Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Saturday, March 21, 2015

World Down Syndrome Day 2015



Today is World Down syndrome Day. Its purpose is to "raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities."
Down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21. It is called that because a person with the syndrome has 3 pairs of chromosome 21.
Sadly, for too many, Down syndrome is seen as a curse & something to be eliminated via abortion. Over 90% of those children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. The reasons include the false claim that these children will not have an acceptable quality of life & parents who do not want to be "saddled" with a child who is disabled. Some people, like Richard Dawkins, say that 100% of all those diagnosed with Down syndrome should be aborted.
This is so horribly wrong. & why a day like this is sorely needed. 
Studies, like those reported by an article by Live Action News show just the opposite to the claims made to justify it. In 1 study "out of 2,044 parents or guardians surveyed, 79% reported their outlook on life was “more positive” because of their child with Down syndrome."
Another study "found that among siblings of children with Down syndrome, 97% expressed feelings of pride for their brother or sister and 88% were convinced that they were better people because of their sibling. This study polled siblings over the age of 12."
& in yet another study that focused on the feelings & attitudes of those people with Down syndrome. "Among adults with Down, 99% said they were happy with their lives and 97% said they liked who they were. 96% said they liked the way they looked. You would probably not find such high numbers among the general public. According to the study, Down syndrome children grow up to be happy adults."
In high school & college I worked with children & adults who had Down syndrome. My life has been greatly enriched because of what they gave to me for the little I gave to them.
A huge reason why we see the high rate of abortion for those with Down syndrome has to do with our "culture of death" so prevalent in the world today. This attitude towards them reminds me of the attitude seen in Nazi Germany before & during World War II. I can best bring that home by sharing a story that Corrie ten Boom told in her book "The Hiding Place" that was later repeated in the movie version.
In the book she tells of an interrogation by a Nazi lieutenant after her arrest for helping to hide Jews from being arrested & sent to death camps. When asked about her work she began talking about her efforts to bring the Gospel to those who were then called "retarded" or "feeble minded." The officer finally exploded & said "What a waste of time and energy! If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!"
Corrie ten Boom responded to what she calls an example of "true National-Socialist philosophy" by saying "The truth, Sir, is that God's viewpoint is sometimes different from ours." She went on to add "In the Bible I learned that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or---a lieutenant."  The interview quickly ended after that. But she had made her point that God's values were those of what we now call the Culture of Life, not the Nazi version of the "culture of death." 
Today is the 10th anniversary of World Sown syndrome Day. It has been official celebrated by the UN since 2012. This is the same UN that pushed abortion as a right. Their hypocrisy, in this case, knows no bounds. They are giving a death sentence to the very people they claim they are celebrating.
Today is a day to celebrate the gifts God has given us in those with Down syndrome. It is a day to honor them. But we cannot let today go by & forget them the other 364 days of a year. We must continue to fight for their right to life from the moment of conception on. Their role as a vital part of our lifes & communities must be honored & welcomed.  In our doing so, we will be truly be building that Culture of Life that values every human being the way God values them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Is Planned Parenthood Worse than ISIS?

South Dakota State Representative Isaac Laterell (R-Sioux Falls) recently created a firestorm when he said that Planned Parenthood was worse than ISIS because it Planned Parenthood beheads more Americans in a month than ISIS has during its entire existence. He was referring to a D&E (dilation & evacuation or extraction) abortion. Naturally Planned Parenthood has denied they do any of this type of abortion that dismember the unborn child. However South Dakota Department of Health records show something entirely different. Their website shows that a handful of D&E abortions have been performed in the state since at least 2008. Add to that that the only abortion clinic in SD is the Planned Parenthood clinic & it is clear that, as usual, Planned Parenthood is lying.
But that hasn't stopped the Pro-abortion reporters & bloggers from jumping on the PP support bandwagon & attacking Representative Laterell as a liar. (For example: herehere & here) They not only repeat the PP lie, they deny that abortion is murder in the 1st place, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary. Don't forget, these are the same people who support Obama when he denies that ISIS is a terrorist group as well.
But is Planned Parenthood worse than ISIS? Or merely just as evil? The short answer is, Planned Parenthood is worse. Here is why I say that.
To start with I want to share a Scripture reason that is the basis for what I am about to say to prove my point. Jesus said: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matthew 10:28 The Jerusalem Bible) This quote is taking from a section of the Gospel where Jesus is talking about the persecution & possible martyrdom His followers will face.
It is obvious that ISIS is merely destroying the body. Pope Tawadros II head of the Coptic Church recently declared that the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians killed by ISIS in Libya were martyrs & will now be recognised as saints in the Coptic Church. Pope Francis also said they were martyrs because they had their "throats slit for the sole reason of  being Christians." (Note: this does not mean that they are officially recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.)
If all Planned Parenthood did was kill unborn babies then they would be equal, not worse, than ISIS. But what Planned Parenthood does goes far beyond what ISIS does.
Planned Parenthood openly advocates premarital sex. It encourages young people to use condoms & other forms of birth control to have "safe sex". It also supports & promotes homosexual marriage & sex acts.
Unfortunately that goes contrary to the purpose for which God intended sex. He intended it to be between a man & a woman, & only after they were married. Any other form of sex, including masturbation (something else Planned Parenthood promotes), runs contrary to God's plan. Those acts are also mortal sins. That means that if a person dies unrepentant of those sins, he or she will spend eternity in Hell. In short the end result is the destruction of both body & soul in Hell.
Additionally abortion is murder & also a mortal sin. While not every woman willingly has an abortion, many are pressured into it by a parent, the father or others & thus not fully culpable. But even so abortion does emotional & spiritual damage to those involved, & not only the woman involved. Fathers & other family members are affected as well. That is why groups like Rachel's Vineyard, Project Rachel, Fatherhood Forever & Silent No More Awareness exist. They were founded to bring God's forgiveness & healing to those harmed by abortion.
ISIS can merely harm the body. Planned Parenthood can harm both the body & soul, not only here on Earth, but ensuring eternity in hell for those who buy what they sell & die unrepentant.
Planned Parenthood is a part of the demonic "culture of death." As I pointed out, much of what they claim are lies. They serve the "father of lies," Satan. Satan's goal, as well as that of Planned Parenthood & the rest of the abortion industry who serve him, is to destroy as many souls as possible. 
Representative Latterell was right in calling Planned Parenthood worse than ISIS. He spoke the truth. But what he may not have realized is how much more there was to that truth beyond what he intended to say.


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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dr. Jack Wilke 5 April 1925-20 February 2015



The Pro-life movement lost a truly great man last Friday, Dr. Jack Wilke. Originally an obstetrician, he became the father of the Pro-life movement. He began travelling across country with his wife Barbara in the 60s. In 1988 he retired from his practice to devote himself full time to pro-life work.
In 1971 he published his 1st book, Handbook on Abortion, co-written with his wife Barbara. Over the years the book was revised & expanded in 1975 & 1979. It went through 24 printings. It was also translated into 10 languages. It was the handbook, or bible for the Pro-life movement
In 1985 it was replaced with Abortion: Question & Answers. It used the most up to date information & soon achieved the same status of its predecessor. It was revised in 1985, 1989 & 1991. It was translated into 20 languages.
In 1997 they came out with a new book that retained part of its predecessor's name but also added new emphasis. It was called Abortion Questions & Answers: Why Not Love Them Both. That book has also been revised over the years & was again translated into many other languages. It proved a worthy successor to the earlier books.
From 1984 to 1991 he was the president of the National Right to Life Committee. He was also a founding member & president emeritus of the International Right to Life. In 1991 he co-founded Life Issues Institute with Bradley Mattes. It was started to provide updated information as  well as the latest & best ways to provide people with the information & the Pro-life message as a whole. Dr. Wilke continued working, speaking & appearing on radio & TV to spread the Pro-life message. His wife passed away in April 203.
Lest this sound just like an impersonal obituary, I have to add something about the effect his work has had on me.
I 1st read his book Handbook on Abortion in the 80s. At the time I wasn't that familiar with Planned Parenthood & how they operated, let alone its founder Margaret Sanger. What I read was a real eye opener. What I read made me all the more determined to fight for life & to get out the truth about Sanger & her organization.
The book talked about Sanger's eugenics views & her work to eliminate those whom she saw as unfit mainly through eugenic sterilization. Who did she consider unfit? "Black people, Jews, Southern European immigrants (especially Italians*), but also others of 'low I.Q.' These 'feebleminded' people where a menace to the race.'"
What stopped me in my tracks was what she said about Southern European immigrants & those from Italia in particular. My maternal grandparents & one pair of my maternal great-grandparents were from Southern Italy. I realized that if Sanger had gotten her way, I would never have been born. At that point the battle became very personal. Over the years, especially through this blog & more recently via Facebook & Twitter, I have done my best to get the information about the real, racist goals of the abortion industry out.
Over the years, his writings & work through the Life Issues Institute have provided me with many tools to use in my Pro-life work.
Dr. Wilke has done much to save the lifes of the unborn & spread the entire Pro-life message. But now his work is done & he has entered into his rest.
Thank Dr. Wilke for a job well done.


*Emphasis mine

Sources:  Father of the pro-life movement Dr. Jack Willke passed away Friday

Dr. Jack Willke, Father of the Modern Pro-Life Movement, Passes Away

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 Virtual St. Joseph Altar



It is my happy privilege to announce that the 2015 Virtual St. Joseph Altar is now open. It is an online version of the many St. Joseph Altars that are erected by Italians both in Italia as well as the USA & elsewhere.
The tradition of the altars goes back to the Middle Ages. At the time, Sicilia was experiencing a very severe drought & thus in the midst of a severe famine. So the people of Sicilia prayed to their padrone, San Giuseppe for help. The rains came, putting an end to the famine.
The thank San Giuseppe, they built an altar & the people brought food from the harvest. This food was distributed to the poor. As time went on the devotion spread. The altars grew in size & certain traditions  about the shape & way it was built arose. Also certain foods became a part of the tradition as well.
The altar has 3 tiers, in honor of the Trinity. A statue or image of San Giuseppe is placed on the top tier. The various foods brought as an offering are placed on the other two. Bread crumbs are sprinkled on the altar as a symbol of the sawdust in San Giuseppe's workshop. The fava bean is also present. Usually grown as fodder for the cattle, during the famine it was the only food available, so it serves as a reminder of the suffering San Giuseppe relieved them off.
Breads & pastries are baked into special shapes. These include that of a monstrance to honor the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Other shapes include a dove to symbolize the Holy Spirit, chalice, wreath (crown of thorns) & palms. Others are shaped like a ladder, nails, a hammer, a saw, staff & lilies. These are traditional symbols of San Giuseppe.
A huge variety of dishes, meatless of course since it is Lent, are also placed on the altar. There is usually a bottle or 2 of wine to symbolize the miracle at Cana. There are also flowers, candles & some citrus fruit.
Visitors to the altar are given a goody bag. The bag includes a San Giuseppe holy card & medal as well as a fava bean & a few of the cookies or pastries on the altar. 
San Giuseppe is the Patron of the Universal Church. He is also known as the Guardian of the Redeemer & terror of demons. In this day & age when human life, especially that of the unborn is under attack, enemies are trying to destroy the Catholic Church from within as well as without & purity seems to be a thing of the past, San Giuseppe's aid & protection is needed more than ever.
So please visit the altar, make a virtual offering, leave your prayer requests & ask San Giuseppe's intercession for your beloved departed. & don't forget to pick up your virtual goody bag.

VIVA SAN GIUSEPPE!



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Sunday, February 01, 2015

How the Abortion Industry Targets the Black Community

Recently, I was thinking of the damage done to the black community by the abortion industry. The holiday honoring Martin Luther King as well as the anniversary of Roe v Wade & Doe v Bolton fell in the same week. So on the Saturday before the MLK holiday I sent in the following letter to the Dubuque TH. It was published on 22 January which I felt was the perfect day.

I will admit that I was very fustrated because the 250 word limit kept me from sharing so much more than I was able. I had to leave out such facts as Margaret Sanger's speaking to the Klu Klux Klan as well as many other of Sanger's racist quotes. 
The few comments are all positive, but I suspect that is due more to the fact that the TH now requires you to use your real name, not an avitar. Those who would hide behind the anonymity would now have to put their racism on display that they try to keep hidden.
Also, I had nothing to do with the title given it by the TH. IMHO their title makes it sound like I think Roe v Wade was a good thing instead of the evil it is.
PS: If you can, please come to hear Dr. King speak here in DBQ on 1 May.


Letter: Parallels in Roe decision, MLK birthday

    Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 6:17 am, Thu Jan 22, 2015.

Jan. 22 marks the sad anniversary when the murder of unborn children by abortion became legal in the United States. The same week we honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, who fought for the civil rights of the black community.
Unfortunately, most people are unaware of how the abortion industry is working to destroy that black community.

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood's founder, described blacks as "human weeds" and "reckless breeders" spawning "human beings who should never have been born." (Pivot of Civilization, 1922).
On Dec. 19, 1939, Sanger wrote Dr. Clarence Gambel about her Negro Project: "We don't want the word to go out that we want to eliminate the Negro population."
Planned Parenthood never repudiated those statements but continues her efforts by locating 78 percent of their clinics in or near minority communities. Blacks make up 12 percent of the population, but have 35 percent of the abortions annually. (Source: blackgenocide.com).
Recently, a person told me he applauded Planned Parenthood's elimination of 170,000 blacks annually via abortion. This is only a small sample of the destruction the abortion industry does to the black community.
On May 1, Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. King, will speak in Dubuque. She heads Priests for Life's African-American Outreach. She is very outspoken on the damage the abortion industry has done to the black community.
I challenge everyone who wants the truth about blacks and abortion to come and hear her speak.
For more information, contact Dubuque County Right to Life, 563-556-5960.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

These Doctors Have the Prescription for What Ails the Catholic Church

Back in 2010 I ordered a book from Tan Books entitled The 33 Doctors of the Church.* I got it because I was interested in finding out more about who those Doctors were, what they taught, & why they were made Doctors of the Church.



The book was written by the late Fr. Christopher Rengers, O.F.M. Cap. He passed away at the age of 92 in 2010. Fr. Rengers was a prolific author. He also had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe & led pilgrimages twice a year to Mexico City & the Shrine there. Additionally, & not surprisingly, he was also a strong defender of the rights of the unborn. On 21 January 1977, the eve of the annual March for Life, he said Mass in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine. That was followed by an all night prayer vigil. That was the start of the annual Mass that grew to include priests, Bishops & Cardinals from around the US. The all night vigil continues each year as well.
The book had its origins in the naming of a fellow Capuchin, St Lawrence of Brindisi, as a Doctor of the Church by St. Pope John XXIII in 1959. The book was substantially finished in 1967. Then in 1971 Venerable (very soon to be Blessed) Pope Paul VI added St. Catherine of Siena & St. Teresa of Avila. Finally, St Therese of Lisieux was added by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997.* The finished work was published by TAN Books in 2000.*
Now we usually think of someone in the medical profession when we hear the word doctor. But the word is actually derived from the Latin word docere. "to teach." It meant that the person was qualified to teach on the subject he had studied.
The Doctors of the Church were clearly qualified to teach. & while some of them spent years in study others didn't. But the one common factor was that they were ultimately taught by the Holy Spirit no matter what other education they may have had.
But their knowledge also had a spiritual ability to analyse

The book is organized into a chapter for each Doctor. The order was based on the birth of each doctor. In doing so, an interesting fact is noticed, with a couple of exceptions, the Doctors seem to appear in clusters & usually in periods where the truths taught by the Church were being questioned or even denied & often heresies offered to replace them.
The 1st group of 13 wrote & taught in the 4th & 5th Centuries. That was the era of the Arian, Manichean, Monophysitism & Nestorian heresies.
Another group of 6 appeared during the 16th & 17th Centuries. That was the time of the Protestant Reformation (rebellion) started by Martin Luther, Calvin, etc. Some of these Doctors wrote to defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. Some wrote with the aim of convincing people to return to the Church. Others wrote to help Catholics to grow stronger in their faith.
Each chapter provides a biography of the saint as well as a look at some of what they wrote.
While I have read the various chapters over the past 4 years, I recently decided to start reading the entire book in the order found in the book. As I have been rereading their stories I realized how they had plenty to say about the problems we are facing today. That also meant that they would face rejection by various factions in the Church today as well. & as I will show, that means those on the right as well as the left.
Some of them faced exile, persecution & arrest for daring to speak the truth against those who claimed to be Catholic but supported heretical views instead. Others faced death threats. But all of them remained faithful to Jesus & His Catholic Church.
I said that some would be criticised & condemned by both the left & the right. A good example is St. Ambrose. Yes, the same Ambrose who brought St. Augustine into the Catholic Church & has 1 of the Western rites named after him, The Ambrosian aka Milanese rite.
Here is what he had to say about the social obligation of the rich:
"It is not from your own goods that you give largesses to the beggar; it is a portion of his own which you are restoring to him.  What was given for all in common you usurp for your own benefit. The earth belongs to all, not to the rich only. You are consequently paying back a debt; do not go away and think you are making a gift to which you not bound." (De Nabuthe, XII, 53)
You will notice he didn't say a word about the government's obligation, just that of the rich.
As for the beggar: "Never were there so many beggars as today. We see coming to us strong, hearty fellows, who have no other title but their vagrancy, and who claim their right to despoil the poor of what they earn and empty their purses. A little does not satisfy them; they must have more. They trick themselves out in a way to render their demands more urgent, and make up false descriptions of their social condition in order to swell the gifts they receive. To give credence too benevolently to their stories means to exhaust in a short time the alms set aside for the subsistence of the poor. There must be, therefore, a limit. Let them not go away empty-handed, but let not him who helps the needy to live become the prey of schemers. Let us not be inhumane, but let us not deprive extreme indigence of all support." (De Officiis, II, 16)
St. Ambrose makes it clear we have the responsibility to help the truly needy. But he would definitely condemn those who rip off the system along with those who abet them who blindly, & sometimes not so blindly, look the other way in the name of a false compassion.
If you think they attacks on Cardinal Burke have been vicious because of his stand for authentic Catholic doctrine, then look at the example of St. Athanasius. At the Council of Nicea he helped to champion  the doctrine of the divinity of Christ against the Arians. 5 months after the Council, the then about 30 year old Athenasius was made bishop of Alexandria, Egypt. But 5 times during his almost 47 years as Bishop he was driven into exile by his Arian enemies with the help of the emperor. The most active included a fellow bishop, & supporter of the Arian heresy, Eusebuius of Nicomedia.
Then let us not forget St. Catherine of Siena. She was not afraid to correct civil leaders like Queen Joanna & the King of France & even Cardinals.  Now we see too many politicians that abandon their faith for power, thus supporting things like legal abortion.  What she said to Queen Joanna could just as easily be applied to Nancy Pelosi or VP Joe Biden. "You have abandoned the councils of the Holy Spirit to listen to the Evil One; you were a branch of the true Vine, and have cut yourself off with the knife of self-love. You were the beloved daughter of your Father, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, and now you have abandoned him."  
St. Lawrence of Brindisi wrote at the time of the Protestant reformation. Some of what he wrote was to counter what Luther & the Protestant Reformation was proclaiming. But, he could also be considered as the father of not only modern Mariology, but modern Josephology. In The Incarnational Circle he talks about God's plan to not only have a virgin-mother for His Son, but that she would be united to a virgin-husband. This means that St. Joseph was predestined in the eternal plan of creation in the 1st place after Jesus & Mary. It also means, among other things, that Joseph was predestined to be the virgin Father of Christ.
Sadly his writings on The Incarnational Circle are not readily available in English. This is also all too true of the writings of many of the other Doctors as well.
Those are only a few examples of how relevant the lives & teachings of the Church Doctors are for us today.  Some of their writings are aimed at the clergy, others for the laity. But all sought to uphold the eternal truths of the Catholic Church & help all members to live their faith to the fullest.
What they have taught is sorely needed today. Like the times of the early Church Fathers when heresies were rampantly promoted in the Church, we see the errors of the Modernist heresy being promoted. Like the time of the Protestant Reformation there is confusion about what the Catholic Church actually teaches & how we are to live our lives. The now 35 Doctors* of the Church provide the clarity we need to answer those heresies & clear up the confusion. They truly have the prescription for what ails the Catholic Church today.
___________________________
* The book was updated this year to include the 2 new Doctors, St. John of Ávila and St. Hildegard of Bingen, Papa Benedetto added to the list. The book is now entitled The 35 Doctors of the Church.

 


The information about the latest to join the list was written by Dr. Matthew E. Bunson K.H.S. While TAN still has the older edition available at a reduced price, I would recommend that you get the updated edition instead. I haven't had the chance to order it yet, but it is on my list.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Did King Solomon Warn Us About the Dangers of the Modern Left?

The other day a friend of mine put up a quote from Ecclesiastes 10 that talk about the wise & the foolish: "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." (Ecclesiates 10:2 NIV)
He also mentioned where Jesus said the goats would be on His left hand & the sheep on the right. Remember the goats are those heading to Hell.
He raised the question about why liberals are called the "Left" & conservatives the "Right".  Historically, it goes back to the French Revolution & the seating arrangement of the Estates General. The radicals who wanted to overthrow everything sat on the left. That included getting rid of religion. The result was the "Reign of Terror", a prime example, IMHO, of the left at its natural worst. Also a reminder that the same thing could happen today because once again the left is trying to throw out religion.
But this also got me thinking about the apparent coincidence found in that quote from Ecclesiastes. So, haven taken 3 college level semesters of Biblical Hebrew I dug out my Hebrew Bible, what Christians call the Old Testament, & my Hebrew dictionary. Here is the original Hebrew:
 לב חכם לימינו ולב כסיל לשמאל 
Here is my translation: "(The) heart of the wise is to the right (side or hand may be added) but (the) heart of the foolish is to the left (again may add side or hand)."  So far so good, the NIV did a fair job of translating it. 
But I didn't stop there. I decided to see how St. Jerome translated it into Latin. Here is what I found: "cor sapientis in dextera eius et cor stulti in sinistra illius."
For those whose Latin is rusty cor means heart, dextera refers to the right & sinistra to the left. (The root words are sinister for left & dexter for right.) In fact the word sinister is still in use According to the dictionary it is an adjective that means "having an evil appearance : looking likely to cause something bad, harmful, or dangerous to happen"
When St. Jerome did the translation he used the vulgar, or common version of Latin used by the average speaker. 
The Douay-Rheims translation is based on the Vulgate.  It says "The heart of a wise man is in his right hand, and the heart of a fool is in his left hand."
Many other modern translations also use refernece to the left for foolishness/fools & right for wisdom/wise. The New American Bible says "The wise man's understanding turns him to his right; the fool's understanding turns him to his left." The RSV-CE says "A wise man's heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool's heart toward the left." Finally, from La Sacra Bibbia - Edizione CEI, "La mente del sapiente si dirige a destra e quella dello stolto a sinistra." (Translation: "The mind of the wise is directed to the right is the one of the fool to the left.")
As I already pointed out the Latin word for left, sinister, is also used for describing an evil, something harmful or something bad. So let's look at a few things the modern left is promoting that shows how they are living up to their sinister, or leftist, label.
We could start with abortion, the murder of innocent unborn babies. Then there is the promotion of euthenasia, gay marriage, homosexual acts as being OK, etc. In short, what Pope John Paul labeled as the "culture of death." & that is only a part of the evils promoted these days by the modern left.
So maybe King Solomon wasn't thinking of the modern left when he wrote what he did under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit knew what things would be like in the early part of the 21st Century.
Of course the left would say that what they are promoting is wisdom & good. In their minds it is, because it what they say the world calls wisdom. But as St Paul pointed out to the Corinthians "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God."
So they proffess themselves to be wise. But as St. Paul told the Romans "Proffessing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
We are seeing the results of that foolishness in the destruction of our culture. We are also seeing where that is leading, to the destruction of America & Western civilization if they are allowed to continue taking us down the path they want us to follow.
& we can't say we haven't been warned.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Huge Setback for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's Telemed Abortion Scheme

 Polk County District Judge Jeffrey Farrell upheld the ban on telemed abortions (webcam abortions) that the Iowa Board of Medicine imposed last year. It was imposed based on FDA protocol for the use of RU-486 aka Mifeprex, the primary drug. The protocol call for a doctor to be actually be present:
“Mifeprex may be administered only in a clinic, medical office, or hospital, by or under the supervision of a physician, able to assess the gestational age of an embryo and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies. Physicians must also be able to provide surgical intervention in cases of incomplete abortion or severe bleeding, or have made plans to provide such care through others, and be able to assure patient access to medical facilities equipped to provide blood transfusions and resuscitation, if necessary.”
As it was being done by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PPH), a minimal exam was done by a nurse that basically consisted of a sonogram. The sonogram was e-mailed to the PPH doctor in Des Moines. Then after a short talk with the woman via Skype about the drugs, the PPH doctor in Des Moines pressed a button that opened a drawer with the 2 drugs used. The 2nd drug was taken at home a few days later & rarely was there a followup as required by the protocols. (Note: I am assuming that that minimal exam etc, was followed based on their sides claims. Given their track record of covering up rape, etc, I am not sure how accurate that even that minimal claim of what they do is accurate.
Many concerns were raised about this dangerous disregard for the safety of women. On 28 August 2013 the Iowa Board of Medicine held a public hearing on the regulation of telemed abortions that I, along with many other Pro-lifers from Dubuque attended. 1 of those who spoke was Marian Bourek, executive director of Dubuque County Right to Life (DCRTL).  Marian had spent 2 terms as a lay member of the board. She talked about the use of dangerous chemicals for the women where "there was not a patient-doctor relationship for the woman."  She went on to add "If Planned Parenthood, or any doctor, truly cares about women they would follow the FDA recommendations and not use the procedure at all."
The hearings were set up to allow each side to take turns. It was interesting to watch how it was a few of the pro-abortion supporters that tried to speak out of turn, especially from their seat in the audience. The Board quickly put an end to those attempts.
As I listened to what the telemed abortion supporters said, I got very upset with some of the lies & half-truths they said. I didn't get up to speak in response to what they said. However, I did submit a written statement addressing those claims.
About a month later the Board voted to require a doctor be actually present, effectively banning telemed abortions. The ruling was scheduled to go in effect about 3 November 2013.  Naturally PPH wasn't happy & immediately filed a lawsuit to ban the rule from taking effect in November. A few days before the ruling was to go into effect, the judge allowed PPH to continue doing the procedure until his ruling was made.
Today that ruling was made by Judge Farrell. In it he said that the Iowa Board of Medicine had the authority to make the rule. "There is no question that the board has the power to establish standards of practice for the medical profession. Those standards include the authority to adopt and enforce standards regarding the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice." 
He also said they followed all the legal requirements before making the rule. This ruling means that a doctor MUST physically examine the woman. The judge  also said that despite the added cost and time required for some women, it did not create an undue burden on them.
The ruling is scheduled to go into effect in 30 days.
Another claim made by PPH in the lawsuit was that Monsignor Frank Bonanno played an "outsized role" in the ruling. The judge disagreed. He said  "Monsignor Bognanno may oppose all abortion, but the record demonstrates that he focused his attention on medical abortion and the applicable standard of care.
The judge also replied to the complaint that Mnsr Bognanno inappropriately distributed antiabortion materials to other board members. "The materials he sent to other board members focused on medical abortion, and his public statements were limited to the standard of care for medical abortion."
When I asked her about the ruling, DCRTL's Marian Bourek had the following to say: "I'm thrilled with the judge's ruling. He obviously took into account the safety of women."
Naturally PPH has said they will appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.
Throughout this whole time the big claim made by PPH about banning telemed abortions was that it was an attempt to limit rural women's access to abortion. Or as they put it, needed medical care. They said at the hearing & everywhere else that these women were unable to get to larger cities to have access to abortion.
As usual. with PPH the reality is quite a bit different. They talk about their concerns for women in rural areas, but their actions say something else.
According to PPH, these women were unable to get to the larger cities & needed the more convenient access that a PP site in rural communities would provide. This year PPH has closed the last few of their rural sites, including the only 2 that offered telemed abortions. The past few years before that they closed the other 6 rural sites they were running.
1 of those was in Monticello. When they openned it about 8 years ago they used the same claim about women needing currently unavailable access to medical care. A couple of years later they closed it down saying that women were going to the Dubuque & Cedar Rapids sites instead. So much for the claim of the huge need.
While we are on the claim of a huge need, 7 years ago this week, Planned Parenthood of Eastern Iowa (now a part of PPH) opened its Dubuque site on Central. At the time they were open 40+ hours a week. They moved about 2 years ago to their own building. At that time they claimed they were not planning on adding telemed abortions to their services They did so up to just before the addition of telemed abortions. Now the Dubuque site is only open 13-1/2 hours a week. What happened to the huge need in Dubuque & all those women from the Monticello area that were coming here? Sadly, about the only time they do have people is the day they offer abortions.
According to the Des Moines Register story, in 2011 PPH had 16 sites that offered telemed abortions, earlier this year they said that only 7 sites offer them.  PPH described the closings of various sites & the reduction of the number of sites offering telemed abortions as well as the closings as shifts being made for efficency reasons.
The 16 & 7 counts don't tell the whole story. In 2011 the Dubuque site didn't offer telemed abortions, now it does. Also, since PPH"s Cedar Rapids site just stopped offering them. That would make the number 17 at one time & now 6, for a reduction of 11 sites. But that 6, or even 7, isn't correct according to PP's website.  The listing of Iowa sites shows that 9 sites currently offer telemed abortions. Or as they describe it "abortion pill (medication abortion)." (Note: this number is subject to change.) So why don't the 2 numbers match up? Why the downplay on the actual number of sites?
PPH started offering telemed abortions in 2008. In 2007 there were 6649 abortions, all surgical. In 2012 there were 4648 surgical & medical abortions, a drop of 30%. PPH claims that this is due to  an increased use of contraception, including longer acting ones.
The reality is different. There are more crisis pregnancy centers in Iowa that provide real alternatives. I can't speak for every PP site, but I do know the peaceful prayerful picketers at the Dubuque site also try & talk to the women as they go by. That includes making them aware of the alternatives in Dubuque like The Clarity Clinic & Birthright of Dubuque. The Clarity Clinic has seen an increase in the number of unborn babies saved over the past year. & they have now opened a 2nd location in Platteville WI near UW-Platteville.
Another fact that PPH ignores when it talks about efficency reasons is the power that prayer has played in shutting down most of the sites & the reduction of hours at the Dubuque site. As I already mentioned, every hour that PPH is open in Dubuque people are out there praying. The same is true elsewhere in Iowa. There have been 2 40 Days for Life campaigns across the state that have seen several of the sites where they took place close.
The battle isn't over yet. As I pointed out, PPH said they will appeal. They will. We must keep praying that the Iowas Supreme Court does the right thing & uphold Judge Farrell's ruling.
But for now, there is a pause among Pro-lifers to celebrate & thank God for the victory won today.

Sources: Judge rules against use of telemed abortion system
Judge Upholds Iowa Pro-Life Law Banning Dangerous Webcam Abortions
Judge upholds Iowa law; telemed abortion to end in 30 days
Judge: Priest's role in telemed-abortion vote was OK

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