FRC Urges Health Advisory Panel to Oppose Mandates for Abortion or Contraceptives in Obamacare

November 17, 2010

WASHINGTON (MetroCatholic) — Jeanne Monahan, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, will speak today before the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women and call for the exclusion of abortion or contraceptives in the new health care law and thereby to the conscience rights of all Americans.

In her statement, Monahan will offer the following comments:

“The committee should not recommend the inclusion of abortion as a means of preventing pregnancy. FRC rejects any suggestion that ‘abortion is healthcare’ or that pregnancy is a disease. Including abortion, whether medical or surgical, as a mandated, free-of-charge preventive care service would further expand abortion in the health care law and undermine the conscience rights of many in the health care profession.

“Family Research Council also urges the Institutes of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to exclude contraceptives and protect the conscience rights of health insurers, providers and participants who object to contraceptives. Fertility, like pregnancy, is not a disease.

“By their very nature, contraceptive services are elective and not medically necessary. They should not be placed in the same category as other basic types of medical care. Additionally, several drugs that have been approved by the FDA to be categorized legally as ‘emergency contraceptives’ can destroy a pre-born baby before and after implantation.

“Any mandates on abortion coverage would expand taxpayer funding for abortion, and inclusion of contraceptives would undermine conscience protections that President Obama promised would be maintained,” Monahan concluded.

Priests have been ‘worse’ than silent on contraception, says canon law expert

September 16, 2010

New York City, N.Y., Sep 16, 2010 / 12:57 am (CNA).- Adding to Vatican analyst Sandro Magister’s recent commentary on the issue of widespread contraception use among Catholics today, a noted canon law expert told CNA that the silence and even contradiction of some clergy regarding Church teaching on the issue is “incontestable.”
On Sept. 8 in the Chiesa section of the Italian newspaper L’Espresso, analyst Sandro Magister highlighted a recent book that shows a link between the usage of contraception among Catholics in the early 20th century and the silence of clergy in presenting Church teachings on the subject. Reasons cited for Catholic use of birth control were the permissiveness of priests in the confessional as well as clergy refraining from speaking openly on the subject.
In a follow up piece on Wednesday, Magister delved more deeply into the role of priests in addressing the issue during confession, also touching on the responsibility Catholics have to form their consciences.
CNA contacted canon law expert Fr. Gerald Murray, a priest in the Archdiocese of New York, who gave his insight into the controversial topic in an e-mail on Sept. 15.
When asked if he believes that silence on the part of clergy today on contraception has in fact contributed to Catholics’ use of it, Fr. Murray said “yes.”
“Even worse,” he continued, “it is incontestable that some clergy have contradicted Humanae Vitae and have stated that contraceptive use is not sinful.”
“So there is confusion among the faithful,” the priest asserted. “It would be good for the bishops of the United States to speak more often about the grave sinfulness of contraceptive use and encourage both generosity in receiving more children into our families, and the use of Natural Family Planning, not artificial contraceptives, to postpone pregnancy for serious reasons.”
Fr. Murray then offered clarity on the subject of how the issue of contraception should be broached in the confessional.
“If someone confesses that he or she has used some form of contraception, that ordinarily means that he or she knows such actions were sinful and that they wish to be forgiven this sin,” he noted. “The priest should first tell the penitent to thank God for the grace to make this good confession. He should then help the penitent to arrive at a firm resolution to avoid such sins in the future.”
“He should encourage the penitent to pray more, to receive Holy Communion frequently, to confess regularly even when the penitent only has venial sins to confess. He should also recommend that the person learn about Natural Family Planning in the case of a penitent who is married or is preparing for marriage.”
When asked he thinks there are mitigating factors for Catholics who contracept and whether or not a delicate approach is necessary on the part of priests, Fr. Murray responded, “a delicate approach is always necessary when hearing confessions.”
“But a delicate approach does not mean moral relativism which would subvert God’s law by calling contraceptive use not a sin,” Fr. Murray underscored. “Church teaching on the gravity of artificial contraception is clear and binding on all. If the penitent confesses this sin, the priest must never contradict the moral law under the guise of pastoral charity. The repentant sinner needs to be encouraged to leave sin behind.”
“We should also remember the timeless maxim for priests in the confessional: ‘Qui excusat non accusat,’” he added. This translates to “He who forgives does not accuse.”
“It is not for the priest to question the penitent about contraceptive use if that subject has not been brought up,” Fr. Murray said. “An exception to this is the case where an adult penitent asks for help in confessing, as in the case of someone who has been away from the sacrament for a long time.”
“Note that the priest may himself offer to help the penitent with the examination of conscience if such assistance seems to be called for. But the priest cannot require such an examination against the will of the penitent.”

Research Led Couple to Natural Family Planning Away from the Pill

August 17, 2010

GLENVIEW, Il (MetroCatholic) - The following article, by Nick and Monica Warren, is from the July-August 2010 issue of “Family Foundations,” the publication of the Couple to Couple League International (CCL). The Warrens teach Natural Family Planning (NFP) for CCL.

* * *

Monica: Right before we got married we attended the Engaged Encounter where we learned that the Catholic Church recommended NFP. Nick’s parents had used NFP (the mucus-only method) but I had never heard of it. So we went ahead and took a NFP class. It was the Creighton method. Even though we had a doctor meeting with us to teach us, we never fully understood it and were not confident using it. We were concerned about the limitations it placed on when we could have sex and we didn’t want anything to interfere with the spontaneity. So when we got married we used the Pill. The doctor said it would be a good idea for me to be on the Pill since I had endometriosis in the past, so I figured we could justify using it because a doctor recommended it.

Nick: I didn’t like the idea of putting artificial hormones into Monica’s body because I heard it was bad for her and I was also impacted by some of the side effects she was experiencing.

Monica: When we decided it was time to start having kids, we went off the Pill and got pregnant pretty easily after waiting the recommended three months. We found that we are pretty fertile. We wanted three kids and decided to space them at about a year and a half, so that’s what we did. We remembered some of our Creighton training so we were able to time the pregnancies. When we had our third child, Paula, we wanted a more permanent way to control our fertility. By this time in our marriage, sex was important, but not magical. We had settled into some routines and the romantic spark wasn’t really there.

Nick: I like to research stuff…to death. So we decided that I would research contraceptives and sterilization methods to see what would be best for us. We also prayed together that I would be led to find the best option that was consistent with God’s plan for us. I found all sorts of tables and charts about various methods and their effectiveness and side effects. I looked at each one on its own. Many of those tables also listed some form of NFP. So I included it in my analysis. Remember that we had been exposed to the Creighton method of NFP seven years earlier but had decided not to use it. What’s interesting at this point is that I discovered that there were other NFP methods and that I found in the charts, the Rhythm method, hadn’t been taught for about 30 years. Google led me to Humanae Vitae, one of the Church’s official teachings written in the 1960s by Pope Paul VI. I remember printing it out and then settling into bed one night to read for a few minutes while Monica finished brushing her teeth.

The document blew me away. It made a very good argument for NFP and discussed the benefits to married couples of using NFP. Not only that, but it clearly said that NFP is the only family planning method that is morally accepted by the Catholic Church. By the time Monica finished getting ready for bed, I knew that we needed to give NFP a second try. We decided to try NFP more out of obedience to the Catholic teachings than our own will. Looking in retrospect, it was obedience that was not easy in the beginning but has now paid us back tenfold.

Then we had to find an NFP method that worked for us. So I did more research and found that there are four different NFP methods that are taught today: Creighton, Billings, sympto-thermal, and LAM (which is basically the natural infertility that comes with exclusive breastfeeding). We had already tried the Creighton Method, and my brother is a sympto-thermal instructor. He gave me some info (the brochure) and we ordered a CCL Home Study Course to learn the sympto-thermal method on our own.

Monica: During that time I was still nursing Paula and hadn’t fully returned to fertility. We realized quickly that we needed some help with our charts, so we signed up for a CCL NFP class. The sympto-thermal method was simpler to understand and we picked it up quickly. By the third class I felt confident with my observations and Nick was comfortable knowing when I was fertile or not. We were “confident” but we still called our instructors at least six times to verify that our interpretations were correct.

Nick: The biggest surprise is what started to happen in our marriage after we started using NFP. I started to feel more in synch with Monica. By that, I mean that we wanted to have sex around the same time. We also started to enjoy our sex life a lot more. Monica was more responsive and she was in the mood often. Not just a little bit more, but a lot more frequently. In fact, I read a research study that showed that this is common for couples who use NFP.

Monica: Nick also started to see small things in my cycle that led us to understand that I had a micro nutrient deficiency. We were able to address it with vitamins and natural nutrients. Nick can see in my charts when I am sick or under stress.

Nick: Another benefit we experienced when using NFP is that a romantic spark returned to our love life. This came about because of the brief period that we choose to abstain each month. The method doesn’t say when you can and can’t have sex. The method just tells you when you’re fertile. If you have sex during that time, you are likely to get pregnant. If you only have sex in the infertile time, you won’t get pregnant. We abstain about 12 days each month. Abstinence has actually been very good for our love life. It’s a time of huge buildup in preparation for that night that we are infertile again. We flirt a good amount during that buildup time and it’s great. I can show Monica that I love her for more than just great sex. It can be difficult abstaining but it is a sacrifice I make to show Monica how much I respect her as a person.

Monica: Another benefit for us is that we started to talk more about sex and planning our family. We talked about whether we wanted more kids. In fact, we still have this discussion regularly. Sometimes I want more kids and he doesn’t and sometimes he wants more kids and I don’t. But for now we’ve decided to hold off.

Nick: There are many other benefits for me as a man that I never imagined. The biggest benefit came from being around a woman who is cycling normally. I think it’s the pheromones. We were so surprised about the changes that NFP brought to our marriage that we decided to get certified to teach so we could share all the blessings we have received with other couples. To us it’s like NFP is one of the best kept secrets and we want to help you get as much out of it as we have.

* * *

Sign up for a membership at Couple to Couple League International at , and receive “Family Foundations.”

Natural Family Planning Classes Taught

Classes in Natural Family Planning are taught in 17 locations in the Chicago metro area, including southeast Wisconsin and northeast Indiana. The next series of classes will begin Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 at 6 pm at St. Irene Church in Warrenville, IL, taught by Mike and Denise Kenealy. The method taught is the Sympto-Thermal Method, and it is also taught via CylePRO software.

To register, and for a list of classes throughout the U.S., go to CCL International at , (800) 745-8252. Chicago area NFP information is at .

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins Asks: Is This What President Obama Means by ‘Robust’ Conscience Protections?

August 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) -  Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that Belmont Abbey College, a Roman-Catholic institution, must provide insurance coverage for abortion and contraceptives.

The ruling goes against the college’s Catholic doctrine and also violates North Carolina state law which provides for exemption to for religious entities. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had this to say:

“The EEOC has succeeded in threatening every college, university and church that provides medical services with litigation in the event that those institutions refuse to buckle-under to Washington’s abrasive intrusions. This outrageous attack on the historic and clearly articulated convictions of a religious college demonstrate a growing effort on the part of the radical left to impose their anti-faith agenda on people who hold convictions contrary to those of the secular elite.

“Belmont Abbey’s president has said the school would close before offering abortion services or referrals or dispensing contraceptives. He is a profile in courage, and FRC commends him for his brave and principled stance.

“President Barack Obama claimed that he would ensure ‘robust’ protection to the conscience rights of America’s health care works and religious institutions. He claimed this as he was in the process of overturning Bush-era Health and Human Services protections. The EEOC, following his lead, is moving aggressively against the very religious liberty many of our forebears came to these shores to find. It is my hope he will publicly call on the EEOC to retract its ruling and stand for religious and personal freedom for all Americans,” Perkins concluded.

Source: Family Research Council

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