Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Great Advent homily

Fr. Peter West from Priests for Life gave a great homily for the Priests for Life staff today. Most of it is here.

So, what is the point of Advent? Not commercialism, my friends! It's a time to wait with Mary for the birth of Christ!

Today begins the novena to prepare for the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. This is a great way to join the Blessed Mother in preparing for the birth of her Son.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas: the new 4-letter word

Those who have suffered through past Christmases with me know that I am very bad at sending Christmas cards. I get so busy, then I get overwhelmed, then it's the New Year, and once again, no one got a flat, little present from me. Sad, but true.

But, that's not the reason my friends and family may not see Christmas cards this year. This year, I simply can't find cards that portray the Christmas message. I spent my lunch hour at a local card story today, and not only did I trip over a display of candy canes and nearly break my neck and my leg, but I also search in vain for Christmas cards with a Christmas message.

Somehow, mentioning the Reason for the season has turned into a crime. And who is leading the assault other than every American's worst enemy: the ACLU. School districts are banning teachers from mentioning Christmas break and banning students from wearing red and green; towns are banning the displaying of nativity scenes; card stores won't stock anything that will offend the agnostic who celebrates "the holidays" but would rather offend the Christians who celebrate the Holy Day of Christmas.

But, there are organizations that are leading the fight to protect Christmas as well as the other religious freedoms guaranteed in the Founding Documents of our Nation. Among them are the Alliance Defense Fund and the Family Research Council. Please keep up with their work; subscribe to their daily updates and follow their action items.

So, as we prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas through the penitential season of Advent, let us remember to pray that our religious freedom won't be stripped from us in the name of "separation of church and state" or any other bogus claim that being American and being Christian are incompatible.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Abortion in the former USSR

Last Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the former USSR. When the USSR split over a decade ago, those countries who regained their independence, such as Russia and Lithuania, retained the liberal laws regarding abortion. Due to the poverty of these nations, they continue to be a target for the Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion forces.

In a 2003 "Special Analysis" for the Planned Parenthood's Alan Guttmacher Institute, Amy Deschner and Susan Cohen insist that "Contraceptive use is key to reducing abortion worldwide." Their focus is the unbelievable abortion rates in Russia. Many women suffer eight to 10 abortions throughout their lives, with some women obtaining as many as 20 to 30!

Driven to abortion due to poverty, these pro-abortion forces mistakenly think (as you can see from the illogical sequence of the above article) that an increase in persistent use of contraceptives will cause the abortion rates to decline and thus solve the "problem" of pregnancy. Statistically for a country who already has unrestricted legal abortion and no real accessibility to contraceptives this may be true, however, statistics also show that every country that has open the door for increased use of contraceptives has subsequently suffered higher abortion rates. The connection between contraception and abortion is like a vicious cycle that feeds off itself creating more and more destruction. Deschner and Cohen are irresponsible in their statistical analysis when they say that contraception leads to a decline in abortion rates.

But, there is hope amid the efforts of the Planned Parenthood to spread sexual irresponsibility, contraception and abortion throughout these regions. New reports show that visas to Russia for missionary work will be restricted, but pro-lifers continue to work diligently to help pregnant women throughout the country.

The Mary Mother of God Mission Society sponsored by the Catholic Church in the US and Russia serves the needs of pregnant and post-abortive women in Russia in the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Human Life International has pro-life offices in over 50 foreign countries, including Lithuania and Russia. Their 2003 mission trip to Lithuania highlights the history of the pro-life movement there as well as the history of abortion.

The Life Ministries of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, a member organization of the National Pro-life Religious Council, is also taking part in pro-life mission trips to Russia. An update given in the NPRC quarterly newsletter "Uniting for Life" shows how their ministry, Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center in a suburb of St. Petersburg, is helping Russian women with practical assistance during and after pregnancy with baby items, maternity classes and job training.

Programs such as these pro-life programs are real solutions not only to pregnancy, but also to poverty. It is baffling that the Planned Parenthood is not interested in these programs, but only in their agenda to prevent births through abortion and contraception. Perhaps it is simply the eugenics philosophy of their founder coming through in the continued work of the Planned Parenthood throughout the world.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Women's health and OC's

I wasn't too surprised to read the misinformation about the birth control pill in the November issue of Parents magazine. The point of the short feature was to clarify four common myths about taking OC's. Their points were: "1. taking the pill cuts your cancer risk… 2. it won't make you gain weight… 3. it may hurt your sex drive… [and] 4. you need to get plenty of calcium."

The first point made was a claim that the Pill reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, but that is only half of the story. In a July 2005 press release, the World Health Organization classified estrogen-progesterone birth control pills as "carcinogenic to humans." (Carcinogenic means "cancer-causing.") They also "stressed that there is no convincing evidence that oral contraceptives have a protective effect against some types of cancer." They go on to admit that OC's increase the risk of some cancers (breast, cervix and liver) while decreasing the risk of others (endometrial and ovarian). Because of this benefit and risk relationship, it is hardly responsible for only one side of the information to be given to women. Encouraging women to use OC's or for government-funded programs to push for their universal use is irresponsible and dangerous to women's health.

Combined with a past abortion, OC's become even more dangerous. In their booklet "Breast Cancer: Risks and Prevention," the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute says that "having an induced abortion, especially as a teenager or before you have a full term pregnancy, increases the risk [of breast cancer]. If you do have an abortion, taking hormonal birth control after an abortion will increase the risk further. However, having children and breastfeeding them will reduce the risk."

It is also worth mentioning that one of the causes of osteoporosis is "consuming an inadequate amount of calcium." On the flipside of a lack of calcium consumption is taking pills or treatments that have decalcification effect. It is interesting to note that breastfeeding actually has a this effect, but after a mother has weaned her child, her bones become more strong and more dense, lowering her overall risk of osteoporosis (unless she takes an OC or other chemical birth control method).

Why isn't this information shared with women?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

AIDS, condoms and a Catholic bishop

I have a friend who lives in Nicaragua (an impoverished country in Central America) who likes to remind me what the thinks about the Catholic Church's view on the use of condoms. He claims that one of these days the Church is going to have to admit that they are absolutely essential for the prevention of AIDS, among other things. I fight him tooth and nail about this…

In January, 2005, he sent me a news item out of Spain of a bishop who was calling for the use of condoms to halt the spread of STDs. "I told you so" is all he could say. Well, thankfully, the Church continues to persist in her wisdom, and has not yet (and I assure you nor will she ever) condoned the use of condoms for any reason.

But, less than a year later, another bishop, this time from South Africa, is coming forward with the same claim: condoms stop the spreading of AIDS.

Foreign correspondent to the Chicago Tribune Laurie Goering tells a heart-wrenching tale of the poverty, disease and sin in a village called "Freedom Park" in South Africa. Her story cites extreme poverty of black people, mostly single women with children who find no other way to feed their children than to sell themselves as prostitutes.

The bishop of this area, Bishop Kevin Dowling, is not only a local pusher for condom use, he has become an international icon for Church dissent from the traditional teaching.

Abstinence and faithfulness in marriage, the church's answer to the AIDS epidemic, "are the only way to be sure you won't get infected. I have no problem with that," the controversial South African bishop acknowledges. But in his diocese, full of desperately poor women with few options beyond prostitution to feed their children, using condoms seems to him "a pro-life option in the widest sense."

"For me, the issue is simply this: How do you preserve and protect life?" he said last week at his offices in Phokeng, a poor township on the outskirts of Rustenburg, west of Pretoria. In a diocese like his, he said, "the only solution we have at the moment is condoms."

Dowling believes that in his diocese--and in much of AIDS-afflicted Africa--the primary effect of using condoms would not be contraception but "to stop transmission of a death-dealing virus." Under church doctrine, that is "not only allowable, it's a moral imperative," he said. "The principle is to protect life. I'm fighting for the principle here."

Dowling believes the church's continuing rejection of condoms reflects a lack of firsthand experience with the AIDS epidemic and an inherent conservatism that makes questioning old doctrine unsettling.

"There's a sense of security from black and white," he said. "You can't do this. You can do that. But most of life is gray.

Dowling said he hopes an insertable microbicidal gel that would allow women to effectively kill the virus without their partners knowing the gel was there will eventually come on the market and begin stemming the epidemic.

But for now, AIDS remains "the defining issue of the whole sociocultural fabric," he says. In Rustenburg, with its sick and orphaned and jobless, "there's no doubt HIV-AIDS is going to dominate this society for years to come."

He calls the traditional teaching on contraception as well as the traditional social teaching of care of the elderly an "ivory-tower approach" to the AIDS issue. Sadly, what this bishop is totally missing is the point. In the face of such devastating poverty and disease, the first goal should be providing nutrition and jobs for the people. Jobs are places where work is done and personal rights are respected. Prostitution is not a job, but an illegal action and a violation of and degradation to women.

Next, the government needs to be addressing the prostitution issue sternly by jailing those men who persist in shaming, diseasing and abusing women. The Church should be assisting in this by providing spiritual direction and practical assistance, not give an implied wink-and-nod to the sin by passing out and fighting for condom use.

Also, all the money and effort that it takes to push condoms should be used to set up programs for women to receive housing, food and medical care. It should also be used to help create jobs for men and women so they can learn how to provide for their families.

It is truly a sad situation, but the answer is not, nor will it ever be, to spread condoms.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Preschool: helping raise poorly adjusted children

Last week,, one of my favorite pro-life news sources, broke a story about the harm done to children whose parents place them in preschool. Often preschool is used by parents who work or feel that their child has a development disability. It is also used mostly by parents who have just one or two children. reports that in reality, "preschool has a negative effect on a child's social and emotional development, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children." Surprisingly, it is the white children of middle-class families who suffer the most from preschool, and the earlier a child enters, the worse off he or she is.

Another study from 2001 goes hand-in-hand, showing that "the more hours children spend in daycare, the more likely they are to become aggressive, disobedient, and defiant by the time they are in kindergarten."

Clearly, the issue is not the content of the lessons at preschool, but the neglect and abandonment a child feels by not being around at least one of the parents throughout the day. The two-parent family structure is not just some "freak of nature," but it is the best environment for a child to be raised, to be challenged and to grow.

In their report, "Why Marriage Matters (Second edition)," the Institute for American Values drew 26 conclusions about the importance of marriage from the social sciences. One of those conclusions is that "children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms."

Part of "liv[ing] with their own two married parents" is actually having stable, wholesome time with them. When parents neglect their children in order to hold two jobs outside of the home, an overbearing social schedule, memberships to sports clubs and country clubs, and more, the children feel that neglect in the fact that they are "pawned off" on daycares and preschools to raise them.

It can be said that preschool only helps parents to neglect the responsibility of childrearing. Stay-at-home moms and homeschooling moms have known for years that the best place for children to grow up is in the home. Though the convenience of preschool helps parents be able to provide more material goods for their children or provide peer groups for the young children, their social upbringing and health are hindered because they are not in the natural structure of a family. (Learning happens naturally when a child observes older and younger siblings and two parents as well as their interaction with each other.)

In paragraph 48 of The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, the Pontifical Council for the Family states:

The family environment is thus the normal and usual place for forming children and young people to consolidate and exercise the virtues of charity, temperance, fortitude and chastity. As the domestic church, the family is the school of the richest humanity. This is particularly true for the moral and spiritual education on such a delicate matter as chastity.

They also call families "rich in the strengths" necessary for the proper upbringing of children. With social development linked so closely to a child's upbringing in chastity, virtue and goodness, it is so important that families make the sacrifices necessary to raise children in loving service of the God who entrusted them with that precious little life.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vees and triangles: variations to adultery

They call it Polyamorous, the post-modern family: teams of three or more lovers who are in open, committed emotional and/ or sexual relationships where all parties know about the relations each has with the other lovers. Sounds like an abomination from the Old Testament or a fantasyland created by Playboy, right? Nope, it's a growing trend, especially here in my backyard, my beautiful New York City.

This is not normal. It is the case of one or both lovers having and unhealthy and dis-ordered emotional or sexual attachment to a person other than his or her spouse. What it amounts to in reality is adultery.

Maintaining friendships while married is important. A husband should have, but not be overly committed to, his male friends as well as be able to have close friendships with his female family members, such as sisters, sisters-in-law and cousins. The same goes for the wife. She should have friendships with her other female friends, especially those who are mothers like herself. She should also be able to maintain healthy, proper friendships with her male relatives.

But, when any of these relationships turn into unhealthy homo- or heterosexual love interests, whether emotional or sexual, both husband and wife have failed to understand their vocation, the call to chastity within marriage as well as the necessity of fidelity within marriage.

Unfortunately, these types of deviant loves are to be expected. There is no fulfillment in relationships because people marry for lust not love. People are confused as to what makes them happy. After a series of sexually deviant behaviors, people will sooner or later come to realize that the only fulfillment is in a God-centered relationship of love, sacrifice and service. If they marry for love, they would be fulfilled and happy.

Lust, on the other hand, is the trend of divorcing love from suffering. It only seeks good feelings with another person without concern for what is good for that person. To truly love someone is to will the good for them and to desire to serve that person. It is not about feelings, and doesn't hinge on communication. It is not jealous, nor does it justify jealousy by transforming it into "compersion," the polyamorous term that refers to the ability to use jealousy as a means to derive personal joy from the one's lovers other love interest.

What is first, husband and wife must be in love with God before they can be in love with one another. Only then can they truly be satisfied with their love relationship.

The hope is too, for those who feel overly tempted by the "feel-good," all-emotional temptations of lust and those who have been hurt, abused and molested by the modern notion of lust: asking God to restore and renew your heart according to His will.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Human Sexuality

This post contains content that is not meant for children under the age of 16.

One of today's questions caught my eye because I don’t recall being asked this anytime within the past year. A teacher who is planning to run for political office inquires: "Should a Catholic leader be making political moves to outlaw contraceptives- not just the 'maybe contraceptive, maybe abortifacients,' but things like condoms and other physical barrier types?"

Absolutely! A Catholic politician ought to support legislation that would prohibit the use, distribution or funding of contraceptives, including condoms. Political moves to outlaw contraceptives and to restore the proper meaning and context to human sexuality are essential. I then encouraged him to make this a central point of his "ministry" as a politician, as it will undoubtedly restore order to a sexually-confused culture.

Contraception is a social ill as well as a hindrance to spousal relations. It redefines the sexual act and thus puts it in the context of a recreational activity instead of a holy act of spouses meant for the purposes of procreation and union. Among other negative effects, when contraception creeps into a marriage, the children are not given and example of trust in God, self-sacrifice or service to others. On the other hand, they are give a message of self-gratification and this creates a skewed understanding of human sexuality.

Let's discuss human sexuality for a little bit. In our "over-sexualized" society, the very term "sexuality" typically refers to using ones sexual faculties to achieve orgasm or simply for recreation. This attitude has justified many deviant sexual behaviors such as oral sex and homosexuality.

In Her wisdom, the Catholic Church speaks much differently about the meaning of human sexuality. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2332-2335, it says:

Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.

"In creating men 'male and female,' God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity." "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God."

Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." All human generations proceed from this union.

According to these definitions, sexuality only refers to the act in as much as it is within the covenant of marriage and open to life. It is through that union of husbands and wives that procreation is meant to happen.

More accurately, our human sexuality is God's writing on our hearts of how we are to love one another but not necessarily in a sexual way. Sexual love is a higher form of love, a vocation which is the responsibility of those who discern it, not the right of all people by the mere factor that our bodies have the capacity to experience it physically.

With this understanding, we can see how the deviant acts of homosexuality and masturbation, for example, are grave offenses against our human sexuality.

So, in order for a Catholic leader or politician to serve the Church as well as all of his constituents, he must accept the responsibility of ensuring that laws protect human sexuality and place it in its proper context.

Recommended reading: The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, a 1996 document of the Pontifical Council for the Family that describes recommended guidelines for sexual education within the family, which is its proper place.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Adoption should not be taken lightly

One of the arguments that the pro-abortion movement continually tries to use to convince society of the necessity of abortion is that with adoption, the birth parents "will have someone else raise their baby." This view is seen as simply unacceptable for their rigid ideology because all pregnancies, not just all children, must be planned. It hardly seems logical that a planned pregnancy would result in an adoption plan, and therefore all adoption plans must come from an unplanned pregnancy. The solution for an unplanned pregnancy for pro-choice'ers? Abortion.

Adoption is a very loving and generous choice for a mother to make. It entails a great deal of sacrifice and trust, and it is not to be taken lightly by the pro-life movement or by the families of a woman who has offered her child to an adoptive family.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a woman for about an hour whose friend is struggling immensely due to the decision she made to give her child for adoption over 20 years prior. She recently reconnected with her child only to find out that the "good, Catholic" family experienced a tragic divorce and the girl was now a pro-abortion advocate and does not attend church. This mother is now racked with guilt, regret and despair over her decision to give the child for adoption.

She also feels that it is her "fault" that the child had such a negative upbringing. Though this mother has said that she would have never chosen abortion, she compares her feelings to those of the post-abortive woman because of the fact that she "aborted" the relationship she had with the child. The difference, however between abortion and adoption is that the woman who aborted did not just sever her relationship with the child, as happens also in adoption, but she severed the child’s relationship with humanity.

I spoke with Fr. Frank Pavone about this conversation at length, and he offered the following pastoral guidance as well as practical insight.

"The grief over what a child placed for adoption ultimately does is essentially the grief of a parent over what their child raised by them ultimately does," said Fr. Pavone. "It’s just a different form of that, because in both cases the parent blames him/herself. It’s just that [the] adoption becomes a much easier target to blame. It’s a difficulty accepting the reality of freedom, and that no matter how loving a parent is, there are many other factors at work to shape the child."

In addition to the reality that the rearing of a child does not guarantee the child's outcome, Fr. Pavone spoke strongly about the need to reform the adoption process to be more caring toward the birth mother and father.

"Another thing this brings up is that there is a need for counseling when someone makes an adoption plan, to help them in advance to prepare for the many different kinds of things that can happen," concluded Fr. Pavone.

Parents who want to use IVF or want to contracept as well as mothers who later regret adoption all suffer from this same faulty philosophy: they perceive that they have a right to the life of the child. But that is simply not true, and as I've said before, the only right you can speak of in the situation of bearing new life is the right to life of the child and the right of that child to be raised in a loving home. The parents, on the other hand, have the responsibility to accept this challenge as a part of their part in procreation, which is the greatest end of marriage, and one of the two ends toward which the conjugal act is directed. (The other is the union of the spouses.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

"The Last Abortion Clinic"

Tonight, a PBS Frontline special highlighted the political and legislative tactics used by pro-life organizations to regulate abortion, close abortion clinics and provide positive alternatives for women.

Unfortunately, this documentary was nothing more than an opportunity for the mainstream media, under the guise of objective reporting for public television, to tell a story of the big, bad pro-life'er coming to trample on women's rights… in the name of women's rights. It presented the pro-abortion side as the weak damsel in need of the helping hand of all sympathetic parties.

"It only attempted to take a neutral position, " said Joe Lanzilotti, student at Ave Maria University and pro-life activist. Make no mistake, this documentary was anything but neutral. The documentary gave an improper perception of pro-life activists as well as the movement itself.

I couldn't help while watching to think of those who honestly trust the mainstream media for accurate information about current events. These people allow their opinion to be changed at will by the public opinion portrayed in the media. In making pro-life activists seem like the ones who disregard the Constitution and a model of extremism, the person who is "one-the-fence" on abortion could have been quickly pushed to the pro-choice side. They used the guilt tactics of pointing out the inaccessibility of abortion to poor and rural women as a hindrance to equal access to this "right." Their eugenics mentality, the mentality that began the Planned Parenthood was put right in our faces, but in a way that would convince anyone of the legitimacy of abortion for these cases. But, abortion for these women does not help them; it only continues to push them into despair and poverty.

"They made it seem like pro-life activists take care of women merely as a tactic to end abortion," Lanzilotti said. "What they don't realize is that we do care for women; they are victims too."

The show emphasized that pro-life'ers don't care about women after the birth of the child. But, the truth is that pro-choice supporters don't care about women after abortion! This has become increasingly evident by the rise of abortion recovery ministries, all run by pro-life activists. We do the clean up job for the damage done by the abortion providers. Of course we want to regulate abortion. They have demonstrated the inability to self-regulate like every other medical field has succeeded in doing.

"The Frontline documentary contained typical rhetoric from abortion advocates and blatantly disregarded new developments in research and public awareness about the negative impact abortion has on women, children and families," said Kristen Panico, pro-life activist who helped with the formation of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Despite the plea at the end for help in the form of the desperate realization by the pro-choice movement that they are loosing, Panico reiterated the determination with which pro-life activists work.

Said Panico, "what they do not realize is that we will never give up because women deserve better than abortion."

Friday, November 4, 2005

Head v. Heart

The raging conflict between one's head and one's heart is all too common for most people. Imagine making a decision to leave your post on the front of the battle lines of the pro-choice movement in order to join the opposition? An abundance of God's grace certainly is given to women and men who courageously win the battle within themselves between their head and heart.

I had the rare opportunity to converse with a woman this week who told me she was just beginning to accept the pro-life message, but had some questions that were bothering her about personal choice. Great questions, and I'd like to share the answers with you, my dear reader, for the sake of your pro-life work, study or consideration. (Wording of the questions has been altered for the sake of confidentiality.)

Why do people think they have the right to interfere with a person's actions or decisions?

First of all, Christian charity and duty requires us to be concerned for the good of every person. Abortion is not only a sin against a child, but also a sin against the mother, father and all of society. "Interfering with the choice" of another person is only valid if the choice a person is about to make affects no one but him/herself. However, the choice to abort is different. It affects many others. In addition, many women do not realize the harm they bring to themselves by the act of abortion. Furthermore, many women are coerced into abortion, which makes the defense against this sin all the more necessary.

Why can't pro-life activists just understand that abortion is a personal decision to be made according to one's own conscience?

The Church does teach that each individual has free will and that decisions ought to be made according to one's conscience. There is a catch, however, in that a person must have a well-formed conscience, and that "free will" ends when the rights of others begin. In the book of Genesis, Cain killed Abel, his brother, and to his defense, Cain asks God "Am I my brother’s keeper?" Many misunderstand this comment to think that each individual lives in a vacuum, but that reality is quite the opposite. God's response is not simply "Yes, you are your brother's keeper," but punishes Cain sufficiently for his sin.

The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

This is a punishment that is "more than [he] can bear," and he laments over his sin in these words: "Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." This story demonstrates the responsibility we have for all our fellow human beings.

Why should a politician be supported when all he wants to do is restrict access to abortion regardless of his personal views on the matter?

First of all, if a politician is "restricting access to abortion" against his own convictions, that means he is doing it for the sake of his constituents. That's wonderful! We want politicians who listen to the people they represent!

With that said, questions regarding political responsibility go hand-in-hand with the above explanation. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to defend the life of all, especially the most defenseless- the unborn and the elderly. But, through "restricting access to abortion" politicians also help pregnant women who often do not have the support or resources during a difficult pregnancy. The abortion industry preys on these women to make money, and this leads to catastrophic consequences, as is evidenced in the extensive research done by post-abortion awareness groups. You may be interested in reading testimonies from women who aborted, and there are thousands of these available from Priests for Life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

A consequence of sin

Celebrity Brook Shields recently announced that she is pregnant with her second child. This comes as a shock after hearing her devastating tales of post-partum depression that she recounted in her book Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.

Recent studies from Australia reveal that mothers of children conceived through IVF are more prone to medical complications and four times more likely to suffer from post-partum depression. Shields' first child was conceived through IVF.

In addition, as many as one-in-six children conceived in vitro do not make it to birth, but die at some point either naturally or unnaturally. Perhaps the knowledge that about 85% of children are killed, not born, in the IVF procedure helps to compound that grief.

In addition, the faulty philosophy that leads a parent to resort to IVF is also found in the sins of contraception, abortion and "perfect baby syndrome." It is the attitude that a child is a right. But, that's not true. When speaking of personal rights in procreation, the only rights that exist are the rights of children to be born and loved, and the parents have the right to please each other and make each other happy. No one has the right to demand or deny the right to life of another person.

This philosophy drives barren couples as well as couples that sternly demand to be barren to misinterpret not only the means and ends of marriage (procreation and education of children), but also the meaning of our very existence as a gift from God.

One can only wonder whether the conception of her second child took this staggering evidence into account, and whether the child was conceived naturally. Of course, only time will tell, but this evidence should act as a stern warning to mothers against the sin of IVF.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Pro-life medical students- where to turn?

I sometimes notice trends in the emails I receive from various pro-life volunteers and supporters through out the country. Today, I found a unusually large amount of mail from concerned medical students looking for pro-life support in their studies. Sadly, I have yet to come in contact with a large-scale pro-life medical student association. While there are a few organizations that have college outreaches, there are none specifically for medical students.

There are several pro-life medical associations already in place, and with their guidance, I think it would be quite possible for a group of med students such as these to launch a pro-life association. That is exactly how Med Students for Choice began over 10 years ago- pro-abortion medical students got together and made it happen. MSFC is a national organization that has gained much momentum both in the medical community, and in the work of the pro-abortion movement at large.

Here is the advice I gave, and I welcome any input or information about individual pro-life medical student groups. Please send this to liveprolife at gmail dot com. Thank you!

Dr. Byron Calhoun from the American Association of Pro-life Ob/ Gyn's has expressed interest in forming a pro-life group of medical students. Also, this organization is helpful for those who anticipate an Ob/Gyn practice.

One More Soul is a group that promotes “NFP only” physicians of various types of medical practices.

American Collegians for Life is an extensive network of pro-life student groups from various colleges and universities. ACL holds an annual student conference during the weekend nearest to the March for Life, which I highly recommend.

The Feminists for Life college outreach program may be helpful; the message of Feminists for Life is taken very well by college students.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center promotes the dignity of life in healthcare. They have a great internship program, and they offer expert consultations in union with the teachings of the Catholic Church on difficult medical decisions.

Lastly, the Catholic Medical Association may or may not have an interest in a Catholic or pro-life med students group, but their partnership is certainly invaluable.