Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Closer Look at Emergency Contraception

The only emergency about Emergency Contraception is the fact that it exists and is able to be accessed to easily.

While I was at my own local doctor's office, I picked up a brochure on Emergency Contraception that is published by Planned Parenthood. For those of you who may not know, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country. Margaret Sanger, a woman who had close ties with Nazi Germany, and who was well known as a racist and eugenicist, founded Planned Parenthood in the early 20th century.

The front of the pamphlet says at the bottom, “Planned Parenthood: America’s most trusted name in women’s health.” Their slogan is ironic given the fact that abortion is hardly a positive woman’s service. What is so positive about having your baby killed inside of you and then removed?

Inside the pamphlet it reads, “EC (the initials commonly used as shorthand for Emergency Contraception) prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation. It will not effect an existing pregnancy. And it will not cause an abortion.”
(Yes, it should be “affect” not “effect” but since 'it is the most trusted name in women’s health,’ I will let it go.)

Upon examination of the statement on how EC works, it is clear that there is contradiction.

First, it states that EC “will not effect an existing pregnancy.”

However, it also states that it will prevent implantation.

If you conceive new life, and that new life travels down a woman’s fallopian tube, arrives in the uterus and then cannot implant inside the uterine wall because EC has destroyed the lining of the uterus, then the new life is affected (or effected, depending on your English teacher).

Second, since the new life cannot implant (because, as it claims, EC prevents implantation) then it does indeed cause an abortion.

Towards the end of the pamphlet, it is noted, “EC will not harm a fetus. Still, you should not use emergency contraception if you are pregnant.”

If they will not harm a fetus, why the warning?!

At another point, it reads, “Emergency contraception is meant for emergencies only.” A page later it is stated, “Take-home kits allow women to use EC in emergency situations without having to wait to see their clinicians.”

If it should be used for emergencies only, is it all that safe to be giving out take-home kits?

Besides, what qualifies as an emergency? One may assume that Planned Parenthood only intends this for women who have been brutally raped.

On the contrary, an “emergency” is any time that a woman has “unprotected sex.” (Note: if you need to protect yourself from the person you’re having sex with, that notion in itself should be a red flag that it ain’t love).

The pamphlet also states that EC, “can reduce the risk of pregnancy…”

How absolutely degrading it is to women to assert that being pregnant is some sort of abnormality that should be circumvented. Pregnancy is not a disease. Women are not broken when pregnant. The second society perpetuated the inane phrase of “risk of pregnancy” is the second that women submitted to being considered victims at the very time that they are heroes.

The topic of Emergency Contraception cannot end at the refutation a Planned Parenthood pamphlet. Truly, to give it due attention, several sources ought to be consulted and cross-referenced. While a total study of EC could fill volumes of books, it is easy enough to breakdown the essentials for this simple blog.

I just so happen to have the book, “A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill” by John Wilks lying around my house. Inside, it provides medical based descriptions and observations of the pill and it’s relatives.

Interestingly, it states that, “The drugs used after coitus are a form of the currently available formulations of the pill. To achieve a post-coital ‘contraceptive’ action, the pill is administered in high does over a period of 72 hours.” (Coitus means sex).

This means that the drug “EC” is really just a high dosage of the pill. (The pill contains either progesterone and or estrogen in synthetic form.)

It needs to be understood that “Emergency Contraception” is a MISNOMER. In order to be a contraceptive, the drug must work only to prevent con-ception. However, as “A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill” points out, “If post-coital drugs acted exclusively to inhibit ovulation, then the term ‘contraceptive’ would be accurate. But research by Grou (1994) in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has concluded that post-coital drugs act principally to terminate a viable pregnancy be interfering with the endometrium:

“…this mode of action could explain the majority of cases where pregnancies are prevented by the morning-after pill.”

Harper and co-workered, writing in Family Planning Perspective’s(1995), made the same observation:

“Emergency contraceptive pills, also known as morning-after pills, are a postcoital hormonal treatment that appears to inhibit implantation of the fertilized ovum.”

The examples go on and on.

As I read more, I came upon the side-effects. On page 155 of A Consumer’s Guide, it states,
“When estrogens alone are used as a post-coital ‘contraceptive’, the major problems related to the excessively high does given, with the attendant risks of side-effets: the presecribed regine of 5mg/day for 5 days of ethinyl estradiol or conjugated estrogens at 30mg/day for 5 days represents the equivalent of 2 years’ use of 50ug/day combined oral contraceptive.” Studies done using these high doses of estrogen found that nausea occurred in 70% and vomiting in 33% of patients. Questions of concern are also raised about the damage to a woman’s life supply of eggs occasioned by the ingestion of such a large does of female hormone.”

Can you imagine, sitting down and taking 2 years worth of the pill all at once and not thinking to yourself, hmm, maybe this could be harmful? As for the vomiting, the Planned Parenthood mentioned that vomiting is a side-effect and even suggests you may want to eat some crackers.

Contrary to what Planned Parenthood claims, Emergency Contraception does cause abortions. It does so by ruining a woman’s endometrium (the lining of a woman’s uterus…it’s what sheds when she has her period…). When a new life gets to the uterus and can’t implant, the new life dies; the son or daughter is aborted.

The next time you see an ad for Emergency Contraception, note that the only emergency is the fact that it exists.

Quotes taken from: Emergency Contraception © Revised version December 2002 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. Original copyright 1996 PPFA. All rights reserved.

A Consumer’s Guide to the Pill and Other Drugs by John Wilks B. Pharm. M.P.S.
Published by ALL Inc. Stafford, Virginia, 1997.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Day and Life in the Van...by TJ Lee

We have a white van that we use as a support vehicle and to travel long distances in a short period of time when walking is not feasible. We also have a trailer hooked up to it that carries all of our supplies and personal gear. On the ceiling of the van we are making a holy card “shrine” out of it. Then on the windows we have pro-life, Catholic messages and pictures made with shoe polish.

During the days that we walk, the van drops off who ever wishes to walk and then it drives up three miles so that the walkers can walk to it. Once the walkers reach the van, they can refuel with water and food. Then if choose too, any walker can rest in the van for a shift or two (a shift consists of one hour, which is about three miles of walking). Many things go on in the van during this resting time. To begin we always start off with car prayers (which is a selected list of prayers that we choose too say whenever we start driving anywhere). Once stopped, sometime within that hour, those in the van, pray a rosary or chaplet together. The other random things that everyone does in the van is to sleep, eat, re-hydrate with H2O, read a book, talk with each other, do missionary work for the group, call family and friends, clean, and talk to people who stop by. Some of the times the van will stop to get gas or allow people to use the restroom.

After the walkers reach the van again, the whole process starts all over again. This continues throughout the day until evening comes and we have completed our miles for the day that needed to be walked. Then we do the same the following day.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Missionaries of the Eucharist, update newsletter, July 20

We have an e-mail newsletter that we send out twice a month. If you would like to subscribe, please e-mail David at david@missionariesoftheeucharist.org

Here's the latest issue:

** STORY OF THE WEEK **

Maybe the looks on their faces told it all – surprised, cautiously intrigued, perhaps a little uneasy. The three young women riding the NYC Metro next to us were getting Theology of the Body without us even planning it. “What is physical modesty?” En route to Mass, the six of us had wandered into a hefty conversation.

A pamphlet we’d received said that modesty consisted of concealing your body. But can it really be reduced to a set of rules about how close to your knee a skirt needs to be? Is it more about purity of heart?

As the train rattled from Brooklyn into Manhattan, questions superseded conclusions. Can what we wear affect our virtue? What effect does what we wear have on others’ virtue? Can what we wear help others to see Christ in us?

Can what we wear reveal who we are? Maybe modesty comes with attire that accentuates and celebrates our femininity and masculinity. Or maybe it’s dressing in such a way that helps others see our whole person, rather than individual parts.

Even more, maybe modesty consists not just of what not to wear, nor even of what to wear, but how we act. If our actions – complementing our outfits – show others that we respect our bodies, will that go the farthest to remind those who see us that we’re human persons, with souls linked to our bodies?

Usually we think of “evangelizing” occurring when we approach someone, but here we were just having a conversation amongst ourselves, bouncing ideas off each other, possibly making an even bigger difference.

** THANKS TO OUR DONORS **

With your generous contributions, we’ve been able to get:
- Cell phone minutes for a two-hour conversation with the National Catholic Register newspaper (look for the article!)
- An oil change for our van
- 3000 more brochures about our group to share with the folks we meet

It’s also been really neat to stay with host families for much of the past few weeks. When you’re on the road for the whole summer, there’s nothing quite like being in a home.

** PLEASE KEEP US IN PRAYER **

Even more than material support, your prayers keep us going:

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg You to spare the life and soul of the preborn child who I have spiritually adopted and who is in danger of abortion. Amen.”

Please join us in this prayer – which we include at the end of every Rosary decade – written by Bishop Fulton Sheen. Its focus on the Holy Family reminds us how important good families are to building a Culture of Life.

** WHERE WE’VE BEEN **

July 3: Lacy, Jess, and Phil appear on the “This is the Day” show on
Boston Catholic TV.

July 4: We talk to the crowds in Bristol, RI, home of the first US 4th of
July parade.

July 8: We pray and counsel outside of the Hartford GYN Center (an abortion mill). Afterwards, we’re treated to muffins and donuts at the nearby St. Gerard Center.

July 9: Go Italy! Excitedly, we watch the Pope’s next-door neighbors win the Soccer World Cup. We also like that their uniforms are blue for the Blessed Mother.

July 11: In New Haven, we tour the Knights of Columbus museum and headquarters and spend two nights with the Dominicans.

July 12: Thunderstorms can’t stop us (they’re just a good excuse to take a break) as we walk past Bridgeport.

July 13: A Missionaries quartet spends the day talking to folks in NYC’s Central Park.

July 14: Marching through the “abortion capital of the world,” we pray at a half-dozen abortion mills in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

July 15: Our group nearly doubles in size as pro-life friends join us for the weekend. John, our host, doesn’t flinch when we “take over” his Brooklyn home.

July 17: Did you see us on FoxNews’ Dayside TV show? Sitting in the audience, we shared our experience with the rest of the studio. Later, we’re blessed with a Holy Hour and dinner with the Sisters of Life in the Bronx.

July 18: The pro-lifers at St. Paul’s in Princeton, NJ, are great hosts. We teach the parish’s youth group Theology of the Body through swing dancing.

July 19: Oksana and Svetlana, teenage twins from Ukraine living in NJ for the summer, walk 15 miles with us. What joy they bring!

** WHAT’S AHEAD **

July 21: Arriving in Philadelphia for the weekend.

July 23: Visiting parishes in Atlantic City, NJ.

July 24: Meeting with Philadelphia’s Cardinal Justin Rigali.

July 26: Visiting the youth group at St. John’s in Westminster, MD.

July 28: Arriving in Baltimore for the weekend.

July 30: Speaking at Theology on Tap in Baltimore.

** CATECHETICAL REFLECTION **

Men and women are equal. But they are also different. Physiologically, men have been stamped as receptive givers and women as active receivers. Pope JP2 cites our sexuality as being “not just an attribute” but a “constituent part of the person” (ToB 49).

On the Cross, Jesus’ total gift of Himself is the archetype of masculinity. By receiving her son and our savior’s sufferings at the foot of the Cross, Mary, Mother of the Church, provides the model of femininity.

Men and women complement each other. By themselves, each is incomplete. But when put together – both physiologically and with their perspectives of life – they find meaning. They find unity in their distinction. “Femininity finds itself, in a sense, in the presence of masculinity, while masculinity is confirmed through femininity” (ToB 49).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Behold, I am doing something new."

“Lord, make it new for us,” Father Jason prayed during his homily at the Manchester monthly Mass to promote vocations (June 18). He was talking about Pope JP2’s hope that we could “rekindle Eucharistic amazement.” When we’re at Mass, no matter how many times we’ve been to Mass, it’s the Savior of the World on the altar in front of us. It’s not routine.

We’re sometimes blessed with the chance to speak at multiple parishes, visiting all of their Masses over the weekend. This means doing three or four Masses on a given Sunday. We face a temptation to not give the due respect and prayerful intensity that the great Sacrifice of the Mass deserves. I’ve been praying a lot for the grace to not let the Mass become routine.

I pray for a short-term memory – that I might approach each sacrifice of the Mass with the freshness as if it were my first of the day.

“Behold, I am doing something new” (Isaiah 43:19). There’s a similar temptation to consider each day as another itinerary to be completed. Get up. Go to Mass. Scarf some dry cereal for breakfast. Pile into the van. Walk 25 miles. Talk to folks. . . .

How predictable does this become? We have our setup. We mean business. We know our message. We just do it.

But how much more does God have in mind for us? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). We’ve already gone out on a limb, giving God our summers – praying, “Here, Lord, these 1100 miles are Yours, Do with them what You please” – how much can He do if we’re open to Him exceeding the mental boxes into which we tend to put Him?


Sunday, July 02, 2006

In front of the abortion mill

What’s it like praying in front of an abortion mill? What do you think when you’re there?

Family Planning Association of Maine was on a road that didn’t seem to have anything other than warehouses – creating a cold, industrial feeling that explains why it’s often called an abortion “mill.”

At the Planned Parenthood in Manhattan, it poured rain – like the tears of the angels.

In front of Brooklyn’s Ambulatory Surgery Center – yes, the mills are often hidden amidst other places of “medicine” – a young child aimlessly dropped newspapers out of the back window of a car. As they littered the ground, no one seemed to care – had the nearby killings scrapped all semblance of dignity from the surroundings?

Outside the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Barre, VT, all the flowers were dying – an appropriate reflection of the activity inside.

Maybe it’s most abortion mills’ blending-in with their surroundings that leads me to grow distracted or bored. It helps me to realize how passing folks could be oblivious to the grave nature of the spot.

I have to remind myself: I’m standing in front of the cusp of life and death. When these moms walk into that building, they’re descending into a place that will kill their child.

I especially get frustrated with men who volunteer for abortion mills to “escort” women into the building. Do they think it’s noble, chivalrous, laudable to guide a mother to the place where her child will be killed, where she may incur lifelong physical, emotional, and spiritual scars? Ugh. They're making men look bad.

Yet I wish I held a sign that said “Our prayer is an invitation to accept God’s mercy.” Maybe that would help people not to think that our prayer amounts to condemnation. On the contrary, the onus lies on all of us.

Think about what we pray. It’s not “have mercy on them,” but “have mercy on us.” Our Father. Give us our daily bread. Pray for us sinners. Forgive us our sins. They’re all plural. In our prayer, we’re acknowledging that we’re all part of the problem. We all need to help build a Culture of Life.

Using Msgr Reilly’s stand-in-a-circle method also helps to show that we’re not praying at the folks entering the mill, but praying with them.

I think about all the other things I could be doing on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping. Or taking a nice, fast-paced four-mile jog. Or flipping through the newspaper over a bowl of a yogurt and granola. Or playing Frisbee with my eight-year-old sister and thirteen-year-old brother. Or buying a green pepper for mom at the farmer’s market in downtown Beaver.

What difference am I making?

More than a bodily tragedy, abortion underscores a great spiritual battle: Human persons, with the dignity of being created in God’s image and likeness and a hope for Heaven, are being marginalized as expendable objects.

“For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” May God transform me and soften my heart so that I may better be an instrument of His mercy.

I pray that He might work through me, as I am spiritually and bodily prayerfully present at the height of the fight, to help bring about the triumph of a Culture of Life.


Trip to Atlanta

So the Missionaries have been all over the country (even other countries this summer). Right now, I am sitting in my brother's living room in Atlanta, GA. He flew me down here while the rest of the walkers are in Boston so that I could witness the baptism of my goddauther, Emma Cathleen.

It was a wonderful day, and Sacred Heart in downtown Atlanta is really beautiful.

During the ceremony, I continued to reflect on my discernment as well as the mission for this summer. I was blessed to hold the baptismal candle during the celebration of the sacrament, and it made me remember how in the bull of confirmation of the Order of Preachers, that the Dominicans were called something like the light of truth, by His Holiness. And, it was such a great honor to be the one to hold the light of truth in Emma Cathleen's baptism.

This of course made me contemplate the Theology of the Body. Being that I was holding the light of truth, I could see an outward sign (the candle) of an inner responsibility (to bring up Emma Cate in the Catholic faith). This was really amazing. By holding the candle, the Light of Christ was made visible to all, and it was through this moment that the great responsibility of bringing up children was conveyed. Without the candle, there would still be a reality that all are called to bring their children up with a sense of hope and trust in the Lord as well as right judgment and a sense of sanctity and evil. But, the presence of the candle really conveys this message to another part of man past his intellect. It brings it to his senses. The visual of a flaming wick at the end of a candle really shows something else to man both figuratively and literally. Literally we can see the flame and the candle as a representation of something greater. And that is where the figurative comes is.

This inner reality shows that something deep is occuring. The Holy Spirit's descent on Emma Cate today was marvelous, and even though we couldn't see that happening with our eyes, we know if to be true. The chrism, the holy water, and the baptismal candle are all outward signs of this inner reality.

What a wonderful thing a Catholic baptism is.

St. John the Baptist...ora pro nobis

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.