Thursday, June 30, 2005

Three different women

Regretfully, I confused Karen Ann Quinlan with Nancy Beth Cruzan in yesterday’s post. Therefore, I have erased the erroneous paragraphs from yesterday’s post, and replace them with the following.

Here is a little background on Karen Ann, as described by her family on the website of the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice in Newton, NJ. She was born in 1954 in Scranton, PA. She was adopted and had two younger brothers. She was described as very outgoing, well-liked and well-rounded.

At the age of 21, in 1975, she had been dieting for two days on only bread and water. She then went to a party, at which time she consumed alcohol and possibly narcotics. Feeling tired, she then fell asleep in a bedroom of the house where the party was happening. When she was found, she was not breathing.

She was rescued and stabilized. She was on a respirator and fed through a feeding tube. After one year of battling the hospital for the permission to remove her from the respirator, her parents won their case in the NJ supreme court to be allowed to wean her off the respirator. This was done so that she would die.

But, she didn’t. She continued to breathe on her own, and did so for the remaining ten years of her life. She died in 1985 from pneumonia.

It should be noted here that not only did Terri and Karen both suffer from a similar “persistent vegetative state,” but they were not subject to the same cause of death: dehydration due to remove of food and water. Therefore, their brain weight should not be compared to each other based on the condition they were living with, but based on the condition they died from.

Karen's case brought these difficult end-of-life care issues to the forefront, and the pro-euthanasia movement used this as an opportunity to push the deadly "living wills." (Some have even called Karen a "right-to-die activist." How can a woman be an activist pleading for her own death if she is in a vegetative state?!)

We must wonder what Terri’s brain weight was prior to the removal of nutrition and hydration. Also, what is the brain weight of similar women, such as Nancy Beth Cruzan, who suffer from severe brain injury?

So, the conclusion is that these medical examiners ought not be comparing Terri’s death to Karen’s death, but to Nancy’s death. Nancy died from dehydration due to the removal of her feeding tube.

While we are on the topic of Nancy Cruzan, I would like to point out something that few people know. Nancy’s father Joe committed suicide by hanging himself a few years after Nancy's death. You may read about this from the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force.

I work closely with Theresa and Kevin Burke of Rachel’s Vineyard, and have come to a fuller awareness of the trauma that abortion brings not only to the lives of women who have experienced abortion, but also to fathers, siblings, grandparents, friends, and society at large. Instances of suicide among post-abortive women as well as other high risk behaviors such as alcoholism, drug use, eating disorders and “workaholic-ism” are very high among these post-abortive individuals.

We can only wonder what the long-term emotional, physical, mental and spiritual after-effects of euthanasia would be. Was Nancy’s father suffering thinking he may have made the wrong decision? Did he feel trapped by the rhetoric of the pro-euthanasia movement that had kidnapped his rational though? Did he feel he had no one to talk to about this difficult decision he had helped to make to end his daughter’s life?

A man recently wrote expressing his grief over his grandmother’s death in the 1990’s. She had been alert and active, yet disabled, requiring feeding through a tube. Along with her sisters and brothers, she decided the best thing would be to have her feeding tube removed so she would no longer be a burden to the family. This young man was very troubled by this decision, and has said it haunts him to this day. I pointed out the fact that bereavement work has yet to venture openly to help the survivors of euthanasia heal.

I challenged him to consider developing such a program. “Perhaps God is calling you?”

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brain atrophy and dehydration

When the autopsy for Terri Schiavo was revealed earlier this month, among the questions I received, many people asked whether dehydration leads to brain atrophy. In addition, it is important to understand if there is an effect brain atrophy on function, and whether brain function determines whether a person qualifies for basic care.

An article in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests that dehydration is associated with brain atrophy. From the abstract of an article called, “Dehydration confounds the assessment of brain atrophy,” we read the following.

“Computerized brain volumetry has potential value for diagnosis and the follow-up evaluation of degenerative disorders. A potential pitfall of this method is the extent of physiologic variations in brain volume. The authors show that dehydration and rehydration can significantly change brain volume: lack of fluid intake for 16 hours decreased brain volume by 0.55% (SD, ±0.69), and after rehydration total cerebral volume increased by 0.72% (SD, ±0.21)” (NEUROLOGY 2005;64:548-550).

Other reports show that brain atrophy can happen in as little as 16 hours without hydration. It would only be logical that a person would die quickly from dehydration because her brain was so atrophied by dehydration that it ceased to function. The autopsy itself stated the following.

“Brain weight is an important index of its pathological state. Brain weight is coorelated with beight, weight, age and sex. The decedent’s [Terri’s] brain was grossly abnormal and weighed only 615 grams (1.35 lbs.). That weight is less than half of the expected tubular weight for a decedent of her adult age of 41 years 3 months 28 days. By way of comparison, the brain of Karen Ann Quinlan weighed 835 grams at the time of her death, after 10 years in a similar persistent vegetative state.”

(PLEASE SEE JUNE 30 POST. IT IS A CORRECTION OF THE ERROR THAT WAS HERE.)

Thirdly, does her condition warrant her unqualified for receiving nutrition and hydration through a tube? No. It doesn’t. Severely disabled children and adults, including brain injury patients have been fed through tubes for many years. I remember seeing the kids at Holy Angels fed through a tube about 20 years ago. In addition, Pope John Paul II gives the following advice on artificial nutrition and hydration.

“The sick person in a vegetative state, awaiting recovery or a natural end, still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.), and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed. He also has the right to appropriate rehabilitative care and to be monitored for clinical signs of eventual recovery.

“I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.”

With that said, today I was able to meet Suzanne and Michael Vitadamo, the sister and brother-in-law of Terri Schiavo. They are in New York City on a whirlwind media tour with Mark Fuhrman, investigator for the OJ Simpson case, to promote his new book Silent Witness: The Untold Story of Terri Schiavo’s Death. Read about their appearance on CBS’s The Early Show.

Though Michael did not say much, Suzanne spent a great deal of time talking about what Terri was like before her accident, what the goals of the Terri Foundation will be, and thanking all of us for our hard work to promote Terri’s cause. One of the goals of the Terri Foundation will be to make nutrition and hydration basic care, not medical treatment. I think this will be a vital step to halting the pro-death movement.

A special thank you to Suzanne, Michael, Mr. and Mrs. Schindler and Bobby. Our prayers are with all of you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr

During the consecration, one of the prayers of the Mass that the priest prays mentions the names of quite a few martyrs who died for our Faith during the early days of the Church. I don’t think I’d be alone if I said that it is hard to pay attention, or to relate to, those ancient names. Who are they really?

Well, today’s saint happens to be one of those saints. St. Irenaeus. From the breviary, we read the following:

“Saint Irenaeus was born around the year 130. Educated at Smyrna, he became the disciple of Saint Polycarp, bishop of that city. In the year 177 he was ordained a priest at Lyons in France and shortly thereafter was made bishop of that city. He composed works defending the Catholic faith against errors of the Gnostics, and it is said that he received the martyr’s crown around the year 200.”

St. Irenaeus, pray for us!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Alas, a prayer!

Much to my relief, I found this prayer for a godchild in my inbox at work this morning. Phew!

This prayer is written by Jeannie Hannemann, M.A. of Elizabeth Ministry International.


Heavenly Father, I have received the gracious gift of becoming a godparent.

This unique role has bonded me to my godchild with a responsibility to nurture the flame of faith given at baptism. Please guide me in my efforts to safeguard the soul of this precious child.

I beseech you to protect my godchild from all temptations and open his/her heart to the sacredness of life. Instill in my godchild the awareness of Your presence, the desire for good and the blessings of eternal life.

This I ask, with confidence in the power of the most Blessed Trinity, through Mary our Mother. Amen.


Thank you Jeannie!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A prayer for my godchild

As many of you may know, I am the godmother of the cutest, most lovable child in the world, Grace Emma. Though I have been praying for here since before her birth, for her first birthday, I wanted to find a specific prayer to give her, showing my commitment to praying for her daily.

Well, I have searched high and low for a prayer, and finding nothing, I wrote the following.


Most High God, You have given Grace as my goddaughter. I thank You for her life and for this great responsibility You have given to me.
Please help me to fulfill this responsibility to assist Grace’s parents in their Christian duty.
Help me Lord to be a witness of Your love to her through my prayer, my life and my involvement in the Christian community.

Please remind me Lord of the great responsibility I have not only on the day of her baptism, but throughout her life, to pray for her.
Please bless this godchild of mine with an abundance of Your graces throughout her life, and be with her as she discerns Your purpose for her life.
Please stir up in her an intense desire to love You in every moment of her life.
Keep far from her any sin that will cause her to loose her soul.
Please guide her Lord to live a life of service, charity and love for others.

After the baptism of Your son Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, all people were challenged in these words, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.”
Through the graces of her baptism, may my godchild Grace always listen to the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I ask this through Jesus Christ, our baptized Lord, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


Happy First Birthday, Grace Emma!!!

___________________________________________

Sadly, many misunderstand the role of godparents. While there are temporal responsibilities such as giving customary gifts upon baptism and birthdays, being the guardian of the child if (God forbid) something happens to his or her parents, and having a place of honor at the child’s wedding, there are a great many recommendations and responsibilities that the Christian life demands of a godparent.

Catholics United for the Faith provide extensive information on the duties and responsibilities of godparents at this link.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cause for a saint

Thursday, the official cause for the canonization of Pope John Paul II revealed a prayer to be said for his intercession for favors as well as in thanksgiving for his life.


O Blessed Trinity,
We thank you for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is
the way of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.


Various news agencies have reported on this:
Diocese of Rome, Cause for John Paul II’s canonization
Zenit
Catholic News Agency


Let us pray…

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Irresponsibility

I began to write this post on the Planned Parenthood and how they do not promote sexual health or responsibility. They clearly have an agenda for destroying sexual innocence and normalizing erotic and dysfunctional sexual relations. They are also the largest provider of abortion services, as well as a driving force for destroying the family through legislation, public policy and education that proscribes abortion, allows homosexual unions and destroys first amendment rights.

Well… I meandered onto their web site to pull some quotes and gazed on an article that hit very close to home for me. “Crisis pregnancy centers: enter at your own risk.” These are called “anti-choice” centers by the Planned Parenthood because they assist women in seeking real alternatives to abortion by providing women with resources and support to bring her child to birth. These centers then help women to parent or place the child for adoption. The Planned Parenthood does NOT do these things.

This article is about a woman who “never thought she’d need an abortion,” and when she went to the Planned Parenthood on 44 Court Street, Brooklyn, she was “tricked” into going to an Expectant Mother Care clinic, though she was looking “to exercise [her] own right to choose.”

I have counseled outside of the three abortion clinics housed in 44 Court Street many times, and I have personally seen many women turn around when they realize that abortion is harmful to them and that we will be able to link them with resources and support necessary to support their child.

“Laura P.,” who is described in the story, wants women “to know what their options are, and to know that places like this aren't any help at all.”

WAIT! Didn’t you mention earlier in this same article that this center had just given you a FREE pregnancy test and a FREE ultrasound? Hadn’t they said “the center would provide food and all of my prenatal care, including delivery?” Didn’t they promise to cover all of the baby’s medical expenses for the first “year or two?”

And that’s not help for her? O, dear!

This woman concludes her article by summarizing her “fear” of the pregnancy care center and the fact that she voluntarily gave them all of her contact information. “It's awful that they set up centers adjacent to Planned Parenthood health centers and try to manipulate women into believing we're sinners.”

Sinners? Hardly! Did anyone at EMC call her a sinner? Pregnancy care centers provide real resources for women in need and encourage them to live a life of chastity. If anyone is shaming a woman for being single and pregnant, it is the Planned Parenthood who desperately tries to eliminate all of these situations through abortions, while still condoning sexual promiscuity.

Furthermore, pregnancy care centers like EMC are the ones that provide the “clean up job” after abortion by directing women to post-abortion programs and care. That’s another thing the Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide.

The only thing the Planned Parenthood provides after an abortion is a handful of contraception… so they can make more money on the next “failure.”

If you know a woman who is pregnant, listen to her, understand her and her situation, and let her know that you love her and will help support her. Then, go with her to a pregnancy care center in your area that will also provide this support throughout her pregnancy and after the birth of her child.

For a link of pregnancy care centers, please see the OptionLine. For post-abortion care, please see the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Caring for disabled persons

My dear readers, I am not going to lie. In November 2003 when I first became aware of Terri’s plight, I was a little skeptical. After all, the Catholic Church had yet to make a pronouncement on the status of artificial means of nutrition and hydration. The assignment to write an article on Terri was given to me with less than 3 hours to complete. I had to explain a situation I knew little about, and that was one of the hardest articles I wrote! Being completely unfamiliar with the case, I spent the first two and a half hours on the internet, browsing various news articles, the Terri Foundation website, commentary from moral theologians, and more.

Over the next year an a half, I listened to public radio talk shows about “the woman in Florida,” kept up on the news, asked questions, prayed, and continued to form my own opinion about the case. Though working actively to save her life, it was not until her autopsy was made public that I fully understood why her death was wrong. It is a great tragedy of a society failing to protect the most vulnerable. It is the ruins of moral relativism. Many have taken the “freedom of choice” slogan, and now use it to justify the killing of themselves, their loved ones, and the vulnerable in the name of compassion.

Let’s take a look at what caring for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable teaches us as persons.

In a previous post, I spoke about my family’s involvement with Holy Angels through volunteering. And, as the Terri Schiavo tragedy continues to unfold, the pro-life movement is forced to admit more openly to the importance of caring for the disabled persons among us.

In March 2005 at the height of Terri’s tragedy, I began to receive many more letters from people who were the parents, siblings or friends of persons with severe brain injury, mental and physical disability, or terminal illness.

These were the heroic caregivers for those who were unable to care for themselves even in the most basic sense. The all spoke of the joy of the sacrifice of caring for these individuals, and of the tragedy that loomed, no, was already present, with the abuse of Terri Schiavo. All of these people took it as a personal insult to their loved ones.

A woman named Andrea Harwick writes to share her thoughts. Her brother was severely disabled with autism and passed away in 2001 at age 45.

“Our family misses him very much,” she testified. “In general, people have so little contact with the profoundly disabled that they are tempted to think of them as less than human. It is so important that pro-life groups become outspoken advocates for the severely disabled as well as the unborn and the elderly.”

“So little contact”? How did this happen? It’s true; there are not many disabled persons among us. There are many elderly persons with various diseases and ailments, but children with incurable mental and physical handicaps… where are they? They have been aborted. Doctors and parents, those whose responsibilities include nurturing life and bringing it forth into the world, have been the ones responsible for eliminating one entire sector of our society.

Yet, abortion of a handicapped child is considered one of the “hard cases” of abortion. It is these children who are some of the greatest blessings for families and for society. They teach us how to serve, how to love unconditionally, what it means to be fully human.

It is very important that those people who sustain injuries or disabilities, or are simply at the fragile end or beginning of their lives are not seen as having any less "quality" to their being. In Terri Schiavo's case, she was fully sustained on her own. The only "treatment" she received was the same treatment you and I and everyone else receive daily: 3 full meals.

With all of that said, I pray that my vocation will lead me to serve many disabled children and adults, perhaps through foster care, perhaps through other service opportunities. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Eerie epitaphs

Today’s big news: yet another insult to Terri Schiavo and her parents. Yesterday, Michael Schiavo buried her ashes in a cemetery in Clearwater, Florida. Not surprisingly, Terri’s family was neither invited to the burial, nor informed of it. In fact, phone calls from media reporters came in before they were informed via a fax of the service.

The biggest shocker, however, is Michael’s choice of wording on Terri’s headstone.

“I kept my promise,” Michael states on her tombstone. Wow, that one sentence brings up so many questions. Is a tombstone the place to make such a selfish and controversial statement? What promise was that exactly, Michael? Are you trying that hard to justify your actions? Is this yet another expression of denial of abetting in murder?

He made her suffer. He made her parents suffer, too. Even IF Terri had said that she did not want any “artificial means,” pushing his agenda to the point of creating animosity between himself and the rest of Terri’s family was not worth it! He only wanted to cause her death, maybe out of spite toward her parents, maybe out of good intention. Why couldn’t he just let her be cared for, as any disabled person should be cared for, by parents who were willing to do?

Yet, another irony in this case is the fact that the wording on Terri’s tombstone is almost identical to the wording of the memorial to Nancy Beth Cruzan.

Nancy’s plight dates back to 1983 when, as a 25-year-old woman, she was in a car accident. Her injuries left her in what doctors called a “permanent vegetative state (PVS)” and after 7 years of disputes, her parents “won” their fight over Nancy’s husband and the hospital to remove her feeding tube. This case was seen in the halls of the Supreme Court.

Terri was injured at the age of 26. At that time, she was married to Michael. Though her injury remains a mystery, she was deemed to be in a PVS with no hope for recovery. Through 15 years of dispute, Terri’s husband finally succeeded in removing her feeding tube at the dismay of her parents and siblings. Her case was rejected by the Supreme Court, however the President did attempt to intervene to save her life.

Nancy’s memorial listed the date of her injury, January 11, 1983, as the day she “departed.” Terri’s tombstone listed the date of her injury, February 25, 1990, as they day she “departed this Earth.”

Departed? This statement is trying to justify the claim that these woman lacked any dignity or worth after sustaining injuries. (Maybe a tomb for an aborted child should say “Exercising the right to choose.”)

Nancy’s memorial remembers her as the “most loved daughter-sister-aunt,” which completely ignores her role as wife. Her husband was the one vying for her life.

Terri’s headstone remembers her as the “beloved wife,” which completely ignores her role as sister and daughter. Her parents and siblings were the ones fighting for her life.

In both cases, the person who advanced the “cause” of her death was the person who “remembered” her in stone as their own.

“MWMW thank you -----” is Nancy’s epitaph. The squiggly line of a beating heart… a common phrase of gratitude… the straight line of death. How sick.

“I kept my promise” is Terri’s epitaph. A political statement… a slap in the face… the final words belong to the perpetrator, not the victim. Again, how utterly sick.


An article in The Empire Journal explains this correlation in detail with pictures of the tombstones, links to pertinent Supreme Court cases, and links to other articles about the Terri Schiavo tragedy.

How many more tombstones like this will we see? How about those born with severe handicaps, will their tombstone state, “Never really entered.”

Monday, June 20, 2005

Quick facts about contraception

Today’s question comes from the father of three girls in their early 20s who ask their father to explain how the pill acts as an abortifacient. He is not finding any success and is looking for a visual aid to show fertilization in the fallopian tubes and resultant non-implantation of the newly fertilized child. He also wants facts on the hormone manipulation on the woman’s body.

Great question! So many people do not know the basic facts about chemical contraception, including most women and girls who take these high dosage hormones.

Pharmacists for Life, International has a great resource on their website that describes the abortifacient effect of contraception.

Nucleus Medical Art has many professional, text book quality medical drawings which will be useful in understanding the female body. Type “fertilization” in the search box to find 4 of these diagrams.

Another great resource for understanding the impact of contraception is Christopher West’s presentations and books, such as The Good News about Sex and Marriage. His books are available from Ascension Press.

Here are some biblical references that form our opinion on (that is, against) contraception:

Children are a gift from God: Genesis 4:1; Genesis 33:5
Children are a “heritage” from the Lord: Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a blessing from God: Luke 1:42
Children are a “crown to the aged”: Proverbs 17:6
God blesses barren women with children: Psalm 113:9; Genesis 21:1-3; 25:21-22; and 30:1-2; 1 Samuel 1:6-8; Luke 1:7, 24-25
God forms children in the womb: Psalm 139:13-16
God knows children before birth: Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15

Read the Catholic translation of the Bible online at the USCCB website.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Blind is when you look, but you do not see

Wednesday, the autopsy results from Terri Schiavo were released during a press conference. Once again, the eyes of the world were on this young woman and the tragedy that surrounded her life and death.

I waited a few days since the release of the autopsy to gather my thoughts about the matter, and I would like to take this opportunity to share them with you, my dear reader.

The world was divided like heaven and hell over this tragic case. On one hand, you had Michael Schiavo, a husband devastated by the severe handicaps of his wife. He desired to see the end of her suffering, and he thought “allowing her to die” would be the best way to handler her situation.

On the other hand, you had two loving parents Robert and Mary Schindler and her two siblings Bobby and Suzanne, who were also devastated. Devastated by the fact that their beloved daughter (sister)’s fate lied in the hands of one person. One person who was not open to any sort of discussion or compromise.

Sadly, in the end, it was Michael’s desire to see Terri dead that won. The method he chose to use was to remove her feeding tube, which subsequently removed all of her nutrition and hydration. (Undoubted, this method was chosen because it is much disputed by moral theologians, medical professionals and lawyers whether a feeding tube constitutes an “extraordinary means” of care. In March 2004, Pope John Paul II clearly stated that such care is not to be considered extraordinary, but ordinary. Please see this statement.)

Despite opposition, an autopsy was performed on Terri Schiavo after her death. Because this autopsy determined that Terri had neither suffered from any abuse nor from a heart attack, many believe that because she sustained brain injuries and an atrophied brain, her life was in some way less precious than my life or yours.

Her cause of death was listed solely as dehydration. She did not die from her brain injury.

As the family of Terri Schiavo said in their statement, “Terri was brain-injured. This does NOT mean that she was brain-dead. Many seem to not understand this absolutely critical distinction. “

Please read Fr. Frank Pavone’s commentary after the release of the autopsy. (I have been blessed to work with Fr. Frank and Priests for Life for the past year, and this is by far my favorite piece written by him.)

When our grandchildren look back on history, will they see this fight as a victory for human rights? Or, will they see it as a tragedy equal to the Holocaust or the days of segregation?

Society is not blind because our eyes are shut; we are blind because our eyes are wide open, yet we look right in the face of evil and call it good.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Culturally balanced

Though your writer lives in New York City, she rarely takes advantage of opportunities to immerse herself in the richness of the culture of the City, especially on that long and famous road: Broadway. But, no more! I provide here this small explanation as an apology for not writing my usual reflection, however living fully as a human means that we must appreciate life fully, including the arts.

My brother's girlfriend was in town, and her group had one extra ticket to see Stomp! It was the most amazing performance I've ever seen! The theatre was covered from head to toe in random decorations from trash to road signs. The performers made music with the most curious mediums, from Zippo lighters to brooms, from wheels to trash cans, from newspapers to matchboxes, from kitchen sinks to plungers!! No words were spoken throughout the entire performance, yet you could see a personality in each of the performers.

From now on, those annoying little noises will be music to my ears and washing the dishes will be an opportunity to make music!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Men and Purity

(***This post is NOT meant for anyone under the age of 16.***)


I would like to share an article from LifeIssues.net. In my quest to restore the real meaning of human sexuality to the world, I was relieved to see this article posted on LifeIssues.net. (I am also grateful to Dr. McManaman for providing an easy-to-reference and user-friendly questionnaire for determining the morality of any action.)

This article is about masturbation. Along with contraception, this topic is skirted by most pro-life, pro-family organizations because we all just can’t seem to come to an agreement on its morality. With careful research and reflection, it is clear that this abuses must be addressed with vigor, in light of the Gospel and prayer, because they are at the root of the evils that we labor so hard to end.

Why are pornography, raunchy music, certain types of dancing, revealing clothing and lust wrong? Because these things usually lead to masturbation. Sadly, the only mention of this word typically seen is in disillusioned parenting books that encourage such behavior in infants and toddlers for “healthy sexual development” and the information given to our children in “sex education” classes that encourage children to experience sex “early and often.”

This one activity alone, masturbation, leads to a delusional view of one’s sexuality, improper behavior in romantic relationships, homosexuality, violence, abuse and rape. It perverts society and individuals.

Our Holy Church, in her infinite wisdom, issued a document called “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education within the Family.” This is a must read for everyone, no matter if your vocation is marriage, the religious life or the single life. This document is another essential ingredient in restoring innocence and a proper understanding of human sexuality.


A special plea to all men: please pray to our Blessed Mother and Blessed St. Joseph for the strength to overcome these temptations. Please be an example to us women.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Re-writing the rules

Laws and public policy are and have been a very significant factor in spreading the culture of death. These laws have re-written the age-old traditions that have guarded human sexuality and guaranteed human life. These traditions have protected children, women, families and society at large. By re-writing the rules, human law has attempted to over-ride the natural law by erasing all legal penalty for such offenses as contraception, abortion, euthanasia and the like.

Yes, re-writing the rules. Yet so many people don’t even realize it is going on!

A few weeks ago, I was engaged in a lovely game of “ladder golf” with a dear friend, her cousin and her mother. Having never played this game before, my friend and I listened carefully as her cousin explained every rule we had to play by. It sounded easy enough, and we were soon beating our instructors at their own delightful little game. When the cousin got sidetracked by the idea of driving a golf-cart, an aunt came over to fill her place, only to inform us that we were playing all wrong! My friend’s small cousin had completely re-written the rules, and we were the unfortunate ones who were duped.

What if an entire society has had the rules re-written right in front of their faces. The rules that govern our society in its most fragile and fundamental core: the family.

A recent article from Life Site News gives us another reason to fear the re-writing of rules. It explains that “homosexuals are far more likely to engage in illegal and socially dangerous behaviour than heterosexuals.” Eek!

If society continues on our current track record, in order to deal with these problems, we can just re-write the rules again. Child molestation, rape, kidnapping, pornography, violent crimes against women, murder, prostitution, controlled substance use. Nope, they may well not be crimes any longer.

After all, everyone is doing it, right?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Human Love in the Divine Plan

I do not like to bore people with the details of my personal life, but when an experience so dramatically convinces a person of the reality of God’s love and desire for our hearts… I can’t help but share my experience briefly!

Last weekend, God brought closure to two situations that had been troubling me greatly concerning my vocation. A girl can’t help but wonder why God has created her. He has closed two doors and locked them tight. Only on the other side of eternity will I know why in full. Yet, I am so very grateful!

Last weekend, I also was blessed to attend a Theology of the Body conference given by Christopher West. In my desire to further my studies, I continually return to the “why” of human existence as well as origin of the sin in which we live. As I have said before, and I repeat now, it is from the proper understanding of human sexuality that the Culture of Life will be build. Christopher West explains with eloquence, passion and certainty Pope John Paul II’s great work, “The Theology of the Body.” I long to study this with greater depth in order to prepare myself to spread this message to the world.

Now, I abandon myself completely to His will, trust that He will provide for me, and trust that He will show me my vocation and apostolate with continued clarity.


So… I have begun my crusade to read all 129 talks given by our late John Paul the Great. I offer the following “study notes” for your consideration. I invite you all to join me in reading the full text of “The Theology of the Body.” (The book is available from Pauline Press. I will read at least one section per day, however each study session will begin by reading the previous day’s reading in its entirety. This “one step back, two forward” approach will help us to understand and grasp more fully the richness of this text. I am no expert- I am just learning! Please do not assume that reflections I give are correct. I welcome your input via the “comments” section.


“It is significant that in his reply to the Pharisees, in which he appealed to the ‘beginning,’ Christ indicated first of all the creation of man by referring to Genesis 1:27: ‘The Creator from the beginning created them male and female’” (p. 30)

We are “divided” as a human race (and of all species for that matter) into male and female. Since creation, this has been the most significant differing factor in our being. Therefore, it must say something of who we are as individuals. There are only two sexes. So, because I am woman, I must choose man; man must likewise choose woman. God provides billions of choices, but the only requirement is that he be “he.” For a man, the only requirement is that she be “she.” All other traits are accidental to our being; sex is substantial. Though eyes are the “windows” to the soul, God did not say, “I make thee blue eyed and brown eyed.” NO! He knew from all eternity that sex would be the differentiation of the persons of the human race.


“When God-Yahweh speaks the words about solitude, it is in reference to the solitude of ‘man’ as such, and not just to that of the male” (p. 35).

Yet, because of that, God created woman as a helper. Is this so they could procreate and live in unity? Like the Trinity, an entity of life-giving love and relation, family through sexual relation and procreation creates life-giving love and relationships. In our original solitude, we were created as social beings.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dogs in strollers and children on leashes

Today’s topic is inspired by two individual pieces of correspondence. The first comes from a nice, elderly man from Texas who is devastated by the lack of unity among the numerous pro-life groups in his city. I spent a great deal of time explaining to him the value of creating unity without even saying the word by building up the work of fellow pro-life organizations, and sending genuine invitations to others in hopes that they will attend his group’s events. The man was grateful, and I learned a lot as well…

So, when I received this article, the wheels in my mind began to spin. There is so much that is said without even saying the word, I realized.

Troubled families in San Francisco speak about the epidemic trend of families moving out of the city for various reasons including better schools, family friendly environment, and more bang-for-your-buck when it comes to purchasing a home.

The following sentence sums up the problem that has turned so large that the mayor is instigating programs to lure families back into the city.

“A similar lament is being heard in San Francisco’s half-empty classrooms, in parks where parents are losing ground to dog owners, and in the corridors of City Hall.”

Gasp!

Look at the result of the sin of our nation! The article is even so bold as to attribute some of the problem to the large gay population in the town. The statistics are eerie. Our children are becoming an endangered species.

Yes, we as Americans have turned to pets as our new children. I live in NYC, and everyone has a dog. It is sick sometimes how these little furry critters become the children of the lonely individuals who tend to them. A special on TV tonight was highlighting doggy grooming spas, special diets for your pooch, exercise regimes for “daddy and doggie” or “mommy and mutt,” face lifts for the aging four legged friends. FACE LIFTS!?!?

Memories of my recent visit to St. Louis flooded backe to me. While there two weeks ago, we went to the “Gypsy Fair.” My intuition to be skeptical of a Gypsy Fair was right on target. One of the first things I saw was a small dog perched in a stroller. The stroller was being pushed by an older man with a large grin on his face. There were no children to be seen.

A mere few hours later, still at the same fair, I saw a mother dragging her child by a leash toward the beer coral. I was in shock! I though we had come to a family-friendly event, but these images were like freakish nightmares!

Sadly, these nightmares are coming true. Baby stores are being replaced by pet stores. Families include the name and picture of the family “member” on Christmas cards. Vera Wang is making specialty purses for your dog to sit in while you shop together on 5th Ave. Children are seen as a burden, and pets are seen as a responsibility.

O, God, have mercy on us!

Thursday, June 9, 2005

A great homily

Today, I am going to let the great homily I heard recently speak for itself. This homily was delivered by Fr. Walter Quinn, O.S.A. Please find the homily here.

Thank you, Fr. Quinn!


Also, tomorrow is the funeral for one of my parish priests from when I was a kid, Fr. Richard Allen. You may read the obituary from the Charlotte Observer. God rest his soul.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Adoption

Homosexual activists are heightening their efforts to bring sympathy and support to their sinful agenda. With no surprise, they have the mainstream media on their side as well as the money to be able to lobby the lawmakers to be sympathetic to their cause. Along with indoctrinating our school children (via sex education) that this lifestyle is normal and healthy, two of their most pressing goals are for the legal right to marriage and adopt children.

These goals pose both a significant moral dilemma as well as practical challenges. First, children who are adopted often struggle with identity questions along with the social stigma of being adopted. Second, while there are many children in foster homes awaiting adoption, most parents desire an infant of their same race. There are simply not enough children to go around. Third, through many adoption programs, the birth mother chooses the family who will adopt the child.

Difficulties in finding a child to adopt are often overlooked in these one-sided media reports describing the desires of “gay lovers” to have a child of their own to raise. From the above facts, it seems that the only children open to adoption would be foster children. These children are the most at-risk and often have a very emotional disturbed and unstable past. Placement of these children in homes of gay lovers would only increase their instability and further their emotional distress.

Statistics show that the early 1970s was the most popular era for adoption. It is no surprise that the early 1970s is also the time when abortion became increasingly legal and popular. In 1973, abortion became legal across the board when Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were passed.

Almost immediately, there came an attitude shift toward adoption. No longer were birth parents giving their children to adoptive families out of love or responsibility. These mothers were being lured to the abortion clinics to have their children destroyed.

Somehow, these gay activists are trying to gain support for their desire to adopt, and the practical challenges are being over looked. Perhaps gay couples in general do not want to adopt, but only want the legal ability to do so for the sake of the status of their agenda.

It is no surprise that in his speech on Monday, June 6, Pope Benedict XVI grouped together opposition to abortion, support of marriage between one man and one woman, and criticism of moral relativism. The below mentioned article quotes his words in their English translation.

“Benedict XVI underscored that "the various forms of dissolving marriages today, as well as free unions and 'trial marriages', including pseudo-marriage between people of the same sex, are, rather, expressions of an anarchical freedom, which passes itself off, wrongly, as the true liberation of man. Such pseudo-freedom is based on making the body banal, which inevitably includes making man banal."”

Simply put, children are not the right of a married couple, but a responsibility. It is the responsibility of our society through making public policy to protect our children by ensuring that this responsibility is put rightly on the thousands of husbands and wives willing and ready to adopt and raise the child in a loving home.

We must be careful to build up adoption as a loving option for a mother, establish the correct attitude toward children, and work vigorously to build a society that respects and condones right moral reasoning.

The Adoption History Project is an educational project of the Department of History at the University of Oregon. Their website has valuable articles and statistical reports on adoption.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Justification or regret

Today’s topic is my favorite topic: contraception. The question was from an elderly woman who asks:

"Do you think if the Church relaxed its rule on Birth Control there would be less abortions?

"After all every time a married couple shows their great love for each other one doesn't become pregnant.

"Surely, to space ones children and limit the number they can provide for emotionally, and economically is acceptable.

"Good, Faithful Catholics would use it for only this purpose."


You have raised some honest, good-faith questions about spacing births and the use of contraceptive devices for this purpose. I hope to be able to address your concerns sufficiently.

The Church is firm in her stance against artificial contraception, and she recommends the use of Natural Family Planning for the spacing of children. NFP consists of recognizing the fertile periods in a woman's cycle and abstaining during that time if avoiding conception would be prudent. A couple who practices NFP must be careful to have a serious reason for spacing their children, and they must always be open to the possibility of conceiving.

It is true that in God's design of a woman, he created only a certain time frame each month when pregnancy can occur. However, the use of contraception does is not valid because of this fact. When couples attempt to "play God" while using contraception, they are denying both their responsibility as parents, the vows they made in marriage, and their trust in God's divine plan for their lives. This is called the "contraceptive mentality." The lies of this philosophy dictate that man and woman ought to be able to decide when or whether to have a child. It is only logical that what follows the widespread belief in this philosophy is not only contraception use, but also abortion.

In his 1968 document Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI affirmed this point. “These acts, by which husband and wife are united in chaste intimacy, and by means of which human life is transmitted, are, as the council recalled, "noble and worthy," and they do not cease to be lawful if, for causes independent of the will of husband and wife, they are foreseen to be infecund, since they always remain ordained towards expressing and consolidating their union” (paragraph 11).

Contraception is not, and will never be, 100% fool-proof. Pregnancy happens when contraception is used at alarming rates. If a couple is using birth control and pregnancy occurs, the temptation to abort becomes greater.

Furthermore, all chemical contraceptives act as abortifacients should breakthrough fertilization occur. An abortifacient renders it impossible for a newly conceived child to implant in his mother's womb.

Statistics show that Catholic couples use contraception just as frequently as non-Catholic couples do. The solution to the problem is clearly not to condone contraceptive use by serious Catholics, but to educate about NFP and a proper understanding of human sexuality and the marital act.

In the same above-mentioned encyclical, Pope Paul VI issued the following recommendation for the use of NFP.

“Now, some may ask: in the present case, is it not reasonable in many circumstances to have recourse to artificial birth control if, thereby, we secure the harmony and peace of the family, and better conditions for the education of the children already born? To this question it is necessary to reply with clarity: the Church is the first to praise and recommend the intervention of intelligence in a function which so closely associates the rational creature with his Creator; but the affirms that this must be done with respect for the order established by God.

“If, then, there are serious motives to space out births, which derive from the physical or psychological conditions of husband and wife, or from external conditions, the Church teaches that it is then licit to take into account the natural rhythms immanent in the generative functions, for the use of marriage in the infecund periods only, and in this way to regulate birth without offending the moral principles which have been recalled earlier” (paragraph 16).

As I said above, those who know me well know that contraception is my favorite topic. I am firmly convinced that it is the widespread use of contraception that has lead to all of the social ills of our day. In the news, especially in the past month, we read more and more about homosexual “marriages,” cloning and embryonic research, murders of pregnant women, post-abortion justification and/or regret, Benedict XVI’s condemnation of moral relativism, STDs and STIs, etc.

Could the answer really be as simple as resolving the great lie being told through the marital act when contraception and the contraceptive mentality rule in lieu of the promise of God’s plan for our human sexuality?

The Magisterium of the Church has done their part in promulgating "Humanae Vitae." The time has come for our Bishops and Priests to implement these teachings prayerfully with sincerity and urgency.


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Next week, I will have much more time to put into more thoughtful dissections of current news stories. I am greatly troubled by the widespread activities of the gay movement. At the same time, I am greatly inspired by the words of Pope Benedict XVI. A Catholic News Agency story highlights his words from Monday’s presentation. Original text available in Italian from the Vatican website.

When a translation to English is published at the end of the week, I will be providing a deeper look at his words.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Confusing terminology

This past weekend, I attended the Respect Life Coordinators Planning Meeting for those in the Archdiocese of New York. We listened to presentations by Sr. Marie Regina, S.V. of the Sisters of Life and the Family Life Respect Life Office, Ed Mechmann of the New York State Catholic Conference- Catholic Advocacy Network, and Msgr. Philip Reilly of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. These presentations were very inspiring in my personal vocation of pro-life work as well as an opportunity for continuing education and networking.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s before abortion was legal and widespread, the pro-life forces did not know what we know today about the impact of abortion on individuals, society and culture. The position of the Church on such matters was even somewhat vague for many, and very few people were educated on the topic of abortion. Of course, I do not just mean abortion, but how abortion harms women, fetal development, hidden agendas of organizations like the Planned Parenthood, etc.

Enter a presentation by Mr. Mechmann on cloning and stem cell research. He said, “Embryonic stem cell research depends on human cloning.” I was stumped by this phrase, even after all I have researched about the topic. After the presentation, I asked for an explanation.

It was then that I realized how the media is attempting to dupe us again… Most people who resort to IVF realize that the “embryos” created in such research are human beings and ought not be used for research. In addition, the number of “spare” embryos from such research is not nearly enough to accomplish all the things these mad scientists would like to do. However, they are able to accomplish as much embryo research as possible when they are able to create the embryos themselves by cloning! Aha!

So, to make this point quick and clear, (therapeutic) cloning is a necessary step for these mad scientists who see these embryo stem cell lines as having promise for their research. Again, we all must understand that the ends never justify the means!

Friday, June 3, 2005

Snowflakes

Today’s question has been a hot topic lately. In fact, I have received about 10 inquiries on this subject a day in the past week! “Would embryo (snowflake) adoption justify In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?”

Moral theologians have different opinions about the question of the adoption of embryos that were not used during IVF attempts, and the Church has not yet settled this question. What is clear, of course, is that an embryo may not be deliberately killed nor donated to research. It seems to us that adopting these embryos is morally acceptable.

A May 31, 2005 news article in the Washington Post highlighted this debate in Catholic medical ethics. The article quotes three orthodox Catholic thinkers who, in good conscience, do not agree on the topic. Below are the four pertinent paragraphs from the article.

But the debate over embryo adoptions is just beginning to take shape. "There are very few moral issues on which the Catholic Church has not yet taken a position. This is one," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, chief spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

One of the leading voices in the church in favor of embryo adoptions is the Rev. Thomas D. Williams, dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome. "It's reaching out to another human being, albeit in an embryonic state, in the only way that that little being can be helped," he said.

But the Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, who has a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and is staff ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, argued that embryo adoptions would make Catholics complicit in test-tube fertilizations, which the church considers illicit. Moreover, he said, artificially implanting an embryo in a woman's womb is a "grave violation of the nature of marital sexuality."

When counseling Catholic couples on the issue, Pacholczyk said, he is careful to point out: "The Vatican could prove me wrong tomorrow. But I don't think the church will ever give them permission for this."

As Fr. Tad has stated, one threat of allowing embryo adoption is that it will nullify (at least in public opinion) the Church's teaching against IFV. However, the adoption of embryos does not promote nor condone IVF. On the contrary, it is similar to other pro-life ministries that do the "clean-up job" for the sins of the Culture of Death. Because a child may have been conceived by an act of fornication, this child still has human rights and a human soul. He or she is still worthy of dignity despite the sins of his or her parents.

IVF is frequently purported as pro-life because it is pro-birth. In reality, it is a grave offense against life because it separates the act of procreation from the conjugal act. IVF is used by well-meaning couples who desire to be parents despite fertility problems. The act of IVF has a language of its own, however. It is a language that says that parents have the right to when and whether to have children, similar to the "contraceptive mentality" that also separates the conjugal act from procreation.

IVF is not only a means of causing fertilization (procreation) in a clinical environment, but eliminates the conjugal act's role in procreation. This is a grave offense against the human person, the marriage covenant, and the plan of God. The language of love in the conjugal act is the proper place for the procreation of a human being. Pope John Paul II spoke of this at length in his Theology of the Body and Love and Responsibility.

With that said, we can analyze the morality of embryo adoption. While it seems that the only viable option for these little babes is to implant them in the womb of a woman who will bring them to birth, it is rightly debated whether this act of artificial implantation is morally licit. As Fr. Tad explains, artificial embryo transfer is a "grave violation of the nature of marital sexuality." It is important that the ends are not used to justify the means.

One of the most comprehensive statements by the Church on the dignity of the human embryo is "Donum Vitae". The key section from this document is the following:

“In consequence of the fact that they have been produced in vitro, those embryos that are not transferred into the body of the mother and are called "spare" are exposed to an absurd fate, with no possibility of their being offered safe means of survival that can be licitly pursued” (Donum vitae, I.5.).

Two articles from 2001 that were published in "Ethics and Medics," a publication of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, provide some more thought on this complex subject: Theological Debate over Embryo Adoption and On the Disposition of Frozen Embryos. This is a password-protected site; access is available with a subscription to the publication.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Does life have to equal death?

Today’s question is: “Does embryonic stem cell research involve cloning? And if it does, I wonder, then, does ALL stem cell research inevitably involve cloning?”

This question is in response to the following challenge given to a pro-life woman by a well-meaning, yet misinformed journalist who says:

"The whole point of embryonic stem cell research is to get to the point where a person needing the benefits of such therapy as stem cell technology may offer, would contribute his or her DNA to an unfertilized egg in order to engender a substance that could be re-injected into the donor to effectuate replacement of defective conditions."

Embryonic stem cell research does not necessarily involve cloning. Embryos fertilized in clinics serve the primary purpose of human reproduction, and any embryo that is not implanted is frozen for future use. Because so many embryos are created, most are not used. Researchers, upon discovering the benefit of adult stem cell research and the fact that embryos contain stem cells as well, desire to use these embryos for research. Extracting stem cells from embryos necessitates killing that embryo.

Here is a little more about IVF and fertilization. The cooperation of the female body and the male body has a natural process by which fertilization occurs. It is a matter of natural selection that only those sperm that are properly developed will have the stamina to travel through the woman's womb to meet the egg in the upper fallopian tube. Naturally, those sperm that are mutated will not have this stamina, and will not make the journey. Hence, nature (God) has its own way of avoiding birth defects and genetic mutations. When fertilization occurs "in vitro," there is no natural selection. All of the sperm provided by the male are candidates for fertilizing the woman's egg. This leads to an increase in birth defects, and also decreases the chance of success in IVF. (Also, sperm are obtained for IVF by means of masturbation, which is explicitly condemned by the Church. Please see CCC 2352 and 2396 and Persona Humana section IX)

Cloning is a grave offense against life for many reasons. First, it is manipulative of life. Next, clones are used for research. Though not technically "fertilized," it is life-generating. Not only do humans not have the right to create clones, we do not have the right to perform research that includes killing.

Clones are used for two purposes. First, for the sake of reproduction (though this creates so many ethical dilemmas that most people are opposed to reproductive cloning) and second for research (this is called therapeutic cloning). So, embryonic stem cell research using a cloned embryo is called "therapeutic cloning." It would only be logical that if a man (or woman) has a genetic disorder, cloning him for the sake of research or obtaining organs for transplantation would not be beneficial. Not only would the clone be open to the same genetic defects, genetic mutations may occur in the cloning process.

This article by the Bishop of Wilmington, DE may be helpful as well.

As you can read further from the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics, there are yet to be any successful scientific advances by embryonic stem cell research, however with adult stem cell research, there have been many success! Americans to Ban Cloning provide helpful scientific information on the dangers of cloning.

It is also important to remember that there is a difference between what we can do and what we should do. I can easily stand in the middle of a busy road because I want to take a picture of on-coming traffic. The end result may be a great picture, however the end result will also be my death or the death of other drivers due to a massive accident! I can stand in the middle of that road, but I shouldn't do it, no matter how great the picture may be!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Pushing an agenda

In his 2000 book “Victims and Victors,” Dr. David C. Reardon of the Elliot Institute addresses the what is commonly called “the exception” in opinion on abortion: decisions regarding pregnancy resulting from rape and/or incest. The primary source for this book was research conducted by himself in the form of a survey of victims of rape who became pregnant as a result of the assault. He asked them to tell their story of the experience and the impact of their individual choice to either abort the child or bring the child to term.

With a proper understanding of the humanity of a child beginning with conception, pro-life supporters commonly vie for eliminating the exception mentality to opinion on abortion. However, a woman who has just experienced the trauma of rape or incest must be tended to in a special way in this case. As seen in the testimonies of this book, many rape victims do choose life for their child precisely because of this understanding of the humanity of the child. It is the testimonies of women who choose abortion after rape or incest that speak volumes of the trauma that abortion brings to women.

Rape in itself is a traumatic experience that strips a woman of her dignity, self-worth, proper understanding of human sexuality, innocence and, in many cases, virginity. Many cases of rape go unreported because of intense fear from the victim, such as fear that the rapist will return or fear that she will be rejected or seen as an out-cast. Therefore, most women do not receive proper post-trauma counseling.

Even when a woman does seek help immediately after rape, she is frequently treated with contempt, dealt with according to “sterile” procedure, offered an easy way out by “Morning-After Pill” or abortion, etc. These women are not allowed to vent and grieve properly, given the unconditional love that will restore their trust in humanity, nor told of the healing and forgiveness of Jesus Christ,

Because of the traumatic experience of rape, the last thing that a woman needs is for that trauma to be compounded through the experience of abortion! However, the pro-abortion movement has made these children conceived in rape a taboo in society, that people will think they have less of a right to be born. Subsequently, the one situation in which abortion is the worst decision has become the situation that abortion is expected the most. This shows the true malice of the pro-abortion movement. This is clearly beyond compassion for women, to the point of causing destruction to them.

In his book as other clinical testimony to the trauma of abortion after rape, the abortion procedure itself is described as “surgical rape” or “medical rape.” A woman is in the same vulnerable position, having her body invaded and having life and hope sucked out of here. She is again being faced by a cold, clinical, uncaring person covered in a mask. The only difference is that in abortion she must pay for this abuse to herself and the child she would have otherwise cared for by laying down her life for him or her.

“For many women this experiential association between and sexual assault is very strong. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not the aborted child was conceived during an act of assault. This is just one reason why women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than are other women.

“Second, research shows that after any abortion, it is common for women to experience guilt, depression, feelings of being ‘dirty,’ resentment of men, and lowered self-esteem. These feelings are identical to what women typically feel after rape. Abortion, then, only adds to and accentuates the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault. Rather than easing the psychological burdens of the sexual assault victim, abortion adds to them” (“Victims and Victors” p. 15).

Pro-life doctors understand that the most urgent need for rape victims is not the need to provide abortion services, but psychological care. Some have speculated that the medical community and the Church must come up with a procedure by which the womb can be cleansed (immediately after assault) in order to prevent pregnancy from happening. The following testimonies from doctors explain why this is not a top priority.

The follow two doctors and one professor were presented with the following question: “Is there a morally legit medical procedure for a victim of rape that would avoid pregnancy by cleansing the womb immediately after assault from any sperm left from the male intruder?”

“This procedure would be called irrigation and Dilatation and Curettage (D&C). This procedure either does an abortion or nothing so far as possible pregnancy is concerned. In the mouse and we would presume it would be similar in the human being, the time when the Fallopian tube opens is only immediately after copulation. The sperm either gets into the tube immediately or the tube remains close. This is factual for the mouse and this is logical for a human, lady, person or a lady would have infected tubes continually. After rape it is important to help the person through this time of violent insult to her. Yes, the external genitalia can be washed and cleansed. This includes the vagina. The cervix ought not be dilated. Obviously the endometrium must not be scraped. Pills (hormones) ought not be prescribed because they will not inhibit ovulation or inhibit transport of the sperm. Under these circumstances these hormones can only alter the endometrium, which is doing an abortion, or they do nothing so far as pregnancy is concerned.

“It is logical that semen and secretions can be washed. It is logical that one cannot injure the endometrium or the cervix. It is logical that the person who has been violated needs much emotional, mental and spiritual. The incidence of pregnancy is extremely rare. The ‘pill’ in all varieties that can inhibit ovulation must be taken in small doses over many days. There is no evidence that a dose on the day of or the day prior to ovulation will inhibit ovulation. This has been incorrectly published in the past, but I haven't seen it recently.”

Paul A. Byrne, M.D.
Neonatologist who has paid a lot of attention to these topics

“I have heard of it, but that's all...it would definitely be unethical since fertilization may occur within five minutes of being raped...scraping the endometrium would then set the zygote/embryo up for an abortion since he or she cannot implant.”

Chris Kahlenborn, M. D.
One More Soul

“Application of spermicidal is ok but ineffective if fertilization has already occurred. Routine cleaning and disinfectant of the vaginal canal is ok. But a D&C of the uterus is problematic. The uterus would not be infected generally. Depending on the time lapse after the rape – if fertilization occurred at the time of the rape, an embryo may have already implanted in the uterus. In which case the D&C is an abortion. This would certainly be an effective way to prevent pregnancy and certainly immoral as well.”

Brian Scarnecchia, J.D.
Professor of Human Life Studies and Legal Studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville

Clearly, someone is pushing an agenda not only for killing children, but also for hurting women.