Author Archives: LEC

Pro-Family Values, Pro-Life Values

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Brains of Women and Men Differ

Neuroscientist Linda Mosconi at Weill Cornell Medical College, NYC, was interviewed about her new book, The XX Brain, that addresses hormonal changes. “Women’s brains are not the same as men’s brains …. They’re wired a little bit differently because the DNA is different.” Regarding the capacity to multitask: “Not to say that men are not able to, but women seem to have a little bit of an advantage” Yet, anxiety and depression “are much more common in women than men. Women are four times more likely than men to have headaches and migraines. Women are way more likely to even have a brain tumor. And women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Brain imaging studies done in women before and after pregnancy show that some parts of the brain kind of shrink after the baby is born, but that is actually a good thing. The new mom is like, ‘OK, I no longer have time for everybody’s things. I need to be able to focus on this baby and I want to optimize my brain so that it’s really sharp and really devoted to motherhood.’” [Wall Street Journal, 3/10/20]

Court Supports Pro-Life Student Group

California State University agreed to pay more than $240,000 in fees after a federal court found that it had discriminated against a student pro-life group and had used mandatory student fees to fund only university-favored views. Students for Life had been denied access to funding paid for by mandatory student fees that should have been available to all student groups. Students for Life of America is the largest pro-life student group in the U.S., with more than 1,225 student groups on high school and college campuses.

Attorney Caleb Dalton said: “Public universities should encourage all students to participate in the free exchange of ideas, not create elaborate and secretive funding schemes to fund their favorite groups while excluding opposing views from equal access.” [National Catholic Register, 3/1/20]

So Much to Be Thankful For …

… above all, the gift of life itself. The work done in the Church for the cause of life has been remarkable. She continues advocating for the unborn and doing so without neglecting the real needs of women and families through thousands of helping centers, financial aid, medical services, legal advice, counseling, places to live, jobs, education, and assistance to keep the child or place the child for adoption. Even after abortion, the Church offers God’s mercy to bring healing and reconciliation to thousands of women. There is still need for advocacy and to support women along the way. And the culture of death expands with physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and infanticide among other threats to life. [Fr. Andrew Burns, homily, Respect Life Mass, Cathedral of St. John, Paterson, NJ, The Beacon, 11/16/19]

“The goal of the pro-life movement is not simply that Roe would be overturned but that ours would be a society friendly to life. As long as our laws allow for the killing of the unborn, we cannot claim to be such a society. But the erasure of such laws will not, in itself, absolve us of the charge of being a society that is deeply inhumane and hostile to life.” [Jake Meador, Mere Orthodoxy, Jan. 2020]

Why Do Christian Girls Obtain Abortions?

Fear often stands behind the decision to abort. Young women are understand- ably frightened when discovering they’re pregnant. “I’m afraid I’m not ready and I won’t be a good mother.” “I’m fearful my boyfriend won’t stand by me.” “What will mom and dad think of the fact that I’ve been having sex?” “My church friends will look down on me for this if they ever found out.”

Those who should be at their side in a moment of crisis may not be present. Mothers and fathers may not have fostered close relationships with their daughters. They may have never discussed the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy to let them know that, even if they act contrary to their advice & conceive a child, they will still be there for them. According to Wendy Bonano, pregnancy support center director in N. Carolina: “Quite often there’s a piece missing from the ‘talks’ parents have with their daughters and sons. Without knowing it, we are leaving no doors open for our children to come back to us should they stray. We make good strong cases for purity until marriage, yet neglect to communicate the message of grace that we are there for them no matter what, and should they make a mistake, in this case get pregnant, it is safe for them to come to us for help and support.” [Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Florida Catholic, 2/21/20]

“Never Been as Many Slaves in the World as Today”

So said Gabriella Bottani of Talitha Kum, a global network of nuns that assists trafficked persons, as she participated in a nun’s march in Vatican City last month. The International Labor Organization estimates that almost 25 million people are in forced labor worldwide; about 20% of those are in forced sexual exploitation.

The Talitha Kum group is based in Rome and operates in 92 nations to coordinate the actions of Catholic nuns who fight human trafficking. It supports women who had been sold into prostitution as well as the thousands of adults and children who are sold into forced labor or slavery. Pope Francis again spoke out on behalf of the millions of men, women and children who are trafficked and enslaved, calling human trafficking a “scourge” and an “open wound.” [E. Povoledo, “Nuns March,” NYTimes, 2/10/20]

A Lenten Prayer Opportunity

During Lent, would you be willing to spend an hour or two a week in a prayer vigil? 40 Days for Life is an internationally coordinated campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a vigil in front of abortion businesses. Peaceful and educational, the campaign is a focused, 40-day, non-stop, round-the-clock prayer vigil outside a single Planned Parenthood center or other abortion facility in your community. Those who are called to stand witness during this daily 24-hour presence send a powerful message about the tragic reality of abortion. It also serves as a call to repentance for those who work at the abortion center & those who patronize the facility.

To get involved, go to the website https://www.40daysforlife.com/, click on “Find Vigil Location” and enter your zip code to view your local coordinator’s name and contact information.

Doctors Save Premature Babies

The field of neonatology took off in the second half of the 20th century when a few pediatricians, often against the advice of colleagues, dared to save newborns. Yet every advance brings with it new dilemmas. Innovations may save a child’s life but can leave them with significant disabilities. A doctor cannot predict how a particular premature baby will fare. All doctors wrestle with these issues that are particularly poignant when dealing with tiny babies. That’s because the field of neonatology has changed the way we understand what it means to be alive, what it means to be human, and what constitutes a life worth living. [Review of Sarah DiGregorio’s book, Early, NY Times, 2/9/20]

Life is in Our Hands

On Jan. 20 our country celebrated the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., father of the civil-rights movement. On Jan. 22, we commemorated that infamous 1973 day when the Supreme Court robbed unborn children, disproportionately black, of their most basic, Creator-endowed, unalienable right to life by legalizing abortion on demand, all of which has resulted in what has been called black genocide.

Coincidentally, on Jan. 22, 1951, Alveda King, the reverend’s niece, was born. Today, this “director of civil rights of the unborn” calls the abortion battle the civil-rights struggle of this century. We can help halt the holocaust of the most helpless members of our human family by urging our elected officials to vote against anti-life legislation. [Richard Carey, letter, Nat. Catholic Register, 3/1/20]

“It is indisputable that abortion ends a life, and the decision to end a life is permanent.” Rep. Erin Grall, a sponsor of the Florida measure that requires parental consent for minors seeking to procure an abortion. The bill passed both houses in February. The governor is expected to sign it. [Our Sunday Visitor, 3/8/20]

Genetic Engineering Blind to True Human Nature

We experience a natural drive to improve ourselves and our world. Its highest expression lies in charitable love of our neighbors & faithful preparation for union with the Divine. Our human nature thrives when we develop a shared moral sensibility in our interaction with others and in our experience of joy in the beauty of God-given creation. Disabled persons are then properly valued as miraculous, unique treasures of our human community. Removing some perceived disease, abnormality or deficit in an embryo would not guarantee that the altered person would be spared unpredictable suffering in his or her life. Suffering is not limited to persons who are ‘abnormal’ or less capable of achievement. Relationships with parents could become distorted for those children aware of having been ‘manufactured’; the edited persons might lose the reassurance that comes from miraculously receiving & freely developing one’s unique, given identity. Medical ideology of control generates a mirage through which we can barely perceive the wondrous, irreplaceable, and divinely intended nature of an individual human. Genetic engineering of unborn humans says much about parents and scientists who put their preferences for normality, abilities and competitive achievement above respect for the awesome miracle of human nature. [Christopher M. Reilly, Madness of Human Genetic Engineering, Human Life Review, Aug. 2019.]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, & posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu 

The Pregnancy Diaries: 20 weeks + gender reveal!

by Caroline Douglas, LEC Board of Trustees

On Wednesday I had my anatomy ultrasound. The baby is healthy and growing normally, with a heart rate of 146 bpm and weighing more than a pound!

And we found out our baby’s gender!

It’s a…

BOY!

Our son will have a little brother! We’re so excited for this new addition to our family.

This little guy is STRONG. He’s almost 22 weeks now, and his kicks are almost painful! It’s amazing how alive and strong he is even though we are only halfway through the pregnancy.

And I’m finally showing now! Only a little more than four months to go! We’re so excited for this new addition to our family.

Public Slowly Turning More Pro-Life (February 2020)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Gallup Poll re Abortion Laws

Last year, New York passed a devastating law that legalizes abortions up to birth and infanticide. Vermont followed with its own abortions-up-to- birth legislation, then Rhode Island and, finally, Illinois legalized abortions up to birth.

Americans are not happy about it, according to a new Gallup poll (Jan. 2-15, 2020). “58% say they are dissatisfied with the nation’s policies on abortion, marking a seven-percentage-point increase from one year ago & a new high,” Gallup reported. Americans have generally been unhappy with our pro-abortion laws; that level of disapproval has increased as abortion activists have taken their radical activism to new heights (shout your abortion campaign, laws for abortions up to birth, forcing Americans to fund abortions & doctors to do them, or even defending infanticide).

Gallup has measured Americans’ abortion views since 2001 as part of its annual Mood of the Nation poll. Typically the Gallup poll has found most Americans oppose all or most abortions. In the past, Gallup found that roughly half oppose all or almost all abortions. It has “consistently” found over the years that a majority of Americans are pro-life. More people want stricter abortion laws & they’re upset because the laws are too supportive of abortion.

Gallup found 60% of Americans take a pro-life position on abortion wanting all (21%) or almost all (39%) abortions made illegal. That 60% figure is the highest percentage espousing a pro-life position since 2009 and a dramatic rise in pro-life attitudes since the 53% figure Gallup found in its poll last year. [Steve Ertelt, LifeNews.com, 1/22/20]

“I should feel okay. Everyone else does. I must not think about the abortion.”

Post-abortion reactions originate mainly from the problem of denial & suppression of feelings. Suppressing emotions is the basis of post-abortion trauma: the denial of the baby and denial of our feelings. Some women experience flashbacks of the abortion & dreams of the unborn child. Some experience intense psychological distress from people or things that remind them of the abortion, such as seeing pregnant women or passing an abortion clinic. Intense grieving and depression may occur on the anniversary dates of the abortion or the child’s projected due date. Others try to avoid activities, situations, or information that might cause a remembrance of the abortion. Some women suffer from an inability to have loving or tender feelings. Most conscious or unconscious coping mechanisms produce additional pain and problems.

Project Rachel began over fifteen years ago for women, men & families who have been affected by abortion. Not only does the Church speak the truth about abortion to men & women contemplating this action, but it is also a place of healing: “If you have had an abortion, God’s mercy is great enough to forgive that, too.” Jesus offers forgiveness & healing: the hope and promise of resurrection and reunion with the child who is waiting for his parents in heaven.

People who call Project Rachel are offered referrals to professional counselors or to priests specially trained for guidance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But basically everyone in the Church is a part of Project Rachel. Everyone is a part of the healing ministry of Christ. You may know someone who has had an abortion. You never accuse or confront. A simple word that will touch their hearts and release them from fear and isolation can begin the healing process. [Sr. Paula Vandegaer, “After the Abortion,” hopeafterabortion.com]

“I’ve killed more people than Ted Bundy.”

Coming to terms with the fact that I was a professional mass murderer was devasta- ting, but it forced me to speak the truth. I began my medical career believing the modern clichés that women must have total control over our bodies, that it’s irresponsible to bring unwanted children into an overpopulated world. When faced with my own unwanted pregnancy before entering medical school, I chose abortion.

When I got my medical license in Florida in 1978, I moonlighted as an abortionist on the weekends, making more money than I would have made working in the emergency room. I was amazed by the perfect little fingers & toes but treated fetal remains like any other medical specimen, with no emotion. The only time I questioned my line of work was during my neonatal rotation, when I realized I was trying to save babies in the neonatal intensive care unit who were the same age as some of the babies I was aborting.

A mother of four who felt she just couldn’t manage another child brought me to tears. She wept before, during and after the procedure. It was the grief of a woman who knew the moral gravity of what she was doing that ended my abortion career. I stopped doing abortions yet remained pro- choice. But I saw in my OB-GYN practice young girls flourish who had chosen not to abort, & older, more educated patients who had aborted struggle psychologically. Gradually, I began to see the feminist view that abortion empowers women as increasingly flimsy.

I now give expert testimony on the realities of abortion, like the testimonies the Supreme Court will soon consider in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee. For years, many abortion clinics have gotten away with shoddy practices that no surgery center would be likely to get away with. This is surely because abortion workers, legislators and law enforcement fear that they will be accused of restricting access to abortion if they hold abortion clinics accountable. Abortionists should be required to have local hospital admitting privileges. Many physicians on staff at ambulatory surgical centers are required to have hospital privileges to ensure that patient care is not compromised in the event of a complication.

I was pro-choice for decades. I performed abortions & had an abortion. I understand in a deep and personal way where the fault lines of disagreement over abortion in America lie. But can’t we at least all agree on the importance of safety in the abortion industry? [Dr. Kathi Aultman, member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, LifeNews.com, 1/22/20]

We Hope the President Will Respect All Humans

History was made on Jan. 24 by the first sitting president ever to address in person the crowd gathered on the National Mall for the March for Life. [Editor’s note: an estimate of more than 400,000 people participated in the March for Life.]

Though there was a definite political upside for the president’s appearance, we would be remiss if we didn’t set politics aside and say: To hear the president declare on national TV, without compromise or condition, that the life of every child is sacred was a gift for beleaguered pro-lifers who have dedicated their lives to proclaiming that essential truth within a generally hostile culture.

“All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God,” said Pres. Trump. ”Together we must protect, cherish and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life. He thanked women for their leadership in the pro-life movement for doing everything from providing mothers in need with housing, medical care, education and jobs to hosting baby showers. And he singled out mothers as “heroes.”

These are striking words in their complete & utter truth, and in the simple fact they were spoken by an American president. Yes… we agree: Every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Every human being has dignity & worth. This includes every human being, regardless of race or origin of birth, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of migration status, regardless of economic status, regardless of appearance. It includes every human being who might share an opposing view. And above all, yes, it includes every human being growing in his or her mother’s womb. It is our fervent hope that President Trump’s passionate & correct declaration that every human life, born & unborn, is made in the image of God be reflected in all policies & priorities of his presidency. [Editorial, Our Sunday Visitor, 1/25/20]

Prayer Petition: “May all who support or participate in abortion experience a conversion of heart to seek and receive the Lord’s boundless mercy.” US Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat

Unwanted Children Even 600 Years Ago

Starting around the early 1400s in Florence, Italy, hundreds of thousands of children were abandoned. The Innocenti Institute was found in 1446 as a hospital and orphanage for abandoned children, most of whom were girls. Some of these babies were born out of wedlock, or they were the result of wealthy men impregnating servants so they could eventually become wet nurses for their own children. The Institute named each of the children they took in and gave them Florentine citizenship. Over the centuries, untold numbers of children have not had the same good fortune. The Innocenti Institute offered life when death was the alternative.

Much of this history is presented in“The Innocents of Florence,” a new documentary that recently opened in Florence to large audiences and wide praise. Produced in both English and Italian, distribution in the U.S. currently is being negotiated. [Italian Tribune, 12/19/19]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a single-sheet bulletin insert, & posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your free copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu

Going Public to Defend Human Life (January 2020)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

New Year’s Resolution: Walk for Life!

The national Rally and March for Life in Washington DC will be on Friday, January 24th. Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman is the theme. Anyone who has been on a past March will tell you how inspiring is the experience. Check your local area churches for buses to the March.

Yes, it is the whole day but it sends a powerful message to the nation regarding the dignity of each human life. But if you can’t attend, consider other events including: Jan. 18: Arizona Life March & Rally, Idaho March, North Carolina Rally and March for Life, & San Diego Walk for Life; Jan. 20: Walk for Life West Coast; Jan. 22: Rally for Life, Trenton, NJ; Feb 1: Midwest March for Life; Feb 13: Virginia March for Life; April 15: Connecticut March for Life; May 18: Pennsylvania March for Life. And there are many others. A complete list of marches and rallies may be found at www.marchforlife.org.

NFL Rookie Quarterback Doesn’t Duck Faith Questions

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Devlin Hodges from Alabama has been the relief starter in several crucial games, after joining the NFL team a few months ago. In a recent interview, he said: “I just want to do the best I can and have everyone else do the best they can, so it all works out for the glory of God. Every night I thank God for all the blessings he has given me, my family and friends. I ask for his continued blessings so that I can live how he wants, bringing glory to him.”

Devlin and his family weren’t cradle Catholics but converted while he was in high school. “I went with a friend to Mass. And I could feel the presence of God there, and I was impressed by the Church carrying on the tradition that Christ established at the Last Supper.”

“I’ve been to the team Mass a few times with two-time Pro-Bowler Alejandro Villanueva. He was surprised since I’m from a part of the country known for being Protestant.” [National Catholic Register, 12/22/19]

Mom Rejects Abortion of Baby With Spina Bifida; Doctors Try Surgery

Bethan Simpson of England, at her 20-week scan in early 2019, learned her unborn daughter had spina bifida. The congenital defect leaves the spinal cord exposed through a gap in the back-bone which can lead to a variety of serious problems including paralysis.

Mrs. Simpson wrote on her Facebook page, “Our lives were such a roller coaster for the next few weeks. We were offered continuing pregnancy, ending pregnancy or a new option called fetal surgery – fixing her before she is born. We had to do it.” The BBC reported that the successful 4-hour surgery at University College Hospital (London) last December involved opening her womb and lifting her baby into position to repair the hole, and repositioning the baby’s spinal cord.

“Sadly 80% of babies in England are terminated when their parents get told their baby has this condition,” Mrs. Simpson wrote at the time. Spina bifida is “not a death sentence. She has the same potential as every one of us.”

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion. If we can accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another.” Saint Mother Teresa

In a Facebook update today, we read: “She’s beyond exceptional. She’s spina beautiful and she’s not letting her condition defy her. No matter how little she is, she genuinely is my hero, she’s my savior and I’m so proud to show her off.”

Each and every time an unborn baby undergoes prenatal surgery, often because of signs the baby has spina bifida, it unavoidably raises a dilemma for pro-abortion partisans. This child is either partially or completely removed from her mother’s womb, surgeons work their wondrous ways, and she is placed back inside her mom where she nestles down until delivery time. The child is a baby when she was in the womb, baby when she was temporarily outside the womb, and baby when she is returned to home base.

Yet an “unwanted” child of a similar age is … what? When a woman decides she does not wish to “carry her pregnancy” to completion, does it make sense that the baby can be dehumanized into a “choice”? It is cognitive dissonance on steroids. [Dave Andrusko, www.LifeNews.com, 12/26/19].

“Is it surprising that today we have become so morally blind that we save the baby whales at great cost, and murder millions of unborn children?” Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Mother & Child [Re]Union

There is an intimate relation between a mother & her prenatal child. In a mother’s womb following conception, God builds a relational organ that can only be described as amazing: the human placenta. Baby and mother can be thought of as reaching out for one another at a physiological level to build the placenta, the only purposely temporary organ in humans and the only one that is created by two people in cooperation. The placenta provides the functions normally assumed by one’s lungs and kidneys and additionally has metabolic, thermo-regulatory, endocrine and immune functions.

The inter-connectedness between the prenatal child and her mother is intimate and more profound than previously believed. We know that the growing baby sends some of her cells across the placenta into her mother in a way that we are only beginning to understand. These cells migrate to various sites of maternal tissue and integrate into them. They then assume the function of the surrounding tissue and begin to function as such. Researchers are in the early stages of attempting to understand the full function of these cells, but some models suggest that some of these cells continue to aid the mother years after her baby is born such as the spacing of future siblings, and protecting women against autoimmune disorders.

Theologically, we can say that Mary not only carried the Son of God in her body when he was in her womb, but that she likely carried his cells in her body throughout her life in a way that further magnifies her position as the glorious Theotokos. [Kristin M. Collier MD, Church Life Journal, Notre Dame U., 7/25/19]

Ultrasound Was a “Bombshell”

Terry Beatley, author & founder of Hosea Initiative, shared her exclusive interview with Dr. Bernard Nathanson who, in 1969, co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates for abortion rights. His efforts succeeded with the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. Nathanson claimed responsibility for the death of more than 75,000 pre-born babies, including two of his own unborn children.

A few months after the Roe v. Wade decision, a new technology transformed his views on abortion. “The bombshell was real-time ultrasound. It made everything come alive,” he told Beatley. “I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person. I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not destroy them. So, I changed my mind on the subject of abortion.” The doctor later became one of the prominent leaders of the prolife movement in America and produced the 1985 anti-abortion film “The Silent Scream.” [Terry Beatley, What If We’ve Been Wrong: Keeping My Promise to America’s “Abortion King”]

But big divisions on the topic persist nationwide. States across the South and Midwest passed 58 abortion restrictions in the first six months of 2019, 25 of which would ban all, most, or some abortions. Meanwhile, state legislatures mostly in the North- east and West have enacted legislation to protect abortion rights and expand access to contraceptive services. [The Epoch Times, 12/10/19]

Abortion Industry Incapable of Policing Itself

The Supreme Court upheld a Kentucky law letting women see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion. Ultrasounds are generally done before abortions to determine the age of the baby prior to the abortion, but abortion clinics normally don’t let women see them. The American Civil Liberties Union had asked the courts to strike down the law.

But 6th Circuit judges ruled that the law did not violate a doctor’s First Amendment rights to free speech. “The information conveyed by an ultrasound image, its description, and the audible beating fetal heart gives a patient greater knowledge of the unborn life inside her,” wrote John Bush. “This also inherently provides the patient with more knowledge about the effect of an abortion procedure: it shows her what, or whom, she is consenting to terminate.”

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said: “Modern ultrasound technology opens an unprecedented window into the womb, providing undisputable evidence of the humanity of the unborn child. The abortion industry, proven incapable of policing itself, will stop at nothing to keep vulnerable women in the dark for the sake of profit, which is why state laws protecting women’s right to informed consent are so important.”

The law requires abortion center staff to display the ultrasound image for the woman & describe the dimensions of her unborn baby and the presence of internal organs, if seen. Fines are up to $100,000 for the first offense and $250,000 for subsequent offenses if abortion doctors violate the law by failing to give women the opportunity to see the ultrasound of their unborn child. [Steve Ertelt, Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Law Letting Women See Ultra-sound of Baby Before Abortion, www.LifeNews.com, 12/9/19]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your monthly copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu

The Pregnancy Diaries: 13 weeks

by Caroline Douglas, LEC Board of Trustees
Today I had a check-up ultrasound at 13.5 weeks.
Wow! What an incredible experience. My little baby was moving nonstop! S/he was wiggling, stretching, and even kicking his/her feet against me. At one point, when the lab tech pushed the probe into my belly, s/he arched her back and neck, as if doing some sort of yoga pose!
I was also amazed at how fully formed s/he was. For my last pregnancy, I only had an ultrasound at 20 weeks. This baby looked as formed as a 20 week gestation baby, just smaller! The nose, the chin, and the head were all perfectly clear on the ultrasound.
Everything looked normal, and we are especially thankful for this as we had a little bit of a scare a few days ago and I was worried that I’d miscarry. But everything is looking great!
We don’t know the gender yet–we’ll know February 20, at my next ultrasound. However, when I showed my 2-year-old the ultrasound pictures, he said “SISTER!” So maybe he knows more than we do…
According to pregnancy resources, my baby is about 3-4 inches long now, and has his/her own fingerprints! We’re so excited to meet him/her in July.

Positive Programs that Teach & Provide Help (December 2019)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Program Reaches Youth Groups

LIFENET makes age-appropriate presentations to schools, youth groups, churches & civic organizations on the topics of chastity, the humanity of the unborn child, abortion, and other bio-ethical issues. These talks empower young people with scientifically accurate information on human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and encourage them to set the highest personal standards.

“Thanks for the information about abstinence. You enlightened me about a lot of things and helped me change my life!” High School Senior, Bayonne, NJ. “This is what the young children of America need. The messages of family life were presented in such a dignified, honorable manner.” Middle School Principal.

Established in 1994, LIFENET exists to attain equal rights for babies in the womb through education, advocacy and networking, and it promotes chastity as a solution to abortion. Its multi-media presentations include: full facts about abortion, milestones of pre-natal human development, post-abortion healing, sexual integrity, chastity, sexually transmitted infections & the consequences of sex outside of marriage.

The organization also helps coordinate an effort underway in New Jersey to protect unborn babies of 20 weeks gestation or more. Their 20/20 program is a continuing grass-roots effort that has generated more than 100,000 postcards having been sent to state officials. [www.lifeneteducation.org]

U.S. Government Agency Promotes Abstinence Too

“Sexual abstinence means refraining from all forms of sexual activity & genital contact…. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to protect against pregnancy. … People sometimes also use abstinence to prevent pregnancy on days they are fertile (most likely to get pregnant), but they may be intimate at other times.”

“When practiced consistently, abstinence provides the most effective protection against unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV infection. It is only effective when both partners are completely committed and practice abstinence …. Abstinence is most effective when both partners talk and agree about their reasons to remain abstinent.”

“Abstinence has no health risks. It is free. You can be abstinent at different times in your life for different reasons that may change over time. You can choose to be abstinent whenever you want ….” But it “is sometimes hard to abstain from sex, particularly in the moment. You should always communicate with your partner ahead of time about your decision to be abstinent. There may be pressure … to have sex.” [https://www.hhs.gov/opa/pregnancy-prevention/]

College Students Are Helped

College campuses are battlegrounds for the minds & souls of our young people, and many are leaving the Church. Students are hungry for truth and meaning but most are not being reached effectively. Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) brings students back to Christ and the fullness of the Catholic faith. SPO builds evangelistic communities that provide a unique quality and depth of formation in the Catholic faith and life. “Our ministry has produced thousands of alumni who are passionate followers of Christ and who continue to shine His light in the world long after they have graduated. They are renewing the Church and evangelizing the culture.”

SPO currently operates in Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Florida, with chapters on campuses that are public & private, colleges & uni- versities, religious & non-religious. [https://spo.org/]

Reaching Americans on Our Roads

“I used to be pro-choice until I saw your billboard. I didn’t know a baby had a heartbeat as early as 18 days. I’ll never say I’m pro-choice again!” (Columbus, OH)

PROLIFE Across AMERICA is dedicated to changing hearts & saving babies’ lives by using billboard, radio and newspaper ads for people who may not be reached in any other way. “I couldn’t go through with my abortion after I saw your ad. I had no idea the baby was so developed.”-St. Louis, MO

The organization brings positive, persuasive messages, offering information and alternatives – including adoption – and post abortion assistance to those in need. “Your billboard hit me right between the eyes. I never thought about adoption. It’s an answer for me and an answer for the baby!” (Minnesota caller) Their tender and touching ads often are the only visible sign offering hope and help to someone who may be on the brink of an abortion decision. “I’m sending a photo of my grandson. It’s a small way of saying ‘thank you’ for those billboards. He is here today because my daughter saw those ads and made the decision for life.” (Midwest) [https://prolifeacrossamerica.org]

“She Had a Choice”

That’s the theme of New Jersey’s Life Education Council (LEC) that strives to offer women choices. They do this using billboards, bus and train ads, and the more than 350 Choose Life banners displayed on the grounds of churches and other organizations. [Editor: anyone interested in obtaining a banner should contact the LEC at their website, given below.]

The LEC supports pregnancy resource centers that show women their unborn children using ultrasound technology. Many say: “That’s my baby!” After that, nearly 85% of these women refuse to abort. The organization also supports the Black Genocide project. While just 13% of the population is black, preborn black children are targeted by Planned Parenthood and account for 40% of all abortions. [www.lifeeducationcouncil.org] 

Legal Federal Discrimination Against Catholic Agencies Ends

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently commended the Administration for changing a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut faith-based social service (adoption & foster care) providers that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father.

“To restrict faith-based organizations by infringing on religious freedom is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when more than 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to increase their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families.” [www.USCCB.org]

“Human life doesn’t really start at conception: How is a single cell a person?”

Scientists determine that something is alive if it has the capacity to grow, metabolize, respond to stimuli, adapt, and reproduce of its own accord. So do philosophers. From zygote to blastocyst to embryo, there is not one point at which the unborn is inanimate. Actual being exists from the moment of conception, with heartbeats at day 24 and brain waves at day 43, both of which are well before the end of the first trimester. It is alive and it is human. It is not potential human life but actual life. When a woman is pregnant, it is ill-informed to speak of a potential child. A sonogram would not depict an empty womb. The unborn child is conceived, it is an actual living being, an actual human child, a human life.

The language of abortion is thus intentionally misleading. The “choice” to have the child occurred before pregnancy, and ended at the moment of conception. Many are misled into thinking the termination amounts to not having the child. In fact, the child is already present, the child is “had” and the abortion is instead the killing of that life. One can only terminate a life because a life is already present. It is only before I am pregnant that I can choose to have a child, because there is as yet no child. [Associate Professor Caitlin Smith Gilson, The Language Game of Choice, Human Life Review, Summer 2019.]

“The world is full of easy & inviting ways, downhill roads into the shadow of the valley. Jesus offers you an uphill road which is heavy going but lets the eye of your heart sweep over ever broader horizons. Your choice: slide downhill into the dark valley, or climb the peak & breathe the pure air of truth, goodness & love.” St. John Paul II

Helping Women After an Abortion

There are several post-abortion ministries in the U.S. The most well-known may be Project Rachel (hopeafterabortion.com), founded in Milwaukee in 1984, which has been nationwide since 1990. Its website states: “It’s normal to grieve a pregnancy loss, including the loss of a child by abortion. It can form a hole in one’s heart, a hole so deep that sometimes it seems nothing can fill the emptiness.”

The National Office of Post-abortion Reconciliation & Healing can be reached at www.noparh.org in complete confidentiality. It provides training for care providers, maintains a 1-800-5WeCare referral line for those seeking assistance in reconciling an abortion experience, and publishes the International Post-Abortion Support Services Directory.

Rachel’s Vineyard, www.rachelsvineyard.org, is a Catholic ministry that offers nondenominational retreats for men and women who are dealing with the lingering effects of abortion.

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your monthly copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu 

The Pregnancy Diaries: I’m 8 weeks pregnant!

by Caroline Douglas, Life Education Council Board of Trustees

I’m Caroline, the social media manager for the Life Education Council–and today, I’m 8 weeks pregnant! I’ll be documenting the pregnancy right here… so stay tuned.

Today was my first prenatal appointment! My baby’s heart rate is 179 bpm, and he or she is 1.8 cm (0.71 inches) long. My due date is July 6th, 2020! They also did an ultrasound:

Ultrasound pictures aren’t so clear at this stage. Here’s a photo of an 8-week gestation baby (6 weeks from conception) inside the womb:

photo by Lunar Caustic under the Creative Commons license.

I found out I was pregnant just a few days before Halloween. My two-and-a-half year old son was the first to know! I told him there was “a baby in Mama’s tummy”… and he looked at my tummy and was very confused. No bump yet, and morning sickness hasn’t been bad like it was last time. Eating home-cooked meals and keeping a good supply of ginger ale and mints around has really helped!

We’re so excited to meet our little one in July. Stay tuned for more updates!

Teens & Young Adults Take Lead in Culture of Life (November 2019)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Young Woman Reports on Her Experience

“The March for Life is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It was just incredibly eye-opening. It made me want to learn so much more about the movement and what we are fighting for.

I came in not knowing exactly where I stood but I do now. I know that I am a pro-lifer and I am so very proud of it. I am proud to say that I stand for others’ lives and not just my own. It was amazing to see people of all colors, religions, and states and countries all come together for one cause. I feel so strongly about this topic now and I want everyone to know the truth. The March for Life was absolutely amazing and now I know that I am the pro-life generation!!” – from Reagan [March for Life Education & Defense Fund Info flyer] Editor’s Note: The 2020 March for Life in Washington DC is scheduled for Friday, January 24th. For bus information, contact your local Respect Life Office.

Trial Begun: Planned Parenthood Suing Young Men & Women Activists

Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys appeared in federal court recently in the Planned Parenthood video trial. PP sued David Daleiden & others for their role in recording and publishing videos showing PP executives haggling over the price of organs and tissue harvested from 2nd & 3rd trimester aborted babies.

Planned Parenthood attorneys attempted to paint the pro-life defendants as “extremists,” citing a statement that “we must destroy the evil Planned Parenthood empire” and calling abortion a “holocaust” as an example of radical, anti- abortion views. But this tactic only demonstrates how out of touch PP’s high-priced attorneys are. A corporation with $1.3 billion in annual revenue that was founded to suppress & ultimately exterminate certain populations its founder deemed to be “defective,” “unfit,” “human weeds” is by definition an evil empire. And when the abortion industry strips all protections from children in the womb so it can kill hundreds of thousands of preborn human beings every year, it is not “extreme” to call that a holocaust. And at least one PP abortionist said she could use a “less crunchy” technique to obtain intact bodies for organ harvesting.

The trial is expected to continue through the second week of November. Please pray for the attorneys representing the heroic pro-life defendants in this case. [www.lifelegaldefensefoundation.org] 

ProLife Boot Camp Going Strong

Called the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust Pro-Life Boot Camp, this year it was held in Washington DC. The teens who come are trained in many aspects of the pro-life movement from apologetics to street activism. The first few days include training & talks; they practice scenarios, make signs, come up with activism ideas, and then hit the streets to be a public witness.

This year the teens went to visit members of the House and Senate, asking them to take stands for life. They also held events like a “Die In” and protests at several offices. On one evening the Survivors set up a movie screen in front of the mega DC Planned Parenthood and showed the entire movie Unplanned. It was amazing to see all the people sitting around the front walk of PP watching the movie that is changing so many hearts.

The kids also did a protest inside the National Portrait Gallery near the statue of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, exposing the racist & eugenic background of PP. [Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director, Priests for Life]

Do not content yourself with anything less than the highest ideals. … You are right to be disappointed with hollow entertainment and passing fads, with aiming at too little in life. If you have an ardent desire for the Lord you will steer clear of the mediocrity and conformism so widespread in our society. St. John Paul II

Pro-Abortion Student Mob Rages Against Courageous Young ProLifers

TFP Student Action volunteers visited George Washington U. in DC on Sept. 30, 2019. That’s when the dark pro-abortion reality hit them. Every innocent human person – born or preborn – has the right to life. However, our culture has strayed so far from God and reason that what used to be self-evident is no longer so, particularly on left-wing college campuses where procured abortion is considered more than a right–it’s been elevated and granted the status of a secular virtue.

After reciting a short prayer, 15 TFP volunteers fanned out on the sidewalks and got to work for moral values. “Here – have a flier, 10 Reasons to Protect the Unborn,” offered one, politely. Others unfurled a banner, displayed signs or played the bagpipes to attract attention. “I’m in favor of slaughtering 1,000 babies if that helps already born babies have a better life,” said a female student coldly, without showing a scintilla of remorse. Yet each volunteer was engaged in courteous conversation or debate.

Word got out quickly: TFP is on campus. Soon, protesters set-up a large speaker that blasted vulgar “music.” Holding pro-abortion signs, dozens of students danced in chaotic disorder to pulsating beats that emphasized the F-word. Few cared about having a civil discussion. The scene looked like a group riot more than a gathering of students who spend $55,230 in yearly tuition to receive a higher education. “My body, my choice!” yelled one student. “Hail Satan!” blurted another.

On several occasions, pro-abortion students waved contraceptives in front of TFP members’ faces. The pro-abortion mob of about 100 became unruly & attempted to surround the 15 TFP volunteers. Various assaults unfolded, yet campus police officers stood observing at a distance. When their help was requested, they said, “We already called the city police. They will be arriving shortly.” Finally, police officers created a buffer zone with their bodies between the mob and the TFP volunteers. But the screaming continued: “My body, my choice.”

Later in the day, GW Voices for Choices issued a statement claiming that the TFP’s peaceful action constituted “dangerous discourse” and expressed “outrage” against the police department for not expelling the TFP volunteers. According to a pro-homosexual group, “students felt unsafe” because the police “failed to remove a nuisance from campus.”

While the mob yelled profanities, a nurse in scrubs approached the TFP banner. “I love that you’re here,” she said cheerfully. “It takes a lot of courage and I’m grateful.” Then pointing to the pro-abortion mob, she added: “That’s what Hell looks like. I want to go over there and spray them with Holy Water.” The mob followed the TFP volunteers to their vehicles where they screamed, “never come back” & spat on their van windows.

Nevertheless, many students who saw or heard about the campaign were encouraged to continue fighting the good fight for God’s law. “I just wanted to lend my support for all of the volunteers who went out yesterday afternoon & to let you all know that there are people out there who genuinely believe that the Culture of Death can be extinguished,” wrote a GWU student. Yes, with God’s grace all things are possible – even the end of abortion. After cleaning the spittle off the van windows, TFP volunteers are ready to visit the next campus. May God inspire more young Americans to stand up and fight the good fight. [https://tfpstudentaction.org/blog/unruly-pro-abortion -mob-gwu]

Rescuers Enter Abortion Clinics

In September 2017, a small group of pro-lifers entered a mid-west abortion clinic, offered red roses to the women there waiting for abortions, introduced themselves, and spoke about the babies in the women’s wombs and all the help that was available for mothers who really didn’t want abortions but felt they had no choice, like most (70%) in their situation.

These rescuers gave the women who would listen information on fetal development and on the many resources available to help pregnant women, including free ultrasounds, medical help & housing, both before & after the baby is born. On that September day two years ago, 14 women left the abortion mill, and 14 babies survived.

Red Rose Rescuers was started by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. There are about 50 such groups across the nation. In the past few years they have rescued many babies from abortion in DC, Virginia, New Mexico, New Jersey, Michigan, etc. When not rescuing, they pray outside of abortion clinics, usually on their knees, say rosaries, pray novenas, fast and make other sacrifices to help save babies.

When arrested for trespassing, they continue to help the babies while in court through their passionate witness to the truth, and through their example and counsel to fellow prisoners. Pregnant prisoners planning abortions often change their minds as they get to know & speak with rescuers. [Adele Gilhooly, Justice, Legal Center for Defense of Life, Fall 2019]

Helping Couples with Infertility

“During my training as a family physician with a concentration in women’s health & fertility, I knew I wanted to practice medicine that was aligned with my Catholic beliefs. I learned about Natural Procreative Technology that is based on the best medical science, and much better for the patient’s health. It offers an ethical, positive alternative to in vitro fertilization to help couples with infertility.” In 2009, Dr. Ann Nolte helped open the first Gianna Center (NYC). Since then eight other centers have opened. In NY & NJ alone, she said, “we’ve had 1,200 babies born to couples with infertility or at risk of miscarriage.” [Archdiocese of NY, Archives, Fall 2019]

This free monthly newsletter is used by dozens of churches as a bulletin insert, and posted on four diocesan websites. To receive your monthly copy, email editor Frank Tinari at tinarifr@shu.edu 

October is Respect Life Month (October 2019)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

40 Days for Life Kicks Off Biggest Campaign Yet

… with pro-lifers dedicated to peaceful advocacy and prayer for unborn babies in 505 communities across 30 nations. Held every spring and fall, 40 Days has made a huge impact for life since it began in 2004. Organizers said the fall campaign is their “largest ever” and that in the past 15 years, pro-lifers have helped to save more than 16,000 unborn babies from abortion through 40 Days; have helped 191 abortion workers quit their jobs; & watched 104 abortion facilities close in their communities.

The unexpectedly successful film “Unplanned” highlighted the impact of 40 Days for Life, based on the true story of Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson who became pro-life partially because of the 40 Days volunteers in her town.

Along with peaceful compassionate sidewalk counseling and prayer, many local vigils also organize diaper drives, baby showers and other fund-raisers to help mothers and children in need. Organizers said the need for prayer is more important than ever as politicians advocate openly for late-term abortions and infanticide. The fall 40 Days runs through November 3rd . For more info or to find a local vigil, visit 40DaysforLife.com. [Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, 9/24/19]

Children learn to love their own husband or wife by watching the example of their parents. Testify to the Gospel of the loving family to everyone you meet in your public and social life. St. John Paul II

Have the Guts to Do the Right Thing

In the face of the U.S. Senate failure to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee, said “There should be no bill easier for the Senate to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and should not be tolerated. That even one senator, let alone 44, voted against the Act, is an injustice that should horrify and anger all Americans. The vast majority of American people support this bill demand justice for innocent children.”

Gallup polling indicates that 76% of Americans support laws that protect babies who survive an abortion, 81% oppose abortions in the third trimester, and 65% oppose abortions in the second trimester. A Rasmussen poll showed that 70% of Americans agree that doctors should be required to provide medical care to a child who survives an abortion. And a Basswood Research survey found that 54% of Americans oppose 97%- 100% of all abortions. [Priests for Life, 9/13/19] 

Texas Musicians Gave up Celebrity Status to Defend the Preborn

Jim Seals and Dash Crofts of the popular group Seals & Crofts were at the height of popularity in the early 1970s. With such now iconic hits as “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl,” the duo seemed to be gearing up for many more years of success. All that changed in 1974 with the release of their album “Unborn Child.” The title track is a haunting song for a preborn baby whose mother is considering abortion. The simple and evocative message of the song is that the preborn baby is fully human and deserving of Life.

Writing for CNS News, John Stonestreet explains: To put it mildly, this is not what their label, Warner Records, had in mind. This was less than a year after Roe v Wade; abortion was, if nothing else, controversial. Add in the duo’s unapologetic and urgent plea for women contemplating abortion to “stop, think it over …” and it’s no surprise their record label wanted them not to release the album. Crofts responded: “But you’re in the business to make money; we’re doing it to save lives. We don’t care about the money.”

After the album’s release, radio stations boy- cotted the title track & abortion activists protested their concerts. The duo went on to release other albums & songs, but their celebrity was never again what they had enjoyed previously. Their experience shows the extreme bias in favor of abortion in the music/entertainment industry that was only just taking root in the years immediately following the legalization of abortion. Now, not only are celebrities discouraged from promoting a pro-life message, but pregnant mothers in the entertainment industry are often pressured to abort their babies to advance their careers. Some courageous people within the industry are speaking out about this abortion bias, but the infiltration of abortion lobby groups like Planned Parenthood into media giants is far-reaching.

As for Seals & Crofts, they have no regrets. Crofts said, “I think we got more good results out of it than bad because a lot of people called us and said, ‘We’re naming our children after you because you helped us decide to save their lives with that song.’ That was very fulfilling for us.”

This is the 45th anniversary of a courageous moment in pop music history when two Texas singers used their spotlight to stand in defense of innocent human life. Despite the ongoing tragedy of abortion, we have reason to hope that one day all human beings will have the Right to Life in our nation. [Texas Right to Life, 7/30/19]

Patient Sues Catholic Hospital for Not Assisting in His Suicide

A terminally ill patient and his doctor are suing a Catholic-run hospital in Colorado for failing to participate in the man’s suicide – the latest attempt to force an institution of faith to act against its religiously held objectives. Neil Mahoney, 64, and Dr. Barbara Morris filed suit against Centura Health Corp. whose president said in a letter to Morris: “Rather than encouraging the patient to receive care consistent with that doctrine or transferring care to other providers, you have encouraged a morally unacceptable option.” The hospital contends that its First Amendment rights should supersede its forced compliance with Colorado’s End-of-Life Options Act. [Our Sunday Visitor, 9/22/19]

You Are NOT Alone!

  • “I never knew my wife had suffered so much pain over an abortion she had before I met her. It was a real eye opener to attend the Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend with her & offer my support in an area of her life where there so much secret grief. Our marriage has truly been blessed: we are closer now than we’ve ever been.”
  • From one mom: “My abortion has left me with an empty place in my heart and soul. I had tremendous sorrow and regret over the effect this has had on my family. As a mother, I struggled with the reality that I destroyed my child.”
  • One attendee said: “You are able to experience the sadness, grief and shame in the company of other women & men feeling very much the same. You are able to turn this pain into hope with the help of nurturing counselors and supportive caretakers. You’re not rushed or hurried, but given time to reflect and become open to the healing process gradually.”

If you or someone you love is hurting from an abortion, please check the complete listing of available weekend retreats throughout the U.S. at www.RachelsVineyard.org 

The Sneakiest, Most Shame-Faced of All American Rights

The purported right-to-abortion’s most devoted supporters don’t dare speak its name. They hide behind evasion & euphemism. Their side knows how difficult it is to say out loud that it considers abortion a positive good. The pro-abortion style- book demands that abortion be called “reproductive health,” though it is the opposite of reproduction and (for one party involved) the opposite of health. Even organizations wholly devoted to abortion shrink from the term.The former National Abortion Rights Action League, then the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League, finally settled on NARAL Pro-Choice America, eliminating all reference to the one procedure that it holds in such high esteem.

Planned Parenthood says that abortion is only 3% of what it does. This is a dodge … and not much of a defense. Saying they only kill babies 3% of the time is not something to brag about. How much credit would we give someone for saying he only hits his wife during 3% of domestic disputes? The truth is the group performs about 330,000 or a third of all abortions in the country. Its 2017-18 annual report says it provides more abortions than Pap tests and breast-care services.

America’s abortion advocates specialize in moral obtuseness, opposed to recognition of personhood of any sort for the unborn child, worried that such a concession might undermine the premises of our abortion regime. Consider the heartbeat bills passed in several states. Even if blocked by the courts, the bills have an educative effect. After all, an appendix or a kidney doesn’t have its own separate heartbeat. The pro-abortion argument is that a fetus is a blob of cells of no account — but with a heartbeat; that the fetus is a non-human being – with a heartbeat.

The fundamental reality that pro-abortion forces shrink from is how the average person views an unborn child. Even before her child is born, a mother and her family sacrifices for her child, protects her child, prays for her child, & dreams for her child. She talks to and often names her child. She takes her child to the doctor. Later on, she knows when her child is active and when her child is resting. Her unborn child, in short, is already what it will be after he or she is born – a cause of worry and joy and ceaseless wonder at the miracle of life.

Pro-lifers should not be shy about what we believe. We can weigh in with confidence and clarity of thought and expression. The same cannot be said of the defenders of the indefensible. [Rich Lowry, The Right That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Human Life Review, Summer 2019]

Culture Divide on Life Continues (September 2019)

by Frank Tinari, Ph.D., Life Education Council Board of Trustees

Division Exists on Many Issues

While a federal Commission on Unalienable Rights makes its plans, Hollywood tries to normalize acceptance of abortion and the NY Times publishes a piece by a gynecologist who argues that sexually transmitted diseases should no longer have any stigma. While abortion groups issue their ‘Blueprint’ to promote abortion without limits, the federal government implements a partial end to funding abortion and a doctor has successfully filed an injunction against New Jersey’s new physician-assisted suicide law. The U.S. population is seriously divided on issues related to the culture of life. Here are a few details:

  • Mary Ann Glendon has been appointed chairwoman of the administration’s new Commission on Unalienable Rights. She is a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See and a Harvard Law professor with an extensive back- ground in international human rights. The commission will re-examine the nation’s distinctive rights tradition, and study the Universal Declara- tion on Human Rights issued in 1948 by the UN with involvement of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. “The world is confused about human rights,” she said. “Many regimes not only ignore basic freedoms but also make deliberate efforts to undermine our common ground of human rights.” [National Catholic Register, 8/18/19]
  • Hollywood agents, celebrities and producers were recently invited to a ‘diversity summit’ to hear a pitch from an abortion attorney on the need to normalize abortion on television. Such tactics are working. There are more TV shows putting a positive spin on women who have had an abortion. [Bill Donohue, Catholic League]
  • Dr. Jen Gunter says it is better to called STDs ‘sexually transmitted infections’ that reduces their stigma. She states that no sort of sexual behavior is “wrong” and yet 50% of sexually active people will have at least one STD by age 25. The viral forms that persist worry people. “The idea of an infection that you can’t get rid of is very challeng- ing.” Between 2013 and 2017, the number of cases of gonorrhea increased 67% and syphilis by 75%. [J. Gunter, Why sexually transmitted infections can’t shake their stigma, NY Times, 8/25/19] We wonder if the good doctor ever considered encouraging patients to change their behavior.
  • A coalition of nearly 80 pro-abortion groups including Planned Parenthood and NARAL released a ‘Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Justice’ that outlines their vision for the future of abortion: no restrictions, no religious exemptions and full funding by the U.S. government. They argue that the government should mandate that Catholic & religious hospitals provide abortion and “gender- affirming” care, and that parental notification for pregnant minors be eliminated.
  • Updated federal regulations state that no longer will Title X funds be granted to a clinic that provides abortion on site or refers teenage girls or adult women to an abortion provider. Planned Parenthood is refusing to comply with these requirements and thus will no longer be able to tap into this portion of federal money. On August 19, Human Life Review President and Editor, Maria McFadden Maffucci, said “For too many years, the U.S. government has wrongly permitted American taxpayer dollars to abet Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates in terminating millions of innocent unborn babies. Federal law outright states that no taxpayer dollars shall be used to abort an unborn child. The new regulations now make that crystal clear.”
  • In a letter (8/22/19) to The Beacon (Paterson Diocese), Sean Parkot reported that a physician and orthodox Jew, Dr. Yosef Glassman, obtained a restraining order preventing implementation of New Jersey’s physician-assisted suicide law. The doctor “cannot condone any participation in the process, even the transferring of the patient.” The law passed by only one vote in the assembly & the senate, and Catholic governor Murphy said he had reservations although he signed the bill. Parkot urged New Jerseyans to contact their elected officials to determine how they voted.
  • Even our laws have created internal conflict. “Because of Roe v. Wade, contradiction permeates through our system of laws. Our laws mandate accommodation for the disabled at the same time our government funds attempts to prevent the birth of those with disabilities; they say that gender cannot determine whether one is hired or fired, but allow it to determine whether an infant lives or dies.” [Tim Busch and Kevin Stidham, Undaunted, Justice Thomas seeks the court’s atonement on abortion, Washington Examiner, 8/17/19.]

A Look at Catholic Families 76% of married Catholic parents have a Catholic spouse 22% of Catholic parents attend Mass weekly 53% of Catholic parents attend Mass at least monthly 66% of Catholic parents with three or more children attend Mass at least once a month. 71% of parents agree “somewhat” or “strongly” that prayer is essential to their faith. 36% of parents pray at least once a day. [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.usccb.org] 

Conquering Pornography Addiction

Pornography addiction is a growing epidemic in America today. It is an addiction that can have the same effect on the brain as cocaine, is widely available, and has a devastating effect on relationships, families, and marriages.

On July 27, Father Cassiday Stinson began the #BreakTheChains prayer campaign on Twitter, writing that he was tired of seeing “so many souls caught in shame and isolation and despair.” (Follow Fr. Stinson on Twitter @TheHappyPriest) The Knights of Columbus’ official account re- tweeted his original thread with a call to action: “Knights, time to #BreakTheChains.”

Fr. Stinson says that if you’re struggling with pornography in your life, then look very concretely and realistically at the times and places where you’re struggling with it. What does the habit look like? Once you’ve identified that, you can start to make concrete changes & put up boundaries for yourself to help avoid it. That may be as simple as during certain times of the day & in certain circumstances, you put the source somewhere else.

Alongside that human dimension, make sure there is some kind of prayer in your life as well. Very often we’re turning to any kind of quick pleasure, like pornography, because there is some kind of wound or loneliness there. One of the important things that needs to happen is to let God into that wound. [Brian Fraga, Priest starts a Twitter group to break the chains to pornography, Our Sunday Visitor, 8/16/19]

STRIVE: A “21-Day Detox from Porn” is an online video series for men who wish to break free from an addiction to pornography. The series, which launched March 27, is written and hosted by Matt Fradd, an anti-pornography crusader and Catholic apologist, and directed by Chris Cope of Cardinal Studios. Participants sign up at www.strive21.com to receive access to daily videos, where Fradd takes viewers on a step-by- step process of ridding their lives of pornography. 

Missouri Bans Certain Abortions

Missouri may protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discriminatory abortion deaths after a judge declined to block the new law Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs’ order stops the state from enforcing most parts of the law, but he did not include the non- discrimination parts in his preliminary injunction.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the state law, which includes multiple pro-life provisions including a ban on abortions after 8 weeks when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. 

This means that Missouri is one of just a few states that legally can protect unborn babies with Down syndrome from discriminatory abortion deaths. The law also ends abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex and race. “As the father of a child with special needs, Attorney General Schmitt is particularly sensitive to suggestions that an unborn child who will have special needs is any lesser of a human being, and we’re glad that provisions relat- ing to that issue were left in place in the judge’s ruling today,” a spokesman said.

However, Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortionist and chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said: “Although we are grateful today’s ruling allows us to provide care to some Missourians, we will continue to defend the truth: every reason to have an abortion is a valid reason.”

This eugenic targeting has prompted a number of states to pass laws protecting the unborn. Missouri is not the first, but it is one of the few that has been allowed to enforce its law. Eight states also prohibit sex-selection abortions, which often target unborn baby girls. [M. Bilger, Judge Rules Missouri Can Ban Abortions on Babies With Down Syndrome, LifeNews.com, 8/27/19]

ATTENTION: Each year, October is declared Respect Life Month by the U.S. bishops. More information will be provided in the October issue of this newsletter. Your parish likely will have a homily, guest speaker, pamphlets or other means to help you support the dignity of every human life. For New Jersey residents, the 20/20 Campaign continues and everyone is urged to obtain a “baby feet” car magnet – visit http://babiesinthewombfeelpain. com/ for more information. In addition, the US Catholic Bishops’ Respect Life Office publishes new material each year to help parishes promote the respect for life in various ways. For example, information is available regarding Project Rachel that serves to help women heal from the effects of an abortion.[www.usccb.org]