News and Noteworthy


Sterile fantasies

Young people are clueless about how quickly their fertility ebbs away

by Nicole M. King for Mercatornet.com on February 8, 2017

Melinda Gates: “Like most women I know, I have used contraceptives for many years.”

The News Story: Want to Empower Women Worldwide? Give Them Access to Contraceptives

“Like most women I know, I have used contraceptives for many years,” Melinda Gates wrote for National Geographic last week. She and her husband’s decisions about if and when to get pregnant were “made based on what was right for me and what was right for our family.”


But not all women are so “lucky,” Gates continues to say. “There are still over 225 million women around the world who don’t have access to the modern contraceptives they need to make these decisions for themselves.” To remedy this problem, Gates co-chaired a global summit in 2012 that brought together leaders from around the world to commit to a goal of getting 120 million more women access to modern contraceptives by the year 2020. So far, that initiative is failing—at the halfway point in 2016, only 24 million additional women had received the life-changing miracle drugs that Gates so praises.

One thing that Gates leaves out of the discussion of the wonders of modern family planning is what happens when biology doesn’t cooperate with family plans. And in a recent study of yet another dying Western nation with exactly the type of access that Gates wants, researchers found that the contraceptive mentality can so infiltrate our mindsets that we ignore reality. Perhaps we should pause before we eagerly hand out the pills around the globe.

(Sources: Melinda Gates, “Opinion: Want to Empower Women Worldwide? Give Them Access to Contraceptives,” National Geographic, February 3, 2017.)

The New Research: Sterile Fantasies

Affiliated with Denmark’s Copenhagen University, Metropolitan University, and Zealand University, the authors of a new study probe young Danes’ understanding of reproductive biology in large part because of their concern about the number of young people in Western countries, including their own, who are delaying parenthood—often until well into their 30s.

Inevitably, fertility delayed often translates into fertility denied. The authors of the new study understandably highlight delayed parenthood as a reason for the “decline in total fertility rate (TFR) [that] has been seen in OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries, where the average TFR dropped from 2.7 to 1.7” between 1970 and 2009. With a Total Fertility Rate now at 1.69, Denmark appears quite typical of affluent Western nations with fertility well below the Zero Population Growth level of 2.1 lifetime births per woman.

Beyond the social and economic issues inherent in the sub-replacement fertility it fosters, postponed parenthood brings a number of other troubling problems. The authors of the new study point out that “higher maternal age is . . . associated with an increase in pregnancy-related complications and adverse outcome in the offspring such as prematurity and foetal death” and that higher paternal age predicts an increased risk of “pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage.” Twenty-first-century medicine does give couples who have delayed parenthood the option of medically assisted reproduction (MAR), but the Danish researchers stress that “the biological decline in fertility by advanced parental age cannot fully be compensated for by MAR, and consequently society as a whole is affected.” What is more, the researchers worry about “the psychological strain of undergoing fertility treatment,” giving as a reason for particular concern a Finish study finding an alarmingly high rate of psychiatric hospitalization among women whose MAR treatment had not resulted in childbirth.

Given the negative consequences of delayed parenthood for fertility and pregnancy, the authors of the new study regard it as desirable to determine whether “general lack of fertility knowledge, including the age-related decline in fertility, may also be a central and contributing factor.” To determine the level of fertility knowledge among young Danes, the researchers surveyed 517 male and female students enrolled at the Metropolitan University College in Copenhagen. The data collected from these students intensified rather than allayed concerns about whether young Danes delaying parenthood really understand the consequences.

Overall, the researchers find that the young Danes they surveyed “generally lacked knowledge on fertility issues,” with “no substantial differences between the two genders.” This lack of knowledge about fertility surfaces on a number of matters. For instance, most of the young Danes surveyed did not realize how soon and how markedly a woman’s fertility declines. The Danish researchers report that “half of both genders thought a slight age-related decline in female fertility has its onset beyond the age of 30 years (correct answer: 25–29 years).” Even more fundamental misunderstanding appears among the “more than 35% [of students surveyed who] believed that a marked decrease [in female fertility] does not occur until 40 years of age (correct answer: 35–39 years).” Astonishingly, more than 10% of the Danish students surveyed believed that a marked decline in fertility does not occur until age 45!

Ignorance about natural fertility among the Danish students was matched by their ignorance about possibilities of Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR): the researchers report that the success rate of MAR was “grossly overestimated” by both male and female students: “the majority [of the students surveyed in this study] . . . overestimated the probability of achieving a child from IVF treatment,” with 55% of males and 69% of students pegging the probability too high, many of them quite markedly too high. (The actual success rate for MAR runs less than 30%.)

The Danish researchers see this unfortunate situation manifest in “other studies [that] have time and again found similar limited knowledge [about fertility] among university students” in Europe and the United States. The researchers find this widespread ignorance of fundamental fertility issues to be “of particular concern, as a sizable percentage of [young people] intend to have their last child at the age of 35 years or older, whe[n] a marked decline in female fertility is a reality.”

With good reasons, the Danish scholars fear that “both men and women are making the decision to postpone parenthood without being aware of possible consequences.” The authors of this new study call for measures “to increase knowledge and awareness of reproductive health” among young people. Unfortunately, among young people for whom parenthood has become a secondary or even tertiary priority—whether in Copenhagen, Cairo, Cape Town, or Calgary—desire for such knowledge may yield to stronger desire for illusions.

(Source: Bryce Christensen and Nicole M. King, forthcoming in “New Research,” The Natural Family 31.1 [2017]. Study: Nina Olsén Sørensen et al., “Fertility Awareness and Attitudes towards Parenthood among Danish University College Students,” Reproductive Health 13 [2016]: 146, Web.)

Nicole M. King is the Managing Editor of The Family in America. Republished from The Family in America, a MercatorNet partner site, with permission.



The Truth about Late Term Abortion

First person testimony from a survivor of the late term abortion experience. Please note: this author did NOT actually have an abortion. Her baby had already died, and needed to be removed from her uterus. In the Mother of All Insensitivities (in my opinion) her doctor sent her to an abortion clinic where they specialize in evacuating the uterus. As a pro-life mother of 4, who was grieving the involuntary loss of her baby, without having a guilty conscience over being the cause of her child's demist, this author's perspective is invaluable. 

Highly recommended for those struggling with the aftermath of abortion. 


Hormonal contraception linked to depression

A huge study finds that users face higher risks to their mental health.

by Tamara El-Rahi

This article was first published October 10, 2016, at Mercatornet.com.

 

It’s been reported by many smaller publications, but finally the big news sources are onto it: the pill increases your chance of developing depression.

This time, the statistics are coming from an article in a leading journal, JAMA Psychiatry. The research was done in Denmark and the study is huge – it involved over a million women, happened over 13 years (2000-2013), and tracked the contraceptive and antidepressant use of women aged 15 to 34.

Here are some of the big findings:


  • users of hormonal contraception had a 40% greater risk of depression after six months of use than non-users
  • the risk of depression varies by birth control type: the combined pill (which has both estrogen and progestin) users were 23% more likely than non-users to be prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor; women on progestin-only pills were 34% more likely to take antidepressants; and other forms of hormonal birth control (e.g. IUDs, the patch, and the ring) were shown to have a higher correlation to depression than either kind of pill

This information is scary, but it is also so important. Millions of women are using hormonal contraception and there just doesn’t seem to be any point where they are informed about the risks to their mental and physical health. And while this research doesn’t mean that every woman who uses hormonal contraception will develop depression, the results are certainly significant enough to show that there is a great amount of risk – especially when women are already more prone to developing depression than men.

For most women, hormonal contraception is just the norm – something that is barely questioned and that is easily implemented to maintain their lifestyle. This just isn’t okay when their health is at stake!

If you do one thing after reading this article, I hope it’s passing on this information to women in your lives. Because these aren’t just stats we’re talking about – we’re talking about daughters, sisters, friends, wives, future mothers, friends... It’s 100 per cent worth it, if it prevents one person from suffering from depression.


The historic Christian teaching against contraception: a defense

Acceptance of contraception undercuts Christian sexual ethics.

by Sherif Girgis

 

Forty-eight years ago last month, our story reached a dramatic climax. But it began in the dawn of Christianity, with a document called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (or Didache). Written thirty to fifty years after Christ’s death, it gives the earliest evidence of a Christian condemnation of contraception.

For the next 1900 years, it was the view of every Christian body—East and West, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—that contraception by spouses was immoral. (Its use outside of marriage wasn’t much discussed since non-marital sex was deemed sinful anyway.) It was even denounced, vociferously, by Reformers such as Luther and Calvin. In 1930, but only then, a single Protestant denomination cracked open the door to spousal contraception—but only for serious reasons. Soon, however, that and almost every other denomination had flung it wide open.

 


 

And the Catholic Church held firm. As the sexual revolution spread and “population bomb” panic swept the West, there were rumors and fervent hopes that the Church would change. The birth control pill had just been invented, and some thought it different in kind from condoms and other barriers. Perhaps (they reasoned) it wasn’t really contraceptive.

A commission established by Pope Paul VI to study the question tried to split the difference. Its 1966 report concluded that any effort to sterilize spouses’ sex acts would fall within the ancient teaching against contraception; but it urged abandoning that teaching.

Two years later, in 1968, Pope Paul VI stunned the world. His encyclical letter Humanae Vitae affirmed the historic Christian teaching against “any action which is done—either in anticipation of marital intercourse, or during it, or while its natural effects are unfolding—so as to impede procreation, whether that is intended as an end … or as a means.”

What he taught, in other words, is that it’s always immoral to act with the intent to sterilize spouses’ sexual acts, by any means and for any reason. And for good measure, he warned that a wide embrace of contraception would spell disaster for marital fidelity and public decency, for men’s respect for women and governments’ respect for the family. These words earned him the derision of Western cultural leaders in thrall to the ideology of sexual liberation, but they proved prophetic.

Paul VI also wrote—as John Paul II would reaffirm—that this principle was no mere regulation for the day-to-day life of the Catholic community, subject to change. It wasn’t like the requirement to give up meat on Fridays in Lent. It was required, they taught, by the “natural moral law.”

Why? Because a married couple’s choice to contracept goes against the human good. But there isn’t just one right account of why and how. The Church is in the business of preaching the Gospel, not running philosophy seminars. It doesn’t usually endorse particular philosophical arguments.

Nevertheless, drawing on thinkers such as Elizabeth Anscombe, Alex Pruss, and Germain Grisez, I’ll venture a few moral reasons for its teaching on contraception. I’ll show how rejecting it undermines other Christian teachings on sex ethics. And I’ll end on a more concrete note, suggesting that the use of contraception isn’t just wrong in principle; it can harm real-life marriages in tragically tangible ways.

Some dimensions of our lives are sacred, good for us in themselves. Morality requires treating these basic human goods—these core aspects of our well-being—as more than mere tools for other ends. It tells us to pursue them as we can, to honor them, and never to choose directly against them—which is simply to serve and honor human beings in these different dimensions of their lives. Thus, murder and mutilation are wrong because they involve choosing directly against the basic human goods of life and health. The inherent value of personal integrity and community makes lies and hypocrisy wrong. And so on.

In other words, the natural moral law—which Christian teaching reflects and extends—is about living well, which means loving well. It’s about serving the true good of everyone touched by our actions. It is a law of love. To act immorally, to sin, is always a failure of love, of full devotion to the human good.

Contraception Violates Marriage

The conjugal union of husband and wife—marriage—is one bedrock human good, one basic form of love. By its nature, it is deepened by the bearing and rearing of new people. But to thwart what so crowns a marriage is to choose against this good itself, against marital love. And choosing against a basic good or form of love is a sin.

Read the rest of this article here.

 



Hush: the film

One of our readers sent us this information:

"There is a newly produced documentary film which profiles the marginalization even suppression of information regarding reproductive health that does not fit the liberal narrative. The film is called "Hush". It is produced by Canadian company called Mighty Motion Pictures. You can find it at www.hushfilm.com. [Watch the trailer there.] It is reportedly very well researched."

From their website:

THE FILM

“Hush” is the result of an unusual team looking honestly at a highly sensitive and controversial topic. To properly handle the subject matter has required more care than transporting nitroglycerin… but an explosion is inevitable.


Since the supreme court’s decision of Roe vs Wade legalized abortion in 1973, “pro-choice” people and “pro-life” people have been arch-enemies. Pure hatred for one another’s viewpoints has reigned even to the point of physical violence towards one another. So when “pro-choice” Director Punam Kumar Gill and “pro-life” Producer Joses Martin began conversations about the subject of the health effects of abortion on women, we weren’t sure whether such a partnership would be possible.

But we believed that if we could overcome our differences and work together, the outcome would be powerful towards the breaking down of political boundaries. Together we determined to maintain one goal, and only one goal, in the making of this film: to find the truth for the sake of women’s health. To do this, we would have to maintain a posture of honour towards ALL women, forgoing our personal opinions of whether abortion is right or wrong, good or bad. We united for the greater good: to ensure that the best possible care is being given to women.

In “Pro-Life” circles, hearing about the negative effects of abortion is a common thing. Churches and Crisis Pregnancy Centres will tell you about the psychological trauma, potential for physical damage, and even breast cancer, that abortion may cause.

On the other hand, in “Pro-Choice” circles, and at abortion clinics it is commonly told that the procedure is much safer than childbirth, that the psychological effects are the same as if you deliver the child, and the breast cancer connection is a closed case.

One way or another, someone is lying to women.

 

 

 

 



Long and Winding Road out of the gay lifestyle: a story of forgiveness

The headline over at LifeSiteNews says this is a story out of the gay lifestyle. And so it it. But it is first and foremost an inspiring story of forgiveness and repentance. Any Survivor of the Sexual Revolution, any person seeking peace, can benefit from this article. 

A sample: 

 

I embarked upon an incredible journey of forgiveness, having many people from my past, and especially men, that I needed to forgive. The therapy and prayer sessions I now regularly engaged in never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but I was encouraged to look every aspect of my present and past in the eye. This included the painful process of accepting that I had been consistently sexually abused by a number of men as a child over a three-year period.

Much of my spiritual journey became concerned with recognizing where, during my infancy and childhood, my little soul had chosen to build walls within myself against significant others in my life, especially against my parents, siblings and other prominent people from my past.

He faced the wrong that was done to him (child sexual abuse) and at the same time took responsibility for the ways he had built walls around himself. Eventually, he became able to forgive those who had wronged him. 

Survivors of all sorts: please study this! 


 


Natural Love Stories: The Film

By Tamara El-Rahi

This article was first posted at Mercatornet.com on March 3, 2016.

Wondering if hormonal contraceptives are having negative side-effects? Trying to conceive or avoid a pregnancy? Just keen to be informed on your fertility?

Sounds like you need to see Natural Love Stories: The Film.


Produced by Natural Womanhood, this newly-released film follows couples who have made the switch from contraceptives to fertility awareness. They talk about how contraceptives affected the women’s bodies as well as the couple’s relationships, and the truth may surprise.

As a young woman myself, I think this is such an important resource. So many of my peers use hormonal contraceptives without a second thought, just because it is the norm. Little do they know the havoc it can wreak on their bodies and lives, because the information is not available to them!

It’s free to watch online – check it out here and see more about why it's important here.

 



New Study Shows Depo-Provera Increases Women’s Risk for Acquiring HIV

by Jonathan Abbamonte

Meta-analysis finds higher incidence of HIV infection among women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA)

A new peer-reviewed study shows that women who use Depo-Provera are significantly more likely to acquire HIV.

Due to significant funding from organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Depo-Provera is the most widely used form of birth control by women in Sub-Saharan Africa where HIV prevalence remains high. It is possible that international aid program’s procurement of DMPA contraceptives could be contributing to the spread of AIDS.


Depo-Provera, a popular injectable contraceptive owned by Pfizer, Inc., is a long-term non-permanent steroidal method of birth control. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is the active ingredient in injectables like Depo-Provera.

The meta-analysis was drawn from 24 studies making it the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. Researchers found that women who use DMPA were almost 50% more likely to acquire HIV than women not using hormonal contraceptives (HR=1.49, 95% CI 1.28-1.73). In total, 88% of cross-sectional studies and 75% of longitudinal studies demonstrated a higher risk among DMPA users.

Joel Brind, Professor of Biology and Endocrinology at the City University of New York, Steven Condly, Research Psychologist at the U.S. Military Academy, Steven W. Mosher President of the Population Research Institute, Anne Morse, and Jennifer Kimball, Adjunct Professor of Bioethics at the Ave Maria School of Law participated in the study.

According to figures reported to UNFPA, approximately 70% of injectable contraceptives procured worldwide from 2012 to 2013 by international aid programs were for Sub-Saharan African countries.

For more information, visit: https://www.pop.org/depo-provera-hiv