Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2011

A different sort of Christmas

My oldest is celebrating in Afghanistan. He already called after getting out of "Midnight" Mass. It began at 3:30am Afghanistan time which corresponded to midnight in Poland. He is on a Polish base. During Mass, a Polish general in Poland addressed the troops in Afghanistan via a video conference set up. Interesting that he assumed the Polish troops would be at Mass.

My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are in Texas with her parents for Christmas. Our home is so quiet. There are only five of us here--well five people and four dogs. My son's two dogs did not join his wife and daughter in Texas. Normally, my parents would be with us for Christmas. My mother's death this past February has left a gaping hole in the Christmas season. My father was here for Thanksgiving so he stayed in Texas and visited my sister for Christmas this year.

Still, there is joy. I heard my son's voice today so I know he is safe. Miles cannot diminish love so even family members who are not i…

"Ordering"' a child

In these days when the order for a cup of coffee specifies the size, flavor, ingredients, and country of origin for the coffee bean, it is not surprising that some parents think they can do the same thing with their children. "I want one healthy male, intelligent with no genetic diseases, and no prospect of serious diseases in the future, please." When the child doesn't arrive exactly as ordered, some parents are taking legal action. See my latest article at Zenit:

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Imagine gazing at your child and coldly declaring, "You should never have been born." Yet parents are doing exactly that in courts around the world as they bring "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth" lawsuits against doctors and fertility clinics.These very sad cases are variations on the classic "wrongful death" medical malpractice suit. The twist is that the plaintiffs are dissatisfied because the patient -- in this case…

A hit piece masquerading as a medical report

The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, just published a commentary that was nothing more than an attack on the Catholic Church masquerading as a medical recommendation. I responded in this piece over at HLI America:

On December 8, the Solemn Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the British medical journal, The Lancet, published a most puzzling commentary, in which a clarion call is issued for the Catholic Church to provide all nuns with oral contraceptives in order to prevent cancer. Australian researchers Kara Britt and Roger Short make their recommendation based on the increased risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer associated with nulliparity, the condition of having never been pregnant:Today, the world’s 94,790 nuns still pay a terrible price for their chastity because they have a greatly increased risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers: the hazards of their nulliparity.While nuns almost always carry this risk factor, many lay women are also nullipa…

Telling the truth is not propaganda

A recent news article claimed that publicizing a medical study that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer is a form of propaganda. I answer that charge at HLI America:

Which of the following is likely to be motivated by ideological bias: Reports on independent medical studies that show a link between a commonly chosen medical procedure and rates of a certain type of cancer, or news stories that ignore the latest scientific evidence and rely on a single, controversial, and now-debunked report to make the case in favor that the medical procedure?In a, to put it charitably, questionable news article, The Daily Caller suggests that pro-life medical and research experts, dubbed “advocates,” are motivated by a political agenda after statements on recent research that showed a nearly 3-fold increase in breast cancer in women who had an abortion. The headline, “Pro-Life Advocates: Study shows link between abortion and breast cancer; cancer institute: no way,” suggests …

How fast can two weeks fly?

It seems like just yesterday that we were picking Wesley up from the airport. Now it is time for him to return to Afghanistan.



We had everyone home for Thanksgiving Day so we took advantage of the opportunity to do a family picture. We even had my dad and my husband's parents visiting from Houston.



Please say a prayer for my son and his family. He has another three months of deployment to go.




















Can you believe my granddaughter is already a year old? It is such a blessing to be able to spend so much time with her and her mom.

Hope your Advent is full of joy. Count your blessings and prepare for the coming of the Lord!

Let a nation of faith and justice begin with me

A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith. A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.
(Is 26:1-3)

I would like to live in a nation that keeps faith; a nation where God is not banned from the public square; a nation whose laws are consistent with God's law. Such a nation begins first with individuals who keep faith. These individuals form families that keep faith. These families form communities that keep faith. These communities will build a nation that keeps faith.

So as individuals and families, do not be afraid to publicly live your faith. Bow your head and say grace before you eat in a restaurant. Wish your friends and neighbors a "Blessed Advent" and then a "Merry Christmas".

Remember that Christ said, "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.…

Why I need Advent

"Advent is a time of vigilance, prayer and conversion."
--Blessed John Paul II

The world gets very loud at this time of year. Lights flash, music blares, and commercials scream at us that we are lacking the material goods necessary for true happiness. The Church offers an oasis of calm. It is Advent. Advent lets us turn away from the dizzying sparkle of tinsel and lights and bask in the soft glow of candles. Through prayers proclaimed around the Advent wreath we rededicate ourselves and our families to holiness. We clothe ourselves in the purple of penitence, acknowledging our sinfulness but confident that with God's grace we can hope for our conversion. We await the coming of Jesus, not only as the Holy Infant, but as the King of Kings at the end of time. Our anticipation and joy overflows on Gaudete Sunday when we cast off the purple and wrap ourselves in hues of rose. We then return to our purple world with renewed vigor. We offer more prayers and give one final push t…

Counting Blessings 2011

My son made it home from Afghanistan for a little R&R. He will head back after Thanksgiving, but we are counting our blessings that he gets to share Thanksgiving with us.



Waiting for Daddy in the airport








Daddy!


Happy Family!


Mom gets her turn

Pro-Abortion group goes after Crisis Pregnancy Centers

While the advocates of abortion like to label themselves "pro-choice", they seem to support only one choice--abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice of North Carolina released a report condemning the work of crisis pregnancy centers. My analysis of this report is up at HLI America.

The abortion industry is clearly feeling the heat. Planned Parenthood has been defunded in several states, workers from the infamous Kermit Gosnell abortion facility have pleaded guilty to murder, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is providing a model for other states with newly enacted and strict standards for abortion clinics.The North Carolina chapter of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro Choice has responded to this pressure with a report lambasting crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in the Tar Heel State. In it’s press release, NARAL claims to have conducted an undercover investigation of 66 of the 122 CPCs in North Carolina. The actual report reveals that this “investigation” involved vis…

A time when the free market approach does not work

I am usually a fan of letting free markets do their thing. However, when we start treating humans as commodities for sale, it is time to reject economic incentives and seek a higher motivation. My latest article for HLI America addresses the sale of transplant organs to increase the supply:

What’s wrong with paying people in dire straits for their kidneys?Dr. Sally Satel asks the question many consider taboo in the November 8 Wall Street Journal. In her op-ed, she argues for the compensation of organ donors in order to alleviate the worldwide shortage of kidneys, livers and lungs needed for transplantation. Herself the recipient of a donor kidney, she points to the tens of thousands who are waiting for organs in the United States, as well as the twelve patients who die every day because no donor kidney is available as justification for her position. Since a black market already exists for transplant organs, Satel argues, legalizing organ sales is a win-win proposition, especial…

A moral approach to infertility

I wrote the HLI America column for the Arlington Catholic Herald this week:

Laura and her husband married in the Catholic Church and have been open to life throughout their marriage, yet in three years they have not conceived a child. Well-meaning family and friends keep asking when she is going to start a family. In spite of her smiles and reassurances that they hope to have children someday, she has a growing realization that there might be a problem, a physical reason for why they haven’t gotten pregnant. Her heart aches as she thinks about life without bearing a child. She wonders how God could let this happen to her.

Continue reading here.

Kind of Pathetic

I was probably not the model of Christian charity last night when I was on the phone with our credit card company. Someone had obtained our credit card number and used it to make online purchases. USAA was amazingly helpful as always. Within hours they had contacted us and our credit card was disabled. However, it is still a monstrous inconvenience to be without a credit card for a few days and to have to re-establish the recurring charges that I have set up. I did not have kind thoughts about the thief who was inflicting this stress upon me.

But then I looked at the fraudulent charges. The first thing he did was to join Match.com. I bet his profile had a few lies in it. The second purchase was $180 in flowers from FTD.com. That is just plain sad. Someone has to be pretty lonely for them to steal a credit card number just so they can join an online dating service and send flowers to potential mate(s). I guess now mixed in with my sense of outrage is a bit of pity.

Seeing blessings in 'Impossible Situations"

I am on day four of my novena to St. Jude. This is today's reflection from the praymorenovenas.com email.

"Take up your cross and follow me..." Sometimes Jesus asks us to embrace the suffering and pain that we endure. Sometimes God want's us to carry the cross like Christ did for a greater good in our lives. Despite this suffering, God want's to bless us. He wants to bless us abundantly. Today let's pray that in the midst of our 'impossible' situations that we pray for in this novena, that we can still see God's blessings in our lives.

Go to Mass. Offer it up.

I have mentioned before that this is one of my most popular posts. People do a Google search for "travel dispensation for Mass" and find it. I suspect some are sorely disappointed when they read in the first sentence that there is no such thing as a "travel dispensation".

I though about this yesterday when I spoke with my son who is stationed in Afghanistan. We are blessed that he is able to phone us regularly. He had not phoned in a while so I knew he had been out and about in the countryside. He mentioned that when he did get to another base he found they were having Mass and attended. Just as at his primary base, the priest was Polish. It didn't matter. It was the Mass.

So if my son can make it a point to find Mass in the wilds of Afghanistan, I can't imagine that it would be that difficult to find Mass here in the United States. The instructions on doing so are in the first link. And if you find going to Mass a little inconvenient this weekend because you…

That's my girl!

That's my daughter at the 27 second mark. She is sitting and sketching at the base of Willy's statue.

Pray a Novena with Me!

A novena is nine days of prayer, usually dedicated to a specific intention or to the intercession of a specific saint. It is based on the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost that Blessed Mother and the Apostles spent in prayer.
Starting today, I am joining over 5,000 Catholics to pray the St. Jude Novena!I’m looking forward to the answered prayers from this amazing saint! With so many faithful Catholics around the world praying this novena, I thought you’d like to join too!Do you have any ‘impossible causes’ to pray for?You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Jude Novena
I love this "pray more novenas" site. They start a new novena and then email me the prayers each day. It is a wonderful reminder and helps me stick to my commitment to pray. It is also very supportive to know that thousands of other Catholics are praying right along beside me. Click on one of the above links or on the badge in my sidebar and join me in offe…

When Catholics and non-Catholics mingle

Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. This means many Catholic families will be intermingling with their Protestant relatives. So, what do you do on Sunday? If you visit your Protestant aunt's church, what do you do about "communion"?

Fr. Z offers a great deal of commentary here as he refutes an article in US Catholic, a less than orthodox publication. The bottom line is canon 844:

“Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments to Catholic members of the Christian faithful only and, likewise, the latter may licitly receive the sacraments only from Catholic ministers.” and
“Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are …

Plug for speaking opportunities

Wanted to highlight the intro to my guest column for the HLI Newsletter:

When we first envisioned and created HLI America's Fellows program Dr. Denise Hunnell was the first person I contacted due to her medical and bioethical expertise. She's been a great addition to the HLI America family. Be sure to read the rest of her work on the Truth and Charity Forum. And if you'd like to have Denise (or any of the other members of the HLI America team) speak at your parish or organization email us at hlia@hli.org. God's blessing to you and yours. Arland K. NicholsNational Director I have a presentation entitled "10 questions about health care ethics that every Catholic should be able to answer" that is ready to go. Especially if you are within a day's drive of the Washington DC area, I would love to speak to your group.

When "Preventive Care" causes diseases instead of preventing them...

Do Not Ask Amy!!!

Why do I do it? Every time I read an advice column in the Washington Post I find myself fuming. I should just turn the page and never read another word. A couple of weeks ago Carolyn Hax suggested a woman let her pregnant teenage niece come live with her and her three young children. Being around those children should certainly convince the niece to have an abortion. Today,Ask Amy basically tells a woman to get up off her backside and find a job. Staying at home with kids does not contribute enough to the family.

My husband and I have been married for 12 years. He has always worked, and I’ve always been a dedicated homemaker. I consider this my “job.”
Recently my husband was laid off, and he accepted another position that pays significantly less. Now that my sons are in middle school, my husband wants me to consider working part time, because I “have so much free time during the day.”
I find this extremely disrespectful. I feel like he thinks I just lounge around all day.
How can we compr…

Where I will be on Saturday

This Saturday, October 1, I will be giving a presentation entitled "Ten Questions on Health Care Ethics every Catholic Should be Able to Answer." The talk will follow the 9:00 am Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale. We will probably start around 9:45. If you are in Northern Virginia I would love to see you there.

Would anyone notice?

Rob Vischer at Mirror of Justice expresses some concern over the expanding use of drones in military conflicts. He worries that if we are not putting troops in harm's way we will not be as judicious in our use of military force. That may be a reasonable theoretical concern. However, here is my response:

My husband just retired after 30 years of service to the Air Force and my oldest son is currently in the Army, stationed in Afghanistan.I spent much of today walking the halls of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Around every corner was a young man who was maimed from service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The number of amputees I saw brought me to tears. This sight is hidden from most Americans. I understand your concern that using drones might loosen the inhibitions against using military force. However, there is such a disconnect between the military and the general public as it is, that most Americans are only vaguely aware of the sacrifice of our armed forces in …

I would never consider my own kids as a persuasive argument for abortion!

This has got to be one of the saddest commentaries on motherhood I have seen in a long time. Carolyn Hax is a newspaper advice columnist. A woman writes to her because her 15-year-old niece is pregnant and the girl will not listen to her parents' advice and get an abortion. The woman suggests that she have her niece come live with her for a few months since she has three children under the age of six. Time spent in such a household would certainly open her niece's eyes and make her see the sensibility of abortion. Carolyn Hax responds that it should only take a couple of weeks. She advises the woman not to bring up the subject of abortion. Just let her daily life do the talking.

My first three children were born in under four years. My oldest was eight when the fourth child was born. As chaotic and exhausting as those years were, I would never consider our household to be a living statement for the wisdom of abortion. Pray for any woman who thinks a pregnant teen would see her…

Washington Post publishes my letter on HPV vaccination!

I sent the Washington Post  an op-ed article explaining why mandatory HPV vaccines are an intrusion on parental rights. HPV infection does not rise to the public health risk level needed to merit overriding parental authority. They truncated it to a Letter to the Editor and took out most of my medical information that justifies my position. But they did publish it and gave it a prominent place on the page. My full argument should be up on the HLI America website in the near future. I will keep you updated. In the meantime, feel free to visit the Post website and offer support if the liberals start taking pot shots.

Thanks, but no thanks

I love nuns! I am overwhelmed when I think of how completely they have given themselves to Christ. I have a couple of orders on my monthly charity donations list. In my work with pro-life advocacy and bioethics I run into these holy women regularly. I often will send a donation to the order of a sister with whom I have just worked. Take a look at this post by the Anchoress. She has a beautiful round up of nun news.

However, not all orders have stayed true to their charism. That is why there now two groups of nuns in the United States. There are orders who belong to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). They have shunned tradition, are very concerned with feminism, fight the Magisterium, support women's ordination, and are often into New Age nature worship. These are also the orders with very few new vocations. Then you have the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.(CMSWR) They are faithful to the Magisterium, love the Church, and are supportive of tradition…

Is it really all relative?

I post this for everyone, but most especially for my young adult children and friends. First read this. Pay attention to this passage:
Rejecting blind deference to authority, many of the young people have gone off to the other extreme: “I would do what I thought made me happy or how I felt. I have no other way of knowing what to do but how I internally feel.” Many were quick to talk about their moral feelings but hesitant to link these feelings to any broader thinking about a shared moral framework or obligation. As one put it, “I mean, I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it. But different people feel different ways, so I couldn’t speak on behalf of anyone else as to what’s right and wrong.”
Smith and company found an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism — of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Again, this doesn’t mean that America’s young people are immoral. Far from it. But, Smith and company emphasize, they have not been given the reso…

Decades of evil. Decades of courage. Decades of prayer.

There is no way to write an adequate tribute or commentary on September 11, 2001. Yes, I remember where I was when I found out. My four children were at school. All I wanted to do was rush and pick them up and hold them close. Yet, I stayed put. I let them finish their school day. I knew our world had changed forever. However, after sending my husband to war nearly a decade earlier, I knew how important it was to keep as much of life's normal routines intact. I was first and foremost a military wife. I knew that my husband's military mission would not include directly fighting this fight. But I knew that someone's husband or wife, father or mother, would fight it. I fell to my knees and prayed. Countless decades of the Rosary passed through my fingers as I watched the fire, smoke, and devastation unfold on television.

What I could not anticipate is that on the tenth anniversary of this horrific evil, the soldier fighting the fight would be my son. My oldest is deployed to …

Your new Pyrex is not like your old Pyrex!

In January 2011, Consumer Reports ran an article about the reported shattering of pyrex dishes while cooking. The Pyrex your mother used or you may have used years ago was made from borosilicate glass. This is the same kind of glass used in laboratory test tubes and flasks. Today's Pyrex is made of lime soda glass. The manufacturer says the lime soda glass is no more prone to shatter, but consumer complaints are rising. I have a pretty large collection of the new generation blue Pyrex baking dishes and bowls. I noted the article, but didn't pay that much attention to it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law used one of my Pyrex bowls to cook some canned beans. He cooked them on top of the stove, doctoring them up with a few spices. The bowl went from the stove to the table. We ate dinner then poured the left-overs into a plastic bowl for storage. Because he cooked the beans over a gas flame, there was some sauce that had adhered pretty firmly to the bottom of the Pyrex…

Use Words if Necessary

"Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary."  (Often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)
A few days ago I wrote about fraternal correction. One of the comments asked for guidance about how to go about offering such correction. This offering from  Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, HLI Interim President, offers a solid approach. The crux of the advice is in his last two paragraphs:

As we discuss how we can overcome this growing decay in our societies, the primary solution must be to return to a living faith. We have to live our Faith with total coherence; living by example is far stronger and more convincing than a flood of words. Living of the faith leads to a deep love of its saving truths, and moves us to share them with others.  
And as we share these truths: we must be certain that the Lord will be with us, and will give us all the graces that we need to fulfill our mission. We teach most by our example. Great heroics make for inspiring stories that ar…

Unintended consequences of artificial insemination

We medical students were for the most part broke. I was an economic vegetarian – I couldn’t afford to buy meat. The medical school faculty knew that there were always student subjects available to participate in their research studies as long as they offered money or free food. My arms still bear the needle marks of multiple vials of blood proffered for about ten dollars a pop. For $100, my roommate agreed to undergo bronchoscopy, which entailed inserting a tube through her nose all the way into her lungs so that the technician could collect cells from her deepest airways. Afterwards, she said it wasn’t worth it.

The male medical students, on the other hand, had it made. They were very desirable sperm donors: lots of women want to be able to say their child’s father was a doctor, even if they have never met him. I always wondered if in the future one of these men would look at every child who shared his physical features and wonder if this boy could be his son or that gir…

Faith in the face of persecution

Psalm 3:
A psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom.
How many are my foes, LORD!
How many rise against me!
How many say of me,
“There is no salvation for him in God."
But you, LORD, are a shield around me;
my glory, you keep my head high.
With my own voice I will call out to the LORD,
and he will answer me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and I fall asleep,
[and] I will wake up, for the LORD sustains me.
I do not fear, then, thousands of people
arrayed against me on every side.
Arise, LORD! Save me, my God!
For you strike the cheekbone of all my foes;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation is from the LORD!
May your blessing be upon your people!

Pope Benedict reflects on this powerful prayer in today's Wednesday audience:

Psalm 3 presents us "a supplication replete with faith and consolation. By praying this Psalm we share the sentiments of the Psalmist: a just but persecuted figure which would later be fulfilled in Jesus. In pain, danger and the bitterness of misunders…

Fraternal Correction

8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life. (Ezekiel 33:8-9)

Pope Benedict reflected on fraternal correction in yesterday's Angelus address:

The text of the Gospel “tells us that brotherly love also involves a sense of mutual responsibility,” said the Pope, “so if my brother sins against me, I must use love towards him and, first of all, speak to him personally, pointing out that what he has said or done is not good.”
The Pope quoted the 4-5th century theologian, St. Augustine of Hippo, who said Christians cannot be indifferent to the “severe wound” a fellow believer may have inflicted upon themselves through sin.
However, St. Augustine also stressed that any subsequent fr…

Pregnancy "Reductions": a euphemism for abortion

The New York Times recently ran an article lamenting the stigma attached to women who "reduce" their multiple gestation pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc) to a single fetus. My response is up at HLI America.

The directions on my flower seed packet say, “Sow seeds directly into the soil. When plants are two inches tall, thin to six inches apart.” Sowing more than you need and culling the excess once seeds have germinated is a great approach to gardening. But it is a horrific way to approach pregnancy and childbirth.Yet that is exactly what happens in more and more pregnancies achieved by in vitro fertilization (IVF). The New York Times ran an article chronicling the growing trend for women to “reduce” their multiple gestation pregnancies to a single fetus. Under ultrasound guidance, the physician inserts a needle directly into the chest of the unwanted child and injects potassium chloride, the same drug used for prison executions by lethal injection. This stops the h…

True justice demands legal protection for the unborn

My latest article is up at the HLI America Truth and Charity Forum:

The abortion debate is not about when life begins. Science has answered that question. Life begins at conception. The newly formed embryo meets all the scientific criteria for new human life. From the beginning he has metabolic processes and is responsive to his environment. He initiates movement of both his entire organism as well as his individual parts. He grows by increasing the size of existing cells as well as by increasing the number of cells. The embryo exhibits differentiation, meaning cells transform from unspecialized stem cells to cells designed for a specific purpose. Finally, the embryo is capable of reproduction: he can form new cells for growth, repair, or replacement. Most importantly, the embryo accomplishes these life processes under his own direction. The mother supports and nurtures these processes but does not direct them. As far as science is concerned, the embryo is a distinct livin…

A Young Voice on Authentic Support of Women

One of wonderful things about now being a fellow with HLI America is that I have been introduced to some really great voices in the pro-life movement. Sarah Ryan is one of the HLI America Young scholars and she has a wonderful piece on the misguided efforts of the United Nations to address women's issues.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) states that its mission is to promote health and opportunity for every man, woman, and child; it attempts to ensure that “every girl and woman [be] treated with dignity and respect.” As a woman, I will gladly stand behind an organization that empowers me, dignifies me, and acknowledges the rights that accompany my femininity and humanity.The UNFPA’s idea of empowerment, however, seems to be limited to the promotion of birth control, and its dignity to the avoidance of children through sterilization. Its acknowledgment of rights is applied narrowly to those women who are “wanted” or who happen to be outside of their mother’s wom…

Lord have Mercy

My son who is stationed in Afghanistan called me this morning and told me about this. May the souls of these brave soldiers rest in peace. May God provide consolation to their loved ones.

Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us this day in battle...

Kathleen Sebelius and HHS thinks being a woman is a disease

Part of being a woman is having the capacity to be a mother. For a substantial portion for our lives, most women are capable of bearing children. It is considered to be a medical disorder for a woman to be infertile unless she is prepubescent or she is post-menopausal.

Tell that to Kathleen Sebelius at HHS. She has declared that a woman's fertility must be thwarted. It is now mandated that all group insurance plans must cover contraception and sterilization. There are no meaningful conscience protections.

As I wrote here and here, fertility is normal and healthy and not something that should be prevented. All women should be offended and outraged that our normal physiological state is being declared a disease.

More on Sham conscience protection

As I mentioned in this article, HHS adopted the Institute of Medicine recommendations for preventive services. The USCCB demanded conscience protection. The response would be risible if it were not so repugnant.

The sham conscience protection offered is as follows:
HHS’ preventive care guidelines have been released http://www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/** Grouphealth plans sponsored by certain religious employers, and group health insurance coverage in connection with such plans, are exempt from the requirement to cover contraceptive services. A religious employer is one that: (1) has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii). 45 C.F.R. §147.130(a)(1)(iv)(B). See the Federal Register Notice.How many Catholic entities meet the…

Sham conscience protection and more discrimination

As expected, the department of Health and Human Services department accepted the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine to include contraception and sterilization as mandated preventive services for insurance coverage. My latest article at HLI on this topic is up:

Last week the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report proposing a list of preventive services for women that would be mandated for coverage in all private insurances under the regulations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Early this morning, the Department of Health and Human Services accepted these recommendations. Included in this list are all prescription contraceptives, surgical sterilizations, and “education and counseling” to inform women about these options. (At the moment of publication it is still unclear whether the coverage includes Plan B and Ella, which are known abortifacients)The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops vigorously opposed the inclusion of th…

An affirmation of parenthood

This week is NFP awareness week. My fellow writer for HLI American, Gerri Laird, offers a beautiful testimonial to the gift NFP can be to a marriage. Take a look:

“My children are going to pay for your Social Security!” That was my response to one of my husband’s co-workers when he approached me at a company picnic and loudly criticized my pregnancy with child #5. My husband and I were pregnant by choice. He didn’t have a response – he and his wife were childless by choice.But, child #5 must have heard this conversation while in utero. When he was old enough to talk, he came running down the stairs one day and asked if we loved him and his brothers and sisters. Our “Of course,” was met with, “Then, why aren’t there more babies around here? You love each other, right? Well, when mommies and daddies love each other, babies come…so why aren’t there more babies around here?” From the mouths of babes, we learn Natural Family Planning (NFP) and responsible parenthood 101! And …

A response to a critic

Normally I delete anonymous hostile comments. However, I decided this comment (which is indented and in bold print) which was submitted to this post might be instructive.OR....Artificial contraception is an elective medical therapy Ok. We agree on something. Artificial contraception is elective medical therapy. It is not essential health care. It is optional. That is what elective means. It is a lifestyle choice. For those desiring to enable the totally normal and healthy physical condition of NOT being pregnant while engaging in sexual relations.On the contrary. Fertility is not a disease. It is a normal, physiological condition. It is not normal and physiological to engage in sexual relations without the possibility of pregnancy unless you are prepubescent—and in that case the sexual relations are sexual abuse--, you are already pregnant, or you are post-menopausal. Otherwise, you suffer from the non-physiological condition of infertility. The purpose of oral contraceptives is to in…

EEEW!...

I love belonging to Groupon. I find good deals on car washes, restaurants, and yes, manicures and pedicures. Yesterday's deal, however, was not my cup of tea. Anyone out there ever tried the fish foot treatment?

Yvonne’s Day Spa's welcoming aesthetes soothe weary feet with the invigorating fish foot therapy before primping and pampering hands and feet with traditional mani-pedi techniques. As toes wiggle into a small trough of warm, relaxing water, a cabal of tiny fish, armed with a natural predacious appetite for coarse, dead skin, nibble off rough patches with the aquatic excitement of Jacques Cousteau on a jet ski. The finned factions leave feet thoroughly exfoliated, smooth, and relaxed for a human-led pedicure, during which hooves are further massaged and nails are transformed into paradoxes of beauty and strength. A member of Yvonne’s staff then turns attention to clients’ hands, filing down rough epidermic outgrowths, sweeping out digital disrepair, and kneadin…

Contraception is Not Preventive Medicine

My latest piece as an HLI America Fellow:

In a July 18 New York Times op-ed , Dr. Vanessa Collins, a physician and vice-president of medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America offers an interesting but erroneous argument for mandating insurance coverage of contraceptives as preventive medicine. First of all, preventive medicine implies the prevention of a pathological condition. Pregnancy is anything but pathological. Artificial contraception is an elective medical therapy for those desiring to block a totally normal and healthy physical condition

Continue reading here.

What's So "Natural" about Natural Family Planning?

I am so excited! I have just begun working as a fellow for Human Life International--America. I hope to be posting over there on a regular basis. My first piece is up now.
In the last week, articles on Natural Family Planning (NFP) appeared in both secular and Catholic media. In the New York Times, David Oppenheimer chronicles the views of Sam and Bethany Torode, two conservative Protestants. In 2000 the young married couple co-wrote the book Open Embrace: a Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception. They advocated for NFP, a method of fertility regulation in keeping with the Catholic Church’s teaching. However, by 2006 both rejected NFP as a recommended method of birth control. They divorced in 2009. Both have joined liberal Christian communities. Mr. Oppenheimer offers their story as a testimony to how maturity and enlightenment lead to the rejection of NFP.Then Danielle Bean, a solidly Catholic author, offers what she calls a “reality check” on NFP. She writes in Crisis ma…

Please stop whatever you are doing and pray

With my son deployed to Afghanistan it was very hard to read this article in yesterday's Washington Post. Then my son called from Afghanistan this morning. He sounded very tired. He had been at the helipad waiting to receive a delivery. Then a medivac helicopter arrived and a flag-draped body was off-loaded. He attended the memorial service for this soldier today. Right now, that soldier is everyone's son or brother. Please stop whatever you are doing and say a prayer, right now, for the repose of the soul of this soldier. Then say another prayer for all the men and women who are serving our country.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him . May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
St. Michael, pray for us
Our Lady of Victory pray for us

Why does Terry Pratchett want to die?

Several nights ago, BBC aired a documentary by the immensely popular author Terry Pratchett. This was not a romp through Discworld. No. This was a much darker journey. Terry Pratchett explored the world of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in "Choosing to Die". This is a very personal topic for Terry Pratchett. In 2007 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He has made no secret of his desire to have control of his own death. After his diagnosis was made public he said he would like to die in his, "own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern version of the 'Brompton cocktail' some helpful medic could supply. And with Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death."

I have not seen the program. From media reports I gleaned that Pratchett went to the Swiss clinic Dignitas to explore using its assisted suicide services and followed the course of two British men who did the same. The death of …

Conservative and Liberal are not the right words

Much can be said about the Roxanne Martino fiasco at Notre Dame. For those who have not heard, The University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees elected Ms. Martino as a member. The Cardinal Newman Society then revealed that Ms. Martino had donated $25,000 to Emily's List, a PAC dedicated to electing pro-abortion women to congress. Fr. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, claimed that Ms. Martino is a strong supporter of all Catholic teachings and was unaware of the connection between Emily's List and the pro-abortion movement. Now there are two scenarios here. The first is that Fr. Jenkins is being less than truthful about what Ms. Martino knew and when she knew it. It is truly hard to believe that Ms. Martino could have been unaware of the purpose of Emily's List. Supporting abortion is not just a sideline cause. It is their raison d'etre! Of course, let us say that Fr. Jenkins is being completely truthful and Ms. Martino had no idea of the pro-abortion purpose of Emily…