The feast of The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28th, really pricks my heart. Therefore, I find it rather disappointing that it seems to pass by each year without much attention. Certainly the Church calendar is dotted with the memorials of so many great martyrs, but the Holy Innocents offer us a particular model for our current culture.
We no longer drink diet soda, eat a growing variety of sweets or chew gum because of artificial sweeteners. My husband switched us to tooth polish without fluoride and soap without antibacterial agents.
Our eggs come free-ranged, our bread whole grain, and our produce organic. Attending home school functions nowadays, we have to be mindful of gluten, nuts and food dyes in whatever we bring to share.
From sensitivities to allergies and everything in between, there’s an increased awareness of how what we put into our bodies affects our well-being. Labels contain ingredient lists, product packaging includes warnings and restaurants highlight low calorie menu items to aid consumers.
Cigarettes and Peanut Butter
Once upon a time, airplanes and eateries had smoking sections and school lunches consisted of peanut butter and jelly on white bread. Today you’d be hard pressed to find even an outdoor event that welcomes tobacco users and whole school buildings are designated as nut-free.
Time and science have taught us a few lessons about toxins and disease, allergies and life threatening reactions. In fact, the government felt so compelled to protect the citizenry from harm that it now regulates sales and distribution of tobacco products (among a host of other things).
With this increased personal awareness and national concern over what is safe and what is not, you have to ask yourself why the Pill, a class 1 carcinogen (in the same category as tobacco, arsenic, and asbestos), would be routinely sold to a substantial percentage of the population without sufficient (if any) warning.
Even more curious is why adolescents, who can’t legally purchase tobacco, are often prescribed the Pill for off-label uses (especially considering there are safer alternatives).
If We’re Gonna Compare Labels
If we’re going to read labels and make educated choices about food, cleaning supplies and beverages, then let’s compare methods of family planning.
- Withdrawal is an age-old practice which has a lower effectiveness rate because it is not only difficult to practice, but sperm can be transmitted before full ejaculation. It is generally less physically satisfying to both partners.
- Barrier methods that include the condom, sponge, cervical cap, diaphragm and spermicide range in effectiveness from 80-88%. Each requires a foreign body/substance to be inserted in the woman’s vagina increasing her risk of allergy or urinary tract infections. Spermicides can increase a woman’s risk of HIV infection. They can also be noisy, messy, costly and some require an initial physician’s visit.
- Hormonal injections are said to be 97-99% effective, but require a physician’s assistance every 3 months. Studies show women had a more than three-fold risk increase of acquiring chlamydia and gonorrhea. Weight gain, decreased bone density, bleeding and injection site infection are all possible side effects. Injectable hormones have been known to continue effecting a woman’s fertility cycles for months to a year after stopping usage (possibly inhibiting conception in couples who were hoping to achieve a pregnancy).
- Hormonal Implants are surgically placed under the skin for long term usage and are 99% effectiveness. Known side effects include irregular periods, depression, nervousness, hair loss, weight gain, and infection at the implantation site.
- Pill claims 92-99% effectiveness. As stated in #3 of the post series, there are two types of the Pill and both are abortifacient. The combination (estrogen/progestin) Pill has three functions: to suppress ovulation, to slow sperm motility through thickened cervical mucus and to prevent implantation of a newly conceived child by depleting the endometrium of glycogen (this last function is abortifacient). Side effects include nausea, increased appetite, headaches, lowered libido, blood clots, death and increased risk of premenopausal birth cancer. Yazmin (Yaz) has been linked to 23 deaths in Canada.
- IUDs claim 99% effectiveness, but (as I stated in #3 of this post series) it has been a continual source of litigation for its various makers. The non-hormonal variety is abortifacient and the hormonally imbedded IUD is sometimes abortifacient. Problems include bleeding, perforation of the uterus, migration of the device, increase of ectopic pregnancies, cramping, heavier/longer periods, spotting, infection, death and pelvic inflammatory disease leading to infertility. Dalcon Shield, the 1970’s IUD maker, went bankrupt because of law suits and Bayer, the maker of the current, popular Mirena IUD is currently being sued. FDA reports document more than 45,000 adverse events reported, including device expulsion/dislocation and vaginal hemorrhage.
- Non-hormonal Tubal Blockage Device (aka Essure) claims 99% effectiveness. This device is really interesting because it claims to be non-surgically implanted, but I’m not sure how they reach a woman’s Fallopian tubes and call it non-surgical when lesser invasive, in-office procedures can be billed as surgical. Essure is permanent. Online anecdotes document a numerous problems with the device and its insertion and side effects include rash, bleeding, bloating, the need for hysterectomy and death. Since 2004, 850 Adverse Event Reports have been filed with the FDA.
Drop-sided cribs were outlawed after the deaths of a few dozen children, but tens of thousands of documented adverse events and the deaths of (at least) dozens of women (not to mention more than 55 million aborted babies) seem to be acceptable collateral damage.
- Sterilization (male and female) is 99% effective and meant to be permanent (although there are some successful reversals). Men may experience a granuloma, long term testicular pain and decreased desire. Women are known to suffer regret, cramping, bleeding, increased risk of cervical cancer and Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome.
Total abstinence being the only 100% effective means of avoiding pregnancy, we need to realize that if a couple believes sex doesn’t equate to babies, they’ll want a back-up plan for the times their contraceptives fail. Abortion is that back-up.
While I found plenty of stats claiming that greater access to contraceptives leads to less abortion, it’s hard to square that claim with the more than 55 million abortions (not including those lives terminated by abortifacients) that have been performed since 1973.
Considering the above list of options, one would think that abortion should be rare, but more than 55 million is hardly a miniscule number.
- Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is 98% effective, if the user follows proper guidelines. This method is highly effective for women who have given birth in the last 6 months, have not had a menstrual period or noticed the return of fertile cervical mucus and who are feeding from the breast only. Some women practicing LAM have experienced up to 24 months or more of delayed fertility (after birth). There are no side effects caused by the method.
- Natural Family Planning Methods are 95-99% effective. Sometimes referred to as Fertility Awareness Methods, they range from methods that read only one bodily sign (temperature only or mucus only) to the Symptom-Thermal Method which reads two to three signs (temperature, mucus and cervix). Modern methods of NFP that exhibit the highest rates of effectiveness require couples to abstain from sexual relations during the fertile time of the cycle. There are no side effects caused by the method.
Connecting the Dots
Conversely, when couples connect sex with its procreative potential, the want for abortion declines if not disappears.
Natural methods reveal the power of the female fertility cycle, respect the wholeness of a woman and cause the lovers to become aware of the days when pregnancy is possible.
Why should one partner shoulder the sole burden of responsibility? When both are involved in the decision making and practice, they understand that their mutual actions have direct consequences.
We’ve come to demand honest labeling, safety recalls and regulatory measures for everything from cigarette packs and alcohol to car seats and strollers, so why aren’t we demanding the same in women’s healthcare?
Follow along with the whole 6 part discussion on rethinking your family planning on www.blessingsinbrelinskyville.com.
“Some think that — excuse the language — that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear and that is why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this matter, there are pastors, one can search; and I know so many ways that are licit and that have helped this.”
“If you are the father or mother of a family, you ought to conform your will to God’s with regard to the number or sex of the children He pleases to give you. When men were animated by the spirit of faith they regarded a large family as a gift of God and a blessing from heaven and considered God more than themselves as the father of their children.” He went on to say, “Never be afraid of relying too much on Him, but rather seek always to increase your trust more and more, for this is the most pleasing homage you can pay Him and it will be the measure of the graces you will receive. Little or much will be given you according as you have expected little or much.”
“He (God) promises solemnly to give them not only life everlasting but a hundredfold all things they deny themselves to please Him in this life (Matt 19:24). He further promises to ease the burden of His cross so as to lighten it; for He not only says that His yoke is sweet but adds that His burden is light (Matt 11:30). If then we do not experience the sweetness of Christ’s yoke not the lightness of the burden of the cross, it must be because we have not yet made the denial of our will and completely given up own human outlook so as to consider things in the light of faith.
“It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness, Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren.
“Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them.” Pope Pius XII
Follow along with the whole 6 part discussion on rethinking your family planning.
(1)Reclaiming Womanhood: Why It’s Time to Rethink Your Birth Control Plan;
(3)Knowledge Is Power: How Doctors and Big Pharma Profit from Ignorance;
(4)If Your Food Is Organic Your Family Planning Should Be Too: The Nitty Gritty of Birth Control;
(5)Pulling Back the Veil and Exposing Your Genuine Fears
(6)Now That You Know the Facts on Birth Control, What’s the Next Step?
Subordination Becomes A Dirty Word
Untying The Aprons Strings
Mary Gets It Right
Mary was an Ephesians woman, she silently withstood Joseph’s initial plans to quietly relinquish her. She placed herself, heavy with child, upon a lowly donkey and let her husband lead her across rough terrain. And when her husband couldn’t secure a room at the inn, she dutifully accepted what he had to give to her, a stable and a manger instead of the private room and a cradle. Then again, she would pick up and take her newborn to unfamiliar territory when Joseph said they must flee.
The Body Speaks The Truth
“Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the edometrium, which reduce the likelihood of implantation” (implantation of a child who has already been conceived). From the Physician’s Desk Reference product info for Ortho-Cept
“In summary, according to multiple references throughout the Physician’s Desk Reference, which articulate the research findings of all the birth control pill manufacturers, there are not one but three mechanisms of birth control pills: 1)inhibiting ovulation, 2)thickening cervical mucus, and 3) thinning and shriveling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly-fertilized egg. The first two mechanisms are contraceptive. The third is abortive.”
When a woman taking the Pill discovers she is pregnant it means that all three mechanisms failed. The third mechanisms sometimes fails as backup, just as the first two mechanisms sometimes fail; however, each and every time the third mechanism succeeds it has caused an abortion.
The prescription drug RU-486 has the primary function of causing an abortion.
The mini-pill (progestin-only or progestogen-only) is abortifacient.
The primary mechanism through which the mini-pill prevents conception is not known, but progestogen-only contraceptives are known to alter the cervical mucus, exert a progestational effect on the endometrium, interfering with implantation, and in some patients, suppress ovulation. According to the FDA
Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs), which were once pulled from the market due to numerous damage suffered by their users, are abortifacient. They have two functions 1) thicken cervical mucus to inhibit sperm migration 2) cause inflammation of the uterine lining to inhibit implantation of the newly conceived child.How statistically significant is the abortifacient mechanism of hormonal birth control?
Although the combined Pill probably suppresses ovulation in 95% of cycles, abortions can occur among the other 5% (noting that the mini-pill or single hormone pill is less effective at suppressing). A “breakthrough ovulation” rate of 4.7% was reported in 1984, so applying that rate to the 13.8 million American women on the Pill in the early 90’s would yield 648,000 ovulations per cycle (not every ovulation results in pregnancy). Assuming 25% of those breakthrough ovulations result in pregnancy would mean that of those 648,000 ovulations, 162,150 new human lives could be conceived each cycle. That’s 1,945,800 lives each year that would then be denied implantation in the womb and thus be aborted. More than the number killed by surgical abortions.
What are couples, who have discerned a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy to do? They are free to practice Natural Family Planning, methods of fertility awareness that are up to 99% effective, morally acceptable and abortion-free.
http://www.babycenter.com/0_intrauterine-device-iud_3564.bc. (Accessed April 12, 2013)
There’s a little garden beside my front walkway dedicated to St. Joseph. Matthew’s rose bush blooms within it as well as the Hostas and Day Lilies that were transplanted from other places on our property. In the beginning, our statue of the foster father of Jesus stood prominently among a balance of lively greenery and rich, brown dirt. Not the typical red clay of North Carolina, but soil that offered the promise of nutrients and growth.
Probably a month or more ago, clover sprang up in random patches around the resident plant life. I considered briefly that the clover, a weed, was intruding in this garden, but then it reminded me of shamrock with its heart-shaped leaves and emerald green color, so I let it remain. The clover, itself, is really quite small and unobtrusive, so why not allow it to blend in with the pattern, was my reasoning.
Life got busier throughout the weeks, postponing my good intentions to accomplish some yard work and so the invasion of weeds persisted. That is how it works. Today there is scarcely a square foot of brown soil to be seen as weeds of all varieties have laid their roots and spread their leaves across my humble, welcoming garden. The balance and the beauty seem lost to the eye now and, of course, it only stands to get worse.
Perhaps, pride might be entertained a bit too considering the sacrifice of time that will be required to prune around the shrine. The pride, though, would be short-lived because everyone knows the cleverness of weeds which are sure to re-stake their claim in due time.
Perhaps, an ample dousing of poison is in line, but then there is a risk to all that lies in close proximity. Truly, those roots, hidden beneath the surface, must be unveiled in their entirety. The right plan includes uprooting, tilling, sifting, laying down a protective barrier and then recovering. I know what it’s going to take, but I have to decide whether or not the desired result is worth the cost of the required sacrifice.
Facing A Dilemma
The dilemma in my welcome path garden offers a simple picture of a critical problem facing us in this state, this nation, this world today. The culture of death has come into nearly full bloom. Its broad leaves of abortion, euthanasia, divorce, cohabitation, addiction, pornography, promiscuity, prostitution and infidelity have taken over our civilization like kudzu.
Here in the United States, possibly the last bastion of hope for Christians, we are under attack from our own government which seeks to sow more laws that would eradicate what’s left of our religious liberties. Ah yes, the problem is as evident and well-defined as the creeping crab grass.
We, patriots and Christians, see the enemy and we are taking a stand against this injustice which is being perpetrated under the title of the HHS mandate. We will not sit idly by as this latest attempt to strip away our freedom reaches into our churches, our Catholic hospitals, and our pockets. We’ll march, we’ll rally, we’ll donate time and money, we’ll debate, we’ll evangelize and we’ll pray- all noble and necessary tasks, but a bit like my less painful plan to pull the weeds one by one and then step back in temporary triumph.
Digging Up The Roots
Were people still familiar with Thomas Malthus, the original population doomsayer who preached total abstinence in order to save the world from mass starvation, this misuse of the natural means might be just as easily called the Malthusian mentality. It was this seed of thinking, that responsible men must take charge of their own destiny by thwarting the gift of procreative powers or be doomed to starvation, that was scattered about. Seeds germinate and sprout, that is their nature, so too did this idea. For if man was wise enough to discover his power to save the universe, then he must be equally endowed with the good sense to order his life as best he sees fit.
If one man can justify the end, of inhibiting the conception of a new life, then another man can do the same even if by different means. If the end is good, why squabble over the means. While the initial idea took some decades to establish hardy root-age, “modern” science, and a well-known woman named Margaret Sanger, eventually hailed a new way to rescue planet earth and its female inhabitants from the dreaded potential of babies.
Contradiction Doesn’t Win
Why even the heralded breakthrough of ultrasound is often wielded in the doctor’s hands as a tool to discern the fit from the “unfit” in the womb. Ask any mother over the age of thirty-five and you’ll likely find she has been offered, if not downright pressured to submit to, a battery of tests aimed at informing her and her doctor as to the “quality of life” her unborn child might be expected to have and to offer. Because by extension of the anti-life mentality, a child who might require extra attention and care is a drain on his parents and society, so it is the duty of the doctor to offer an alternative.
It didn’t take long to come full circle with this technology, as recent headlines prove that female babies are targeted for sex selection abortions even within the borders of our blessed America. America is only a step to two away from adopting another of China’s infamous policies if we continue down this path.
Let The Fields Run Wild
“Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“
Understanding The History
Has The Church Failed?
The Science Of Our Times
Are Women Too Simple-Minded?
|our 20th Anniversary|
Having married outside of the Catholic Church, our pre-cana consisted only of a few short meetings with the priest, who was to marry us. I remember only his encouraging me to convert and little else. We missed the boat, so to speak, on so many crucial lessons, but thankfully God always has a back-up plan.
An Attention Grabber
Marrying For the Second Time
Standing On The Precipice Of Divorce
Perplexed By My Husband’s Command
Making The Vow