AVERTED PREGNANCY? Family Planning Perspectives has published a study claiming that “current levels of contraceptive use averted an estimated 1.65 million pregnancies among 15-19 year-old-women in the United States during 1995.” The methods cited as being used by these young women include abortion causing implants, injectibles, birth control pills and emergency birth control chemicals.
Comment: The fact is, “pregnancy” was not averted; tiny boys and girls were destroyed very early in their lives! The result is still a dead child.
(Reading: James G. Kahn, et al., “Pregnancies Averted Among U.S. Teenagers By the Use of Contraceptives,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1-2/99, pp 29-34)
JUST SAY NO! Dr. Leon Eisenberg of Harvard Medical School wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine: ” . . . cloning would be a poor method indeed for improving on the human species. If widely adopted, it would have a devastating impact on the diversity of the human gene pool. Cloning would select for traits that have been successful in the past but that will not necessarily be adaptive to an unpredictable future. . . .
“Proposals for human cloning as a method for ‘improving’ the species are biologic nonsense. To elevate the question to the level of an ethical issue is sheer casuistry. The problem lies not in the ethics of cloning a human but in the metaphysical cloud that surrounds this hypothetical cloned creature. Pseudo-biology trivializes ethics and distracts our attention from real moral issues: the ways in which the genetic potential of humans born into impoverished environments today is stunted and thwarted. To improve our species, no biologic sleight of hand is needed. Had we the moral commitment to provide every child with what we desire for our own, what a flowering of humankind there would be.”
(Reading: Leon Eisenberg, M.D., “Would Cloned Humans Really Be Like Sheep?” The New England Journal of Medicine, 2/11/99, pp. 471-474; comments may be e-mailed to Dr. Eisenberg: )
TECHNIQUES MODIFIED: Research in Cairo, Egypt, published in Fertility and Sterility, describes a new technique whereby “the most accessible gestational sac” was chosen and the “fetal heart was visualized and aligned with the puncture guideline on the screen.” The modified procedure calls for introduction of a needle into the fetal echoes [heart], and the use of a 20-ml syringe which is pumped repeatedly “until all or most of the embryonic parts were aspirated. We did not aspirate any amniotic fluid. In most cases, the fetal echoes disappeared completely and the sac remained of the same size or slightly smaller, but empty of fetal parts. After making sure that the fetus was aspirated or, if not completely aspirated, that there were no more pulsations, we withdrew the needle.”
(Reading: Ragaa T. Mansour, M.D. et al., “Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction: Modification of the Technique and Analysis of the Outcome,” Fertility and Sterility, 2/99, pp. 380-384. Dr. Mansour provides reprints by contacting him at his e-mail address: )
in vitro fertilization
ECTOPIC PREGNANCY: Ectopic pregnancy is a well known risk of in vitro fertilization according to research published in Fertility and Sterility. Contributing to the higher than normal rate of ectopic pregnancy among these women in the study were factors such as tubal infertility, abdominal surgery, previous ectopic pregnancy, previous myomectomy and pelvic infections. Because ectopic pregnancy is always a risk for women, researchers are striving to identify proper management of such a situation and early detection among women seeking in vitro fertilization.
(Reading: Annika Strandell, M.D., et al., “Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy in Assisted Reproduction,” Fertility and Sterility, 2/99, pp. 282-286)
PROVIDER’S REACTIONS REPORTED: A set of interviews, done with 25 providers of surgical abortion, reveals that they are encouraged by the availability of chemical means to abort for three basic reasons: excitement at an innovation in a field that has seen little technical change, perception of competition and “principled” commitment to their patients regarding making all options available.
(Reading: Carol Joffe, “Reactions to Medical Abortion Among Providers of Surgical Abortion: An Early Snapshot,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1-2/99, pp. 35-38)
EVERY BODY SHOULD BE AVAILABLE! Professor John Harris of Manchester University in the United Kingdom argues that human bodies should become public property “to help make up the growing shortage of transplant organs.” Touted as a medical ethics expert, Harris proposes that doctors be free to take organs from the dead without any prior agreement from the patient in question. The article points out that Harris is an atheist.
(Reading: “Make All Bodies Available for Transplants, Says Professor,” Electronic Telegraph, 2/18/99; http://www.telegraph.co.uk. Note: This news service is free, but you must register before you can search for this article.)
ABORTION AND THE PUBLIC: The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy presented a poll, showing that when 1,002 men and women were surveyed, 41% supported the Clinton veto of the partial-birth abortion bill and 70% expressed the view “that the law presents government interference in a private matter, that it would jeopardize women’s health or that it is a deceptive political measure.”
Comment: What about the baby?
(Reading: “Abortion, Politics and the Public,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1/2/99, p. 2 )
Visit Center for Reproductive Law and Policy’s web site to learn more about its advocacy of abortion in law – http://www.crlp.org
sexually transmitted diseases
WHAT WOMEN NEED: The Alan Guttmacher Institute’s Family Planning Perspectives has published a study pointing out that “each year an estimated 15 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, occur in the United States.” And a study indicates that “an estimated 21.3 million U.S. women have some potential current interest in using a microbicidal product” that would allegedly protect them from such disease.
Comment: It is very interesting that the researchers include HIV in their definition of sexually transmitted disease but fail to describe it as deadly. Anyone for chastity or fidelity?
(Reading: Jacqueline E. Darroch and Jennifer J. Frost, “Women’s Interest in Vaginal Microbicides,” Family Planning Perspectives, 1-2/99, pp. 16-23)
stem cell research
HAEMOPOIETIC STEM CELL TRANSPLANT: The Lancet published a report on research using stem cells taken from conventional bone-marrow aspiration for the treatment of juvenile chronic arthritis. Such stem cell acquisition poses no moral problems, and according to the early reports, the transplant of such stem cells was well tolerated and induced a remission of disease in four children. The researchers point out that this is early research, and no concrete assumptions can be made at this time.
(Reading: Nico Wulffraat, et al., “Autologous Haemopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation in Four Patients with Refractory Juvenile Chronic Arthritis,” The Lancet, 2/13/99, pp. 550-553)
WHY IS THIS A PRO LIFE ISSUE? For a simple, easy to understand and Biblical perspective on the questions pro-life people have about why they need to get involved in this battle, please consult “Stem Cells and the Human Embryo: A Christian Analysis” by Linda Bevington of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity: http://www.bioethix.org/overviews/stemcell.html
LIFE ISSUES INSTITUTE: A new web site featuring reports on RU-486, and education materials is now available: http://www.lifeissues.org/ru486report.html
The gifts of the Holy Spirit describe well the special qualities or virtues which a person should exercise in making an important decision. The steps are: 1) wisdom: having a profound view of the deepest issues involved-having the ultimate principles in mind; 2) understanding: seeing the problem from all sides; 3) counsel: knowing when and how to profit from the advice of others; 4) fortitude: having the courage to do what should be done; 5) knowledge: using the best techniques to implement the decision; 6) piety: showing an overriding concern for God’s purposes in this matter; 7) fear of the Lord: having the necessary basic humility, the beginning of wisdom.
(Vatican II Daily Missal, p. 828)
Lord, teach me to listen for your voice, to recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to daily follow Christ, remembering that without you, my Father, I am nothing. I ask these things in Christ, our Lord. Amen.