Upcoming Event: Intro to Natural Family Planning

As pro-life people, we know that life is valuable from the very beginning. However, some might not be aware that hormonal birth control may sometimes cause a very early abortion. Birth control pills and other hormone-based contraceptives are called ‘abortifacients’ because of this.

These types of contraceptives are thought to work in several ways. They can prevent the release of an egg (ovulation), but they may also thin the lining of the uterus, making it impossible for a newly conceived child to implant in the womb. When hormonal birth control acts in this second way, it isn’t ‘preventing pregnancy’ at all; a human embryo is lost because the pill has made it impossible for that embryo to implant in the womb.

image of young couple holding hands

Thankfully, there are positive alternatives for couples who need to avoid a pregnancy. ‘Natural Family Planning’, also known as fertility awareness, has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is an entirely natural method with no side effects that encourages women to be aware of the naturally fertile and infertile times throughout their cycle. There are several NFP methods, all of which are based on tracking physical signs of fertility, sometimes including a woman’s body temperature.

NFP is sometimes confused with the so-called ‘rhythm method’, which involves calendar tracking. But in fact, NFP is a science-based method that is tailored to each woman’s unique situation. Its effectiveness is just as high as other common contraceptive methods, and sometimes higher.

“More and more, women are looking for natural ways to really understand their fertility, rather than suppressing it.”

What is the cause of NFP’s rise in popularity in recent years? More and more, women are looking for natural ways to really understand their fertility, rather than suppressing it. NFP is also a non-invasive method, with no impact on the environment. Unlike certain types of artificial birth control, it in no way harms a developing child.

For those who belong to the Catholic faith, since NFP is a way of spacing pregnancies using the natural changes in a women’s fertility, it is an accord with Catholic doctrines of being open to life and the unitive aspect of married life. However, Christians of many denominations, as well as secular people, are embracing the method as well.

Did you know NFP can also be used by those who are trying to achieve a pregnancy?

Did you know NFP can also be used by those who are trying to achieve a pregnancy? Awareness of one’s cycle can give women insights on the best times to conceive, or even make them aware of potential hormonal imbalances or medical issues.

On Saturday, September 16th, Guelph & Area Right to Life will be hosting an information session on Natural Family Planning.  It will be a great opportunity for single people or couples at various stages of life to learn more about the methods.  Join us at the Parish Hall of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, from 10am to noon!  Admission will be by donation.

A teacher couple from Serena, a Canadian organization that teaches the sympto-thermal method of NFP, will be presenting the session. Information on other methods of NFP (including the Creighton and Billings methods) will be available as well. Through Serena, NFP is taught by experienced teacher-couples who mentor and support couples that are learning NFP. This training and follow-up is provided free of charge.

Primum Non Nocere – First Do No Harm

Guest Post by Dr. P.H. Ling, FRCS

Doctor assisted suicide is not health care; it is the premeditated and deliberate taking of a human life, no matter what euphemisms have been fabricated to assuage those who are tempted to believe, perversely, and generally without guile or malicious intent, that it somehow demonstrates respect for human life.

So far, much of the public awareness has centred on the rights (or even perceived obligations) of individual physicians to provide medically induced death, but more recently, hospitals and other health care institutions have exercised their right, on grounds of conscientious objection, to opt out of being forced to participate in such irrevocable acts. These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and there is rightly nothing ambiguous in the wording of the Charter.

“These rights of conscience are fully guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”

If much of the mainstream media were to be believed, most or all criticism of such institutions has implied that only Christian hospitals have been the obstructers. Yet, just prior to the federal passage of Bill C-14 (the “right to die” legislation passed by the current government), the Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.1,2 With 80 percent of doctors being unwilling, it is clear that the doctors’ collective reluctance to participate in the deliberate deprivation of human life extends beyond any one religious group.

“The Canadian Medical Association revealed that only 20 percent of all doctors, at most, would be willing to administer death to their patients, and that over twice as many – 42 percent – would actively refuse to do so.”

The authorities’ vague promises of safeguards are not reflected in the improvised, chaotic manner by which these new steps have been implemented. In Ontario, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, speaking on behalf the provincial government, has in fact expressed uncertainty over how to deal with hospitals that exert their right to eschew participation in medically assisted suicide.3 Even supporters of medically assisted suicide have expressed surprise that far more Canadians who have had their lives taken in this manner, did so within hospitals, rather than at home, as they had wrongly predicted.4 It is within this misread context of ad hoc erroneous assumptions that the said death legislation has been rushed through, so that people in a precarious and delicate state of mind can endure “death with dignity” – an abstract construct whose validity has yet to be affirmed by anyone subjected to this one-way journey.4

A growing number of seniors’ care homes, many without religious affiliation, have also objected to being pressured to participate in medical euthanasia, and surely the elderly are most at risk for coercive manipulations of this kind.5

elderly women and younger woman holding hands

Strangely enough, while the same federal Canadian legislation that opens the way to unclear parameters for the legal application of medical homicide protects participating health care workers from prosecution, it leaves a gap in the protection of health professionals who abstain on grounds of conscientious objection.6

In Canada, it is justly possible to express one’s moral and legal right, as a conscientious objector, not to participate in the slaughter of war. We have a moral duty to protect those who have sworn, in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, that they will protect life and firstly do no harm. Ultimately, the human conscience cannot be suppressed, and our health care facilities’ moral stand is a collective manifestation of this refutation.

For more information on the campaign for doctors’ conscience rights in Ontario, visit www.canadiansforconscience.ca

References

  1. A Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying: CMA Member Dialogue Summary Report, 2016.
  2. Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Poll, as cited in Postmedia News (canada.com), Feb 8, 2013.
  3. CityNews (Toronto), April 14, 2016.
  4. Most of the Assisted Deaths in Ottawa Have Been in Hospitals. Ottawa Citizen, January 10, 2017.
  5. St Paul’s Hospital Among 12 Facilities Objecting to Assisted Dying. Saskatoon Starphoenix, December 7, 2016.
  6. Doctor-assisted Dying Bill Restricted to Adults Facing “Foreseeable” Death. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, April 14, 2016.

 

New ‘Protect Them’ Postcards

Protect Them Here - portrait

Last week, we officially began our “Protect Them” postcard campaign.  Have you sent your postcard yet?

Alliance for Life Ontario has invited all pro-life groups to distribute these postcards.  Each one can be signed and sent to the Prime Minister’s office, to draw attention to the lack of protection of unborn children in Canada.

Each postcard presents the question: we protect children by using carseats and safety cribs — why don’t we protect them in the womb?

Over 100 'Protect Them' postcards, ready to mail!

Over 100 ‘Protect Them’ postcards, signed and ready to mail!

The back of the postcard reads:

Protect Them Here - side2

So far, we have distributed nearly 800 of these postcards to local groups and churches. Each person who signs them will be helping to send an important message from all over the province.

You can pick up a postcard from our office — or pick up a whole stack to hand out to your friends and family!

 

Our First ‘Light Chain’ Event Was A Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first-ever Light Chain!  If you passed by Guelph’s City Hall on January 28th, it would have been hard to miss it: nearly fifty pro-life supporters joined together to display the number 3,703,195 in six-foot-tall lettering, lit up against the night sky.

LightChain1-crop-med

That number represents the total number of abortions in Canada since 1969.  The goal of the event was to shed some light on the impact abortion has had in our country.  So many people are not aware of how many abortions occur each year in Canada, or the fact that abortion is legal throughout the entire pregnancy.  Currently, Canada has no law on abortion – no protection for human beings at their earliest stages.

The Light Chain was a great step in our efforts to educate the community about life issues.  Pro-life supporters were holding signs with positive messages, including pregnancy help information and “Protect Life From Conception – No Exceptions”.  However, the number itself prompted the most discussion.   One man asked ‘What does the number stand for?’  When a volunteer explained its significance, he responded, ‘That is a very big number.  That really is a big number’.

The idea for the event came from Alliance for Life Ontario, who encouraged all pro-life groups in the province to hold a Light Chain on January 28th.  That particular date is significant because it is the anniversary of the 1988 Supreme Court decision that resulted in Canada’s abortion law being struck down.  Many Right to Life groups held events to mark the day, and Light Chains were held in Welland and Hamilton.

We look forward to hosting this great event again next year!

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It’s Not Too Late – Reversing the Abortion Pill

worried young womanWhen Emily left the abortion clinic, she was filled with regret. Only 19 years old, she was unexpectedly pregnant and felt overwhelmed by the thought of having a child. She had gone to Planned Parenthood and taken the abortion pill, and she cried the whole way home.

Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. Searching online, Emily found information on Abortion Pill Reversal. Calling their helpline, she spoke with a nurse right away who told her it wasn’t too late to save her child’s life.

The abortion pill, which was recently approved for use in Canada under the name ‘mifegymiso’, is a two-step process. First, a pill called mifepristone is taken to cut off the unborn child’s supply of nutrients. Then, 24-28 hours later, a second pill, misoprostol, is taken to induce contractions so that the child will be pushed out of the mother’s womb.

In Canada, this can be done up to 49 days of pregnancy. This is measured from a woman’s last period, so the actual age of the child at this limit is 35 days, or five weeks. At this time, the child’s heart has already been beating for two weeks, and brain development is well underway. (For more information on prenatal development, visit the Endowment for Human Development website.)

The Abortion Pill Reversal procedure began in the United States, where the abortion pill is responsible for nearly half of all non-hospital abortions. If done shortly after the first pill is taken (24-72 hours), it is successful about 55% of the time. It consists of a progesterone treatment that works to reverse the effects of the mifepristone. Thankfully, there are now doctors in Canada who can provide the service as well. The method has received the support of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

photo of a baby's feet Emily gave birth to her son Ezekiel. Her amazing story is one of many; nearly 200 babies’ lives have been saved by reversing the effects of the abortion pill. You can read more amazing stories and view videos on the Abortion Pill Reversal website. (Watch a video of Emily’s story here.)

At Guelph & Area Right to Life, we believe it is crucial to spread the word about this reversal procedure as the abortion pill becomes available in Canada. This year, we will be running advertising campaigns in our community to let people know about this life-saving option. If you would like to donate towards this message, we invite you to contribute online through CanadaHelps!

Have you taken the abortion pill? It may not be too late!  Call 1-877-558-0333.  This Abortion Pill Reversal helpline is accessible from Canada, as well as the United States.

More information on the dangers of mifegymiso: Health Canada’s ‘Myths & Facts’ page 

Regret taking the abortion pill? Please call now.

 

 

 

One Simple Item Changed My Mind About Abortion

By Hanna Caruso, Program Manager of Guelph & Area Right to Life

I have not always been pro-life.  When I was younger, I hadn’t given the issue of abortion much thought.  Though it didn’t seem like a good thing, it seemed accepted by society, and I imagined there might be cases where it was necessary.

Abortion was an issue that did not impact me, and so I never thought to find out how often it happened in Canada, or how far along in a pregnancy abortion was legal.

Photo of precious feet pin

Precious Feet Pins are the exact size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby’s feet.

“That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.”

That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.  You may have seen these pins – tiny, gold-plated, life-sized representations of an unborn child’s feet at just ten weeks after conception.  A friend of mine was wearing one on her purse, and I asked her what it was.  She explained the meaning of the pin, and her answer surprised me and changed my thinking entirely.

What turned me from apathy to action was that an unborn child at ten weeks was clearly human.  Having unconsciously absorbed the common misconception that a pregnancy consisted of ‘just a clump of cells’ at that point, I was shocked.

This one event caused me to continue asking questions.  I found out that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in Canada, and that there are 100,000 abortions every year in our country.  It was impossible to maintain inaction in the face of that information.  That one pin ended up leading me to become an advocate for unborn children.

Isn’t it amazing how a single individual having the boldness to take one small action – such as wearing a pin – can make such a difference?

Precious Feet pins are an amazing educational tool.  Whenever I visit high schools to do pro-life presentations, I always bring a supply of these pins.  If each student has the boldness to wear that pin on their backpack or purse, I know the ripple effect will change lives and save lives.

The beauty of these pins is that they allow us to look into the womb, at unborn life that we cannot yet see.  It shows us that whether we recognize it or not, abortion impacts us all, because it is a human issue.  When we see that unborn children are fully human, we naturally recognize that they should be protected.

giving tuesday logo

For Giving Tuesday on November 29th, we are asking you to give towards pro-life education by helping us buy these pins!  A donation of $30 would provide the pins to an entire classroom.  A donation of $120 would help to provide pins to 100 people at a Right to Life resource table during a local festival or fair.  We are also putting donations toward the purchase of small prenatal models (11-14 weeks size) for use in schools and in the wider community.  Both of these items are a little over $1.00 each, and they make such a difference.

You can donate online through our CanadaHelps page.  Donate today!

Library Highlight: A Bump in Life

Guest Post by Samantha Pascoal, Summer Student with Guelph & Area Right to Life

“When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude.” – Viktor Frankl, Holocaust Survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning

“This time, she knew things had to be different; because this time, she was pregnant.” – A Bump in Life

image of book coverToo often, I have engaged in the abortion debate with one goal in mind: to win. In most conversations, I have to backtrack, ask myself, “Have I missed the point?” and then have to remind myself of it: we are discussing real people’s lives.

While all of the pro-choice arguments (bodily autonomy! medical necessity! poverty, rape, incest! global warming! non-humanness! Non-personhood! etc!) are wrong, showing a lack of compassion for people in hardship through one’s words and attitudes is perhaps just as wrong.

“..the most difficult changes provide the truest opportunities for rediscovering one’s value and purpose”

A Bump in Life teaches that when someone becomes unexpectedly pregnant, their life circumstances become crises. A little plus sign or a doctor’s nod can cause one’s whole life to change. However, the novel offers hope that this change is never absolutely for the worse, not only because a beautiful new life has been created, but also because the most difficult changes provide the truest opportunities for rediscovering one’s value and purpose.

While the book may be targeted at unexpectedly pregnant young women and their families, it is inspiring to anybody facing difficulty. Through the stories of 22 young women,  I learned how to better support real people – myself included – as we transition over bumps: from grief and despair, to hope, self-discovery, and new life.

Note: “A Bump in Life” is available to borrow from the Guelph & Area Right to Life office library.  Contact us to learn more, at facts(at)guelphforlife.com!

 

Abortion Pill RU-486 Approved in Canada

In late July of this year, the RU-486 abortion pill was approved for use in Canada.  The pill, also called mifepristone, and marketed as Mifegymiso, is used to kill a preborn child.  By approving this drug, scientists at Health Canada are putting its stamp of approval on this so-called “safe and effective option”.

This is not only misleading, but dangerous – in more ways than one.

As you might have guessed, mifepristone is never safe for the unborn child.  In fact, it is lethal: it works by blocking progesterone, effectively starving the developing child of needed nutrients – ending his or her life.  Following this, a drug called misoprostol is taken to induce contractions.

pillsThe drug has been approved for use up to 49 days gestation – which equates to 35 days (or 5 weeks) after conception – at which point the baby’s heart has already beaten over 2,400,000 times.

It is sad to see a mechanism for ending life being celebrated as a tool for ‘freedom and choice’.   Advocates of abortion are hailing RU-486 as a big win for women (the Toronto Star unabashedly proclaims, “Canadian women win gold – the abortion pill”).  Yet, by holding on so firmly to a narrative that refuses to question any element of abortion, they are doing women a disservice.  Crucial information on the drug’s negative effects is being ignored or dismissed.

Some are still willing to speak up: Renata Klein, an Australian feminist and academic, has released an in-depth analysis of the harms of RU-486.  She comes at it from a pro-abortion perspective, but sheds an honest light on the serious side effects that many refuse to acknowledge.

photo of RU-486 book

“RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” is available at our office library, for those who would like to learn more.

In her recently re-released book “RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” she describes adverse events such as excessive bleeding, hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention, and fatal sepsis.  She notes that Finnish researchers found that 20% of women who took mifepristone experienced an adverse reaction – a number four times higher than for surgical abortions.  For example, excessive bleeding (requiring a medical consultation and possibly even a blood transfusion) is a complication that has been experienced by thousands of women.

In Sweden, the drug made headlines in 2004 when it claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl named Rebecca.  She had chosen an RU-486 abortion because she was told it was a ‘better’ option than a suction abortion.  She was alone at her boyfriend’s apartment when she died due to severe hemorrhage.  This occurred even though the hospital followed all ‘safety precautions’.  The local publicity led other women to come forward with their experiences of similar severe complications.

This highlights a major concern: after taking RU-486 and misoprostol, women are most often alone.  This could lead to life-threatening medical problems going undetected.  Ectopic pregnancy (which occurs in 2% of pregnancies in the US) is a serious concern, as explained by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

“She will undoubtedly interpret bleeding and pain as consistent with a pharmaceutical abortion, since these are nearly universal effects of mifepristone and misoprostol.  This leaves her with the immediate threat of serious harm, or death, if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.”

Over the course of ten years in the United States, 58 women were hospitalized after using RU-486 with an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and an additional two women died.  Yet the FDA still states that they believe “the benefits of Mifeprex outweigh the risks”.

Sadly, the list goes on.  Death due to massive infection (sepsis) after taking RU-486 is another major concern, and it is surprising to see how little media attention this issue has received. The FDA’s adverse event report of 2011 noted that 8 women have died due to sepsis after an RU-486 abortion.  This number does not include the additional documented deaths in the UK, Portugal, France, and Canada.  How many more might there be in China and India, where RU-486 is used but no adverse event information is available?

This life-threatening complication is all the more concerning because – much like ectopic pregnancy –  the warning signs are masked by the expected symptoms of the abortion.

RU-486 is often promoted as a ‘solution’ for women in remote areas who have no abortion facilities nearby.  As Ms. Klein states in her book, the seriousness of these complications “again makes it clear how dangerous it can be for women in remote areas without access to emergency hospitalization to be told that [mifepristone] abortion is ‘safe and effective’”. (RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals, p. xix) 

Despite all of this, we still hear the stubborn assertion that RU-486 should be available through telemedicine.   Amazingly, Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star even calls for the pill to be supplied over-the-counter, entirely removing the requirement for women to see a doctor.  This is an absurd and potentially lethal suggestion, revealing a distinct disconnect with the reality of inducing abortion.

Both Health Canada and the drug’s manufacturers have released strict guidelines stating that only physicians can dispense the drug, and that women must have access to emergency medical care.  In addition, physicians are required to confirm gestational age, check for ectopic pregnancy and a number of other conditions, and be aware of drug interactions.  The doctor must also know the age of the patient, since the safety and efficacy of the drug is not known for patients under the age of 15.  These are not requirements that can be casually dispensed with, and to suggest that they should be shows a stunning disregard for women’s safety.

Given the many concerns about RU-486, it is with trepidation that we will wait to see how the landscape will change in Canada when it becomes available next year.  What we do know is this: the womb should be the safest place on earth – yet in our country, where there are absolutely no limits on abortion, Health Canada has paved the way for another method of killing.  Not only this, but they have put the very women they claim will ‘benefit’ in unnecessary danger.

 

 

Take Action: Opposing the Supreme Court of Canada’s Assisted Suicide Decision

On February 6, the Supreme Court made an irresponsible and dangerous decision by decriminalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

As you can see below, the Supreme Court’s decision would allow assisted suicide not just for those with a terminal illness, but for anyone with an illness, disease, or disability that is “grievous and irremediable”. This includes those with chronic pain, psychological suffering, and any kind of disability.

SCC Assisted Suicide Ruling

Click to enlarge

The Supreme Court has claimed that people who are unable to commit suicide due to the progression of their disease or disability may choose to commit suicide early, while they are still able, and thus the laws prohibiting assisted suicide infringe on their right to life (section 7 of the Charter).

In making this claim, the Supreme Court has effectively created a “right to die” out of the right to life.


Make Your Voice Heard

Parliament now has the option of invoking the notwithstanding clause, a mechanism which gives them the power to override the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Charter, and provides the government a temporary pause. Once the notwithstanding clause has been invoked, a Royal Commission can be formed to thoroughly investigate the impact that this ruling would have on Canadians.

elderly women and younger woman holding handsWe need to protect people with disabilities, elders who live with abuse, depressed and suicidal people, and all others who will be impacted. It is not safe to enable one person to be involved with killing another person.

Letter-writing is an effective way to reach those in Parliament who will be responding to this ruling soon: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, and your local Member of Parliament. We urge you to take action and write a letter to each of these individuals today. Note that letters sent to any of these individuals do not require postage.

To get started, have a look at the sample letter and talking points available on our website, or contact us for more information!

 

Summer Jobs at Guelph & Area Right to Life

Each year, the Guelph & Area Right to Life office welcomes high school, university, and college students to join our team for the summer.

If you are a pro-life student who would like to make a difference by engaging the community through education, advocacy, and outreach, this opportunity is for you!

Summer students from Guelph & Area Right to Life and Alliance for Life Ontario in 2014

Staff and summer students from Guelph & Area Right to Life and Alliance for Life Ontario in 2014

Summer students will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of pro-life issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.  As part of our outreach and education programs, you may assist with developing educational materials for youth, researching pro-life issues, and/or being part of our crisis pregnancy outreach program.

All students are welcome to apply, but skills in graphic design, research, and writing are especially appreciated.

We invite students to apply now by e-mailing a resume and cover letter to facts@guelphforlife.com.  The deadline to apply is April 18th.

Please note that applicants must be between 15 and 30 years of age, have been registered as full-time students in the previous academic year, and intend to return to school as a full-time student in the next academic year.