Contraception In the News – BiMonthly Report

 Contraception in the News

Study Confirms Estrogen in Water from the Pill Devastating to Fish Populations

ST. JOHN, New Brunswick, February 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A study by Dr. Karen Kidd, of the University of New Brunswick and the Canadian Rivers Institute, found that estrogen from birth control pills flooding into the water system through sewage adversely affects fish populations. The researchers added estrogen to an experimental lake at a level commonly found in the treated wastewater from cities with about 200,000 people. The researchers discovered that one consequence is that exposed male fish become feminized, producing a protein normally found in females. Chronic exposure to estrogen led to the near extinction of the lake’s fathead minnow population, as well as significant declines in larger fish, such as pearl dace and lake trout. “We’ve known for some time that estrogen can adversely affect the reproductive health of fish, but ours was the first study to show the long-term impact on the sustainability of wild fish populations,” explains Kidd. “What we demonstrated is that estrogen can wipe out entire populations of small fish – a key food source for larger fish whose survival could in turn be threatened over the longer term.” Kidd also noted that once the estrogen levels in the water were lowered, fish populations rebounded after three years. “Once you take the stressor out the system, we now have ample evidence that suggests affected fish populations will recover,” she said. Kidd is preparing a report for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) titled, “From Kitchen Sinks to Ocean Basins: Emerging Chemical Contaminants and Human Health”. In the 1980’s and 90’s, municipalities in Canada and elsewhere began stencilling pictures of fish next to storm drains to remind citizens that toxic chemicals – such as paint and motor oil – poured into the sewers would harm the environment and wildlife. In 1998, a trendy industrial designer in San Francisco won an award for creating storm drain grates shaped like fish. Health authorities estimate that 100 million women worldwide take some form of hormonal contraceptives; but there is still little media attention given to the growing concerns of scientists about its environmental impact. However, studies are leaking out into the mainstream press more frequently as public interest in the environment grows. The Pill, along with numerous other commonly used chemicals, end up in the water system as estrogen. At a conference on breast cancer in Toronto in 1998, author and cancer surgeon Dr. Susan Love said, “Pollutants are metabolized in our bodies as estrogen. And it is lifetime exposure to estrogen that has increased world cancer rates by 26% since 1980….We live in a toxic soup of chemicals”. Studies are also showing significant evidence for a link between environmental estrogens and estrogen-like chemical pollutants and the earlier onset of puberty in girls. The phenomenon of early-onset puberty in American girls is so pervasive, that the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society urged changing the definition of abnormal development. Ten years ago, breast development at age 8 was considered abnormally early, but a study in 1997 said that among 17,000 girls in North Carolina, almost half of blacks and 15 percent of whites had begun breast development by age 8. Studies from the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand have shown similar results. The new definition for abnormally early breast development ought to be, the society says, 7 for white girls and 6 for black girls. Marcia Herman-Giddens, adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, said, “My fear is that medical groups could take the data and say ‘This is normal. We don’t have to worry about it.’ My feeling is that it is not normal. It’s a response to an abnormal environment.” Conclusive studies are difficult to conduct, however, because of the all-pervasive nature of the environmental contamination. With all the estrogen-like elements in the environment, Herman-Giddens said, “it’s virtually impossible to study. There’s no place to find an unexposed population.”


Condom Debate “Hijacked” and Drifting from “Evidence Based” Science

EDMONTON, January 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The British Medical Journal is running a pair of articles this week offering two opposed views on the question, “Are condoms the answer to rising rates of non-HIV sexually transmitted infections?” Drs. Markus J Steiner and Willard Cates, of Family Health International, of North Carolina and Dr. Stephen Genuis, associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta, have written on either side of the issue. The former, Drs. Steiner and Cates argue that condoms “can and should play a central role in halting the rising rates of sexually transmitted infection other than HIV”. Dr. Stephen Genuis, however, warns that the debate has been “highjacked” by an argument between two “mutually exclusive perspectives on sexual morality” and has moved away from “evidence based” science. On the one hand, Genuis writes, those promoting “safe sex (or safer sex) are accused of corrupting youth with amoral values”, while their “opponents are perceived as zealots who disregard scientific fact in imposing their fanaticism on society”. The idea that condoms are the first, last and usually only recommended protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is one of the most widely accepted in the field of public health. But the message of the life and family movement that abstinence before marriage and chaste fidelity within are the only sure means of avoiding STDs is starting to be heard. Cates and Steiner argue that “strong evidence from laboratory studies and mounting clinical studies” show that condoms reduce the risk of infections including HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis B. Condoms also reduce the risk of infections that are transmitted primarily through skin such as genital herpes, syphilis, chancroid, and human papillomavirus infection. They admit, however, that clinical studies have shown “inconsistent protective effects for most sexually transmitted infections other than HIV.” But they attribute this to “limitations in study design”. They also admit that their studies did not measure “critical factors such as exposure to infected partners, consistent and correct condom use, or incident infection”. They dismissed the promotion of abstinence as “difficult to achieve”.  Dr. Genuis answered that it is consistent use of condoms that has proved “difficult to achieve” and calls for a more “comprehensive” approach than simply encouraging those “who choose to be sexually active” to use a condom. He says that condoms cannot be “the definitive answer” to STDs because they “provide insufficient protection” against many common diseases transmitted through “‘skin to skin’ and ‘skin to sore'” contact. These include human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis, which, he says, are often transmitted despite condom use. But the greatest problem with condoms, he writes, is that people, particularly “aroused youth,” do not use them consistently, “regardless of knowledge or education”. “In theory, condoms offer some protection against sexually transmitted infection; practically, however, epidemiological research repeatedly shows that condom familiarity and risk awareness do not result in sustained safer sex choices in real life.” The use of condoms has been adopted as the central pillar of the fight against STDs in general, and HIV in particular, by most international health organizations. In recent years the slogan, “Abstinence, be faithful, use a condom,” also known as the “ABC strategy”, has been adopted as a means of appeasing “faith-based” organisations such as the UK’s Catholic overseas aid agency CAFOD that has adopted condoms as a key part of its programmes. Dr. Genuis writes, “The relentless rise of sexually transmitted infection in the face of unprecedented education about and promotion of condoms is testament to the lack of success of this approach”. He cites numerous large studies that have shown this failure even in countries such as Canada, Sweden and Switzerland that have “advanced sex education programmes.” “The ongoing assertion that condoms are ‘the’ answer to this escalating pandemic reminds me of Einstein’s words, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.”


Two Canadian Women Die from Use of Contraceptive Patch; Sixteen More Suffer Blood Clots

TORONTO, January 11, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two Canadian women have died and sixteen more have reported serious blood clotting in connection with the use of Evra, a hormonal contraceptive patch that releases estrogen directly into the bloodstream through the skin. Health Canada released safety information for the drug in late 2006, but the warnings about increased possibility of blood clots in the legs and lungs have not been enough to prevent women from using the patch. Two Canadian women who used the drug died from complications induced by the patch in 2006. One of the deaths was caused by a heart attack, which the manufacturers blamed the woman’s smoking habit for. Multiple other women, however, have complained of dangerous blood clotting caused by the patch, conditions that may lead to a stroke or even death. Siskinds, an Ontario-based law firm specializing in business law and class actions, has filed a class suit against Janssen-Ortho Inc., the manufacturers of the patch. A hearing has been scheduled in Toronto to determine whether the case can continue through the court system as a class action suit. The patch, controversial since its release to the market, has faced class action in the United States, where women suffered from blood clotting in their lungs after using the patch. While some of those women have asserted that the drug is not worth the risk, advocates of the patch claim that there is no problem, since women are warned of possible blood clotting on the patch’s label.”Everybody who you start on this product – whether it’s a pill or a patch or a ring – gets the same warning,” said Dr. Melissa Mirosh, former fellow of the contraception research fellowship program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “What I tell people is that any estrogen-containing birth control product will slightly raise your risk of having a blood clot in your leg or in your lung. But it does not raise it nearly as much as being pregnant or having a baby. And that risk is a very small increase.” Some doctors refused to prescribe the patch after its bad publicity, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Janssen-Ortho to include the warnings about blood clots and possible stroke on the product’s label.


The Homily that Caused an Outcry and the Priest to be Dismissed: Homily on NFP provokes congregation member to stand up and shout at priest “When are you going to stop?”

ROCKFORD, Illinois, January 7, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This past December 9, at St. James’ parish in Rockford Illinois, a very normal Mass suddenly became a very unusual Mass when a parishioner stood up in the middle of the homily, interrupted the priest, shouting at him “When are you going to stop?”, and then left, with her homosexual partner in tow.  A few other parishioners also stood up and left the church.  A few days later, the priest was dismissed from his duties at the parish by his bishop. Catholics know that there are some things that you just don’t hear preached from the pulpit any more. The most conspicuous of these unpreachables is sexual ethics, especially the idea that using contraception might be immoral, and contrary to a Culture of Life.  Most priests know that these are unpopular subjects, and emphatically avoid them. But Fr. Tom Bartolomeo, who until several weeks ago was the associate pastor at St. James parish, is not your typical priest. To begin with, Fr. Bartolomeo was ordained only just over a year ago. This, of course, is not exactly extraordinary in itself, except for the fact that he is now seventy years old. At an age when many other priests are retiring, therefore, he is only getting his feet wet. Perhaps, says the elderly priest in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, his newness to the ministry and late vocation explains his almost youth-like zeal for his priestly duties. “I’m going to die with my boots on,” he says. “Who knows how many years I have left? That kind of puts pressure on me to preach the Gospel message. My days are numbered.” About a month ago, however, Fr. Bartolomeo’s enthusiasm for the Gospel message brought an unexpected turn into his life, when he gave what he thought was a normal Advent homily. The homily was the second of a projected series of four homilies dealing with life and family issues, designed to coincide with the four Sundays of Advent – the season leading up to the birth of Jesus. This particular homily had to do with contraception and natural family planning. The Catholic Church teaches that the use of contraception is intrinsically and gravely immoral. Church teaching does, however, allow married couples to use the natural rhythms of the female body to knowingly space children, if there is a sufficiently grave reason to do so. These fundamental moral teachings formed the basis of Fr. Bartolomeo’s homily. “New births, anniversaries and funerals, separations of any kind, a photograph from the past – give us pause and remind us whom we are bound to,” he said in his homily, a copy of which he provided for LifeSiteNews. “Our human sexuality – father, mother, brother, sister – reveals our deepest relationships. We call God our father, and his Son our brother.” “Contraception, contra-conception, trivializes the sacred value of human sexuality – a danger humanity did not have to face a century ago before the advent of modern chemistry and technology, the pill (before or after) and a host of plastic devices.” “Contracept, take God’s plan off the table, and you have mayhem,” he said. “The most important thing in your lives, bearing children, is no longer discussed. It has been permanently removed from the conversation. Done deal. The pill, the IUD, the diaphragm, the sponge, the condom – who is making money here? – have shut down not only the body but the brain. And wives and husbands wonder why they grow apart? When a man and woman, a husband and wife, share daily this most wonderful mystery of their human sexuality they are bonding as nature and God intended.” In the middle of this homily however, say witnesses, one congregation member stood up and began to argue with the priest, yelling “When are you going to stop?”  Gerald Weber, who has been a parishioner at St. James for 47 years, was at that Mass. “It was embarrassing, the noticeable argumentative tone with which she stopped him in his homily,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Father treated her nicely for the way she was acting, but she continued yelling. She finally sat down, but then stood up again, and took her friend with her and made a show of leaving the church. With that there were some other people who objected to the subject matter.”  While Weber suggests that the homily may have been somewhat “graphic” for a Sunday Mass, insofar as it touched on some of the science of NFP, he points out that nothing in the homily was contrary to Catholic teaching. The fact that Fr. Bartolomeo was dismissed from the parish Weber calls “drastic.”  “I think it’s rather drastic, without knowing all the facts, to come down on a man in this way.”  Another parishioner, Heidi Martinez, who was also at the Mass in question, disagrees that the homily was graphic, saying that she can’t even recall what might have been considered objectionable in that way. Martinez says she distinctly remembers the date and time of the homily, because she gave birth to her first-born child that same day, shortly after she left the church; she calls her new-born child her “miracle baby,” since she had previously gone through three miscarriages.  She also says that she has something of a different perspective on the homily, being as she is recently married. The message that Fr. Bartolomeo preached was extremely pertinent and necessary, she says. “The Catholic Church pushes all the time–don’t use contraceptives, use NFP, and all that, but a lot of people don’t know why. And if you don’t hear it from the Church that pushes it, where are you going to get it from?” “You’re certainly not going to get it in the Catholic schools.” Weber also revealed to Fr. Bartolomeo, and LifeSiteNews, that the parishioner who had created the scene was a publicly practicing lesbian. She and her partner had recently been told that they could no longer lector or distribute Communion at the parish. “They [the lesbian couple] may have had an edge,” says Weber, “because they have recently been kind of, not reprimanded, but not allowed to participate like they had been participating.” The priest, however, is quick to defend his bishop. “Bishop Doran’s orthodox Catholic reputation is well established,” he points out. “Our diocesan Respect Life Office under the leadership of Bishop Doran is continuously advancing the pro-life cause.” “I’m not being punished,” Fr. Bartolomeo clarifies, pointing out that Bishop Doran agreed that his homily was perfectly in keeping with Catholic teaching. “I wasn’t accused of doing anything wrong. I think the implication was that I was imprudent.” The Rockford Diocese’s media relations official, Penny Wiegert, told LifeSiteNews that the diocese would not comment on Fr. Bartolomeo’s dismissal, saying “The reasons for these moves are between the individual priest and his bishop and is considered a personnel issue that our diocese does not discuss in the press out of respect for both the individual priest and his bishop.” Wiegert also defended the Rockford Diocese’s pro-NFP stance, saying “The Rockford Diocese is in the forefront of supporting Natural Family Planning and educating the faithful on its physical and spiritual benefits especially in its marriage preparation programs, seminars for married couples and in informational classes….The aforementioned forums are considered to be the most appropriate for educating and promoting the benefits and details of NFP.” Fr. Bartolomeo, however, clearly does not agree that he was imprudent. “The Church is really under attack, and I think we flinch at the slight objections and I don’t think that’s the proper way to react to our enemies,” he says. “Rather than dissuading me, all of this is drawing me more and more into that truth, into the Gospel. I have no idea where this is going to take me.” He says that now he is beginning to read everything he can get on the life and family issues, and is looking into the possibility of pursuing advocacy in those areas.  He also disagrees that his homily was “graphic,” observing that even the youngest children routinely encounter much more explicit material in their day-to-day encounters with television, the internet, and sex-ed at school. The priest says that he was surprised at the adverse reactions to his homily, but is also learning that many of the Church’s teachings on sexuality are not well-known, and are often considered optional by some Catholics. “The fact is, I suspect that most Catholics do not practice NFP,” he says. “I think for many people there’s a visceral reaction to that, particularly if they haven’t heard it before. And tweaking of consciences can be painful.” But, he adds, “There’s nothing more central to the malaise and disease in the church than contracepting Catholic couples, and not realizing the wonderful strengthening of faith that can be found in NFP. All you have to do is meet a family and their children to see that they have found the proper way to relate to each other. It’s so demonstrably wonderful to see this natural, loving union of children. You don’t ordinarily see that in families.”

One thought on “Contraception In the News – BiMonthly Report

  1. In my opinion Fr.Tom Bartolomeo is an awesome man of God and should be defended by all believers. He reminds me of Father Gino who defended me in my political stand. Many others in the church voted for the enemies liberal-minded politicians.
    .
    If someone is headed off a cliff, the compassionate response is to try to stop him, not allow him to fall and then offer to treat his injuries.

    According to Health Canada’s HIV and AIDS surveillance report for April 2006 on page 60, we read eighty- five percent of AIDS in Canada is in MALES WHO HAVE SEX WITH MALES ! Not healthy behavior is it ? Why is the liberal-minded lobby trying to censor and ban and stop printing this report ? Why are the so-called Human Rights Tribunals jailing and fineing citizens who lovingly are telling the truth about this issue?

    Legalizing homosexual marriage, promoting it, and teaching falsely that it is healthy and normal to our children in public school class-rooms, university class-rooms and in liberal churches ought to be a criminal offence.

    It is the hight of compassion for people to unite to oppose this societal disaster with its litany of pain and suffering before it is too late.

    We have already seen that the education establishments, courts, liberal chuches and popular media’s positive portrayal of homosexuality has enticed many young people into this harmful behavior. With Government sanction and promotion of homosexual marriage and lifestyle from kindergarten through university and now in liberal-minded Catholic churches many more will be drawn into this destuctive lifestyle.

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