in this issue:
american life league events: WORLD FAMILY CONFRENCE / YOUTH FESTIVAL
abortion: GRIEF AND HEALING
adolescents: PARENTAL GUIDANCE
birth control pill: RISKS I / RISKS II
chemical abortion: ARCHIVES: MIFEPRISTONE (RU-486) and GEMEPROST
cloning humans: EXPLAINED / POLITICS
embryonic stem cell research: DEBATE
frozen embryos: WASHINGTON
ivf eugenics: PRE-IMPLANTATION GENETIC DIAGNOSIS
reflection for prayer: FATHER PAUL SCALIA
american life league events
WORLD FAMILY CONFERENCE: American Life League’s Celebration of Life World Family Conference is scheduled for July 10-14 in New Orleans. Conference outlines and online registration information may be found online. The event features speakers such as Alan Keyes, Mark Crutcher, Joseph Scheidler and Judie Brown.
YOUTH FESTIVAL: As part of the World Family Conference, ALL’s youth divisions are holding Vita Festival, two days of pro-life music and workshops, July 12-13 in New Orleans. An evening concert on July 12 will feature Contemporary Christian artists Jennifer Knapp, Earthsuit, Christafari, and Scarecrow and Tinmen. Ticket information is available online.
GRIEF AND HEALING: The introduction to the book “Forbidden Grief” by Theresa Burke with David Reardon, is available online. To order the book contact .
HELPERS: The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants present programs for sidewalk counseling, spiritual adoption of the infant to be aborted, and more. You can visit the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants and ask for specific assistance in pro-life activities centered on sidewalk counseling and pro-life prayer.
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: Writer June Archer says, “A great many teens are worried more about the environment than they are about their own salvation.”
(Reading: “Teens, their parents and the sense of sin,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, 3/02)
birth control pill
RISKS I: Researchers report “of ten contraceptive [sic] method and condition combinations assessed, the evidence supported an increased risk of cardiovascular complications with combined OC use by women with hypertension or migraine.”
(Reading: “Contraception for women in selected circumstances,” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6/02, pp. 1100-1112)
RISKS II: In letters to the editor, various clinicians comment on their concerns regarding the variety of opinions that link the pill to risk of myocardial infarction. Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., suggests that the study in question was actually “stacked” and that “the reported odds ratio for myocardial infarction in association with the use of oral contraceptives [sic] is probably an underestimate of the true odds ratio, since younger women (who have a higher frequency of oral-contraceptive use than older women) were overrepresented in the control group.”
(Reading: “Oral contraceptives and the risk of myocardial infarction,” New England Journal of Medicine, 6/6/02, pp. 1826-1829, subscribers only; Dr. Kahlenborn’s research articles are available for study at the Polycarp Research Institute; his book, “Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill,” is available by contacting . The price, including shipping and handling, is $29.95)
ARCHIVES: MIFEPRISTONE (RU-486) and GEMEPROST: A World Health Organization study reveals that lower doses of mifepristone increase the relative risk of an incomplete abortion. The study observed 1224 healthy women who sought medical abortion at 57 days or less since last menses. Of these, 1101 had complete abortions. Of this group, 29 women had vacuum aspiration due to heavy bleeding and among them six were given blood transfusions. One woman had a hemorrhage and had to be resuscitated.
(Reading: “Lowering the doses of mifepristone and gemeprost for early abortion: a randomised controlled study,” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 7/01, pp. 738-742, abstract)
EXPLAINED: Helen Watt, Ph.D., is a research fellow at the Linacre Center in Britain. Her paper, “Human Cloning,” is a short and lucid explanation of the ethical and moral problems created by those who propose the cloning of human beings: http://www.linacre.org/clone2.html. Professor Watt has written “Thinking twice: cloning and in vitro fertilization,” published in Ethics and Medicine, 18:2 (2002) 35-43.
POLITICS: In a prepared release American Life League pointed out that while the Brownback bill does not ban all methods of human cloning, it does propose to ban the cloning of human beings by the somatic cell nuclear transfer method. However, Senate Democrats have effectively stopped the debate for now.
(Reading: “Daschle playing God by delaying human cloning vote,” American Life League news release, 6/14/02)
embryonic stem cell research
DEBATE: David Reardon, Ph.D., points out that “those who deny any metaphysical reality outside the measure of science have lost all basis on which to argue for anything…. If there is no metaphysical reality (the subject of interest for religion and science) everything is essentially meaningless. In such a case, moral questions are merely another illusion of biochemical reactions and those who plead for or against embryonic stem-cell research are acting no more reasonably than a snake shedding its skin in response to an itch.” To which pro-embryonic stem cell research advocate Riccardo Baschetti response that “human beings and chimpanzees share a common ancestor” and he further argues that a human embryo is “merely an amorphous, microscopic agglomerate of insensitive cells…. “
(Reading: “Science, philosophy, religion and use of embryonic stem cells,” The Lancet, 6/8/02)
WASHINGTON: The state supreme court in Washington ruled that two frozen embryos caught up in a divorce should be destroyed. The court is reported to have ruled that the rights to the embryos do not hinge on genetics, but “on the contract David and Becky Litowitz signed with the center where the embryos are frozen.” The contract provisions, the court said, call for disposal of the embryos.
COMMENT: Another decision based on human beings as property rather than persons. Learn why in vitro fertilization is morally wrong and must be opposed: “In vitro fertilization undermines human dignity.”
(Reading: “Court: Destroy frozen embryos,” Seattle Times, 6/14/02)
PRE-IMPLANTATION GENETIC DIAGNOSIS: The German government’s advisory group on law and ethics has recommended that the current ban on PGD should not be lifted. Linus Geisler, professor of medicine at Bonn University and a commission member argues that the purpose of reproductive medicine has been perverted, “When reproductive medicine started in the 1970s, its aim was to produce embryos for sterile couples, now we are in the bizarre situation where you produce embryos from fertile couples just to be eliminated on the basis of a test results.”
(Reading: “German ethics group advises against pre-implantation genetic diagnosis,” The Lancet, 6/1/02; also see “Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis,” an American Life League fact sheet on PGD which is practiced in the United States)
reflection for prayer
FATHER PAUL SCALIA: Because we love God, we desire to do His will — to follow His commandments. We keep them not as impositions but as expressions of our love for Him. We cannot say that we love Him and then ignore His commandments. If we fail to keep His commandments — that is, if we sin — then we fail to love Him. But perfect love seeks to be expressed perfectly and rejoices that the commandments of the Lord give that opportunity.
(Reading: “The commands of love,” Arlington Catholic Herald, 5/2/02, p. 6)