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April 10, 1998     The Message
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April 10, 1998

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. :c 12 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana .f, YMCA: Children's healthneeds attention By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service- WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The nation's children are at risk and need urgent attention, according to a YMCA report released March 27 at a press conference in Wash- ington. "Children all across America are being critically deprived of the support and interaction they need to grow up healthy and whole," said David R. Mercer, national executive director of YMCA of the USA in Chicago. "By many indicators that we consider crucial, our children, who are our most valuable resource, are at risk," he said. "We believe they are being denied the fundamental assets that are vital for their healthy growth and development in the future." Mercer said the YMCA believes incidents of school violence such as the March 24 shooting spree in Jones- boro, Ark., are "symptoms of the problems" detailed in the report. "We're very convinced, and studies show us," he said, "that if we provide the kind of assets, if we pro- vide the kind of values and morals to kids early on in the preventative end of the action, that they're much less likely to move into the destructive behaviors and problems that you see at this point." At the press conference, Mercer highlighted what the report calls "interrelated deficits" threatening children today. They are: Poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 14.5 million children are living in poverty, and the number living in extreme poverty is rising. "Moral meltdown," or lack of instruction in faith, values and character development. "Fewer high school- ers than ever are attending religious activities, taking instruction in the arts, participating in sports or per- forming community service," said Mercer. Diminished family support and supervision. He said 28 percent of children live in one-parent homes and 5 million children, including 35 percent of all 12- year-olds, take care of themselves after school. Domestic violence, street violence and juvenile delinquency. Mercer said more than 3 million children were reported abused or neglected in 1996, and nearly 5,500 died as the result of gunfire in 1997. Inadequate health care. The number of uninsured children was 10 million in 1995, a 20 percent increase since 1987, he said. Poor fitness. Mercer said the number of over- weight children more than doubled in the last 30 years. Deprivation in early developmental skills. The YMCA head said adults "are failing to provide infants and our youngest children with the security, with the interaction and stimulation that we know and consid- er necessary to develop their intellectual capacity and their self-confidence." Lack of adequate education. He said at least 40 percent of U.S. children experience at least one educa- tional risk factor identified by the National Commis- sion on Children. Those factors include being poor, belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, having limited proficiency in English, or being raised by a single par- ent or poorly educated parents. Mercer said the report was developed from dozens of new and recent studies by authoritative sources. He said YMCA staff and volunteers are concerned because they work with children every day at more than 2,200 YMCA sites nationwide. "Collectively, YMCAs are the largest provider of child care in the nation," involving In addition, the YMCA provides 7 pie "with recreation, with ed opment, mentoring, job and other programs that enable them to strong and productive." Mercer also stressed the corn lems and issued a YMCA "call to lowing: Families, in partnership with . religious groups, must provide children , , of safety and opportunity. The number of safe places for : learn must be increased greatly. Parents must increase the instruction they give their children. Public/private partnerships able strategies that help parents relationships with caring adults, safe tured activities, marketable skills and service. q All child care, school, grams for children ment and such core values as caring, and responsibility. The press conference was held in the YMCA's sixth annual Day, a community outreach effort Vaughan, the YMCA's director bership development. Vaughan told Catholic News ServiCe are a major part of YMCA Some 380,000 adult volunteers YMCA programs, she said, and the ....... : to enlist 200,000 more by 2001. The Secrets Out N FP-only physicians active in diocese Patti ofll ................... The Natural Family Planning- Only Physicians Directory was first published in June 1997. The Director1 is compiled, pub- lished and distributed by One More Soul, a non-profit organi- zation providing information about the harms of contracep- tion, the blessings of children and the benefits of Natural Family Planning. NEWS AND COMMENTARY By SOOZI SCHELLER Contributing Writer Steve Koob, director of One More Soul, describes the new NFP-Only Physicians Directory as "a listing of doctors who do not describe, perform or refer for contraception, sterilization, abortion or in-vitro fertiliza- tion." Two medical doctors in the Diocese of Evansville, Dr. Fred Wallisch, Family Practice Resi- dent at Deaconess Family Cen- ter, and Dr. J. R. Hoffman, Fam- ily Practice Resident at St. Mary's Family Practice Center, have both formally joined the NFP-only physicians move- ment. The second edition of the Efirectory lists both their names. The first edition listed 160 med- ical doctors and sold out last November. The second edition, available this month, has grown to 213 NFP-only physicians bum around the United States. These 213 NFP-only physi- clans may seem like a drop in the bucket, yet the numbers are growing. Dr. Koob receives many phone calls from physi- cians seeking advice on how they can offer NFP in their med- ical practice. NFP offers manv health and social benefits over Dr. Hoffman and his wife Rose, now living in Evansville, personally adopted the practice of Natural Family Planning when they became engaged and married as undergraduates at University of Illinois. The Huff- roans felt a camaraderie as they artificial contraceptives. More- over, it has no medical side effects. The acceptance of NFP in the mainstream medical world will take time, but these NFP-only doctors are the first rays of hope in the new dawn in fertility care. Remember, Jesus began with only 12! Many doctors have diffi- culty understanding Natural Family Planning because they have heard little about it. Dr. Ted O'Donnell, an NFP-only physician from East Wenatchee, Washington, remarks, "You know in medical school we are taught pretty much a secular mindset, and contraceptives are a given like penicillin is a given for strep throat. The use of con- traceptives is never-ques- tioned." Dr. WaUisch and Dr. Hoffman both realize that most physicians choose oral contra- ceptives for contraception and for the treatment of many gyne- co|ogical problems faced by women of childbearing age. But, they offer the NFP message to each of their patients seeking contraceptives. As he gives this message, Dr. WaUisch observes, "No one has completely tuned me out." freelv discussed NFP with other NP-only doctors I II are the first rays of hope in the new dawn in fertility care. engaged and newly-married couples involved at the U of I Newman Center. Dr. Hoffman is currently training to become an NFP Medical Consultant and Rose Hoffman is training to become an NFP Practitioner through training programs at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduc- tion in Omaha, Nebraska. Rose Hoffman's training enables her to teach couples the ractice of Natural Family Plan- ning. Dr. Hoffman's training enables him to use the stan- dardized records of a woman's menstrual cycle and her phases of fertility and infertility to understand the hormonal aspects of her individual repro- ductive svstem in his diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Hoffman urges engaged and young married cou- ples NOT to wait to begin Natural Family Planning. By recording the woman's menstru- al cycle, the couple invests in their future. Because it is such an excellent health record, reproductive health problems can be detected early and treat- ed more effectively. Couples can participate more fully in their procreative and gynecological health care. Next week, we will take a closer look at Catholic physi- cians and the NFP movement in the Lincoln, Nebraska Diocese. For more information please call one of the following: the Natural Family Planning Office of St. Mary's 4110; the Planning pital and Jasper, (812) 852-7295; or Americas NFP cennes at (812)' To make con! growing Nat! services in ville, dation at One More Only suggested includes shipp Call (800) Catholic tion formed Indiana Medical ville area have, to discuss the context teaching local Ca tion Guild. For more Dr. Anthony (day-time (evenings "'"t"'n ST. M A medical news from a Catholic perspective is . cou.,00 of Se rvices