in this issue:
abortion: CALIFORNIA / EARLY SURGICAL ABORTION / MIFEPRISTONE (RU-486) / PRENATAL TESTING
activism: BOYCOTT BOSTON BEER COMPANY / INDIANA / SIDEWALK COUNSELORS
catholic hospitals: REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE
coma: HAWAII; SCOTLAND
euthanasia: ETHICAL(?) ADVICE FOR WOMEN
fetal people: BRAIN WAVES
in vitro fertilization: INSURANCE COVERAGE
morning-after abortion pill: REPEATS
organ donation: NON-HEART-BEATING DONORS
web news: CHRISTIAN HISTORY / TOPICAL INDEX FOR LETTERS TO EDITOR
reflection for prayer: CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER
CALIFORNIA: Gov. Gray Davis, a Catholic, attended a special service the new cathedral in Los Angeles on Sept. 4. On Sept. 5, he signed into law four separate pro-abortion bills to the delight of Planned Parenthood.
(Reading: “Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Applauds signing of SB1301, AB 1860, AB 2194 and AB797,” Planned Parenthood Los Angeles news release, 9/5/02)
EARLY SURGICAL ABORTION: Researchers studied 1132 expectant mothers who had early surgical abortion (six weeks or less gestational age) at three different Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts clinics. Of note, “Definitions of failure differ for early medical and surgical abortion, making comparison of rates difficult. Failed surgical abortion typically denotes continuing pregnancy, whereas failure of the medical method includes curettage for any reason (continuing pregnancy, incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, or patient request).”
(Reading: “Early surgical abortion: efficacy and safety,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 8/02, pp. 407-411)
MIFEPRISTONE (RU-486): Researchers argue that the current U. S. requirement of two sonograms documenting the dating of pregnancy and the completion of the abortion may be hampering wider use of the chemical abortion technique. They encourage dropping the sonogram requirement.
(Reading: “Clinicians’ perception of sonogram indication for mifepristone abortion up to 63 days,” Contraception, 66 (2002), pp. 27-31, not on line)
PRENATAL TESTING: The Roeher Institute is completing a study on prenatal genetic counseling and abortion entitled “The Construction of Disability and Risk in Genetic Counseling Discourse.” If you have information concerning pre-natal diagnosis and abortion statistics or wish to receive details of the study, e-mail the .
BOYCOTT BOSTON BEER COMPANY: American Life League encourages all those offended by the “Sex for Sam” vulgarity at New York’s St. Patrick Cathedral on Aug. 15 to continue boycotting Boston Beer Company products. For details, including how to contact company chairman James Koch, see “Boycott distasteful brewer.”
INDIANA: Porter County Right to Life is asking a local hospital to stop performing abortions. The Porter Memorial Hospital board will vote on the request Sept. 25. The pro-life group says the hospital has been doing abortions since 1973, and it has recently become known that “doctors there are performing second-trimester abortions targeting unborn children with disabilities.” Porter County Right to Life has links to additional information, including contact information for the hospital board, on its web site.
Porter County Right to Life wants to treat the matter as a local concern, but the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League heard about the campaign. NARAL has an action alert posted on its web site, inviting supporters of legal abortion to write the hospital to demand that abortions continue.
COMMENT: Why not try a similar approach in your community? Upset that a hospital in your city does abortions? Have you ever thought to simply ask them to stop?
(Reading: “Indiana Hospital Considers Policy Banning Abortions,” Associated Press, 8/29/02; Porter County Right to Life news release; “Don’t let Porter County Right to Life stop abortion services at Porter Memorial Hospital!” NARAL action item)
SIDEWALK COUNSELORS: Life Dynamics’ Child Predator Report has inspired so many sidewalk counselors to call police when underage girls are observed entering abortion mills that LDI has produced a kit specifically designed for sidewalk counselors. (Reading: “The Eyewitness Campaign,” Life Dynamics, Inc.)
REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE: The pro-abortion Physicians for Reproductive Choice has published an online brochure containing background information and statistics on religiously-affiliated hospitals (most notably those sponsored by the Catholic Church) and the type of health care they do NOT provide if they remain loyal to Church teaching. The brochure, “Mergers and You,” is online.
HAWAII: Peter Sana slipped into a coma in March 1995. Today, Mr. Sana is reported to have emerged from that coma and is now on the mend.
(Reading: “Man emerges from 7-year coma,” Associated Press, 9/8/02)
SCOTLAND: Dr. Fiona Smith was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, but today, she is reeling from the diagnosis doctors made when they told her family, shortly after the coma began, that there was no hope of recovery and her life support should be withdrawn. Dr. Smith is suing the hospital.
(Reading: “Coma doctor sues hospital trust,” The Scotsman, 9/5/02; “Why Dr. Smith has had to fight for her life,” The Scotsman, 9/5/02; “Back from the dead: transcript,” BBC News, 11/22/00)
ETHICAL (?) ADVICE FOR WOMEN: Researchers study the reasons why obstetrician/gynecologists should be assisting women, including lesbian couples, in the process of deciding how and when to sign end-of-life documents (i.e. living will, durable power of attorney, etc) should a terminal condition or loss of capacity occur.
(Reading: “End-of-life discussions for the primary care obstetrician/gynecologist,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 8/02, pp. 296-301)
BRAIN WAVES: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke supported the research announced 9/5/02 using a scanning device that transmits flashes of light through the abdomen of the expectant mother, generating brain waves from the preborn baby.
(Reading: “New device detects fetal brain response to light: may help prevent brain damage,” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke news release, 9/5/02; “Magnetoencephalographic recordings of visual evoked brain activity in the human fetus,” The Lancet, 9/7/02)
in vitro fertilization
INSURANCE COVERAGE: An overview of the state laws and mandatory insurance coverage for IVF procedures indicate that where insurance coverage is required there is “increased utilization of these services but with decreases in the number of embryos transferred per cycle, the percentage of cycles resulting in pregnancy, and the percentage of pregnancies with three or more fetuses.” An accompanying editorial makes the recommendation that a basic question must be answered before policy is developed on the question of mandatory insurance coverage: “Do the average benefits of a birth from in vitro fertilization exceed the average cost of $40,000?”
(Reading: “Insurance coverage and outcomes of in vitro fertilization,” New England Journal of Medicine, 8/29/02, pp. 661-666; “Should insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization be mandated?” New England Journal of Medicine, 8/29/02, pp. 686-688)
morning-after abortion pill
REPEATS: A lengthy commentary designed to make providers of chemical morning after abortion pill regimens feel better concludes that “whether premeditated repeated use of ECPs has an important role remains to be seen.” Disregarding possible long-term health risk, the author emphasizes the need for “easy access to ECPs including over the counter availability…”
(Reading: “Repeat emergency contraception: facing our fears,” Contraception, 66 (2002), pp. 15-17, not on line)
NON-HEART-BEATING DONORS: The “Ethical implications of non-heart-beating organ donation” are analyzed by Nancy Valko, RN.
CHRISTIAN HISTORY: A 15-volume encyclopedia of Christian history is presented at Christian History Project. It will take two years to complete the entire project, but you can check the progress now.
TOPICAL INDEX FOR LETTERS TO EDITOR: Now available, with suggested letters, on the ALL web site.
reflection for prayer
CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER: Christian holiness does not consist in being superhuman and in having an extraordinary talent or greatness that others do not have. Christian holiness is simply the obedience that puts us at God’s disposal wherever he calls us.
(Reading: “Co-workers of the Truth,” page 274)