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Home » News » Communique – Mar. 9, 1999

Communique – Mar. 9, 1999

birth control

NEW ZEALAND: (see communiqué, 2/9/99, p. 2) The Lancet reports “In 1996, the [New Zealand] Ministry of Health did not follow the advice of MARC to advise doctors to “preferentially prescribe” older forms of the pill. …” The country’s Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee will be reviewing significant new data during its first 1999 meeting.

(Reading: “Deaths Linked to Third-Generation Contraceptives,” The Lancet, Vol. 353, 1/30/99, p. 389)

THE PILL: In a series of articles comprising a supplement to the February issue of The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the “treatment” for perfectly healthy women is characterized as “therapeutic” and several interesting points are made in the 32 page publication. To note a few:

Birth control providers are urged to do everything possible to “improve” patient compliance, including providing a “back up method” for missed pills; Professor Ian H. Thorneycroft, Ph.D., M.D., from Alabama claims that the pill is good for adrogenic conditions such as acne and hirsutism, but warns that the pill the dangerous for women who smoke. The problem with his meta-analysis is inconsistency. For example, he comments that “the major significant consequence of the new progestins’ reduced androgenicity may be their increased estrogenicity, reflected in an increased risk of venous thromboembolism and a greater potential for estrogen-related side effects.”

A second study points to the same potential for venous thromboembolism.

(Reading: “Current Issues in Oral Contraceptive Therapy,” Supplement to American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2/99, S275-S306. A copy may be acquired by mail: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mosby, Inc., 11830 Westline Industrial Drive, St. Louis, MO 63246-3318; phone 800-453-4351.)


FOR BABY! According to a report in Pediatrics, “infants with a very low birth weight are less susceptible to infection if they are fed breast milk (either exclusively or supplemented with formula) than if they are strictly bottle-fed.” The sample used in the study consisted of 212 hospitalized infants.

(Reading: “Mom’s Milk Is Not Just Comfort Food,” Family Planning Perspectives, 2/99; “Human Milk Feedings and Infections Among Very Low Birth Weight Infants,” Pediatrics, 9/3/98, p. e38;

fetal surgery

UNIVERSITY: Surgeons who are involved in fetal diagnosis and treatment (not to be confused with destruction) comment that “popular media [tend] to sensationalize fetal surgery cases” and that, on the positive side, many centers focus on their success in a positive way, including web sites that provide documented evidence of the surgical repairs that can now be done to children in utero. One such location is Vanderbilt Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy’s site:

Writers also comment that in-utero repair is now “technically feasible as early as 18-20 weeks.”

Comment: Caution is in order, however, as these doctors point out that certain conditions preclude child in utero from being eligible for surgical repair. Non-directive counseling, to use a pro-abortion term, could still result in an abortion being committed.

(Reading: “Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida,” The Lancet, 1/30/99, pp. 406-407.)


INDIANA: Jane Seig Stillson, newly pregnant with her second child in 1997, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She refused to have an abortion, even though doctors told her that to do so would save her life. Jane Sieg Stillson delivered her daughter, Jessica, on May 22, 1998. In November of 1998 her condition worsened, and on February 11, 1999 she passed away.

Comment: May the peace of Christ be with her family. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of Christ, rest in peace. Amen.

(Reading: “In a Better Place,” South Bend Tribune, 2/12/99, p. 1)

physician-assisted suicide

OREGON I: News reports can often unsuspectingly reveal hidden agendas about various tax-funded programs. The following description of the outcome in Oregon of one year with legalized physician assisted suicide is a very good example: “Oregon’s Health D ivision found no evidence of botched suicides and no complications such as vomiting or seizures from the lethal doses of barbiturates. Nearly all of those who took the drugs were unconscious within five minutes, and most were dead within an hour.”

(Reading: “15 Used Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law in First year,” Associated Press, 2/18/99)

For up to the minute tracking of physician assisted suicide headlines nation-wide, visit the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity web site:

OREGON II: Basing his comments on the New England Journal of Medicine examination of Oregon’s first full year with legalized physician-assisted suicide, and a news report out of Oregon, ethicist Jerome R. Wernow comments: “If [you] read closely you will note the next line drawn for battle, tightening the monitoring protocols. The Oregonian article today [2/19/99] was subtly written to prepare for that debate in the upcoming legislature. The Northwest Consortium on Healthcare Policy has submitted nine amendments which provide a tracking system, mandatory reporting, and research disclosure. If you read the Oregonian article closely you will notice that Dr. Katrina Hedberg, a Health Division medical epidemiologist and co-author of the report pointed out that the reporting was voluntary. I believe that speaks for itself. Basically those who participate in PAS are the only ones monitoring. The questions: What is to prevent only reporting the ‘positive cases?'”

(Reading: CBHD Forum e-mail by Jerome R. Wernow Ph.D., R. Ph., “15 Oregonians chose assisted Suicide in ’98,” Report Says,” Oregonian, 2/18/99; “Legalized Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon ? the First Year’s Experience,” The New England Journal of Medicine, 2-18-99, pp. 577-583)

POINT OF VIEW: Writing in American Medical News, N. K. O’Connor, MD of Red Lake, Minnesota comments on Jack Kevorkian:

“The ‘whose life is it?’ argument echoes the popular idea that we are isolated individuals who are in complete control of our own lives and beholden to no one for our actions.

“However, we do not live as isolated beings, but in a complicated web of relationships with our families, our communities and our Creator. Our life is not completely our own, for we have not only rights, but responsibilities to care for our children, and the sick and the helpless in our midst. For most Americans it is also a world where our actions, and even our suffering, are never meaningless when viewed through the light of eternity.

“The ancient laws against killing the sick are there because of the terrible destructive effect that such actions have had on the ties of trust that bind human beings one to another.”

Comment: And we might add, because of Hell!

(Reading: “Assisted Suicide is Based on Fallacy that we are ‘Isolated Individuals,'” American Medical News, 2/15/99, p. 23)


SMITH-NESS: New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith recently announced his bid for the Republication nomination for president of the United States. He said, “Political leadership is not about who gives the best speech, it’s not about who has the most money, it’s not about who the media thinks is the front-runner. It’s about character, it’s about integrity, it’s about a commitment to principle. And it is about bold, courageous, passionate, committed leadership.”

Smith also said that one of his first priorities would be, were he elected to the White House, to DEFINE LIFE AS BEGINNING AT FERTILIZATION.

Comment: Character, integrity, principle, courage, passion and truth = SMITH-NESS. Send him a note of thanks and encourage him to stay the course. Assure him of your prayers.

(Reading: “N.H. Senator Runs for President;” Associated Press, 2/18/99; e-mail S enator Bob Smith through his web page at


HEPATITIS B: In an editorial condemning mandatory Hepatitis B vaccine for children, expert biopharmaceutics professional, Kristine Severyn, writes, “Because a few in society choose to sleep around or shoot up drugs, all Ohio children will be forced to receive a vaccine for a disease that more than 95 percent of them will never acquire in their lifetimes.” Severyn knows that vaccine policy has gone too far and publishes a newsletter to prove that hers is not a personal opinion, but a scientific fact. For information about the Vaccine Policy Institute, write Kristine Severyn, R.Ph., Ph.D., Director, Vaccine policy Institute, 251 West Ridgeway Drive, Dayton, Ohio 45459

(Reading: “Has Ohio’s Vaccine Policy Gone Too Far?” Dayton Daily News, 1/27/99, p. 8A; “Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule–United States, 1999;” CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2/17/99, pp. 601-603)


QUILT FOR LIFE: For details on participating in this project write Mary Ann Harold at Prayers for Life, 60 Woburn St., Medford, MA 02155 or call 781-391-1396.