Monday, June 13, 2011

No food or medicine, but plenty of contraception and coercion.











This is long, but bear with me.

Ever since I became active in the Church sixteen years ago, I've read countless disturbing stories of the Western world (us!) imposing unethical and even brutal "reproductive health" policies on the world's poor. What upsets me most is how pro-abortion agencies with money and power -- including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and America under the Obama administration -- put out the lie (happily supported by a pro-abortion media) that these poor brown folk "need" birth control and abortion to escape their bleak conditions. We've even had commenters on this site echo that leftist line, one of whom said of a (hypothetical) starving girl in Africa:

"Oh, I know, religious nonprofits will bring her rice, but they won't give her birth control! Because it would be monstrous to prevent her from bringing 8 children she can't support into the same environment, right?"

In fact, what is monstrous is what actually happens on the ground. Let's hear from someone who has been there…

Wonderful blogger Sarah has a friend, Maria, who recently came back from the missions in Central America. Maria has firsthand knowledge of the exploitation of poor women and girls at the hands of the "family planners", and despite the fact that she is a busy (and tired!) new mom, Maria was gracious enough to email me some of her background and what she witnessed:

Hey, Leila!

My husband and I have been to Central America twice, both times with the Missioners of Christ. In the summer of 2009, we were there for 10 weeks, and in the fall/winter of 2010, we were there for 3.5 months. (The second time, we were planning on being there for over a year, but we found out we were pregnant, and the Missioners aren't really set up to handle families with babies...)  

The Missioners of Christ have a permanent mission set up in Comayagua, Honduras, so we spent a majority of our time there. We ventured to Guatemala for language school on both trips -- we were centered there out of a city called Antigua, Guatemala. I can speak more specifically about Honduras, but both countries (like all of Central America) are pretty similar. We spent a lot of time in our neighborhood with the people, who are very poor, as well as time in remote mountain villages. My husband is a carpenter and I am a nurse.

I really hate it when people in the First World try to simplify poverty in the Third World as merely an overpopulation issue. Poverty is a complex issue! It usually involves corrupt governments, food shortages, wars, etc.* But, secular media and Planned Parenthood have succeeded in fooling us into believing that "if they would merely control themselves and stop procreating, they wouldn't be so poor."  Wow... doesn't that shut off our compassion for the suffering poor in the world? It suddenly becomes, in a sense, their FAULT that they are poor. And, in a condescending sort of way, we offer them contraception and abortion as a solution to their poverty.

And -- has it worked? Hahahahahahahaha! (That was supposed to be an evil laugh.)


Of course, I can only speak from my experiences in Honduras and Guatemala -- but I can tell you, there was no shortage of clinics offering contraception to anyone who walked in the door. They were called "Clinicas de Planification Familiar" (Family Planning Clinics) -- wow, sounds shocking similar to "Planned Parenthood", no? Anyway, these clinics are mysteriously WELL funded, when other, general clinics are not.  

So, basically, if a woman wanted contraception, or an abortion, or to be sterilized, she would be able to find a clinic with relative ease, be immediately ushered in to a clean and beautiful facility, and pay almost nothing for the service. 

However, if this same woman had a sick child needing antibiotics, she could spend the day waiting in line outside a dirty, underfunded public clinic, and maybe not even get seen that day. If she did get seen, she would have to pay a fee for the doctor visit... perhaps have to walk across town to the lab for testing (in Honduras the labs and the clinics are frequently not connected) and pay for that service, then return to the clinic, wait in line again to receive some sort of diagnosis and/or treatment, then, perhaps, walk again to a pharmacy for medication, and, of course, pay for that as well. Messed up.

Some missionaries in our group have heard women tell stories about being involuntarily sterilized by "Medical Missions" that we suspect were tied to Planned Parenthood. In one rural village, a woman told a story that she, being pregnant at the time, received an injection from a nurse with one of these "Medical Missions." She was told it was for her unborn baby. Several other women in the same circumstance also received the injection. Within several weeks, all of the women miscarried. In the years that followed, none of them were able to get pregnant again. In rural Honduras, the people are all farmers. They rely on having large families to divide the work… so, when we push our Culture of Death on them, we are destroying THEIR culture. It's such an evil agenda. Horrible.

In town, the public hospitals only receive money from the government if something like 70% of the women who are discharged after having a baby are either on contraception or sterilized. (Makes me wonder where the Honduran government gets those funds…? Hillary Clinton**?) So many women are uneducated in Honduras, and therefore, don't understand what was happening to them at the hospital... or perhaps they aren't even told. Several women have shown up at the "San Benito" Clinic (near our mission, a Catholic facility operated by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal), wondering why they couldn't get pregnant again after having a child at the public hospital. The doctor performed an ultrasound, and found IUDs placed in their uteruses. Each of the women reported not knowing that it had been placed.  

Can you imagine if such things occurred in the U.S.? Talk about a multi-million dollar lawsuit. But sadly, in Honduras, the general public very much have a sense of "shame" about them. They often will humbly and blindly accept whatever an authority figure does without question. While their humility is SO admirable, and often Christ-like, it is SO abused, as you can see.

I could probably go on... but I'm on baby-duty today :-)

God Bless!

Maria

After I read Maria's words, I went downstairs to fix breakfast. As I stewed over the injustice done to the world's poor in the name of "helping" them (and often with my tax money!), I providentially picked up a random magazine in my kitchen and started flipping through it. It was a Knights of Columbus magazine, Columbia, and inside there was an article by Steven Mosher, which you can read in its entirety here. For over three decades, Mosher has chronicled the unspeakable human rights violations wrought by "population control" advocates around the globe. His article amply confirmed Maria's experiences and included this quote from Dr. Stephan Karanja, the former secretary-general of the Kenyan Medical Association:
Our health sector is collapsed. Thousands of the Kenyan people will die of malaria, the treatment for which costs a few cents, in health facilities whose shelves are stocked to the ceiling with millions of dollars with of pills, IUDs, Norplant, Depo-Provera, and so on, most of which are supplied with American money.
As an American, that makes me sick.

The article goes on to say that when "reproductive health" money pours into the Third World through the UNFPA and IPPF, the doctors in those poor countries (who have their own families to feed!) "abandon primary health care in favor of 'family planning.' Clinics are transformed into 'family planning' stations, where the only readily available medical care involves contraception, sterilization and abortion."

Shame on the wealthy West for promoting and financing this evil! But then again, how would the average American know that the poorest of the poor are being manipulated, exploited, deceived and violated? Unless we are plugged into pro-life sources, how would we ever hear? Most of us only know what we learn through the lens of the left, usually in the news or in the classroom where we are taught that "reproductive health" (widespread contraception, sterilization and abortion) is the key to ending poverty.

It's overwhelming to consider the scope of the lies that are sold and believed around the world. And it can seem ridiculous to think that one little blog post can make any difference at all. But I have to live by the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, who served the poor lovingly, unceasingly, never violating their human dignity:

"God has not called us to be successful. He has called us to be faithful."

Amen.



*Read more about the overpopulation myth, here.

**Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously hinted that funds to help save mothers' lives in the Third World might be held up unless those countries signed on to the pro-abortion agenda of the Obama administration! More on that injustice here.

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476 comments:

  1. Amen to this. We met some missionaries in Mexico that if they got pregnant again, were going back to the states for care because there had been reports of sterilization in the area they were living when the women went in to have their babies. On one report, a missionary woman thought she was infertile after trying for additional children only to find that they had tied her tubes without her knowing!
    A Martha Trying to be Mary offered us some really interesting insight along the same theme that she'd probably be willing to elaborate on, i.e. America providing contraception and pushing for the legalization of abortion in Mexico and the horrible repercussions. Makes you sad this is what your country is doing...

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  2. Leila, thanks for this. This is a horror. I'm so glad you've written this and opened my eyes to what is happening to these people.

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  3. God have mercy on us. Thank you for writing this and thank you Marie.

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  4. I haven't made it past the part where you went downstairs to make breakfast. When did you start cooking? lol

    Seriously, this is ridiculously sad. :(

    May Jesus have mercy.

    -LaToya

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  5. Thank you for posting about this. It makes me sick. Is there anything we can do to help? I'd love to see a post about that. Thanks again!

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  6. We will be the death of ourselves...We will be the reason the world comes to an end. God will not end it we are already in the process of doing it ourselves. A slow painful death it will be....Sew

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  7. matchingmoonheads, that is horrendous! And I would love to hear what A Martha Trying to be Mary has to say. No doubt she has great insights.

    LaToya, ha ha, the one thing I have cooked daily for over 30 years is eggs! It's like breathing for me! :)

    Sarah, I wish I knew. Anyone have any thoughts? I think spreading information (and writing congressmen, Senators, etc.) is the only way to make our voices heard. We are up against a Goliath, it's true. Oh, and another thing would be to support Steve Mosher and his pop.org group, as well as international pro-life groups which fight these scourges (Human Life International, etc.).

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  8. Sew, you got that right. The Culture of Death begets exactly one thing: Death.

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  9. Sometimes it seems like there's so little we can do, so little love we can give to change things. The spirit of this world is deadly, yes.

    Remember yesterday was Pentecost and we have that gift of Spirit. And call to mind this promise when things look bleak and when we worry about the world's nuttiness around us:

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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  10. Oh my gosh. This is infuriating! Again, I want to say, "Where are the feminists?!" Seriously, where's the "choice" for these poor women being sterilized against their will?

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  11. Nubby, beautiful! And so true.

    God Alone Suffices, what a great question. Since it is the feminists who are behind this stuff, I want to hear how it squares with their "pro-woman" principles.

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  12. NUBBY!!!!!! I just noticed!! You have a picture!!!! YAY!!!! You are a beauty! Now, you really need a blog!

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  13. Leila- beautifully written. Thank you for writing about this very important topic.

    Just wanted to point out though that all this stuff started way before Obama- our country has been promoting this evil for generations now- both parties are guilty. I think it's more out in the open these days and in your face.

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  14. Sunshine, you are right about that. It's been going on for much, much longer than I've been reading about it, and that's been at least 16 years. I think (I could be wrong?) that the Bush admin did try to cut back on the International Planned Parenthood funding? And stopped funding of international and military abortions? But the Obama admin reinstated all that? Someone correct my facts….

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  15. I read an article once (can't find it now, but I'll keep looking) where a person who did aid work in Africa reported that their local clinic had no antibiotics, sterile bandages, etc. but was so well-stocked with condoms that the children used them as balloons.

    It's so terribly sad, and infuriating.

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  16. JoAnna, that is so evil. I just can't get over it. I can't believe that any person of good will cannot see the evil in the agenda of the Culture of Death. It's almost like the poor and their real needs and their real suffering and their real humanity are being mocked. Like a bad SNL skit.

    I look at the pictures at the top of this post and I think of all the devices, the apparatuses, the chemicals designed to "control" healthy human fertility. As if it were a veterinary clinic and the poor are animals to be "fixed" and "neutered".

    What I'd love to ask a leftist who supports this: How is forced sterilization via IUDs and tubals not equivalent to rape? It is rape, isn't it? With the final consequence that the rapists have also stolen their fertility and future children?

    How is that not pure evil?

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  17. This makes me physically ill too. Thank you for sharing this... I think the Church has a responsibility to get the truth out there... If we don't, who will?

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  18. Thanks for posting this, Leila - and thanks to Maria for being willing to write about it! It really is horrifying. This is the kind of stuff that was happening in the US in the early 20th century and here we are promoting it in other countries with our funding. I also remember in college how professors would teach "reproductive options" as the "cure" for poverty. He made it sound so nice, like we just need to "educate" these people about their "options" and poverty will be eradicated. Ugh. I love how Maria told it like it is... poverty is complex and not merely the "fault" of parents. And I too would like to hear A Martha Trying to be a Mary's perspective.

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  19. You're very kind, but I'd have to sharpen the gift of eloquence; yours comes naturally, one can tell.

    To the post- China is equally repulsive with their forced abortions. The demographics have so drastically altered there b/c of the desired male child, one child families.

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  20. Thank you Leila for bringing this topic to the forefront on your blog. Because my heart is in Africa (and 3 of my children from Ethiopia), I have a vested interest in the issues related to pro-life and reproductive education for the millions of women in this situation. My husband, on his medical missions, has commented to me that there must be some "other way" to teach these women NFP, how to monitor their cycle, and not just continue to contracept or sterilize. I would be open and interested to learn how to "tackle" such a mission and task as we continue to move forward and support medical mission involvement in ET, but I wouldn't even know where to "start" to get an education program up and running for these women. Someone, tell me where to begin! love you Leila!

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  21. Christine, exactly. It's up to us.

    Nubby, don't get me started on China! Those forced late term abortions and infanticide… where are the feminists???

    Sarah, even one of my own kids, in a good school, had a science teacher who for some reason (in a junior high class), started telling the class about overpopulation in Africa, and how they just weren't "educated" enough (read: smart enough) to learn how to use a condom and control their out-of-control breeding! My daughter couldn't believe her ears! But this is the belief that is out there, promoted by the "experts" on the Left.

    Ashley, my first thought when I read your excellent article was to find out how Mother Teresa and her thousands of Missionaries of Charity have taught NFP to the poorest of the poor around the world. I think there are groups (Family of the Americas?) who teach NFP around the world, to the poor, very successfully. And, HLI and other groups have local couples who are trained to help their people understand their God-given fertility and respect their dignity. I think there must be Catholic charities on the ground of these countries who are doing good work in this area.

    Also, imagine if the money (massive amounts!) used for contraception and abortion, and nice "family planning" clinics, were used instead to provide food/farms, give simple antibiotics and clean water to the people. Perhaps then the temptation to abort or sterilize to prevent their children's suffering wouldn't be so strong, and they could live happy lives with big families (which their culture finds wonderful!).

    Imagine that.

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  22. Since it is the feminists who are behind this stuff, I want to hear how it squares with their "pro-woman" principles.

    It's totally wrong. That, to me, seems pretty obvious - no one should be coerced or deceived into contracepting/abortion. I don't really have a problem with providing contraceptives (along with education about what it does and how to use it), as long as it's not at the expense of other, more necessary aid. I have no doubt that in almost every situation medicine, clean water, and education would do more good than contraceptives.

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  23. Oh Leila. This is shocking to read. I am so happy that you published this shocking information. Such an grip evil has on our society...the culture of death grows in popularity. Come Holy Spirit!!

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  24. Leila,

    Thank you for this post for helping to bring this to light. I had no idea this was happening. This is truly horrifying, but important to know.

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  25. How disturbing! An eye-opening post!

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  26. Here´s how a feminist would frame it:

    These poor women don´t want to have a lot of children. Unfortunately they are trapped in an Evil Patriarchal Culture (dum dum duuuuuuuummmmmm) that tries to "keep them down" by convincing them to have as many babies as possible and bases their "identity" as women on childbearing and childbearing alone. As for the issue of "choice", these women have internalized the sexist views of their culture, thus many of them think they want to have lots of babies.

    Rich white feminists to the rescue!

    These women need to be rescued from themselves. The poor things are so brainwashed by a baby-obsessed macho culture they don´t know what they really should want. Therefore its up to the Rich White College Educated Feminist to tell her, to take the scales off their eyes and mangle their baby makers so she can experience the joy of consequence free sex.

    The irony, oh how it burns. But that´s feminism for you, a schizophrenic ideology so madly off in all directions that has become a parody of itself. Thus that feminists are now proudly cheering, not only the murder of female babies in the womb, but also the forced rape of poor women and paternalistic attitudes towards them.

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  27. I would quickly chime in and say that not providing primary health care to women is a crime, if funds are available, and forced sterilization is a horrible evil. There have been many forced sterilization campaigns in the past, in many different countries, and they are barbaric in the highest degree. Please do not claim that most Americans desire such events or condone such events! Even in my liberal state, I do not know people who are pushing for that!

    I am sorry that you think it is the agenda of our country, but I don't know anyone who would seriously condone such a thing (actually I do, but I consider them fringe thinkers who are not friends, and not really taken seriously by anybody... They are often into strange things, like paganism.) (I am not a huge Hilary Clinton fan, and I think the National Review article makes a good point.) However, I have been to many undeveloped nations and been involved in aid work, and I can tell you right now that women were asking for family planning services with their own mouths. I was in Nepal in 2001, and we were involved with an aid group that was just getting started, and this was based around having stakeholder input from the people themselves. The women all wanted educational opportunities, basic health care, prenatal care and...contraceptives. They talked about the tyranny of the need to divide their land between the sons, and now there was no more land.

    Likewise, I was in Zimbabwe in 1998. The Aids crisis was in full swing, and there were many, many women who were contracting Aids from their husbands who would go away to work on plantations and at other remote work camps. It was hard to really talk to them, as the racial divide is SOOOO sharp there, that you could never really have a real conversation with a black Zimbabwean, unless they were from the very sparse Mugabean upper class. Everyone else treated you with extreme deference. We did finally get through to one guy, he described the terrible problems with Aids, and how women were being infected by their husbands. He talked about how the black middle class was being wiped out. This was not a white, or western voice!

    Also, I am very sorry that science teacher made the solution to developing-nation poverty seem so simple as providing contraception. Obviously, they were not very bright. I have taught science for years, and have never met another science teacher who said such a thing...although I DID once have a university professor mock all belief in a deity to a lecture hall full of undergrads. Happily, several students walked out.

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  28. There are days when I go from reading one infuriating thing to another. This is why I don't watch the news anymore. It's simply too frustrating.

    What I wonder, if ALL these clinics have ALL this birth control, WHY are the women still getting pregnant and having children? I mean, by now, shouldn't they have made at least a dent in sterilizing the populations of these communities. And don't tell me they don't understand, because presumably women come to these clinics quite a bit for medical care, it shouldn't be difficult to get across a message of "If you take this, you won't have to worry about having any more children."

    My guess is that the women of these countries understand all too well what the implications of America's version of "family planning" are.

    I mean, if women are being sterilized without even their knowledge, let alone their consent, then it stands to reason it's because they refused to do so when asked.

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  29. Barbara said: These poor women don´t want to have a lot of children. Unfortunately they are trapped in an Evil Patriarchal Culture (dum dum duuuuuuuummmmmm) that tries to "keep them down" by convincing them to have as many babies as possible and bases their "identity" as women on childbearing and childbearing alone. As for the issue of "choice", these women have internalized the sexist views of their culture, thus many of them think they want to have lots of babies.

    Rich white feminists to the rescue!

    These women need to be rescued from themselves. The poor things are so brainwashed by a baby-obsessed macho culture they don´t know what they really should want. Therefore its up to the Rich White College Educated Feminist to tell her, to take the scales off their eyes and mangle their baby makers so she can experience the joy of consequence free sex.


    And I laughed out loud. Because I am a white (though not really rich), college educated woman, and this is EXACTLY what I heard from my "friends" when I was pregnant with #3, only the "Evil Patriarchal Culture" is the Catholic Church. Maybe that's why they don't talk to me now that I'm pregnant with #5. I'm beyond feminist redemption. hahahaha

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  30. This, too, makes me sick. Thank you, and Maria, for sharing it.

    I have a question though.. if I were to suggest the idea of teaching NFP to women in poor countries to someone who supports contraception, they would find that absurd. So what is a good response in a discussion like that? I'm terrible in those situations. Most recently, my OB scoffed at our using NFP to avoid until I could safely conceive and have another c-section, because she said very matter-of-factly that it doesn't work 100%. I know I could've had a great comeback (and that artificial bc, itself, does not work 100% of the time), but instead I freak out and start talking crazy. I wish I could do more to spread the truth!

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  31. Mary - I don't think every group is out to promote forced sterilization however this is clearly happening far too often. At the very least, funds and resources are not being properly distributed. Also, as others have pointed out, when women ask about family planning, how often are they given the opportunity to learn a natural method of family planning? Because even here in the US women are often not informed of that option. Why can't education be used to teach women about their fertility and their health? It's highly effective and best of all, a natural method can always be reversed... a woman can use it to both achieve and avoid and change her mind as many times as she so desires. She'll also be able to monitor any potential health concerns.

    AYWH - I am like you in that often I don't know to talk about this! I do think there are groups already doing this though, just not sure how often or where. It would be great to give all women access to that.

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  32. Michelle, that is very good to hear. Do you think other feminists you know would feel the same about it? And considering how this has been in the Catholic and pro-life news for year and years and years, why do you think the Left has not been outraged by the news, as you are?

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  33. Mary, certainly there are women in every country who want contraception and abortion (whether that is moral, and whether we should be funding it is a totally different question). But I think there is an interesting point brought up by Bethany: Why, with the availability of free and seemingly unlimited birth control, condoms, sterilizations, etc., hasn't poverty been affected? After decades of massively funded population control measures, shouldn't poverty have been all but eliminated? Also, why do the women not seem to be clamoring for it (seeing how they have to be sterilized stealthily, against their will)?

    I think the Left has a philosophy that is something along the lines of "eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people". I don't think most of the Left consciously thinks this, but that is the basic effect of it.

    AYWH, that's a problem I have, too. In the moment, it's so hard not to feel shamed, or worry that you will sound like an idiot when you go so against what the Culture of Death sees as conventional wisdom. It is horrible, and I get all worked up and say something stupid, or incoherent (how do you put the Truth of life and love in a ten-second sound bite?). Can you tell there is a reason my blog is my outlet??? I write things much more eloquently than I can speak them on short notice!

    One thing that the Couple to Couple League does is provide pamphlets for doctors, etc., so that you can always just hand the doctor a pamphlet or mail them one later, so that they can educate themselves. Doctors are so ignorant of the beauties of Natural Family Planning, and what a shame! It's how women truly become empowered, by knowing who we are and how "fearfully and wonderfully" we were made! But as one NaPro doc friend told me: They aren't taught any of that stuff in medical school. They truly have no idea.

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  34. Leila, I don't think I know anyone who would say that we should dump contraceptives on a population that's dying of malaria or suffering from cholera or famine or whatever else. I'm pretty sure, like Mary said, that anyone who would condone this is in a very, very small minority. Feminists are really about creating the best situations possible for women, and coercion and deception is definitely not pro-woman.

    Honestly, I hadn't heard of this anywhere before (from Christian or secular sources), so I'm not too surprised no one's outraged about it. If people have heard about it, though, they're likely not outraged (1) because Christian and pro-life sources tend to come across as biased and not terribly reliable (if I hear it on Fox News, for example, I'm probably not going to take it seriously. The BBC? Yes) or (2) because the emphasis is mainly on the contraception, and not on the fact that money and work is being poured into an unused and unwanted resource instead of something that would be more helpful.

    This is all speculation, of course, so take it with a grain of salt. I do think if Catholic and pro-life sources wanted to make a bigger deal out of this and reach more people, though, they'd be better off not making it about the evils of contraception (which I'm guessing they do...?). Instead, emphasize that people are lacking basic medical care/food/water/whatever, and point out that money spent on contraceptives might be better spent on these things first.

    Do you have any sources that talk more about this? Mary did mention that she's been to places where women are asking for contraceptives, so I have to wonder how this is being reported - I'm sure there's quite a bit of truth to it, but it's possible they just aren't reporting the whole story.

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  35. Some additional thoughts:

    I don´t know much about Africa, but if my experience with Latin America is of any value, attempts to sterilize the poor have been made since the 1950´s. My husband who is from El Salvador often talks about shipments of contraceptive-laced flour being "donated" to poor families. Up until very recently, it seemed rural Latin American women were naturally skeptical about "family planning" and "abortion rights" propaganda, coming up with their own natural spacing methods (usually the rhythm method or lactation) Many Latin American women I know have no doubt that abortion kills a baby. I think NFP could make huge gains in Latin America if enough people get involved to teach it. It has the advantage of having no cost (as opposed to chemical contraceptives) being natural and fairly easy to practice. It´s also more effective than the rhythm method which they used to practice.

    But promoters need to work fast. That skepticism is disappearing among the younger generation who are being spoonfed popular culture messages faster than you can blink. The USA has two huge Hispanic TV networks which are broadcast all over the region. The same messages regarding sexuality which reach our kids are now reaching theirs, layered on top of a culture that is already very sexually expressive, the results are going to be catastrophic. Latin culture is defined by a careful tension between a traditional view of sexuality and playful, sexual expressiveness. The Latin Lover is more talk than action, more flirtation than consummation. Take away that brake in the form of traditional morality and what you will get is a disaster waiting to happen, one which, like Africa, is going to fall squarely on women´s shoulders.

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  36. Michelle
    It's happening in the Philipines, where the reproductive health bill will mandate a two child family (or else penalties and/or jail)and they're distributing contraceptives to enforce this.

    And as for Fox news = pro-life, I would say that is untrue. I am no Foxnews fan, but from the times it's been on, nothing about it has caught my ear as being prolife in it's overall agenda. And the BBC is hugely liberal, so you won't a fair shake there either.

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  37. forgive typos -- chasing scooters

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  38. Michelle, once someone gets wind of this scandal, it is then incumbent on him to learn more and make sure the facts are known, and then pass it along. It's not hard to do. Now that you know, you can start looking around. For example, google "peru forced sterilization" and start reading.

    That is one country. Start looking around for more.

    I'm just curious: Do you think Christian sources have a reputation for being liars and deceivers? For Catholics at least, such things are mortal sins on that scale, so it's unlikely you will find lying and deceit there (unless, frankly, we are talking about Catholic sources that don't like the Church and her teachings, such as National Catholic Reporter and their ilk; they are not overly concerned with sin or consequences anyway).

    As for the slam against FoxNews, it always interests me. What has been the big lie there? I watch all manner of news, including CNN and MSNBC (which I can barely stomach). This is the type of thing you can find on MSNBC which is not just spin, but reversal of truth:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/p/marcs-post-about-rachel-maddow-and.html

    (Keep in mind, this post is not written by me. It is written by Marc, who is blogger Hafsa's husband, at With the Help of Thy Grace. I put it on a page here, because her blog was private.)

    Do you see a problem with that? Or do you consider such networks to be reliable and honest? I always wonder what compels folks to believe the mainstream media.

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  39. Nubby, I totally agree about FoxNews not being pro-life. There are some pro-life commentators there, but I have seen plenty of pro-abort support there, too. And the website is full of disgusting porn "news" and other stuff that would be offensive to a Catholic. Both Hannity and O'Reilly have bashed the Pope and/or railed against Church teaching time and again (these are two Catholics, but neither are fully pro-life).

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  40. Cringe factor of 10, Leila. Hannity and O'Reilly, geesh, some of the stuff they've said in the name of Catholicism (or in their self description of being Catholic) makes my eye twitch.

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  41. Nubby, no kidding! And of course, guess which subjects they disagree with the Church on? The truth and meaning of human sexuality!

    For once, just for variety, I'd like to see someone who disagrees with the Church's "rules" against cheating, lying and defrauding the poor, but who agrees with the Church's teachings on sex! Wouldn't that be a hoot? But it's not likely, ha ha!

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  42. Not likely, and too bad since their audience is huge.

    Though I guess I am humbled a bit here, as there was a time when I thought I knew so much as a proud, uneducated, half-hearted Catholic and I suppose I said some arrogant uneducated things then that to a more serious Catholic would've made their ears bleed to hear it.

    Though one might argue my style hasn’t changed (proud, half hearted, coarse, and nubby), I will just say that now I’m just tempered a bit with a quicker desire to repent. Whee!

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  43. Michelle, you said: I don't think I know anyone who would say that we should dump contraceptives on a population that's dying of malaria or suffering from cholera or famine or whatever else. I'm pretty sure, like Mary said, that anyone who would condone this is in a very, very small minority.

    Is Hillary Clinton part of the "fringe"? She made it very clear (if through a smile) that money for food would be conditional: Either start sterilizing, contracepting and aborting, or we won't give you money to eat.

    Isn't she about as mainstream a liberal feminist as it gets? She even won Planned Parenthood's "Maggie Award" after all...

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  44. Hi All, so i am a little confused.

    You are naturally upset that women are being sterilized against their will...no one should support that.

    But as for the clinics having condoms and not having antibiotics...isn't the solution to i dunno...spend the money to have more antibiotics. instead of just having less condoms.

    I think NFP is a great tool to use in South America provided we give every woman the tools she needs to monitor her cycle, but for the love of God do not take the message to Africa.

    Hate contraceptives all you want, but condoms are used in areas with high HIV populations safe lives, there condoms are equally as useful ( if not more) than anti-biotics

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  45. College Student, I'm sorry to say that condoms helping the situation in Africa is but one more lie you've been told. Harvard researcher Edward Green says in the Washington Post:

    In 2003, Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen of the University of California conducted a condom effectiveness study for the United Nations' AIDS program and found no evidence of condoms working as a primary HIV-prevention measure in Africa. UNAIDS quietly disowned the study. (The authors eventually managed to publish their findings in the quarterly Studies in Family Planning.) Since then, major articles in other peer-reviewed journals such as the Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that condoms have not worked as a primary intervention in the population-wide epidemics of Africa. In a 2008 article in Science called "Reassessing HIV Prevention" 10 AIDS experts concluded that "consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level, even after many years of widespread and often aggressive promotion, to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of Sub-Saharan Africa."

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  46. My goodness! I can't imagine even people who claim to be pro-choice supporting these initiatives. Putting an IUD in someone without telling them or without explaining what will happen and all of the side effects isn't giving a woman a choice at all; it's making a decision for her. I'd also point out that if a medical form of birth control is ever "necessary," that means that her saying "no" (which should be all that's necessary to avoid conception or STI infection) is not working, and that's a much, much larger issue, and it's an issue of violence, not overpopulation. Condoms and tied tubes are not going to fix the deeply-embedded idea that a woman is supposed to give up her body whenever a man asks for it (which, by the way, is probably the single largest driving force behind the AIDS epidemic in Africa).

    This makes me wonder--are there charities, either religious or secular, out there that focus on actually educating and empowering women (instead of just telling them that they can do whatever they want in order to not have more children)? Time to research!

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  47. I don't believe that "contraceptive laced flour" would in any way be effective in preventing pregnancy.

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  48. Whoops!! This was from me!


    Anonymous said...
    Michelle, you said: I don't think I know anyone who would say that we should dump contraceptives on a population that's dying of malaria or suffering from cholera or famine or whatever else. I'm pretty sure, like Mary said, that anyone who would condone this is in a very, very small minority.

    Is Hillary Clinton part of the "fringe"? She made it very clear (if through a smile) that money for food would be conditional: Either start sterilizing, contracepting and aborting, or we won't give you money to eat.

    Isn't she about as mainstream a liberal feminist as it gets? She even won Planned Parenthood's "Maggie Award" after all...
    June 13, 2011 3:41 PM

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  49. college student, we can't allocate more funds for things truly needed like antibiotics or food, because the UN and International Planned Parenthood and the Obama admin, etc. are obsessed with contraception and population control and abortion! It is their highest and most cherished priority. Please understand that.

    It's why you will find feminists who turn their heads when the most staunch pro-abort politicians do things like harass and even rape women, or stalk minors or send lewd pictures, etc. They are silent on so much, because abortion is the lynchpin of the entire modern feminist movement. Don't believe me? Ask NOW or Emily's List, or any leftist "women's" group what they think of Feminists for Life, which holds all the positions you'd expect a feminist to hold, except for abortion.

    Don't underestimate the love for and priority of abortion rights among the Left. They will sell out the poor and let them starve before they would give up the right to kill the unborn. Test it. Ask them if anything is more important than the "right" to "reproductive freedom".

    Start watching where the money goes.

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  50. Ru, absolutely! The Catholic Church and her charities have a holistic approach to all charity. Care of the whole person, body and soul, is the very mission of the Church. Treating others with dignity and authentic love, as we are all made in the image and likeness of God.

    Read books on how Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity treat the poor, sick and dying. They are treated as children of God, and taught their own innate dignity. They are also given food, medicine, shelter, of course.

    If you want to really read something beautiful read Blessed John Paul II's encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life). He addresses those issues, here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

    It's worth your time. :)

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  51. Thank you, JoAnna! And it's true, isn't it, that Uganda is the only African country which has seen true success in the reduction of AIDS, and they have adopted an abstinence-before-marriage paradigm? Again, the Church's wisdom is validated.

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  52. Leila,

    To back up what you are saying re: the left's priority of abortion/"family planning" above all else, let's look at what's happening here in Indiana where I live. Our state legislature and governor signed a bill that does not allow any medicaid funds to be used at places where abortions are performed (except for hospitals). This mainly targets PP, as they perform the vast majority of the state's abortions. The bill does not say that low-income women cannot obtain contraception, std testing, paps, etc, it just stipulates that they must receive those things at a place that does not perform abortions (except hospitals). There are over 80 federally qualified health centers in our state where low-income folks can go to receive these services.

    Pro-abort "catholic" director of HHS has basically threatened to withhold ALL MEDICAID funding, from all Medicaid patients, if our state does not back down and continue to fund PP and other "family planning clinics." How's that for holding abortion and "family planning" above all else?

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  53. Leila, I was mainly interested in what sources you were getting this from. If it's truly a problem, but only Catholic and pro-life sources are reporting it, you're not going to get a very wide readership/viewership. I searched your exact terms, and found mostly scattered articles from the early 2000s, and one article from the BBC (which I would consider to have a very large audience), and it didn't mention US involvement at all. Also, as for Hillary Clinton, all I'm seeing is her condemning forced sterilization and abortion...

    I wouldn't say that Christian sources have a reputation for being deliberately deceitful or dishonest. They just tend to have a certain slant, which is to be expected, and it naturally will portray events in a certain light. I'm sure if you're Christian, they don't look biased, but from a secular perspective they do, and I (and most people I know) would tend to treat their news with somewhat more skepticism than secular sources.

    Of course, that's not to say that all secular news sources are faultless. I don't watch news much, but I'd probably treat CNN and MSNBC with quite a bit of skepticism as well. I don't think there's any one source you can always rely on, and I think the best you can do is keep an eye on several sources. I maybe shouldn't have used Fox as an example, but I'm glad you guys don't like it either. :)

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  54. This is so disturbing. It breaks my heart that probably one of the only things that bring them happiness, their children, are being denied them. How devastating.

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  55. Michelle, thanks! I didn't say I didn't like FoxNews. I trust them much more than the mainstream media, because they actually do give both sides (Don't believe me? Well, you heard me say that they are not pro-life. So, they are not on the side of the Church, that's for sure. But for a secular organization, they give equal time to both sides.)

    I guess I'm confused about what "evidence" you need if it's not enough that the missionaries on the ground (who don't even know each other … I'm certain that Maria has never met the man from Kenya whom I quoted) are reporting this is happening again and again. And if Hillary says she's against forced sterilization and abortion, why is she tying food and medicine to the acceptance of the Planned Parenthood agenda of the White House? Just sayin'.

    But if you need more "hard data", then go to this page:

    http://www.pop.org/research

    It's got research and hard data on this very subject, data which has been used in congressional hearings, in the shaping of legislation, etc. Hopefully, the "bias" of the group will not hinder your ability to see facts as facts. Thanks!

    (And for anyone who wants to help lessen the oppression of women by population controllers, give donations to pop.org. They do amazing work.)

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  56. Hah, I think any network that would have a daily show featuring Glenn Beck can't really be taken seriously...but as long as it's not your only news source, that's good.

    Do you have a source for Clinton's remarks? I did look and wasn't able to find them, just the condemnations.

    I think as for pop.org, their bias makes me extremely skeptical and really can't be ignored. Their about page: "The Population Research Institute is a non-profit research group whose goals are to expose the myth of overpopulation, to expose human rights abuses committed in population control programs, and to make the case that people are the world’s greatest resource. Our growing, global network of pro-life groups spans over 30 countries." (Emphasis mine.) If, hypothetically, it was found that introducing people to contraceptives did bring down poverty, could we rely on them to report it? Of course, we don't have to discount all of their work, but I would want to see the same information from an unbiased source.

    Hopefully you can understand why I can't just take things at face value - if I told you Planned Parenthood had a great study showing that contraception lessens poverty, would you take it at face value?

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  57. Leila said, "Why, with the availability of free and seemingly unlimited birth control, condoms, sterilizations, etc., hasn't poverty been affected?" THIS IS FALSE. P

    Many many women have risen out of extreme poverty in the last 50 years. Life expectancy (a good measure of relative poverty) has steadily increased in all but poor, Sub Saharan Africa (where AIDS has taken a massive toll).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Life_expectancy_1950-2005.svg

    There are still about a billion people in dire poverty...a shocking and terrible fact, but to say that there have been no gains is just not correct.

    From 1969-1997 the number of people who were considered undernourished declined by about 100 million despite the fact that world population was skyrocketing at that time. But...things changed after 1997, and the numbers today are worse. Reasons for this are listed on the following site: http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm#Does_the_world_produce_enough_food_to_feed_everyone

    1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies;
    2) the current worldwide economic crisis, and 3) the significant increase of food prices in the last several years which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend.

    I am starting to wonder if you feel the need to cite evidence.

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  58. Michelle, how often do you watch Beck? Just curious, as you seem to know a lot about him.

    I am getting from your last comment that you won't look at Mosher's research. He believes overpopulation to be a myth, because he's studied it for thirty-some years. And whether or not overpopulation is or isn't a myth, the issue of Western policy and coerced abortion and sterilization is a completely separate issue. As you've said, even those on the left should be against that, correct? So what do you have against the facts he would present on that?

    Here's his bio and credentials:

    In 1979, Steven was the first American social scientist to visit mainland China. He was invited there by the Chinese government, where he had access to government documents and actually witnessed women being forced to have abortions under the new “one-child policy.” Mr. Mosher was a pro-choice atheist at the time, but witnessing these traumatic abortions led him to reconsider his convictions and to eventually become a practicing, pro-life Roman Catholic.

    Steven has appeared numerous times before Congress as an expert in world population, China, and human rights abuses. He has also made TV appearances on Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, 20/20, FOX and CNN news, as well as being a regular guest on talk radio shows across the nation.

    He is also the author of the best-selling A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy. Other books include Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the World, China Attacks, China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality, Journey to the Forbidden China, and Broken Earth: The Rural Chinese.

    Articles by Steve have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, The New Republic, The Washington Post, National Review, Reason, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Freedom Review, Linacre Quarterly, Catholic World Report, Human Life Review, First Things, and numerous other publications.


    Clearly, he cannot be trusted. ;)

    Hopefully, even if you don't, others on the blog will go to the link I supplied and read the research, data and facts.

    One last thought: I would agree that one way to eradicate poverty is to eradicate the poor. But that's a big task that the Left has not yet succeeded at, despite a mighty effort.

    I've said so many times, liberalism is cold.

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  59. Mary, do you think the gains are due to the well-stocked family planning clinics and the West's approach to "reproductive rights" in the Third World?

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  60. Sarah,

    This is a different issue (my question, not your words) but I am tired, and want to know, name me FIVE women you know who used NFP exclusively, and have less than four children and are past childbearing age. I know none. But then again, I only know about seven couples that I am sure are using NFP now, and probably eleven or so in all total. For all the women over forty, the count is five or more kids.

    I think better awareness of fertility is a must, and I think we should be doing a better job of that here and abroad, but I think it should be in concert with access to barrier methods at the very least.

    Thanks

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  61. Mary, the World Hunger article (reasons) that you supplied are things I have already written about previously and agreed with. Babies and children and families are not causes of poverty! Do I need to cite a source for you to agree with that statement? Or can you the truth on its face?

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  62. Mary! Do you understand that the reason women who use NFP have more children is because NFP makes us REJOICE in LIFE! We not only change our practices, we change our HEARTS!! Our HEARTS are changed when we see and accept the beauty of God's design for marriage and sexuality. Please tell me you can understand that!

    Sorry, frustrated!!!!

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  63. In other words, Mary, I didn't WANT eight children when I was on the Pill. I wanted THREE. My HEART was changed, and my husband and I became OPEN TO LIFE in our marriage! We wanted the fruit of our love to manifest in our CHILDREN, God willing.

    Couples who use NFP don't have more children because NFP doesn't work, but because we start to DESIRE more children!!

    It's so beautiful, and I am so grateful! I wish you could understand….

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  64. My husband and I also wanted two, MAYBE three kids when we were Lutheran and using contraception. Since becoming Catholic and learning NFP, however, our hearts and minds have been opened to God's great blessings and we are currently expecting #4. We'll be avoiding for a time after this one is born due to financial reasons, but we haven't ruled out the possibility of more down the road if/when our situation improves.

    Mary, how many women do you know who used the Pill or other methods of contraception/sterilization until they hit menopause, and then regretted not having more children? I know MANY.

    My grandmother never used any form of birth control or contraception and she had five kids, not 8, 10, or 12. She doesn't regret her large family and considers each of her children (and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) a blessing straight from God.

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  65. Thanks, JoAnna. I concur. And Mary, please forgive me for the all caps. I shouldn't have "yelled" ha ha. I just wish I could make you understand that what we have undergone in our conversions is a change of heart. A total, radical change. We are not the same as we were before. We live for God now, and His goodness. It's so different, I can't even explain it. That's why I need to continue our (off the blog) conversation about masturbation. It's hard for you to see or understand that God and His grace changes hearts, changes people, changes everything.

    But I do apologize for my emotional outburst. It's all very personal to me, and it's so much better than what the culture sells us, and yet it's constantly maligned. I know that is to be expected (Jesus told us we would be hated and misunderstood by the world, as He was), but it is hard some days. Thanks for being patient with me. :)

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  66. Leila,
    Don't take cheap shots...Republicans have MORE sex scandals than the Dems! http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-30/which-party-has-more-sex-scandals/
    I am not a Dem, but I don't think you can claim any sort of connection to piety with politicians in general.
    (That site said that Republicans have more sex scandals with underage boys and prostitutes!)

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  67. Mary,

    The Daily Beast is your idea of unbiased media?

    O-kay...

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  68. Mary,

    ????????????

    I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about? What "cheap shots" did I take about sex scandals or Republicans or Dems?

    I am thoroughly confused. I will go back and look at my comments again, but if you could direct me to it, it would save me some time (I'm heading out tonight).

    Help?

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  69. Barbara, I can tell from your writing that you are highly intelligent. But, I totally disagree with you about the Latin Lover. Where I live there are loads of Brazilians. They have a fun, vibrant culture, but they LOVE HAVING SEX. My Brazilian friends say, "There is no such thing as waiting with a Brazilian man. You will have sex on the first date." Two women I try to help out say they will never go back to Brazil because of the horrible sexism there. They are both raising children alone in this country after their Brazilian guys knocked them up and left for Brazil. I remember one Catholic priest saying how frustrated he was with the Brazilians, as they just hopped into bed at the drop of a hat.
    I was also doing conservation work in Costa Rica, and people had LOTS of sex! maybe it's the heat?

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  70. Fair Joanna...I was looking for another link...but Leila made a comment about the prochoice members of congress harassing women and showing their genitals on the internet (I am assuming it was Weiner she was talking about(he is curious...and stupid).
    Joanna, are you going to try to say that the conservative members of congress have less sex scandals than the liberal ones? I have a friend (very conservative) who went to work for Trent Lott back in the day. She said she went to Washington full of young enthusiasm, and sure that all the sex scandals and such were the purview of the left. When she finished, she said she was so disillusioned by the terrible skanky behavior of so many on both sides. She was hit on, and watched many members enjoy clandestine relationships on the side.

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  71. Mary, this is what you are referring to:

    "It's why you will find feminists who turn their heads when the most staunch pro-abort politicians do things like harass and even rape women, or stalk minors or send lewd pictures, etc."

    Mary, that was not a Rep. vs. Dem statement. That was a statement of fact about how feminists turn a blind eye when their pet pro-abortion politicians degrade, exploit and abuse women. Democrat or Republican.

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  72. Mary, my husband has worked in politics for two decades. I can confirm that scandal and sleaze and corruption is rampant on both sides. You are right about that. Sin abounds.

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  73. Mary, I made no comment about Rep vs. Dem sex scandals. I was commenting on your choice of source for that accusation.

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  74. Leila and others....please answer the question about NFP. Otherwise, it cannot be sold to anyone as effective family planning in situations where women want to or must curtail their fertility. I am not asking about your DESIRE to have more children. Also...pardon but..I respectfully don't 100% believe you when you said you wanted three...earlier you said you always wanted a large family. Now, you might of had doubts about your ability to handle a large family, but the desire was there from the beginning, according to your words on a previous post.

    Anyone else have info about NFP and smaller families?

    I also don't believe that doing NFP magically makes you want more children. I have cousins that use it or used it...and some had lots of kids (but they were wanting big families from the getgo) and some had more than they planned for and are now off NFP...big change of heart...in the other direction! My cousin with the big family admitted to me that she can coerce her husband into having sex when she is fertile even when he is not wanting another baby because he loves sex so much. It is very hard for men to say no to a naked, turned-on woman lying next to them...This same cousin complains all the time about how her husband does nothing to help her with the kids...I keep thinking..well, that is because he did not want them all...but I never say it...of course.

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  75. @Mary, I'm not necessarily and advocate of NFP, but that sounds like a failure of the person employing the method, not the method itself: women have skipped pills and poked holes in condoms to get babies, too.

    But I can't really answer your question, since I don't know anyone IRL who uses NFP. I'm guessing the Catholic family down the road with 9 kids does, but we've never talked about it. ;)

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  76. Leila,
    In response to your asking me if the contraceptives are "responsible" for the gains in life expectancy etc. I would say, "I don't know". but lots of factors seem to indicate that family planning (I except abortion) is part of the solution. Take Iran for example. Highly religious country that brought its birthrate down DRASTICALLY in the 1990's from a TFR north of 5, down to about 2 or so. At the same time..their child mortality rates were cut in HALF, and their life expectancy rates went way up. So...I would have to say that there does seem to be some correlation. Again, the proper order of things is a multifaceted approach that includes: 1.food security 2. basic health provisions 3. prenatal/postnatal care 4. economic development 5. family planning access and counseling 6. education of women....to withhold any aid in the manner you are claiming for Ms. Clinton is wrongheaded...so I agree with you there...but would appreciate a better link to see her full statement and policy (as you say, it is her obsession?)

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  77. Hi eliz...what does IRL mean? Sorry.

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  78. Leila! No prob on emotions..I have talked enough with you to understand you are conversing in good faith. You are not mean or derogatory. But...I do wish you would sometimes read some of my other references (not so much on this thread). For example, you folks think Pop.org is unbiased. I do not agree (like Michelle). I went and watched Dem. Winter like you all suggested, and had some real problems with it. I learned some things too, but to paint the picture that PRI is telling the 100% correct truth is just not true. Sure, some of what they say is true, but the issue is so much more complicated than they portray. I would give them much more credence if they actually had the guts to put up a world population graph from precolonial times until now, overlaid with a graph of fossil fuels. That graph is oddly not shown?



    Now...Mosher's expose of the horrors of the Chinese One Child Policy are AWESOME. I do need to read more about him...but it is interesting to note that he has NINE children. So...

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  79. Leila, I've watched clips of his show, and I don't think it takes much to realize he's unprofessional and absolutely nuts. I don't think I could stand to watch him regularly.

    I wasn't attacking Mosher's credentials - sounds like he has a lot of experience, which is great - just questioning the bias of the site itself. I've heard elsewhere that overpopulation is not necessarily a problem, but that's not really what we're looking at with this issue - it's poverty. Can the world sustain more people than it has? Yes. But it's quite possible that contraception (and education! always education) could help lessen poverty in some areas. Would pop.org report that if it's what they found? I sort of doubt they would, and that's why I wouldn't blindly trust their reports.

    One last thought: I would agree that one way to eradicate poverty is to eradicate the poor. But that's a big task that the Left has not yet succeeded at, despite a mighty effort.

    I've said so many times, liberalism is cold.


    I haven't heard this anywhere other than here, and certainly not from any liberals. No one wants to "eradicate the poor," and even if people did, it wouldn't solve anything. I think that's something we can all agree on.

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  80. College student, we can't allocate more funds for things truly needed like antibiotics or food, because the UN and International Planned Parenthood and the Obama admin, etc. are obsessed with contraception and population control and abortion! It is their highest and most cherished priority. Please understand that

    I think their highest and most cherished priority is eradicating poverty. According to the UN the single best way to alleviate poverty and enhance gender equality is to give women control over how many children they have.

    When the most impoverished people in the world have more children the very thin resources they have are spread thinner sending them into deeper poverty. When poor people make more poor people, then there are more people are living in poverty…hence the dire push for contraception*

    Note, these measures are very difficult to enforce in countries of deep gender inequality. Men who have no respect for women do not want to use condoms or practice NFP, hence why these measures must be made in conjunction with efforts to help improve the attitude towards and status of women, a little catch 22.

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  81. Mary,
    IRL = In Real Life

    What is it you're looking for in your NFP question?

    Myself, I use NFP. Though our family xmas card caption should read: "NFP. We're doing it wrong."

    I say that jokingly b/c of our very young clan and the last 'surprise' baby came only 14 mos after our middle one.

    Is your question how can one curtail her fertility?

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  82. What on earth is your point here?

    It's why you will find feminists who turn their heads when the staunchest pro-abort politicians do things like harass and even rape women, or stalk minors or send lewd pictures, etc. They are silent on so much, because abortion is the lynchpin of the entire modern feminist movement. Don't believe me? Ask NOW or Emily's List, or any leftist "women's" group what they think of Feminists for Life, which holds all the positions you'd expect a feminist to hold, except for abortion.

    Your politicians are just as much as a mess as ours yet you aren’t switching ships either….Gingrich, Weiner,
    Pro-life patron saint Randall Terry threw out his pregnant kid and dis-owned a gay son, real Christian right

    Why would you criticize a movement whose lynchpin is abortion when your linchpin is abortion too? Clearly you think its an important issue, why wouldn’t others?

    You vote against the democratic party’ which holds all the positions you’d expect a catholic to hold’…anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro-universal health care, pro-rehabilitation instead of incarceration, and pro-social programs for the poor…. ‘except for abortion’ (and gay rights)

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  83. College Student, Anthony Weiner is a Democrat.

    Also, I can't speak for everyone here, but I dislike the Republican AND Democratic parties. I would love to vote Democrat if I could find a candidate who was pro-life. However, I can't support a candidate who believes it is morally and acceptable to murder innocent human beings no matter who laudable their stance on other social issues. If they can't defend an innocent human being's right to life, I don't trust them to defend any other rights.

    I vote third-party when I can, and if I vote Republican it's only because the candidate seems to be the lesser of two evils.

    Here's a newsflash: people sin no matter what political party they belong to, so no party has a monopoly on scandal. My problem with Dems is that they excuse slimebags like Weiner et al if it threatens the pro-abortion agenda. I can't stand Newt Gingrich and I'm glad his campaign is self-destructing; I would not vote for him in any circumstance. The same with other Republicans who cheat on their spouses or expose themselves to minors of what-have-you. I hold my elected officials to very high standards, and if they demonstrate a failure to uphold their marriage vows, they will also fail to uphold their oath of office and they automatically lose my vote.

    Perhaps you shouldn't make such gross assumptions about the politics of pro-lifers.

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  84. college student, may I ask that you somehow differentiate between your words and other commenters, as it's getting confusing. Either put quotation marks around others' quotes, or label who is speaking, or use italics or bold to make the distinctions. Thanks! I am just having a hard time following your comments.

    You said: You vote against the democratic party’ which holds all the positions you’d expect a catholic to hold’…anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro-universal health care, pro-rehabilitation instead of incarceration, and pro-social programs for the poor…. ‘except for abortion’ (and gay rights)

    Clearly you have never actually read what I wrote on that subject, so I invite you to read the following:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/why-i-cannot-be-catholic-and-democrat.html

    Also, matters of policy on how to help the poor, health care, just war and death penalty are matters of prudential judgement about which Catholics are free to disagree. You don't seem to understand that those issues are in a different category than the "non-negotiables" (which the Democratic Party emphatically fails on). Read the post carefully, and I hope you will gain understanding about it.

    From what I gather from what you wrote in your latest comments, you are agreeing that contraception and abortion is the key to eradicating poverty. In all sincerity, I would like to know if you learned this at college?

    Also, this statement:

    When the most impoverished people in the world have more children the very thin resources they have are spread thinner sending them into deeper poverty. When poor people make more poor people, then there are more people are living in poverty…hence the dire push for contraception

    It sounds very condescending to me. As if the "poor" are not like you and me. "Poor people making more poor people" (you mean people having families?). It seems a bit racist and classist, no? It sounds like you know better than they do what's best for them, so you need to give them ways to stop breeding, to make the world a better place. I know you may not mean it that way, but I can assure you that this patronizing attitude is why many people in the Third World resent the "help" (Pills, IUDs, condoms, abortions) offered by the "caring" folks in the US and the West.

    It seems very elitist. Are the people of the Third World really desperate to be sterilized? Or maybe they would just like some clean drinking water, food and medicine? And respect for their human dignity?

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  85. Michelle, here is what I said earlier:

    I think the Left has a philosophy that is something along the lines of "eliminate poverty by eliminating poor people". I don't think most of the Left consciously thinks this, but that is the basic effect of it.

    Hope that makes more sense.

    Could contraception theoretically reduce poverty? Perhaps. In the same way that "culling the herd" does. In other words, if we made sure everyone who is poor is also sterile, then the problem of poverty would be gone, because the poor would be gone. But the means to get to that end are very bad indeed. Like I said, conscious or not, the sterilization and neutering of people is simply a way to have fewer poor people. "Eliminating poverty by eliminating the poor." I guess it could work.

    But it's not moral.

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  86. Mary, the examples you give of NFP users you know are very sad! It sounds like they were using NFP for more health reasons than religious? Or maybe just because they thought they should for some reason? Doesn't sound like there was a conviction that God's plan for human sexuality was correct. Can you tell me more about their lives/practices as Catholics? It just doesn't sound like they are all that convinced of their Faith. One doesn't just decide to fall back into mortal sin once it's understood clearly and deeply. Doesn't mean it can't happen, of course! Sometimes Christianity is a very hard, arduous road (Christ didn't say "take up your cross and follow me" for nothing. Taking up one's cross means being obedient unto death). And sometimes, the road is abandoned, it's true.

    As for your NFP question, I sort of feel like you are trying to say I am lying. That NFP doesn't really work for people and all those NFP folks wanted all those kids anyway. Do you want me to have my husband do a guest post on how many kids he wanted then (and I agreed to) and how he feels about the subject now? I could do that. But would you still hint that you don't quite believe we are telling the truth? (You have hinted that to me often, as if you can't believe that people actually live as real Catholics. You couldn't even believe that there are normal young priests until I showed the video. I hope you start believing us one day!)

    As for couples who are over forty and didn't want many children and are devout Catholics and using NFP only (wow, that is a subset in a subset in a subset… Do you expect that to be a big number?), I do have a friend from my children's school who has two girls and would LOVE more, but her husband doesn't want anymore, as he is in his fifties. Their last daughter was born about eight years ago. She is in her mid-forties. They use NFP only.

    I know of another lady from school who is 37. She has two boys. She also would love at least one more child, but hubby is saying no. They use NFP.

    Most Church-loving NFP couples (not couples who simply use NFP for health reasons) do desire more children once they understand God's plan for marriage and sex, even if they did not want more before.

    Still not quite sure about your point in all this? Or how it makes contraception a moral option?

    If anyone else can answer her question better than I can, please go ahead.

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  87. Also, Mary, I am not sure what a "better link" would be to Hillary's words, or how this one is unclear?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/232467/politicizing-aid-g8-summit-anna-halpine

    I remember when this was being reported on the news. It goes like this: The G8 countries were ready to pledge resources to help promote the maternal and infant health that is so desperately needed in the Third World. All without providing or promoting abortions and "reproductive rights" as championed by International Planned Parenthood, UNFPA and the Obama administration. In other words, none of this controversial crap I talked about in my post. Sounds good, right? Just help moms and babies from dying in childbirth, which can be done quite nicely without pushing contraception and abortion on the poor.

    To continue now from the article (which really should be read in its entirety):

    Given this, one would expect there to be universal support for Canada’s leadership in taking on these problems and working to meet these critical needs. But the Obama administration is obstructing this positive consensus. Hillary Clinton, when asked about Canada’s G8 plan to address infant and maternal health in the developing world, said the following: “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

    It is surprising that Hillary Clinton would insist on funding for abortion and risk derailing an initiative that is poised to generate unprecedented commitments in both the private and public sectors. It is especially surprising considering the body of recent scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of various straightforward, uncontroversial, and achievable means to reduce maternal and infant mortality.


    and the big question:

    Is Hillary Clinton — and the Obama administration — willing to hold up funding for maternal and infant health because of a dogmatic commitment to a universal right to abortion on demand? What about the rights of countless women all over the world who want to bring children into the world safely, without risking their lives and the lives of their children?

    Mary, what is confusing about this? Do you think (again) that we are lying?

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  88. And if you won't believe me about the Hillary/Obama priority of pushing contraception and abortion on the world's poor even if it means derailing a moral initiative with real help, then read it from a very liberal pro-abortion source, which confirms everything I've claimed:

    http://www.thenation.com/article/36667/g8-obama-clinton-must-speak-one-voice-safe-abortion-access

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  89. I had difficulty reading this post, and it wasn't just because of the demonization of liberals.

    But it was all centered around that. I can't think of any liberals who would put birth control in front of basic health care and the providing of other aid--i think the rhetoric we hear about the third world has to necessarily be centered around that because everyone agrees that introducing cheap medication and basic field surgical practices to Africa could go a long way to eradicating certain tropical diseases.

    I'm uncertain of liberals thinking that aborting poor babies will get rid of poor people? That sounds fairly ridiculous. Family Planning Clinics may be just as important, as they provide crucial woman's health services. These services should absolutely be everywhere. It seems to be a crime to not provide reproductive health services when you are able to. Again, this is always in addition to all other aid. And I think that's what Hillary is advocating for--reproductive health in addition to the stuff Harper mentioned.

    My understanding of third world issues include things like the biogeography and characterization of certain diseases, public health care strategies, and population dynamics in Africa. I feel like there's a much bigger picture that isn't be represented here. Personally, I find the waste of the typical American far more offensive than the words of Hillary Clinton. And that, to a certain extent, includes myself.

    Leila, your argument about sterilizing the poor has been made, in the late 1800s when the American government did force sterilization on some poor and "genetically unfit" women! Yikes. That is not a liberal policy at all, and anyone who bases their argument for reproductive health on that is probably fairly evil. Poverty cannot be eradicated by abortion or forced sterilization, even in theory! And certainly the Ryan health care plan can't help either! You might call liberals ridiculous for some of their words, but the conservatives in congress are basically trying to make it even more difficult for Americans to get access to health care. I know this conversation is about third world countries, but we have a fair amount of issues here as well.

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  90. Joanna,
    Haha I do know Weiner is a democrat, I don’t know why I wrote that, and clearly that was evidence of Leila’s point and not mine

    All I was saying is that Leila was criticizing feminists for their non-negotiable stance on abortion,

    “Hey are silent on so much, because abortion is the lynchpin of the entire modern feminist movement. Don't believe me? Ask NOW or Emily's List, or any leftist "women's" group what they think of Feminists for Life, which holds all the positions you'd expect a feminist to hold, except for abortion.”

    But you, Leila and Joanna also have a non-negotiable stance on abortion that dictates the way you vote as well. You wouldn’t vote for a candidate if you believed in their stance on everything except abortion so it would make sense it would be important to others (feminists) as well.

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  91. Leila said
    “It sounds very condescending to me. As if the "poor" are not like you and me. "Poor people making more poor people" (you mean people having families?). It seems a bit racist and classist, no? It sounds like you know better than they do what's best for them, so you need to give them ways to stop breeding, to make the world a better place. I know you may not mean it that way, but I can assure you that this patronizing attitude is why many people in the Third World resent the "help" (Pills, IUDs, condoms, abortions) offered by the "caring" folks in the US and the West. 

It seems very elitist. Are the people of the Third World really desperate to be sterilized? Or maybe they would just like some clean drinking water, food and medicine? And respect for their human dignity?

    If we’re being g honest it is condescending, it’s all condescending. But yes, I think liberal condescending: have less children improve your status of life have less women dying of child birth and instead send them to school is less condescending than conservative condescending: sit in the dirt with your 8 HIV infected children and wait and watching them slowly starve to death.

    I don’t think women should die in childbirth. I don’t think genital mutilation should exist. I don’t think 14 year old girls should get married to old men and be used as breeding stock. I don’t think parents should have the right to sell their daughters to keep the family financially afloat. I understand that many of these things are tied to tradition and to do away with them is to disrespect other’s culture… But I don’t care, I still think these things are wrong, and I think they should be eradicated even if it is paternalistic and condescending to do so.

    It seems very elitist. Are the people of the Third World really desperate to be sterilized? Or maybe they would just like some clean drinking water, food and medicine? And respect for their human dignity?

    Its not an either or. For the love of god give them food, drinking water, medicine AND education on birth control

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  92. Leila, still, I have never heard of "eradicating the poor" even in a roundabout, disguised way. Ask 1000 liberals, and I don't think a single one will say that contraception/abortion should come before medical aid or clean water or any other more immediately useful aid. They'll probably say that it could be helpful, but not that it should trump all other aid.

    Like I said, conscious or not, the sterilization and neutering of people is simply a way to have fewer poor people.
    I'm honestly a bit offended you would say this, after every single person here has condemned this. Have you ever heard anyone say that forced sterilization is good? Here's what Clinton said, from the second article you cited (not the one from the conservative news source):

    "You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion."
    She wasn't forbidding maternal health unless access to abortion was provided, as you seem to think. Like Peter said, she was simply saying that maternal health requires attention to reproductive health. Not sure what's so evil about that, or how it's condoning forced sterilization.

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  93. We use NFP! I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. It's worked perfectly for us in three ways: 1. to avoid pregnancy 2. to achieve pregnancy and 3. to help treat infertility. It's awesome! Both my husband and I are totally different people because of using NFP. That is not an exaggeration. It has completely changed our views on the dignity of all people, the sacredness of marriage and marital relations, and putting our desires aside and wanting what God wants for us. It's true!

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  94. Michelle, I didn't say you or anyone on this blog was condoning forced sterilization. Clearly it's being done, but not by you. You guys didn't even realized it was going on.

    Hillary wasn't "simply saying that maternal health requires attention to reproductive health". She was holding up aid to the Third World, that the rest of the G8 countries were ready to provide. She was doing something that would directly keep help from going to the people who needed it, based on her radical ideology and obsession with "reproductive rights". She wasn't expressing a simple opinion, she was making a threat. You don't see it. And yet showed you evidence from both sides. It was so awful (or wonderful, if one is an abortion advocate) that it was newsworthy for days.

    Do I think she specifically condones forced sterilization and abortion? I never asked her. I know of many American feminists, though, who support China's "one child policy" which is one of the biggest human rights abuses ever to come to this globe.

    Peter, you said: Again, this is always in addition to all other aid. And I think that's what Hillary is advocating for--reproductive health in addition to the stuff Harper mentioned.

    I think you need to read more carefully. She was going to let the poor go without what they needed for survival if she couldn't have her way on abortion and contraception. Everyone else was ready to pass the agreement, and she blocked it! This is sick.

    I still can't get over how often the left blames Americans for the poverty of those in the Third World. We are the most generous of all nations, and we give more to charity than anyone (well, unless Hillary blocks it). Do you think this is a zero sum gain and that when I eat in a restaurant here, or buy shoes here, I am actually directly withholding or preventing food or shoes from the poor in Africa? Is that how you think economics works?

    I can imagine it was very difficult, yes, to read this post.

    By the way, I am trying to get you to have a lightbulb experience and understand that there is only one reason, one purpose for contraception and abortion: Fewer people. Can we agree?

    That is the very purpose of contraception, sterilization and abortion. Fewer people. Your support of (non-forced) contraception, sterilization and abortion is because you believe its effects (i.e. fewer people make it easier to feed, educate, take care of, etc.) will help the plight of the poor, no?

    So why are you fighting my argument that in its essence you are saying that fewer poor people will lead to great things and be beneficial to the poor? Shrunk down: Fewer poor people will be beneficial for the poor.

    I think I've said what I wanted to say, honestly.

    college student, I am still having trouble with your comments for lack of quotes or italics (I guess it was just that quote at the end).

    Bottom line: You on the left seem to believe that access to contraception and abortion and sterilization are necessary for survival. Catholics believe there are basic things needed for survival, and contraception and abortion are NOT among them. Contraception and abortion are not basic human needs. They are actually human pesticides. They are designed to prevent and end human lives, and that is not a necessity for life.

    I'm pretty much done here for the morning, but I hope some of the others will continue the conversation, for the sake of the lurkers. But hopefully by now they have seen both sides clearly.

    Thanks guys, and blessings!

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  95. Hmmm, what strikes me as condescending includes not providing available healthcare for poor people living in other countries as well as proselytizing to people, telling them what to believe in and that their own beliefs/spirituality is wrong/misguided. coercion of the spirit perhaps?

    What's really hurt other countries, particularly in Latin and S. America are neoliberal policies that invited private enterprises from other countries to own and control resources often to the exclusion of poor people.

    Lastly, others have already pointed this out, but Indian Health Services sterilized American Indian women without their knowledge.

    -gwen

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  96. Miss Gwen, we all tell people what we believe. Don't you do that here? I do that here, and you do that and everyone does that. We all tell people what we believe, but proposing is different from imposing.

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  97. Leila here.

    Miss Gwen, for the record, many Third World nations resent the West pushing our abortive, sterile ways on their culture. Is this one area where you are okay with us forcing a culture to conform with ours?

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  98. I think the question is a lot more complicated than you make it out to be-it's not a simple scenario of one monolithic, "cold, liberal" US front forcing women all over the world to abort.

    For the record, "third world" is a rather antiquated and derogatory term suggesting uncivilized, "primitive" peoples, cultures and countries that are somehow "below" our standards.

    -gwen

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  99. Leila and Michelle,

    Michelle said, "She wasn't expressing a simple opinion, she was making a threat. You don't see it." I do see it as a threat. It is is horrid to do this. It far worse than using economic sanctions against Iraq. After reading through and doing some more research, I think Clinton is in the wrong. The key is ABORTION. If she would take that off the table, it seems it would be an entirely different discussion. I am beginning to think she does have a radical agenda for abortion. But this is where I stop, because, unlike many here, I think there is a universe of difference between terminating a pregnancy and preventing conception. One has the potential to kill or does kill a person, and the other does not. To me, those two events are morally worlds away, and I cannot see it otherwise.

    Also, Michelle, there ARE people who think sterilizing poor people is good...I have met a sparse few, but they are the radical fringe, as far as I can tell. (Years ago I also heard a few comment that we should sterilize "crack mothers" etc. so beware of that...)


    The key is to provide aid that also provides access to reproductive counseling and contraception, of which abstinence counseling is a part. I have never understood why the choice is "abstinence only" or "have as much sex as you want but be safe". The Ugandan study seemed to indicate that a double approach that urges fidelity but also allows access to contraception is effective. Am I missing something? Was PEPFAR only allowing for abstinence only counseling in Uganda?

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  100. I have to say I'm not surprised by this at all... Even here in the first world, there are definitely agendas to push certain kinds of contraceptives. When I was on the pill, I went to speak to the family planning clinic about my concerns about the side effects of being on hormonal contraceptives. Although I eventually managed to convince them to give me a lower dose pill (thankfully, I'm now no longer taking the pill!), however, before that, they spent about half an hour trying to convince me to get a high-dose hormonal implant, despite my initial concerns about hormonal contraception. There's been a sudden proliferation of people my age getting the implant, and I can't help but wonder if it's because they somehow feel young women can't be trusted to take responsibility and must have contraception enforced for a period of time.

    H.

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  101. For the record, "third world" is a rather antiquated and derogatory term suggesting uncivilized, "primitive" peoples, cultures and countries that are somehow "below" our standards.

    Thank you for educating us, Miss Gwen. Who makes these determinations, by the way? The academics? And then they let the little people know?

    ;)

    You also didn't answer the question: Should we be forcing our contraceptive, sterile culture on the farmers of Honduras? Thanks!

    H, thanks for your thoughts! And Mary, I would have to do more research on the Uganda situation, as I don't know the answer to your last question. Someone else can chime in if they do.

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  102. Leila said,
    "That is the very purpose of contraception, sterilization and abortion. Fewer people. Your support of (non-forced) contraception, sterilization and abortion is because you believe its effects (i.e. fewer people make it easier to feed, educate, take care of, etc.) will help the plight of the poor, no?"

    Well, actually yes. Giving women more ethical tools to space or limit their children is not saying less babies born to poor women is always better, it is saying that we understand how the toils of motherhood can keep women in poverty and prevent them from getting the education they need or the jobs to help them break out of poverty. To not understand the link between many, poorly planned babies and poverty seems blind. It's as if you are saying babies raise themselves with minimal energy input.

    You don't have to go far to find evidence to support the link. Think about it here in the US. If you are young, uneducated and poor by US standards, you need to work at a low-paying job to feed and clothe and house your children (and provide medical care),and the largest cost...is childcare. If you birth more and more children, you cannot ever get ahead. Their childcare expenses will drown you. Even the poor women I know who have a spouse (who is also working in a low-paying job) are working and killing themselves to pay their expenses. Any unforeseen expense--car repairs for example-- sends them into a terrifying panic. One of these women I know talks about how she will never have any more children, because she is so beaten down by work and exhaustion. She can barely keep up, and is forced to send her children to the care of another poor woman who has them in a cramped apartment in front of the television all day. I try to help her by taking them at my home to get them outside when I can(I am amazed that others don't help in this way...but that is another topic, and I am not trying to toot my own horn) These are the working poor in our country. Is it wrong to help her reduce the number of her potential dependents? She would love to go to school at night or in the afternoon, but there is no time or money. She has no time for herself. What do we say to this woman? Think about her...what do we say to the poor in Rio? What about the poor in Honduras? Why not give them the ability to space or limit their children...by their own choice?

    see: http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/%28httpDocuments%29/A6EBE89B4D5C9C32C125774C0043ED5A/$file/population+and+poverty+nexus+-+does+family+size+matter.pdf

    " But alas, for the poorest of the poor, the lowest income decile, there is an obvious
    divide – poor families with larger families have lower per capita income than poor families
    with smaller families! Note that the income differential is also visible if we look at bottom and top 30 percent of the income distribution."

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  103. Mary - I haven't been able to catch up with all the posts so sorry if this is repetitive. But I just saw your question. Name five? Well I can name numerous but since I am a teacher of the Creighton Model of natural family planning I would be breaking HIPPA laws if I named them or the clients of my colleagues. :) I also know many from prior to training including both of my sisters.

    I have one friend who needed to wait 3 years to get pregnant. They did. They have one child right now.

    I have a sister who gets very sick when pregnant and needs at least a 2 year spacing for her kids. She has had no trouble with that.

    My husband and I have needed to avoid pregnancy for health reasons. 7 months in and we don't have a baby. I am not surprised in the slightest because I can tell you exactly when I am fertile.

    I have a friend in her mid-30's with three children, all planned and spaced and will not be having more.

    The only reason I can't name many who have been through menopause has more to do with the fact that 20-30 years ago many couples did not use any form of FAM ("Fertility Awareness Model" - the preferred phrase these days). It's much more popular now and more precise than it was with so much scientific research done since then. So we'd be comparing apples to oranges there.

    But FAN is highly effective for family planning, and I can point you to the research if you like. Here's one url with all the references for the method I teach: http://www.fertilitycare.org/references/

    Sorry if it's quite a bit to wade through.
    With the method I teach you can even chart while breastfeeding to anticipate your return to fertility and it's extremely effective for older women anticipating menopause. There is so much doctors now know about all these stages of a woman's life.

    In regards to wanting lots of kids or changing your mind about family size... this happens for some and not others. I think FAM users often approach each month as an "opportunity" instead of going into marriage with a set number of kids. It's just a different approach.

    But of course each woman is different. Could a woman seduce her husband while she's fertile? Sure just like she could stop taking her pills behind his back. That's not really related to the effectiveness of the method itself as others mentioned.

    Fwiw, while my hubby and I don't have a set # of kids we plan on having, learning Creighton has greatly heightened his respect for me and my body and for our shared fertility as a couple (because remember, men have fertility too).

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  104. No Leila, it's called critical thinking skills.

    "Should we be forcing our contraceptive, sterile culture on the farmers of Honduras? Thanks!"

    I don't see anything wrong at all with having free health clinics that offer Honduran women OBGYN services, birth control if they wish and abortions if they want one. The key here is making it available to people who want these services. If Honduran women choose to and want to have 8, 10, 12 children and are able to support them all, that's great.

    I recommend the website for "Partners in Health" which sites a statistic that nearly 1,000 women and 8,000 newborns die every day worldwide due to inadequate care. If we can help reduce those numbers, I think we have every obligation to do so.

    http://www.pih.org/

    -Gwen

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  105. And sorry to keep rambling but actually, I could not trick my dh. :) He participates in charting and can read my charts for himself. That's the beauty of NFP/FAM... it's more likely to be shared than say putting the burden on the woman alone to take pills or other contraceptives.

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  106. Quoting a few different people here...

    But you, Leila and Joanna also have a non-negotiable stance on abortion that dictates the way you vote as well.

    Yes, because we know that abortion is murder, so it's worth standing up against. If you believed something was murder and absolutely unacceptable, you probably wouldn't compromise either (what sense would it make for us to say, "Yes, in order to send life sustaining food and medicine to those in poverty, we will accept that you also murder those in poverty"? But what is abortion to a pro-choice person that it would be worth witholding food, medicine, etc to impoverished nations? That is more of a rhetorical question, since I know many here wouldn't subscribe to that, but that is what Hilary Clinton did on our behalf.

    I'm uncertain of liberals thinking that aborting poor babies will get rid of poor people?

    Anyone remember back in Jan 2009 (around when the stimulus package was up for vote I think) when Nancy Pelosi said that family planning services will help the US economy recover because they reduce cost?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/4352050/Nancy-Pelosi-says-birth-control-will-help-the-US-economy.html

    She didn't exactly spell it out, but it doesn't take much to read between the lines. I belonged (and still belong) to a middle class family, and the government doesn't pay for any of my health care, so by me contracepting or aborting, they wouldn't reduce any cost. Whose health care does the government spend its money on? ...

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  107. Gwen, reducing maternal deaths (the horror of fistulas, inadequate care, etc.) is exactly what the G8 leaders had voted to do (and what Hillary tried to block due to her pro-abortion ideology). So, no argument there. We all agree that maternal deaths can and should be reduced to practically nil. That can be done without the agenda of Planned Parenthood.

    My question about the Honduran farmers related directly to what Maria reports is happening there. Did you read about that, in my post? Are you okay with how that is going down?

    Out the door, back later to answer more.

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  108. Complicated Life, great points. Anyone remember this lovely comment by our radical pro-abort Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Roe v. Wade:

    "Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. "

    Who might those "populations" be?

    Read between the lines on that one.

    Sad.

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  109. Sarah...thanks...will follow up with your links.

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  110. Boy Gwen, you really come across with a chip on your shoulder whenever you comment here. Are you aware of that? If reading and commenting causes you such anger/frustration that you can't even type a cordial response, then I would probably suggest you step away for your own sake. Just my humble opinion.

    Could you enlighten us as to what we should use instead of "third world"?

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  111. In defense of Gwen, I have also been corrected by others when using the term. I think the preferred term is, "developing nation" in global parlance. It sounds more hopeful and less like the West is the FIRST world.

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  112. Thanks Mary! It helps when we're told not to say something, to be informed as to what we should say. :)

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  113. Funny, Complicated Life-today I feel rather peaceful. I just wanted to point out that while many people here are concerned about imposing birth control on other peoples, they are using a term to refer to other people that emerged post WWII and implies some sort of superiority of some countries over others. Mary's right that "developing nation" is usually a preferred term.

    And Leila did say: "Thank you for educating us, Miss Gwen. Who makes these determinations, by the way? The academics? And then they let the little people know?"

    which has a rather sharp edge to it, don't you think? Or was that just "Texas friendly" to use a term I grew up with for when someone flips you the finger and a grin?

    -gwen

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  114. Complicated Life, I think you're the one coming across with a chip on your shoulder now!

    So it's okay to tell me not to use birth control, but I can't suggest you use a different, less condescending word to talk about people who live in other countries?

    -gwen

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  115. I was asking you to enlighten us to the better term, which you didn't do when you offered your correction. Mary did so and I thanked her. No chip here. :)

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  116. Well, thanks for mini lesson in blog commenting etiquette. My mistake for not answering the question ASAP!

    -gwen

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  117. Gwen, I'm really glad you're feeling peaceful. I hope you have a great rest of your day!

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  118. Po-tat-o, Po-tah-to on the whole 1st world, 3rd world, developing world, whatever. Is anyone really so offended by a term like that?

    Can the prochoicers use a "less condescending word" than choice in their usual rhetoric about just what they're choosing? Talk about your average condescension. Trying to dumb-down a term so as to disguise what it really is. At least a 3rd world country really is that, in terms of world powers!

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  119. Ah Nubby, there are so many things to say to you in response, but I fear the vacuous wind between your ears will render any wisdom useless.

    My apologies for intruding on this discussion. I'll leave it for more knowledgeable people to debate.

    You have a great day too Complicated Life, and I mean that with all sincerity : )

    -Gwen

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  120. Personally, I hope gwen sticks around! She always has good information that she delivers with conviction -- I may not agree with her, but I think she was cordial with her comments -- at least before she was reprimanded. We can all get a little um...aggressive when defending issues we care about.

    Plus, Leila's tough, she can take a little bite in her comments!

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  121. Ha! Go for it, Gwen. I'm a college educated modern woman such as yourself since it boils down to that credential. Unlike you, I don't think people are too far underneath myself to debate.

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  122. Yeah, Leila, I don't see it. In the second article you posted, it actually goes on to say "Clinton’s statement was both welcome and quite accurate—13 percent of maternal deaths each year are attributed to illegal and unsafe abortion." Even in the first, it cites "lower pregnancy rates" as one of the factors in reducing maternal deaths. Nowhere am I seeing Clinton forbidding aid, at least not in these articles.

    The point of introducing contraception to these areas is so that women can have the option of limiting their family size, which in turn could help their situation. If you are overwhelmed trying to provide for an extremely large family, contraception (or NFP, or SOME sort of method of family planning - but I think contraceptives are the most straightforward and likely to be used) can help. I think it would be doing these areas a disservice not to at least provide that as an option, so they can make their own decisions about it. Framing it as "eradicating the poor" is misleading at best, and completely ignores the good intentions behind providing contraceptives.

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  123. I couldn't agree more Michelle.

    -Gwen

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  124. Gwen, my little "dig" at you with a wink after it was an acknowledgement between the two of us that I am aware you are flashing your superior academic credentials and knowledge (as you see it). We've been down that road, so I thought you would get my point.

    I don't know why some liberals can come on the blog and not be hostile or unfriendly, while others react entirely differently. You have always been welcomed here, and you still come back and look down upon us and get quite angry. In fact, you "yelled" at me recently about how you are very learned and I am not, and how you actually "interview people" and "write papers" and such. I asked twice, on two blog posts, for you to explain why you got so angry, and you did not respond. I think I do understand why, and I am preparing a blog post on that. Maybe it will help us all understand each other a little better.

    Eliz, Miss Gwen and I have a history of this kind of exchange. It does make me sad, and I have written on that very fact before, in this post to Miss Gwen, if you want to have some background:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/youre-not-monster-and-nobody-called-you.html

    I even wish Miss Gwen would re-read that.

    And, more on why Catholics make a distinction between the person and a person's ideas:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/answering-miss-gwen-distinction-between.html

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  125. Miss Gwen said:

    I just wanted to point out that while many people here are concerned about imposing birth control on other peoples, they are using a term to refer to other people that emerged post WWII and implies some sort of superiority of some countries over others.

    I admit that it's weird to me that Gwen would equate the use of a common term ("Third World") to imposing birth control on others' bodies and families. The former is not a sin at all (my dad is from the Third World, and I never, ever thought of him or my family as "less than", but I guess in the "race, class, gender" paradigm, that must be the implication of everything now). The latter is an offense against human dignity.

    At least in my worldview.

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  126. So it's okay to tell me not to use birth control, but I can't suggest you use a different, less condescending word to talk about people who live in other countries?

    Actually, Gwen, did we tell you not to use birth control? We all have free will. No one is stopping you. I believe it is your worldview that is pushing birth control on others.

    As to the term "Third World"… did the folks in those nations tell us that they hate the term and it makes them feel bad? Or did that idea come from the West? I wonder if in ten years we will be told that ''developing world" is condescending, too? That is how it usually happens. That's fine. I will use "developing countries" until that is forbidden, too.

    But like I said, as my father and relatives are from the "developing countries", I really never saw that as condescending until you told me it was, Miss Gwen.

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  127. I read most of the comments...it's a lot!

    Gwen or College Student,

    A lot of African and South American beliefs are against contraception and abortion, yet it is pushed on them by other countries. Leila explained that. Do you understand that point?

    And one question if you really think that condoms are the cure for spreading AIDS. I would like you both to answer it.

    Would you have sex using a condom with someone you knew had AIDS? Yes or no, and why?

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  128. Michelle, you said:

    In the second article you posted, it actually goes on to say "Clinton’s statement was both welcome and quite accurate—13 percent of maternal deaths each year are attributed to illegal and unsafe abortion." Even in the first, it cites "lower pregnancy rates" as one of the factors in reducing maternal deaths. Nowhere am I seeing Clinton forbidding aid, at least not in these articles.

    You realize that the quote you used from the first article is an admission that 13% of these poor women are dying often from abortions. You will claim, no doubt, that we simply need "safe" abortions and the "maternal" (ironic term with abortion, no?) deaths will not occur. Yet, maternal deaths from abortion still happens in America, even in legal abortion clinics. (Want the stats?) Bottom line, abortion should not be a solution to anything. Killing the unborn does not help families, or mothers.

    "Lower pregnancy rates" can be the result of many factors, including education, postponing marriage, empowerment about one's own body and NFP, more respect for women (less rape in and outside of marriage), fewer child brides, etc., etc. Certainly contraception is not the only factor there?

    If you don't think Clinton was "forbidding aid" with her opposition to the G8 initiative, then what exactly was she doing? She was derailing something. What was she derailing?

    By the way, I don't doubt that many horrible things are begun and continued with very good intentions. Please don't misunderstand. I have spread evil ideas and actions in my lifetime, with good intentions.

    And, as Miss Gwen and you, Michelle are atheists, I can understand why contraception and abortion are not objectionable to you. If we are not made in the image and likeness of God, and if our bodies and our faculty for giving life are not sacred, then who the heck cares what anyone does to or with those faculties? I get that, I really do. All actions and ideas would be fair in the quest for the "greater good".

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  129. Of course, I can only speak from my experiences in Honduras and Guatemala -- but I can tell you, there was no shortage of clinics offering contraception to anyone who walked in the door. They were called "Clinicas de Planification Familiar" (Family Planning Clinics) -- wow, sounds shocking similar to "Planned Parenthood", no? Anyway, these clinics are mysteriously WELL funded, when other, general clinics are not.

    So, basically, if a woman wanted contraception, or an abortion, or to be sterilized, she would be able to find a clinic with relative ease, be immediately ushered in to a clean and beautiful facility, and pay almost nothing for the service.

    However, if this same woman had a sick child needing antibiotics, she could spend the day waiting in line outside a dirty, underfunded public clinic, and maybe not even get seen that day. If she did get seen, she would have to pay a fee for the doctor visit... perhaps have to walk across town to the lab for testing (in Honduras the labs and the clinics are frequently not connected) and pay for that service, then return to the clinic, wait in line again to receive some sort of diagnosis and/or treatment, then, perhaps, walk again to a pharmacy for medication, and, of course, pay for that as well. Messed up.


    I would love Miss Gwen or Peter to address this specifically. What do you think of this and why it's happening like this?

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  130. Heavens to mergatroid! Why is it always okay for you Leila (and you other friends here) to be passionate and sometimes argumentative about the topics you care about but when I (or someone else who doesn't agree) respond with equal fervor I get pounced on?

    Most of the time Leila, I'm not the least bothered by our nudges, winks and opposite viewpoints.

    But sometimes, I don't think you realize how very offensive and mean you (and others here) actually sound! Especially when you pontificate about higher education without really listening/knowing/understanding. If you think I'm a snotty, liberal, condescending academic-so be it. That was pretty much my attitude last time.

    Using the terms First World/Third World is actually pretty outdated. I mean, can we really call China "third world" now that it is producing just about every product we use and buy in this country? And designating all of Latin and South America as "third world" does imply that those countries are "lesser than" in some way to the US and Europe. But don't take my word for it-there's plenty of scholarship on the topic: Edward Said, Walter Mignolo, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Chandra Mohanty, Alfred Taiaiake, Ann Stoler to name a few.

    -Gwen

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  131. Okay, okay, now that I've been told I'm a condescending liberal, let me try to politely answer your direct questions.

    Stacy: I don't answer hypothetical questions that seemingly have no point. Would you share a tent with two gay men?

    Leila: Based on what's written here on your blog in which the author clearly states, "I can only speak from my experiences in Honduras and Guatemala" I can say that of course I support accessible and free/low cost healthcare for Honduran peoples, especially sick children. As to the "wrongness" of having birth control more available than antibiotics: I do think both should be easily accessible because I do not like to think of a sick child/worried parent unable to get treatment.

    -gwen

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  132. Miss Gwen, we just like to see humility around these parts. All of us have some stellar academic credentials, but we don't wave them around as if that's what gives us our importance. We debate ideas, we don't insult people personally. I think you do come off as a liberal elite and act as if we Catholics are hayseeds (as if there is anything wrong with hayseeds!).

    My wink ;) after that one comment should show you that I think we are on equal footing, intelligence-wise, so give me some credit, and the others here.

    But sometimes, I don't think you realize how very offensive and mean you (and others here) actually sound! Especially when you pontificate about higher education without really listening/knowing/understanding.

    Why do you think I don't fully understand the state of higher education in the way that you do? Why do you think I don't fully understand the high-mindedness of the "race, class and gender" paradigm? Perhaps I do understand exactly, and yet simply disagree philosophically? Could that be?

    I'm seriously asking. Do you think that if I only understood gender studies, gay studies, Latina studies, women's studies, sociology, anthropology, diversity studies, etc., etc, etc, then I would suddenly have a conversion experience?

    I hope you read my book review recently, because I think the important thing I am doing here on this blog is letting Catholics and Christians know that we really do have two irreconcilable worldviews. Not every philosophy is compatible with Christianity. Some are diametrically opposes. I want to be sure we all understand that, as Professor B has said, "We don't all want the same thing, do we?" No, we don't.

    I just want you to be clear on where your philosophy will take us, and we will be clear on where Catholic philosophy will take us. The destinations are very different, even if intentions are good all the way around.

    I do hope you don't mind if I use your "angry" comment from a while back to make a point about something on another blog post. Of course you will be more than welcome to respond!

    Thanks!

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  133. Stacy, before you rip me a new one for not answering both of your questions: I don't feel up to date on the situation of HIV and condoms in Africa. There's a huge disconnect between teaching/telling people how condoms can be used to be effective and how people actually use or not use them.

    And this is probably where we disagree: where you see "pushing birth control" on people who oppose it, I see making birth control an option for those who choose it.

    -gwen

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  134. *Whoa, I hope that was clear!! I meant that "Catholics/Christians" and "secularists" have irreconcilable worldviews! I didn't mean to pit "Catholics" against "Christians" (which would be nonsensical since Catholics are Christians -- but some Protestants don't consider Catholics as Christians, so I didn't want any confusion there!)

    Ha ha, sorry, I think I am confusing myself now, but you get my point, right? My worldview and Miss Gwen's worldview cannot be reconciled. That was my point. But the dialogue is for clarity, not agreement. As I always say.

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  135. Gwen,

    "Rip you a new one?" No, I asked a question. If we did not ask and try to answer "hypothetical" questions we would never form "hypotheses."

    Would you have sex with a man you knew had AIDS using a condom? Yes or no, and why? Simple.

    That's how I think about things, I apply the question to myself. I know my answer. Do you know yours?

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  136. Gwen, you don't think there is any "pressure" from the developed nations for the "poor brown people" to use contraception so that they will stop multiplying and having lots of kids? No pressure there? Really, you don't see it?

    Then why should a nation that doesn't want our Pills and IUDs be penalized? If there is no pressure on the people to stop their breeding, why are strings attached to aid?

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  137. Permission to speak, mistress Gwen? Thank you.
    I dunno, duh, I mean, maybe I’ll ask my former college professors who are from Nigeria and other countries that are ‘lesser than America’ what they think of your reaction, all up in arms about what to call their native country. My guess is they won’t care like you do, but it’s your horse so you can ride it. I guess.

    By the way, I bring up Nigeria since one of my history profs was from there and guess what, yep, Nigeria is indeed ‘lesser than America’ in lots of ways. For instance, they’re 44th in the world for factory output, they only have 47.33 million in their labor force, their GDP per capita is $2,500 compared to our US $47,425. So yeah, they’re lesser than America in comparison. Nothing gut wrenchingly offensive in that, I would hope.

    What is offensive, at least to my prof, was the insane dysfunction of family life here. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea of an orphan. He said where he lived in Nigeria most of his life, there were no such thing as orphans. Family, friends, local people, took in parentless children. Imagine this- in a poor, lesser than country like that.

    Sometimes we Americans can be “educated into imbecility” as I once heard. All the degrees in the world mean nothing unless there’s morality sustaining it.

    I realize it’s short order and most inadequate and that I shouldn’t dare address you, Gwen, but if you might, just closepin your nose while I am in your presence.
    Alas, if only I might be worthy to recline at thy table!

    Leila,
    You mentioned the anger part in the posting here, and that you have a hunch what it’s about. I do, too. Curious to see what you post.

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  138. Gwen, quick question asked a few posts ago of you, not answered:

    Are you, as a woman, oppressed?

    Thanks!

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  139. Yeah, well I began here being humble and then quickly realized there's plenty of snarky commenting done around here that sometimes warrants responding with vim and vigor.

    Speaking of which, Nubby I'm sorry your education failed you since you refuse to be open to listen/learn about other ideas about how to see the world. You're probably right, my little heathen over-educated ass should listen to you and your gospel of peace and love more often : )

    -gwen

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  140. Gwen and Peter ... you guys talk? Sound so much alike.

    What's the matter Gwen? You can serve it up but don't wanna eat it, eh?

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  141. You esteem your education over mine? Interesting, since I never shared all my "qualifications" with you.

    You're above Leila, Stacy and anyone else, I guess. Is it lonely at the top, Gwen?

    And the Gospel of Peace is indeed peaceful. Too bad you don't have any of that.

    Will pray on that.

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  142. Anger? I'm laughing my head off!

    Stacy, just why do you care to know if I would sleep with a man using a condom who also had AIDS? How about my question-would you share a tent with two gay men?

    -gwen

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  143. Nubby, why put words in my mouth? I've never said I think anyone here is below me (Leila if I've implied that about you, I apologize now). Why condemn me Nubby when you don't know my qualifications either? If my words have implied that I'm somehow "better than" you purely by suggesting the use of "developing nation" instead of "third world" well then, it's time to see a therapist : )

    -gwen

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  144. I want you to answer because I want to know how you think about the issue. I don't understand why people think condoms are the cure for AIDS if they don't trust condoms to protect themselves.

    Me with two gay men in a tent? Just sitting there talking? Sure, but I'd leave if they started being affectionate.

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  145. Oh! Shame on me-I see I've neglected another question! Leila, do I feel oppressed? So glad you asked, let's see...

    despite being in an academic discipline where women outnumber men, there's constant expectation that I will not choose to have babies, that I would be wise not to have children and that if I do, I'll never become "something" in my field. Advisors and professors feel free to ask me questions about "if" and "when" I might have babies so they can lower their expectations of my work but they'd never think to ask my male colleagues that same question.

    There's still a persistent wage gap between men and women in the workforce so despite being qualified for an academic or other professional job, I can count on earning less than male colleagues.

    In my profession despite the fact that women outnumber men, men hold the majority of full professor positions.

    So yes, in many ways I do feel oppressed. thanks for asking.

    -gwen

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  146. Huh? Words in your mouth? Must be my stupidity rearing up again, as I don't recall doing that. Leila mentioned a few comments back about angry comments and arrogance.

    As to the therapy- yeah! you're So right! My therapist, though (read: spiritual advisor) already has a remedy. It's called great NFP sex and lots of it! Leads to love, joy, peace and babies.

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  147. Stacy, If I was in totally in love with and in a committed relationship with a man with AIDS/HIV I would engage with him intimately if he wore a condom.

    But condoms can only be mostly (not entirely) effective if used properly with forethought and so much of human sexual behavior is anything but regimented and premeditated.

    -gwen

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  148. Great, good for you Nubby! You'd be surprised to know that I chart/don't use birth control either!

    -gwen

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  149. Only I don't have lots of babies because I'm most likely infertile.

    And no, I still don't have a problem with other people using birth control.

    -gwen

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  150. Sorry to hear if you're most likely infertile, that is, if you wanted kids. I was for five years and two losses, I still recall what it felt like.

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  151. It's quite okay, I accept that biological children may never be an option for me. I have no complaints and plenty of friends with children whom I enjoy thoroughly.

    -gwen

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  152. Firstly, 1000 interwebz to Gwen! Yay! She's not me, btw, Nubby.

    Secondly, Stacy, you maybe don't understand how some viruses work, but using a condom can drastically reduce the chance of getting HIV whether you know your partner has it or not. And not everyone can know if they have HIV--it takes, usually, a full 3 months to determine that.

    Leila, there are a lot of reasons to use contraceptives and/or get an abortion. Funny thing is, when you don't provide a safe healthy abortion clinic, some women try it themselves and then they die and the baby dies. It's disgusting. So, in a way, offering contraceptives and abortion can increase people. You cannot boil it down to just "fewer people". Ergo, your argument overall ends up being invalid that "fewer poor people will help the poor".

    Honestly, by the end of this thread I wasn't entirely sure what everyone was still bickering over!

    As for how Americans spend themselves? Absolutely! Our carbon footprint is huge. One quick example: Americans buy tons of product from China. China helps fund the violence in Darfur. I support materialism, but it's not THAT materialism! The economies of American materialism and fuels are interrelated. Do you really think you could walk up to our young starving African girl and say, "Oh, I bought this $600 iPhone, but that has NOTHING to do with you, while you starve and lack basic medical care". My lifestyle itself is frugal compared to my friends, I almost never drive, I live in a small apartment, and I try to eat local and fresh. I know this will save me money, which is the main motivator, but I also know I'm reducing my carbon footprint, and I feel guilty enough knowing how I live compared with how the majority of the world lives.

    Also, someone called the bible the Gospel of Peace, which made me lolzerkatz. Maybe that was a mistake on my part while I was skimming!

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  153. Thank you Gwen for answering the question. If you were less than totally in love with a man with AIDS you would not have sex with him even with a condom.

    Why?

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  154. Good point about our carbon footprint Peter.

    I made reference to the Bible as a "gospel of peace" with a dash of tongue in cheek.

    -gwen

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  155. Peter, I got all that.

    Same question for you.

    Would you have sex using a condom with someone you knew had AIDS?

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  156. Stacy,

    a) It's a good idea to use some sort of protection if you're going to have sex with someone and haven't both been tested for STDs, or talked about any possible health concerns

    b) I generally only want to have sex with someone I'm in love with.

    And now a question for you,

    If a man and a woman were sharing your tent and began having intimate relations in front of you, you'd be okay with it? But the gay men would have to go outside of the tent and make love far away from your presence?

    -gwen

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  157. Right, Leila. Abortion's already happening, and Clinton was calling for safe, legal abortion. I know it's just as objectionable to you, but I don't think she had some evil agenda behind those remarks. I agree that lower pregnancy rates aren't only due to contraception, and education is a HUGE factor that I think could go a long, long way. But I don't think that contraception should be ruled out just because there are other ways. Why not let people make their own choices?

    I also don't think Clinton was derailing anything - it really did seem to me that she was simply making a point about women's health: you need to consider reproductive health if you want to be effective. You said earlier: "She made it very clear (if through a smile) that money for food would be conditional: Either start sterilizing, contracepting and aborting, or we won't give you money to eat." I'm not seeing that anywhere.

    I'm glad you acknowledge the good intentions, but do you think it's at all possible that contraception could ease some of the difficulty of poverty? Why not give people the opportunity to decide this for themselves? Would you prefer that they not even have the option?

    Gwen, thanks! I hope you keep commenting - you've got some great points, and a good sense of humor! (I was going to give you internets, by the way, but Peter beat me to it.) :)

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  158. Thanks Michelle! Mad props to you and Peter : )

    -gwen

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  159. Stacy,

    Maybe. Gwen pointed out your question is contrived. I think we're mostly avoiding answering it directly because, at least from what I gather implicitly, we all know where you're heading with this and we already think your point is invalid.

    I'm out!

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  160. Stacy, great question.

    Gwen, I guessed that you probably felt oppressed. I never actually have. I have never felt that because I am a woman that I am oppressed in any way. In fact, since childhood, I have always felt like I had a million more options than men, and I felt sorry for them, actually. I don't really identify with the oppression model at all.

    I don't know if you ever read my friend Kim's conversion story, at the top of the blog? She was New Age radical feminist, working as a gestalt therapist and a counselor in a domestic violence shelter. She describes the day she had her "click moment":

    The evidence mounted in my mind: Men were simply evil, and governments and organized religion – specifically Christianity in America – were their weapons. And then one day it happened. I had my “click” experience. I later read that Ms. Magazine had coined this phrase to describe the exact moment of coming into full consciousness of one’s oppression. I was sitting across from a co-worker in the shelter one evening and, like a light going on, it suddenly hit me that the cultural reality of my childhood did not exist. I realized in my moment of “enlightenment” that all men were perpetrators and all women were victims. “Where have I been all these years?” I asked my friend. “I feel like I’ve been living under a rock and for the first time now I can see clearly. There’s a world of male oppression against women out there and we’ve got to fight back.” My friend smiled warmly and said, “Now you’re getting it. I had the same experience. Now you see the truth.”

    She had an anti-click moment years later, but she did operate in the oppression paradigm for a long, long time. Did you ever have a click moment, or did you always feel oppressed?

    By the way, anyone who has not read Kim's story, it is a MUST READ:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/p/from-gender-feminism-to-catholicism-by.html

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  161. Peter, you're out? Why? Why would her point be invalid? Explain, please.

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  162. Leila,

    I also am happy with the choices I've made in terms of my career and I don't really see myself as a "victim" at all. There is an uphill climb to get where I want to be but I have had many privileges for which I am grateful.

    Interesting story about your friend.

    -gwen

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  163. If a man and a woman were sharing your tent and began having intimate relations in front of you, you'd be okay with it? But the gay men would have to go outside of the tent and make love far away from your presence?

    This is funny. Gwen, of course we Catholics believe in modesty and propriety and reverence. We believe that sex is a sacred act which renews the marriage covenant, a very intimate, private sharing (becoming one flesh) between a husband and a wife only. We don't sit around watching anyone have sex. But you knew that….

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  164. Gwen, I would leave if a heterosexual couple got affectionate too in a tent. I don't want to be in a tent with any other two people being intimate.

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  165. Well, I guess we do agree on something! I'd leave the tent too.

    -gwen

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  166. I also don't think Clinton was derailing anything - it really did seem to me that she was simply making a point about women's health

    Michelle, withholding the vote was derailing the initiative! Why do you think people were so upset? Why would they be upset with a simple opinion offered? Why would a simple opinion (which everyone already knew was her opinion going in) make the news? She was withholding her vote, thus stopping the aid from go forward! Do you not see that if someone blocks something from going forward, it's a "derailing"? They all weren't sitting around "making points" about women's health, they were voting! She withheld her vote! I am not sure how this is unclear, but I will leave it there. Those are the facts.

    As for the option of contraception. If the nations or individuals want to accept contraception and abortion, how can I stop them? Goodness, condoms are stacked a mile high in developing nations! But when my nation pays for it and forces it on cultures who resent it, I can and do protest. I think it's arrogant and condescending.

    "Could" contraception ease poverty? I don't believe it could or does. But let's say I agree with you, for the sake of argument, that it does. I still would say it's a bad means to a good end. For an act to be moral, both the means and the end have to be moral. For example, shooting 85% of the villagers might help ease the strain on resources and perhaps (at least temporarily) ease poverty. But would that good end justify the (evil) means? Nope. The ends don't justify the means. But that's a Christian principle. I have learned that atheists are concerned with getting to the good end, no matter what the means (not saying that you would shoot the villagers! Just saying you are not going to say no to abortion or contraception (something I contend is evil) if it means an easing of poverty.

    That is where we differ greatly. I am not allowed, as a Christian, to do evil, even to bring about a good. Evil is never permitted, period.

    I understand that you disagree with my paradigm. You told me that it would be moral to torture and kill a six-year-old girl to save the life of fifty people. I would say you believe that sometimes we must do evil in order to bring about a good. This is where we differ. Enormously.

    But I appreciate the discussion.

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  167. Gwen, I realize that you have empowered yourself and will not be a "victim" to your oppressors, but you did say you feel oppressed as a woman.

    When did you recognize your oppression? Also, do you think I am oppressed, as a woman? And, since I don't feel oppressed, do you think I simply don't recognize my own oppression?

    Thanks!

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  168. Forgive me, I am sure everyone here has credentials in some field (even if it is raising babies). I never graduated college myself.

    However I believe people show their true intelligence when they boil nuanced matters down to, "LIBERALS WANT TO MURDER POOR PEOPLE'S BABIES!!!!!"

    Do you think 911 was an inside job, too? Vaccinations are toxic poisons covered up by 'Big Pharma'? I bet global warming is a myth to get people to contracept! All evil in the world is due to some strawman concoction of atheist/liberal/promiscuous/abortion lovers who no one seems to notice for the monsters they truly are... except us.

    Here's your tinfoil hats, LCBers.

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  169. Troll alert?

    No, Mr/Ms Troll, I don't believe that liberals want to kill babies. I believe they will tell you that the unborn are not babies at all.

    And I believe the average liberal has good intentions, but is very, very misguided.

    Either man up and give yourself a name, or slither back under your rock. Thanks!

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  170. "I understand that you disagree with my paradigm. You told me that it would be moral to torture and kill a six-year-old girl to save the life of fifty people. I would say you believe that sometimes we must do evil in order to bring about a good. This is where we differ. Enormously."

    Fun! it's another shot at this hypothetical morality game : )

    Caveat here: I am no Bible scholar

    Didn't Isaac intend to sacrifice his son (a rather um, 'bad' act) for the good of believing and submitting to God everything? And couldn't this be seen/interpreted as a metaphor for God allowing the brutal murder of his son for the greater good of mankind? One life saves billions? I'm sure I must have this wrong.

    Leila, regarding oppression, I'd never presume to tell you you specifically are oppressed or can't see your own oppression, especially after you just said you don't consider yourself oppressed.

    -gwen

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  171. Leila, thank you so much for this wonderful information and for all of the great comments that follow. I haven't gotten through all of the messages so I hope this point isn't just a repeat of someone else, but an economy can't grow when the population is declining. Economically, more people is a GOOD thing! More people to make things for. More people who are available to make things. More people who have an economic incentive to meet the needs of the community with new and better products. And when all of that is taken care of, there are still people left to spend time on medical research and all the great things that make life better for everyone.

    Life is hopeful!!!

    The "progressive" mindset is, in contrast, so negative and limiting. I don't see how caring for the poor is reflected in efforts to reduce their numbers, not by lifting them out of poverty, but by getting them to stop having children. Fewer people, less incentive for growth, less innovation, fewer minds working to solve problems... not terribly progressive in the truest sense, is it?

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  172. Mary:

    To answer your question. My husband and I have been using NFP for almost 6 years and we have one child, a "surprise baby" that came about mostly because of carelessness on my part. The reason why it's hard to get a straight answer is because your question is very reductive. Catholics use NFP in the framework of an entire ethic around life and sexuality which states that life is sacred, babies are part of married life and it's wrong to attempt any radical split between sex and procreation. This includes using NFP with a contraceptive mentality, or a mindset of "avoiding pregnancy at all costs". This is why 1. Your question is reductive because you're focusing on net results of practicing fertility awareness, ignoring the guiding principles affecting the lives of Catholic women who use it, and 2. you're asking a subset of women who believe that having lots of children are a blessing and who have used NFP to facilitate that. (NFP can aid in conceiving or avoiding conception, it works both ways)

    Leila:
    Miss Gwen does make a legitimate point regarding the history of American intervention in Latin America, for the most part it has been American corporations who went into the region to take advantage of cheap labor, lax labor laws, and corrupt government officials which could be bribed. Occasionally, however, the U.S. government backed them up when it feared the rise of any moderate or left leaning politicians. The most famous example is the United Fruit Company, which in Guatemala in the 1950's owned 2/3 of the arable land in the country (you heard that right, one company in the USA owned 2/3 of Guatemala, a country where a huge percentage of the indigenous population lived in extreme poverty) When a social democratic president by the name of Jacopo Arbenz was elected in 1954 he proposed a land redistribution programme in which the government would buy some of the lands that United Fruit wasn't using and redistribute it to the poor. Because the Arbenz government was offering to buy the land at the price United Fruit had "officially declared" in its paperwork, but not the real price of it, United Fruit pressured the US government to intervene claiming the Guatemalan government was infiltrated by Communists, a move which lead to the overthrow of a democratically elected government and the installation of a series of military dictatorships which practiced horrific human rights abuses. The US supported any regime in the region based on two factors: their commitment to eradicating Communism (no matter how brutal the method: torture, mass killings, secret detentions) and their willingness to allow American companies to do business (pay substandard wages and then exporting the region's goods to the USA to be sold at inflated prices)

    It's a horrible reality, the combination of ideological fervor and naked greed led to a region benighted by dictatorships from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego from the 1970's to the 1990's.

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  173. That's Abraham.
    Abraham was going to show his obedience to God by sacrificing Isaac.

    You're getting into typology here.
    Typology is the study of things from the Old Testament that foreshadow or prefigure things in the New Testament. There are numerous "types" in the Old Testament.

    Abraham's uncompleted sacrifice of his son, Isaac, is one; to the completed sacrifice of God's only begotten son, Jesus. Typology can help show us that eating Christ's body and blood was God's intention throughout time and was later fulfilled.

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  174. Gwen, so you don't believe women are an oppressed minority? Or, you believe we are only oppressed or not based on our feelings about it? I am not being snarky, I truly want to know what your position is.

    Typology, I love it!

    Gwen, Jesus didn't torture and kill a six-year-old girl to save the souls of billions. He didn't harm a soul. He allowed Himself to undergo evil (at the hands of those who wished to torture and kill Him) in order to overcome evil. He undertook death in order to destroy death. Offering His life for others is not "evil". It is called a sacrifice. That is love. He gave his whole self, His last drop of blood, in a love offering for you and me. We con't consider selfless love a sin. So, I think you are a bit off on your exegesis.

    Would you offer your life for your beloved if he was in need of saving?

    I think you would. And you would (I hope) see that as a good thing.

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  175. By the way, on the question of why men earn more than women:

    http://lattenomics.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/do-women-really-get-paid-less-than-men/

    Do women really get paid less than men?

    Thomas Sowell gives simple explanation to why women earn less than men:

    Q: We’ve frequently heard, and will hear much more I am sure if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, that women make 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. Can you give us a basic rundown of why that discrepancy exists?

    A: There are lots of reasons. Men and women do not work the same number of hours. They do not work in the same occupations. They do not work continuously the same, and so on.

    You know, if it was really true that you could hire a woman for three quarters of what you could hire a man with exactly the same qualifications, then employers would be crazy not to hire all women. It would be insane to hire men. Not only would it be insane, it would probably put them out of the business because the ones that were smart enough to hire women would have such a cost advantage that it would be really hard for the others to compete.


    Sowell’s explanation is elegant, brilliant and entirely logical! Why didn’t I think of it myself???

    Sowell continues:

    There are lots of gross differences between men and women and other groups and some of them shocked me when I first started doing the research. For example, I found that young male doctors make considerably more than young female doctors. But, when I dug into it a little deeper, I discovered that young male doctors work an average of 500 hours a year more than young female doctors. Obviously, a doctor that works 500 extra hours is going to make more money than the other doctor.

    So the answer to the question: do women earn less than man, is YES, but there are good reasons why that is the case. Contrary to the commonly advanced liberal theory of “sexist and unjust male-dominated world”, other factors are at play. Men work more hours and spend more time in the workforce, while women take time off to raise children and favour part time employment. My wife, who earns more per hour than me, chooses to work only three days a week to look after our child. Her annual salary is lower than mine even though she would earn more if she worked full time. There is no conspiracy at play, it is only fair that those that work more get higher rewards.

    This is not to say that sexism doesn’t exist and that women are always treated fairly. But as a general rule it is inconceivable that employers could hire a female worker for the three quarter of what they would have to pay a man with the same qualifications.


    ahhhhh, I love common sense. It is balm to my soul.

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  176. Leila,

    sorry, sometimes it's difficult to figure out which supposed mantra of liberalism you have reinterpreted or boiled down to extremes in order to pose questions to me.

    You said, you do not feel oppressed because you are a woman. Fantastic, I'm not going to argue with you about what you feel.

    Do I think all women everywhere are oppressed all the time? No. Do I think women deserve equal pay? yes. Do I think violence against women is a crime? you bet. Am I against female genital mutilation? Yes.

    Do you see all women on one big equal level playing field Leila?

    Thank you and Nubby for pointing me in the right direction re: Abraham, Isaac and God.

    Do you believe it's okay to eat another person if they sacrifice themselves in the name of selfless love?

    -Gwen

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  177. Do I think women deserve equal pay {for equal hours of equal work}? yes. Do I think violence against women is a crime? you bet. Am I against female genital mutilation? Yes.

    We agree! Whoa, you might be a classical liberal, like me!! Or, a Christian! Well, but I know you are not either. Darn it. But at least we all see the natural law principle on those issues.

    Yes, I see myself on an equal playing field with men. I have always been respected by men, and I have always fit in very nicely with them. I have had every opportunity they have had (and more) and I believe at least educationally, I have had more opportunity due to my "minority" status. Which is unfortunate. I think it is patently unjust for me to get an advantage over a more qualified male. Wouldn't you agree?

    As to the alleged cannibalism: You and Protestants have something in common, implying cannibalism of Catholics. :) Before I answer that one, are you against cultural cannibalism? In developing nations, etc.? Or do you respect all cultures equally?

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  178. Barbara, sorry, I just found your comment in spam jail! Just released it!!

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  179. No cannibalism here. We don't tear his flesh from his body. He gives it to us under the appearance of bread and wine (called the accidents).

    This is not cannibalism.

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  180. Nubby, yep. And the whole "one flesh" union and the nuptial meaning of the Church (i.e., the Bride) receiving Jesus (i.e., the Bridegroom) into our bodies in a true Communion of persons is amazing beyond anything that can be described in words. I love marriage, and I love Marriage. :)

    The Eucharist: Number one reason to be a Catholic.

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  181. Gwen, since neither you nor I are experts in Biblical exegesis, I went to Gayle Somers, who is. I sent her your comment and she responded thusly:

    Leila,

    I'm not sure I'm following the question, so let me clear that up first. Is the writer suggesting that Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac (and God's request of him to do it), as well as Jesus' death on the Cross (one death saves the life of all mankind), give us grounds to believe that, in some cases, the killing of one to save many is moral and justified?

    If so, I would point out the differences between the torture/killing of a child to save many and the biblical episodes. In the case of Abraham, God asked him to be willing to sacrifice his son as a test of his obedience. It was not to save any other human lives. In the end, God did not allow Abraham to kill Isaac. The comparison falls apart at that point. If God had allowed Abraham to go through with the sacrifice, we might have something to discuss. But since the death did NOT happen, this situation can't be compared to murdering one person to save the lives of others.

    In the case of Jesus, the big difference is that God did not murder Jesus. It was human hatred and jealousy that killed Him. Men abused their freedom and used it to, as St. Peter says in Acts, "kill the Author of life." There was no moral justification in that murder. However, God accepted the offering Jesus made of His life on behalf of the very sinners who crucified Him. It was a death "He freely accepted." It was not engineered by God. The fact is, as soon as man rebelled in the Garden, it was inevitable that IF God should ever show up on the planet Earth in human form, man would kill Him. God let that happen, in order to draw from evil (the abuse of freedom) a greater good (man's salvation). So, there is simply no sense in which the torture/killing of a child to save fifty lives can be compared to Jesus' death on the Cross. Jesus' death was meant to silence Him forever. It was a great moral wrong (as the early preaching of the apostles shows in the Book of Acts--they always emphasized that the Jews had killed a man they knew to be innocent). The fact that God used it for good is very different from making the act itself (murder) good or just or moral.

    Not sure this is what you're looking for. Let me know if you need more clarification.


    Does that help, Gwen?

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  182. By the way, I love her definition of moral evil as "the abuse of freedom". That is exactly it! Sin is utterly, totally, the abuse of freedom.

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  183. Ok...back after the evening and it seems this has broken down...but just to interject a bit of levity...I scanned quickly to try to catch up and my eyes fell on someone commenting on spending the night in a tent with two gay men, and their subsequent actions, and well...it struck me as really funny. I thought, "Now THAT could get interesting! We could talk fashion, and probably about good music." (Yes,,,stereotyping! Sorry...but it would be an opportunity!)

    I needed a giggle...had a crazy evening!

    Seriously, I learn from everyone here..it's a good place. Maybe we get frustrated now and again, but let's realize that its good to have a place like this.

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  184. Leila, you'll have to show me where it says she blocked the vote. I've read both articles over and over, and don't see that anywhere. I see her making a statement. That's it.

    Right, but we're not talking about forcing anything on anyone. We got that over with right away - we all agree that forced sterilization/abortion/contraception is wrong. Shooting 85% of the population is absolutely unrelated to offering contraception as an option, and I feel like you brought that up only to bring up that controversial argument I made way back when (seemingly to subtly discredit my other arguments). I don't appreciate it, but I do appreciate Gwen's willingness to engage on the topic.

    I think what this all boils down to is this:
    • I don't think contraception is evil, and I'm open to the possibility that it could help poverty. I don't think it should be forced, but offered. People deserve a choice.
    • You think contraception is evil (based solely on religious grounds), and you aren't open to the possibility that it could help poverty. You don't think it should be forced, and (from what I can tell), should not be offered because it is evil.

    I don't think we can go much further than this. We agree that contraception shouldn't come before other, more needed aid, but you're absolutely close-minded on this. If unbiased research showed that contraception did help improve poverty, it seems you'd still say it's evil and shouldn't be offered. At that point, you're basing an argument entirely on one religiously-founded belief. Is that an appropriate thing to impose on a population that needs relief from poverty? I would say no.

    Hopefully I'm not wildly misunderstanding you, but that's what I'm getting from all of this.

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  185. Mary, ha ha, thanks for the laugh and also for the encouragement! I do believe the fact that we are all still fairly civil is a good thing!

    And, I also thought how funny it is the turns this post has taken! From two gay men in a tent to cannibalism!

    But I am glad even non-Catholics can see be comfortable in the Bubble and see it as a good place. :) Like I said, there's "an infinite amount of room inside!"

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  186. Yes this does help immensely. Thank you.

    I didn't realize I have a Protestant outlook on eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ aka "wafer and wine"

    No, I don't support cannibalism.

    Why is it oppressive to women to offer a variety of choices when it comes to healthcare?

    Off to make some dinner,
    gwen

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  187. Mary, I like the sense of humor : )

    -gwen

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  188. You think contraception is evil (based solely on religious grounds)

    This line, Michelle, makes me want to give up. I base my my position on contraception on the natural law. (NOT to be confused with "what is natural" or "the laws of nature".) The fact that my religion's morality is based on natural law principles does not mean that the wrongness of contraception is solely a religious issue.

    I will give you some issues which are solely religious, and cannot be accessed simply via the natural law:

    The Immaculate Conception of Mary
    The Incarnation of Jesus Christ
    The Trinity
    The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
    The Nature of the Sacraments

    Etc.

    Those things are known only through revelation. The wrongness of contraception can be known through reason alone. That is why Freud and Gandhi could see what you cannot.

    Maybe I need to do a whole post explaining this?

    As for Hillary, here is a report from Canada. They don't say "vote" so maybe it is simply that she was wielding her very considerable influence (as the American Secretary of State) in a way to derail the plan going forward. Unfortunately, she does have power and influence, because of the $$$$$. It's a strong arming any way you look at it:

    http://www.theinterim.com/politics/clinton-criticizes-ottawa-for-excluding-abortion-from-maternal-health/

    If you have followed Hillary or Obama from the beginning of their political careers, you will see that the one issue neither one has caved on is the absolute right to kill the unborn, even through nine months (Hillary), and even after birth (Obama). The abortion lobby has in them true soldiers for the cause.

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  189. Two things:

    An even better question on the issue of condoms and AIDS: would you have sex using a condom with someone you love if you know YOU have AIDS, and put their lives at risk? Or would you trust the condom, and see it as no risk to them?

    The second is, this isn't the first time I've read someone say that Catholics view contraception and abortion as equal evils. I don't think so, abortion is taking the life of the most vulnerable (whether by abortifacient birth control or going to an abortion clinic) and therefore is viewed as murder.

    Use of contraception is a secondary wrong. If the couple is not married, the they should not be having sex (contraception may add to or subtract from that sin, Catholics debate) because, among other reasons, there will be less stability for a child they conceive. If they are married, contracepting is a way of withholding a part of themselves from the other, as well as preventing God from blessing the union with children.

    A few years ago I read Mosher's book "Population Control..", and it was the first time I heard the argument that Africans were offended by the white west dropping boxes of contraceptive "aid" to help prevent the birth of additional African babies. I can see his logic--why not spend all the money on basic medicine and food, and teach the families NFP, which is free and would allow them to have control over their fertility. It's very simple to learn, even for someone who isn't blessed with a science education (or literacy, even).

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  190. Why is it oppressive to women to offer a variety of choices when it comes to healthcare?

    I said it's against their human dignity. We are not animals, and we don't need neutering or "fixing". Our bodies and fertility are beautiful and good. What is oppressive, however, is anything forced or coerced (which you would agree with me on). Sadly, it appears much of the West's "love of being sterile" is forced on an unwilling Third World. There is a great love of children in those nations, and it's an insult the way we bully our way in and stack the shelves high with Pills and condoms and injections, yet leave them hungry and sick. I find that abhorrent. I hope you do, too.

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  191. Gwen - again sorry if I am repeating... I cannot keep up! But you mentioned the story of Abraham and Isaac. While perhaps you are not a bible scholar I can share the teachings of one who is. :) My professor (secular university!) - a biblical scholar - gave us the historical context of that story. Basically, human sacrifice to pagan gods was not uncommon in that era. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, this would have been culturally "acceptable" and Abraham, although probably horrified, acted in obedience. When the Angel of the Lord stopped the sacrifice, this was actually symbolic of *ending* human sacrifices in the name of religion. It was God saying, well I see you are as faithful as the pagans, but guess what? This isn't something I'd ever want you to do. This story is meant to break the bloody cultural norms of the day and show the Triune God as merciful.

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  192. A few years ago I read Mosher's book "Population Control..", and it was the first time I heard the argument that Africans were offended by the white west dropping boxes of contraceptive "aid" to help prevent the birth of additional African babies. I can see his logic--why not spend all the money on basic medicine and food, and teach the families NFP, which is free and would allow them to have control over their fertility. It's very simple to learn, even for someone who isn't blessed with a science education (or literacy, even).

    Amanda, thank you! Exactly!!

    And here's what Pope John Paul II said about the difference between contraception and abortion, from Evangelium Vitae:

    Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment "You shall not kill".

    But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real-life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.


    Emphasis mine.

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  193. Yes, that makes more sense. Influencing a decision is vastly different from preventing it from going through or insisting that people start contracepting and aborting or they won't receive other aid, as you initially suggested.

    And yes, it makes me want to give up too, because earlier you said:
    "And, as Miss Gwen and you, Michelle are atheists, I can understand why contraception and abortion are not objectionable to you. If we are not made in the image and likeness of God, and if our bodies and our faculty for giving life are not sacred, then who the heck cares what anyone does to or with those faculties?"

    Makes it sound an awful lot like a religious position if it's beyond the grasp of atheists, no? I really would appreciate a post on natural law, though, as I read part 3 of Budziewski's book and as much of part 4 as I could stand, and for the most part found it lacking (maybe it was better explained in the first 2 parts? very possible that I just skipped it).

    Thanks for the discussion, as always!

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  194. Michelle said: You think contraception is evil (based solely on religious grounds), and you aren't open to the possibility that it could help poverty. You don't think it should be forced, and (from what I can tell), should not be offered because it is evil.

    Now I realize you were talking directly to Leila, whom I do not know well, so this may be accurate. However, I would like to say, that this all-too common assumption that those who against contraception do so on religious grounds, is ridiculous at best.

    Why doesn't it ever occur to anyone that perhaps we are Catholic because we believe these things to be true and right. Not that we believe in these things because we are Catholic.

    For the record, I became Catholic in '99 and while I was decent Catholic - went to Church on Sundays, prayed the Hail Mary, believed in the real presence of Christ - I disagreed with the Church on contraception, among many other things. I figured that if God really wanted a couple to have a baby, the contraception wasn't going to stop HIM, so why not let the couple use it for their own peace of mind.

    Needless to say I don't believe this way anymore. And it has absolutely NOTHING to do about any specific teaching or encyclical or document coming out of the Church. Rather I finally realized that one of the main things contraception does is it takes away anyone and EVERYONE's accountability when it comes to sex. No one has to be responsible for the actions that they take when it comes to sex, they can have as much as they want, whenever they want, however they want, with whomever they want. Which is, ironically, the EXACT opposite of what I've been trying to teach my children in regards to everything.

    "No. You don't always get to do what you want. Choices have consequences and when you make a poor choice, chances are you going to have to deal with poor consequences."

    This is called, growing up. And in our childish, egocentric, individualistic, selfish, irresponsible society, that can't figure out simple "cause and effect", I finally realized what makes a responsible adult. And it isn't the marriage, or the children, or the career, or the house, or the car, or the money in the bank.

    No. It's in the thinking about the possible consequences BEFORE you act and responding and owning up to those consequences AFTER you act.

    Contraception attempts to mask, hide, or even eliminate the consequences. Which tells me that someone - whoever thinks I should be on contraception - thinks that I'm too weak, too dumb, too immature to not only control myself, but be responsible for my actions. What a horrible message for young women to internalize, especially when its masked as "freedom".

    Freedom earns you, not rights, but privileges; and with privilege comes responsibility. If you take away the responsibility, you take away the freedom.

    Sorry, this was really long, and mostly off topic from the original post. :)

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