laden students or desperate infertile women will be exploited and incentivised by being offered money or free IVF treatment in return for their eggs? How many thousands of human embryos will be destroyed? If it ever works, what issues of identity confusion will arise in children with effectively three biological parents? What does preventing those with mitochondrial disease being born say about how we value people already living with the condition? Where will this selection end? Some mitochondrial diseases are much less serious than others. Once we have judged some affected babies not worthy of being conceived, where do we draw the line, and who should draw it?

Pediatrics support for LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception)–A Catholic Legal and Pastoral Response‏

John E. Fitzgerald

In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its policy statement on contraception for adolescents, which provides, in effect, a mandate to temporarily sterilize all adolescents with long-acting reversible contraceptives for five to ten years. The author reviews the AAP guidelines and their effects on Catholic adolescents, their families, and adolescent health care providers. He then discusses medicolegal issues raised by the policy, outlines Catholic strategies for combating it, and proposes a diocese-based physician-led program for teaching and counseling elementary and high school students.

Click on the icon to read the entire article published on the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 16.1 (Spring 2016): 63–81.

The right to life: authentic Catholic social teaching

archbishophebdaofficialportraitStrange things happen in election years. That was clear to me last Monday morning as I opened the newspaper to a full-page ad from an organization called “Catholics for Choice” referring to “Abortion in Good Faith” and misrepresenting Catholic social teaching by claiming that “public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value.” This ad, with slight regional variations, appeared in newspapers across the country, and represented the latest in a series of public relations efforts by this organization to promote a pro-abortion agenda by attempting to counter the Church’s consistent and convincing proclamation of the Gospel of life.

You may remember Catholics for Choice from their failed efforts, for example, to challenge the Holy See’s permanent observer status at the United Nations.  It’s the same group that put St. John Paul II at the top of its “enemies list” at the time of the U.N. Cairo Conference. Its long-time president, Frances Kissling, would go so far as to express her longing at times “for the destruction of the Catholic Church,” which she saw as a “fatally flawed” institution — quite a contrast from our Catholic understanding of the Church as the body of Christ. As an organization, there’s nothing Catholic about “Catholics for Choice.”

Unable to muffle the Church’s opposition to the culture of death, its most recent ad campaign seems to be an attempt to sow seeds of confusion concerning authentic Church teaching as we once again approach election time.

Judging from the phone calls and email messages that we received this week, however, the Catholic faithful of this archdiocese are too well-educated in the faith to be so easily misled. They know that Christ, in founding the Church upon the apostles, assured that through them and their successors she would always be blessed with authentic teachers endowed with his authority who, as taught at the Second Vatican Council, would “preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice” (Lumen Gentium 25). They also know that those authentic teachers have consistently taught that the value of human life needs to be respected and protected from conception to natural death.

In his most recent encyclical, “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis, reiterating the teaching of his predecessors, could not be any clearer: “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life.” Earlier this year, he called on all Christians to “a renewed esteem of the human person and a more adequate care of life, from conception to natural death.” That, brothers and sisters, is authentic Catholic social teaching.

I am not naïve enough to think that there are not individual Catholics who struggle with different aspects of Catholic teaching, even here in our local Church. I bristle as you do whenever I hear a politician begin a sentence with “I’m a devout Catholic, but … .” Living in a throwaway culture that at times values things more than people and convenience even more than life, it is all too easy to forget that the right to life is the first human right. As men and women of faith who have taken to heart the theme of this jubilee year, “Merciful like the Father,” our hearts have to move with compassion not only for new parents anxiously wondering how a child is going to fit into their lives, but also for their unborn children.

Indeed, in “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis noted that we need to have a special compassion for the unborn: “Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this … . Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question … . It’s not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life … .”

I am very proud that our Catholic community is so obviously committed to providing concrete support to new parents and families. I know that so many of you are supporting the many pregnancy resource centers in this region that offer practical assistance to pregnant women in need. I know as well the wonderful programs that are offered locally to enable young moms to be great parents, even when they are facing that responsibility alone or need to finish their education. I know the phenomenal work that Catholic Charities is doing to keep struggling families together. It is a blessing to be part of a Church that lives what it believes about the dignity of human life.

It seems to me that the recent ad from Catholics for Choice presents us as a local Church with a wonderful teachable moment. I hope that the priests and faithful of this archdiocese, who have been relentless in their defense of human life, will join me in looking for opportunities to lovingly and patiently bring the light of authentic Catholic social teaching into this discussion in the days and weeks ahead. May the Lord bring forth our efforts to preach his Gospel of life.

Hundreds of Catholic scholars affirm ‘Humanae Vitae’ as dissidents blast Church teaching at UN

popepaulviWASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — More than 400 Catholic academics released a statement affirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception and human sexuality in response to recent calls for the Church to change her teaching as the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches. Opponents of Catholic teaching presented those calls Tuesday at the United Nations.

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical upholding the Catholic Church’s long-held teaching on human sexuality, was released in 1968. In preparation for its upcoming 50th anniversary, the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research released a statement titled On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives calling for the Church to accept the use of artificial contraception as moral.

It said the Church should issue an “official magisterial document … affirming that the use of non-abortifacient modern contraceptives for prophylactic purposes can be morally legitimate and even morally obligatory” and consider revising its teaching on in-vitro fertilization, homosexual activity, and masturbation.

To counter the so-called Wijngaards statement, the 400+ scholars released Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality at a press conference at The Catholic University of America (CUA) yesterday. Numerous CUA faculty members, including President John H. Garvey, signed the statement.

Scholars: There is no Catholic argument for contraception

“The Wijngaards Statement seriously misrepresents the authentic position of the Catholic Church,” the scholars wrote. “Among the most erroneous claims made by the Wijngaards Statement is that neither Scripture nor natural law offers any support for the Church’s teaching that contraception is never compatible with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage. During the past half century, there has been an enormous amount of creative scholarly thinking around the Church’s teaching on contraception, thinking that includes profound reflections on the Theology of the Body, personalism, and natural law. In addition, there has been extensive research on and analysis of the negative impact of contraception on individuals, relationships, and culture.”

The Wijngaards Statement “offers nothing new to discussions about the morality of contraception and, in fact, repeats the arguments that the Church has rejected and that numerous scholars have engaged and refuted since 1968,” the document continued. One of the key inaccuracies of the Wijngaards Statement, the scholars assert, is its claim “that the argument against contraception in Humanae Vitae is based primarily on ‘biological laws.’ Humanae Vitae instead focuses, as it should, on the person’s relationship to God and to other persons.”

On the Ethics of Using Contraceptives “virtually ignored” Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body that defended Humanae Vitae, the scholars wrote.

Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality outlined 11 points about the nature of God, the nature of marriage, and faith and reason that are the basis of the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception “is not in accord with God’s plan for sexuality and marriage.”

Humanae Vitae’s ‘prophetic’ warnings coming true

“Humanae Vitae was prophetic” when it predicted that contraception would lead to marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, and abuse of women for sexual pleasure, the signers of the CUA statement agreed. “Abundant studies show that contraception, such as hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices, can cause serious health problems for women. The widespread use of contraception appears to have contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women, to declining marriage rates as well as to declining population growth in many parts of the world. There is even growing evidence that chemical contraceptives harm the environment.”

Pope Paul VI also predicted that contraception would begin to be imposed on people after its widespread acceptance. This prediction makes the Wijngaards Statement rather ironic given that it says the Church should label the use of artificial contraception “morally obligatory” in some cases.

Also in tune with Humanae Vitae’s predictions, the Wijngaards Statement recommended that the Church “seek the opinion of Christian theologians and experts in other relevant disciplines … on the other areas of Catholic sexual ethics which will likely be affected by a revision of the present teaching banning the use of contraceptives for family planning, namely the negative evaluation of masturbation, homosexual relationships, and in vitro fertilization.”

The CUA statement, however, calls for governments and international organizations to “make instruction in Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) of family planning a priority” because “FABMs are based on solid scientific understanding of a woman’s fertility cycle, are easily learned by women in developing countries, are virtually without cost, and promote respect for women.”

“International organizations and governments should respect the values and beliefs of families and cultures that see children as a gift, and, therefore, should not impose — on individuals, families, or cultures — practices antithetical to their values and beliefs about children and family planning,” the CUA statement said.

Notable signers of Affirmation of the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality include:

Janet E. Smith, Ph.D, Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics, Sacred Heart Major Seminary; Author, Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later
John S. Grabowski, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Director of Moral Theology/Ethics, School of Theology & Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America, Board Member, The Academy of Catholic Theology; Author, Sex and Virtue: An Introduction to Sexual Ethics
Mary Rice Hasson, JD, Director, Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Editor, Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church
Helen M. Alvare, JD, Professor of Law, Scalia Law School at George Mason University; Editor: Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves
John H. Garvey, JD, President, The Catholic University of America
Richard J. Fehring, Ph.D, RN, FAAN, Professor Emeritus and Director, Marquette University’s Institute for Natural Family Planning
Angela Franks, Ph.D, Director of Theology Programs for the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization at St. John’s seminary in Massachusetts
John M. Haas, Ph.D, STL., MDiv, K.M. President, The National Catholic Bioethics Center
Mary Healy, PhD, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Rev. Thomas Petri, O.P., STD, Vice President and Academic Dean, Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies
Michael Waldstein, Max Seckler Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University, Florida, Translator of Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body and author of Glory of the Logos in the Flesh: John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (forthcoming)
George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.; author of the two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II, Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning

The other signers included professors and intellectuals from around the world and Dominican and Jesuit religious.

Dominican Father Thomas Petri, one of the main signers of the CUA statement, noted that CUA’s sponsorship of the statement shows it has come a long way since the 1960s, when its theology department was known for heterodoxy and dissent from Catholic doctrine.

Five Jesuits and two Dominicans were signatories of the Wijngaards Statement, along with 140 others, some of whom are not Catholic.

The full Affirmation and list of signatories is available here.

First Child Dies After Belgium Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children

The first child has died under a new law in Belgium allowing doctors to euthanize children.

In 2014, Belgium voted to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further. The law allows minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. No age limit would be set, but the children who are euthanized would have “to possess the capacity of discernment.”

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002 but has, since its enactment, been prohibited for patients under 18. While euthanasia is legal in a handful of countries in Europe, Belgium is the first country in the world to lift all age restrictions on the practice.

Professor Wim Distelmans, the head of Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, issued a statement confirming that the first physician induced death of a minor was reported to the committee by a doctor last week.

Few details were released about the child’s condition.

Now, the first child has been killed:

A terminally ill minor has been helped to die in Belgium for the first time since the country did away with age restrictions on euthanasia two years ago, according to the senator who wrote the law.

Liberal Senator Jean-Jacques De Gucht confirmed the death of the sick juvenile to The Associated Press Saturday.

He said the minor was from Belgium’s Flemish region, but declined to provide any further details about the patient to protect the privacy of the grieving family.

Catholic teaching forbids euthanasia and the president of the Italian bishops conference on Saturday described the news of the euthanasia of a child as painful and worrisome.

“It pains us as Christians but it also pains us as persons,” Genoa Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco told Italian news agency ANSA.

Some have questioned whether children should be allowed to make the choice between life and death. In 2014, a group of doctors — including pediatricians — signed a group letter to voice opposition to the measure.
In 2012, Belgium recorded 1,432 cases of euthanasia – a 25% increase from 2011.

At the time the law was being debated in the Belgian Senate, euthanasia opponent decried the proposal.

“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at the time. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”

“Regardless of disability, life should be valued. To pass legislation that allows termination of life for people with disabilities who are minors is unacceptable,” he added. “Instead we must make every effort to use the research provided to us to provide attentive care to relieve their physical suffering in a moral way.”

Dr Paul Saba of Physicians for Social Justice, was very concerned about the situation in Belgium.

“They are already euthanising people who are depressed or tired of life because they have taken the interpretations of saying physical and/or psychological suffering – you don’t have to have both, if you have one, why is that not enough? If you are suffering, it’s a personal experience and it would be discriminatory for someone to judge what a person is suffering,” he said during that time. “What this teaches us is that despite the government’s assurances that they will set very strict criteria, that won’t work.”

Professor Chris Van Geet of Leuven University asserted that the proposed law poses “an enormous ethical problem.” Following the vote on Thursday, Tom Mortier, a lecturer in chemistry at Leuven University and an anti-euthanasia campaigner, called the vote “insanity.” Professor Mortier’s own mother, who was suffering from chronic depression at the time, was euthanized in 2012.

“Her departure wasn’t the serene family gathering, full of peace and reconciliation, which euthanasia supporters gush about,” Mortier stated. “The University Hospital in Brussels phoned my wife the day after.”

The leaders of Belgium’s Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities put out a joint statement opposing the vote’s outcome. The statement read, “We mark out opposition to this extension and express our trepidation in the face of the risk of a growing trivialization of such a grave reality.”

There is enormous concern about abuses under the expanded euthanasia law.

Research conducted by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) in 2010 found that 32% of euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium occurred without an explicit request.

Meanwhile, according to Schadenberg:

The number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium is skyrocketing with an increase of 25% in 2012. Recent studies indicate that up to 47% of all assisted deaths are not being reported, 32% of all assisted deaths are being done without request and nurses are killing their patients, even though the law restricts euthanasia to doctors.

Some Belgian experts are supporting the extension of euthanasia to children with disabilities because they say that it is being done already. The same medical experts suggest that the extension of euthanasia will result in an increase of 10 to 100 euthanasia deaths each year.

The Belgian euthanasia law appears out-of-control. The Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission appear to be in a conflict of interest. The Commission supported the euthanasia deaths of: Nathan Verhelst (44) who was born as Nancy, Ann G who had Anorexia Nervosa and was sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, Mark & Eddy Verbessem, and at least one depressed woman. These are only the cases that we know about.

Dr Wim Distelmans, who is the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium has also been the chairman of the Belgium euthanasia commission for more than 10 years, and the commission has been stacked with supporters of the euthanasia lobby.

The Netherlands already allows children over the age of 12 to request euthanasia with the consent of their parents.

WATCH: Fr. Pavone on why Catholics can’t sit out the election

This is Part 3 of a 4-Part series on Catholics and the 2016 election:
Part 1 – Can a Catholic justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate?
Part 2 – What Catholic voting says about the state of the Church in America
Part 4 – How churches are ‘more free to speak’ about elections than they think

September 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Voting isn’t about feeling good and there is no reason for Catholics to sit out the 2016 election, Father Frank Pavone told LifeSiteNews.

“We might feel like we’re uncomfortable voting for a particular person even if we know it’s the better of the two choices,” said Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. “Voting is not about what’s good for me. It’s about the common good.”

“A vote is not about liking the person. … A vote is a transfer of power,” he said. “And we transfer the power to best of the viable alternatives.”

Pavone compared voting in the 2016 presidential election with changing a runaway train’s tracks in order to limit its damage.

“At the end of those two tracks, the damage is going to be done,” he said. “But what if you know that less damage is going to be done at the end of track B than at track A? It’s not that you intend any damage; you don’t. But it’s beyond your control. Wouldn’t you switch the train to track B, even if you couldn’t stop it? To lessen the damage, to reduce the harm? Of course you would.”

“People should never think that by not voting at all they escape responsibility for the outcome,” said Pavone, noting that Catholics at the beginning of Mass ask for forgiveness for “what I have done and what I have failed to do.”

Those who abstain from voting in a certain race or voting at all “still have responsibility for the [election’s] outcome, because if you don’t vote at all, that took away a vote from the better of the candidates,” the priest explained.

Pavone said Catholics should consider that when they vote for a candidate they are essentially voting for an entire administration.

“You are also putting someone in the office of the Secretary of State, the Surgeon General, the Attorney General, the Secretary of [Health and Human Services], and in fact thousands of positions in the federal administration — not to mention that you’re also putting a certain type of person on the Supreme Court, and on all the other federal courts that decide so many issues of public policy,” he said. “Who are the people the president brings with him into office?”

It is “critically important” for Catholic voters to recognize the significance of party platforms, Pavone said.

“You have to consider, what do the parties represent?” he asked. “The platform contains an entire philosophy, a set of policy preferences, a whole worldview, and the people … [on politicians’] staffs are going to be people who are … more or less consistent with the position, the philosophy, the worldview, of that particular party.”

“This is so much more than, ‘Oh, that candidate said something bad or this other one said this other thing,’” Pavone said. “It’s not about what they’re saying in a particular set of remarks. What are they representing? And we need to look at that closely.”

Jesus Announces Fallen Officer’s Final Gift

The Gerald Family

The Gerald Family

Only days after Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald was buried, his three year-old daughter made a shocking announcement to his grieving widow – that Jesus said she had a baby boy in her tummy.

WAFB is reporting on the incredible story of Dechia Gerald whose 41 year-old husband was one of three officers slain during a July 17 ambush on police in Baton Rouge.

Dechia said both her daughters – Dawclyn,9 and Fynleigh, 3 – were strangely aware of her pregnancy even before she knew it herself.

Her first hint came while she was hunting for something to wear to her husband’s funeral and Dawclyn said, “Mommy, I don’t know why you’re complaining because you’re pregnant.”

Shocked, Dechia responded, “Girl, hush! Don’t say that kind of stuff.”

A few days later, while giving Fynleigh a bath, Dechia said that she was told the same thing. “However this time, she [Fynleigh] told me that Jesus told her that there was a baby boy in my tummy.”

A week later, just before attending a get together with family, she decided to buy a pregnancy test.

“I took it and within a second of that being done, the test read positive,” she said. “I wanted to cry but at the same time, it’s kind of exciting but then the flood of knowing all of the firsts that he would miss with that one.”

She immediately told her family and friends, including the wives of the two officers who died alongside her husband.

“For the most part, it’s a blessing. I mean obviously he left us a very special gift behind, but at the same time, all those days that I get overwhelmed, I ask how am I going to do this by myself without him,” Dechia said.

But everything happens for a reason, she believes.

“Did I ever think that we were going to have our time cut that short? No. Did I want to be a widow at 38 years old? No,” she said.

Looking back on it now, she’s surprised that in the midst of 12 hour work days, she had time alone with her husband on July 12, the night she believes she conceived, which was just five days before he died in the line of duty.

But she feels her husband’s presence all around her. For example, while driving to the doctor for her first ultrasound at four weeks, she heard their wedding song on the radio, something she had not heard in a while.

She also noticed something that looks like a wedding ring in the first ultrasound image of the child.

“I felt like when I saw that he was with us,” Dechia said.

All she’s hoping for now is to one day hold a little carbon copy of her husband in her arms, completed with the blue eyes that she fell for seven years ago.

“It’ll have the blue eyes. I’m sure the blonde hair although I’ve been praying for the red hair however I don’t know if that’ll happen,” Gerald said.

Now 10 weeks pregnant, she believes God will guide her through life.

“There’s no better gift that a husband could leave behind than a baby, a gift from God. There’s no better gift than that,” Gerald said.

The baby is due April 7, 2017.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com 

Remember Me

by

“Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” – Isaiah 49:15-16

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, and across our country pro-lifers are honoring the memory of little boys and girls whose lives were violently ended at the hands of the very people who should have welcomed and loved them – their mothers and fathers. These precious little ones are victims of a culture and society growing increasingly more violent.

BABY-BOY_ultrasound-620x250It is fitting that this day falls adjacent to September 11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Arlington, Virginia. Though the number of lives taken by abortion is much larger than that taken on that terrible day fifteen years ago, both acts of mass murder rely on the same evil, the denial of the humanity of others.

In the Culture of Death, the fundamental and immutable value of each human life is rejected to sustain a self-consumed culture that destroys more than one million unborn children every year in the United States and nearly 55 million globally. This irrational and immoral behavior contributes to the pervasive culture of violence escalating in our nation and in our world. Even using the word abortion shields us from its reality, keeping the humanity of the child distant and shadowed.

For these innocent children, there is no story to tell about their lives. There are no names to recollect or pictures to share. No birthdays or special occasions to celebrate. There are no “firsts” to remember – a first smile, first tooth, first walk or first day of school. There is no burial place among his family. For the majority, they are labeled “medical waste” and disposed of.

There is something tragically wrong when society ignores the humanity of the unborn child or worse yet, is indifferent toward the violence done to him/her. In 1994, Saint Teresa of Kolkata during the National Prayer Breakfast said:

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion…. I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

The argument in favor of legal abortion rests upon a deception—keeping the science obscure and language about the beginning of life ambiguous.

It’s not a baby… It’s just a blob of tissue. Or… It’s not a human person… It’s a potential human being.

Any distinction about the worth of the unborn child based on his stage of development is entirely arbitrary, and when abortion is the result of such distinctions, it is the cruelest form of discrimination. The unborn child in the womb is not a potential life, but a life with potential – a teenager, brother, sister, mother, father, doctor, lawyer, teacher.

It is interesting that an unborn child wanted by his/her parents is called a baby and given a name, but the same set of parents could decide that the same baby is a “fetus” unworthy of life because he is unwanted.

Life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization. There is no debate about the science, only denial from those for whom it is inconvenient. Human development begins when a male gamete unites with a female gamete to produce a single cell, a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual with our own genetic code. The 23 chromosomes in the sperm join the 23 chromosomes in the ovum to make a genetically unique human being with 46 chromosomes. Since the baby is genetically unique at fertilization, it is inaccurate to say he/she is merely another part of his/her mother’s body. At fertilization our genetic make-up is complete including gender and eye and hair color. The heart begins to beat at 18 to 21 days after fertilization. There are brain waves at 6 weeks, and at 8 weeks all body systems are present, including the baby’s fingers and toes.

Most abortions take place after the 8th week of the pregnancy, about 5 weeks after the baby’s heart has started to beat. Abortion silences the beating heart and active brain waves of the individual maturing in the womb of his mother.

The Day of Remembrance is a chance to remember the humanity of the more than 55 million boys and girls whose lives were violently—and legally—ended.

To transform our culture and society from its perilous path, we must affirm and protect all life, especially the most vulnerable among us. Pope Saint John Paul II understood what was necessary to build a Culture of Life where the most vulnerable are defended, welcomed, and cared for:

The first and fundamental step towards this cultural transformation consists in forming consciences with regard to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life. It is of the greatest importance to re-establish the essential connection between life and freedom. These are inseparable goods: where one is violated, the other also ends up being violated. There is no true freedom where life is not welcomed and loved; and there is no fullness of life except in freedom.  (Evangelium Vitae n. 96)

Today we remember those who have been killed and the survivors, those who have been harmed by abortion. Let us also renew our commitment to abolish abortion in law, eradicate the idea that it is acceptable in culture, and love those in our lives who mistakenly see it as a solution to a difficult situation. Let’s love them by telling them the truth and praying for and with them. Let’s continue to live and promote chastity as the life- and freedom-affirming virtue that it is.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Guideposts to save the world?

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: Guideposts to save the world?

UN-760x300In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a series of goals and targets in order to eradicate poverty, eliminate inequality, and subdue climate change by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), comprising 17 goals, 169 targets, and 230 indicators (to measure progress) replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals that had guided UN development policy thinking over the previous 15 years. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the SDGs as heralding “an historic turning point for our world”; they will probably be the hallmark of his legacy as he ends his decade-long reign at the helm of the UN in December.

The SDGs, bannered “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” are universal and thus apply to the entire UN membership of 193 nations. Through the UN’s online “The World We Want” campaign, millions of people the world over initially provided input on what they considered the most pressing global problems. The actual compilation and formulation of the SDGs lay in the hands of civil society through an Open Working Group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the UN. Some of the more powerful and better-financed NGOs exerted considerable influence in the process, which started in 2013 and ended after an all-day, all-night session in early July 2014. UN member-country delegations refined and tweaked the content for presentation to world leaders for their acclamation a year ago.

In their entirety, the goals are supposed to be a blueprint for development but not everyone can agree on the content. Unfortunately, the SDGs contain some controversial language that is disturbing to promoters of life. A major problem lies with “reproductive rights” language that was inserted into the document during the initial formulation period by powerful pro-choice NGOs, and which none of the country-delegations were subsequently able to remove. The controversial wording is found in targets 3.7 and 5.6, which many pro-life NGOs are now fighting battles over.

Goal 3 reads: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” While this is rather vague, target 3.7 is disconcertingly specific:[1]

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care

services, including for family planning, information and education, and the

integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes

Goal 5 reads: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This may be laudable as it stands, but target 5.6 raises a red flag:

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive

rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International

Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and

the outcome documents of their review conferences

The two targets have become the springboard for abortion promoters and providers to foist their credo on mostly poorer countries which, unlike nearly all developed countries, do not have abortion on demand. “Reproductive,” however modified—“rights,” “health,” “services,” “care,” “access”—is subject to varying interpretations according to the beliefs of the beholder. The word itself is almost never used in a procreative sense; rather the opposite. Given the importance and universality of the SDGs, this “reproductive” language is being used to support the agenda of population controllers.

The references in 5.6 relate to two major UN conferences: the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development and the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women. The formulation of the Cairo outcome document witnessed a word struggle that yielded specific language important to pro-lifers and often repeated by them: namely, that family planning does not involve abortion. In the section covering women’s health and motherhood there is this in paragraph 8.25:

In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning . . ..  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. In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe.i

The Cairo document contained several references on abortion language. As is common with UN conferences, however, there have been periodic “reviews” which revisited the language of the document, each time pushing forward the abortion agenda. Therefore, the inclusion of the “reproductive” language in target 5.6 is problematic.

Statistical experts are now busy drafting a set of 230 indicators to hold governments accountable for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to monitor progress. Given that the UN has a slogan “you measure what you treasure,” and vice versa, global statisticians have a herculean task ahead of them. There is supposed to be at least one indicator for each target but about 30% of identified indicators as of yet have no methodology and no data. So-called reproductive rights represent one challenge.

[1] For all interested in reading the entire SDG document, this is the source:

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E

Toddler forcibly removed from life support: a horrific end to a devastating ordeal

September 2, 2016 (Life Legal Defense Foundation) — Just days ago, two-year-old Israel Stinson was forcibly removed from life support at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I was on the phone with Jonee Fonseca, Israel’s mother, when doctors disconnected his ventilator.

I could hear Jonee begging the doctors to wait just a few more hours until her family arrived to say goodbye to Israel. They refused. Then I heard her begging her son to breathe.

It was a horrific end to an ordeal that began over four months ago. Israel suffered an asthma attack and stopped breathing while being treated at a Sacramento hospital on April 2 of this year. He was resuscitated, but was placed on a ventilator.

Jonee called Life Legal for help when a second hospital declared Israel brain dead. Doctors at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, California said Israel’s condition would soon deteriorate and that his heart would stop beating even if he were kept on life support. They refused to feed Israel for over five weeks, saying that giving him a feeding tube would be “catastrophic.”

Life Legal attorneys were able to obtain court orders in state and federal court keeping Israel alive until arrangements could be made to care for Israel at home. In order for that to happen, Israel needed two minor procedures to provide him with a breathing tube and feeding tube. Kaiser refused to perform those procedures.

A Catholic hospital in Central America agreed to accept Israel as a patient to do the procedures. In May, Israel was transported by air ambulance to Guatemala. He had to leave a hospital with state-of-the-art healthcare and travel thousands of miles to a developing nation to get the care he needed to survive.

After the procedures, Israel’s condition improved markedly. Doctors did two EEGs, which showed active brain waves. Three separate doctors reported that Israel was not brain dead! Moreover, the doctors were so committed to saving Israel’s life that they agreed to treat Israel without cost during the last few weeks at the Guatemalan hospital.

Jonee then began the arduous process of finding a hospital that would accept Israel temporarily while she arranged for him to be cared for at home. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles agreed to admit Israel after speaking with Israel’s doctors about his condition.

However, shortly after Israel arrived at Children’s Hospital, doctors threatened to end Israel’s life. They refused even to look at the EEGs or examine Israel’s movements in response to his mother’s voice. They did not consider that Israel’s condition in Guatemala had stabilized such that he needed no artificial means to maintain his heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature. Jonee asked that a Los Angeles neurologist be permitted to examine Israel, as California’s brain death statute requires an independent exam. The hospital refused.

Ten days ago, Jonee called me saying the hospital was going to remove Israel’s ventilator the following day. I flew to Los Angeles to assist her in obtaining a court order. The judge ordered that Israel be kept on life support for three weeks to allow the neurologist to complete his exam. We also found a local attorney to work with Jonee going forward.

But the hospital immediately filed a motion asking the judge to dissolve the court order so they could terminate Israel’s life as soon as possible.

Again, Life Legal attorneys fought heroically alongside Jonee, but ultimately the fight for Israel’s life was lost.

So where do we go from here?

Last January, in a unanimous decision, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the state’s brain death guidelines should be reexamined after a young woman was declared brain dead even though several EEGs showed that she had active brain waves. In that case, the woman died because the hospital refused to feed or treat her.

We have no ethical obligation to fight nature every step of the way in the dying process. However, these cases continue a very disturbing trend of medical professionals actually facilitating a person’s death. Life Legal has represented people in several recent cases where hospitals and hospice facilities have tried to end the life of a patient with a brain injury because doctors or family members believed that person had no chance for recovery. In reality, however, the decision was made in haste, before the person’s brain had a chance to heal. In two cases, young women were sentenced to death who, just weeks later, were on their way to a full recovery. This should NEVER be permitted to happen!

Please join Life Legal as we press on in the fight to protect vulnerable human life.

Reprinted with permission from Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Cardinal Burke on push for U.S. bishops to shift priorities: Life always come before immigration, poverty

September 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke called it an “absolute contradiction” for poverty, immigration, and the environment to be placed by leading U.S. prelates on the same priority level as protecting and defending life and the family.

“All of these questions have moral importance, but there can be no question — also in the long tradition of not only the Church’s thinking but also of philosophical reason — that the fundamental question has to be the question of human life itself, the respect for the inviolable dignity of human life, and of its cradle, its source, in the union of a man and woman in marriage, which according to God’s plan, is the place where new human life is welcomed and nurtured,” he said during a teleconference on August 29 hosted by Carmel Communications to discuss his new book, Hope for the World.

Burke, responding to a question on the topic posed by LifeSiteNews, stated that he would be “very concerned” to see priorities shift.

“I would be very concerned that in any way the questions about the protection of human life, either at its beginning — here questions regarding abortion and other questions regarding the artificial creation of human life, etc. — or at its conclusion — questions regarding euthanasia — be in some way seen to be at the same level as questions regarding immigration and poverty,” he said.

Last year, a group of Pope Francis’ episcopal appointees and other like-minded prelates provoked an open clash at the U.S. Catholic bishops’ fall meeting when they pressed the conference to rewrite its election guide for 2016 to downplay the importance of the battle for life and family.

Bishop Robert McElroy, appointed as head of the Diocese of San Diego by Pope Francis, went as far as to argue that the proposed guide, with its emphasis on the evils of abortion and euthanasia, was out of step with Pope Francis’ priorities of combating poverty and protecting the environment.

“Pope Francis has, in certain aspects of the social doctrine of the Church, radically transformed the prioritization of Catholic social teaching and its elements,” McElroy urged the assembly at that time. “Not the truth of them, not the substance of them, but the prioritization of them, has radically transformed that, in articulating the claims that fall upon the citizen as believer and disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Burke, however, stated during the teleconference that the priority of life must not change if Catholics are to get the other issues such as poverty and immigration right.

“We have to give the first priority to the respect for human life and for the family in order to have the right orientation in addressing all of the other questions which are involved with poverty and immigration, the many challenges that any human being faces in life,” he said.

“But it doesn’t make any sense at all to be concerned about immigration or poverty if human life itself is not protected in society. It’s an absolute contradiction. The first justice accorded to any human being is to respect the gift of life itself, which is received from God. And so, that the unborn should be protected and at the same time those whose lives are burdened either by advanced years or special needs or some grave illness, their lives also are to be equally protected.”

When LifeSiteNews pressed the cardinal about how Catholics might go wrong on the fronts of poverty and immigration if they did not prioritize respect for life, he responded:

Well, for instance, it is not uncommon that some people’s idea of how to address the question of poverty is to eliminate a certain part of the population, so that there is less draw on the natural goods available, or to propagate a contraceptive mentality.

In the same way too, in the question of immigration, one has to respect the family, both the family of the country which is receiving the immigrants but also the families from which these immigrants are coming. If we don’t have this fundamental direction in our lives, it all can become a kind of social engineering and so forth, which can be, in the end, very harmful to society and therefore to the individuals.

Cardinal Burke is backed by St. Pope John Paul II in asserting the priority of life over other concerns. In his 1988 apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici, John Paul II called the right to health, home, work, family, and culture “false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

John Paul II said on another occasion that the promotion of the culture of life should be the “highest priority in our societies,” stating that if the “right to life is not defended decisively as a condition for all other rights of the person, all other references to human rights remain deceitful and illusory.”

Later during the call, John Allen from Crux asked Cardinal Burke to comment on Mother Teresa’s “obvious concern for the poor and an obvious concern for the unborn.”

Unsatisfied by Burke’s initial answer, Allen pressed: “Can I just pressure you, that was a beautiful answer, but I was hoping what you would also say is something about how for Mother Teresa and for Catholics who think with the mind of the Church that concern for the poor and concern for the unborn are two sides of the same coin.”

While Burke replied that the “matters are absolutely related one to the other,” he did so in a way that gives priority to respect for life.

He explained: “As I mentioned in response to one of the earlier questions, when someone asked, ‘Why is this teaching about abortion or about euthanasia, what importance does it have for addressing poverty?’ she [Mother Teresa] said frequently that the greatest poverty in the world is the fear of life, are those nations which seemingly are very rich which practice freely, for instance, the killing of unborn children in the womb and so forth as a response to social needs.”

“And so she is a brilliant teacher to us in addressing, whether it be questions of a difficult pregnancy, or questions of a difficult illness, whatever it may be, she teaches us that the way to address these issues is with respect for the individual human life and in that way no matter what the suffering is of the person, or no matter what great sacrifices have to be made, the person will find that happiness and fulfillment for which he or she is seeking,” Burke said.

Pro-Life Heroine Mother Teresa Will Be Declared a Saint

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | September 1, 2016

https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/pro-life-heroine-mother-teresa-will-declared-saint/

NEW YORK, September 2 (C-Fam) Mother Teresa will be declared a Saint by Pope Francis in a special ceremony on Sunday at the Vatican. The pro-life heroine skillfully exploited her celebrity status to propel the pro-life cause internationally like no one else before her or since.

The four feet tall Albanian nun was never afraid to speak truth to power, even when it made the powerful of the world feel uncomfortable, and she never pandered to curry their favor. Draped in her iconic white sari, she traveled the globe condemning abortion even when doing so was inconvenient and unwelcome.

While lunching at the White House, First lady Hillary Clinton reportedly asked Mother Teresa why America had not yet elected a woman president. “She has probably been aborted,” Mother Teresa replied.

During her acceptance speech of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize Mother Teresa first popularized her signature condemnation of abortion.

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child,” she told the crowd of nobles, politicians, and celebrities. After a moment of deathly silence Mother Teresa continued.

“For if a mother can murder her own child, in her own womb, what is left for you and for me? To kill each other.”

“Today millions of unborn children are being killed, but we say nothing.”

Then she raised her voice with alarm.

“To me the nations that have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations. They are afraid of the little one! They are afraid of the unborn child! And the child must die. Because they don’t want to feed one more child! Because they don’t want to educate one more child! The child must die.”

She concluded her remarks about abortion with a plea.

“Let us make a strong resolution. We are going to save every little child. Every unborn child. Give them a chance to be born.”

Her plea was not heeded, and she continued to speak for the unborn unabashedly.

In 1985 she was a special invitee at the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations during the height of the Cold War.

“We all want peace, and yet, and yet we are frightened of nuclears [weapons], we are frightened of this new disease [HIV/AIDS]. But we are not afraid to kill an innocent child, that little unborn child, who has been created for that same purpose: to love God and to love you and me.”

At the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, she surprised Bill and Hillary Clinton with scathing remarks against abortion as they sat close to her. She called abortion “a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion,” she said. President and First Lady remained quietly seated as the entire room erupted into a standing ovation after her speech

She also challenged those with a narrow view of feminism, such as when she said motherhood was “the gift of God to women” and that abortion destroyed it. “Those who want to make women and men the same are all in favor of abortion,” she stated in a message to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

I might want to be euthanized too if my children did this to me

Sept. 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – While euthanasia is being presented across North America as “compassionate” and a good way to end suffering by suicide activists, there is something chilling about the intimacy of these killings. As pro-life activist Gregg Cunningham noted, “Ours is the first generation that, having demanded the right to kill its children through elective abortion, is now demanding the right to kill its parents through doctor-assisted suicide.”

The closest of human relationships are rupturing under the sheer weight of the selfishness and narcissism of the Me Generation. The tagline “dying with dignity” is starting to very much sound like, “Now don’t make a fuss, off with you now.”

Consider this 2014 story in The Daily Mail:

An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world’s first ‘couple’ euthanasia – despite neither of them being terminally ill.

Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.

Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed.

The children have even gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple’s mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia…

The couple’s daughter has remarked that her parents are talking about their deaths as eagerly as if they were planning a holiday.

John Paul [their son] said the double euthanasia of his parents was the ‘best solution’.

‘If one of them should die, who would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us,’ he said. ‘It would be impossible for us to come here every day, take care of our father or our mother.’

I wonder why no one considers the fact that the reason some elderly parents may experience “mental anguish” is that they have come to the sickening realization that their grown children would rather find an executioner to dispatch them than take on the responsibility of caring for their parents.

It is for precisely that reason that some scenes in the 2011 HBO euthanasia documentary How To Die In Oregon are so jarring. In one scene, an elderly father explains to the interviewer why he has procured death drugs that he plans to take in case of severe health problems. “I don’t want to be a burden,” he explains while his adult daughter nods approvingly, “It’s the decent thing to do. For once in my life I’ll do something decent.” There was no argument from his daughter.

Think about that for a minute. Would that not be real suffering? To come to the realization that the children you loved with all your heart would rather find someone to kill you than find someone to care for you? Or to care for you themselves? Would it not truly be suffering to realize that those very closest to you, those you loved the very most, would like you to kill yourself, or support your suicide?

Let me take this a step further. Suicidal people often reach out to others, often let someone know about their plans. By telling people they are contemplating suicide, they are letting out one last cry for help—I’m going to kill myself…are you going to stop me? Is it not possible that many elderly parents may be suggesting assisted suicide in the desperate hope that their children will reject such a situation out of hand? That their children will tell them how much they are loved, will promise to come see them, will offer to find them the care that they need? What if the suggestions of some elderly or sick people that suicide is the best option is not so much a suggestion as it is a question: How much do you love me?

Which leads to more questions: Love is not proven until it is tested. As those we love suffer illness and the many afflictions of old age, what is our responsibility towards them? A loved one with Alzheimer’s, for example. It is easy to love someone when they can love us back. But does our responsibility suddenly vanish when that person is not capable of loving us in the same way? Does mental illness, old age, or disease relieve us of our responsibility towards them, eliminate our duty to care for them, or change the fact that we love them? Too often the idea of euthanasia is not about releasing the suffering one from pain. It is about releasing those around him from their responsibility.

Another question: If assisted suicide is a right, do you ever have the responsibility to kill someone? Or rather, do we have the responsibility to protect people from themselves? Many of these questions are simply not surfacing in the debate on suicide. People are simply accepting euthanasia on the grounds that death is a solution to suffering, and are not asking questions that desperately need answers.

Perhaps I’m naïve, but the news stories of children happily arranging the suicide of their parents actually shocked me, and I’m not shocked by much these days. I simply could not fathom responding to fears or depression of parents or grandparents by agreeing to get them killed. In fact, if one of them told me that their life no longer had any meaning and that they wanted to die, I would take that very personally and very seriously. I love them, and it would be my responsibility to dispel their will to die, to convince them that they were precious, and necessary, and I wanted them in my life for as long as was possible.

A final question that I’d like you to think about, long and hard: Would hearing that those who you loved the most agreed that suicide was your best option cause you great suffering?

Implanon Device Migration

. By Gordon Gibb

Washington, DC  You may not have heard much about Implanon birth control previously. But you will, given the emergence of an Implanon birth control personal injury lawsuit that’s been filed as a class action. The issue in the current lawsuit is device migration. But there can be other issues as well.

Implanon Device Migration: “Where the Heck Is It?”First, a refresher as to exactly what Implanon is: an implantable birth control device, small and thin akin to the size of a toothpick, that’s inserted below the skin in the upper arm and designed to provide birth control protection through the measured release of the progestin etonogestrel for about three years before removal. Various advocates of the device claim that it can last as long as four years – but three years is the recommended window.

It’s one of the latest examples of the so-called ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ line of devices that does not require the ingestion of a daily birth control pill, or the management of a dermal patch that requires changing at regular intervals. For busy women prone to forget their birth control pill, the automatic dispensary option is viewed with some favor. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Implanon, marketed by Merck & Co., in July of 2006.

After ten years on the market, it has been reported that some 500,000 women use the device for birth control.

However, lawsuits are beginning to emerge. Co-plaintiff Brook Reynolds, who joined the class action Implanon birth control personal injury lawsuit, alleges that the Implanon device she received in 2012 migrated away from the initial implantation site. In 2014, when Reynolds attended her doctor’s office to have the device removed, her physician was unable to locate it.

The toothpick-sized device had migrated away from the original implantation site. Other plaintiffs cite remarkably similar issues to those of Brook Reynolds. Co-plaintiffs Jenni Akins, Major Akins, Ruby Ginns, Robert Reynolds and Julie Reynolds allege that Merck & Co. and subsidiary Organon failed to warn of the potential for migration.

There is, indeed, little mention – if any – about the potential for device migration by way of information generally available to consumers. The Contraceptive Technology Update (06/01/16) carried a report that lauded the effectiveness of the implantable Implanon and its successor, Nexplanon, in terms of effectiveness. While common side effects were outlined, there was no mention of the potential for device migration.

In another example, Planned Parenthood on its website includes more common Implanon birth control side effects – as well as less-common side effects – but makes no mention with regard to the potential for device migration. Under the heading of ‘Serious Side Effects of the Birth Control Implant’ Planned Parenthood lists as the last item, “tell your health care provider immediately if the implant comes out or you have concerns about its location.” Device migration is not mentioned. Reference to ‘concerns about its location’ is subject to interpretation.

It is not until we look to Merck.com before we get any sense as to the possibility of device migration. In a downloadable pdf document intended for consumers, there is references made at the bottom of a bullet listing of common side effects – but is not part of the active list.

“Implants have been reported to be found in a blood vessel including a blood vessel in the lung.”

And,

“Implants have been found in the pulmonary artery (a blood vessel in the lung). If the implant cannot be found in the arm, your healthcare professional may use imaging methods on the chest. If the implant is located in the chest, surgery may be needed.”

Downloading a document intended for doctors and healthcare providers reveals more information – specifically with regard to guidance for the removal of a spent implant, which is normal after a few years. The Implanon is meant to be retrieved at the end of its useful life cycle:

“Confirm that the entire implant, which is 4 centimeters long, has been removed by measuring its length. There have been reports of broken implants while in the patient’s arm. In some cases, difficult removal of the broken implant has been reported.

“There have been reports of migration of the implant; usually this involves minor movement relative to the original position [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)] (original reference), but may lead to the implant not being palpable in the location in which it was placed. An implant that has been deeply inserted or has migrated may not be palpable and therefore imaging procedures, as described below, may be required for localization.

“Exploratory surgery without knowledge of the exact location of the implant is strongly discouraged.”

This is a dilemma faced, in particular, by Brook Reynolds, according to the Implanon birth control consumer fraud lawsuit to which she belongs. When Reynolds attended her doctor to have the device removed, her physician was not able to locate it. Presumably, diagnostic imaging was unsuccessful in locating the device and thus, the location of the Implanon remains a mystery. As suggested by the manufacturer’s dissertation to doctors noted above, exploratory surgery is not recommended without first knowing where the device is. In Brook’s case, without knowing where the device is, surgery appears out of the question.Thus, the Implanon originally received by plaintiff Brook Reynolds appears to be irretrievable. The continued migration of the toothpick-sized object could subject her to Implanon birth control personal injury, including ectopic pregnancy and potential damage to her vascular system – not to mention her peace of mind, living daily without a clear picture of where this thing is.

NFL star Evan Rodriguez and wife refuse to abort baby with anencephaly

TAMPA BAY, FL, August 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Their child might only live a few hours, but an NFL player and his wife say that prayer led them to not abort Layla Sky.

According to Evan Rodriguez, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, his wife Olivia is due with their first child in December. Named Layla Sky, she was diagnosed with anencephaly, and is expected to be born with parts of her brain and skull missing — and to only live a few days.

“From that moment on, I’m like, what can we do?” Rodriguez told Tampa Bay’s ABC News affiliate about his reaction after the diagnosis. The doctor told the couple to “either terminate it or move forward with the process.”

The couple, which prays together each morning, spent a week making their decision. “God, show me what it is that you want to do through all of this. What’s the good to come out of it?” asked Olivia each morning.

“We decided to continue with the process because we felt like who are we to determine a baby’s life. So, we are going to leave it in God’s hands,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to preparing for the arrival of Layla, Olivia and Evan are raising awareness of anencephaly. At practices, Rodriguez wore a towel with his daughter’s name, and created the hashtag “The Fight for Layla Sky.” Their Facebook page has more than 2,600 followers. On Monday, Rodriguez posted that “most of the time we plan on teaching our child about the world never expecting you have to teach the world about your child.”

ABC reports Olivia and Evan are using the hashtag to advise women on how to avoid birth defects, and they are partnering with Duke University to study the disorder their child has. The CDC estimates that one in 4,859 babies are born with the disorder.

“It felt like it was our job to let other people know about this,” said Rodriguez, who said he knows he’ll see her again. “She’ll be waiting up there saying daddy. So, there’s a time and place for everything.”

Rodriguez said his daughter’s name came from how “I always zone out and look at the sky and wonder what else is out there.” He is hoping to be picked up by another NFL team.

Little Israel Stinson Dies After Hospital Called Him “Brain Dead” and Refused Treatment

In an abrupt, unexpected, and surprise decision, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Thursday dissolved an injunction that prevented a local hospital from turning off 2-year-old Israel Stinson’s ventilator.

The adorable little boy, whose brain-dead diagnosis was fought on two continents by his parents, died shortly afterwards.

“They are devastated. I think still in shock,” family attorney Alexandra Snyder told reporters. “It’s not even my child; I am still in shock this could happen so quickly.”

According to CBS News/Los Angeles

Snyder is shocked by a judge’s decision because just last week the court gave her a temporary order to stop the hospital from removing the ventilator so they could get an opinion from another neurologist.

Many reporters have covered this tragic situation which is eerily similar to Jahi McMath, also diagnosed as brain-dead, whose mother moved her out of California when doctors refused to treat her daughter and who is alive today two and one-half years later.

The most complete appeared in today’s Washington Post

It all started last April, reports Michael E. Miller, “with an asthma attack.”

Israel Stinson was an adorable toddler with a sweet smile and unruly hair. But on April 1, he began having trouble breathing. After he was taken to a northern California hospital, the unthinkable happened: Israel suffered a heart attack. After 40 minutes of CPR, doctors were able to restart his heart. But nearly an hour without oxygen had left him brain dead, they determined.

That’s when the battle began.

In those nearly four months, the family had pulled out all the legal stops and moved Israel to Guatemala on May 22 just before Israel was to be taken off the ventilator. There, Snyder told the Post,

three Guatemalan doctors, including a neurologist, declared that the boy was not brain dead after all.

That diagnosis was based in part on EEG, or electroencephalogram, tests, used to measure electrical activity in the brain, she said.

Snyder declined to name the Guatemalan doctors or their hospital but dismissed the idea that their opinion weighed less than that of American doctors.

“We’re not talking voodoo here,” she told The Post. “They have access to the same equipment as American doctors. Many of them probably have degrees from American medical schools.”

Some three months later they returned to the United States, Miller wrote because, “Despite the pending death certificate, and possibly because of the EEG tests from Guatemala, he had been accepted as a patient at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.”

But, within days,

the new hospital also moved to take the boy off life support. Once again, the family sought an injunction. And on Aug. 11, they received a temporary restraining order blocking the hospital from taking Israel off his ventilator.

Then, on Thursday, came a final, sudden twist in the international medical saga.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge removed the restraining order, saying the case had already been decided at state and federal level before the family traveled to Guatemala.

And with that, doctors turned off Israel’s ventilator.

“I heard them disconnect the ventilator and then heard, of course, a very grieving mother,” said Snyder, who was on the phone with Fonseca at the time.

Snyder told the Post, “What I really don’t understand is why this hospital agreed to take this little boy in the first place,” adding

the boy’s parents never would have brought Israel back to the United States if they had known the hospital was going to pull the plug. “They knew exactly what his condition was, what his treatment was, and they agreed to take him. But it appears they only accepted him as a patient to put him to death. …

“The irony is this little boy was cared for so much better in Guatemala than he was here,” she added.

LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in atNational Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.

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Choosing to be Open to Life: On Having more Kids

on having more kids

BY

Just after you have a baby people ask all sorts of interesting questions.  Questions about pooping and labor and the details of breastfeeding.  By and large, however, one of the most common questions I field is, “So, are you guys going to have more kids?”

I laugh when asked this question.  (well, in those first days I probably cried)  I just endured/survived 9 months of sickness, hormones and stretching.  Then I went through horrible pain during delivery and now I’m not sleeping.  GIVE ME SOME TIME TO DEAL WITH THIS, PLEASE!

But this question, are you going to have more kids, is something my husband  and I are thinking about.

And the answer is maybe–hopefully.  Let’s wait and see.

Depending on the crowd I’m with this answer can seem strange, strange that we don’t have a plan for how many kids we want…or even a plan for the space we’d like between kids.  We practice NFP.  The “plan”, if you want to call it a plan, is to avoid for a while, if it feels right.  We have several months of breastfeeding infertility to keep talking, thinking and praying about this, but yes, we do hope to have more kids.  We currently have 3 kids, each 18 months apart, and although I spend some days going from one crying kid to another, we love our lives and feel blessed–and that blessing is thanks to the kids we have.  We won’t turn our backs on more blessings.

I’ve spent a little bit of time reflecting on this choice–the choice to be open to life, open to a big family–and I think I can best explain this choice with these 3 facts:

 

1. I’m in love with the miracle of life

My husband and I got married in our late 20’s and hit ground running.  We had a 3 month old baby on our first anniversary…another one 18 months later and another one 18 months after that.  At the end of this month we will be celebrating our 4th anniversary with 3 kids.

Shortly after my daughter was born (#2) my husband said something that was profoundly true for both of us.  We now had a boy and a girl.  He was cradling our daughter in his arms and he said, “I would be so sad if I knew that this was the last baby we’d have.”  

I feel the same way.

It is such a profound miracle–the conception of a baby, the pregnancy, the delivery… the whole process of welcoming a new human being into the world.  My first weeks with my infants I can’t help but look at them and wonder, where did you come from?  How are you possible?  Even during pregnancy, each time I feel that baby kick or squirm I am humbled by the miracle I am part of.

I’m in love with this miracle of life.  They way they change and learn and grow–it’s all a miracle.

So, yes, yes, I want to have more children.  That’s the thing about miracles, they’re sort of like potato chips.  Once you know how good they are, you are always going to want another.  And another.  And another.

 

2. I (really) have no idea what is good for me

I am so happily in love with my husband, but he is not the type of guy I thought I’d end up with.  In fact I knew him a full year before I even considered dating him…he just isn’t want I thought I needed.  Turns out he’s exactly what I needed, I’m just clueless.

The same is true with our family size.  Despite this choice to be open to life I still catch myself thinking, I would love to just hurry up and get done having kids so that I can get back to MY life, get onto accomplishing MY goals.  Once I don’t have these kids in my hair I can get this done, do that, have time for all of this…

You see, what I love above all other things is the ability to get things done–to check things off of the ole’ to-do list.  I think I might be addicted to checking things off the list.  But, my kids are always getting in the way of me accomplishing anything.

I get frustrated, but then the baby cries and I’m forced to pull myself away from the computer and sit down to nurse him.  During those quiet moments, when the older two are sleeping and I’m rocking with a nursing baby, during those moments I can feel the hand of God on my shoulder.  I can feel my feet touch ground and I just want to bask in the joy that is oh so real.  In those moments the unfinished projects, the dirty house, none of those things matter.  In those moments I actually KNOW what matters.  I actually KNOW what will really make me happy.

Turns out that if left to my own devices and desires I’d end up chasing things that would leave me unhappy, unfulfilled and alone.  Happiness and joy–I know these things when I see my kids dancing together, as I stand over a sink full of dirty dishes following a great family meal, when all three kids want to climb up on my lap at the same time…  I know joy when I am accomplishing nothing.

Turns out that happiness is found through my children.  Wanting to get this chapter of diapers and nursing and tantrums closed already so that I can focus on myself is probably not the surest path to happiness (or holiness).

on having more kids2

3. The Gift of Siblings

I grew up in a family of 7–3 sister and 1 brother.  Although not big by some standards, I loved the fact that my family was bigger than most.  When I went off to school I already had friends there–my sisters.  In the evenings we would all sit around the dinning room table and do homework together.  We were on the swim team together.  When we got older we were roommates, and travel companions and bridesmaids for each other.

Simply, my siblings are my best friends.

It was a sacrifice for my parents to have 5 kids, I’m sure.  We didn’t have a lot of things that other kids had in terms of clothes and toys.  I drove a aqua Astro Van to school and was always on the hook for picking up or dropping off this sibling or that.  But I knew that my parents had as many kids as they could–and that is the greatest gift that they ever gave us.

This idea–that siblings are the greatest gift I can give my kids–is reinforced every time I see my kids play together.  They certainly fight, but they also love each other.

I want my kids to be challenged and loved and molded in a way that only a sibling (or lots of siblings) can.  Sure, kids are expensive, but I would rather cut back on all the STUFF and instead have a house full of kids.

And so there you have it.  We are Catholic and we do embrace the teaching of the church on contraception–but our choice to be open to life, to welcome more children, is so much richer than just obedience.

Gay men are 2% of population but 55% of AIDS cases: CDC

ATLANTA, August 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Although homosexual men are a tiny sliver of the U.S. population, they account for the majority of all Americans living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are two percent of the population but make up 55 percent of people who were HIV-positive in 2013, according to a CDC fact sheetreleased last Wednesday.

More than nine out of 10 new HIV diagnoses (92 percent) come from young gay and bisexual MSM, ages 13 to 24.

If these trends continue, one of every six men who has sex with men will be diagnosed with AIDS in his lifetime. Already, 15 percent of all HIV-positive homosexuals and bisexuals don’t know they are infected, the government agency said.

“Gay and bisexual men are also at increased risk for other STDs, like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia,” the CDC added.

“Two things never change when it comes to the U.S. government and homosexualism. First, the CDC is constantly providing evidence like this of the high risks associated with male homosexual behavior; and second, the CDC and pro-LGBT politicians never admit that the problem is unnatural homosexual behavior itself,” Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, told LifeSiteNews.

The CDC reported that men who have sex with men are 44-times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexual males, and 40-times more likely than women. Earlier this year, the CDC estimated that half of all black MSM will get the disease, a statistic that is repeated in the latest fact sheet.

“In a sane world, the CDC would encourage all men, but especially young men and teenage boys, to avoid homosexual sex,” LaBarbera said. “Instead, the CDC blames societal ‘homophobia’ and ‘stigma’ for the rising disease rates, even though the American public’s acceptance of homosexuality is at an all-time high.”

More Americans (60 percent) regard homosexual sex as moral than immoral, a 13 percent increase since 2001, according to a poll released in June. The number of Americans who favor same-sex “marriage” has virtually reversed since Gallup started polling the question in 2001, with 55 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed.

“Social conservatives in the United States and across the world should demand that, if sex education is taught to their children in school, it be taught accurately,” LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews. “Kids need to see these statistics to cut through the ubiquitous gay propaganda.”

Americans Are Having Fewer Babies, Says CDC

By Jessie Van Amburg

According to a new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the fertility rate in the United States is at an all-time low.

The fertility rate, which is based on the number of babies born per thousand women aged 15-44, is 59.8 babies per 1,000. That’s a slight drop compared to the first quarter of 2015, when the rate was 60 babies per 1,000 women. According to researchers at the CDC, this is the lowest number on record. Note that fertility rate is slightly different than birth rate, which is based on the number of babies born compared to the entire U.S. population.

The numbers also reflect interesting demographic changes. Between 2015 and 2016, the fertility rate among teens dropped from 22.7 babies per thousand women to 20.8. For women aged 20-24, the drop was from 75.2 babies per thousand women to 72.5, and for women aged 25-29, the drop was from 100.3 to 98.4.

However, the rate actually rose slightly for women in their 30s and 40s. For example, the fertility rate for women aged 30-34 increased from 95.6 to 97.9. The numbers may reflect the trend of more women choosing to have children later in life, as well as an overall decrease in teen pregnancy. This correlates with an earlier study released by the CDC in January, finding that the average age of mothers when they have their first child has risen from 24.9 years old in 2000 to 26.3 years old in 2014.

Little girl’s adoption video is causing tears of joy around the world

August 18, 2016 (LiveActionNews) — When Michael and Megan Foster shared a video of the “Gotcha” moment when they adopted their daughter Fen from China, they never expected the reaction would be so overwhelming. Their new daughter was so excited to see her parents and siblings that her joy is contagious – and is felt around the world.

“She comes out from behind a curtain (our heart skips a beat), squints (she needs glasses), takes a couple steps, spots Meg, proclaims, ‘Mama? Mama!’ and runs and leaps into her arms,” writes her father, “and gives a huge hug while repeating ‘Mama.’ She says ‘I missed you.’ She finds dad and says ‘Baba’ and gives a big hug, then back to mom […]”

She continues to run around hugging her siblings before jumping up and down for joy. Her smile is so brilliant that other people in the room take notice.

The video has been viewed over 415,000 times in just two days. Mr. Foster calls it “completely mindblowing” that for 11 years this little girl went unnoticed by the world and now is being seen and loved by thousands.

“[…] this morning I’ve replied to messages from people from Minnesota to Moscow to everywhere in between all over the world,” wrote Mr. Foster after the video had been posted for one day. “The network of people moved to tears of joy from this video is as broad and diverse as the world itself – and yet we are brought together by the power of this LOUD LOVE! Love wins. Love unites. Love prevails. Love never fails! Thank you Jesus! We love you Fen!”

Fen will be back home in the United States soon, joining her new family – which includes five siblings. Her parents are aware that there will be challenges as they all adjust to their new life, but right now they are loving getting to know Fen and enjoying her “uncontainable joy.”

Adoption saves lives and should be the preferred option over abortion. In China, millions of baby girls have been aborted through gendercide. Knowing that fact, it makes Fen’s joy even more beautiful to watch.

Runner Sarah Brown Sacrificed Olympic Dreams and Rejected Abortion to Become a Mom

Women’s magazines are notoriously pro-choice. Therefore, when the tweet below appeared in my feed this morning, I thought I knew what to expect.

Abortion seemed liked a logical answer. After all, in 2014, senior editor of Elle Magazine Laurie Abraham penned a piece entitled “Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry.”

In it, she wrote: “Nearly one in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. Why are we so afraid to talk about it—or to acknowledge that our lives would have been so much less than we hoped for without it? Why are we pressured to feel that we should regret our choice, and that there’s something wrong with us if we don’t?”

This kind of content had shaped my expectations. In fact, Abraham’s article could have been a perfect segue for the tale of an empowered woman who aborted the baby that got in the way of her Olympic dreams. Warily, I clicked on the link.

But what I got was a lovely surprise. The article detailed the inspirational story of Sarah Brown, an elite runner who discovered, while at the peak of her Olympic trials training, that she was pregnant—but she never even considered abortion.

“I was at top of my game and then, all the sudden, it was like I fell off a cliff. I felt so fatigued in my races, like I felt like I was running through sand. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. By the time I found out I was pregnant, it was a lot of mixed emotions.” But she was excited too. “This is my first child and my husband and I did plan on having kids at some point, it just happened a bit earlier than we were expecting!” she told Elle’s Kristina Rodulfo.

In an interview with Alison Wade of Runner’s World, Brown revealed that she wanted to keep her child from the moment she heard the news. “It was one of those things where I wasn’t ready to have a kid, but also, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wasn’t ready for the thought of losing that kid. As terrifying as it was to become a mom, I knew that that was what I wanted,” she said.

In the ultimate display of true feminist choice, “she set her sights on both achieving her career goals and having her child,” Rodulfo wrote. The decision was a family affair. Brown’s husband and coach, Darren, was literally with her every step of the way. He often trained alongside Sarah, donning a weight vest to truly empathize. “I don’t know if I could have done a lot of the things I did if [my coach wasn’t my husband],” Sarah told Rodulfo, “just from a standpoint of him seeing me every day, working very closely with me, knowing how I’m feeling.”

What gave Brown these strong convictions and determination? Her bio on Athlete Biz gives a clue: “Sarah believes that her running talent is a gift from God and needs to be used for something more than her own personal gains.”

This summer, she had an opportunity to put her beliefs into practice. Although Brown was slated to place at the Rio Olympics, she never made it past the trials. But her inspirational reaction to the disappointment revealed her strong faith.

“Today wasn’t the fairytale ending you dream about. But then again, this journey never really was about an ending, it’s a beginning,” she posted on Instagram. “A new chapter as a family of three. Thanks for all the support ❤ & you can bet you will continue to see this mama run #runmamarun”

54 Day Novena for Our Nation

NovenaBanner4ABOUT THE NOVENA FOR OUR NATION

The time is now to call upon God, through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, to heal our country and return it to holiness.

This is a nationwide prayer campaign called the “Novena for Our Nation.” Everyone from around the nation is encouraged to join ranks as, united, we pray the very powerful 54 Day Rosary Novena from the Feast of the Assumption on August 15 to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.

We are living in extraordinary times. Presidential executive actions, US congressional and state legislation as well as court rulings at all levels up to the Supreme Court are in conflict with God’s laws; especially the disregard for the rights of the unborn, elderly and weak in our society and the attacks on marriage and family values. At the same time society and government are becoming more intolerant towards biblically based religious belief and practice. In conflict with First Amendment constitutional rights, persecution of traditional religious expression has reached unprecedented levels. We are in a Spiritual Battle.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, and as we enter the centennial year of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, we are called upon to help turn our country back towards God. We will accomplish that through prayer; prayer that can change hearts, change families, change our communities and change our country. There is no stronger weapon in this Spiritual Battle than the Rosary.

THE HOLY LEAGUE RISES AGAIN!

Pope St. Pius V formed the original Holy League in response to the dire situation in which Christian Europe found itself in 1571. Small bands of Catholic men and remnant armies from various nations came together under the spiritual leadership of the saintly pontiff and the military leadership of Don John of Austria. By prayer and fasting, they implored the help of God’s grace, through the intercession of the Mother of God, and, by the grace of Almighty God, on October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto; the Christian fleet won a crushing victory over the Ottoman Turks, saving Christendom and western civilization.

The new Holy League, under the spiritual guidance of Cardinal Raymond Burke is, .essentially, calling men to combat the forces of evil in today’s society. The Holy League strives to call men back to the state of grace and to transforming the culture through prayer (primarily Adoration and Confession) and training in holiness. You can read about this Catholic men’s movement (http://holyleague.com/).

The new Holy League is sponsoring this very necessary campaign because, at this particular moment in time, the Church finds itself in a similar situation to that of the Church in the late Sixteenth Century. However, instead of a physical enemy on the horizon, the Church and the family (the domestic Church) are threatened daily by relativism, secularism, impurity, and confusion regarding Church teaching.

The battle today “is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6: 10-12).

PRAYER AND TRAINING!

This prayer campaign is also a Basic Training in Holiness. Each day, along with praying your rosary, holiness trainees will be provided with a 1-2 minute reflection on the qualities of excellence. The first 27 days, trainees will read from passages in scripture, quotes from saints and the catechism on one of the following: Theological Virtues, Cardinal Virtues, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The second 27 days will be excerpts from the book entitled, Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ.

The daily reflections for this prayer and training campaign can be found in multiple places.

1) If you would like a hard copy to carry with you, it is available in book form that is entitled, 54 Day Basic Training in Holiness. The 54 Day Rosary Novena prayers are included in this book. Order your book HERE(https://romancatholicgear. com/54-day-basic-training-in-holiness-pre-order.html). The books are also offered in bulk, at a reduced rate.

2) You can sign up to receive the daily reflection in your email. Sign up on the main page of novenaforournation.com

3) You can join the Novena for Our Nation Facebook group HERE(https://www.facebook. com/novenaforournation/), to receive the reflections each day.

NATIONAL ROSARY RALLY IN WASHINGTON DC

We are asking everyone to join us in Union Square in front of U.S. Capitol for a very special Rosary Rally on October 7. As the Year of Mercy recedes, and the Presidential election only days away, we want to call out to God in a very special way at the conclusion of our 54 Day Rosary Novena.

If you can join us, please do. If you cannot, please consider planning your own Rosary Rally in your area. Some suggestions for locations might a government facility or Planned Parenthood or your parish church or wherever you think would be best.

SPREAD THE WORD!

Finally, please do everything you can to get the word out about this very important and necessary prayer campaign for our nation, that begins on August 15, 2016! May God, through the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, truly pour out His grace upon the United State of America.

Gymnast Simone Biles soars to Olympic gold while grounded in Catholic faith

simone_bilesRIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When three-time world champion gymnast Simone Biles flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, the 19-year-old carried a rosary her mother gave her and a St. Sebastian medal from her family’s spiritual home, St. James the Apostle Catholic Church in Spring, Texas.

Simone is already the most decorated woman gymnast in her sport’s history, winning golds at the world level in all-around and individual events. But as the young daughter of a fatherless home who was shunted between a drug-addicted mother and foster homes, her chances of excelling in any sport let alone one so intense as gymnastics seemed slim indeed.

Then her grandparents, Ron and Nellie Biles, stepped in, took her and three siblings into their home and then adopted Simone and her sister, while Ron’s sister adopted her two brothers. Simone grew up in a family of achievers, who were also devout Catholics, not incidentally, according the social science findings showing strong correlation between family stability, regular and frequent church attendance, and success.

According to this week’s story in Independent Journal Review, “Little Girl Abandoned by Father and Drug-Addict Mother Is Adopted by Christian Texas Family, Becomes Best Athlete in the World,” her faith plays an important role in her life and success.

“Her parents,” reporter Benny Johnson wrote, “also introduced Simone to her Christian faith. She attends mass [sic] with her family every Sunday when she is not competing. Simone prays regularly and carries a rosary that her mother gave her.”

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Simone Biles goes to Mass with her family.

US Magazine has the details on the rosary, in a story on what Simone carries in her bag. “My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church. I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there in case.”

Simone’s own innate talent and strong will are clearly crucial to her success. As Texas Monthly reports, when the girl came home from a day care field trip to a gymnastics school insisting on becoming its newest pupil, there was no denying her. “She’s always been headstrong,” said adoptive mother Nellie, the now-retired owner of a chain of nursing homes. “When she makes up her mind, it’s, like, oh, my gosh — the whole world could be upset and she’d still do it. My other kids would listen. Her, no. She makes her mind up and that’s it.”

Simone was six when she self-launched her gymnastics career, the same year Ron and Nellie adopted her and her sister Adria, and the two girls started calling them Dad and Mom.

Until then, the sisters called them Grandpa and Grandma. Then Nellie told the girls, “It’s up to you guys. If you want to, you can call us Mom and Dad.”

“I went upstairs,” Simone told the Texas Monthly, “and tried practicing it in the mirror — ‘Mom, Dad, Mom, Dad.’ Then I went downstairs, and she was in the kitchen. I looked up at her and I was like, ‘Mom?’ She said, ‘Yes!’ ”

Simone soon had a second mother in coach Aimee Boorman, who not only mentored Simone in gymnastics but babysat her and her sister when her father was out-of-state installing apparatus for the Federal Aviation Administration and her mother was away overseeing her nursing home network.

Completing the stability to which Simone returns when lands from her increasingly athletic and gravity-defying vaults and jumps is the family church, St. James the Apostle. Father Charles Semperi, the church’s pastor, describes the Biles as “very faithful Catholics who are always at Mass.”

Father Semperi told LifeSiteNews that the family frequently asks for the congregation and priests to pray for Simone in her efforts both during Mass and privately. “She was very good in Confirmation class,” he recalls. The family now concentrates on supporting Simone and building a world-class gymnastics training facility called World Champions Centre in Spring.

The parish sent Simone off with a St. Sebastian medal. “I told her not to wear it during her events,” Fr. Charles joked, “in case it flies up in her face.”

As of Tuesday, Simone had qualified for the finals individually for all events in her field and was well on her way to winning as many as five medals, perhaps all gold.

Explains the IJR story, “Biles is able, with ease, to pull off moves other gymnasts could only dream about in a world seemingly unbound by the laws of gravity. Her routines and dismounts are so complex and so rarely seen in competition, several are named for her.”

Though already established as the best in the world, Biles will need an Olympic victory, the news media make clear, to ensure the 19-year-old becomes a multi-millionaire through endorsements, as if that was the point of sports, or of the Olympics, or of hers and her family’s 13-year effort.

Success could also bring family troubles, they warn, such as the possible re-emergence in her life of her natural mother, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, and has reportedly been clean from drugs for several years, or even of the father who disappeared virtually at birth. Teammate Gabby Douglas faced similar embarrassment at the hands of her long-absent father, who showed up after her Olympic victory in 2012 seeking her signature on various sports memorabilia he wanted to sell.

However, Simone’s adoptive parents and family have done their best to shield her from a preoccupation with such outcomes and focus her efforts on her sport, family life, and faith.

This supports the scientific research conducted or collected by the Washington D.C.-based Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which it summarizes on its website: “Regular attendance at religious services is linked to healthy, stable family life, strong marriages, and well-behaved children.

“Religious worship also leads to a reduction in the incidence of domestic abuse, crimesubstance abuse, and addiction. In addition, religious practice can increase physical and mental health, longevity, and education attainment. These effects are intergenerational, as grandparents and parents pass on the benefits to the next generation.”

Study finds skyrocketing rate of abstinence among Millennials

holding_handsAugust 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Think Millennials are the most sexually active generation in history? Think again, say the authors of a new study released on Monday.

The number of young adults born in the 1990s who report they are not having sex is more than twice as high as it was for the Baby Boomer generation, a sign they have learned from the fallout of the sexual revolution, experts tell LifeSiteNews.

The study found that 15 percent of Millenials aged 20-24 said they had not had sex since age 18, more than those born in the late 1960s (six percent), 1970s (11 percent) or 1980s (12 percent). That is lower than their fellow Millenials born in the previous decade.

The definition of “sex” is left up to the respondent to define. However, the number of women who were sexually abstinent as young adults tripled since the 1960s, while the number of men doubled, according to the study, which appeared in the Archive of Sexual Behavior.

“I think a lot of them are watching the adults around them and concluding that sex without limits is not making people happy,” particularly “parents with multiple marriages and divorces,” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews.

The study concludes that “the new sexual revolution has apparently left behind a larger segment of the generation than first thought.”

“The idea that these kids are ‘left behind’ by the sexual revolution is quite strange, as if they’ve somehow been sealed in a bomb shelter and never knew it happened,” Rebecca Oas, Ph.D., the associate director of research for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), told LifeSiteNews. “More likely, they’ve seen that experiment running its course and decided they’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes instead of their own.”

The finding dovetails with CDC figures that show a majority of teenagers are choosing not to have sex. Only 41 percent of high school students reported sexual activity, a 13-point drop since 1991. Millenials also have a lower average number of sexual partners (eight) than either Baby Boomers (11) and Generation X (10).

Valerie Huber, the president of Ascend, told LifeSiteNews that her group – formerly the National Abstinence Education Association – “commissioned the Barna Group to survey 18 and 19 year olds and found similar results. The majority did not like the idea of ‘hooking up,’ and most of those who were not sexually experienced were waiting for a committed relationship.”

Some do not know what to make of the results. The Washington Post wrote, “Delaying sex is not necessarily bad, experts say.”

Numerous studies show having sex at a younger-than-average age leads to negative results, while delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of partners has positive outcomes.

Dana Haynie of Ohio State University found that early sexual activity increased delinquency by 20 percent. Experts have warned that earlier sexual activity can increase anxiety and negative psychological reactions, such as feeling used, especially for girls. A study in Pediatrics last year concluded that troubled children were more likely to begin having sex earlier in life, reinforcing the vicious circle.

Those who had sex later than average had higher incomes, educational achievement, and satisfaction in marriage, according to a 2012 report from Dr. Paige Harden of the University of Texas.

A 2014 report found that having multiple sexual partners and cohabitation before marriage decreased marital happiness after couples eventually tied the knot.

“We know that early sexual behavior tends to set a pattern for later behavior. The fact that more and more emerging adults are avoiding sex suggests they recognize that casual sex can compromise their life goals,” Huber told LifeSiteNews.

One young person told The Washington Post that, having seen so much sex depicted in pornography, “there really isn’t anything magical about it” anymore.

Those who attend religious services are more likely to be abstinent, as well. “There was a significant increase in sexual inactivity among those who attend religious services once a week or more compared with those who do not,” Oas noted.

Huber said the most common reasons young people reported to Ascend for delaying sex were personal values and a focus on attaining their goals. She encouraged schools teach Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education – as opposed to Sexual Risk Reducation (SRR) or Comprehensive Sex Education, which present teen sexual activity as more normative.

The study notes, “abstinence-only sex education and virginity pledges became more popular (and federally funded) after the 1980s, especially between 1996 and 2009, when abstinence-only programs received large amounts of federal and state funding.” Studies have found that abstinence-based education reduces the overall teen sex rate.

“This new research suggests that our students have caught a positive and healthy vision for their futures,” she said. “It also means that we must, as a society, be more intentional on reinforcing this same healthy behavior for young, single adults.”

Profs debunk human-chimp 99% shared genes myth at World Youth Day

WYDEditor’s note: The following address was given in a catechesis to youth at World Youth Day.

World Youth Day
July 28, 2016
(Church of the Conversion of St. Paul, Krakow, Poland)
Hugh Owen, Director, Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation
Dr. Thomas Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Technical University of Munich

Your Excellency, Reverend Fathers, brothers and sisters, younger brothers and sisters in Christ, God is a loving Father, He is Mercy Itself.  So, He always teaches us clearly the things that we need to know for our happiness here on Earth and in eternity.  He doesn’t confuse us. In fact, He teaches us through the inspired, inerrant words of Holy Scripture that, “HE is NOT the Author of confusion.” He is the Father of Mercy who CLEARLY proclaims the Truth that saves us from the father of Lies, from Sin and from Death.   And so that we would never be in doubt about the fundamental truths, the Dogmas, of the Catholic Faith, God has appointed the Holy Father and the Bishops to GUARD the Deposit of Faith that was handed down from the Apostles, so that all that was taught by the Apostles and defined by their successors through the centuries, will always be upheld in its original form, without any corruption or deviation.   That is Divine Mercy in action.

Today, however, my younger brothers and sisters, there is great confusion among many Catholics, especially about what it means to be a man or a woman, and about God’s unchanging plan for Holy Marriage and for the Family.  God is not the Author of this confusion.  And no one who studies and abides by His teaching on this subject as it has been handed down from the Apostles will ever be confused.

Now what is this beautiful teaching on man and woman, on Holy Marriage and on the family that was handed down by all of the Apostles, Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching?

It is very simple and very clear.

It is that “In the beginning, God created ONE Man for ONE woman for LIFE.”

My scientist colleague Dr. Thomas Seiler and I are here to proclaim that sound theology, sound philosophy, and sound natural science ALL confirm this beautiful revelation from God that in the beginning He created Adam’s body from the material elements of the Earth and at one and the same time created his soul to be the form of that body; then He created EVE for Adam from Adam’s side; and placed them as the king and queen of the entire universe, a universe that was completely free not only from human death but from any kind of deformity or disease.

Less than 150 years ago, when the enemies of the Church launched the current war against Holy Marriage and the Family by trying to legalize divorce in Catholic countries where it was forbidden by law, Pope Leo XIII wrote an entire encyclical on Holy Marriage.  In that encyclical Pope Leo directed the Bishops of the whole world to defend Holy Marriage on this foundation. He wrote—and please listen very carefully:

We recall what is known to all and cannot be denied by anyone that God on the sixth day of creation having created Adam from the dust of the Earth and breathed into him the breath of life gave him a companion whom He formed from his side miraculously while he was locked in sleep.

Now the Pope was certainly correct to direct the Bishops in this way — because if every Catholic young person in the world were taught that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning, it wouldn’t be possible to be confused about the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, and sexual morality!  When God created Eve, the first woman, for the first man, Adam, by creating Eve’s body from the body of Adam, He showed us CLEARLY that the union of man and woman in Holy Marriage is not something that comes up from the animals; it is something that comes down from the Heaven.  And, therefore, any use of the gift of sexual intimacy outside of a Holy Marriage between one man and one woman committed to each other for life is not only a great sin but a sacrilege — because it takes a gift that God created specifically for man and woman in a permanent, holy, exclusive, and life-giving union and desecrates it.

That is why when Jesus was asked about divorce, He answered CLEARLY, “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female . . .” and of divorce He said to the Pharisees, “From the beginning it was not so . . .”

Now, my younger brothers and sisters, why is it that this beautiful doctrine which the Vicar of Christ on Earth said is “known to all and cannot be denied by any” is today known by so few of your generation and denied by so many of your teachers?

I think you all know the answer.

The reason why many young Catholics do not hear this beautiful Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve is because we are told that “science” — meaning natural and physical science — has proven that the bodies of the first human beings evolved from microbes over hundreds of millions of years through mutation and natural selection. And, so, we are told, what all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching called the sacred HISTORY of Genesis—is actually a myth.

But is that true?

Did God allow His Church to teach a totally false account of the origins of man and the universe for almost two thousand years only to enlighten her through the wild speculations of godless men like Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, and T. H. Huxley who hated the Church and wanted to destroy her?

At this point I would like to introduce a Catholic natural scientist who has dedicated much of his life to studying the scientific evidence for and against the hypothesis that molecules turned into human bodies over billions of years of the same kinds of natural processes that are going on now — Dr. Thomas Seiler.  Dr. Seiler has a Ph.D. in Physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany.  He has lectured at Catholic universities, seminaries, schools, and parishes all over the world, demonstrating that all of the evidence in natural science harmonizes with the traditional Catholic teaching that all human beings on Earth today are descended from one man and one woman who were created in a state of genetic perfection less than ten thousand years ago, just as we are told in the sacred history of Genesis.  Dr. Seiler . . .

Dr. Thomas Seiler:

Most of you may have heard the statement that chimpanzees and humans are having 99% of their genes in common. However, what you are usually not told is that this result was not based on comparing the entire DNA of man and ape but only on comparing a very small fraction of it (ca. 3 %). The function of the other 97% of the genetic code was not understood. Therefore, it was concluded that this DNA had no function at all and it was considered “leftover junk from evolution” and not taken into consideration for the comparison between man and ape. Meanwhile, modern genetics has demonstrated for almost the entire DNA that there is functionality in every genetic letter. And this has led to the collapse of the claim that man and chimpanzee have 99% of their DNA in common.

In 2007, the leading scientific journal Science therefore called the suggested 1% difference “a myth.” And from a publication in Nature in 2010 comparing the genes of our so-called Y-chromosome with those of the chimpanzee Y-chromosome we know now that 60% of human Y-chromosome is not contained in that of the chimpanzee. This represents a difference of one billion genetic letters, known as nucleotides.

And modern genetics has recently made another important discovery which was very unexpected. Researchers found that all of the different groups of humans on earth, wherever they live and whatever they look like, have 99.9% of their genes in common. This leads to a problem for the hypothesis of evolution because if humans really were descended from the apes, then how could it be that we only have 40% of our Y-chromosome in common with the apes but at the same time there is almost a complete genetic identity among all humans? If there had been an evolution from ape to man then it should still go on among men and reveal significant genetic differences. These recent discoveries therefore drastically widen the gap between man and the animals. And they confirm that there are in reality no such things as human “races”. Asians, Europeans, Africans and Indigenous people from America and Australia only have superficial differences like color of skin or shape of the nose but they are all extremely similar on the genetic level.

And these recent breakthrough discoveries even go further. Today, because of the extreme similarity of the human genome, it is considered a well-established fact among geneticists, that all humans living on earth now are descended from one single man and from one single woman. In order to convince yourself of this you only have to search in the internet for the terms “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y-chromosome Adam”. These names were given by evolutionists in an ironic sense but now many regret that choice of name because this discovery perfectly confirms the Catholic Doctrine of Creation which has taught for 2000 years that all humans are brothers and sisters descended from one single human couple, the real historical persons Adam and Eve, not from a multitude of subhuman primates.

Another evolution-related research field is embryology. Biologist Ernst Haeckel proposed his so-called “Biogenetic Law” according to which the embryonic development of vertebrates repeats the assumed history of their evolution from one-celled ancestors. This was formulated by Julian Huxley in the following way: “Embryology gives us the most striking proof of evolution. Many animals which are extremely different as adults are hard to tell apart as embryos. You yourself when you were a young embryo were very like the embryos of lizards, rabbits, chickens, dogfish, and other vertebrates. The only reasonable explanation is that we vertebrates are all related by common descent.” However, apart from the logical error of concluding from similarity to descent, the “evidence” for this proposed law only consisted in Haeckel’s skillful drawings of embryos belonging to different animals and man.

After 120 years, British embryologist Michael Richardson used modern microscopes and examined the embryos of humans and different animals at the same stage of development.  His work has been published in the scientific literature and he summarized the significance of Haeckel’s influential drawings in an interview in The Times London in 1997: “This is one of the worst cases of scientific fraud. It’s shocking to find that somebody one thought was a great scientist was deliberately misleading. … What he [Haeckel] did was to take a human embryo and copy it, pretending that the salamander and the pig and all the others looked the same at the same stage of development. They don’t … These are fakes.”

A further field of research which is related to origins is anatomy. If evolution were true, we would expect to find many vestiges of the organic constructions produced in the course of evolutionary history. Anatomist Robert Wiedersheim presented about one hundred “rudimentary” or “vestigial” organs in humans, organs which have a reduced function or no function at all because they are left-overs from an earlier stage of evolution. Famous examples include the vermiform appendix and the tonsils. Wiedersheim and most of his peers did not understand the function of these organs and concluded from this that they have no function at all. Meanwhile, however, new scientific research has reached a different conclusion. For the appendix, for example, it was found that it has indeed a function in the immune system, especially during the first years of our life.

A similar conclusion has been reached in regard to the tonsils and also for almost all of the other organs functionality has meanwhile been discovered. Yet, even if there were still many organs whose function is unknown, we would never be allowed to conclude from our ignorance of a biological function that there is no function. This would be exactly the same logical error which has been made with the so-called “junk-DNA” for many years.

Now you may ask: But what about the Neanderthals? Have we not found much fossil evidence that there were once ape-men on earth which were our ancestors?

To say it briefly: All fossils which we have found finally turned out to be either fully human, like Neanderthals and others, or fully ape, like Australopithecines. Paleontologists could not find any ape-man fossils — which indicates that these creatures never existed.

The theory of evolution predicts that things change from less complex to more complex, from incompleteness to completeness and that we should find many failures, lost functions, wrong constructions and half-finished organs which are in the process of evolution. However, all the different areas of relevant research, such as genetics, embryology, anatomy and paleontology, over and over again confirm that all the different kinds of creatures began their existence as already perfect and fully formed. Indeed, we do not find any evolving, half-finished eye, ear, leg, or wing in nature, neither in the fossil record nor in today’s world. If such half-complete organs ever had existed then many of them should have survived until today since they were per definition more fit than their ancestors which did not have that organ at all and which are still existing, like the wing-less reptile which supposedly has turned into a bird or the land-mammal which should have turned into a whale.

Furthermore, all changes which we do actually observe in nature are never processes of genetic increase or perfection but always processes of genetic loss and degeneration. This certainly supports that in the beginning, everything must have been perfect and not vice versa. Geneticists observe an ongoing accumulation of harmful mutations in our genome instead of an ongoing perfection of our DNA. This observation is to be expected because the most fundamental natural law, the law of increasing entropy, demands that all natural processes can only proceed from order to disorder and never vice versa. Also so-called open systems cannot produce new constructional information, not in one single case. Therefore, assumed processes like changing a leg into a wing or an ape body into a human body by mutation and selection are excluded by natural law.

Let me conclude with an analogy: One could certainly change a refrigerator into a television by many small steps, replacing one small electrical or mechanical part by another one until one has got a TV. However, it is very improbable that each of these small changes towards the television would lead to a fridge which is a better one than its predecessor or the original one. However, that would be needed to make evolution via continuous selection possible.

For more information, you can visit www.originality-of-species.net.

Hugh Owen:

So, you see, my younger brothers and sisters, REAL NATURAL SCIENCE does not support the evolutionary mythology that human bodies resulted from hundreds of millions of years of genetic mistakes! It confirms the traditional Catholic teaching on the creation of Adam and Eve.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, what difference does it make?”

I will show you that it makes a huge difference.

In the first place, this doctrine tells us that God really did create ONE man for ONE woman for LIFE from the beginning of creation, just as Jesus said.

So we can be sure that God will not bless any change in the Church’s teaching on Holy Marriage, divorce, contraception, or sexual morality.

We can be sure that your happiness and the happiness of your brothers and sisters all over the world depends on KNOWING and OBEYING this teaching — even if some of the professors and teachers in our Catholic institutions want to introduce something new.

Divine Mercy demands that we believe and proclaim this teaching to the whole world: that God created one man for one woman for life from the beginning of Creation.

By our words and by our lives, we must tell the whole world, loudly and clearly, “If you want to be happy, you must follow God’s plan for Holy Marriage.”

That is Divine Mercy.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, the great saint of Auschwitz, understood and defended this teaching against those like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin who abando