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Saturday, February 15, 2014

When Pro-Lifers Muddle the Issues!

Austin Ruse heads up C-FAM, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, in New York which is the major pro-life watchdog at the U.N. They do great work. So it was particularly unsettling to see Ruse's article on Crisis Magazine's website, Is Contraception the Hill We Want to Die On? Essentially, the article is an endorsement of Barbara Comstock who's running to fill Frank Wolf's congressional seat for the 10th District of Virginia despite positions that seriously conflict with Catholic teaching and the pro-life issue specifically.

The problem in Ruse's view, is that a solid pro-life candidate, Bob Marshall, a Virginia state delegate, has filed to run against Comstock in the Republican primary. Rather than celebrating this solid pro-life candidate, Ruse, who supports Comstock, raised a straw man to attack Bob's candidacy. Contraception. His article argues against the possibility of making contraception illegal, as if anyone, including Bob, is trying to do that. What he really objects to is Bob's criticism of Comstock's morally unjustifiable act supporting the over-the-counter sale of so-called "contraceptives" that actually cause abortion.

Incidentally, opposition to Comstock isn't just about abortion, although that is certainly enough in my opinion. But, as so many pragmatic politicians before her, she is "growing" on the homosexual issue which no doubt explains Paul Singer, a billionaire gay "marriage" advocate funneling $80,000 into her campaign since 2009. That may help explain her support for homosexual activist, Tracy Thorne-Begland, to be named District Judge in Richmond. (I wonder, did Singer give her a call?) Just what we need, eh, one more activist homosexual judge to rule in favor of gay "marriage." But Ruse makes opposition to Comstock revolve around one issue, contraception:
A Catholic politician in Northern Virginia has come under fire from a primary challenger and LifeSiteNews for asking the Federal government to allow adult women to buy oral contraceptives without a doctor’s prescription. She is being accused of being a bad Catholic and questions are being raised about whether faithful Catholics can support her.
There's a lot more to Comstock's negatives than this, as I've already pointed out. For example, she voted against and tried to get Governor McDonnell to veto Bob Marshall's bill stating Virginia would not cooperate in the indefinite detention of citizens without due process. But even if Comstock's only negative was her support for abortifacient "contraception" those opposing her are completely justified. Even Ruse argues for that position. Here's what he writes:
There is no question that the Catholic politician is duty bound to limit and then to stop legal abortion. After all, abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Protecting the innocent from abortion is not a uniquely Catholic matter. Is contraception the same as abortion, or is it more like divorce, a fundamental Catholic teaching but one that we do not seek to impose on others. We may seek to convince others but we do not seek to impose it on them through public policy.
And that paragraph illustrates Ruse's serious muddling of the issue. He seems to accept the definition of "contraception" according the pro-abortion community. Many over-the-counter so-called contraceptives don't prevent conception at all and Ruse himself acknowledges that, "Anybody who wants [contraception] can easily get it, including abortifacient “contraceptives” like Plan B that are now available over-the-counter." So are Catholic politicians "duty bound" as Ruse says above to oppose the sale of Plan B and other abortifacient birth control? Apparently not as long as one calls them contraceptives rather than abortifacients. To see a pro-lifer using what is essentially Planned Parenthood's lying language is sad indeed.

But Plan B is just one of the abortifacients labeled with a lie. The low-estrogen pills generally prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the uterus unreceptive to the growing embryo. The 7-10 day old baby arrives in the womb but cannot implant. That, Mr. Ruse, is also an early abortion. The combination pills at least occasionally allow abortion by the same means. The action of IUDs is somewhat murky but if you read the description for Mirena, it's clear that at least one of it's modes of action is also abortifacient since it "thins the uterus." The Mirena website states unequivocally that the IUD generally does NOT prevent ovulation.

So, since Barbara Comstock supports abortifacient birth control, mislabeled "contraception," it seems by Ruse's own logic that she is "duty bound to limit and then to stop it." But...but...she not only supports it, she supports over-the-counter sales which among other things would make it much easier for predatory men to get it and use it with women and underage girls. Is Ruse unaware of the many cases of women whose drinks are spiked with abortifacient "contraceptives?" Read here, and here and here and here and here. Well, you get the idea.

So, yes, Catholics should oppose Barbara Comstock. And if you think winning is everything, take a look at John Chapter 6. Jesus didn't run after the followers who left him because His message of life was too hard to swallow. He spoke the truth and went to the cross. When Barbara began supporting abortion, even early abortion, and committed herself to those destroying traditional marriage she lost her credibility. Sorry, Mr. Ruse, but you got this one wrong! Bob Marshall deserves your support instead of a self-fulfilling prophecy that he can't win.


TTC said...

The enthusiasm for Comstock in prolife circles is one of the most baffling things I have witnessed in 25 years of prolife politics.

I'm not familiar with Virginia politics, but I knew Wasinger is solid. To hear Marshall is also an authentic prolifer makes the 'fatwa' coming from the Comstock camp all the more exasperating.

Unknown said...

Bob Marshall is a very good man. My column was not about him....

Many good pro-life Catholics support Comstock, including Rick Santorum.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I'm puzzled. The column clearly WAS about Bob Marshall, at least to some degree, since it specifically identified a "primary challenger" who had no chance of being elected and criticized him and LifeSiteNews for a column challenging Comstock's positions.

Unknown said...

There are other primary challengers...not talking about Marshall who is a very good man...


Unknown said...

Get Disqus...this comment program is superclunky...i am not sure if my last comment even made it to moderaation...

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Thanks for the clarification, Austin. I agree. Bob is a good man and in a firehouse primary the one who can best organize the grass roots will win. I'm working for Bob.

Unknown said...

Great...just wanted to make that clear. CAthy and I like him a lot...

TTC said...


Rick Santorum supported Arlen Spector.

You're supporting a woman whose political power is doing a great deal of damage to salvation and human life.

Comstock and her political supporters at the GOP are not just wagering the salvation of the women and children to elect her, they are also wagering the salvation many doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers who are forced to choose between feeding and housing their own family and carrying out Comstock's insidious agenda.

Further, your assertion that Catholics should abandon opposition to passing out contraceptives is directly in conflict with the vigorous opposition we are all waging with the HHS mandate.

You better believe we want to 'die' on that hill. That's what it's all about.

Invite Comstock into your own home and let her pass contraceptives out to your own children. Assuming you wouldn't you be concerned about the ramification to their salvation?


Unknown said...

TTC...making contraception an electoral issue at this time is playing right into the devil's hands. He wants us to do this very badly.

What he does not want us to do is what I have been doing for going on 20 years, working to undermine confidence in contraception and convincing individuals about the evils of it.

Our work is evangelization at this point. The ground is not prepared for people to accept a contraceptive ban. To overreach is the worst mistake an army can make. Over reach generally fails and puts you further behind that before.

I will repeat. Satan wants us to make this an elector issue, so does his party on this earth.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I'm not aware of a single politician trying to ban contraception. Not allowing over-the-counter sales is not a ban. It is keeping a strong drug with potentially dangerous consequences under medical supervision where it belongs. Hundreds of women have died from the various pills available. How many more will when it is available over the counter, not to mention the easy access by unscrupulous male predators.

Your comment is simply one more example of muddling the issue. And bringing what the devil wants into it...well how would you know? Do you have a direct line to him? I don't need a direct line to God to know that many so-called contraceptives are actually abortifacients that kill children. And Catholics have a serious moral obligation to fight that. Also, women have the right to full disclosure to know what these death drugs actually do.

TTC said...

Austin, you do?

If Comstock was working with Pelosi to euthanize men over 50, do you think the cronies trying to be relevant at the GOP would be advising Catholics not to make it an electoral issue?

If they don't want it to be an issue, they better switch gears and support one of the two prolife candidates. Pick one.

Frankly, I think the devil is trying to mitigate the physical and spiritual homicides this woman brings to the table.


Unknown said...

Mary you know who really is desperate for us to take up a political fight on contraception? The baby killers of the sexual left, our mortal enemies. They are licking their chops that we make contraception an electoral issue.

That tells me that Satan wants it to. They/he want this because it leads to our inevitable political destruction. America is not ready to go with us on contraception. They are getting closer to coming with us on abortion but not contracption and the more we insist on contraception as a political issue, the further they will back away on the question of abortion.

Our fight is a little like the fight in the Pacific. The US had to roll the Japanese back island by island until we could get to the Japanese home islands.

In this fight, contraception is the Japanese home islands. Contraception is the font of most of the evils of the last century and this one; abortion, divorce, family breakdown, pornography, the rise of homosexuality and homosexual marriage. All these things are symptoms of what Satan hath wrought when he got us to take and now practically worship the pill.

We cannot capture that island with a headlong political assault at this time. It would be a complete and utter disaster.

We need not do nothing on contraception. We need to do what the civil rights folks did in those long 58 years between Plessy and Brown v. Board. We need to teach and speak and implore and convince and, like them, eventually the ground will be prepared to make a change.

All we are differing over is tactics not strategy. We agree on the strategy that contraceptives have to go. How we get there, tactics, are prudential matters upon which we disagree. It is profoundly unfair for anyone to suggest that I am unfaithful because we disagree on tactics.

Like I said, I would not have done what Barbara but neither do I think what she did deserves the death penalty. I do not think she is unfaithful on contraception as I am certainly not. I think she made a political calculation in order to take the main argument against her --- that she is a pro-lifer and anti-woman --- away from her opponents.

I ask you to take your criticism down a notch or two or three and be fair to a faithful co-belligerent, that is, me.



Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I'm baffled, Austin. The original criticism of Barbara Comstock by LifeSiteNews was justified. You then published what I would call an over-the-top article claiming the criticism of over-the-counter sales of birth control chemicals was really a call for a complete ban on contraception. I reread the LifeSite article to see if I missed something. I didn't. It was never about "banning contraception". So I'm still shaking my head about your article and your comments here. Is there a single politician who's tried to ban condoms, sponges, foams, jellies, diaphragms, etc.? Do you know one? This was always about Comstock's support for over-the-counter sales of dangerous prescription birth control drugs.

It is inconsistent for someone who claims to be pro-life to support making abortifacient pills more available without medical oversight. These artificial hormones are dangerous. They kill babies and hurt women.

Comstock has other negatives that that have been raised with regard to supporting the gay activist judge, for example. Both those acts make me wonder where she's going and whether she's one more "evolving" Republican.

And yes we can disagree on tactics. But if I think a candidate wants it both ways I simply can't see that as anything but dishonest. Comstock wants to be considered pro-life while advancing the availability of abortifacients. Lots more babies are killed by abortifacient chemicals in so-called contraceptives than by clinical abortions, not to mention women increasing their risk of breast cancer.

After committing my entire adult life to saving babies, I just can't see the little ones as collateral damage to win a political election.

If you are right about this:

"I think she made a political calculation in order to take the main argument against her --- that she is a pro-lifer and anti-woman --- away from her opponents."

all I can say is wow! Even you apparently don't think she has much integrity. There are plenty out-and-proud pro-lifers on Capitol Hill. We need more of them, not people who make "political calculations" so their opponents can't accuse them of being pro-life.

Unknown said...

Let’s examine your premises….

1. That the pill is abortifacient.
2. That the pill is medicine needing a doctor’s supervision/prescription.
3. That doctors actually warn women about dangers related to abortion and cancer.
4. That OTC will increase the use of contraceptives.


First, I am not aware of any studies that conclude the pill is abortifacient. Maybe there are such studies and you can provide it/them to me. Additionally, you are aware that Ella and Plan B, both overt abortifacients are already available over the counter?

Second, do you really believe that the pill is medicine? What does it treat that needs treating? Is pregnancy a disease or malady? In what way is the pill medicine? If its not medicine, then why does it need a prescrption?

Third, do you really believe that doctors proscribing the contraceptive pill actually tell women that it can cause abortions or cancer? These are generally the complications that we pro-lifers use to undermine confidence in the pill. Do doctors prescribing it actually do that?

Fourth, given that contraception is now free for any person in America with an insurance plan, which is everybody, why would a woman buy it over the counter with her own money?

Bonus question…

Why does the pro-aborttion, pro-contraceptive obama administration refuse to make the pill available over the counter?

Please understand these are serious questions and I really want to know what you think.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Okay Austin, just a few comments. I taught NFP at Providence Hospital for 15 years and during that time did a lot of research about the impact of oral contraceptives. It's been known for at least thirty years that one of the ways the pill "prevented pregnancy" was to prevent the uterine lining from building up making it impossible for the baby to implant. while it sometimes operates to prevent ovulation it's backup operation is to prevent implantation. Dr. Tom Hilgers has talked about this numerous times and so have other doctors speaking at NFP conferences. The progestin only pill probably acts most of the time as an abortifacient by preventing implantation. Here's one of Hilger's article on the Pill and the IUD and their abortifacient character.

It's one of the reasons Planned Parenthood changed the definition of the beginning of pregnancy to implantation.

I'm not sure that the fact that some of these drugs are already available over the counter is relevant. So what? Wasn't abortion supposed to be a decision between a woman and her doctor instead of a woman and the clerk at the CVS?

Of course the Pill isn't a medicine in the traditional sense of doing good to a patient. But it is certainly a strong and dangerous chemical that has serious ramifications for those who take it. Have you ever read the insert from the pill packet? Pick one up at the pharmacy. It has more contraindications than just about every other drug on the market. So, yes, absolutely it should be regulated and no woman should take it without a doctor's supervision. I'm sure at least some doctors, even if they have no moral qualms about killing a baby, would advise a woman who had serious health problems, like a tendency to blood clots or stroke, not to take a chemical with the potential to kill her. I had NFP clients who were suicidal on the pill.

Whether most doctors do their duty is irrelevant. I had cancer when I was 39. My oncologist discussed with me the dangers of the pill and its connection to cancer and told me I should NEVER take it because of the link to breast cancer. That was back in 1986. So at least some doctors care about their patients. Although the media and the FDA have done everything they can to hide the truth.

All of the Pill manufacturers admit that one mode of action is to alter the lining of the uterus. Women occasionally get pregnant on the pill indicating that the first two modes of action which are contraceptive sometimes fail. When they do, how many week old babies die because they can't implant. The only way to know for sure would be to do endocrine studies during the woman's cycle. That obviously isn't possible. But you can read for yourself what the Pill makers say about how their drugs work.

Unknown said...

I didn't think there were any studies, but I just wanted to check because if there were, I figured you would know...

These days I suspect that no doctor who gives out prescriptions for the pill speaks at all about any dangers, except maybe blood clots and such...certainly not abortion or cancer...I would be shocked if they did....

I still wonder, actually I think i know, but i wonder why you think Sibelius and Obama balked at making the pill over the counter...

Anyway, many thanks for the exchange. I am gong to write more about this next week...

I would only ask one thing, that you presume good will.



Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Re Sebelius: Most of the chemical birth control methods are dangerous to women. A number of them have class action lawsuits out against them. One could certainly use this as evidence that the real war on women is dangerous birth control chemicals and the FDA's irresponsible failure to protect against them. How many women are now using Ella as their regular birth control method? That's scary since it involves taking massive amounts of these chemicals on a regular basis. Perhaps the experience with Ella is making Sebelius balk at releasing even more of these dangerous chemicals to teenagers. I think college students are particularly at risk because of the popularity of the "hook up" culture on campus.

With regard to birth control studies, that is particularly problematic. Consider the difficulty in designing a study. To determine ovulation you need a daily blood test to pinpoint when the two hormones that trigger ovulation spike. You would also need to confirm fertilization took place. At that point, the onset of menstruation would confirm that the pregnancy was lost. Now how do you get a group of women and a control group to run a study like that?

What you do have, however, are all the pharmaceutical companies openly admitting that their drugs make the uterine lining hostile to implantation. Even if you can't know for sure what mode of operation works in a given cycle the probability (especially with the low dose pills) is that at least occasionally, a very early abortion takes place. We know women get pregnant on the pill, hence we know the first two methods of preventing pregnancy sometimes fail. We also know that the third method sometimes fails and the baby implants. What we do not know by observation, but can deduce is that sometimes the first two methods (preventing ovulation and thickening the mucus) fail and the third mode of operation (preventing implantation) succeeds.

Here's another article that discusses it including information from the Physicians Desk Reference which evaluates pharmaceutical drugs.

Alcorn discusses the confirmation by MRI of changes in the uterine lining making implantation impossible or unlikely. That's not speculation; it's a fact.

There is no doubt that birth control drugs, which are ALL low dose compared to the original Pill, are abortifacient at least some of the time. It's like playing Russian roulette. Four chambers may be empty, but it only takes one to kill you.

Most women probably don't know this, so isn't part of our responsibility to warn them? Most of my NFP clients who previously took the pill were appalled to think they could have unknowingly aborted a baby.