The US Food and Drug Administration has directed the pharmaceutical manufacturer of the so-called “morning after pill” or “Plan B” contraceptive to market the controversial drug, without a prescription, to minor girls as young as fifteen.
“Plan B” is levonorgestrel, a female hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). The drug also causes physiological changes that frustrate the possibility of pregnancy. For these reasons, Plan B is used for women who are victims of sexual assault, even in Catholic hospitals. According to Fr. Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center,
“Some have argued that it may be immoral for Catholics to provide any contraceptive measures at all to a woman who has been raped. Such a view is incorrect … because a woman who has been sexually assaulted is clearly entitled to protect herself from the attacker’s sperm. The Church teaches that rape is not a unitive act that requires openness to procreation. It is rather an act of violence against another person, and the woman is allowed to take steps to prevent the possible fertilization of her own egg(s). It is permissible, then, for Catholic hospitals to provide their patients with morning-after pills if the following four conditions are met:
1. The woman is not already pregnant from prior, freely-chosen sexual activity.
2. The woman has been sexually assaulted.
3. The woman has not yet ovulated.
4. The morning-after pill can reasonably be expected to prevent her from ovulating.
According to Fr. Pacholczyk, after a sexual assault, the woman can be tested for LH (leutinizing hormone) that will determine whether she is ovulating. If she is, the morning-after pill would not block the egg’s release. In this circumstance, the drug might function to block the implantation of an embryo, which would result in an abortion. “Under these conditions, therefore, the morning-after pill should not be administered.” (See, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, “Getting it right ‘the morning after.’” at http://www.ncbcenter.org/page.aspx?pid=301) Otherwise, it may be used to prevent the fertilization of her ova by the rapist. This is not a contraceptive or abortive act, but a defensive one.
This legitimate use of “Plan B” does not however justify making it available as a contraceptive or abortifacient, especially to under-age users. Leaving pharmacological decisions to minors seems wrongheaded at best. Any parent knows how difficult it can be to manage a child’s medications under the best of circumstances. Children don’t ordinarily have the knowledge, experience or discipline to take the proper dose at the proper time etc. When a young girl is conflicted, afraid, or embarrassed, the possibility of misuse is magnified.
Young girls are vulnerable to young or older men who might urge them to take the drug “just in case”. There is a real danger that predatory or exploitative males will use the availability of levonorgestrel to pressure a young girl to have sex. To rule this scenario out is naive, irresponsible and dangerous.
The moral objections to facilitating sexual relations between minors, or between an adult male and minor female (in most jurisdictions this constituted rape), are replete. Making this deleterious drug available to minors undermines parental responsibility, potentially separates the minor child, boy or girl, from the guidance of their parents and faith community and leads them to believe there is a “quick fix” to a life altering, highly personal event.
What are parents to do? Young people need to be taught that “legal” is not the same as “good” or “right”. Smoking, gambling and promiscuity are “legal”, but entail serious spiritual, emotional and physical risks. Careful, informative and age appropriate guidance will fortify children’s resolve to avoid the actions that would tempt them to use this drug.
Most telling in the shadow of the FDA’s decision to dispense levonorgestrel to fifteen year olds is this warning, which comes directly from the package label -
“Do not give this medication to anyone younger than 17 years old. Contact a doctor for medical advice.” I would add: “But before you do – consult with your parents and pastor.”!
Fr. Paul CB Schenck, MA, EdD, is Diocesan Director of Respect Life Activities and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Benedict the Builder Pope Resigns His Office. His Work Will Continue in a Restored Church and a New Missionary Age
The US Catholic Bishops recently stated, “Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, is not an historical relic, but a vital and foundational institution of civil society today,” and “No other institution joins together persons with the natural ability to have children, to assure that those children are properly cared for. No other institution ensures that children will at least have the opportunity of being raised by their mother and father together.” They said this, not in a catechetical publication, but in a legal brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court! Furthermore, they warn, “Societal ills that flow from the dissolution of marriage and family would not be addressed—indeed, they would only be aggravated—were the government to fail to reinforce the union of one man and one woman with the unique encouragement and support it deserves.”
The family as it has been known throughout human history, as a man joined with a woman, open to children, is in trouble. The number of couples living together without marriage and temporarily, the percentage of marriages ended by divorce and those rejecting children is steadily rising. The Bishops have said, “We are troubled by the fact that far too many people do not understand what it means to say that marriage—both as a natural institution and a Christian sacrament—is a blessing and gift from God.” And that “We are alarmed that a couple‘s responsibility to serve life by being open to children is being denied and abandoned more frequently today.” They “note a disturbing trend today to view marriage as a mostly private matter, an individualistic project not related to the common good but oriented mostly to achieving personal satisfaction.”
The suffering that ensues includes poverty stricken one parent households, psychological and emotional disturbances rooted in feelings of abandonment and alienation, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and a tendency to criminal behaviors. These are proven to result from a culture that has widely rejected the ideal of the life-long, monogamous union of a man and woman open to children. In a phrase, the natural family.
The Catholic Church has a deep, broad and rich tradition of catechesis on the family. She has the example of the married saints to both inspire and demonstrate faithful family life. And, above all, she has the exemplar of the Holy Family to emulate. Christians see in these models the ideal of love, commitment, fidelity and generosity that should define the loving union of a man and woman who freely choose one another for life and together bring forth, or adopt, the new life God gives them as the superlative gift.
As we work to turn our society away from a culture of death – which disposes of lives perceived to be unfulfilling, inconvenient or counterproductive, we must turn our hearts and efforts towards this family. The Church vigorously advocates for the status and rights of the natural family because, as Blessed John Paul II so vividly declared, “The future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.” Catholics especially must work together to foster a family friendly and supportive society which guides young people into the joyous realization of the love of husbands and wives, their openness to children, the celebration of the Sacraments within the family and the prayerful dedication of young men to the discernment and reception of Holy Orders. Such dedication is essential to all pro-life work. We need to pray, work and sacrifice on behalf of the family.
Later this year, I plan to bring members of my family on a holy pilgrimage to the shrines of Fatima, Lourdes and Sagrada Familia. At Fatima, the Blessed Mother proposed the spiritual remedies for the ills that now plague families. At Lourdes, she nurtured the virtues of faith, hope and love which are essential to family life. The beautiful Shrine of the Sagrada Familia in Spain is perhaps the most beautiful temple to the Holy Family in the whole world. My hope is that our pilgrimage will inspire and guide us in our work on behalf of the Family and of Life. To join us on our holy journey, please email me at email@example.com.
Friday was the 19th Annual National Memorial for the Pre-born and their Mothers and Fathers, and it took place just before the annual March for Life. The Memorial is a solemn remembrance of all those lost to abortion and the injury done to their parents—as well as a joyous celebration of God’s good gift of Life! Some 60 clergy from almost as many denominations led and hundreds of dedicated pro-lifers participated. We were close to the White House, we literally shouted out a respectful message to the President!
Please continue to pray with Fr. Paul Schenck, his twin brother, Rev. Rob Schenck, Rev. Pat Mahoney, Fr. Frank Pavone and many others for an end to the 40 years of wilderness wandering under Roe v. Wade—and the hope of God’s leading us into the promised land of Life! Pray also that the hundreds gathered with us served as a prophetic pro-life Christian witness to all of our top-level government officials, including President Obama—at his home across the street!
Following the National Memorial Service was the Annual March for Life where hundreds of thousands of people, mostly under 20, will trek from the Mall down Constitution Avenue all the way to the Supreme Court. Pray that this march to proclaim the sanctity and dignity of all human life served as a powerful prophetic witness not only to our national leaders but to all of America.
President Obama’s Second Inauguration and the Unfinished Work of Freedom for our First Neighbors in the Womb
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
Church bells tolled across the midstate [last] Tuesday afternoon, marking the 40-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
One hundred Catholic churches participated in the bell ringing as a sign of mourning.
“Roe v. Wade is a monumental immoral decision,” said Father Paul Schenck, Director Respect Life. “It led to untold human suffering and premature deaths of millions of American citizens. If anyone else did what an abortionist does, it would be considered homicide. Does it make it more moral because consent was given? I don’t think so.”
Today we celebrate Epiphany, what we might call “the other Christmas”. Why do I say that? On Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, Son of David – the renowned Jewish king, foretold by the prophets. We return to the ancient Judean capital, Bethlehem, the City of David, where he is circumcised on the eighth day and given the Hebrew Name Yeshua, Jesus.
Today, we celebrate the Good News “breaking out” beyond the boundaries of Israel, and being made known to all the peoples of the world – to every tribe, and tongue and people and nation. So, we celebrate the Savior who comes to the Gentiles. This is symbolized by the three wise men who came from the East (Iraq and Iran!) to welcome and worship Him.
“Epiphany” – means “revealed”. But what is it, exactly, that is revealed to the magi?
- It’s revealed that God loves all human beings, not just one kind.
- It’s revealed that God has a perfect plan to save us from the dead-end of sin and selfishness, and love us back from the brink of hatred, jealousy, prejudice, greed and violence that threatens to destroy us.
- It’s revealed that God chose to do this through a small, humble and unassuming family from a poor neighborhood so that the poor and the rich could recognize the love at the heart of this world-transforming event.
Notice the stark contrast between the Magi kings and Herod the king: Herod sees the promised child as a threat. He’s afraid the coming baby will crimp his style, will challenge his power and lower his status.
Today, we too often see the commitment to marriage, the prospect of a child and the responsibilities of family life as a threat to our personal freedom, our power to do whatever we want and a challenge to our independent lifestyles.
The Magi see the promised child as wonderful gift. They’ve humbled themselves to travel a great distance to a strange culture that speaks a different language, which looks and acts differently, in order to embrace this baby who fulfills God’s love.
Herod’s selfishness, fueled by his fears, leads to his downfall. The Magi’s worship, inspired by the prophets, leads to the salvation of all the nations. Today more than two billion people call themselves Christians, in large part because of the humility of these three kings.
The gift of eternal life is offered to the peoples of the world through the birth a child. The gift of human life, the greatest gift anyone can ever receive, is still being offered to us in each and every child of every race and gender, country and culture.
Each of us needs to be open to this wonderful gift of human life, of eternal life, by responding to God’s love calling us to worship Him as single persons, religious, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony and by cherishing the new life that every child embodies.
Today we celebrate the “Epiphany”, God’s great gift revealed to the world in the babe of Bethlehem, and we celebrate the great gift of humanity revealed to the world in each and every child, born, stillborn and yet to be born.
The founder of Dominos Pizza won his bid for an emergency order to prevent enforcement of the mandate while the lawsuit it filed against the Obama administration over the HHS mandate that forces religious employers to purchase drugs that may cause abortions for their employees continues.
Tom Monaghan calls requiring businesses, schools and other religious places to pay for such drugs a “gravely immoral” practice and filed suit earlier this month in federal court for Domino’s Farms, a business development complex he owns.
To read more, click here…..
This article first appeared in LifeNews.com.