in this issue:
abortion: EARLIER AND EARLIER / MISOPROSTOL VS. PROSTAGLANDIN F2 ALPHA / NATURAL LAW
birth control chemicals: BONE MINERAL DENSITY
birth control pill: FATALITY / SEASONALE UPDATE
breast cancer: BREAST FEEDING / DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
culture of death: CATHOLIC COLLEGES / SEXSMARTS
euthanasia: MINIMALLY CONSCIOUS STATE / SUICIDE BAGS
human experimentation: CALIFORNIA
lawyers: STATE CONSTITUTIONS UP FOR GRABS?
morning-after abortion pill: SAN FRANCISCO
vaccines: ANOTHER FETAL TISSUE CONCERN
web news: PRO-LIFE PRAYER BOOK
zinger: ABORTIONIST TO HOLY FATHER
reflection for prayer: THOMAS A KEMPIS
EARLIER AND EARLIER: The Guttmacher Institute reports that in countries where mifepristone (RU-486) is approved for “medical abortion,” the rate of early abortion (prior to 49 days gestational age) goes up and later-term abortion rates go down. “As knowledge and availability of mifepristone increase, US women are likely to have abortions at approximately the same overall rate, but even earlier in pregnancy, than they do now.”
(Reading: “Mifepristone in the United States: Status and Future,” Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, 8/02)
MISOPROSTOL VS. PROSTAGLANDIN F2 ALPHA: Termination of second trimester babies (4th through 6th month gestational age) was done with two randomized groups of women “with live fetuses and requesting second trimester abortions.” Researchers find that vaginal misoprostol is more effective and less painful, when compared to intra-amniotic prostaglandin F2 alpha. The same issue discusses the use of misoprostol and a “cervical preparation” for second trimester pregnancy termination.
(Reading: “Second trimester abortion by laminaria followed by vaginal misoprostol or intrauterine prostaglandin F2 alpha: a randomized trial,” Contraception, 65 (2002), pp. 411-413; “Buccal misoprostol as cervical preparation for second trimester pregnancy termination,” Contraception 65 (2002), pp. 425-428; not on line)
NATURAL LAW: Professor Dianne Irving’s article, “Abortion: Correct application of natural law theory” is online and worthy of study.
birth control chemicals
BONE MINERAL DENSITY: Researchers studied 59 women between the ages of 30 and 34 who had been using oral contraceptives, and a second group who had been using Depo-Provera. The findings suggest that while bone mineral density is negatively affected by Depo-Provera, it may not be when the birth control pill is used, though researchers recommend a prospective study to confirm the findings.
(Reading: “Bone mineral density at various anatomic bone sites in women receiving combined oral contraceptives and depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception,” Contraception, 65 (2002), pp. 407-410, articles not on line)
birth control pill
FATALITY: The British media reports Claire Stanley, a 15-year-old girl who was prescribed the birth control pill Cilest for treatment of a medical problem, died from a blood clot. The coroner says the pill “led to the development of a deep vein thrombosis.” Her parents are consulting attorneys, noting that three doctors failed to correctly diagnose their daughter’s condition.
(Reading: “Pill girl, 15, died in her dad’s arms,” Manchester Online)
SEASONALE UPDATE: Seasonale is a pill that is under development and designed to reduce women’s periods to four per year. Barr Laboratories plans to file a new drug application any day now. The side effect most frequently discussed is “break-through bleeding,” which clinches the fact that the pill can and does abort during the embryonic person’s first few days of life.
(Reading: “Four periods per year OC: comparable to pill,” Contraceptive Technology Update, p. 2, 8/02, paid subscriptions only; “Only four cycles a year, but breakthrough bleeding is side effect,” WebMD, 5/9/02)
BREAST FEEDING: Researchers report that “The longer women breastfeed, the more they are protected against breast cancer,” and the fewer children a woman has, the higher her risk of breast cancer will be.
(Reading: “UK study: breast-feeding cuts breast cancer risk,” Reuters, 7/19/02)
DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN: Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is asking for your help in exposing the hypocrisy of Self magazine’s coverage of topics related to women’s health and preborn babies.
(Reading: “Self Magazine enters disinformation campaign,” Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer news release, 7/25/02)
culture of death
CATHOLIC COLLEGES: The Cardinal Newman Society is tracking Catholic colleges that invite scandalous commencement speakers and/or present awards to those who are pro-death.
(Reading: “Catholic colleges invite ‘scandalous’ commencement speakers, awardees,” Cardinal Newman Society news release, 5/20/02)
SEXSMARTS: The Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen magazine have formed a public education partnership to provide young people with information on sexual health issues.
(Reading: “Kaiser Family Foundation/Seventeen SexSmarts Campaign“)
MINIMALLY CONSCIOUS STATE: Writing in the Western Journal of Medicine’s dialogue on end-of-life decision making, Ronald Cranford opines, “Just as the first quarter-century of the right-to-die movement may be exemplified by the medical, legal and ethical assessments of brain death and the vegetative state, so the first quarter century of the new millennium may be the era of patients who are substantially neurologically impaired but conscious to a variable degree. Perhaps MCS will capture the essence of this next wave.”
(Reading: “What is a minimally conscious state?” Western Journal of Medicine, 3/02, pp. 129-130)
SUICIDE BAGS: Australia’s infamous “Dr. Death,” Philip Nitschke, is touring Australia with his new suicide bags, designed to be used for a personal “exit” from this life. One pro-euthanasia politician said, “Although I’m an advocate of voluntary euthanasia, I’ve got real concerns about these bags. These sorts of things could be used for the wrong reasons by a person who wants to exit this world simply because they are depressed.”
(Reading: “Doctor Death’s suicide bags on way,” The [New Zealand] Dominion Post, 8/7/02)
CALIFORNIA: AB2328 would allow surrogates — who have no legal authority or responsibility — to give consent to medical experiments on behalf of an incapacitated relative. The Alliance for Human Research Protection strongly opposes this legislative proposal.
(Reading: “Stop California AB2328,” Alliance for Human Research Protection news release, 7/26/02)
STATE CONSTITUTIONS UP FOR GRABS? The Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University’s Camden, N.J., campus seeks public commentary on a proposed national model for state constitutions. The model will be used to update state constitutions for the 21st century. Please provide comments and insights to the Center for State Constitutional Studies at . An overview of the project, complete with analyses of state constitutions, is available online.
morning-after abortion pill
SAN FRANCISCO: The San Francisco Health Plan is the first community health plan to subsidize the $20 pharmacist consultation fee that is required for a non-prescription morning-after abortion pill purchase.
(Reading: “San Francisco Health Plan subsidizes pharmacist consultation fee for emergency contraception,” Kaiser Network, 8/5/02)
GEORGIA: Georgia Right to Life will no longer endorse candidates who condone abortion in cases of rape or incest. One lawmaker, who supports exceptions for rape and incest, called the decision a “strategic mistake.” American Life League’s Judie Brown called the decision “a step in the right direction.”
(Contact: Messages of support may be sent to , Georgia Right to Life’s director)
(Reading: “Anti-abortion group gets tough,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/14/02; “Georgia pro-life group says ‘yes’ to the babies, ‘no’ to rape and incest exceptions for abortion,” American Life League news release, 8/14/02)
ANOTHER FETAL TISSUE CONCERN: Children of God for Life reports that a cell line obtained from aborted fetal tissue will be used to produce a new flu vaccine. According to the a Children of God for Life news release, “the pharmaceutical companies have stated that the existing fetal cell lines used in many of today’s vaccines would be sufficient since the cell lines were supposed to be immortal. However, that is not the case and the newest PER C6 cell line does possess the potential of immortality, but only because it introduces the possibility of carcinogenics into the cell line.” The group cites an FDA report as the source of that information, and notes that human fetal tissue was not used in the manufacture of existing flu vaccines.
(Reading: “Med-Immune, Inc., to produce new flu vaccine using cancer-potential aborted fetal cell line PER C6,” Children of God for Life news release, 8/12/02; “‘Designer’ cells as substrates for the manufacture of viral vaccines,” Food and Drug Administration briefing, 2001)
PRO-LIFE PRAYER BOOK: A one-stop web site for all manner of pro-life prayer services including Holy Hour, Stations of the Cross and more.
ABORTIONIST TO HOLY FATHER: Prior to World Youth Day, Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler wrote an open letter to Pope John Paul II in which he claimed, “If you condemn abortion in terms such as ‘the murder of babies,’ the slaughter of innocent human beings’ and occasionally refer to it as ‘the holocaust of the unborn’ it is a sure recipe to incite violence against abortion providers.”
COMMENT: Morgentaler does not consider plying his trade to be violent.
(Reading: “Pope should temper rhetoric,” The [Midland] Free Press, 8/6/02, not on line)
reflection for prayer
THOMAS A KEMPIS: What doth it avail thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity, if thou be void of humility, and consequently, displeasing to the Trinity?
(Reading: Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chapter 1, Section 3)