"The issue of human life and its preservation and development is one that begins with conception and ends only when God calls a person back to himself in death. If we are consistent, then, we must be concerned about life from beginning to end. It is like a seamless garment; either it all holds together or eventually it all falls apart." Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1975

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Experts: Abortion Not Medically Necessary to Save the Life of a Mother | LifeNews.com

Experts: Abortion Not Medically Necessary to Save the Life of a Mother | LifeNews.com

by Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare and The Life House | Dublin, Ireland | LifeNews.com | 9/11/12 6:12 PM

Leading medical experts speaking at a major International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare held in Dublin have concluded that “direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a mother.”
Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, speaking for the Committee of the Symposium, said that the outcome of the conference “provided clarity and confirmation to doctors and legislators.”

Participants in the symposium.

Experts in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, mental health, and molecular epidemiology presented new research, and shared clinical experiences on issues surrounding maternal healthcare to the packed Symposium attended by more than 140 Irish medical professionals.

Particular attention was paid to the management of high-risk pregnancies, cancer in pregnancy, foetal anomalies, mental health and maternal mortality.
The Symposium’s conclusions were issued in the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare which states:
-“As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.

-We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

-We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”
Professor Eamon O’Dwyer said that the Symposium was timely given that the issue of abortion was one of current public debate, and that attempts were being made to confuse legitimate medical treatment with abortion.
“Irish Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have previously pointed out that treatment for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy are not considered abortion by doctors, yet misinformation in regard to this abounds in public debate. The Symposium clarifies that direct abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a woman, and that’s good news for mothers and their babies,” said Professor O’Dwyer.

Dr Eoghan de Faoite of the organising Committee for the Symposium said that the research presented at the Symposium provided clear evidence that best practice medical care for pregnant women does not involve abortion.
“It was fascinating to learn about new therapies involving the safe delivery of chemotherapy during pregnancy and the exciting field of in-utero fetal surgery” he said. “When discussing matters of pregnancy and medicine it is vital that the voices of the real experts, those that actually care for pregnant women, be heard. This Symposium puts an end to the false argument that Ireland needs abortion to treat women, and it was encouraging to hear the international speakers commend Ireland’s high standards of maternal healthcare and low rates of maternal mortality.”

The Medical Advisor to the Life Institute, Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill welcomed the outcome of the Symposium. “The Dublin Declaration stating that abortion is not medically necessary was a statement of fact agreed by medical experts and reflected best medical practice in maternal healthcare”, he said. “This is a globally significant outcome, which shows abortion has no place in treating women and their unborn children.”
Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence said that the outcome of the Symposium affirmed the pro-life position which had long held that abortion was not medically necessary to preserve women’s lives. “Ground-breaking research and new clinical practices were presented at this hugely important Symposium, and the good news for mothers and babies is that experts agree that abortion is not necessary to save the life of a mother,” she said.

LifeNews Note: This originally appeared in WorldWatch, a publication of Human Life International.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cardinal Dolan's Letter in support of the Blunt Amendment

Dear Brother Bishops,

Since we last wrote to you concerning the critical efforts we are undertaking together to protect religious freedom in our beloved country, many of you have requested that we write once more to update you on the situation and to again request the assistance of all the faithful in this important work. We are happy to do so now.

First, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to you, and to all our sisters and brothers in Christ, for the remarkable witness of our unity in faith and strength of conviction during this past month. We have made our voices heard, and we will not cease from doing so until religious freedom is restored.

As we know, on January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a decision to issue final regulations that would force practically all employers, including many religious institutions, to pay for abortion inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraception. The regulations would provide no protections for our great institutions—such as Catholic charities, hospitals, and universities—or for the individual faithful in the marketplace. The regulations struck at the heart of our fundamental right to religious liberty, which affects our ability to serve those outside our faith community.

Since January 20, the reaction was immediate and sustained. We came together, joined by people of every creed and political persuasion, to make one thing resoundingly clear: we stand united against any attempt to deny or weaken the right to religious liberty upon which our country was founded.

On Friday, February 10, the Administration issued the final rules. By their very terms, the rules were reaffirmed “without change.” The mandate to provide the illicit services remains. The exceedingly narrow exemption for churches remains. Despite the outcry, all the threats to religious liberty posed by the initial rules remain.

Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government’s decision to grant it: it is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions, and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations.

Recent actions by the Administration have attempted to reduce this free exercise to a “privilege” arbitrarily granted by the government as a mere exemption from an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism. The exemption is too narrowly defined, because it does not exempt most non-profit religious employers, the religiously affiliated insurer, the self-insured employer, the for-profit religious employer, or other private businesses owned and operated by people who rightly object to paying for abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. And because it is instituted only by executive whim, even this unduly narrow exemption can be taken away easily.

In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our “first freedom” and respect for it must be broad and inclusive—not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is “religious enough” to warrant religious freedom protection.

This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization—although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all. If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded.

Much remains to be done. We cannot rest when faced with so grave a threat to the religious liberty for which our parents and grandparents fought. In this moment in history we must work diligently to preserve religious liberty and to remove all threats to the practice of our faith in the public square. This is our heritage as Americans. President Obama should rescind the mandate, or at the very least, provide full and effective measures to protect religious liberty and conscience.

Above all, dear brothers, we rely on the help of the Lord in this important struggle. We all need to act now by contacting our legislators in support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which can be done through our action alert on www.usccb.org/conscience.

We invite you to share the contents of this letter with the faithful of your diocese in whatever form, or by whatever means, you consider most suitable. Let us continue to pray for a quick and complete resolution to this and all threats to religious liberty and the exercise of our faith in our great country.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Bishop of Bridgeport
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death

New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death

by Steven Ertelt | WASHINGTON, DC | LIFENEWS.COM | 2/19/10 9:00 AM
New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death
by Bobby Schindler
February 19, 2010

LifeNews.com Note: Bobby Schindler is the brother of Terri Schiavo and he and his family now work for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation to help disabled and incapacitated patients like her.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Recall Abortion Petition

Please share.

From the web site:

Our “Recall Abortion” effort, represented by Janet’s book, involves a petition to the government to do what it was founded to do: protect the rights of the citizens. We invite you to read and sign the petition below.

There are many things that governments can do to “recall abortion,” and the particulars of that are worked out from year to year. In order for public officials to take any steps in that direction, however, the will of the people needs to be clear, and that’s what a petition like this accomplishes.
We will make sure that public officials on the local, state and federal levels know of the conviction of all those who sign this petition: abortion must be recalled!

Thank you!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Effects of Abortion on Society

Abortion kills the unborn child, grievously wounds the mother, causes harm to those others involved, and damages society as a whole.

The violence of abortion extends out to our culture, diminishing the value of life for all.  The violence of abortion makes the violence of abuse acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes rape acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes the violence of shootings acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes the harming or the casting away of any individual life acceptable.

The particular violence of one against another may not be accepted by society; but abortion, allowing one individual to decide if another life ought to continue, is accepted by society.  With individuals accepting that the continuation of the life of an unborn person can be decided by another, it is just a mental step for someone to justify the harming or taking of any person’s life for any reason.  All human life must be respected for any one life to have respect.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gun violence and Abortion-a letter to the President and my representatives

The only way I see to end gun violence is for our country to once again gain a respect for life.  However, it is entrenched in our country for individuals to decide on the worth of another's life.  In our culture, a person's life is not universally respected. 

I believe that abortion is the greatest contributor to the decline in the respect for all human life. I do not remember the scale of violence in our society back in the 50's and 60's before death by abortion was legalized. What is the difference between death through abortion and death through gun violence?  In my view, there is none.  In each case, someone has decided that another life should not continue living.

The only way to regain a respect for life in this country is to respect all life, from conception to natural death.  No one has the right to decide to end life for another.

Anyone who supports abortion (including those in government), performs abortions, or has an abortion is no better than those who decide with their guns that others have no right to live.  Women die from abortions and many are physically and psychologically harmed for life, just as others die and are harmed for life from gun violence.  And, the violence just spreads outwards affecting eventually all of society.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Letter to the President on his inaugural speech

Mr. President,

"'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth."

The first right mentioned is the right to life. The government and this administration is denying the right to life to millions through the sanction of abortion. By a rough calculation I estimate that 20-25% of a projected population under 40 (without abortion) has died due to abortion. This is using the 2010 census figures for a total of the population under 40, adding in the 55,000,000 aborted and taking a percentage of those 55,000,000 from that total.

"Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune." This administration has continued to pledge its support to destroy the most vulnerable, the unborn, instead of supporting those organizations which would nurture both the unborn and their parents through whatever problems they may be facing. They are out there. See my blog http://tochooselife.blogspot.com/ assembled from a week of book and internet searches.

"Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America." Why should God bless a country which blatantly ignores one of His basic commandments, "Thou Shall NOT Kill"?

A politician, who says that he is Christian, must act on his beliefs in the policies he proposes, and the fruit of his beliefs is seen in the policies he proposes. The fruit of your policies is abortion anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason. I see nothing Christian, or remotely ethical, in that.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Our Bodies, Our Consciences, By Kathryn Jean Lopez

We are not alone. We can’t afford to pretend we are.


On the morning of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade ruling, I felt a chill. And it wasn’t brought on by the appropriate bitterly cold weather that particular January morning. After Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, some 500 or so New Yorkers walked through the streets of midtown Manhattan, in front of God, man, and Grand Central Station, praying the Rosary. Our prayers were for life and love and mercy. Our prayers were not in judgment of others but that we may do better, that women and men may see better options than abortion, that the hurt may be healed, that God may forgive us for letting anyone think she is alone and has no choice but the death of her child.
The chill was brought on by the knowledge that some of the commuters streaming into Grand Central knew the pain of abortion all too well. By the certainty that someone, on her morning commute, was thinking that was her only option. By the sharing in a community’s pain and guilt and sorrow.

We tend to live our lives masked in a veil of the imperial self. We pretend that we live alone. But as alone as we might sometimes feel, we make decisions that affect others. We need one another.
We do realize this, on some level. We’re decades into a welfare state premised on the idea that the government is our safety net. But the government cannot be a brother. The government cannot be a mother and a father. Where love thrives is in a flourishing civil society. That is where we flourish. Where our dreams are. Where we get the support that allows us to believe they can be fulfilled.

Our problems today run so deep. Now is the time to take a few steps back. Not to turn back the clock. But to reflect. To talk about some of the most contentious issues now that we are past the frenzy of a presidential election campaign.

Our problems won’t all be solved through legislative action. And legislative action, while it may sometimes be crucial, can’t be maximized without a fuller context. Congress may vote to defund Planned Parenthood, but we can’t assume that the political message that vote sends will cause the culture to change — that people will suddenly remember the poisonous eugenics upon which that organization was founded, that we will celebrate and protect human dignity, live chastely, and see adoption as a brilliant and generous option. A congressional vote is not a magic wand. There are so many steps that need to precede and follow it.

In a new book, Fill These Hearts, author Christopher West works on helping us with the backstory of our lives, a starting point for changing the terms of our debates and untangling our confusions. “Consider,” he writes, “the idea that our bodies tell a story that reveals, as we learn how to read it, the very meaning of existence and the path to the ultimate satisfaction of our deepest desire.”

“To call God ‘Father’ with a sincere heart is to recognize him as the ultimate origin of every good gift and to rest in his benevolent providence, trusting unflinchingly — despite life’s many sorrows and sufferings — that God does indeed have a perfect plan for our satisfaction. To call God ‘Father’ is to believe wholeheartedly that, in due time, he will provide precisely that for which we ache.” West quotes Psalm 145: “You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

West makes the point that our bodies and our souls are not separate things, and that our very physical design speaks to our creation and destination. “In the biblical understanding, there exists a profound unity between that which is physical and that which is spiritual. This means that our bodies are not mere shells in which our true ‘spiritual selves’ live. We are a profound unity of body and soul, matter and spirit. In a very real way, we are our bodies.”
West writes as a Christian, but perceiving a person as an integrated whole does not depend on being a Christian, or a believer of any sort. Nor does understanding that men and women are different and complementary, and that that is a good thing. However, we can no longer take for granted that everyone understands that, let alone accepts, embraces, even celebrates it. Not when our federal health-care policy treats a woman’s fertility as a disease, a condition that she is expected to medicate away in order to achieve freedom and equality. Not when we are sending women into combat.

The world-famous former mayor of New York Ed Koch, who died just last week, was good friends with John Cardinal O’Connor. In 1989 they collaborated on a book, His Eminence and Hizzoner, in which Mayor Koch wrote: “The future of our nation depends on our ability to inculcate a strong sense of morality in our young people. That moral sense should be based on philosophical, ethical and religious teachings, which are the underpinnings of conscience. The way to oppose abortion is by challenging the conscience of those who advocate it. If the battle cannot be won at the level of conscience, it cannot be won.”

But what is conscience? What is right and wrong, and who are we and why are we? If we do not agree that there are answers to these questions — even if we don’t agree on what those answers are — we will never have a constructive debate about abortion, whether in terms of policy or of culture. That is the foundational work we need to return to. No election campaign is ever going to be better without it. Our culture is never going to be renewed without it. No lives are going to be truly redeemed without it. We won’t start making sense again without it. The dark bitter cold of winter will be warmed by the renewal that comes with embracing life, living life lovingly, supporting life, letting someone know she is not alone.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association. She is a director of Catholic Voices USA.