Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Emergency So-Called Contraception in Catholic Hospitals

Dear Drs Kahlenborn, Peck, and Severs,

I suspect that the vast majority of Catholics - including faithful Catholics involved with pro life concerns - would be flabbergasted to learn that the use of potential abortifacients is allowed in some Catholic hospitals, under certain circumstances. God bless those patient physicians, such as Patrick Yeung Jr., M.D. and Donna Harrison, M.D, who have patiently explained "Why Catholic Hospitals Should Not Dispense Plan B."  And as Dr. Peck and Father Juan Vélez, MD previously reminded us:
"Physicians and health care institutions, especially Catholic ones, have a duty to reexamine the available scientific information on LNG-EC. They have an obligation to offer the Holy See and episcopal conferences accurate information regarding this subject to guide their statements. The use of LNG-EC and associated rape protocols should be abandoned, because there is no safe period to give LNC-EC during a woman’s cycle when it may be efficacious to prevent pregnancy without significant likelihood that it will have an abortifacient effect" (National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Winter 2013).

Thank you for your courageous, magnificent, patient, and respectful current call to bring practice into line with the Truth:
"Emergency contraception (also known as postcoital contraception or the morning after pill) refers to the use of drugs or devices as an emergency measure to prevent pregnancy (Zieman 2014)....In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved Plan B (levonorgestrel emergency contraception, LNG-EC) as the first progestin-only type of EC....Plan B is often given in both secular and Catholic hospitals (under certain conditions) in order to attempt to prevent pregnancy.... levonorgestrel emergency contraception has garnered the most attention as it is the most widely used EC in the world (Trussell and Raymond 2013).....

"In light of the most recent scientific and medical data noted in this paper, the claim of moral certitude in regard to a non-abortifacient action of LNG-EC is not justifiable....

"current Catholic rape protocols that allow for the dispensation of LNG-EC if the woman is determined to be in the preovulatory period, appear to be faulty and should be revised. Since the most recent medical data clearly note that LNG-EC does not effectively stop ovulation and has high potential to work via abortion when given prior to ovulation, these protocols would no longer be in compliance with Catholic teaching" (Linacre Quarterly, February 2015).

I believe that the Catholic Medical Association and the National Catholic Bioethics Center should be tirelessly urging the USCCB to demand that the practices of all CHAUSA-affiliated facilites be brought into line with Truth. 

Thank you.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference"

As per a 2/2/15 report by Inés San Martín,
"Cardinals and other Catholic prelates from around the world will gather in Rome this week to discuss women’s issues such as domestic violence, plastic surgery, and women’s contributions to the Church....the website of the general assembly is illustrated with an image of 'Venus Restored' by artist Man Ray, a plaster cast of a headless Venus tightly bound in ropes. The 1936 sculpture is intended to depict woman as a subjugated sex object, but also as a creature who rises above men’s depictions"
Has Man Ray's art been given too much credit?  While others may differ, the catalogue of his works strike this blogger as bizarre and possibly misogynistic (In recent years, his art has also been claimed to have one notorious connection.)!  Then again, society's treatment of women is frequently bizarre and misogynistic!  Does Man Ray's Venus Restored somehow warn us of hideous pressures being placed upon our daughters (and let's not forget our sons!)?  

In addition to Man Ray's art, words on plastic surgery from the Outline document have also received attention (Not so much on such topics as poverty and sexual exploitation/violence!):
Some background:

"In 2008, in the United States alone, over 10 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures were performed at a cost of $11.8 billion.... Since 1997, the number of men and women undergoing cosmetic procedures in the U.S. has grown by a staggering 457%. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the most requested surgery in 2008 was breast enlargement followed by liposuction, cosmetic eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) and tummy tucks (removal of excess fat and skin)" (National Catholic Register, 2/4/10).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church indeed reminds us that, 
"2288 Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.
Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.
"2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it's sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.
"2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea, or in the air."

While we have certainly become increasingly familiar with seeming excesses of cosmetic surgery, we also need to recall its legitimate role.  For example, plastic surgery developed in response to efforts to assist soldiers whose faces were damaged in WW I (cf., "Faces of War", Caroline Alexander, Smithsonian Magazine, February 2007).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

As per yesterday's press release from the American Life League,

"A major scientific review by Christopher Kahlenborn, MD, et al, published this week in the Linacre Quarterly, found that levonorgestrel emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, has 'significant potential of working via abortion.' The review also revealed that arguments claiming Plan B is not an abortifacient are not scientifically defensible.

"The review states:
Physicians who dispense LNG-EC [Plan B] to rape victims in the preovulatory period . . . are giving LNG-EC at a time in a woman's menstrual cycle when it has significant potential to work via the death of the embryo. Physicians who dispense LNG-EC in the postovulatory period may be increasing a woman's risk of becoming clinically pregnant.
"'Catholic bishops have been assured, by Plan B proponents, that the drug does not cause an abortion,' stated Judie Brown, president of American Life League. 'We now know this is not true. There is a grave risk that preborn human lives are being killed by Plan B, and Catholic hospitals need to immediately halt dispensing these drugs and review their policies.'

"The authors of the review concluded that 'Catholic hospitals that allow the dispensing of LNG-EC [Plan B] prior to ovulation-especially when given within 48 hours of ovulation-are permitting the use of a drug which has a significant potential of working via abortion. . . . If given prior to ovulation, LNG-EC should be labeled as emergency abortion/contraception.'"

The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"


Use of Emergency So-Called Contraceptives in Catholic Hospitals for Those Reporting Rape

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

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