Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Pope, The Rabbi and Condoms

DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER

During his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.

The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.

Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion. Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments. They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.

On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy. It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly. Everything has its limitations…except abstinence.

I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family. His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments. When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers -- clearly annoyed -- chastised him for the pain he caused his son. "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it. Imagine how terrible your son must have felt? How could you do this to him? Food is food. There is nothing sinful about food. What you are doing to him is just cruel." Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time. This was a fun party."

The woman blanched and walked away. The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following: animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy. Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges. Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about. We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse. Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait -- many times, it might be a life-saving one. Look at him. He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values. He looks happy and satisfied. We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?

The woman scowled, but listened to him.

Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?

When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).

The naysayers all have one thing in common: they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior. The Pope believes in us more than that.

I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader. The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules. It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential.


http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/facts/fm0120.htm


Editor's note: The Pope also turns out to be right on the "science" of condom use. See here.

(PLEASE NOTE THAT WHERE YOU SEE TO READ THE "SCIENCE" AND TO CLICK "HERE", I HAVE POSTED THIS INFORMATION IN MY BLOG POST JUST BEFORE THIS ONE TODAY....)


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, "The Pope, The Rabbi and Condoms." Dr. Laura Blog, (March 25, 2009).

Reprinted with permission of Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

THE AUTHOR

As one of the most popular talk show hosts in radio history, Dr. Laura Schlessinger offers advice infused with a strong sense of ethics, accountability, and personal responsibility; she reaches approximately 8.25 million listeners weekly. Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a best selling author of eleven adult books and four children's books The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage, Bad Childhood -- Good Life : How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood, Woman Power : Transform Your Man, Your Marriage, Your Life, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships, Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives, Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships, Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives, and Stupid Things Parents Do To Mess Up Their Kids: Don't Have Them If You Won't Raise Them. Copyright © 2009 Dr. La

AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right

AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right
EDWARD C. GREEN AND ALLISON HERLING RUARK
What the churches are called to do by their theology turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention.

Responses to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic are often driven not by evidence but by ideology, stereotypes, and false assumptions. Referring to the hyperepidemics of Africa, an article in The Lancet this fall named "ten myths" that impede prevention efforts -- including "Poverty and discrimination are the problem," "Condoms are the answer," and "Sexual behavior will not change." Yet such myths are held as self-evident truths by many in the AIDS establishment. And they result in efforts that are at best ineffective and at worst harmful, while the AIDS epidemic continues to spread and exact a devastating toll in human lives.

Consider this fact: In every African country in which HIV infections have declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year -- which is exactly what fidelity programs promote. The same association with HIV decline cannot be said for condom use, coverage of HIV testing, treatment for curable sexually transmitted infections, provision of antiretroviral drugs, or any other intervention or behavior. The other behavior that has often been associated with a decline in HIV prevalence is a decrease in premarital sex among young people.

If AIDS prevention is to be based on evidence rather than ideology or bias, then fidelity and abstinence programs need to be at the center of programs for general populations. Outside Uganda, we have few good models of how to promote fidelity, since attempts to advocate deep changes in behavior have been almost entirely absent from programs supported by the major Western donors and by AIDS celebrities. Yet Christian churches -- indeed, most faith communities -- have a comparative advantage in promoting the needed types of behavior change, since these behaviors conform to their moral, ethical, and scriptural teachings. What the churches are inclined to do anyway turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention.

This good news is often lost on organizations that purport to represent churches and the faith-based response to AIDS. The Berkley Center at Georgetown University, for instance, issued a report late last year called Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS Crisis. The report is worth taking seriously, as it reflects the thinking of many international organizations, including many of the faith-based organizations that respond to AIDS. This thinking is often drastically out of sync with the culture and values of the beneficiaries. The Georgetown report claims to explore "development issues from the perspective of faith institutions," but in fact the report betrays a deep ambivalence about whether faith communities, particularly Christian churches, are part of the problem or part of the solution to AIDS.



Consider this fact: In every African country in which HIV infections have declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year -- which is exactly what fidelity programs promote.

Katherine Marshall and Lucy Keough, lead authors of the report, are clearly uncomfortable with approaches to HIV prevention that emphasize sexual responsibility, behavior change, and morally based messages. They praise the work and compassion of faith communities in treating and caring for people living with AIDS and their families, yet harshly criticize the messages of faith communities for increasing the stigma of AIDS. Their discomfort with attempts to change sexual behavior is evident early in the report, when, for example, they muse: "Should the focus be on changing the behaviors that contribute to HIV/AIDS? (Is that possible? Desirable? How? With what assurance?)"

If Marshall and Keough are undecided as to whether changing sexu al behavior is even desirable in the context of an epidemic driven by people who have more than one sex partner, they then need to become educated in the basic epidemiology of HIV transmission. One must ask whether they are more concerned with upholding a Western notion of sexual freedom or with saving lives. Their concern over any prevention approach that might be "moralistic" causes them to miss entirely the evidence for the remarkable success of sexual-behavior change in reducing HIV infections. They miss, as well, the crucial contribution of faith communities to HIV prevention, even while they are producing a report on the role of faith communities in the HIV crisis.

Marshall and Keough reflect conventional wisdom when they blame poverty, gender inequality, powerlessness, and social instability for the spread of AIDS. Yet epidemiological evidence is increasingly challenging this wisdom. In Africa, for instance, the wealthy are more likely to be HIV-infected (as a 2007 study in AIDS and a 2005 report in The Lancet have both noted). The countries of southern Africa are both the wealthiest on the continent and the worst affected. Meanwhile, within many countries, the wealthy are most likely to be HIV-infected -- and, surprisingly, it is often among women that the greatest difference in HIV prevalence between poor and wealthy is seen. For instance, in Tanzania, women in the wealthiest quintile of the population are more than four times more likely to be infected than women in the poorest quintile. Poverty may make some individuals prone to risky sexual behaviors that can spread HIV; yet wealth can facilitate lifestyle choices that increase HIV risk, such as living in an urban area, abusing alcohol, and having the mobility and opportunity to acquire extramarital sexual partners.



While gender inequality may severely circumscribe a woman's right to choose or refuse sex, and while faithful women can be and are infected by their husbands, new data are showing that women also bring HIV into marriage, putting husbands at risk. Last year the researcher Damien de Walque showed that, for 30 to 40 percent of infected couples in five African countries, the woman alone was infected. Vinod Mishra similarly reported that in some African countries, among couples in which one partner was infected and the other was not, the woman, not the man, was infected in more than half of couples. Both studies conclude that women's extramarital sex must be the predominant factor behind these surprisingly high rates of female-discordant couples -- and thus "be faithful" messages must be targeted to women as well as to men.

If AIDS prevention is to be based on evidence rather than ideology or bias, then fidelity and abstinence programs need to be at the center of programs for general populations.

Although turmoil and instability may make people more vulnerable to HIV, it does not follow that an HIV-prevention strategy aimed at changing sexual behavior is doomed in circumstances of turmoil and instability. Many of the greatest successes in HIV prevention have been in situations of social, political, and economic turmoil, such as Uganda in the late 1980s and Zimbabwe in the early 2000s. Experts predicted that the HIV epidemic would explode in Rwanda, but it did not, in spite of extreme violence and instability and tremendous numbers of rapes. Sexual behavior in Rwanda has remained conservative, and, at 3 percent, HIV prevalence is low for the region.

Of course, many other reports -- and more alarmingly, peer-reviewed articles -- make the same mistake of repeating conventional wisdom that does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. But the report from Georgetown is guilty not only of poor epidemiology but also of ignoring the perspectives of faith institutions that it claims to put forth. Fortunately, faith communities seem to be going forward with what they can address -- influencing sexual behaviors and norms in their own parishes and communities -- and not heeding the warnings of experts that such efforts are doomed as long as poverty, gender inequality, and less-than-ideal political and economic conditions persist. But the blessing and backing of the AIDS establishment would surely energize this work.



Uganda provides an illustrative example of the central role of faith communities (among others) in bringing about behavior change. In a sidebar in Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS Crisis, Marshall and Keough give credit to the work of faith communities in Uganda, but they get most of the story wrong. Their account emphasizes the role of increased condom use in bringing down Uganda's HIV rates and downplays the dramatic increases in the number of people reporting abstinence and faithfulness behaviors. In making their case, Marshall and Keough cite a little-known (and non-peer-reviewed) World Bank report written by Keough herself, and they ignore the wealth of peer-reviewed literature showing that the critical factor in Uganda was not increased condom use but reductions in the number of sexual partners.

The list of countries that have seen both changes in sexual behaviors and declining HIV prevalence is growing and now includes Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Thailand, and Cambodia, as well as urban areas of Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Malawi. Many countries that have not seen declines in HIV have seen increases in condom use, but in every country worldwide in which HIV has declined there have been increases in levels of faithfulness and usually abstinence as well.

The list of countries that have seen both changes in sexual behaviors and declining HIV prevalence is growing and now includes Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Thailand, and Cambodia, as well as urban areas of Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Malawi. Many countries that have not seen declines in HIV have seen increases in condom use, but in every country worldwide in which HIV has declined there have been increases in levels of faithfulness and usually abstinence as well.

Arguably, every community and institution has been guilty of some fear, stigma, discrimination, and marginalization of those living with HIV. No faith community, including the Catholic Church, should claim to be immune, and, where stigma and fear exist, they should be openly admitted and confronted. Yet the Georgetown report treats faith communities particularly harshly, claiming that churches impose "retribution for 'sinful behavior'" and that "religion has been used to foster stigma, exclusion, and marginalization related to HIV/AIDS." Indeed, the report continues, "faith hierarchies, leaders, and communities have in the past often been promoters of stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, partly because of their difficulty in confronting aspects of human sexuality and partly because they often assume a link between AIDS and what they regard as sinful activities."

Faith communities are, in fact, facing the challenge of upholding orthodox beliefs about sexuality without contributing to stigma. Rather than accurately reporting this, however, Marshall and Keough offer only their own perspective, insisting that religious beliefs about sexuality are "values structures" that "have tended to perpetuate stigmatization."

This language is reminiscent of the campaign that appeared immediately after the Fourteenth International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in 2002. Such comments as "Religion kills" and "The only good priest is the priest who distributes condoms" flooded many of the more ideologically driven HIV/AIDS email listservs and online discussion groups. Within the international community, a religious group's willingness to promote condoms was the unsubtle litmus test for funding in AIDS prevention until the United States Congress changed the discriminatory practice by law in 2003.



This language is reminiscent of the campaign that appeared immediately after the Fourteenth International AIDS Conference in Barcelona in 2002. Such comments as "Religion kills" and "The only good priest is the priest who distributes condoms" flooded many of the more ideologically driven HIV/AIDS email listservs and online discussion groups.

In Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS ­Crisis, Marshall and Keough make a particular effort to discredit the ABC approach for preventing the sexual transmission of HIV ( Abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms). They write, "Many faith-based groups, like many governments, have been attracted to an approach to HIV/AIDS prevention, first articulated in Uganda, that has come to be known as the ABC model. . . . While aspects of this approach are incontrovertibly effective in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, the current consensus is that it does not go far enough."

Whose consensus, one must ask? Are the authors truly representing the consensus of the world's faith communities, or rather the consensus of a public-health community that is deeply uncomfortable with an approach that calls, in a simple and straightforward manner, for sexual responsibility? A more cynical view is that simple behavior changes such as mutual fidelity do little to contribute to a robust and ever-expanding multibillion-dollar "risk-reduction" AIDS industry focused on medical services, drugs, and devices such as condoms while leaving the true driver of the pandemic, sexual behavior, alone.

Since the beginning of the global epidemic, most AIDS programs have been designed solely with high-risk groups in mind. Risk reduction seems to have had some success among high-risk groups. (Although, in certain groups, such as American gay men, HIV is once again rising.) But a risk-reduction approach ignores a central epidemiological fact: The great majority of people worldwide are not at much risk for HIV infection, which in fact does not occur easily. Thus, encouraging the majority to maintain low-risk behaviors is the great missing piece of AIDS prevention.

The criticisms that Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS Crisis levies against the ABC approach are hardly original and do not face up to the evidence that this approach has proved effective in various settings -- so much so that it was endorsed by a landmark 2004 statement in The Lancet signed by more than 150 public health experts and leaders from around the world. Marshall and Keough claim that an ABC approach is insufficient because it does not recognize the role of voluntary counseling and testing (a measure that has been shown to have no effect in preventing new HIV infections, however important it is as a gateway to treatment); does not address prevention of mother-to-child transmission (a matter that the ABC approach, which targets sexual transmission, makes no claims to address); does not address the care of orphans and vulnerable children (clearly also beyond the scope of a prevention approach); and does not address women's risk of becoming infected even if they do practice faithfulness. This is akin to criticizing smoking-cessation programs because they do not provide chemotherapy for those suffering from lung cancer or do not impose regulations on secondhand smoke and air pollution.

The Georgetown report clearly gets it wrong when it states that, for the ABC approach "to be effective, abstinence and fidelity must be practiced by both partners." In fact, abstinence is always 100 percent effective in preventing sexual transmission when practiced by an individual. As for fidelity, it is certainly true that sexually faithful people may be infected by unfaithful partners -- but this is true for men as well as for women. Proponents of the ABC approach do not claim that it confers total protection -- for one thing, even consistent condom use reduces risk by, at best, 80 to 90 percent. Yet people (even women whose husbands are unfaithful) can reduce their own risk by choosing to practice faithfulness. More important, when ABC behaviors are promoted at a population level, risky ­sexual behaviors (particularly multipartner sex) are reduced, and a population-level decline in HIV infections is seen.



Marshall and Keough promote the SAVE approach, developed by ANERELA+, a network of African clergy led by Gideon Byamugisha. ( SAVE stands for Safe sexual practices, Access to treatment, Voluntary counseling and testing, and Empowerment.) "The objective in developing such a new approach," the authors explain, "is to move away from judgmental, moralizing stigma, and towards a more positive approach." The problem with SAVE, however, is that three of the four components have already been demonstrated to have no effect on reducing new HIV infections. Only the S, safe sexual practices, truly addresses prevention -- and in a sufficiently vague way that it provides no clear call for changes in sexual behavior that will actually reduce transmission. Moreover, in the AIDS world, "safe sex" is understood to mean condom use. Criticizing the ABC approach has evidently been something of a crusade for Byamugisha, an Anglican priest, as he has made clear in multiple public statements. Byamugisha does not represent the views of most Ugandan or African clergy, and the SAVE approach is more a political statement than a guide to AIDS prevention.

A 2000 article in The Lancet similarly stated, "Massive increases in condom use world-wide have not translated into demonstrably improved HIV control in the great majority of countries where they have occurred."

The Georgetown report tells us: "While the 'mainstream' HIV/AIDS program and global communities accept that widespread availability of condoms and promotion of condom use are major elements in successful HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, a focus on condoms is contentious for some religious communities because it contradicts the core recommended strategy of abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage."

In fact, the mainstream HIV/AIDS community has continued to champion condom use as critical in all types of HIV epidemics, in spite of the evidence. While high rates of condom use have contributed to fewer infections in some high-risk populations (prostitutes in concentrated epidemics, for instance), the situation among Africa's general populations remains much different. It has been clearly established that few people outside a handful of high-risk groups use condoms consistently, no matter how vigorously condoms are promoted. Inconsistent condom usage is ineffective -- and actually associated with higher HIV infection rates due to "risk compensation," the tendency to take more sexual risks out of a false sense of personal safety that comes with using condoms some of the time. A UNAIDS-commissioned 2004 review of evidence for condom use concluded, "There are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on ­condom promotion." A 2000 article in The Lancet similarly stated, "Massive increases in condom use world-wide have not translated into demonstrably improved HIV control in the great majority of countries where they have occurred."

Faith communities are not shutting their eyes to evidence when they choose to emphasize the "core recommended strategy of abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage." These behaviors have, in fact, proved far more effective than condom use in curbing HIV transmission for the vast majority of any population. A 2001 study of condom use in rural Uganda found that only 4.4 percent of the population reported consistent usage in the previous year, a rate that is probably typical of much of Africa. In contrast to the estimated 95 percent or more of Africans who did not practice consistent condom use in the past year, studies from all over Africa show a solid majority of men and women reporting fidelity over the past year, with a majority of unmarried young men and women reporting abstinence.



The Georgetown report devotes several paragraphs to the position of the Catholic Church on condom usage and the apparent "nuance" within Catholic communities on the issue. The report seems to imply that the Church's teaching on condom usage is detrimental to the fight against AIDS, while recognizing the Church's contribution to prevention through promotion of abstinence and faithfulness. (For instance, the authors note that Pope John Paul II chose to emphasize abstinence and faithfulness rather than directly criticizing condom use.)

The report also erroneously claims that Protestant evangelicals are "among the staunchest supporters of the U.S. Government PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) earmark for 'abstinence only' prevention programs." This is mistaken. There is no such "abstinence only" earmark within PEPFAR, nor are the great majority of Protestant groups who receive PEPFAR funds implementing abstinence-only programs. Current PEPFAR guidance recommends that two-thirds of funds for the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV be allocated to abstinence-until-marriage and faithfulness or partner-reduction programs. This amounts to less than 7 percent of PEPFAR funds. Among recipients of these funds, faith-based organizations such as World Vision, World Relief, and Samaritan's Purse implement programs that emphasize abstinence and faithfulness but also include accurate information on condoms -- in other words, a comprehensive ABC approach, the approach known to work best.

Meanwhile, the other interventions that have generally been called "best practices" simply do not seem to work in generalized epidemics, even though they are still applauded loudly at global AIDS conferences, while mention of fidelity and abstinence is received by booing...

Marshall and Keough are right to call faith communities to action in defending the rights of women and protecting women and girls from violence, coercion, and exploitation. Yet the presence of gender inequality does not negate the need for, and effectiveness of, approaches that focus on sexual responsibility and behavior change. On the contrary, central to faithfulness interventions -- as stated clearly in the PEPFAR Guidance document for implementing "B" programs within a context of ABC -- is the focus on changing male behavior in particular.

If protecting highly vulnerable women and girls in patriarchal societies is a genuine goal rather than a political posture, then there must be explicit strategies for discouraging men from sexual abuse, rape, infidelity, and seduction of minor females. Furthermore, women must be empowered to refuse unwanted sex (as one of us, Edward Green, has been arguing in publications since 1988), not simply to "negotiate condom use."

Thus far, research has produced no evidence that condom promotion -- or indeed any of the range of risk-reduction interventions popular with donors -- has had the desired impact on HIV-infection rates at a population level in high-prevalence generalized epidemics. This is true for treatment of sexually ­transmitted infections, voluntary counseling and ­testing, diaphragm use, use of experimental vaginal microbicides, safer-sex counseling, and even income-generation projects. The interventions relying on these measures have failed to decrease HIV-infection rates, whether implemented singly or as a package. One recent randomized, controlled trial in Zimbabwe found that even possible synergies that might be achieved through "integrated implementation" of "control strategies" had no impact in slowing new infections at the population level. In fact, in this trial there was a somewhat higher rate of new infections in the intervention group compared to the control group.

The one medical intervention that has now been proven effective according to the highest standards of scientific research is male circumcision, which reduces a man's risk of HIV transmission by more than half. Lack of male circumcision, along with high rates of long-term concurrent sexual partnerships, likely accounts for the hyperepidemics of southern Africa. But even many advocates of male circumcision believe that it needs to be promoted along with partner reduction.

Meanwhile, the other interventions that have generally been called "best practices" simply do not seem to work in generalized epidemics, even though they are still applauded loudly at global AIDS conferences, while mention of fidelity and abstinence is received by booing, as Bill Gates discovered at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006. If we are to progress beyond science-by-popular-acclaim, we must accept that the evidence is much stronger for fidelity or partner reduction than for any of the standard-package HIV-prevention measures -- in Africa at least -- and so we need to rethink and reprogram AIDS-prevention interventions.

Admittedly, changing direction is hard when there has been massive investment in these "best practices." It is not in the interest of a multibillion-dollar global AIDS industry to endorse interventions that are low-cost and homegrown and that rely on simple behavior change rather than medical products or services provided by outside experts. And so the major donors of AIDS programs continue to do the same things, expecting different results. The authors of the Georgetown report reflect this popular but misguided opinion, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

That's a shame, for a report like Faith Communities Engage the HIV/AIDS Crisis offered an opportunity to rethink the failing group consensus and to point toward the central fact that has emerged from all the recent studies of the HIV epidemic: What the churches are called to do by their theology turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention.



Katherine Marshall's response and Edward C. Greens' reply are here.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Edward C. Green and Allison Herling Ruark. "AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right." First Things (April 2008).

This article is reprinted with permission from First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, 156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010. To subscribe to First Things call 1-877-905-9920.

This data file is the sole property of FIRST THINGS. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., "Copyright (c) 1991-2009 by First Things") and this Copyright/Reproduction Limitations notice.

This data file may not be used without the permission of FIRST THINGS for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold.

THE AUTHOR
Edward C. Green is the director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, where Allison Herling Ruark is a research fellow.

Copyright © 1991- 2009 First Things
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0126.htm

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How Are Your Golden Idols Coming Along?

Obama: 100 Days of Abortion

by Tom Hoopes

Saturday, March 28, 2009 4:06 AM
National Catholic Register

As his April 29 100-day mark nears, the Register is compiling an editorial about president Obama’s abortion record, starting with his days as an Illinois state senator. Let me know if it’s missing anything.

March 28, 2001: Voted “No” to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee.

March 6, 2002: Voted “No” to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee.

April 4, 2002: Voted “No” to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act on the Illinois Senate floor.

March 13-14, 2003: Voted “No” to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois Senate after voting for an amendment that made it identical to the federal law of the same name.

2005-2008: 100% pro-abortion record in U.S. Senate.

July 17, 2007: Tells Planned Parenthood, “Well, the first thing I’d do, as president, is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would wipe out all state laws regulating abortion.

Sept. 2, 2008: Obama campaign releases an ad putting abortion in the center of its effort.

Nov. 24, 2008: Names Melody Barnes domestic policy advisor; she previously served on the boards of both Emily’s List and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Dec. 1, 2008: Nominates Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards praises the pick on abortion grounds, saying: “Sen. Clinton understands that women’s quality of life directly affects the major issues confronting the globe: national security, environmental sustainability and global poverty.”

Dec. 11, 2008: Nominates Sen. Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services head. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America, says: “We appreciate his recent efforts to help defeat two abortion bans in South Dakota. We had a good working relationship with him.”

Dec. 12, 2008: Appoints Jeanne Lambrew to become the deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform. A Planned Parenthood statement quoted by LifeNews.com says: “She is one of the leading health-policy experts in the country, and someone who is an advocate for” abortion.

Jan. 5, 2009: Appointed David Ogden deputy attorney general; he’s a pornography lawyer who opposed the Children’s Internet Protection Act and has also fought for Planned Parenthood.

Jan. 5, 2009: Appointed Dawn Johnsen assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel; she’s a former legal director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Jan 5, 2009: Appointed Thomas Perrelli associate attorney general. He was counsel to Michael Schiavo, who sought and received permission to starve and dehydrate his wife to death during Holy Week 2005.

Jan 23, 2009: Reversed the Mexico City Policy, allowing taxpayer dollars to go to organizations that perform and promote abortions overseas. In a Gallup Poll, just 35% approved of the action, making it his least popular move as president so far.

Jan 23, 2009: Released a statement pledging to work with Congress to restore funding to the U.N. Population Fund. In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell requested that Congress halt the funding, tying it to China’s “program of coercive abortion.”

Feb. 17, 2009: Signs stimulus package into law. The new law will fundamentally change the standard that Medicare follows in paying for medical care and, in so doing, may place seniors at risk of not receiving necessary, life-sustaining care.

Feb. 28, 2009: Nominates Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a pro-abortion extremist who has been publicly rebuked by her bishop and who has ties to Kansas abortionist George Tiller, to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Feb. 4, 2009: Signs into law the SCHIP reauthorization. The Senate rejected an amendment extending health benefits to the unborn. (As senator, Obama voted against that amendment.) Under SCHIP, states are granted the authority to decide which health plans and services can be offered to children. “It’s alarming that this has happened with virtually no public debate,” said Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute. “Many people do not understand the implications of SCHIP as it is written.”

March 5, 2009: Holds a health-care summit; invites Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign but no pro-life groups.

March 6, 2009: Creates a new position and appoints pro-abortion activist Melanne Verveer ambassador-at-large for Women’s Issues. Pro-lifers worry that the position was created to “promote abortion and overturn pro-life laws in nations across the world,” the Catholic News Agency reports.

March 9, 2009: Obama overturned President Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. Now, money from taxpayers can go to scientists who do fatal research on human beings created for the purpose. Obama stopped the Bush preference for proven, moral adult stem-cell therapies.

March 10, 2009: The Obama administration’s Health and Human Services department opens a 30-day review period with an eye to challenging freedom-of-conscience rights that help Catholic doctors opt out of practices they deem immoral.

March 17, 2009: Nominates David Hamilton U.S. circuit judge for the 7th Circuit; he’s a former ACLU leader who blocked pro-life legislation as a Clinton-appointed federal judge.
Additional Appointments:

Nov. 7, 2008: Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff; he earned a 100% pro-abortion voting record as a U.S. representative.

Nov. 22, 2008: Ellen Moran, White House communications director; she was executive director of the pro-abortion political committee Emily’s List.

Dec. 17, 2008: Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, Interior secretary; he scored only 28% with the National Right to Life Committee.

Dec. 17, 2008: Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Agriculture secretary; Iowa Right to Life Committee Executive Director Kim Lehman, citing his record, said: “We definitely consider him anti-life.”

Feb. 12, 2009: Leon Panetta, CIA director; as a U.S. representative in 1990 he co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Black Genocide Is Here And Going Strong

http://www.blackgenocide.org/home.html

I'm not saying anything more about this except to offer the above website and to say....please, please, please, will our African-American brothers and sisters wake up to this. Nothing has changed since Margaret Sanger and Hitler in this respect. And it includes the whole continent of Africa. Condoms do NOT protect as they would have people believe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Article by Vatican Official Needs Prompt Clarification

Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 04, Number 12 | Friday, March 27, 2009
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www.hli.org

Article by Vatican Official Needs Prompt Clarification

It is no secret that pro-lifers over the years have been greatly burdened by the general lack of support by many of the members of our clergy on life issues, but until now, we have been able to rely on the various Vatican offices for a clear, consistent and correct defense of life. A statement made two weeks ago by an official of the Vatican about an abortion case in Brazil, however, has raised more than a few eyebrows, and is causing grave concern for its potential impact on the Church's ability to defend life around the world. I am asking your prayers that the Holy See will clarify and correct this situation right away before further damage is done.

The incident in question involves - unbelievably - the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who issued a statement on March 15th criticizing a bishop in Brazil for properly declaring to be excommunicated the doctors who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old girl who was pregnant from rape. The girl was pregnant with twins so the doctors aborted two babies. Despite her young age, she was not in any serious danger (according to the hospital), nor were the two babies she was carrying in any danger. Even if she would have been in danger, the abortion would have been immoral because the direct killing of the innocent never is allowed. It goes without saying that the Church condemns unequivocally the incestuous act committed against this young girl, however, the issue of excommunication of the perpetrators of the abortion stands on its own and deserves applause, not criticism by other prelates. Unfortunately, Archbishop Fisichella is not the only bishop to publicly criticize the decision of the Brazilian bishop in applying church law.

The innocent little girl, thus, became the center of a perfect storm created by the abortion industry which capitalized on her victimization to promote abortion in Brazil where it is currently illegal. Unfortunately, Abp. Fisichella's intervention gave the impression of a quasi-doctrinal statement and played right into the hands of the abortion promoters by seeming to give permission for abortion in such a "hard case" scenario. Archbishop Fisichella was not condoning these abortions per se, but due to some unfortunate choices of words in his article, and predictably, on the very day that Abp. Fisichella issued his statement, the Associated Press picked it up and titled their own article, "Vatican prelate defends abortion for 9-year-old." The world is indeed watching and listening to what comes out of the Vatican because of the Holy See's immense moral and spiritual authority; hence the responsibility to be loyal without fault when speaking in the name of the Catholic Church.

I applaud most of all the handling of this case by the local diocese in Brazil and pray that all bishops may take an example from this picture perfect handling of a difficult pastoral situation. Credit needs to go to Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho and several priests of his diocese for providing generous pastoral care to the family during this terrible crisis. Indeed, when the girl was transferred to a hospital 140 miles away from the parish, her priest travelled that distance every day to visit her and to assure the family that the Church would provide every possible care for the welfare of the three vulnerable children.

The great irony in all this is that while we get little or no support from Church officials to correct bishops who are negligent in their duty to guard the faith and the flock, in this case, the local bishop did exactly the right thing in issuing this excommunication edict and he was slapped down by a Vatican official!

The appearance of a Vatican compromise on this issue comes at the worst possible time in the cultural and political situation of Latin America. This Catholic continent is especially the target of attack by the aggressive forces of the culture of death, so the last thing we need is for the Church to look weak or divided about our teachings or our resolve to fight the purveyors of death to our brothers and sisters there. The Catholic Church, and her divine authority, is in many places the only shield that the unborn have to keep the abortionists' instruments of death from them. Let us pray that the Vatican will rectify this error and fortify that shield without delay. The unborn children of Brazil as well as all other parts of the world are counting on us!

Sincerely,


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Are The Loyal Opposition For Life

WASHINGTON -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal again found himself carrying the Republican mantle opposite a prime-time appearance from President Obama on Tuesday, saying Republicans must be ready to defy the president when they disagree with his policies.

He also joked about his widely panned response to Obama's address to Congress last month.

"We are now in the position of being the," Jindal said at a Republican congressional fundraising dinner that only by coincidence fell on the same night as Obama's news conference. "The right question to ask is not if we want the president to fail or succeed, but whether we want America to succeed."

Saying "the time for talking about the past is over," Jindal said Republicans have begun to find their voice after back-to-back elections losses -- motivated by what he called historic Democratic spending excess.

Jindal, who is of Indian heritage, is widely considered a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, but his televised response to Obama's speech at the Capitol last month was widely panned. Some compared his delivery to the late children's television host Mister Rogers and said the address could hurt Jindal's national potential.

At Tuesday's $2,500-per-plate dinner -- which President George W. Bush headlined last year -- Jindal opened his speech by poking fun of himself. He threatened to deliver a reprise of the earlier performance and then jokingly compared it to torture.

"They're not allowed to show my speech at Gitmo anymore," he said in a reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention center. "They've banned that."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to get Republicans elected to Congress, said it raised more than $6 million at the event.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/24/governor-jindal-urges-republicans-stand-obama/

New Pro-Life, Christian Brand Offers Companies Method of Displaying Values

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 24, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Christian businesses wanting to display their faith and pro-life values now have a way to make that clear. The OVerus Christian Business emblem has received the okay for its official trademark registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The emblem is a certification mark that represents Christian values and allows pro-life businesses to sort of wear their beliefs on their product.

“This is a huge step forward for both the pro-life and Christian communities," Keith Miklas, founder and president of The OVerus Organization, tells LifeNews.com.

He says the new emblem helps both pro-life businesses as well as customers and, once it has more of a national recognition and following, can help pro-life consumers discern which products and companies share their views.

“Good Christian stewards can now easily select brands that respect their values, and brands have a way to distinguish their product or service to 208 million Christian shoppers," Miklas says.

Miklas tells LifeNews.com that "respect for life is an important part of this effort."

For companies and their products to be certified by OVerus, the "brands must respect family values."

"Many brands are good corporate citizens, and contribute millions of dollars to charitable organizations. This generosity is commendable; however, an
issue arises when contributions are made to abortion providers," he says. "All else equal, a good steward would choose more respectful brands, but have way to distinguish them. Now they can just look for the logo.”

"In sum, OVerus enables good Christian stewards to make Christ-centered choices for the shopping cart," Miklas adds.

Miklas says the word "OVerus" means "acceptable" as it relates to Christian stewardship. The term is derived from the Latin "verus," which translates to "true" or "proper."

The literal Latin to English translation of OVerus is, "a longing for truth."

Someday, Miklas hopes the OVerus emblem will serve as a Christian and pro-life Good Housekeeping seal of approval and will appear in phone books and web sites across the nation.

Related web sites:
OVerus - http://www.overus.org

Bishop D'Arcy Will Not Attend Notre Dame Commencement -- His Statement

Thank you, Bishop D'Arcy, for shepherding with not only words but also by example. God bless you.

+++
Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame
graduation, receiving honorary law degree
March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.
This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.

I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.

Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth. Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.

Monday, March 23, 2009

NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE CALLS ON NOTRE DAME TO RESCIND OBAMA INVITATION

For immediate release: For more information:

Tuesday, March 23, 2009 Derrick Jones, (202) 626-8825

mediarelations@nrlc.org



NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE CALLS ON
NOTRE DAME TO RESCIND OBAMA INVITATION

WASHINGTON – Today the National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest pro-life organization, called upon University of Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to rescind the University's invitation to Barack Obama to speak at Notre Dame's commencement May 17.

"Notre Dame's invitation to the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history is a betrayal of the University's mission and an affront to all who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life," said Anthony J. Lauinger, National Right to Life Vice-President (and father of seven Notre Dame alumni and one current student.) "We call upon Father Jenkins to rescind the invitation and stand up for the millions of unborn children who face death under Obama Administration policies."

In a letter to Father Jenkins, Mr. Lauinger pointed out that, through words and actions, Barack Obama has launched a comprehensive anti-life agenda that targets decades of life-saving policies while treating the views of pro-life Americans with complete contempt. The full text of Mr. Lauinger's letter is printed below.

"As a Notre Dame parent and supporter, I am outraged by this invitation to Barack Obama. I have apologized to my eight children for the poor guidance I provided them when I encouraged them to enroll at Notre Dame," Lauinger said.

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation's largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The text of Mr. Lauinger's letter to Father Jenkins:

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

In your January 27 letter to my wife Phyllis and me, you thanked us for support "for our (Notre Dame's) most essential, and mission-bound, priorities." In the wake of the commencement announcement regarding Barack Obama, I am compelled to ask whether Notre Dame recognizes what those priorities are Disillusionment, incredulity, betrayal – all describe my feelings. I am left questioning my own judgment in having encouraged our eight children to go to Notre Dame.

Abortion is the unspeakable evil that causes my outrage – abortion and the fact that Barack Obama is the Abortion President. His first two months in office have constituted an all-out assault on the unborn child.

Not content with legal abortion-on-demand in this country, he seeks to foist the same policy on the rest of the world by rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which previously kept U.S. tax dollars from funding groups working to subvert the pro-life laws of countries overseas; and he seeks to export abortion around the world through his policies and appointments at the United Nations, including providing U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, actively involved in China's coerced-abortion program.

Not content with Roe v. Wade, he champions the "Freedom of Choice Act," which would nullify some five hundred state and federal laws which impose modest, limited regulations on the unfettered right to abortion. Signing the "Freedom of Choice Act" would be "the first thing I'd do as president," he promised the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. See his promise in this short video clip: http://americaschoicenow.com/


Not content with having pro-abortion doctors perform abortions, President Obama has announced he will rescind the Conscience Rule which protects the rights of pro-life doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in abortions or other killing procedures on religious or moral grounds. Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is urging Catholics to tell the Obama Administration to retain conscience protections for health-care workers.

Two weeks ago, the President signed an executive order reversing a ban on federal funding of embryo-destructive stem cell research. The policy that had been in effect the past eight years protected American taxpayers from being complicit in the killing of embryonic human beings for purposes of harvesting their stem cells. Embryo-killing stem-cell research, the act of destroying living members of our species, homo sapiens, in order to provide raw material for experimentation, has never benefited a single human patient, whereas adult stem cells have benefited patients suffering from more than 70 different disorders.

On the same day he authorized federal funding of embryo-killing research, the President rescinded a policy that had been providing federal funding for alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells through "cell reprogramming," in which ordinary human skin and other cells are transformed into "induced pluripotent stem cells." This breakthrough, which does not require destroying human embryos, was deemed so important that the journal Science named it the scientific breakthrough of the year for 2008.

The President's appointments to key White House and cabinet positions have had extreme pro-abortion records: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, former congressman with a 100% pro-abortion record; Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes, previous board member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Communications Director Ellen Moran, former executive director of the pro-abortion group EMILY's List; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the radically pro-abortion former governor of Kansas: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg; Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Dawn Johnsen, the former legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League... These are but a small handful of examples.

One of the many problems caused by Notre Dame's decision to honor the man doing more to destroy unborn children than anyone else on the face of the earth is the scandal to which it gives rise: to our own students; to Catholics across the country and beyond; to those of us who thought Notre Dame stood for something special; to everyone who believed Our Lady's University aspired to values higher than the approval of a debased secular culture.

Father, I have attached, above, a joint statement on Faithful Citizenship by Bishop Kevin Vann and Bishop Kevin Farrell, the bishops of Fort Worth and Dallas, respectively. Their letter puts the worth and dignity of human life in proper perspective.

Finally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' document, "Catholics in Political Life," offers this exhortation: "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." I would submit that what is planned for May 17 is a classic example of precisely the type of scandal the bishops direct us to avoid.

I apologized today to my eight children for the poor guidance I provided them when I encouraged them to enroll at Our Lady's University, and for having misled them, and myself, about what I believed to be the core values of Notre Dame.

Sincerely,
Anthony J. Lauinger
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Note: The letter's attachment can be viewed with the full post of this press release at: http://nrlcomm.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/notredame

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama Administration Denies Negative Effects of Abortion at UN Women's Meeting

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 12, 2009



New York, NY (LifeNews.com) -- The Obama administration has been pushing the pro-abortion agenda all week at the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting at the United Nations. During the forum, a representative of President Barack Obama denied that abortion causes any negative effects for women.

As LifeNews.com has noted, the Obama administration has been pushing the adoption of language in the outcome document CSW members hope to adopt that could be used later to create an international right to abortion.

Leading pro-life advocates such as Samantha Singson of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) have pointed out that the Obama administration is pushing the inclusion of the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” in the document.

"The term 'sexual and reproductive health and rights' has been interpreted by radical feminist NGOs and some governments to include abortion," Singson writes in a report in the CFAM publication Friday Fax about the meeting.

At the CSW meeting, the Obama administration hosted a briefing where member of the US delegation, Ellen Chesler, said the president's priority is to ensure the term is included. Chesler claimed the rights are a “fundamental part” of the Beijing Platform for Action of the 1995 UN women’s meeting held in Beijing, China, where countries ultimately rejected attempts to make abortion an international “right.”

"The idea of sexual rights was rejected at the Beijing conference," Singson writes.

But the Obama administration representative went further, the CFAM pro-life advocate explained.

"Chesler, who authored a biography praising the work of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, also included promotion of a new UN gender office, as well as US commitment to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as priority issues for the Obama administration at this CSW," Singson wrote.

At the conclusion of the briefing, an audience member questioned the Obama administration’s support for abortion despite the myriad scientific evidence which shows how detrimental it is to the lives and health of women.

"Chesler dismissed the woman’s question stating that the evidence is 'unreliable because it has ideological elements,'" Singson writes.

However, three studies alone published in peer-reviewed medical journals at the end of 2008 show abortion causes problems for women.

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, and her colleagues published a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research showing an abortion-depression link exists.

The research team found induced abortions result in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.

The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn't have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.

For 12 out of 15 of the mental health outcomes examined, a decision to have an abortion resulted in an elevated risk for women.

"What is most notable in this study is that abortion contributed significant independent effects to numerous mental health problems above and beyond a variety of other traumatizing and stressful life experiences," they concluded.

Researchers at Otago University in New Zealand reported their findings in the British Journal of Psychiatry and found that women who have abortions have an increased risk of developing mental health problems.

The study found that women who had abortions had rates of mental health problems about 30% higher than other women. The conditions most associated with abortion included anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.

Abortions increased the risk of severe depression and anxiety by one-third and as many as 5.5 percent of all mental health disorders seen in New Zealand result from women having abortions.

A third study, from a team at the University of Queensland and published in the December issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, found women who have an abortion are three times more likely to experience a drug or alcohol problem during their lifetime.

The study showed that women who had experienced an abortion were at increased risk of illicit drug and alcohol use compared with women who had never been pregnant or who gave birth.

http://www.lifenews.com/int1120.html

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Senior Harvard Research Scientist for AIDS Prevention Support Pope Benedict XVI Position on Condoms

Cambridge, Mass., Mar 21, 2009 / 10:11 am (CNA).-

Pope Benedict’s recent brief remark against condoms has caused an uproar in the press, but several prominent scientists dedicated to preventing AIDS are defending the Pope, saying he was correct in his analysis. In an interview with CNA, Dr. Edward Green explained that although condoms should work, in theory, they may be “exacerbating the problem” in Africa.

Benedict XVI’s Tuesday comments on condoms were made as part of his explanation of the Church’s two prong approach to fighting AIDS. At one point in his response the Pontiff stressed that AIDS cannot be overcome by advertising slogans and distributing condoms and argued that they “worsen the problem.” The media responded with an avalanche of over 4,000 articles on the subject, calling Benedict a “threat to public health,” and saying that the Catholic Church should “enter the 21st century.”

Senior Harvard Research Scientist for AIDS Prevention, Dr. Edward Green, who is the author of five books, including “Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries” discussed his support for Pope Benedict XVI’s comments with CNA.

According to Dr. Green, science is finding that the media is actually on the wrong side of the issue. In fact, Green says that not only do condoms not work, but that they may be “exacerbating the problem” in Africa.

“Theoretically, condoms ought to work,” he explained to CNA, “and theoretically, some condom use ought to be better than no condom use, but that’s theoretically.”

Condom proponents often cite the lack of condom education as the main culprit for higher AIDS rates in Africa but Green disagrees.

After spending 25 years promoting condoms for family planning purposes in Africa, he insists that he’s quite familiar with condom promotion. Yet, he claims that “anyone who worked in family planning knew that if you needed to prevent a pregnancy, say the woman will die, you don’t recommend a condom.”

Green recalls that when the AIDS epidemic hit Africa, the “Industry” began using AIDS as a “dual purpose” marketing strategy to get more funding for condom distribution. This, he claims, effectively took “something that was a 2nd or 3rd grade device for avoiding unwanted pregnancies” and turned it into the “best weapon we [had] against AIDS.”

The accepted wisdom in the scientific community, explained Green, is that condoms lower the HIV infection rate, but after numerous studies, researchers have found the opposite to be true. “We just cannot find an association between more condom use and lower HIV reduction rates” in Africa.

Dr. Green found that part of the elusive reason is a phenomenon known as risk compensation or behavioral disinhibition.

“[Risk compensation] is the idea that if somebody is using a certain technology to reduce risk, a phenomenon actually occurs where people are willing to take on greater risk.” The idea can be related to someone that puts on sun block and is willing to stay out in the sun longer because they have added protection. In this case, however, the greater risk is sexual. Because people are willing take on more risk, they may “disproportionally erase” the benefits of condom use, Green said.

Another factor that contributes to ineffective condom use in Africa, is the phenomenon where condoms may be effective on an “individual level,” but not on a “population level.” Green’s research found that “condoms have been effective” in HIV concentrated areas where high risk activities are already being conducted, such as brothels in countries like Thailand.

Claiming to be a liberal himself, Green asserts that promoting Western “liberal ideology” where, “most Africans are conservative when it comes to sexual behavior,” is quite offensive to them. Citing his new book, “Indigenous Theories and Contagious Disease,” Green described Africans as “very religious by global standards” who are offended by “trucks going around where people are dancing to ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’, tossing out condoms to teenagers and the children of the village.”

Green also noted that there is an ideology called “harm reduction” that is being pushed by many organizations trying to prevent AIDS. The ideology believes that “you can’t change the underlying behavior, that you can’t get people to be faithful, especially Africans,” the HIV specialist explained.

One country, Uganda, recognized these issues and said, “Listen, if you have multiple sex partners, you are going to get AIDS.” What worked in Uganda, a country that has seen a decline by as much as 2/3 in AIDS infections, was that officials realized that even aside from religious and cultural reasons, “no one likes condoms.” Instead of waiting for “American and European advisors to arrive,” Ugandan officials reacted and developed a program that fit their culture; their main message being “stick to one partner or love faithfully.”

However, in 2004, Uganda’s AIDS infection rates began to increase once again, due to an influx of condoms and Western “advice”, Green recalled. Western donors also came to Uganda and said behavioral change doesn’t work and that, “most infections nowadays are among married people.” Green said these claims are “misleading,” pointing out that “married people always have lower HIV infection rates than single or divorced people of the same age group.”

Green’s new book, “AIDS and Ideology,” to be completed in the next few months, will describe the industry in Africa that is “drawing billions of dollars a year promoting condoms, testing, drugs, and treatment of AIDS” and is clearly resistant to the idea that behavioral change is the solution.

Yet the two countries that have the highest infection rate of AIDS in the world, Botswana and Swaziland, have recently launched campaigns to promote fidelity and monogamy, the Harvard researcher said. These countries “have learned the hard way” about the failure of condoms in preventing AIDS, he said, noting that “Botswana has probably had more condom promotion” than any other county on a per capita basis. Green said he had no problem “having condoms as a backup to fidelity-based programs.”

According to Green, the Catholic Church should continue to “do what it is already doing,” avoid “arguing about the diameter of viruses” and cite scientific evidence in connection with scripture and moral theology.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15445

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Idaho ! Wake Up and Save Your People !

Today's News & Views
March 10, 2009

Fast-Moving Idaho Bill Would Allow Hospitals to
Deny Life-Saving Treatment AGAINST THE WILL of Patients and Families
Part One of Two

Editor's note. Be sure also to post this TN&V on your social networking pages by going to www.nrlc.org/News_and_views/Mar09/nv031009.html and clicking on the "Share" button

A bill that would effectively create a "duty to die" has unanimously passed the Idaho Senate and is scheduled for a House committee hearing this Thursday.

While "right-to-die" advocates used to say they were defending the rights of patients and families to make medical treatment choices, in recent years the claim has been that doctors and hospitals need not provide life-saving medical treatment, food, or fluids chosen by patients and their families if the health care providers, imposing their own values, think the patients' disabilities make their "quality of life" inadequate.

As the Powell Center report on NRLC's website, "Will Your Advance Directive Be Followed" [www.nrlc.org/euthanasia/AdvancedDirectives/ReportRevised2007.pdf] documents, this approach is hidden under the euphemisms that providers should be able to deny "medically inappropriate" or "futile" treatment--terms carefully left undefined, but deadly in practice.

Now Idaho's Senate Bill 1114 would establish a procedure, adapted from a controversial Texas law, under which patients or their family members would be given only 24 hours notice before having to appear before a facility-appointed "ethics committee."

After hearing from them and the doctors who advocate the patient's death, the ethics committee would have authority to decide against life-preserving treatment.

In that case, treatment would be provided for up to 15 days while transfer to a willing provider was sought. While the patient or family could seek a court-ordered extension, it would be granted only if they could prove a "reasonable probability" of finding a willing provider within the extension period. There could be no appeal of the decision to deny treatment itself.

Although the option to transfer may seem to help the patient, experience in Texas has shown that once one institution has refused to treat, it is normally extremely difficult to find other facilities willing to buck "medical solidarity," or conduct a serious independent review of the facts and accept transfer.

Moreover, Idaho facilities would NOT EVEN BE REQUIRED TO USE THE ETHICS COMMITTEE/TRANSFER procedure. The bill specifically makes it "voluntary" for each facility and states,

"Nothing in this chapter shall require a health care facility to establish or utilize an ethics committee, nor shall this chapter require a health care provider or surrogate decision maker to submit a matter to the ethics committee before withdrawing or withholding health care to a patient."

In short, the bill completely overrides patient and family rights, instead giving essentially absolute immunity to health care providers who involuntarily deny life-saving treatment, food and fluids so as to bring about the deaths of those patients they in their sole judgment consider too disabled to be worth saving.

Wesley Smith has an excellent expose of this scary legislation on his blog at www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2009/03/duty-to-die-in-idaho-legislature-close.html

Whether involuntary euthanasia comes to Idaho may well depend on how many of the state's citizens contact their representatives to impress on them how essential it is to oppose SB 1114 in its current form.

Against Abortion? Raise Your Hand

OBAMA’S SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY MEMO - Say What?

Tuesday March 10, 2009
OBAMA’S SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY MEMO

March 9, 2009

President Obama signed an executive order today on stem cell research; it was part of his “Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum.” In response, Catholic League president Bill Donohue said the following:

“President Obama acknowledged that he supports ‘groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.’ So do we. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that the enormous progress that has already been made in this area largely undercuts his decision to fund embryonic stem cell research. After all, if the same, or similar, results can be obtained without endangering embryos, on what basis can their destruction be warranted?

“Obama seems to know that he is in dangerous territory, but fails to say why. For example, he insists that embryonic stem cell research demands ‘proper guidelines and strict oversight’ so that ‘the perils can be avoided.’ What perils is he talking about? If the killing of nascent human life isn’t an issue—which he apparently thinks it isn’t—then what are the perils associated with this research? It is starkly remindful of the position of pro-abortion advocates: they always say we should have fewer abortions, but never say why.

“Obama’s adamant rejection of human cloning is welcome. However, it is not enough to say that it would be a ‘dangerous, profoundly wrong’ thing to do. We need to know why. For example, what principle is operative? Science teaches, and the Catholic Church accepts, that human life begins at fertilization. That being the case, the Church reasons, we are morally compelled not to treat human life—beginning at conception and lasting until natural death—as if it were mere fodder for research. Obama, and others, are free to disagree, but they are morally obligated to state the principle upon which they draw their conclusions. He most certainly has not.

“In short, not only are Obama’s executive order and scientific memo mostly troubling, we still don’t know why he believes what he believes.”

http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1575

Gardasil -- Statistics and More

This won't be a short posting because I want to cover as much as I can for anyone researching the ins and outs of Gardasil. I would personally NOT get my daughter one. HPV is an epidemic, no doubt about it. Guys have no symptoms and casual sex is a serious problem. It's time to attack the problem at the bottom line....chastity! There are many many more good reasons to be chaste than most people even think about. A woman is empowered by chastity!

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Tuesday July 8, 2008

Gardasil - 18 Dead, Thousands Suffer Complications
Growing opposition and flat sales trigger Gardasil manufacturer Merck stock sell-off

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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

July 8, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The public interest group Judicial Watch recently obtained more than 8,000 reports, under the US Freedom of Information law, of adverse events in girls and young women after they were injected with the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

The reports reveal everything from massive wart outbreaks to seizures, paralysis and death.

Ten deaths have been reported since September 2007, bringing the total to 18 since the vaccine was approved for use in 2006.

In this year there have been 140 reported "serious" complications, 27 of which were categorized as "life-threatening," as well as ten spontaneous abortions and six cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a very rare (1 in 100,000 in a healthy population) immune response to foreign antigens such as infectious agents or vaccines, that paralyzes the afflicted person.

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to reevaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada commented on the lack of proper testing before Gardasil was pushed through the approval process and the consequences of its widespread use.

"The long-term consequences of Gardasil are not known. The manufacturer admits this and agrees it does not know its effect on young girls' cancer risk, on their immunity system, on their reproductive system, or its genetic effects. In due course, we will know this, possibly in twenty or thirty years from now when these young girls, the innocent subjects of the Gardasil experiment have become grown women and then report the consequences of their having taken the medication in their childhood on medical advice."

Cynthia Janak, a freelance journalist and researcher, reported to the American Life League that she found evidence in the FDA's documentation that they knew that HPV is not the actual cause of cervical cancer but that the actual cause is a "persistent HPV infection that may act as a tumor promoter in cancer induction."

Janak explains: "What we have here is proof that there is scientific evidence that has been published in the past 15 years that states that HPV infection does not bear a direct relationship to the forming of cervical cancer. It also tells us that HPV, if allowed to will be taken care of by our own body's natural processes. . ."most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer." With this being said, why do we need Gardasil when our own body is more than capable of eradicating HPV? What we need is a government policy to assist women with the cost of getting follow-up tests when persistent HPV infection is present. This would make more sense and our government would save so much money on these types of programs instead of $360 each for the Gardasil vaccination."

The Judicial Watch press release concluded that "It could well be that the vaccine may not do a thing to protect anyone from cervical cancer, regardless of the claims being made by Merck Pharmaceutical. What the vaccine is causing is death and immense suffering among those who have been vaccinated."

After CBS News ran a story about the reported side effects of Gardasil, citing the 8,000 adverse event reports and giving details of a few serious complications - seizures, chronic pain, paralysis, and death from blood clots, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merck & Co.'s shares dropped 4.8% triggering a sell-off of the company's stock and a downgrade of their rating on the New York Stock Exchange.

Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage and articles:

Why Medical Authorities Cannot be Trusted on Gardasil HPV Vaccine By Gwen Landolt
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/dec/07121905.html

Ontario Catholic School Board Rejects HPV Vaccine on School Premises
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/oct/07101806.html

Controversial HPV Vaccine Causing One Death Per Month: FDA Report
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08070316.html

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Why Medical Authorities Cannot be Trusted on Gardasil HPV Vaccine

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By Gwen Landolt

TORONTO, December 19, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Medical health authorities have repeatedly assured us that Gardasil, the vaccine injection given to young girls to allegedly prevent cervical cancer, is perfectly safe. For example, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, a group of medical specialists, endorsed the vaccine last February. The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada claims the vaccine is safe, as does Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada have also endorsed the vaccine.

These medical authorities, however, are puzzled and also indignant that the use of this vaccine still remains controversial, ever since it was rolled out in lightening speed after Ottawa announced a $300 million funding package for participant provinces. After all, they reason, they have approved the drug, so what is the problem? Surely their expert opinion should be sufficient to allay the public's fears about the drug?

The reason the public has good reason to distrust the judgement of these medical authorities is because of their experience with them. It is a fact that the public has heard many similar assurances about other drugs, and used them to their lasting regret. For example:

- In the 1960's, thalidomide was pronounced a safe drug for pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. It was not safe, as thousands of adults with flipper arms and legs can attest.

- In the 1960's, the birth control pill was developed and women were assured that its use had no harmful side effects. Studies now report that the pill can be the cause of a greatly increased risk of stroke, heart attack and blood clots if taken for eight years or more. (British Journal of Medicine, 16 or 17 September, 2007).

- Between 1938 and 1971, as many as 4 million U.S. women and many Canadian women took the drug, diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage. Daughters of these women who were exposed to DES in utero have experienced a range of structural reproductive tract abnormalities in the uterus, cervix and vagina. The incidents of abnormality occurs in 18% of cases, but it may be as high as 33% in women exposed to DES in utero. The male offspring of women who took DES during pregnancy also have an increased incidence of genital abnormalities and a possibility of increased risk of prostrate and testicular cancer.

- Merck Frosst, the manufacturer of Gardasil, also developed a much-acclaimed painkiller called Vioxx, that was subsequently used by thousands of individuals suffering from arthritis. Unfortunately, the drug had the side effect of causing heart attacks and strokes. As a result, the medication was taken off the market in 2004 and Merck Frosst is now facing thousands of class action suits amounting to billions of dollars in claims.

- By 2001, 15 million women in the U.S. alone, as well a millions of women in Canada and abroad, were taking hormone-replacement therapy (H.R.T.). It became one of the most popular prescription drug treatments for menopause, supposedly to allow women to lead a long and healthier life. However, in July 2002, estrogen therapy was exposed as a hazard to health, rather than a benefit. It was found to constitute a potential health risk for post-menopausal women by increasing risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer. The question lingers unanswered, as to how many women may have died prematurely because their physician prescribed this medication? A reasonable estimate would be tens of thousands of women. (New York Times, September 16, 2007)

- Europe's largest drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline developed and sold the diabetic drug Avandia, it's second best selling product last year, which was subsequently linked to a higher risk of heart attacks according to a study released in May 2007. This caused sales of the drug to drop 38%.

These are just a few examples of the here-today gone-tomorrow nature of medical wisdom. What we are advised about with confidence one year is reversed the next. One of the contributing factors to this reversal is that the kind of experimental trials necessary to determine the truth about the medication is excessively expensive and time-consuming and very often does not happen. Hence, the problem with these new drugs so enthusiastically recommended by the medical profession.

It is alarming that Gardasil's approval was based on the testing of only a few thousand patients and almost not at all (only 1200) on young girls, 9-13 years old, who are targeted for injection of the drug. (See REALity Sept/Oct. 2007, p. 5)

As its marketing plan, Merck Frosst used lobbyists with access to important public officials. In Canada, Ken Boessenkool, now with the public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton in Calgary, lobbied the federal government on Merck Frosst's behalf. Mr. Boessenkool was a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he was opposition leader. Jason Grier, former executive assistant to Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, also lobbied on behalf of Merck and Ontario has now decided to administer the drug to young girls.

Even though only approximately 2-5% of women have Pap smears with cell changes due to HPV, the medication was pushed as a preventative cure for cervical cancer. However, no mention was made of the fact that the drug does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, AIDS, etc. It's all promotion; facts do not count.

The long-term consequences of Gardasil are not known. The manufacturer admits this and agrees it does not know its effect on young girls' cancer risk, on their immunity system, on their reproductive system, or its genetic effects. In due course, we will know this, possibly in twenty or thirty years from now when these young girls, the innocent subjects of the Gardasil experiment have become grown women and then report the consequences of their having taken the medication in their childhood on medical advice.

This artcicle was originally published in the Nov./Dec. edition of REAL Women of Canada's Reality magazine. Republished with permission.

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Support for HPV Vaccine Gardasil Helps Planned Parenthood Says LDI President

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By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Gardasil, Merck’s questionable new vaccine against cervical cancer is expected to rake in at least a billion dollars in profits from sales, which will leave the pharmaceutical giant with more cash to donate to abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Merck has a long history of supporting abortion and Gardasil profits could turn into a financial boost for Planned Parenthood, especially as US states and Canadian provinces begin either to encourage or require HPV vaccination for girls as young as 9.

“You’re going to increase their profits, which mean it’s going to increase the amount [for Planned Parenthood],” said Douglas Scott, President of Life Decisions International (LDI), a group that has a boycott list of organizations that give financial support to the abortion movement. Scott told LifeSiteNews.com that although PP has “more money than they can count” or approximately $480 million in the bank, “You still don’t want Planned Parenthood to get any more money to do any more damage than its already doing.”

However, Scott added that Merck’s endorsement is even more important to the abortion provider than its slice of the Gardasil profits.

“What they want is the corporate stamp of approval, the (cream of the) crop endorsement. They want to be able to tell people, ‘Merck supports us; we’re a legitimate organization,’” Scott stated. “Any sort of a connection between Planned Parenthood and any corporation only benefits Planned Parenthood on the public relations side, which is a lot more important and more devastating.”

Merck waged a heavy campaign earlier in the year advertising Gardasil as a vaccine for cervical cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) to convince states to mandate vaccination against cervical cancer. However the vaccine only prevents some, not all, of HPV forms contracted through promiscuous sexual activity. The campaign would edge out a competing HPV vaccine, Glaxo Smith Kline's Cervarix, which is incompatible with Gardasil and hits the market in January 2008.

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, has uncovered least 11 deaths from Gardasil injections, from a partial release of information from the US Food and Drug Administration. In early October the US Government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) listed at least 3,779 adverse effects of which 52 were deemed "life threatening" and 119 required hospitalization. JW has filed a lawsuit demanding full release of the information from the FDA.

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

US Death Toll Associated with HPV Vaccine Jumps to 11 with 3779 Adverse Reactions Reported
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/oct/07100507.html

Canada's Conservative Government Distributes $300 Million to Provinces for Controversial HPV Vaccination
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/mar/07032106.html

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Controversial HPV Vaccine Causing One Death Per Month: FDA Report

140 "serious" adverse reactions, including 27 "life threatening" cases, 10 spontaneous abortions, and 6 cases of the debilitating Guillain-Barre Syndrome reported since January 2008


By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One death per month is the average loss of life associated with the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil according to an FDA report obtained by a government watchdog agency.

Merck, the makers of Gardasil, are poised to make profits in the billions from the vaccine, which protects against some cancer-causing forms of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), but the pharmaceutical giant has come under heavy criticism for fast-tracking the drug onto the market without adequate testing in order to beat out its rivals.

Judicial Watch, a public interest group that campaigns against government corruption, uncovered documents through the Freedom of Information Act that show the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of 10 deaths associated with Gardasil since September 2007, and 140 "serious" reports of adverse reactions, including 27 "life threatening" cases, 10 spontaneous abortions, and 6 cases of the debilitating Guillain-Barre Syndrome since January 2008.

Judicial Watch also found 8,864 Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) records associated with Gardasil, more than double the 3,461 events that had been reported with the HPV vaccine in Fall 2007. Many experienced outbreaks of genital warts from the HPV vaccine.

The watchdog group says the number of deaths associated with the vaccine is at least 18 and possibly as many as 20.

Eleven deaths occurred less than a week after receiving the vaccine. Seven women died in less than two days. The most common diagnosed cause was blood clotting. One woman died from a clot within 3 hours of the vaccine. One 20-year-old woman, with no medical history reported, died April 4, 2008 just four days after receiving Gardasil.

The serious adverse events include anaphylactic shock, grand mal convulsion, foaming at mouth, coma, paralysis, and death.

Another 23 year-old woman was vaccinated with her first dose of Gardasil on January 31, 2008 and thereupon went into anaphylactic shock. The report says, "patient experienced anaphylactic shock 2 minutes after vaccination characterized by a brief loss of consciousness... respiratory arrest, eyes rolled upwards, blurred vision and greyish skin tone... Anaphylactic shock was considered to be immediately life-threatening."

A 14 year-old girl took six steps after being injected with the vaccine before she collapsed to the floor unconscious and foaming at the mouth. The girl regained consciousness after "a 60 second grand mal seizure" and had "pale clammy skin" and blood pressure of 60/40.

A VAERS report from a physician stated a female patient was inoculated with a dose of Gardasil and, "Subsequently, the patient experienced a coma and is now paralyzed."

Merck & Co. has invested heavily in getting US states to mandate Gardasil to schoolgirls as young as 11 for sexually transmitted HPV in order to beat out rival GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine Cervarix. Merck successfully lobbied the FDA to fast track Gardasil to the market, which critics have charged essentially makes US women part of a massive testing experiment.

JPMorgan Analyst Chris Schott told Forbes.com that since GlaxoSmithKline PLC was delaying submitting more information to the FDA on its cervical cancer treatment Cervarix until the first half of 2009, he projects Merck to dominate the market, while Cervarix will manage only 25% market share by 2012.

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to re-evaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children."

Read the special report by Judicial Watch:
http://www.judicialwatch.org/documents/2008/JWReportFDAhpvVa...

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Thursday September 20, 2007

Deaths Associated with HPV Vaccine Start Rolling In, Over 3500 Adverse Affects Reported

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By John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, September 20, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Canada, in large part due to aggressive behind the scenes lobbying, rolls out the not-comprehensively-tested Merck HPV vaccine for girls as young as nine, a look at developments on the vaccine south of the border should cause Canadians serious concern. In the United States a similar lobby campaign by the same company launched the mass HPV vaccination of girls beginning in June last year.

In just little over a year, the HPV vaccine has been associated with at least five deaths, not to mention thousands of reports of adverse effects, hundreds deemed serious, and many that required hospitalization.

Judicial Watch, a U.S. government watchdog, became concerned while noting large donations to key politicians originating from Merck. A freedom of information request from the group in May of this year discovered that during the period from June 8, 2006 - when the vaccines received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - to May 2007 there were 1,637 reports of adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine reported to the FDA.

Three deaths were related to the vaccine, including one of a 12-year-old. One physician's assistant reported that a female patient "died of a blood clot three hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine." Two other reports, on girls 12 and 19, reported deaths relating to heart problems and/or blood clotting.

As of May 11, 2007, the 1,637 adverse vaccination reactions reported to the FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) included 371 serious reactions. Of the 42 women who received the vaccine while pregnant, 18 experienced side effects ranging from spontaneous abortion to fetal abnormities.

Side effects published by Merck & Co. warn the public about potential pain, fever, nausea, dizziness and itching after receiving the vaccine. Indeed, 77% of the adverse reactions reported are typical side effects to vaccinations. But other more serious side effects reported include paralysis, Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and seizures.

Judicial Watch informed LifeSiteNews.com that a subsequent request for information on adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine, covering the period from May 2007 to September 2007, found that an additional 1800 adverse reactions have been reported, including more deaths. Exactly how many more deaths occurred will be released in the coming days, Judicial Watch's Dee Grothe informed LifeSiteNews.com.

The LifeSiteNews.com report on the moneyed lobbying efforts of Merck in the U.S. was reported in February. (see http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/feb/07020204.html )

However the Canadian lobby effort by Merck's Canadian affiliate Merck Frosst Canada has been underway using powerful lobbyists with close connections to the politicians who have signed off on massive government funded vaccination programs.

The Toronto Star recently reported that Merck Frosst Canada Ltd hired public relations giant Hill & Knowlton to push the immunization strategies using some well-connected lobbyists: Ken Boessenkool, a former senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Bob Lopinski, formerly with Premier Dalton McGuinty's office; and Jason Grier, former chief of staff to Health Minister George Smitherman.

Harper's Conservative Government approved Merck's HPV vaccine Gardasil in July and later announced a $300 million program to give the vaccine to girls from ages 9-13. That of course is only the beginning of what Merck likely hopes will be a much larger vaccination of all potentially sexually active women in Canada who are not already HPV infected. In August, McGuinty's Ontario Liberals, on the advice of his Health Minister George Smitherman, announced that all Grade 8 girls will have free access to Gardasil.

One of the major complaints by physicians is that the HPV vaccination program has been implemented before adequate testing has been completed. Long-term effects of the vaccine remain unknown. Many are asking why the seemingly reckless rush?

At least one answer to that question comes from the fact that Merck currently is the sole provider of an HPV vaccine with its Gardasil product. A competing HPV vaccine, Glaxo Smith Kline's Cervarix, is set to hit the market in January 2008. As more children are vaccinated with Gardasil, fewer will be able to later receive the necessary repeat boosters of a competing, incompatible vaccine. Merck is in a race to capture as much of the market as it can, consuming many millions of taxpayer dollars.

U.S. sales of Gardasil are expected to reach $1 billion in the first year of its availability.

Read Previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

The reports from the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detailing the three previous deaths are available here:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007_docs/GardasilVAERSDeath...

The reports detailing all 1637 adverse effects are here:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007_docs/GardasilVAERSRepor...

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w w w . a l l i a n c e f o r l i f e . o r g


The HPV
Vaccine
Is it Safe for
My Daughter?


Testing involving Gardasil with other childhood
vaccines has only been conducted with the Hep-
atitis B vaccine. The National Vaccine Informa-
tion Center called on the FDA and CDC to
issue warnings that Gardasil should not be com-
bined with other vaccines, and that girls be
monitored for fainting, seizures, tingling, numb-
ness and loss of sensation in the fingers and
limbs for 24 hours after vaccination.
18
The long-term effects of the vaccine on young
girls are completely unknown. Merck states in
its product insert that Gardasil has not been
tested to see if it causes cancer
19
or if a
young woman’s reproductive health will be
affected.
20
Additionally, Merck acknowl-
edges that the vaccine has not been tested
for genotoxicity (testing to see if the vaccine
is toxic to human DNA).
21
“A careful review of the literature, includ-
ing that submitted by the manufacturer
with its application for approval of Gar-
dasil reveals a sufficient number of unan-
swered questions to lead us to conclude
that a universal immunization program
aimed at girls and women in Canada is, at
this time, premature and could possibly
have unintended consequences for indi-
viduals and for society as a whole.”
22
Dr. Abby Lippma,
Canadian epidemiologist, McGill University
Gardasil is being hailed as one of the major
health advances of the early 21st century and
yet many parents have refused to accept this
vaccine as a just another regimen in their
child’s immunization schedule. Given all the
questions concerning Gardasil’s safety, and the
fact that the vaccine is still in the testing stages,
we recommend that concerned parents inform
themselves of the facts and request that the
government and public health officials
suspend their distribution to minor girls until
its safety can be adequately proven.


USURPING PARENTAL
CONSENT
COMBINING GARDASIL
WITH OTHER VACCINES

LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCE
OF THE HPV VACCINE
CONCLUSION

Most parents are unaware that their child, regard-
less of age,could be considered capable of mak-
ing her own healthcare decisions in Ontario.
23
This means that your daughter can choose to ac-
cept or refuse immunization, even if you have
indicated otherwise in a consent form.
Public health nurses are required to ask every
student if they understand, have any questions,
and consent to be immunized. If the parent
wishes the student to be immunized and the stu-
dent refuses, the immunization will not be given.
Likewise, a student who is judged capable of giv-
inginformed consent may be immunized even if
the parents have not consented.
24

What Parents Need To Know


This vaccine should not be mandated for 11-
year-old girls.... It's not been tested in little
girls for efficacy. At 11, these girls don't get
cervical cancer — they won't know for 25
years if they will get cervical cancer. Giving it
to 11-year-olds is a great big public health ex-
periment.”

25
Dr. Diane Harper,
Lead researcher, HPV vaccine development

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Thursday August 21, 2008

Articles in Prominent Medical Journal Doubt Worth and Benefit of HPV Vaccines

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By Tim Waggoner

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The New England Journal of Medicine posted two articles this week that asked why two human papillomavirus vaccines have been so widely distributed given their unproven effectiveness and high costs.

Gardasil by Merck Sharp & Dohme, which has already received tremendous criticism for the severe and fatal side-effects experienced by users, and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline were the two drugs called to question.

As reported by the New York Times, Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, whose editorial appeared in Thursday's issue of The New England Journal, said, "Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer. With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious."

Both vaccines were tested for relatively short periods of time, revealed Dr. Haug, and researchers are yet to prove whether or not the vaccines offer lasting immunity and if a user's natural immunity to other strains not eliminated by the vaccines will be compromised. Dr. Haug said it is not certain if the protection offered by the vaccines will even lead to reduced rates of cervical cancer.

Jane J. Kim and Dr. Sue Goldie of Harvard, who likewise had a study published in this week's issue of the medical journal, also brought up the fact that the vaccines have not been proven to offer life-long protection. They said that until this is certain, the cost of the vaccines cannot be justified.

Furthermore, the costs of the vaccines cannot be offset by eliminating Pap smear screening because the test is still needed to identify HPV strands that the vaccines do not protect against.

These studies criticizing the effectiveness and cost of the HPV vaccines could not come at worse time for Merck – the drug giant is under fire because of a reported 9,749 cases of severe side-effects and 21 deaths associated with Gardasil.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

HPV Vaccine Causes 21 Deaths and Counting - CDC Study Launched
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08081405.html