in this issue:
abortion: IRELAND, NEW JERSEY, TOXOPLASMOSIS FAULTY TESTING
chemical abortion: OKLAHOMA
hormonal contraceptives: FIRST STOP
human embryo: MEXICO
pope: MAN’S DIGNITY
premature birth: TEXAS
prenatal diagnosis: HEARTLESS ASSUMPTIONS
sex education: ARCHIVES — FEDERAL SUBSIDIES FOR ABSTINENCE EDUCATION A GOOD IDEA?
separation of church and state: ARCHIVES — DEFINITION
web news: BATTLING EUTHANASIA, NO COMPROMISE
reflection for prayer: COLUMBAN
NOW: The National Organization for Women is declaring a “state of emergency.” NOW’s Patricia Ireland says her group wishes “to protect our rights and to stop the packing of the U.S. Supreme Court with anti-abortion rights nominees.” NOW plans to lobby extensively during the April 7-22 Congressional recess, and has scheduled a Washington rally on April 22. NOW is also asking pro-abortion webmasters to help promote the event by posting banners featuring coat hangers. Among the listed co-sponsors are Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Catholics for a Free Choice.
(Reading: “NOW Declares State of Emergency“; “Emergency Action for Women’s Lives Fact Sheet“)
IRELAND: Cardinal Desmond Connell of Dublin was asked if he would continue his efforts to ensure a constitutional referendum to outlaw abortion, and he replied, “I will, yes. I will do whatever seems prudent and possible to promote that view.”
(Reading: “New Cardinal’s Candor Draws Irish Headlines,” Catholic World News, 2/21/01)
NEW JERSEY: An obstetrician who performed an abortion and “undisputedly punctured plaintiff’s uterine wall, requiring an emergency laparotomy to stop the bleeding,” was found innocent of charges as the jury found “perforation of the uterus is considered to be a known risk in performing abortions.”
(Reading: 29-2-6080, Gabriel, et ux. v. Newark Mini Surgi Site, Inc. et al, news item reported in Bar Watch, available only to ABA members)
TOXOPLASMOSIS FAULTY TESTING: Researchers point out that commercial testing kits created to identify immunoglobulin M Toxoplasma antibodies may be inaccurate and can result in “unnecessary abortions.”
(Reading: “Confirmatory Serologic Testing for Acute Toxoplasmosis and Rate of Induced Abortions Among Women Reported to Have Positive Toxoplasma Immunoglobulin M Antibody Titers,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1/01, pp. 140-145, full texts available only by subscription)
WISCONSIN: Pro-Life Wisconsin is sponsoring Lobby for Life Day at the capitol in Madison on March 22. “We need to gather in Madison at the beginning of the legislative session and remind our legislators that preborn babies deserve their attention,” said Pro-Life Wisconsin’s legislative director, Mary Matuska. For more information, visit Pro-Life Wisconsin online, e-mail “> or call 262-796-1111.
OKLAHOMA: HB 1038 reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to prescribe, dispense, distribute, or otherwise make available mifepristone (RU-486) in this state.”
COMMENT: Oklahomans should not hesitate to get behind this measure and press for passage; others should imitate Rep. Bill Graves’ action. For details, he can be contacted via “>e-mail.
DECEPTIVE: American Health Consultants publishes a monthly “Contraceptive Technology Update.” It is curious to read the description of morning-after abortion pills, which are labeled as “emergency contraception” touted as contributing to a reduction in “unintended pregnancy.” And, in the February issue, we also read that mifepristone (RU-486) is being viewed as a possible “emergency contraception” option.
COMMENT: The human being begins at conception/fertilization and she is a person at that point. The problem is that abortion aficionados will tell a tale that conveniently contributes to a particular marketing plan, even if it means lying about when that person exists and why the chemicals in question are really aborting people — killing human beings just like you and me.
(Reading: “Emergency Contraception: Going Over the Counter?” and “Mifepristone Eyed for Emergency Contraception,” Contraceptive Technology Update, 2/01, paid subscription required; for the truth about how these chemicals work see “Morning After Pill” for information on the “emergency contraceptive” pills and “RU-486” for accurate details on RU-486/mifepristone).
FIRST STOP: A demonstration project focused on low-income women in California tested the concept of providing the pill or Depo-Provera without first requiring a pelvic exam. Health risks were compared between women who had the exam versus those in the First Stop program who had no exam. Of the women in the First Stop program, 76 percent “said it was important to be able to receive pills or injections without a pelvic exam.”
(Reading: “Provision of Hormonal Contraceptives Without a Mandatory Pelvic Examination: The First Stop Demonstration Project,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1-2/01, pp. 13-18)
MEXICO: Cardinal Norberto Rivera affirmed, “the human being, from its conception, deserves all our respect and is not an object of experiment. Studies must be made through other way[s], as long as they are beneficial for humanity … and [do] not destroy human beings that are already conceived.”
(Reading: “Mexican Cardinal Condemns Experiments with Human Embryos,” NE news service, 1/30/01)
MAN’S DIGNITY: In speaking to the Hungarian bishops during their ad limina visit, Pope John Paul II stressed the great challenge for Christians in a godless society, which is the defense of human life from conception until natural death. And, he said, “Many, certainly, live as if God did not exist. However, the desire for Him is always alive in hearts … In fact, man is not satisfied with the human, but he seeks a truth that transcends him, because he sees, even if in a confused way, that therein lies the meaning of his own life. “
(Reading: “Man’s Life and Dignity in Danger, Pope Warns,” Zenit News Service, 1/30/01)
TEXAS: An appellate court ruled in December that, at least in one case, doctors had a right to provide resuscitation to a premature baby even though her parents objected. The Miller family sued the Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston for resuscitating Sidney, who is now ten years of age and suffers “severe physical and mental disabilities.” Her parents sought financial remuneration. A lower court awarded the couple $60 million, but the appellate court reversed that award.
(Reading: “Texas Court Overturns Ruling on Resuscitation of Premature Baby,” American Medical News, 2/5/01)
HEARTLESS ASSUMPTIONS: Barbara Biesecker, NIH genetic counselor, writes “Patients suffer a loss when they receive a prenatal diagnosis about their fetus. The loss is often not of the fetus that comes to carry the diagnosis but of the fetus the parents hoped they carried. This grief is profound yet does not preclude a woman’s ability to welcome an affected fetus into the world. Others, including healthcare providers, may interpret this grief as rejection of the affected fetus. Women have been articulate about their resentment of such assumptions. Often the grief represents a readjustment of expectations, and women who experience this loss appreciate those who accept it as part of adjustment and do not conclude from it unwillingness to continue the pregnancy.”
(Reading: editorials, British Medical Journal, 2/24/01. pp. 441-442)
ARCHIVES — FEDERAL SUBSIDIES FOR ABSTINENCE EDUCATION A GOOD IDEA? Studying the history of what she calls “morality politics,” and examining the abstinence-only federal grants over the past decade, researcher Sandra Vergari questions the wisdom of pursuing federal dollars when teaching morality is at stake. She writes, “from the perspective of many abstinence-only advocates, even if a policy generated progress toward the instrumental goals of reducing teen pregnancy and STDs, it would not be justified if it included elements judged to be immoral by such advocates (e.g., any suggestion that sex outside of marriage is an acceptable value).”
(Reading: “No-sex Education,” The Family in America, 8/00, p. 3, a publication of the Howard Center; Sandra Vergari, “Morality Politics and Educational Policy: The Abstinence-only Sex Education Grant,” Educational Policy, 5/00, pp. 290-310, not on line)
separation of church and state
ARCHIVE — DEFINITION: Fr. Kris Stubna writes, “‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ For more than 200 years, that phrase from the First Amendment to the Constitution of the Untied States has meant ‘a fundamental protection of our religious freedom and of the extraordinary pattern of tolerance and pluralism in religion that has marked religious life in America,’ according to Rabbi David Saperstein… the First Amendment was written to protect religious groups from government interference, not to protect the non-religious from the religious in our society.”
(Reading: “New Secularism Is ‘Bleaching’ God Out,” Pittsburgh Catholic, 10/13/00; further reading: Robert L. Wilken, “No Other Gods,” First Things, 11/93)
BATTLING EUTHANASIA: For updates from the Canadian perspective, reports on cases dealing with euthanasia and related topics, visit Compassionate Healthcare Network.
NO COMPROMISE: For a principled take on pro-life activities on Capitol Hill, prayer alerts and a Christian focus on family concerns, visit Covenant News.
reflection for prayer
COLUMBAN (ABBOT, 540-640 AD): Seeking God
Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by the faith that comes from simplicity of heart, not from the learned speculations of the unrighteous. If you search by means of discussions for the God who cannot be defined in words, He will depart further from you than He was before. If you search for Him by faith, wisdom will stand where wisdom lives, at the gates. Where wisdom is, wisdom will be seen, at least in part. But wisdom is also to some extent truly attained when the invisible God is the object of faith, in a way beyond our understanding, for we must believe in God, invisible as He is, though He is partially seen by a heart that is pure.