It turns out that while I was sleeping (absent from my blog), I collected several comments on my posts, many of which asked questions. Since the comments are now so old, I’m almost embarrassed to respond to them, as those who commented are not likely to be looking this way. Oh well. There aren’t that many. So, here are my responses.
To Maureen who worked at a pro-life OBGYN office in Virginia and who commented on “Hurtling Down the Slippery Slope”, thank you for being pro-life. You referred me to the 1968 Catholic encyclical on marriage and family. I share your pro-life views; however I do not share the views of the Catholic Church on contraception and infertility. Each year, when I attend the American Association of Pro-life OBGYN’s (AAPLOG) meeting, our group is invariably drawn into this discussion by some of our Catholic members. We generally have a rousing debate which ends with us agreeing to all be pro-life, but not agreeing on contraception and infertility. So, I appreciate and respect your position, and that of the Catholic Church, and trust you will respect my views as well.
To Jeremy Stein, who commented on several entries, including the “Gardasil” post. Your wife asked your gynecologist if she needed pap smears, since you were monogamous and neither had had other partners. He replied that the risk of abnormal pap smears increased with HPV infection, but that HPV was not the only cause of cervix cancer. Was he lying? Technically, no. A woman can get a type of cervix cancer (adenocarcinoma) of the gland cells that line the inside of the cervix. This type of cancer may not be caused by HPV, but is quite rare, and somewhat associated with long term birth control pill use. But the primary cancer women get (squamous cell carcinoma) has been conclusively proven to always involve HPV. So, I would have told your wife that she no longer needed pap tests. However, gynecologists are taught that men and women are always having affairs, and always have other partners before marriage, so there is really no such thing as a mutually monogamous couple for life. Since that is what gynecologists believe and what they are taught, they always do pap tests. (I’ll bet your wife’s gynecologist’s jaw hit the desk after she left. He may have never met a couple like you.)
Also, to Jeremy, regarding the post on “India—‘Fighting’ Aids (or not)”, you asked if Uganda had had success with abstinence promotion. Yes! But you will never read it in the MSM. I only know of that from Christian sources.
To Tara, who commented on the “Speaking with Abortion-Minded Women” post, and wondered about women who come in with a very no-big-deal attitude and just don’t want to be inconvenienced with a pregnancy. I have no good answer for that except prayer, a kind and loving attitude and a firm position that she is making the biggest mistake of her life. That, and get her in for an U/S at a pro-life OBGYN office! I have certainly spoken with many women with that attitude and it is sad and tragic and depressing. Regarding older women with babies who may have disabilities, it is easy to get swept up in the story and tragedy of it all. There is a temptation to agree with them in their decision, but even disabled life deserves a chance. In those situations where the prognosis is death, either before birth, or shortly after, it is even more important to encourage the woman to carry the baby and let it die naturally, rather than add to her soul the burden of killing the defenseless child. Women already feel tremendous guilt at conceiving a less-than-perfect child. Adding to the guilt with an abortion makes it even worse. Regarding those disabilities that result in lifelong mental or physical handicap, we do not know what plan our Sovereign God may have for that disabled life. That life may touch others in a way none other can. The child needs that chance to live.
To Chris, who responded to the same post, I’ve copied your comment because it is so important.
I found your blog from the pro-life bloggers web-page. I have an ethics question that I would like a pro-life physician’s perspective on. I am a first year medical student, and recently in my medical interviewing class I had to interview an actress posing as a very distressed young woman who wanted an abortion. I told her from the start that I would like to help her with sorting out her emotions and finding a solution to her dilemma, but that she should know that I was morally opposed to abortion and would not help her get one–not even by referring her to someone who would. My instructor was not sure how to handle that, so she spoke with several ethicists and came to the conclusion that medical standards demand that one must at least provide an abortion-seeking woman with an “unbiased” person who could help her get an abortion. I cannot help but disagree, I have no intention of directing a patient to someone who will help her kill her baby (this will not affect my grade in the class, because it is assumed that my fictional attending will see her anyway.) But I was wondering if most Christian doctors would also not even point her out to a pro-choice doctor. Do you refer women who want uterine sizings to a doctor whom you know will perform one, or do you tell her that she must find another doctor herself?Thank you,ChrisChris Emlyn Homepage 04.14.05 – 7:02 pm #
First, you should understand that the term “Medical Ethics” is a euphemism for “Lack of Medical Ethics”. I am convinced there is very little that is ethical in the opinions of those who call themselves experts in medical ethics, especially those at academic institutions. Medical ethics worships at the alter of ‘patient autonomy’, ‘abortion rights’ and ‘socialized medicine’. Of course they would say you must refer an abortion-minded woman to someone who would help her obtain an abortion! But you do not need to do that, nor are you required to do that. And, no I do not—ever. I have not—ever. And, I intend to never refer a woman for an abortion or to a place that will help her get an abortion. And that is OK. The ethicists can rant and rave all they want. Stick to what you know is right. Her autonomy does not trump your Christian moral views or the long-standing Christian ethic of valuing life. They want you to think that. They will conference and tut-tut about how stupid, reactionary, naïve, misinformed and mean you are. And, you will be considered a woman-hater! They will want to flunk you, try to stop you from getting into an OBGYN residency and will ostracize you if you are in an OBGYN residency and they find you are rocking the boat regarding abortion. (Personal experience—it’s a long story.) What other Christian doctors do, I can’t say. Except that the CMDS and AAPLOG would not ever refer for abortion or refer to anyone who would help the patient get an abortion. On the CMDS web site, you can download their medical ethics positions, which are quite different from the ones you will encounter in your training. (I think you have to be a member.)
To Mohamed and his comment about the “Brave New Liberal World—Forced Prostitution” and the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, you have a difficult job. The answer, though, is not in targeting sex workers. The answer is to encourage no sex until marriage, then one partner for life.
To RC regarding the same post and the web site link that said the story was not quite true. Could be. I can only go by the sources I have and try to use reliable sources. Did the UK Telegraph publish a correction?
To Jeremy Stein and his comment about the Cynicism post and his observation that he had not viewed cynicism as a sin, but was convicted. It’s a battle I have had and still have. I fall into a cynical attitude much too quickly and too easily, but I do not believe Christ or any of the apostles were ever cynics.
To Northman and his comment on the Morning-After Pill (MAP) post and the article which he listed saying that the morning after pill actually prevented conception and therefore was a treatment pro-lifers should support. Sorry. I’ll believe the data when I see it. To me, the article is bunk. The MAP may prevent pregnancy, but it would seem to me that it would need to be given well before intercourse would occur in order to prevent conception. In which case it would be the “morning before pill”. Unfortunately, the MAP is given much later in most cases and is intended and can and does cause an early abortion. It will get no support from me. (I do not believe that the author of that article was pro-life. It looked like a hit piece to me.)
To Arlene and Jeremy who both commented on the “March of Dimes” (MOD) post. Thanks for your comments. I predict that it won’t be long before the MOD openly declares its sympathy for abortion and “women’s rights”. We’ll see.
To Tammy who commented about the “Birth Control” post and how the decrease in birth control use was viewed very negatively, thanks for your affirmation.
To Sam Perry who commented on the same post in a negative way, you obviously have not delivered many babies. You stated that I have not walked in a woman’s shoes who understand the trauma of an unwanted child. In 30 years of doing this job (OBGYN—I’ve attended thousands of births), I have seen many unwanted pregnancies. I can count on one hand the number of unwanted babies I have encountered. An unwanted pregnancy does not translate into an unwanted child. In fact, it almost never does. The “trauma of an unwanted child” is an argument with no standing in truth. I hope this helps. Your post drips cynicism. (See above.)
To Laurel who wondered if I was an NFP practitioner (Natural Family Planning), yes and no. I’m not a member of any NFP group, nor have I taken any special training in it, except a conference at Creighton. I do encourage it and help couple who are interested in it.
To Tammy and Charise who commented on my first post and were so encouraging, a warm thank you. God bless.