Archive for May, 2012

From LifeSite News:

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, May 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a coordinated defense of religious liberty, at 11 a.m. 43 Roman Catholic organizations filed a dozen lawsuits nationwide to strike down the HHS mandate.

The plaintiffs include some of the most significant organs of the U.S. church, including the Archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis; the Dioceses of Dallas, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ft. Worth, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Pittsburgh, and Rockville Centre; the University of Notre Dame, Catholic University of America, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville; and Our Sunday Visitor.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said the step was necessary “to protect our religious liberties from unwarranted and unprecedented government intrusion.”

The Archdiocese of Washington has created a website dedicated to the new lawsuit. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., called the mandate a “government attempt to force the Church out of the public square.”

“The Catholic rebellion has begun,” said Catholic League President Bill Donohue in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.

The HHS mandate “amounts to nothing less than a grave threat to our constitutionally protected First Amendment right to freedom of religion,” said Franciscan University President Father Terence Henry, TOR. He added, although they never envisioned taking such a step, the board of trustees unanimously approved the lawsuit.

Our Sunday Visitor linked its involvement to the legacy of its founder, Fr. John Noll, who fought the political clout of the Ku Klux Klan as that organization attempted to impose anti-Catholic policies at the turn of the 20th century. “Today, Our Sunday Visitor stands proudly with our fellow Catholic apostolates and with our bishops in resisting this challenge,” the publication announced in a press release.

Read the rest here.

When a major Catholic publication likens the tactics of the nation’s first black president to those of the Ku Klux Klan it is an indication of how thoroughly corrupt the man truly is. And now we see the stirrings of our bishops who are rising up in defense of their flock.

That’s bad news for Obama.

Many dissident Catholics will support the bishops, not out of a new-found sense of regard for Magisterial teaching, but because they value the freedom to dissent and do not want their dissent mandated by the government.

The president thought he could leverage a family feud to his advantage and now finds that the side he thought he could manipulate has turned on him, specifically the University of Notre Dame. The Interloper-in-Chief has discovered that our Catholic family feud over contraception is just that; a Catholic family feud.

Obama is not one of us, and will pay dearly at the polls for his meddling.

In the interim, the bishops are to be applauded for their defense of the Church, and of her freedoms. Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be hosting a novena for our bishops, for their continued strength.

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From the Los Angeles Times:

In a move that some called historic, the county’s oldest African American civil rights group voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage.

The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution supporting gay marriage at a meeting of its board of directors in Miami, saying it opposed any policy or legislative initiative that “seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of LGBT citizens.”

Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force erupted in applause at their board meeting Saturday as their phones buzzed with the news.

“Today is a historic day,” Rea Carey, executive director of the task force, said a phone interview from Seattle. “This is what leadership looks like in this country.”

The vote marks a national turning point on the issue of gay marriage. President Obama announced this month that he supports gay marriage. A Gallup Poll last year found, for the first time in the poll’s history, that a majority of Americans supported the legalization of gay marriage, 53% to 45%. This year, the poll showed 50% supported it, while 48% opposed it.

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law,” Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the 103-year-old NAACP said in a statement.

“The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.”

Read the rest here.

While tragic, it is not at all surprising that the NAACP has taken a course of action that is at odds with the 62% of the black community mentioned in the article, who oppose such unions on religious grounds.

In New York City, 60% of black pregnancies end in abortion and authentic African American leaders such as Dr. Alveda King and the Reverends Catherine Davis, Walter Hoye, Stephen Broden, Clenard Childress, Michael Faulkner, Arnold Culbreth, Dr. LaVerne Tolbert, and Ryan Bomberger (to name a few), cannot get a hearing by the people Rea Carey calls “real leadership.”

With 6/10 of New York Blacks never seeing the light of day, and similar statistics elsewhere, African Americans are locked into what can only be assessed as demographic suicide. The NAACP leadership has thrown in with the same Democrat party that funds Planned Parenthood nationally with a third of a billion dollars annually; and it is this same Planned Parenthood that has been operating some 78% of their centers in minority neighborhoods, commensurate with Margaret Sanger’s Negro Project.

Now this.

It is tempting to assess the NAACP’s recent vote as an indiscriminate siding with anyone who is oppressed. However, if that were so, the NAACP would be joining the Catholic Church and other religious faiths in opposing the HHS contraceptive mandate, which is actually a war on religion.

The truth is that the American people stood by passively and consented to gays and lesbians being granted all of the goods and privileges society once reserved for married couples, everything from adoption rights to shared employment benefits, domestic partnerships protecting housing rights, etc.

The truth is that gays and lesbians were handed everything but a marriage license. We now see the emerging agenda with the emerging punitive measures against military chaplains opposed to performing such weddings.

The truth is that heterosexuals have been far more tolerant and permissive than the gay community is now behaving, and that the NAACP has missed the opportunity to address the new discrimination in America: Gay intolerance of authentic Judeo-Christian morality. It is an intolerance that, to use the NAACP’s words, “seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the constitutional rights of,” traditional Christians.

The truth is that it isn’t leadership being demonstrated by the NAACP. It’s something far worse. I’ve heard the assessments range from sheer cluelessness to something sinister. With almost 2/3 of the people it purports to “lead” opposing same-sex marriage on religious grounds, the NAACP has joined in President Obama’s war on religion. Dragging one’s members by the hair is not the same as leading. Neither is neglecting the demographic suicide that has gripped their community.

This weekend the association purporting the “Advancement of Colored Persons,” ceased to exist. Not willing to address their membership’s demographic suicide, they have thrown in with a president bent on reshaping the Christian faith that sustained them during slavery and the Jim Crow era, as well as the authentic and noble struggle for civil rights. In so doing, the NAACP has abdicated the sacred trust that once made them the noblest and most honorable institution in the United States of America.

The African American community in America, as many other quarters in America, has real needs, real problems that call for real, fresh, and imaginative leadership. Becoming embroiled in a war on the Christian roots of its membership and much of the nation has only cemented in the minds of many the image of an organization that has become thoroughly radicalized.

The rest of the nation should take heart that there are many, many other black leaders committed to authentic equality that respects the constitutional rights of all citizens. We turn now to those leaders and seek the way forward together, a way that is characterized by mutual support and respect.

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When Rush Limbaugh made his unfortunate comments about Georgetown Law’s new “it” girl, Sandra Fluke, he may or may not have accurately described the young woman’s behavior according to the standards of a bygone era. The accuracy of his description is not at issue, so much as that Limbaugh broke a cardinal rule and went after someone in an unequal station in life.

Limbaugh, the self-styled “Doctor of Democracy,” indeed travels in the highest political circles, along with academics who seek his counsel. His commentary on Fluke was tantamount to the President or faculty of a college going on national radio and speaking in that way about a student.

It’s. Just. Not. Done.

Students are still in formation and are to be accorded a certain degree of forbearance. When Fluke holds the degree of Juris Doctor, then the gloves come off. However, students do not enjoy blanket immunity from impaling themselves on their own ill-informed or deceitful tongues, and it is the duty of faculty to correct the record when they get it wrong. This serves the interests of truth, the student, the school, and a public misled by false information made credible by the advanced academic status of the student and the stature of the school.

Having held herself out as the spokeswoman for sexually active Georgetown Law women whose extracurricular activities seem to occasion economic disenfranchisement on them, a candid analysis of Fluke’s numbers, submitted in the Congressional Record, seems to be in order.

According to Fluke, it costs a female Georgetown Law student $3,000 for contraception over the course of her three years in school. That’s $1,000 per academic year. So just how much contraception can $1,000 buy in a year?

The nearby Walmart sells generic birth control pills for $9 per month without insurance. Total cost: $108. Balance: $892

Presumably, the rest is spent on condoms to help protect against disease and add an added measure of ‘protection’ from pregnancy.

Walmart sells boxes of LifeStyles Ultra Sensitive condoms (40 per box) for $11.46. Dividing that price into $892, the cost-conscious student can purchase 77 Boxes of condoms for a grand total of 3,080 condoms!

And to think Democrat leaders hate Walmart!

Dividing 3080 condoms by 365 days in a year yields 8.43 condoms used EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When do these women find time to study? What sort of feminism do they ascribe to where the men are not required to bear some of the cost?

Assuming that these students actually take two days off per week to study and rest, that raises the daily condom usage to 11.8 per day! Not even sailors brag like that.

Obviously math is not Ms. Fluke’s strong suit. I’m not suggesting that she’s any of the things Limbaugh called her, and I won’t repeat them here. However, when a graduate student gives testimony before the Congress of the United States of America, said student had better be deadly accurate with the facts.

The truth is either that Fluke is a bit confused with her numbers, does not know how to comparison shop, or perhaps has an agenda, or perhaps all three. There is no doubt that Georgetown University has an agenda that aligns along the same axis as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sandra Fluke.

Given the stark reality of the Obama administration’s war on religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, the invitation of Sebelius as a commencement speaker this year can only signal that the Jesuits at Georgetown have broken ranks with the bishops in the most public, egregious, and consequential manner possible. There’s no cajoling such ideologues. They have chosen up sides in this war on religion.

It is difficult to see how any Catholic of good conscience can call Georgetown Catholic.

If Real Catholic T.V.’s Michael Voris can be instructed to no longer call his operation “Catholic,” pursuant to the discernment accorded to bishops under Canon Law, then what are the bishops to say of Georgetown?

Jesus gave us the model of fraternal correction. It is time to treat Georgetown as outsiders until such time as they return and bend to the Magisterium in matters of faith and morals. It’s not only medicinal for Georgetown and the Jesuits, but the laity and the world who see such example of disobedience and take it for acceptable difference of opinion within the faith.

The President and his allies have ushered in a new era where there are no more ambiguities, nothing left to debate. Either they will be defeated at the polls and the registrar’s office, or we will be co-opted by the state and her minions dutifully trained by the Georgetown’s of the nation.

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The twentieth century saw the greatest advances made in science, technology, and medicine that the world has ever known. Building on the conceptual discoveries of the previous three centuries, we have wrought wonders unimagined in every decade of that century, and continue on unabated in this new century and new millennium. If there has been a down side to all of that fast-paced discovery, it has been the fact that the technological developments have come faster than humanity could process their implications and discern their right use, or whether they ought to be used at all.

Consider this quote from former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Leon Kass, M.D., in Human Cloning and Human Dignity, The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Though dealing specifically with cloning, the principles discussed apply equally to a host of issues.:

“We should not be self-deceived about our ability to set limits on the exploitation of nascent life. What disturbs us today we quickly or eventually get used to; yesterday’s repugnance gives way to tomorrow’s endorsement. A society that already tolerates the destruction of fetuses in the second and third trimesters will hardly be horrified by embryo and fetus farming (including in animal wombs), if this should turn out to be helpful in the cure of dreaded diseases.

“We realize, of course, that many proponents of cloning-for-biomedical-research will recommend regulations designed to prevent just such abuses (that is, the expansion of research to later-stage cloned embryos and fetuses). Refusing to erect a red light to stop research cloning, they will propose various yellow lights intended to assure ourselves that we are proceeding with caution, limits, or tears. Paradoxically, however, the effect might actually be to encourage us to continue proceeding with new (or more hazardous) avenues of research; for, believing that we are being cautious, we have a good conscience about what we do, and we are unable to imagine ourselves as people who could take a morally disastrous next step. We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”

There were four great “divisions” or “splittings” that technology produced in the twentieth century. Each had catastrophic consequences that have contributed to the corrosion of civilization. Each involves the severing of unitive bonds with an uncontrolled release of energy that has been every bit as destructive as the intact bonds are productive. Three of these have been particularly catastrophic for women.

The first great splitting came at the Lambeth Conference of 1930, when the Anglican Church split away from the rest of Christendom and became the first Christian church to embrace artificial contraception. Never before had any Christian church held that the splitting, or separation of the Unitive and Procreative dimensions of marital sex was moral. Over the next few decades most all other Christian churches followed the Anglicans, with catastrophic consequences.

Looking at the moral and familial disintegration occurring in the churches who embraced contraception, as well as those quarters of the Catholic Church where the same was occurring, Pope Paul VI, in 1968, penned Humanae Vitae, the binding encyclical that explicated and reinforced 2,000 years of Catholic teaching about the beauty and sanctity of sex as designed by God in His order for creation. It also warned of the consequences of splitting the unitive from the procreative. Those who have suffered the most have been women, as contraception frees men to follow their most base and animal instincts, making of women’s bodies mere playthings.

What contraception cannot eliminate is the brain biochemistry of women where sex releases the hormone oxytocin, which is involved in producing feelings of bondedness and belonging. It doesn’t take too much violation of the bondedness to induce cynicism, apathy, and despair. If indeed there was a war between the sexes in the 1960’s, the pill did nothing but intensify it and add dimensions that never before existed.

The second great splitting was that of the atom; specifically, the splitting of the atomic nucleus. The bonds that hold the nuclear particles together are so strong that a grapefruit-sized amount of Uranium whose nuclei are split, through fission as it is called, can produce enough energy in an uncontrolled reaction to blow up a city. When the scientists of the Manhattan Project in World War II wanted to slow down and discuss the ethical implications of the bomb they had just invented, they were rebuffed by a military weary of the World War it had been fighting for close to four years, and saw it as the means to avoid millions of casualties in an invasion of the Japanese home islands. The rest is history.

The third great splitting that occurred came in the late 1970’s with in vitro fertilization (IVF). In IVF, eggs are taken from the mother’s ovaries and sperm is collected from the father (who is given a plastic cup and ushered to a private setting for self-expression). The gametes are then mixed in a Petri dish by a lab technician and fertilization occurs. The dozens of embryos thus produced are graded and sorted. The least viable-looking are simply discarded. The best are implanted in the mother’s womb, and the rest are submerged and frozen in liquid nitrogen at –320 degrees F.

A tragic consequence of this splitting is the consent of the desperate mother to this barbaric treatment of her offspring, often not perceived as such by the woman whose desperation blinds her.

If contraception split the unitive from the procreative dimensions of the marital embrace, then IVF has gone further to split the procreative dimension itself by actually negating the need for a marital embrace at all. It also introduced the first division of motherhood’s integrated unity. IVF removes the events of fertilization from within the mother and posits them in the Petri dish. In splitting the marital embrace, husband and wife are reduced from co-creators with God to the role of mere sideline observers in the laboratory as the technicians go about the work of procreation by being the agents who facilitate the union of egg and sperm.

In very short order sperm and egg donation in IVF expanded to any permutation of donors. Couples (many not even married) were engaging in eugenic creations of babies by soliciting sperm and egg donors from Ivy League students. If IVF was the technology for couples with problems rooted in the pathophysiology of conception, the next logical accommodation was made for those where women could not, or would not, carry a baby to term.

That accommodation was the fourth great splitting of the twentieth-century: Surrogate Motherhood. Surrogate motherhood takes the integrated unity of normal female reproduction and divides it across two (or more) women. In the case of the married couple, IVF is performed and then a surrogate is solicited to accept implantation of the embryo and gestate the child for the couple. Surrogates are paid in the tens of thousands of dollars for their services.

The problem with surrogate motherhood is that it isn’t.

It isn’t surrogacy. It’s a critical component of what is supposed to be an integrated physiological process of reproduction.

The legal and ethical communities quickly agreed that the mother was the egg donor for IVF who contracted the services of the surrogate. In my senior thesis in college I argued against this understanding, and remain opposed to it today. A child may now have five parents: egg donor, sperm donor, married couple who procured said egg and sperm for IVF, and surrogate (gestational mother).

Many Catholic bioethicists posit motherhood in the egg donor who is also the married (or not) woman procuring IVF and the services of the surrogate.

It’s a huge mistake to take so simplified a view.

The truth of the matter is that both egg donor and gestational mother are the biological mothers of the child. To say, ethically, that the “real” mother is the egg donor is to blind oneself to the nine months of embryonic and fetal development that occur in the womb. The bondedness of mother and child have as their most proximal and powerful origins the mutual growth together during nine months of gestation, and not the more distal ovulation and fertilization (which the egg donor does not participate in with IVF).

Motherhood is more, much more, than the donation of half an individual’s chromosomal content. If Catholic bioethicists cannot see that nine months of gestation are the second half of the biological equation and produce an intimacy and union between woman and child, an intimacy forged within the created order of gestation, then we are in trouble.

The truth is that God’s created order has been artificially divided within women. First with the division wrought by contraception, which makes of women the very sex objects inveighed against by the feminists of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Then, the integrated unity of the procreative dimension of human sexuality itself is split by IVF and further subdivided by surrogacy, with the end result being that two women can each claim a biological component of motherhood: fertilization and gestation.

Specifically, the baby’s growth and development are all facilitated by the woman in whose womb the child grows. The baby is literally bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh. Lost in all of this technological revolution has been the great dignity of women and motherhood. (We’ll save the discussion on men and fatherhood for another day)

To add further to the disintegration, motherhood has been completely commodified, from the sale of eggs for thousands of dollars, to paid surrogates. Our women have been dismantled and their parts and functions sold to the highest bidders. All of this in the name of a feminism that sought freedom from women’s biology, which was held out to them as nature’s chains of oppression.

Just because we can do something does not mean that we ought to. In forty years we have slowly and imperceptibly come to a place most of us never thought we would come to. When the created order of human bonds is split, the destruction is every bit as catastrophic as the splitting of the bonds that unite the atomic nucleus. The prophets of the twentieth-century have been the Catholic popes and bishops, who have been ridiculed mercilessly. Looking at the ever-widening debris field, perhaps it’s time for another consideration of their unitive message.

Kass was quite correct:

“We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”

To all of the mothers who give great witness through their loving sacrifices, their example of faith, and to those who came to motherhood through a process of disintegration the pain of childlessness blinded them to,

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Theodore Shulman, the man who sent death threats to me and several other pro-life leaders, has entered a guilty plea in Federal Court to an incident involving threats to Father Frank Pavone and Princeton Professor Robert George. He faces up to 51 months in prison. According to the New York Daily news:

The plea deal includes an agreement that prosecutors would not charge Shulman for possession of cyanide and two other deadly substances at the time of his arrest.

Read the rest here.

The cyanide and other deadly substances are worrisome, especially since Shulman has evidently had graduate training in either medicine or biology. He is a highly intelligent man who represented the proaborts very, very well when not engaging in threats. Of course, his obsession with promoting abortion led him to explain away the scientific literature that showed the link between abortion and breast cancer. His intelligence and talents as a scientist have been tragically squandered in the service of the greatest evil to grip this nation since slavery.

Shulman’s mother is the celebrated feminist author, Alix Kates Shulman who authored Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, a feminist manifesto. Shulman’s mother aborted four of his siblings. Two before him and two after him. That’s a terrible family legacy to grow up within.

In what I have read by his mother, she mentions his sister but not Theodore.

There is no celebration or joy in my home today. A relatively short sentence for a man who has sent threats to many and who has been found in possession of three deadly substances is a disquieting reality. Equally disquieting is the thought that this brilliant man has destroyed himself, gripped as he has been by a terrible evil; perhaps too, by the emptiness wrought by four missing siblings.

Theodore needs our prayers, and plenty of them. Absent a solid spiritual and ethical formation, the power of our medical and scientific technology will twist, distort, and destroy those entrusted with it’s secrets and protocols. Shulman is living proof.

If tonight many of us are breathing a little easier, I feel nothing but emptiness and sorrow for a fellow scientist my age, whose mother butchered four of his siblings. I can’t imagine such a horrific absence of love, such cold and callous evil and how that factors into a human being’s development.

Pray for Theodore, for his mother, for their conversion and healing. It’s all so very, very sad.

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About a year ago I met Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. Reggie, an attorney, has been actively and doggedly engaged in efforts to stop forced abortions and forced sterilizations in China, making frequent trips to meet with our elected representatives in Washington, D.C.

The pro-life blogosphere and wider community have embraced Reggie and aided her in getting out the word on what has been going on in China. It has been Reggie who has made known to Americans the plight of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who has been persecuted by his government for his efforts to stop the forced abortions and sterilizations of women in China. Consequently, Chen’s name and story have been made well known by Reggie here in the States for some time now.

Perhaps the mainstream media will get the credit for breaking the story, but here at Coming Home all due credit goes to my friend Reggie, who inspires me with her courage, her faith, and her love for the oppressed.

Bravo, Reggie!

Reggie’s work requires the generous support of the pro-life community. She has sacrificed in every imaginable way to press home her authentic feminist support of our sisters in China, and I can think of no greater victory for Reggie than the widespread telling of the story whose groundwork was laid by this solitary and indefatigable warrior. Please consider visiting her site and supporting her work with whatever means, no matter how small, you may be able to share.

God Bless You, Reggie. God has honored the work for which you and Chen have sacrificed so much.

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Today, President Obama threw his support behind same-sex marriage. Thank God! The mask is off, six months before the election and about a year since he announced that he was willfully violating his Oath of Office by ordering the Justice Department to cease defending the law in court. Specifically, he ordered an end to defending The Defense of Marriage Act.

It is the duty of the Executive Branch to see to it that the duly constituted laws of the land are executed and defended by attorneys general. Hasn’t that been the battle cry of Catholic governors who plead their personal opposition to abortion, but must uphold the law of the land with all of the resources of the Executive?

What Obama has done is actively define dictatorship by the selective upholding and prosecution of the laws. This eviscerates the legislative branch of government and turns the law into the personal prerogative of one man. If anyone claimed ignorance in voting for Obama the first time, he has made his agenda plain for all to see this time around. In not defending the Defense of Marriage Act and now openly declaring support for the redefinition of marriage, the president has declared war on the central institution of all organized religion. The question arises in many quarters…

“So What?”

It’s actually not so benign. For openers, heterosexuals have made a mess of marriage, with no-fault divorce and divorce rates hovering in the 50% range for decades. Still, if we have made a mess of our institution, the truth remains that it is OUR institution to fix.

A core reason for marriage is the universally recognized need of children to have a biological mother and father, each of whom brings their complementary strengths to bear on the formation of their new human beings. Modern research has overwhelmingly borne out the truth that children do best when raised by their biological mother and father, who both reside with the child under the same roof. The pathologies in children increase in proportion to the degree to which the biological parents drop out of the child’s life. That’s not conservative talking points. That’s well-established social scientific data.

Part of the pathology of gay/lesbian marriages (and most divorces in heterosexuals) is the belief that a child can do just fine without a mother or a father. At least in divorce the reality of one-parental involvement is a tragic consequence. In gay and lesbian unions it is a principled and celebrated world-view.

Worse still is the implicit validation of what some in the homosexual community call heterosexuals aloud: breeders. Gay men who donate sperm for IVF and surrogate motherhood merely use women as barnyard livestock. (So do the heterosexuals who pioneered and grew this beastly industry.)


Lesbian couples seeking sperm donations for either insemination or IVF do as much with men: Stud animals.

The entire affair signals the collapse of Western/Christian Civilization. We have lost sight of who we are, what our children require, and have subordinated their needs to our narcissistic and hedonistic obsessions.

There is nothing sweet and benign about two men determining that they are just as good as a mother. Such belief betrays their hostility toward women at the biological and metaphysical core of womanhood. The same for lesbians with men.

Bioethics has as a prerequisite that we know who we are, what our nature is and is not. It is concerned with the right use of technology and prudential judgement. When society embraces such institutionalized pathology it is impossible to have a coherent national discussion about how we treat ourselves and one another.

If we can’t agree on who and what we are, then anything goes.

If we cannot agree on who and what we are, then we will have that dictated to us by the government. Never in the history of any human civilization has a dictatorial government acted with beneficence or charitable forbearance. They have all treated their people as so much livestock. This time around, it is the people who have thus defined themselves. Tragically, there will always be a willing dictator ready to oblige.

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Note: Blogging has been nonexistent here for almost two months. Critical illness. in in my best friend has required my full time and attention for several months. Pro-life begins at home. By God’s grace, things for Fr. Clark have stabilized and begun to improve. My heartfelt thanks for all who have written out of concern. It’s good to be back. Now, back to work.

Dr. Elard Koch is a fellow biologist and epidemiologist from Chile with whom I am collaborating on a major research study involving oral contraceptives. Dr. Koch has just released a study refuting pro-abort claims that abortions are safer than childbirth. Here is Dr. Koch’s press release. I have not yet read the study, but hope to within the week, after which I shall lead a guided tour through it for all who are interested. Here now is Dr. Koch:


EMBARGO TIME: May 4th, 2012 at 5 pm EST


Reporters UCSC: Carolina Astudillo, Phone 56 (41) 2345587; castudillo@ucsc.cl

Researchers: Dr Elard Koch, by e-mail ekoch@ucsc.cl; ekoch@ug.uchile.cl

Dr John Thorp, by e-mail john_thorp@med.unc.edu

Dr. Sebastian Gatica, by e-mail sgatica@ucsc.cl

Chile Outperforms U.S. and Dramatically Reduces Maternal Deaths by Increasing Women’s Educational Level

Concepción, Chile, May 5 – A scientific analysis of 50 years of maternal mortality data from Chile has found that the most important factor in reducing maternal mortality is the educational level of women. “Educating women enhances women’s ability to access existing health care resources, including skilled attendants for childbirth, and directly leads to a reduction in her risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth,” according to Dr Elard Koch, epidemiologist and leading author of the study.

The research entitled “Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: a Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007” was conducted on behalf of the Chilean Maternal Mortality Research Initiative (CMMRI) and published in the Friday, May 4 issue of PLoS ONE. (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/

Using 50 years of official data from Chile’s National Institute of Statistics (1957-2007), the authors looked at factors likely to affect maternal mortality, such as years of education, per capita income, total fertility rate, birth order, clean water supply, sanitary sewer, and childbirth delivery by skilled attendants. They also analyze the effect of historical educational and maternal health policies, including legislation that has prohibited abortion in Chile since 1989, on maternal mortality.

During the fifty-year study period, the overall Maternal Mortality Ratio or MMR (the number of maternal deaths related to childbearing divided by the number of live births) dramatically declined by 93.8%, from 270.7 to 18.2 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1957 and 2007, making Chile a paragon for maternal health in other countries. “In fact, during 2008, the overall MMR declined again, to 16.5 per 100,000 live births, positioning Chile as the country with the second lowest MMR in the American continent after Canada and with at least two points lower MMR than United States” said Koch.

One of the most significant findings is that, contrary to widely-held assumptions, making abortion illegal in Chile did not result in an increase in maternal mortality. In fact, after abortion was made illegal in 1989, the MMR continued to decrease from 41.3 to 12.7 per 100,000 live births (69.2% reduction). “Definitively, the legal prohibition of abortion is unrelated to overall maternal mortality rates” emphasized Koch.

The variables affecting this decrease included the predictable factors of delivery by skilled attendants, complementary nutrition for pregnant women and their children in the primary care clinics and schools, clean facilities, and fertility. But the most important factor and the one which increased the effect of all others was the educational level of women. For every additional year of maternal education there was a corresponding decrease in the MMR of 29.3 per 100,000 live births.

The picture for Chile includes a transition of leading causes of death along with an accelerated decline of fertility and delayed motherhood. Koch explained that direct causes –those directly attributable to pregnancy condition– were the rule before 1990, but from then, indirect causes –i.e. non-obstetric chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes among others– rise as the most prevalent, hindering the decline on maternal mortality.

“This study uncovers an ongoing ‘fertility paradox’ in maternal health: education is the major modulator that has helped Chile to reach one of the safest motherhood in the world, but also contributes to decrease fertility, excessively delaying motherhood and puts mothers on risk because of their older age.” Thus, an emerging problem nowadays “is not a question of how many children a mother has, but a question of when a mother has her children, specially the first of them” concluded Koch.


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