The Reason for the Anti-contraception HHS Regulations ... HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said that the new controversial proposed regulations are aimed to protect the physician from having to prescribe birth control if they are morally opposed to contraception. The law already allows doctors to refuse to perform abortions on the basis of conscience but the regulations would extend that privledge to allow doctors to deny patients contraception, by way of legally defining contraception as abortion. Today the Florida Catholic website has published a story about the increasing number of Catholic doctors who are refusing to precribe birth control to patients on basis of conscience:

“Every day that (a) woman takes the birth control pill, she is saying no to God and she is sinning,” [Doctor] Rebecca Peck said. “That is cutting her off from the graces and blessings she would be receiving. I don’t think people realize the damage it’s doing to them, the health of their marriage and the health of their family. As long as people are trusting birth control instead of God, we’re going to have problems."


The Pecks aren’t alone.

In November, obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Angela Flippin-Trainer opened a fully pro-life practice in southwest Florida. Caritas Obstetrics and Gynecology of Naples does not offer birth control, perform sterilizations or provide pregnancy terminations. Flippin-Trainer and her husband, John-William Trainer III, also teach natural family planning. The practice will eventually offer infertility treatments and services that are in line with church teachings.

“Basically, birth control interferes with God’s plan, as stated in ‘Humanae Vitae,’” he said. “We’re not to interfere with it.”

To Be Truly Pro-life, the Vatican Should Lift its Contraception Ban ... While the Bush Adminstration considers legally allowing the Catholic Church's Humanae Vitae to improperly influence federal health policy the Irish Times has published an article warning against the harms of Catholic Church's ban on contraception. The article starts with the story of a mother of six who relates the reality of family life without birth control:

"You have a two-month-old on one side of the bed, a 16-month-old on the other, and a two-and-a-half-year-old in another room. Beside you is your husband that you love and who has been using his 'self-control' for at least four months. Verbal communication is of necessity cut down to a minimum and cosy chats together are out.

"So you take your chance and spend the next few weeks (longer if you are breast-feeding) worrying yourself sick and wondering if you are pregnant again. This is married life.

"What they never told me is what to do; the don'ts I am familiar with. 'Use your self control,' I was told.

"'Put your husband in another bedroom,' my gynaecologist said. Now that's all very well for a week, a month or two months - but forever?"

The Catholic Church democratically decided agaisnt issuing Humanae Vitae but the pope decided to side with the minority on the commission deciding the issue:

However, the hearts and minds of even the conservative bishops were swayed by the impassioned testimonials from married couples who explained the realities of attempting a healthy sex life without the aid of contraception. The vast majority of the commission voted to change the teaching and permit contraception.

Sadly, when faced with the proposal, the pope took a political decision to ignore the findings and instead adopted a minority report of the few members who opposed change. The impact of that fateful decision continues.

The ban has been particularly disastrous in the developing world where Catholic hierarchies hold significant sway over many national family planning policies, especially in Latin America and the Philippines, so obstructing good public health policies on family planning and HIV prevention.

The world is a very different place today to what it was in 1968. Then as now, Catholics can, in good conscience, make decisions that go against church teachings.

Catholics the world over support the use of contraception, and those who can access it use it. It would enable hundreds of thousands if not millions more families to make informed decisions about their futures if the church lifted this ban - not to mention the impact it would have on HIV prevention.

It is one thing to talk the talk on promoting a culture of life - and the bishops do that very well. It is quite another to respect the reality of people's lives. It would be truly compassionate and just for the church to change this fatally flawed teaching. It would be the truly pro-life thing to do.

Adults Need Sex Education, Too ... It is important to remember, in all our talk about improving sex education for our youth, that the older generations among us have sex, too:

Our culture remains largely youth-centred and we often forget that older people can be interested in sex. And yes, 35 seems old to our teens. websites for older adults depict their target audience as being friendly, tender and warm in their relationships, but frequently assume that older adults have no sex life. Sexual health resources and websites often focus on the impact of medication on sexual function. This is important, but if a couple plan on becoming intimate, they also need information on issues such as sexually transmitted infection prevention and possibly pregnancy prevention.

New relationships bring new decisions, but some things stay the same. A healthy relationship is built on respecting each other and open communication. Partners, regardless of age or gender, need good up-to-date facts, so they can make good healthy choices and keep each other safe.

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